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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-05-30
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
BAN KI-MOON STRONGLY CONDEMNS ATROCITY IN EASTERN DR CONGO
The UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) reports that 19 civilians, including children and women, have died as a result of unprovoked attacks on the villages of Nyabuluze and Mhungu in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, during the night of 26-27 May.
The attacks were reportedly carried out by elements of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) and Rasta militiamen.
A third attack, on the village of Chihamba, was prevented in the early morning hours of 27 May by the intervention of a MONUC patrol. Media reports that 12 more abductees were also killed remain unconfirmed.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemns these attacks in the strongest possible terms. This latest atrocity underscores once again the need to resolve the problem of armed Congolese and foreign militia operating in the territory of the DRC, and for the Government of the DRC and the international community to work together in creating professional security forces capable of defending the security and human rights of the people of the DRC.
He calls upon the Government of the DRC to bring to justice those responsible for such outrages.
On Monday, a rapid response team, including members of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and UNICEF traveled to Kaniola to assess the situation there following the massacre. They found widespread panic and significant population displacements that extend far beyond the immediate area where the massacres took place. The team says there is an urgent need for medical supplies and equipment to respond to the needs of the injured.
Asked for an update on action taken since the massacre,the Spokeswoman said that MONUC is supporting operations by the Congolese Army in the region, which led to the recovery of four abductees. She added, "MONUC is also establishing two additional Mobile Operations Bases in the area and is increasing its patrolling activities."
A humanitarian assessment team composed of personnel from UNICEF, OCHA, MONUC and the International Rescue Committee was dispatched to the area on 28 May.
A further MONUC mission comprised of personnel from its Human Rights, Child Protection, Civil Affairs and DDRRR Sections has been dispatched to the area. The joint team could not reach the affected villages because the local population was hostile towards the MONUC convoy.
Montas later added that a MONUC team met with families of the victims on 28 May and attended today an emergency meeting convened by the Walungu Territory administrator with local leaders and representatives of the FARDC.
SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS FOR CONCERTED
INTERNATIONAL EFFORT ON MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
The Secretary-General has arrived in Berlin to attend a Quartet meeting on the
Shortly after arrival, he held a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In a press encounter, the Secretary-General described the situation on the ground in the Middle East as extremely volatile, and he said he would discuss this matter with his Quartet colleagues to facilitate the peace process in the Middle East, and to also prevent reoccurrences of such fighting in the field.
He went on to say, We need a concerted and common cooperation on the part of the international community to help both parties - particularly Arabs and Israelis, and more importantly between Palestinians and Israelis so that they can live with a vision of two states living in peace and security.
Later, the Secretary-General joined his Quartet partners for a meeting.
The Secretary-General and Chancellor Merkel had a wide ranging discussion on a number of issues, including the situation in the Middle East. He briefed the Chancellor on his on-going intensive diplomatic work dealing with the situation in Darfur. He outlined his efforts to ensure an effective political process, increased humanitarian efforts and the deployment of a hybrid UN/AU force in Darfur. The Chancellor also discussed with the Secretary-General the latest preparations for the G8 summit, including in particular the discussions on Climate Change.
SECURITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON TRIBUNAL FOR LEBANON
The Security Council this morning met in the Consultation Room to discuss Timor-Leste and heard a briefing by Atul Khare, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for that country, who briefed them on the recent elections and the challenges ahead.
After that Council members discussed other matters. Upon adjournment, the President of the Council read a press statement in which the Security Council expressed grave concern at the breakdown of the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the resulting increase in violence.
In the afternoon, the Council will reconvene in the Chamber to take up the situation in the Middle East and vote on a draft resolution establishing a Tribunal of an international character for
Soon after the vote, Council members will hold consultations on
Haiti and other matters. Briefing them on Haiti will be Edmund Mullet, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for that country.
U.N. AGENCIES HELP SUDANESE REFUGEES WHO FLED ATTACKS
Some 1,500 Sudanese refugees have sought refuge in a single town in the Central African Republic after they say Sudanese Government and armed militias attacked their town two weeks ago.
Thats according to several UN agencies, who have just completed an assessment mission to the town of Sam Ouandja, in northeastern CAR. The agencies say the number of refugees continues to grow. The majority of them are women and children, who have traveled the 200 kilometers between the two towns on foot.
The World Food Programme (WFP) is providing a one-month initial food ration for the refugees currently there. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and UNICEF are providing non-food relief items.
LEGISLATIVE CAMPAIGN GETS UNDERWAY IN TIMOR-LESTE
In Timor-Leste, campaigning for the 30 June legislative elections started early yesterday.
Meanwhile, the head of the UN Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) has welcomed the signing of a political accord by the countrys 16 political parties.
They are promising that next months elections will be free and fair, and that they will continue to respect the democratic process after the elections.
CONCERN OVER VIOLENCE BETWEEN
BHUTANESE REFUGEES AND INDIAN POLICE
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is extremely concerned over Tuesdays violent confrontation between marching refugees and Indian police, on the Mechi Bridge that connects Nepal and India.
UNHCR, in a statement today, expressed sadness over the death of one refugee and several injured in that clash, which occurred while thousands of refugees from camps in eastern Nepal marched to exercise their right of return to their home country.
While acknowledging the increasing frustration of the refugees about the lack of progress on repatriation, UNHCR appeals to all refugees to return to their respective camps and to refrain from violence and the use of force.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO DELIVER GRADUATION SPEECH
This afternoon at 3 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro is scheduled to deliver the commencement address for the UN International Schools Class of 2007.
The 112 graduates in this years class represent 43 nationalities and speak 39 different languages as their mother tongues.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL
This morning, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, briefed the Peacebuilding Commission. In her remarks, she focused on the situation in Burundi, which she visited as part of a two-week trip to Africas Great Lakes Region earlier this month.
She said that her office (UNHCR) remained ready to assist Burundi in its post-conflict reconstruction efforts. She expressed concern over a lack of independence of the judiciary, a culture of impunity and continued violence by State agents and armed groups throughout the country. She noted, however, a determination from all sectors of society to participate actively in the ongoing democratic process, which if properly channeled, should ensure lasting peace, justice and reconciliation.
Tomorrow, Ms. Arbour is scheduled to brief the Security Council on her trip to Africa.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DOES NOT AGREE WITH OLYMPIC BOYCOTT CAMPAIGN: Asked if the Secretary-General agrees with human rights campaigners seeking a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympics over China's support for Sudan, Montas said that Ban Ki-moon did not.
STRONG ENGAGEMENT ON PROPOSED U.N. PEACEKEEPING REFORM: Asked if the Secretary-General would launch a charm offensive to convince members of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions to approve funding for his proposed reform of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General's senior advisors were strongly engaged on that front, meeting with key members and consulting broadly.
Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General
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New York, NY 10017
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