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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-10-09
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES KOSOVO AND
The Security Council
this morning received in its consultations a periodic update on the work of
the UN Mission in Kosovo by the head
of that mission, Special Representative Joachim Rücker.
The Security Council then heard from Assistant
Secretary-General for Political Affairs Angela Kane, under other matters,
about Nepal. Youll recall that we told you last week that Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon was
disappointed by the decision of the Interim Government of Nepal to
postpone the Constituent Assembly Election which had been scheduled for 22
CLASHES REPORTED IN SOUTH DARFUR TOWN
Mission in Sudan, citing initial reports it has received, has reported
that clashes took place yesterday in and around the town of Muhajariya in
South Darfur between the SLA (Sudan Liberation Army)/Minni Minawi faction and
forces suspected to be tribal militia.
The mission did not have further information on the
circumstances of the fighting nor on possible casualties.
Meanwhile, the UN Special Envoy for Darfur Jan Eliasson
is back in Khartoum to meet with Government officials, members of civil
society and other stakeholders in the upcoming peace negotiations on Darfur
scheduled in Libya.
SECRETARY-GENERAL DISCUSSES MYANMAR WITH
U.S. FIRST LADY
The Spokeswoman, in response
to questions, confirmed that the Secretary-General had spoken today by phone
with US first lady Laura Bush, and that they had discussed the Human Rights
situation in Myanmar. The Secretary-General provided an update on the work
being done by his Special Advisor, Ibrahim Gambari.
The Spokeswoman said the call
was a follow-up to a call that the first lady had made to the
Secretary-General when he was in Torino, Italy, in August.
Asked about an erroneous media
report concerning the UN offices in Myanmar, which she had corrected on
Monday, Montas reiterated that there had never been any formal request from
the Myanmar authorities for the United Nations to turn over its computers.
AFGHANISTANS RESUMPTION OF EXECUTIONS IS
High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today
expressed her dismay at the reported execution of 15 convicted prisoners
on Sunday. I am deeply troubled by this sudden resort to execution, after
three years of refraining from carrying out the death penalty, Arbour said.
As reported, the circumstances of the executions may constitute a breach of
Afghanistan's obligations under international law.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-Generals
Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, also expressed concern at
the executions. He said that the UN
Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has been a staunch supporter of the
moratorium on executions observed in Afghanistan in recent years.
VIOLATIONS OF LEBANONS BLUE LINE TOP
OF TRILATERAL MILITARY DISCUSSIONS
The Force Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL),
Major-General Claudio Graziano, met with senior officials from the Lebanese
Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces today at the UN position at the
border crossing at Ras Al Naqoura.
The main focus points discussed were the implementation
resolution 1701, especially the violations of the Blue Line, with a view
to preventing incidents. They also discussed the marking of the Blue Line and
the temporary security arrangements for the northern part of the village of
Graziano said afterwards that he was encouraged with the
general approach and the determination of the parties to adhere to the
relevant provisions of resolution 1701.
NEARLY SIX MILLION IRAQI CHILDREN HEAD
BACK TO SCHOOL
Nearly six million Iraqi children are going back to the
classroom this week, according to
lauded the extraordinary efforts by parents, teachers and local officials to
keep Iraqs schools open and functioning.
However, UNICEF adds, a quality education amidst the
ongoing conflict remains an uphill struggle for many Iraqi families, and it
notes that just 28 per cent of Iraqs graduation-age population took their
exams at all.
Iraqs schools are in urgent need of support, both in
terms of access to schooling and the quality of learning children receive,
said Roger Wright, the UNICEF Representative for Iraq. Well-educated children
represent a chance to lift Iraq into a future of security and hope.
FIRE SWEEPS THROUGH IRAQI REFUGEE CAMP
ON SYRIAN BORDER
The UN refugee agency
says its deeply
concerned about the precarious living conditions of Palestinian refugees at
the Al Tanf border camp in the no-man's land between Iraq and Syria.
After a devastating fire recently swept through the camp,
UNHCR rushed tents, mattresses and kitchen supplies to the area, organized the
refilling of fire extinguishers, and explored extra fire-prevention measures.
COMMUNICATIONS LINKS RESTORED IN REMOTE
The International Telecommunication Union
(ITU) has deployed 30
satellite terminals as a way to help restore vital communication links in
remote areas of Bangladesh, which has recently been ravaged by floods and
where response efforts have been hampered by damaged roads and lack of
ITU is taking all measures to help governments focus on
rehabilitation operations, particularly by covering all expenses that include
transportation of equipment, training, and usage.
EX-MILITIA LEADERS ARE SENTENCED BY
SIERRA LEONE SPECIAL COURT
Two former leaders of Sierra Leones Civil
Defense Forces (CDF) militia have received prison sentences following their
convictions in August for war crimes committed during the countrys
decade-long civil conflict, according to a press release issued by the
Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Justice Itoe said that while both
Prosecution and Defence had recommended single, global sentences, the Court
had decided to hand down separate sentences on each count for which the two
accused had been found guilty.
FINAL CONVOY OF CONGOLESE REFUGEES LEAVES BANGUI, C.A.R.
The UN Refugee
Agency has wrapped up a 3-year long phased repatriation programme for
Congolese refugees in the Central African Republic. A final convoy of some 130
Congolese refugees left the host countrys capital, Bangui, this weekend for
the region around Kinshasa.
The operation began in 2004 but was repeatedly disrupted
due to widespread insecurity. Since then a total of 135,000 Congolese refugees
have been sent back home from neighboring countries, 43,000 since the start of
this year. Even so, some 312,000 remain in refugee camps in Tanzania, Zambia
AIRLIFTED FOOD SUPPLIES RUNNING SCARCE
FOR FLOOD-AFFECTED UGANDANS
The World Food Programme (WFP) is
warning that it is
running out of food for hundreds of thousands of Ugandans affected by
floods. WFP has been airlifting food and other assistance by helicopter to
marooned communities, but says supplies will run out in December if it doesnt
receive any new contributions.
The agency still needs more than $20 million to buy food
and to provide trucks, boats, aircraft and emergency road and bridge
repairs. To date, WFP has only received one fifth of that amount.
Elsewhere in Africa, WFP is also feeding people affected
by floods in Ghana and Togo. The Central Emergency Response Fund, meanwhile,
has allocated almost $4 million for flood survivors in Ghana, Togo and Mali
AWARENESS OF DISASTER REDUCTION MUST
BEGIN IN SCHOOL
To mark the International Day for Disaster Reduction,
which is tomorrow, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
has launched a new publication on keeping
children safe at school and educating them about disasters.
ISDR notes children are one of the groups most vulnerable
to disasters more than 10,000 schools were destroyed in Pakistan during the
2005 earthquake, for example.
In a message to mark the day, the Secretary-General says
we have a moral, social and economic obligation to act now in building
resilient communities and nations.
HEALTH WATCHDOGS SIGN UP COUNTRIES TO
IMPROVE ACCESS TO TB MEDICINE: The Stop Tuberculosis Partnership's Global
Drug Facility and UNITAID which are both hosted by the World Health
announced a collaboration with 19 countries to address life-threatening
shortages of anti-tuberculosis drugs. The initiative will provide drugs to
countries that are scaling up their tuberculosis control efforts but are not
able to cover their full needs at present. B
SUPPORTS PALESTINIAN DEMANDS FOR OPENING OF CROSSINGS:
The Spokeswoman declined to respond specifically to comments by a Hamas official
in Gaza who had called on the Secretary-General to resign. She referred
reporters to the Secretary-Generals clear positions on Middle East issues,
including his support for the population in Gaza and his push for the opening of
crossing points there.
UN WEBSITES FULLY RESTORED AFTER HACKERS ATTACK:
Asked about the UNs investigation into the hacking of its web site, the
Spokeswoman said that the hackers had not been determined, but the damage to the
web site had been repaired and measures had been taken on how to protect the
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES SINGAPORES RETURN TO
UNESCO: Asked about Singapores decision
to rejoin the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the
Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had no specific comment, but she
added that the decision was welcome.
TOP HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL HEADS TO SRI LANKA: High
Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour will head to Sri Lanka tomorrow, as
part of her mandate to engage with Member States on the promotion and protection
of human rights. Arbour plans to meet with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other
senior Government officials, as well as representatives of political parties, UN
agencies and civil society.
RWANDA AND FORMER YUGOSLAVIA BEGIN REVIEW OF ARCHIVE-STORAGE OPTIONS: Today
in The Hague, both the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
launched a key
study on the future of their archives. An expert committee has been formed and
is chaired by the Tribunals former Prosecutor Richard Goldstone. The expert
committee will provide an independent analysis on future accessibility of the
archives and will review study possible storage locations. A recommendation
expected at the end of the study is whether or not both Tribunals should keep a
single joint archive, two separate archives or multiple archives.
PROMOTES GOOD EATING HABITS: Responding to a rise in diet-related diseases
and malnutrition, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has
a new planning guide on good eating habits, addressed to primary schools.The
main purpose is to make children aware of how to handle food safely and avoid
food-related risks, such as excess weight, obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
FAO also stressed that as future parents, children should be able to educate
their own children to follow a well-balanced quality diet.
MARKS WORLD POST DAY: Today is World Post Day, and the Universal Postal
Union has an official
stressing the economic importance of making sure all the worlds citizens have
easy access to postal services.
at the noon briefing were John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian
Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; and Markku Niskala, Secretary-General
of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
They discussed disaster reduction and the International Day for Disaster
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