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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-10-04

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <> - email:


Friday, October 4, 1996

This document is prepared by the Central News Section of the Department of Public Information and is updated every week-day at approximately 6:00 PM.


  • General Assembly continues review of global issues amidst calls for Taiwan to be allowed to participate and contribute to work of UN.
  • UN Secretary-General says normalisation of relations between Croatia and Yugoslavia allowed political transition to gain momentum; calls for fulfillment of UNTAES mandate.
  • UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali highlights need for continued international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina to consolidate gains achieved.
  • Assembly would declare possible limits on right of asylum for terrorists, under proposal by United Kingdom.
  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reminds Afghan Taleban movement of commitments entered into by Afghanistan regarding protection of basic rights of women.
  • Key actors in investment arena are to meet in Geneva to discuss foreign direct investment.
  • Education and health can advance development of nations, international education and health organisations say.

The Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Vaughan A. Lewis told the General Assembly that his country holds the view that Taiwan should be given the opportunity to participate in and contribute to the work of the United Nations.

Speaking to the Assembly as it continued its general debate, Mr. Lewis said Taiwan was a vibrant and growing democracy, capable of meeting its obligations to the UN, adding that as a highly developed economy, Taiwan was also capable of contributing to the growth of the smaller, less developed economies of the world.

He maintained that at a time when the powers, which had traditionally assisted the economic development of these countries, had significantly reduced the level and quality of their support, new sources of assistance should not be ignored. He said he was confident that the Assembly could find a creative mechanism through which Taiwan could be involved in the programmes of the UN.

The Minister of External Affairs of India, Inder Kumar Gujral reiterated his country's position on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) stating that the only way to achieve ultimate security was to ban production, possession and use of nuclear weapons within an agreed time frame.

Stating that partial and half-hearted measures of arms control, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or CTBT, defeated that objective, Mr. Gujral told the Assembly that India could not be a party to such flawed arrangements. He emphasised that any effective disarmament regime needed to be universal in its approach and scope.

The Assembly heard that the security of non-nuclear weapon states from the threat or use of these dangerous weapons could only be guaranteed by the institution of a legally binding international instrument. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Botswana, Mompati S. Merafhe told the Assembly that Botswana was committed to an early conclusion of such an instrument and expressed the hope that the nuclear- weapon states would demonstrate the necessary commitment to meet the concerns of non-nuclear weapon states.

Mr. Merafhe said unilateral statements on security assurances, which had been transmitted through a United Nations Security Council resolution, did not meet the demands of the overwhelming majority of the members of the United Nations. He called upon the Conference on Disarmament to speedily address the question of its expansion to the satisfaction of the general membership of the UN.

The President of Suriname, Jules Albert Wijdenbosch told the Assembly that illicit drug trafficking posed special security problems to countries like Suriname with inadequate resources to guard hundreds of miles of shoreline and vast unpopulated land areas. He said as part of the policy of maximum cooperation in the fight against drugs, Suriname has entered into cooperation agreements with many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations, Poseci W. Bune called upon the Assembly not to relax vigilance on the moves and proposals in certain quarters to import and dump nuclear waste and other forms of hazardous waste in the Pacific region.

He referred to reported plans by certain unscrupulous nuclear waste dealers to use Palmyra Islands and certain other sites in the Pacific as permanent disposal facilities for nuclear waste, adding that the region would not allow any further reckless and mindless destruction of the environment by any form of nuclear contamination.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has said in a report on the UN Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (UNTAES) that normalisation of relations between Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had allowed the process of political transition in the region to gain momentum, according to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General Sylvana Foa.

"However, in conjunction with these positive steps towards reintegration, UNTAES is facing three related challenges: unwillingness to move forward on the part of some of the Serb leaders in the region, certain bureaucratic obstructions on the Croatian side and, as a consequence, a continued feeling of uncertainty among residents of the region," the report states.

The Secretary-General has urged the Croatian Government to take more energetic steps to foster political and public atmosphere conducive to confidence-building and consequently, to the fulfillment of the UNTAES mandate, the Spokesman indicated. He also stated that obstructionist attitudes of some hardline elements in the local Serb leadership were squandering opportunities to secure firm commitments for job security, economic development, and the orderly return of Croat displaced persons, she added.

"The wisest course for those who have taken on the responsibility of leading their people is full cooperation with UNTAES and constructive engagement with the Government of Croatia," the report says.

There is a growing consensus on the need for a continued international presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina to consolidate the gains achieved so far, according to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. In a progress report on the UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH), as the end of the first year is approached in implementing the peace agreement there, the Secretary-General reiterates his firm conviction that the continued presence of the United Nations civilian police monitors is contingent upon the existence of a secure environment maintained by a credible international military force, Spokesman Sylvana Foa said today.

"The post-electoral period will be the most crucial phase of implementation of the Dayton Agreement. I am concerned by some recent developments. The outcome of the elections must not be allowed to strengthen separatist tendencies, reinforce the results of 'ethnic cleansing' or confirm the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina along the Inter-Entity Boundary Line," he says in the report.

The Secretary-General has also expressed concern that almost none of the 1.5 million displaced persons and refugees whose homes are now under the control of the authorities of a different ethnic group have returned home, according to the Spokesman. Dr. Boutros-Ghali also said it was the task of the international community to ensure that those who wished to return to their former homes might do so under secure and dignified conditions, she added.

The General Assembly would declare possible limits on the right of asylum for those actively carrying out or supporting terrorism, under a proposal introduced today by the United Kingdom, as the Sixth Committee (Legal) began its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism. The declaration would aim at being useful in interpreting the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.

Elizabeth Willmhurst, the representative of the United Kingdom told the Committee that the declaration would assist courts to determine that it was legitimate for authorities to refuse to apply the Convention to an asylum- seeker who was himself a terrorist or who was planning, funding or inciting terrorism.

Addressing another aspect of the problem, the representative of the United States, Carolyn L. Willson expressed the hope that the Assembly would establish an intersessional ad hoc committee to elaborate an international convention for the suppression of terrorist bombings.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jose Ayala-Lasso has expressed his concern at the situation of human rights in Afghanistan. In a message to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Norbert Holl on Friday, the High Commissioner asked the Special Representative to urgently convey to the leader of the Supreme Council of the Taleban movement, Mullah Mohammad Omar, his concern and emphasised the legally binding obligations stemming from the large number of international human rights instruments which Afghanistan had ratified and signed over the years.

Among the instruments signed by Afghanistan was the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. "The international community is deeply concerned about the respect by the Taleban movement of all the commitments entered into by Afghanistan regarding the protection of all human rights, particularly those guaranteeing the basic rights of women, including the girl child", the High Commissioner said.

Meanwhile, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said it had continued its activities throughout Afghanistan despite the rapid and tumultuous changes that had recently taken place there. "The crisis had no effect on UNDP- supported rehabilitation efforts in the country", said Alan Brimelow, UNDP security officer.

The Agency's activities include improving irrigation, feeder roads, crop production and water supply in rural parts of the country and rebuilding infrastructure and housing in urban areas. Two of the Agency's staff members would visit Afghanistan soon to assess how the organisation and the UN system could respond to the current situation.

Key actors in the investment arena, including high-level policy- makers from around the world will be meeting at a global investment forum in Geneva on 10 October, to discuss foreign direct investment and development in a globalising world economy.

The meeting is being convened by UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), ahead of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting in Singapore in December. UNCTAD said foreign direct investment was at record levels of $315 billion in 1995 and transnational corporations were moving at an unprecedented pace to build global business structures.

These trends, the Agency said, had significant implications for the evolution of international policy arrangements on investment. It said the global investment forum had been designed as an opportunity for all parties involved to engage in a critical examination of the issues.

A statement issued in Geneva today by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and Education International (EI) - the international organisation of teachers' unions - said that education and health complemented and enhanced each other. "Together and only together can their full potential be applied to advance the social and economic development of each nation and improve the quality of life. One of the most cost-effective ways to improve both is through schools," the statement added.

The promotion of health through school required concerted support from a combination of sources, such as ministries of health and education, international agencies, teachers' organisations and community leaders, according to the statement. "Together, our organisations and partners are strengthening the capacity of teachers to participate in the development of HIV-related policies, curricula and training programmes in cooperation with their ministries of education and health," the statement pointed out.

WHO, UNESCO, UNAIDS and EI called on teachers of the world and their unions, ministries of education and health, and international organisations to address these issues in conjunction with the 45th Session of the International Conference on Education "Strengthening the Role of Teachers in the Changing World" currently taking place in Geneva.


In the Daily Highlights DH/2240 of 1 October 1996, the 5th item, appearing on page 4 should have read:

"A report on the improvement of the status of women in the UN Secretariat released today indicates that, as of 13 June 1996, women professionals made up 35.1 per cent of the Secretariat, whereas in 1985 they were at 23.1 per cent, the Spokesman for the Secretary-General Sylvana Foa said."

Central News regrets the error.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <> - email:

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