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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-10-05
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
Friday, October 5, 2007
BRIEFS SECURITY COUNCIL ON MISSION TO MYANMAR
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Adviser,
Ibrahim Gambari, this morning opened a
Security Council meeting on
Myanmar, calling for sustained regional and international engagement to
deal with developments there amid reports of continued human rights
stressed that the
use of force against peaceful demonstrators is abhorrent and unacceptable, and
he expressed his hope that those detained will be released without further
Gambari briefed the Council on his recent visit to
Myanmar, and he expressed his concern at the continuing and disturbing reports
of abuses being committed by security and non-uniformed elements, particularly
at night during curfew, including raids on private homes, beatings, arbitrary
arrests, and disappearances.
He noted that, following his trip, the Myanmar
authorities have already announced a relaxation of the curfew in Yangon and
Mandalay, and reports indicate that visible military presence in the streets
has been reduced.
The Government also told Gambari that, as of today, a
total of 2,095 persons arrested in the course of demonstrations have been
released, including 728 monks, and that more releases will follow. Gambari
said that further steps will be needed, over the next few days and weeks, not
only to overcome the current crisis but also to address the underlying factors
to the recent unrest.
He added that he was cautiously encouraged by the
Governments announcement yesterday that Senior General Than Shwe is prepared
to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, although with certain conditions. This is
a potentially welcome development which calls for maximum flexibility on all
sides. The Secretary-General, in his statement, urged both parties to meet as
soon as possible.
The Secretary-General concluded that it is too early to
measure the impact of Gambaris visit, or to label it a success or a failure.
It appears, however, that a window of opportunity has opened, and it is vital
that the Government of Myanmar responds positively.
Following the open meeting on Myanmar, Council members
continued their discussions with Gambari in closed consultations. Following
those consultations, Gambari
spoke to reporters.
AT POSTPONEMENT OF NEPAL ELECTIONS
disappointed by the decision of the Interim Government of Nepal to
postpone the Constituent Assembly Election which had been scheduled for 22
He strongly urges
the Seven-Party Alliance to redouble efforts so that outstanding issues can be
expeditiously resolved and the election held very soon.
The people of
Nepal have demonstrated their desire for peace, and the stakes are too high to
allow manageable differences to deny their aspirations.
The United Nations remains committed to assisting
efforts to establish a durable peace in Nepal.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: THOUSANDS
FLEE FIGHTING IN EAST
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
says over the past
week some 5,000 people fled fighting between government forces, renegade
troops and rebels in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. Most have found refuge at a camp near the town of Goma.
The agency says that some among the displaced persons
traveled on foot for several days to safety. This new influx has brought the
total of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the camp to over 80,000.
The United Nations now estimates that over 370,000
civilians have been displaced in North Kivu since December 2006. The UN
Mission in the DRC (MONUC), meanwhile,
says that fighting continued intermittently in Karuba, near Goma.
Yesterday, the Mission strongly condemned the arrest by
the Congolese Army of three local officials of the Military Tribunal of
Kisangani. The three were arrested sometime last week. They were cuffed,
undressed and severely beaten, says a MONUC team who visited them at a
FORCE COMMANDER IN CÔTE DIVOIRE MEETS
WITH GOVERNMENT AND FORMER REBEL LEADERS
The Force Commander of the UN Operation in Côte dIvoire
(ONUCI), Gen. Fernand Marcel Amoussou, met
this week with the leaders of the government and former rebel armies at the
Missions headquarters in Abidjan.
They discussed the structure and work of the Integrated Command Centre, which was created to unify the Ivorian military parties, and how it can support the ongoing pre-election identification scheme.
They also talked about other aspects of the implementation of the Ouagadougou peace agreement.
SYRIA IS ENFORCING VISA RESTRICTIONS ON IRAQIS
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
says new visa restrictions for Iraqis trying to enter Syria have been strictly enforced since they went into effect on Monday. Only those with visas issued for commercial, transport, scientific and educational purposes have been able to cross the border.
UNHCR is calling for a humanitarian visa for Iraqis fleeing persecution. It also continues to appeal for increased support for Syria, which is currently hosting 1.4 million Iraqi refugees.
Meanwhile, in Jordan, UNHCR has been distributing free meals every evening to more than 800 Iraqi refugees and needy locals since the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
U.N. DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME HEAD VISITS AFRICA
TO ENCOURAGE EFFORTS TO REACH MDGS
The Administrator for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Kemal Dervis, began a 10-day trip to Africa today to encourage renewed efforts in many countries that are not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
He stated that while the leadership to achieve the MDGs must come from within Africa, African countries cannot achieve this alone and must be supported by international organizations and development partners.
He is visiting three of the four African One UN pilot countries: Mozambique, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
NAIROBI GARBAGE DUMP ENDANGERS CHILDRENS HEALTH
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is
warning about the environmental dangers, especially for children, posed by one of Africas largest waste dumps.
The 30-acre Dandora Municipal Dumping site in Nairobi receives 2,000 tons of rubbish every day. A UNEP study found that almost half the children living nearby had high levels of lead in their blood or suffered from respiratory diseases.
UNEP is calling for urgent action to address the problem, and says it is ready to help the local authorities improve their waste management strategies.
U.N. AGENCIES HELP ADDRESS TEACHER SHORTAGE
Today is World Teachers
Day, and UNESCO estimates that the world will need 18 million new teachers by 2015 four million in Africa alone to meet the global target of providing quality primary education to all children.
To address the shortage of qualified teachers in Afghanistan, UNICEF is helping with teacher training in that country, including the training of 16,000 female teachers.
In related news, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) says that violence, occupation, closures and poverty are having a dire effect on the schooling of Palestinian refugee children in Gaza. Unlike their counterparts in UNRWA schools in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, children in Gaza are failing their math and Arabic classes in worrying numbers.
In response, UNRWA is working to hire more than 1,500 new classroom assistants, limit class sizes in boys schools to 30, add extra classes in Arabic and math, and build a new teacher training college.
ETHIOPIAN FLOOD VICTIMS RECEIVE EMERGENCY FOOD AND WATER: In Ethiopia, where nearly a quarter of a million people have been affected by flooding since the rainy season began, the World Food Programme (WFP) has so far provided nearly 2,000 metric tons of emergency food aid, while UNICEF has sent emergency water kits.
W.H.O. RELEASES GUIDE ON CARING FOR TERMINALLY ILL CANCER PATIENTS: The World Health Organization (WHO) today
released its first guide on planning pain-relieving care services for terminally ill cancer patients. The guide identifies highly effective but low-cost health models that can be used in developing countries.
NEW HEAD OF U.N. COUNTER-TERRORISM DIRECTORATE TO START SOON: In follow-up to a prior announcement on 31 August, the Secretary-General has now confirmed the appointment of Mike Smith of Australia as Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, replacing Javier Ruperez of Spain who stepped down at the end of June this year. He is expected to take up his functions shortly.
WHEAT PRICES HIT ALL-TIME HIGH, F.A.O. SAYS: According to a report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), international wheat prices have shot up since June, reaching an all-time high last month. As a result, prices of bread and other basic food particularly in low-income countries have risen, causing social unrest in some areas. According to the report, 36 countries worldwide are currently facing food crises.
U.N. SASAKAWA LAUREATES NAMED: The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction has
named its two laureates for 2007. Professor Yoshiaki Kawata from the Disaster Prevention Research Institute in Japan and Tony Gibbs, a highly respected Caribbean engineer who pioneered architectural and engineering designs that are resistant to natural hazards, will dedicate their time to communicating the lessons of past disasters.
THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS
[This document is for planning purposes only and is subject to change]
Saturday, October 6
The Administrator for the UN Development Programme, Kemal Dervis, is on a 10-day trip to Africa (which began yesterday) to encourage renewed efforts in many countries that are not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Monday, October 8
This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on its 1718 Committee (DPRK Sanctions).
At 10 a.m., the General Assembly is scheduled to meet in plenary to consider the Secretary-Generals report on the work of the Organization and to appoint members of the Joint Inspection Unit.
Today is the first day of substantive work for all of the General Assemblys main committees, except the Fifth (which began its substantive session on 5 October).
Beginning at 9.45 a.m. in Conference Room 2, the Deputy Secretary-General and Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Mr. Sha Zukang are scheduled to address the General Assemblys Second Committee. That will be followed by a keynote address by Columbia Professor Edmund Phelps, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics.
The guests at the noon briefing will be Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Jane Holl Lute, Acting Head of the Department of Field Support, who will brief on the situation in Sudan.
Through 11 October, numerous events are planned at Headquarters to mark Youth Week, during which time the General Assembly plans to take up youth issues.
An International Children's Art Exhibit to commemorate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is scheduled to open today in the North-East Gallery of the Visitors' Lobby.
In Manila and Bangkok, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific will launch its Millennium Development Goals: Progress in Asia and the Pacific 2007 report, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and the UN Development Programme.
Tuesday, October 9
This morning, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Kosovo, Joachim Rücker, is scheduled to brief the Security Council during consultations on the UN Mission in Kosovo. Following the briefing, he is expected to speak to reporters at the Security Council stakeout.
The guests at the noon briefing will be Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes and Markku Niskala, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), who will brief on IFRCs new initiative, the Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction. At 1:15 p.m. in Conference Room 6, they are scheduled to chair a meeting to brief Member States on Climate change and disaster-risk reduction.
Starting today, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, Miloon Kothari, will make an official visit to Canada, at the invitation of the government.
The Special Court for Sierra Leone is expected to issue its sentence against the CDF Accused (Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa) today.
Today is World Post Day.
Wednesday, October 10
At 10 a.m., the General Assembly is scheduled to meet in plenary to consider the Report of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Report of the Secretary-General on the Peacebuilding Fund.
This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a private meeting with Troop Contributing Countries to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), as well as hold consultations on MINUSTAH and the Councils Counter-Terrorism Committee.
Today is the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction. It is also World Mental Health Day.
At 7 p.m. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme is co-sponsoring a concert featuring Israeli artist Idan Raichel, as part of the October "Daniel Pearl Music Days".
Thursday, October 11
This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a private meeting with Troop Contributing Countries to the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG), as well as consultations on UNOMIG.
Friday, October 12
Today is Eid al-Fitr. U.N. Headquarters, as well as most other duty stations, will be closed for an official holiday.
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