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United Nations Daily Highlights, 97-08-05

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

DAILY HIGHLIGHTS

Tuesday, 5 August 1997


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.

HEADLINES

  • UN Secretary-General approves plan for the purchase and distribution of humanitarian supplies to Iraq.
  • International observers of the Angolan peace process urge UNITA to fulfill Security Council demands.
  • UNHCR sends an official to Jajce, central Bosnia, to try to reverse the expulsions of Muslim returnees.
  • UN expert body on prevention of discrimination and protection of minorities begins session in Geneva.
  • The Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination convenes in Geneva.
  • Human Rights Committee concludes its summer session in Geneva.
  • "Messengers of Peace" from Yokohama, Japan donate over seven million yen to UNICEF.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has approved a distribution plan submitted by the Government of Iraq for the purchase and distribution of humanitarian supplies.

In a letter to the President of the Security Council, Ambassador John Weston, the Secretary-General said the implementation of the distribution plan would be governed by various Council resolutions and the Memorandum of Understanding. In June, the Council decided that the provisions of the oil- for-food programme should remain in force for another 180 days. At the same time the Council decided to conduct a thorough review of all aspects of the implementation of the resolution 90 days after its entry into force and again prior to the end of the 180- day period.

In a related development, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Yasushi Akashi informed the Government of Iraq of the Secretary- General's conclusion that if properly implemented, the Distribution Plan should meet the requirement of equitable distribution of humanitarian goods to the Iraqi population throughout the country.

In a letter to Iraq's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr. Akashi noted that the approval of the Plan was without prejudice to the procedures that might be taken by the Sanctions Committee on Iraq (661 Committee) concerning export to Iraq of parts and equipment essential for the safe operation of the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline system. The approval was also without prejudice to actions by the Sanctions Committee regarding applications for export of particular items contained in the list submitted for its consideration, Mr. Akashi stated.


The United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative to Angola and the three observer states to the Angolan peace process have rejected a document submitted by the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) on its implementation of the remaining tasks in the peace process.

Special Representative Alioune Blondin Beye and representatives of Portugal, Russia and the United States - the Troika - have noted with grave concern that in spite of all the appeals made to it, UNITA had not taken any significant steps to fulfill the demands of the Security Council. In a statement, issued in Luanda, the mediation and the Troika described as "unacceptable" the "Readjusted Programme for the Extension of Administration throughout the Territory" submitted by UNITA on Sunday.

The statement stressed that UNITA had not yet provided information on its remaining military elements, including "mining police", nor had it provided information on the measures to transform their radio station "VORGAN" into a non-partisan broadcasting facility. The statement also said that "it is imperative that UNITA provide credible information concerning the true state of its military personnel and the armaments it possesses."


The United Nations refugee agency on Tuesday sent an official to Jajce, central Bosnia, to try to reverse the expulsions of about three hundred Muslim returnees by a Croatian mob over the weekend.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it was working with other international agencies to reverse the expulsions. According to UNHCR, its protection officer in the area would talk to the local authorities in Jajce to try to persuade them to allow people back and, importantly, to ensure that they were adequately protected.

Meanwhile, UNHCR, the Stabilization Force (SFOR) and the High Representative's office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), would set up a working group to find ways out of the crisis. According to UNHCR, some 800,000 people remain displaced and a further 700, 000 are abroad as refugees from Bosnia.


The Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities has begun its session in Geneva with calls for continuing efforts to reform its methods of work and adjust its focus in response to a complex and changing world following the end of the cold war. Opening the forty-ninth session on Monday, the Subcommission Chairman Jose Bengoa of Chile said the Subcommission should continue to show an ability to face new challenges and must look beyond the United Nations human rights system in its work.

The meeting also was addressed by Ralph Zacklin, Officer-in-Charge of the High Commissioner/Centre for Human Rights, who said the Subcommission played an important and unique role as a think-tank for the United Nations human rights programme. He went on to review thorough- going reforms being carried out at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Subcommission, which comprises a panel of 26 experts, undertakes studies and makes recommendations to the Commission on Human Rights concerning the prevention of discrimination and the protection of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. During its current session, the Subcommission will, among other things, examine information on human rights violations, contemporary forms of slavery, including sexual slavery during wartime and the exploitation of children.


The Committee on the elimination of racial discrimination began its fifty- first session in Geneva on Monday by adopting its agenda and reviewing a report from its chairman on activities undertaken since the last session earlier this year.

The Committee examines the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in the 148 countries that have accepted the treaty. During its current session, the 18- member Committee will consider reports from Algeria, Argentina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Denmark, the Former Yugoslav Republic, Norway, Philippines, Poland and Sweden.

On Monday, the Committee members said examination of Cambodia's report should be postponed given current developments in the country. As part of its continuing efforts to prevent racial discrimination, the Committee confirmed that it would examine, under its early warning and urgent procedures mechanism, the situations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.


The UN Human Rights Committee has concluded its summer session in Geneva by issuing a series of specific measures aimed at promoting civil and political rights in several countries. During the three-week session, the 18-member Committee discussed the Slovak Republic, France and India. The Committee is charged with reviewing reports of States parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

During the just concluded session, the Committee also examined, in a closed session, communications from individuals claiming to be victims of violation of their rights under the Covenant. At its next session, to be held in Geneva from 20 October to 7 November, the Committee will, among other things, take up reports of Belarus, Senegal, Iraq, Lithuania, Sudan and Jamaica.


Three high-school students from Yokohama, Japan on Tuesday presented UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan with a cheque for seven million seven hundred thousand yen, collected by the Yokohama students for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The three "Messengers of Peace" were delegated by the Yokohama Student International Peace Festival. They told the Secretary- General of the desire of the Yokohama students to contribute to world peace.

The UN leader thanked the students and the city of Yokohama and noted that their determination to build a culture of peace and their understanding of the interdependent nature of the world should serve as a model for young people all over the world. The Secretary-General told the students of his conviction that the older generations should strive to ensure that younger ones inherited a peaceful and environmentally- sound planet.


For information purposes only - - not an official record

From the United Nations home page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org


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