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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-25

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MICHELE

MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

U.N.

HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, May 25, 2007

[There will be no noon briefing on Monday, May 28, is an official holiday at UN headquarters.

The briefing will resume on Tuesday, May 29, 2007]

BAN KI-MOON REGRETS MYANMARS DECISION

TO EXTEND DETENTION OF POLITICAL ACTIVIST

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deeply regrets the decision of the Government of Myanmar to extend once again the detention under house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD), despite his direct appeal to Myanmars senior leadership and the many public calls worldwide for her release.

He strongly believes that the sooner restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other political figures are lifted, the sooner Myanmar will be able to move towards inclusive national reconciliation, the restoration of democracy and full respect for human rights.

The Secretary-General is determined to continue working towards tangible progress in Myanmar through the use of his good offices mandate, as entrusted by the General Assembly. He has instructed his Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, to energetically continue his dialogue with the Government and people of Myanmar.

U.N. AGENCY HELPS PALESTINIAN REFUGEES HIT

BY LATEST LEBANON VIOLENCE

As of today, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has registered and helped relocate some 25,000 Palestinian refugees who have fled the fighting in the Nahr el-Bared camp in northern Lebanon.

Most of the displaced people have found refuge in the Tripoli region, in the UNRWA-operated Beddawi camp. About 2,500 people are in schools or women centres made available by UNRWA.

While a casualty and damage assessment still being compiled, UNRWA staff members who lived in the camp say about a third of all houses have been damaged or utterly destroyed. Eyewitnesses interviewed by UNRWA spoke of several dozen dead, with two mass graves reportedly dug inside the camp to dispose of the bodies.

With the help of regional governments, the ICRC and Lebanese agencies, UNRWAs efforts continue to provide emergency food aid to the displaced and those still inside the camp. UNRWA is providing water and sanitation supplies, along with hygiene kits and sleeping bags. An emergency appeal to cover estimated needs over the next 30 days is being prepared.

LEBANON BORDER ASSESSMENT TEAM BEGINS WORK NEXT WEEK

As was confirmed at the media stakeout yesterday by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe, the Lebanon Independent Border Assessment Team will be on the ground in Lebanon next week to begin its work in follow-up to the terms of Security Council

resolution 1701, and pursuant to the Security Councils

Presidential Statement of 17 April 2007.

The team assembles on Monday in Beirut and is expected to be in the country for two to three weeks before returning and reporting on its findings to the Secretary-General. The team is composed of five persons, with expertise in areas such as border security, police and customs, and military issues. It will carry out consultations with Lebanese officials as well as bilateral partners already assisting Lebanon in this area.

The team will visit the border region and review existing border security arrangements in order to arrive at an assessment and to formulate recommendations for additional assistance, training and equipment to enhance the security of the Lebanese-Syrian border.

BAN KI-MOON PRESENTS ADVANCE COPY OF REPORT ON HYBRID DARFUR OPERATION TO SUDANESE AMBASSADOR

The Secretary-General met today with the Sudanese Ambassador and presented him with a letter and an advance copy of the joint African Union-United Nations report on the hybrid peacekeeping operation in Darfur.

Meanwhile, the UN Experts Group on Darfur, which was established by the Human Rights Council last March,

met yesterday with high-level representatives of the Government of Sudan to identify practical steps to improve the human rights situation in Darfur.

The Group will report on this meeting to the fifth session of the Human Rights Council on 13 June 2007.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON SUDAN, MIDDLE EAST

The Security Council held consultations this morning on Sudan, the Middle East and other matters.

Under Sudan, a Presidential Statement on the proposed African Union-United Nations peacekeeping operation in Darfur was discussed.

Under the Middle East, a draft resolution concerning a tribunal to try the suspected killers of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was circulated.

U.N. AGENCIES DISTRIBUTE AID TO NEEDY SOMALIS

The World Food Programme (WFP) says that, although it is encountering problems finding ships to move food to Somalia, food distribution inside the country continues without incident despite the overall volatile security environment.

Yesterday, the agency began a second round of food distribution for some 32,000 internally displaced persons in Afgoye, 9,000 people in Qoryoley and another 13,000 in Baidoa. Also in Baidoa, UNICEF reports that some 650 families recently received Family Relief Kits, with another 6,000 kits allocated to those in need in Mogadishu and Merka. Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says that some 90,000 people displaced by the latest violence have returned to the capital.

A $2.9 million grant from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to WFP is covering the emergency rehabilitation of Wajid airstrip, air transport of relief items and cost-reduced passenger flights. These allocations are part of the $10 million recently set aside by the Emergency Relief Coordinator for rapid response projects funded through the CERF.

HUMANITARIAN SITUATION DETERIORATING IN

EASTERN D.R. CONGO

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that the humanitarian situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congos North Kivu province is deteriorating.

In the last six months, continuing clashes have displaced 260,000 people. OCHA says it is very worried about the protection situation for the displaced, who have had to deal with murders, torture, arbitrary detention and looting.

UN agencies and their partners are preparing contingency plans to cover the needs of the displaced. But the UNs humanitarian appeal for this crisis remains only 19 per cent funded.

HUMAN RIGHTS CHIEF CONCERNED BY RWANDA COURTS PLANS

TO TRY 750,000 DEFENDANTS

High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has wrapped up her visit to Rwanda, concluding a nearly two-week trip to Africas Great Lakes Region.

In a

statement, Arbour hailed Rwandas determination to lift itself up despite the genocide that decimated its people little more than a decade ago.

She expressed concern, however, about the Gacaca courts, whose judges possess little legal training and are planning, within the next year, to try 750,000 defendants who allegedly took part in the genocide.

Such haste could jeopardize the integrity of the process, she said, adding that the country could not possibly sustain such a large number of prisoners.

BAN KI-MOON FRUSTRATED BY WIDESPREAD SUFFERING IN AFRICA

Today is Africa Day. In a message to mark the occasion, the Secretary-General said he shared Africas pain and frustration at the persistent, widespread suffering caused by extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS, among other problems.

He welcomed important steps toward consolidating peace, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cote dIvoire, but he noted the continuing tragic consequences of conflicts in other trouble spots, such as Darfur and Somalia.

He called for renewed global efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals, including through more and better aid, debt cancellation and fairer trade, as well as the promotion of peace and human rights.

LIST OF SECRETARY-GENERALS SENIOR STAFF

TO BE RELEASED NEXT WEEK

In response to questions about the composition of the Secretary-Generals senior staff, the Spokesperson said that list would be ready to be released early next week.

Regarding questions about the number of people the Secretary-General brought with him from his home country, the Republic of Korea, the Spokesperson said there are six nationals from the Republic of Korea that came with the Secretary-General and are now working in the Secretariat. He also brought one secretary with him.

She added that it is perfectly normal for an incoming Secretary-General to bring a small number of close advisers with him. Those people are now UN staffers and therefore international civil servants, with rights and responsibilities defined by the UN charter, she added.

Montas later added that the five staff members from the Republic of Korea, who were appointed by the Secretary-General, were appointed to the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG). Two of them, Choi Soung-ah and Kweon Ki-hwan, have been assigned to other departments the Department of Public Information and the Department of Management respectively. But they remain staff members of EOSG, and perform tasks that are closely related to EOSG work.

Asked to clarify the staff recruitment policy of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, the Spokeswoman said that although the General Assembly gives the Secretary-General complete latitude in staffing his Office, Ban Ki-moon decided to open a dozen posts to competitive recruitment, leading to the more than 1,000 expressions of interest.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

NO BIOTERRORISM UNIT EXISTS AT THE UNITED NATIONS: Asked to confirm news reports that the Secretary-General intends to appoint the head of the pharmaceutical company Novartis to head a UN bioterrorism unit, Montas dismissed the reports, saying that there is no such thing as a bioterrorism unit within the UN system.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monday, May 28

Today is an official UN holiday. Headquarters in New York will be closed.

All this week, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda is scheduled to hear closing arguments in the Bagosora et al. case.

Through Wednesday in Geneva, the 59th Executive Council of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is scheduled to hold its annual review of WMO operations.

Tuesday, May 29

This afternoon, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on Lebanon and resolution 1559.

Today is the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. At 11:15 a.m. in the Visitors Lobby, the Secretary-General is scheduled to lay a wreath, as part of a commemorative ceremony. At 5:30 p.m. in the Visitors Lobby, a reception and ceremony are planned for the opening of a photographic exhibition entitled Courage for Peace.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Mr. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, who will brief on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

From 10 a.m. to noon in the ECOSOC Chamber, there will be a briefing by the President of the International Narcotics Control Board, Mr. Philip Onagwele Emafo.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room 6, the Burundi configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission will hold an informal (open) discussion on the rule of law and security sector reform in Burundi.

All this week in Conference Room 7, the Expert Group Meeting on Contemporary Practices in Census Mapping and Use of Geographical Information Systems will take place.

All this week in Conference Room 1, the fifteenth session of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation is taking place.

Wednesday, May 30

In Berlin, the Secretary-General is scheduled to attend a meeting of the Middle East Quartet.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on Timor-Leste. In the afternoon, consultations are scheduled on Haiti.

At 11 a.m. in Room 226, there will be a press conference by Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, on the launch of the mid-year update of the World Economic Situation and Prospects.

At 3 p.m. in Room 226, there will be press conference by Mr. Michael Oppenheimer, lead author of the 4th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on the upcoming 60th DPI/NGO Conference entitled Climate Change: How it impacts us all.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour is scheduled to give a presentation to the Peacebuilding Commission.

Today and tomorrow in Conference Room B, an expert group is meeting to discuss the progress of youth in the global economy and the World Programme of Action for Youth.

From 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. in Conference Room 6, Friends of the International Criminal Court will brief on crime of aggression.

From 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. in Conference Room 8, a briefing is scheduled on South-South cooperation on disaster risk management.

At 3 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall, Deputy Secretary-General Asha Rose-Migiro will deliver the commencement address for the UN International Schools Class of 2007.

Thursday, May 31

This morning, High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour is scheduled to brief the Security Council on her recent trip to Africas Great Lakes Region. In the afternoon, the Council is expected to hold consultations on Chad. Today is the last day of the U.S. Council Presidency.

From 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. in Conference Room 6, an informal briefing on AIDS in the Pacific is scheduled to take place.

Today and tomorrow at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, a ministerial conference is scheduled on the theme "Energy in the Changing World".

Today is World No Tobacco Day.

Friday, June 01

Today is the first day of Belgiums Presidency of the Security Council.

The guest at the noon briefing will be Mr. Atul Khare, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste and Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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