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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-10-22

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Tuesday, October 22, 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.


  • Security Council decides to establish Human Rights Office as part of UN Observer Mission in Georgia; expresses concern at lack of progress.
  • Security Council calls upon all Afghan parties to cease armed hostilities.
  • UN mid-term plan should give priority to complete elimination of nuclear weapons, Disarmament and International Security Committee is told.
  • Alliance of Small Island Developing States urge specific target for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Innovative strategies are needed to fight sophisticated criminal networks, Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee hears.
  • UN Secretary-General should try to reduce staff by attrition and agreed termination, Administrative and Budgetary Committee is told.
  • World Food Programme says it will attempt to evacuate UN and other aid workers stranded in Zaire.

The Security Council on Tuesday decided to establish a Human Rights Office as part of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG). The Council adopted resolution 1077 (1996) by a vote of 14 in favour with one abstention (China), and requested the Secretary-General to continue close cooperation with the Government of Georgia in determining the priorities of the programme, and to pursue the necessary follow-up arrangements with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

In a related development, the Council said it had noted with deep concern that no significant progress had yet been achieved towards a comprehensive political settlement of the conflict in Abkhazia, Georgia, including on the political status of Abkhazia.

In a Presidential statement, read by the President of the Council and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Honduras, Delmer Urbizo-Panting, the Council reaffirmed its full support for an active role of the UN, with the assistance of the Russian Federation as facilitator, aimed at achieving a comprehensive political settlement.

"In the context of the recent visit to the region of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, the Council requests the Secretary- General to undertake further efforts and make proposals to reinvigorating the stalled peace process," the Council President said.

Stressing that the primary responsibility for achieving reinvigoration of the peace process rested upon the parties themselves, the Council called on the parties, particularly the Abkhaz side, to resume discussions and to reach substantive progress in the negotiations.

"The Security Council is deeply concerned by the deterioration of the situation in the Gali region and its negative impact on the ability of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) to meet its mandated tasks", the President of the Council said, adding that the Council condemned mine- laying and other threats against UNOMIG and the Collective Peace-Keeping Forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The Council called on both parties to respect the Moscow agreement on a Cease-Fire and Separation of Forces, and said it was deeply concerned at the announcement made by the Abkhaz side that so-called parliamentary elections would be held on 23 November 1996. "The holding of such elections would only be possible after the determination through negotiations of the political status of Abkhazia respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders," the President of the Council said.

Members of the Council said they remained deeply concerned at the continued obstruction of the return of the refugees and displaced persons by the Abkhaz authorities, which, the Council President said, was totally unacceptable.

The Security Council has called upon all Afghan parties to immediately cease all armed hostilities, to renounce the use of force, to put aside their differences and to engage in a political dialogue aimed at achieving national reconciliation and a lasting political settlement of the conflict and establishing a fully representative and broad-based transitional government of national unity.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1076 (1996) on Tuesday, the Council called upon all States to immediately end the supply of arms and ammunition to all parties to the conflict in Afghanistan.

It said that the continuation of the conflict in Afghanistan provided a fertile ground for terrorism and drug trafficking which destabilised the region and beyond, and called upon the leaders of the Afghan parties to halt such activities.

The Council demanded that all parties fulfil their obligations and commitments regarding the safety of UN personnel and other international personnel as well as their premises in Afghanistan, adding that the parties should not hamper the flow of humanitarian assistance and cooperate fully with the UN and associated bodies, in their efforts to respond to the humanitarian needs of the people of Afghanistan.

The disarmament portion of the United Nations medium-term plan for the period 1998-2001 must give priority to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, the representative of Indonesia told the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) as it met to consider the medium-term plan representing the principal policy directive of United Nations.

Speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, the representative of Indonesia stressed that nuclear weapons continued to be improved and remained a threat to international security.

Several speakers also expressed the need to balance the medium-term plan to give greater attention to nuclear issues. The representative of Cuba said the proposed medium-term plan made no mention of nuclear disarmament or the elimination of nuclear weapons, even though there was majority support in the First Committee for such an emphasis.

The representative of the United States said since the medium-term plan plotted the Organisations's future, the portion on disarmament must reflect the sensitive balance of views in the Committee, adding that the non- aligned proposal to establish a separate programme on disarmament in the medium-term plan sounded like a political agenda.

He said its unrestrained emphasis on nuclear disarmament and almost passing reference to conventional disarmament seemed to reflect an indifference to post-cold war achievements. The programme was a financial planning tool; the appropriate forum for its discussion, he said, was the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

Commenting on the CTBT, the representative of Pakistan called for a multi- lateral conference on peace and security in South Asia, which had been described as the most dangerous place in the world. Such a conference, he said, could help remove the underlying causes of conflict between India and Pakistan, including the Kashmir conflict.

Urging a specific target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) has told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) that the global average temperature relative to 1990 would increase by about two degrees Celsius by the year 2100 without mitigation policies.

Speaking as the Committee debated environment and sustainable development issues, the representative of Trinidad and Tobago, on behalf of the AOSIS, stressed the need for additional commitments by the industrialised countries to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The representative of Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union and Associated States, said that besides the strengthened commitments of developed countries, it was important that developing countries play their part producing and using more energy efficient and lower carbon-emitting technologies.

He stressed the need for developing early warning capacities and comprehensive regional and subregional frameworks for disaster reduction. Expressing dissatisfaction with the Climate Change Convention process and the fact that after two sessions of the Conference of the Parties, rules of procedure had still not been adopted, the representative of the Marshall Islands rejected the argument that it would be better if the developing countries shouldered the burden of greenhouse reductions.

Echoing the views expressed by the Marshall Islands, the representative of Costa Rica said it was clear that developed countries were falling short of their commitment to stabilise greenhouse emissions and were setting a bad precedent by evading their responsibilities under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. He said the developed countries had also fallen short of their commitments on technology transfer and provision of financial resources.

Innovative and comprehensive strategies at the international, national and regional levels were needed to fight increasingly sophisticated criminal networks, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) was told as it continued its general debate on crime, criminal justice, drug prevention and the elaboration of an international convention on transnational crimes.

The representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said there should be more innovative and new investigative techniques to counter the superb intelligence capabilities of the drug cartels. She called for equal emphasis on both supply and demand reduction and urged States not to resort to unilateral action out of frustration at the sophisticated measures used by drug traffickers.

Several speakers addressed the need for specific measures to coordinate law enforcement efforts, ensure technical assistance, especially for developing countries, and to implement legislation on drug trafficking and related crimes, such as money laundering.

The representative of the United States said criminal enterprises were replacing legal commerce, corrupting democracy and undermining social institutions. Those criminal groups, he said, needed pliable host States to facilitate their work, and several such countries had begun to emerge, he warned.

Several other speakers called attention to the threat transnational crime posed for national stability, security and sovereignty. The representative of Swaziland, on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) States, said the problems of drugs and crime must be addressed collectively by the international community. Technical cooperation and support was indispensable for building and supporting democracy and effective criminal justice system, she added.

The Secretary-General should try to reduce staff by attrition and agreed termination, and offer staff more possibilities for leave without pay, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) was told as it continued considering human resources management and pattern of conferences, and also took up the proposed medium-term plan for the period 1998 - 2001.

Speaking on human resources management, the representative of Ireland said the United Nations should continue granting priority to the recruitment and promotion of women, particularly at senior political and decision making levels and that Member States should forward suitably qualified women for posts.

Stressing that the Secretariat could not accept attacks on the integrity and impartiality of the international civil service made by the delegation of Singapore, Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development, Nitin Desai , strongly objected to such tactics that undermined the propriety and dignity of the Organisation's deliberative process.

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Resources Management, Denis Halliday added that procedures had been established to investigate complaints against staff in a manner that afforded an accused staff member due process. The fundamental right to due process would be lost if public accusations were made against a named staff member in a Main Committee, where the accused could not defend himself or herself.

The two senior UN officials were responding to a statement made by the representative of Singapore last week in which he criticised a named Secretariat official in connection with her handling of an expert group meeting and its report.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday it would attempt to evacuate stranded United Nations and non-governmental organisations personnel following a last-minute decision by authorities in Zaire to allow a WFP- chartered aircraft to fly into strive-torn Uvira in the eastern part of the country.

The number of UN and other aid workers stranded at Uvira was estimated between 44 and 54 , including two WFP staff members. The aid workers were fleeing the fighting between Zairean troops and ethnic Tutsis, originally from Rwanda but who had been living in Zaire for several generations.

A WFP chartered Hercules plane was twice denied permission to land by Zairean authorities who had insisted that the plane first stop at Bukavu. There were reports that refugees are abandoning the camps and that a mass exodus of more than 200,000 people had begun, WFP said. However, other estimates indicate there may be less than 100,000 refugees fleeing the fighting. The Agency had been providing emergency food rations to some 225, 000 refugees in the Uvira refugee camps.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed deep concern over the plight of Burundi and Rwandan refugees forced to flee their camps in eastern Zaire in the face of intensified ethnic fighting.

"I am deeply worried by the widening scale of violence in eastern Zaire in recent weeks that has once again sent tens of thousands of refugees- women, children, sick and elderly- fleeing for their lives", Ms. Ogata said, adding that unless all parties to that conflict step back, "we are, I am afraid heading toward a humanitarian catastrophe".

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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