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United Nations Daily Highlights 96-10-24

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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


Thursday, October 24, 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.


  • Eastern Zairian conflict is damaging relations among neighbouring countries and will negatively impact on stability of whole region, UN Secretary-General and President of Cameroon say in joint statement.
  • UN can demonstrate that shared responsibilities and goals can be met by collective mobilisation, President of General Assembly says as world community celebrates UN Day.
  • Inter-Agency Humanitarian Needs Assessment Mission to Tajikistan says humanitarian crisis in that country requires integrated approach of United Nations.
  • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda says it has made great progress during its first year of existence.
  • Role of non-governmental organisations and private sector must not be overlooked at special session of General Assembly to review implementation of Agenda 21, Economic and Financial Committee is told.
  • UN medium-term plan is collective effort to reorganise that Organisation's work in fields of social development, Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee is told.
  • Convention on nuclear safety enters into force; hailed as first international legal instrument on the safety of nuclear power plants worldwide.
  • UN supporters gather to protest that Organisation's financial crisis; presents letter of appeal to United States representative to UN.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and the President of the Republic of Cameroon have said that the tension in Eastern Zaire between the Banyamulenge and Zairian forces was further damaging relations among neighbouring countries and had therefore a negative impact on stability of the whole region.

In a joint statement, following a meeting on Wednesday, Dr. Boutros- Ghali and President Biya, in his capacity as current Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), called upon all the parties involved and the regional leaders to take all the necessary measures in order to bring an end to the violence.

They encouraged the authorities of the region to resume the dialogue and to strive for a lasting and peaceful solution in order to ensure the stability of the area, which they said was of strategic importance for the African continent as a whole.

President Biya and the Secretary-General declared their readiness to assist all, the parties concerned in achieving peace and security, including the convening of a Conference for Peace, Security and Development in the Great Lakes Region.

The United Nations could demonstrate that shared responsibilities and goals could be met by a collective mobilisation that combined the creative energies of governments, the expertise of the UN Secretariat and specialised agencies and of civil society, General Assembly President Ambassador Razali Ismail of Malaysia said on Thursday at the occasion of the observance of UN Day.

He said it was only through such dynamic and mutually supportive interaction that the UN could reach out meaningfully to the millions of people who were unable to attend its meetings, but whose interests and needs the Organisation was deemed to promote and protect.

The Assembly President said the endless possibilities of renewed investment in the UN began with personal and collective commitments to practice tolerance...and reach out to meet the basic and universal needs of peoples in concert, and beyond governments.

The UN Day was marked by activities at UN offices around the world. At the UN Headquarters in New York, activities included video conference with links to Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, London, Sydney and Vienna.

The Inter-Agency Humanitarian Needs Assessment Mission to Tajikistan has said that the current humanitarian crisis in that country required a vigorous and integrated approach of the United Nations system.

The assessment mission was carried out in Tajikistan in early October at the initiative of the UN Secretary-General, and was led by the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, with the participation of various UN Agencies and Offices.

The mission recommended that appropriate measures needed to be urgently undertaken in order to enable the UN, with renewed donor support, to adequately address the immediate needs of the vulnerable groups.

The mission made recommendations on the emergency food aid, health, water and sanitation, education, internally displaced persons, shelter and infrastructure and land-mines. It said the presence and role of UN Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) had a stabilising effect on the overall situation in the country, which was recognised and appreciated by the Government, the United Tajik Opposition (UTO) and the international organisations operating in the country.

The Inter-Agency Mission said that the international humanitarian organisations strongly supported the extension of the mandate of UNMOT, which expires in December 1996. According to the Inter-Agency Mission, international humanitarian organisations had voiced concern that the withdrawal or the reduction of UNMOT's presence would impact negatively on security and on the humanitarian situation in Tajikistan.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has made great progress during its first year of existence, however it still faced many challenges, the Tribunal stated in its annual report submitted to General Assembly. It said the Office of the Prosecutor needed greater human and material resources if it was to continue and speed up its work.

The report stated that if the Tribunal was to cope with the required material and legal preparatory work it must be given sufficient means and receive the support of the international community. It noted that many new indictments were being prepared, which should make it possible to charge a number of people who allegedly played a prominent role in the genocide in Rwanda.

The role of non-governmental organisations and the private sector must not be overlooked at the special session of the General Assembly expected to review implementation of Agenda 21, which was adopted at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development held at Rio de Janeiro, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial was told.

Speaking as the Committee continued its debate on environment and sustainable development issues, the representative of Slovenia said the review should be action-oriented and serve as a forum for consolidation of global and regional initiatives on sustainable development.

The representative of Nepal also stressed the important role of non- governmental organisations and the private sector in the review process. He said the special session must not only review progress, but give clear recommendations for new resources, as well as institutional mechanisms to implement the commitment s made at the Rio Conference.

The representative of New Zealand said that the 1997 special General Assembly session to review Agenda 21 should identify issues that needed urgent action and focus on improving institutions and their effectiveness.

The medium-term plan for 1998 - 2001, which provided a framework for the UN budget, was a collective effort to reorganise the UN work in the fields of social development, speakers told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).

The plan, according to the United States, was meant to be a tool for substantive programme planning that could be used in preparing future budgets. He said, unfortunately, the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC) had not reached consensus on the plan, although the budget for the next biennium had begun.

Cuba said the programmes adequately reflected priorities of General Assembly mandates. However, they should indicate support for the basic needs of States, including training and education. Several speakers expressed support for the restructuring of the Human Rights centre and said it would improve the ability of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jose Ayala-Lasso to carry out his mandates.

Speakers said the restructuring was an effective follow-up to the Programme of Action of the United Nations International Conference on human Rights, adding that it would strengthen the UN work in the field of Human Rights. Objecting to the restructuring, china said the process should follow procedural rules. It should have only been undertaken after full consultation and approval from the General Assembly, China said.

The Committee, as it concluded its general debate, heard that States would pledge to combat cross-border crimes, including terrorism and trafficking in drugs and arms, when the draft UN Declaration on Crime and Public Security went into effect.

The representative of Poland said the provision to prevent criminals from finding a safe haven was especially important. He said the theft of motor vehicles should be better reflected in the programme of work of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

In a related but separate development, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) heard that the consideration of the medium-term plan for 1998 - 2001 gave the General Assembly an opportunity to provide the Secretary-General with the strategic direction he needed to guide the United Nations into the new millennium.

Speaking on the proposals to make savings from the current budget, Cuba's Vice Minister or External Affairs said the Assembly should analyse the validity of its resolution to ensure that the organisation served all interests and to deal with the problem of having the UN unduly affected by the internal politics of one Member State.

The representative of Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union and Associated States, said the process of approving the plan would enable the Assembly to review the Organisation's priorities and programmes. In the Unions view, he said, the maintenance of international peace and security, sustainable development, human rights, development of Africa, effective response to humanitarian emergencies and the promotion of justice and international law were key objectives for the United Nations.

The Convention on Nuclear Safety has entered into force on Thursday. The first international legal instrument on the safety of nuclear power plants worldwide commits States parties to ensure the safety of land- based civil nuclear power plants.

Among other things, the Convention includes a legislative and regulatory framework; general safety considerations such as quality assurance, assessment, and verification of safety. The Convention, among others, obliges parties to submit reports at periodic review meetings.

"The Convention marks a major step forward in strengthening international cooperation in the safety field," said Hans Blix, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He said the safe use of nuclear energy remained clearly a national responsibility.

"The Convention signals the growing recognition of the global interdependence of safe nuclear development. We now look forward to finishing work on other legal instruments, notably in the field of radioactive waste management, also being negotiated through the efforts of the Agency and its member States," Mr. Blix said.

Some two hundred United Nations supporters gathered across from the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday, on the eve of UN Day, to show their support for that Organisation and to protest the non-payment of dues by member States as part of the Worldwide Vigil to Protest the UN Financial Crisis.

Participants included wide range of groups and individuals sympathetic to UN. They held candles and wore blue ribbons as symbols of support for the UN and made donations to ensure additional organising efforts to show citizen support to the United Nations. Mr. Samir Sanbar, UN Assistant Secretary-General of the Department of Public Information presented a statement by the UN Secretary-General. Other speakers included representatives of United Nations Association of the United States and the World Federation of UN Associations.

Speakers stressed the importance of the work of the United Nations, and urged member States to find an immediate solution to the UN's financial plight. Following the vigil, the protesters presented a letter of appeal to United States representative to UN, Ambassador Madeleine Albright to urge the United States to complete payment of its arrears, and in the future pay its dues on time, in full, and without conditions.

For information purposes only - - not an official record

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

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