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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-10-11

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

Thursday, October 11, 2007

[U.N. Headquarters will be closed tomorrow for an official holiday, Eid al-Fitr.

The noon briefing will resume Monday, October 15, 2007 ]

MYANMAR: U.N. ENVOY TO RETURN TO REGION

Following the recent visit to Myanmar by his Special Adviser, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has decided to dispatch Ibrahim Gambari back to the region over the weekend for consultations with regional partners.

Mr. Gambari will begin his consultations in Thailand on Monday before continuing to Malaysia, Indonesia, India, China and Japan, with a view to returning to Myanmar shortly thereafter.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON MYANMAR

The Security Council held consultations this morning on Georgia. It received a briefing on the work of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) by the head of that mission, Jean Arnault, who presented the Secretary-Generals recent report on Abkhazia.

The Security Council will also continue its discussions on the draft Presidential Statement on Myanmar.

BAN KI-MOON IS CONCERNED BY RISING TENSION

BETWEEN ETHIOPIA & ERITREA

The Secretary-General is concerned about the rising tensions between Ethiopia and Eritrea, including recent shooting incidents, as well as the building up of military forces in the border area.

The Secretary-General calls upon Eritrea and Ethiopia to exercise utmost restraint, maintain their commitment to the Algiers Agreements, preserve the integrity of the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ), and facilitate the implementation of the delimitation decision of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC).

The shooting incident referred to took place on 8 October, according to our Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

BAN KI-MOON REPORTS ON WORK TO SET UP LEBANON TRIBUNAL

The Secretary-General today sent a letter to the President of the Security Council informing the Council of his intention to appoint Judge Mohamed Amin El Mahdi, Judge Erik Møse and Mr. Nicolas Michel as members of the selection panel for the Judges and Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Pursuant to the document annexed to Security Council

resolution 1757 (2007), the Judges and the Prosecutor are to be appointed by the Secretary-General upon the recommendation of a selection panel he has established, after indicating his intentions to the Security Council. The selection panel shall be composed of two judges, currently sitting on or retired from an international tribunal, and the representative of the Secretary-General.

Judges El Mahdi and Møse are distinguished jurists. Judge El Mahdi, of Egypt, formerly served on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Judge Møse, of Norway, currently serves on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Mr. Michel is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, the Legal Counsel.

The Secretary-General remains committed to establishing the Tribunal in a timely manner, in keeping with resolution 1757 (2007).

He continues to believe that the Tribunal will contribute to ending impunity in Lebanon for the crimes under its jurisdiction.

BAN KI-MOON STRESSES DANGER OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN WASHINGTON

The Secretary-General is in Washington, D.C., where this afternoon he will address business leaders at the US Chamber of Commerce. He will tell the business leaders that there is currently no greater danger to our planet than climate change, and will discuss how innovative market mechanisms are one way of addressing climate change.

Then this evening, the Secretary-General will address the National Association of Evangelicals, which is gathered in Washington this week to call on lawmakers to enact prudent and comprehensive climate legislation to fight global warming. He will speak on the related issues of climate change and the Millennium Development Goals, emphasizing the contributions of Christian activists in key spheres of the UN's work, particularly with respect to humanitarian aid and social and economic development.

The Secretary-General will also speak at the Peace Corps Directors Forum tomorrow before he returns to New York.

IRAQ: CIVILIANS STILL TARGETED BY ARMED GROUPS

The 11th Quarterly

Human Rights report issued by the UN Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) says that civilians continue to be targeted by armed groups through suicide bombings, abductions and extrajudicial executions, and it warns that such systematic or widespread attacks against a civilian population are tantamount to crimes against humanity.

While the security situation remains grave, the report urges the government and state institutions to do more to ensure better judicial oversight mechanisms for suspects arrested in the context of the ongoing Baghdad Security Plan. It also calls on the authorities to immediately address reports of torture in Iraqi Government facilities, as well as those of Kurdistan Regional Government.

On the issue of military operations and allegations involving foreign security companies, the report urges that all credible allegations of unlawful killings by MNF forces be thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigated, and appropriate action be taken.

The UN Mission also urges the US authorities to investigate reports of deaths caused by privately hired contractors, and establish effective mechanisms for holding them accountable whenever circumstances surrounding the killings show no justifiable cause.

Asked whether the Secretary-General intends to take further steps in dealing with the United States about the private security contractors, the Spokeswoman said that UNAMI urges US authorities to investigate allegations of civilian deaths caused by privately hired contractors and establish effective mechanisms of accountability.

Asked about the continuing absence of death tolls from the UNAMI report, Okabe acknowledged that, regrettably, the report does not include the casualty figures the Mission has normally been reporting, based on official statistics. The Government of Iraq has stopped making such figures available.

She said that the United Nations will continue to speak with the Iraqi authorities and urge them to resume providing information from the Ministry of Health and the Medico-Legal Institute of Baghdad.

In response to further questions on the report, she said one should look at the totality of the UNAMI report.

U.N.S DARFUR ENVOY SAYS VICIOUS CIRCLE OF VIOLENCE MUST END

UN Special Envoy for

Darfur Jan Eliasson and Senior Advisor to the African Union (AU) Special Envoy Sam Ibok held today a joint press conference at UN Mission Headquarters in Khartoum to brief on the recent activities of the AU-UN mediation in preparation of the Darfur Talks set to start in Libya, on 27 October.

In his remarks, Eliasson indicated that he held a series of meetings in Khartoum with a number of Government officials. He also indicated that a meeting was held with representatives of the regional partners, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, and Libya to finalize preparations for the talks. He characterized the meeting as positive and successful in showing strong unity in purpose.

Eliasson expressed deep concern at the security situation on the ground and at recent military escalation. He stressed the need to end what he called the vicious circle of violence and to ensure an environment conducive to talks.

He stressed that the mediation is staying on course regarding the political process and that the talks will start as scheduled. He warned that any delay would be tragic as it would mean more bloodshed and that any other alternative to negotiations is scary.

He expressed hope that the first outcome of the talks would be to have a formal declaration of cessation of hostilities soon after the negotiations start.

He underlined the keenness of the mediation to ensure inclusiveness of the talks and indicated that invitations to participants from the signatories and non-signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement, as well as to representatives of the civil society will be sent in the course of the next few days.

He expressed hope that non-signatory groups will decide soon on their representation to the talks so that the mediation can establish the list of participants to the talks by next week. He further hoped that the talks will send a positive signal to the internally displaced persons and the conflict-affected population on their expectations regarding security, compensation, and land related-issues.

FIGHTING PREVENTS HUMANITARIAN DELIVERIES IN D.R. CONGO

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says there have been reports of rising numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) over the last few days in North Kivu in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN convoys have tried to deliver food and supplies to areas where the fighting is taking place, but many have been forced to delay operations because of insecurity.

Several agencies have reached Mugunda, 15 kilometres from Goma, where an assessment has been underway since Monday. IDPs are reporting serious incidents, including pillaging, house demolitions, child recruitment and rape.

Meanwhile, the number of reported rape cases in North Kivu in September was more than 350, a 60% increase from the month before, according to the working group on protection in Goma.

PREVENTING MASS ATROCITIES AMONG U.N.S MOST SACRED CALLINGS

Asked about the UNs position concerning U.S. legislation about the treatment of Armenians during World War I, the Spokeswoman declined to comment on legislation that is still in the process of being considered by a domestic legislative body.

She said that the UN membership has not taken a position on mass killings of Armenian men, women and children during World War I that occurred before the Organization came into existence.

Okabe noted the Secretary-Generals message to a UN University-International Crisis Group event on Wednesday, where he said that preventing mass atrocities is among the international community's, and the United Nations', most sacred callings.

To deal with that task in the future, the Secretary-General said, We must bring all our resources to bear: early warning, technical assistance, peacemaking, diplomacy, and, if ultimately necessary, military strength. And we must work with UN Member States to give real meaning to the solemn promise that is the Responsibility to Protect.

Asked about comments that the Secretary-General made in that speech about appointing Edward Luck as a Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, the Spokeswoman said that she did not have a formal announcement to make on that.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

U.N. RENOVATION PLANNER TO BRIEF GENERAL ASSEMBLY: Asked about a proposal to empty the entire UN Headquarters building during the construction work under the Capital Master Plan, the Spokeswoman noted that the Executive Director of the Capital Master Plan had told reporters that he was looking at all options to avoid delays in the timetable for the Plan, and to avoid going over budget. The Director was currently holding informal briefings with Member States, and is scheduled to brief the General Assemblys Fifth Committee on budgetary matters on 9 November. He was willing to brief the press after that briefing.

REPORT ON EDUCATION BUDGETS PUBLISHED: The UN Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has

published a new report stating that the education budgets of some individual European countries outweigh all education spending across sub-Saharan Africa. The report also adds that the United States is the single greatest investor in education.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS

12 October 19 October

[This document is for planning purposes only and is subject to change]

Friday, October 12

The Secretary-General continues his trip to Washington, D.C., where he is today addressing staff members of the Peace Corps.

Today is Eid al-Fitr. U.N. Headquarters, as well as most other duty stations, will be closed for an official holiday.

Saturday, October 13

Today and tomorrow, the UN Environment Programme and Google are leading an International Cleanup Weekend campaign, in which participants across the globe will clean up their local parks, beaches, streets and neighbourhoods.

Sunday, October 14

From today through Tuesday, the Deputy Secretary-General will be in Oslo, Norway, to deliver a keynote address at the opening of a conference on New Images of Africa and to attend a UN Development Programme seminar on the Millennium Development Goals. On Wednesday, she will travel to London, where she will address the Women Deliver Conference and meet with senior British government officials.

Monday, October 15

At 10 a.m., the General Assembly plenary is scheduled to take up its Fifth Committees report on the scale of assessments for the apportionment of UN expenses, as well as the reports of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to adopt resolutions on the UN Missions in Haiti and Georgia, followed by a debate on Afghanistan.

From today through 2 November in Geneva, the Human Rights Committee is scheduled to hold its 91st session.

In Geneva, the UN Conference on Trade and Development is scheduled to launch its World Investment Report 2007: Transnational Corporations, Extractive Industries and Development.

Tuesday, October 16

At 10 a.m., the General Assembly plenary is scheduled to hold elections for five new non-permanent members of the Security Council.

The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia is scheduled to render its judgment in the case against Sefer Halilovi&#263;, former Deputy Commander and Chief of Main Staff of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Today is World Food Day. This years theme is The Right to Food.

From today through 3 November, the 34th session of UNESCOs General Conference meets in Paris.

Wednesday, October 17

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a debate on the Peacebuilding Commission Annual Report.

At 11 a.m., the Economic and Social Council is scheduled to hold a meeting of its resumed substantive session of 2007, to consider outstanding issues before the Council.

Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Beginning at 1 p.m. on the North Lawn, the Secretary-General will lead a commemoration that will include the "Stand Up and Speak Out" event, in which millions of people around the world will "stand up" to show their commitment to eradicating poverty. The Award Ceremony for the winners of the International Children's Art Competition on the theme "We can end poverty" is also scheduled to take place.

The guests at the noon briefing are

Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict; Ann Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF; and Ishmael Beah, youth activist and the author of Long Way Gone, who will brief on the 10 years following the Graça Machel report on the impact of armed conflict on children.

From 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. in Conference Room 6, there will be a briefing on two reports of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD) and on the promotion of durable peace in Africa. Prof. Firmino Mucavele, Chief Executive of the Secretariat of the NEPAD, is scheduled to take part.

From 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. at the Church Center for the United Nations, 777 First Avenue, there will be a panel discussion on "We Can End Poverty: Children as Agents of Change".

Thursday, October 18

At 2 p.m. in Room 226, there will be a press conference by Prof. Firmino Mucavele, Chief Executive of the Secretariat of the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD), on the implementation of NEPAD and on the promotion of durable peace in Africa.

From 1.15 to 2.30 p.m. in Conference Room 6, there will be a panel discussion on the recommendations of the UN study on violence against children.

From 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, there will be an event to launch the International Year of Potato (2008).

Today through Saturday in London, the Women Deliver Conference, co-sponsored by the World Health Organization, will focus on creating the political will to save the lives and improve the health of women, mothers and newborn babies around the world.

Friday, October 19

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold a debate on the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Multi-National Force.

The guests at the noon briefing are Dr. Arata Kochi, Director of the World Health Organizations Global Malaria Programme; Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Minister of Health of Ethiopia; and Raymond Chambers, Executive Director of Malaria No More, who will brief on the Roll Malaria Initiative.

From 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. in Conference Room 1, there will be a briefing on a Special representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055

to the Spokesperson's Page


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