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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-10-02
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
SPECIAL ENVOY MEETS MYANMAR LEADERSHIP AND AUNG
SAN SUU KYI
The Secretary-Generals Special Advisor, Ibrahim Gambari,
met for over one hour today with Senior General Than Shwe in Naypyitaw, as
well as with other members of the senior leadership, to discuss the current
situation in Myanmar.
Following that meeting, Gambari returned to Yangon and met with Daw Aung San
Suu Kyi for the second time during his mission. That meeting lasted about 45
Gambari has now left Myanmar and is presently in Singapore. He will return to
New York to report to the Secretary-General on the outcome of his mission by
the end of this week.
Asked when Gambari would report to the Security Council, the Spokeswoman said
that any briefing would have to be scheduled by the Security Council. Gambari
was expected to report to the Secretary-General on Thursday, she added.
RIGHTS COUNCIL DEMANDS RELEASE OF DETAINED MYANMAR
In Geneva, the Human Rights Councils
Special Session on Myanmar adopted by consensus a resolution on Myanmar.
According to the text, the Human Rights Council strongly deplores the
continued violent repression of peaceful demonstrations in Myanmar. It also
urges Myanmar to release without delay those arrested and detained as a result
of the recent repression and to release all political detainees, including
Aung San Suu Kyi.
In her opening statement to the Session, High Commissioner for Human Rights
said the peaceful protests and the shocking response by the Myanmar
authorities were only the most recent manifestations of the repression of
fundamental rights and freedoms taking place over nearly 20 years in that
country. The Myanmar authorities should no longer expect that their
self-imposed isolation would shield them from accountability, she added.
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme
says that it has
helped half a million vulnerable persons in Myanmar so far, including HIV/AIDS
and TB patients, primary school children in marginalized areas, and
communities in former poppy-farming regions.
WFP notes, however, that it has received only one fourth of the $50 million
dollars it needs for relief operations. Three million dollars is urgently
needed to avoid cutting food rations in November and December, WFP says.
UNITED NATIONS, AFRICAN UNION REMAIN COMMITTED TO
DARFUR PEACE DESPITE ATTACK
African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur, Rodolphe
Adada, met with AMIS Force Commander, General Martin Luther Agwai, on the
situation in Haskanita, following the attack on the AMIS team. Adada assured
the General that both the United Nations and the African Union stand firm in
their resolve to help bring peace to Darfur, and in carrying out their
assignment as contained in resolution 1769.
Adada added that both the UN Secretary-General and AU Commission Chairman
Alpha Oumar Konaré remain committed to supporting the people of Darfur in
achieving peace and security.
The UN mission in Sudan
also reports further attacks in North, South and West Darfur.
In North Darfur, two armed men entered a compound housing an international
Non-Governmental Organization in El Fasher on Sunday and threatened to shoot
the staff if they did not hand them the keys of one of the vehicles. The
attackers left with the vehicle. The staff was not harmed.
Then in South Darfur, three armed men shot and killed a resident at the Hassa
Hissa camp housing internally displaced persons and fled the scene.
And two armed men approached a UN vehicle in Nyala on Monday and drove away
with it after they fired warning shots in the air, forced the driver out and
beat him up. Local police arrested two suspects on the same day, and they are
currently investigating that incident.
In West Darfur on Monday, three armed men attempted to hijack an NGO vehicle
in El Geneina. They shot at the vehicle and wounded the driver, who is in
critical condition and is being treated in El Geneina hospital.
One of the people, who came to the rescue of the driver during the carjacking
attempt, was shot and killed by the attackers. Local police arrested one of
the attackers while the two others are still at large. The United Nations has
reduced movement of its staff in and around El Geneina town.
Asked about a media report that the United Nations was prevented from
evacuating wounded troops following the attack, the Spokeswoman said that
report was incorrect.
The UN Mission in Sudan says it was not asked by AMIS to launch an evacuation
operation, Montas said. UNMIS did, however, put some of its air assets on
standby in case a request was made by AMIS for assistance.
Asked whether some contributing countries were threatening to withdraw their
troops after the Haskanita attack, the Spokeswoman noted that there would be a
meeting with troop contributing countries for the Darfur operation at
headquarters at the end of this week. Following that meeting, she said, some senior UN peacekeeping officials would brief the press.
SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS ATTACK ON DARFUR PEACEKEEPERS
The Security Council on Monday afternoon held consultations on Sudan, with Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean Marie Guéhenno briefing Council members on the weekend attack against African Union Mission troops in Darfur. Council members discussed a possible statement on that attack.
Today, following further consultations, the Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement condemning the murderous attack that was reportedly committed by a rebel group. The Council underlined that any attempt to undermine the peace process is unacceptable.
The Security Council earlier this morning held consultations in which it approved its programme of work for October.
FUNDING LOW FOR SOUTHERN SUDANESE REFUGEE ASSISTANCE
The UN Refugee Agency says it is facing a critical funding shortfall for its refugee return and reintegration programmes in South Sudan. The funding situation is so dire, UNHCR says, that it may not be able to resume transporting refugees back home from camps in neighbouring countries once the rainy season ends.
The lack of funds has forced UNHCR to stop buying some of the basic items it normally distributes to returnees, such as blankets, soap, mosquito nets and cooking sets. The refugee agency says it urgently needs $11 million to keep the operation going.
U.N TEAM EXPLORES OPTIONS ON COTE DIVOIRES REQUEST FOR PROBE
The UN Operation in Côte dIvoire confirmed Monday in a press release that a United Nations exploratory mission is now in that country. This comes as a preliminary response to a request from Côte dIvoire asking for the start of an independent international inquiry into the June 2007 attack on a plane carrying Prime Minister Guillaume Soro.
The exploratory mission will be in Côte dIvoire for six days. The purpose of its visit is to ascertain the nature of Côte dIvoires request and to discuss possible options in accordance with the UNs practices and principles with regard to such inquiries.
HUMANITARIAN WORK RESUMES IN NORTH KIVU PROVINCE
United Nations humanitarian workers in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo say they have regained access to internally displaced persons and resumed their work. That is due to a recent lull in the fighting between rebel and Government forces. Families in need are now receiving non-food items from UN and non-governmental agencies, and UN peacekeepers are on hand to secure various IDP sites in Goma, the provincial capital.
Meanwhile, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees will soon resume IDP registration in an effort to improve accuracy in the figures the UN keeps on beneficiaries of its humanitarian work in the region.
To date, some 300,000 people have been displaced by armed battles between government and rebel forces in North Kivu.
MAKE WARS UNNECESSARY, BAN KI-MOON TELLS MEMBER STATES ON MAHATMA GANDHIS BIRTHDAY
The Secretary-General this morning addressed the Informal General Assembly Plenary Meeting on the first commemoration of the International Day of Non-Violence. He reminded delegates that the UN had been created in the hope that humanity could not only end wars, it could eventually make them unnecessary.
Highlighting the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi -- whose birthday was today and who was one of his personal heroes -- the Secretary-General said he hoped today would help spread Gandhis message to an ever wider audience, and hasten a time when every day was a day without violence.
Also marking the occasion, the Deputy Secretary-General today participated in a roundtable discussion chaired by Indias Sonia Gandhi. In her remarks, the Deputy Secretary-General said our violent and unsettled times cried for Mahatma Gandhis healing touch.
AUDITS FIND FLAWS IN HIRING PRACTICES AT U.N.-BACKED CAMBODIAN TRIBUNAL
In the interests of transparency and fairness, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia have released on its website the findings of the special audits of the Cambodian side of the Extraordinary Chambers, which was commissioned by UNDP in early 2007, together with Cambodian responses.
Among its other conclusions, the audit report finds that some national staff recruited for the Chambers did not meet the minimum requirements specified in the vacancy announcements, and that recruitment was not always performed in a transparent, competitive and objective manner.
2007 TREATY EVENT CLOSES TODAY AT U.N. HEADQUARTERS
The Focus 2007 Treaty Event will conclude today. Since the event began on 25 September until yesterday, 39 States undertook 68 treaty actions, consisting of 38 signatures and 30 ratifications and other actions. Five States - New Zealand, France, Ireland, Poland and Canada - participated in the treaty event this morning so far. Thailand and Maldives will follow.
The 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has attracted the most interest, with 14 signatures and two ratifications. With Maldives' signature this afternoon, the number of signatories to the Convention will reach 117. It has been ratified by 7 countries so far. It requires 20 ratifications for the Convention to enter into force.
I am very pleased that there has been so much interest in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol during the UN Treaty Event. Several countries have come forward to sign the treaty, and I am especially pleased that two States Gabon and India deposited their instruments of ratification today. I very much look forward to the rapid entry into force of both the Convention and its Optional Protocol, said Nicolas Michel, UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.
UNITED NATIONS SECURITY ASSESSMENT OF IRAQ CONTINUES: Asked when UN staff presence in Iraq would be increased, the Spokeswoman noted that the United Nations continuously assesses the security situation on the ground, and, as soon as it is possible to do so, intends to increase its staffing in Iraq.
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