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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-08-13

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

HIGHLIGHTS

OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY

HUA JIANG

DEPUTY SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Wednesday, August 14th, 2002

UN ENVOY TOURS PALESTINIAN HUMANITARIAN PROJECTS, MEETS WITH ARAFAT

The Secretary-General's Personal Humanitarian Envoy, Catherine Bertini, traveled to West Bank today to meet with the Palestinian leadership and also to obtain a firsthand look at a number of humanitarian projects.

In the morning she traveled to Ramallah, where she met with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. During the meeting, which lasted just under an hour and which was also attended by Palestinian Minister for Local Government Saeb Erakat, President Arafat outlined the humanitarian problems faced by Palestinians as a result of the current situation.

In Ramallah, Bertini toured humanitarian projects run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in the Amari refugee camp.

She had the opportunity to talk to humanitarian workers as well the beneficiaries of various programs, including a summer camp and health center.

In the afternoon she continued her meetings with other Palestinians, including Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council; Dr. Mustapha Barghouti, the head of the Palestinian Medical Relief Organization; and a number of local business people.

She was also briefed on the economic situation by Maher Masri, the Palestinian Minister of Economy and Trade.

SECURITY COUNCIL VOTES ON ETHIOPIA/ERITREA MISSION AND RWANDA TRIBUNAL

This morning, the Security Council unanimously adopted two resolutions, following private consultations.

The first resolution (S/2002/1430) that was adopted concerned the UN Mission in Ethiopia/Eritrea. The resolution adjusts the Mission's mandate to enable it to assist the independent Boundary Commission in the implementation of its delimitation decision by demining in key areas and providing administrative and logistical support for its Field Offices.

Council members also adopted a resolution (S/2002/1431) which establishes a pool of 18 so-called ad litem -- or short-term -- judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. That additional pool of judges would be used to expedite the Tribunal's work by having more trial chambers operating at the same time.

DISCUSSIONS BEGIN IN BAGHDAD ON RETURN OF KUWAITI ARCHIVES

Richard Foran, who is leading the UN team dealing with the return of Kuwaiti property from Iraq, held his first meeting with Iraqi authorities today in Baghdad. More discussions are scheduled to take place Thursday.

Following his talks with Iraqi authorities, Foran will head to Kuwait to continue discussions with officials there.

Following the Secretary-Generals meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri in Vienna last month, Iraq had agreed to the return of Kuwaiti archives and other documents. As part of that effort, the UN has agreed to re-establish the mechanism that existed for transfer of such material between 1991 and 1996.

UNHCR OFFICE ATTACKED ON SOUTHWEST AFGHANISTAN

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today that armed men ransacked its office in Ghazni, southwest of Kabul.

The incident happened around 8 pm on Tuesday night when three armed men locked UNHCR staff in the bathroom, took some office equipment and broke into the safe. No one was hurt.

UNHCR will now strengthen security measures in Ghazni, employing armed guards at the compound.

UNHCR considers that while the overall situation in Afghanistan has been improving this year, security still remains fragile in many areas of the country.

CZECH GOVERNMENT ASKS FOR HELP AS FLOODS RAVAGE COUNTRY

The Government of the Czech Republic has called for international assistance in dealing with the floods that are affecting Prague, parts of Bohemia and areas in the northwest. The government estimates that more than 200,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, including 50,000 in Prague.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in a report on the floods, says the Ministry of the Interior in its call for international assistance has requested portable dryers for drying damp houses, floating pumps and electric submersible pumps.

ROBINSON CONCERNED ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN COLOMBIA

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, in a statement issued today reiterated her concern about the critical human rights and humanitarian situation in Colombia, which she said had worsened as a result of terrorist acts committed since the inauguration of President Alvaro Uribe last week.

Robinson noted the state of emergency declared by the Colombian Government on August 11, saying that she recognized as legitimate the measures available to States to defend themselves against grave threats to the life of their nations.

She added that the measures adopted by Governments in the exercise of exceptional powers have to be consistent with commitments derived from international human rights laws. These laws regulate the limits of public powers when they place restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms. Any such restrictions must be submitted to the control of the judiciary.

The field office in Colombia of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will continue to monitor and provide advice on the implementation of the emergency measures.

CONTAMINATED WATER BLAMED FOR DEATHS OF CHILDREN IN ASIA

Polluted water and poor sanitation kill two children every minute, with most of the victims of contaminated water being Asian children, say environmental experts at the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

According to the State of the Environment in Asia and the Pacific 2000, a joint report published by ESCAP and the Asian Development Bank, inadequately enforced legislation and ineffective planning and management of water resources are to blame for the severe diarrhea from contaminated water that has killed more children than all the people killed in armed conflicts since World War II.

Kim Hak Su, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, has pledged to urge Governments attending the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, to deal with the crisis.

THIRTY-YEAR ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY OF NORTH AMERICA RELEASED

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) today released a new report on the environment in the United States and Canada as part of the Global Environment Outlook 3 process.

The report, North Americas Environment: A thirty year state of the environment and policy retrospective, looks at changes in the North American environment over the last 30 years. There has been notable success in resolving some environmental problems, the report says, but success has been slowing due to the increasing consumption of a growing population.

The reports recommends that there must be substantial changes in automobile use, the introduction of more fuel-efficient technologies and changes in town planning and urban development.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) on Tuesday welcomed the strong expression of support from the Group of 77. The 133-member group sent a statement to the government of the United States urging it to restore its contributions to the Fund. Fifty-three African countries recently made a similar appeal to US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Issued today as a document was a letter from the Permanent Representative of South Africa forwarding to the Security Council the text of the accord on troop withdrawal signed by Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Pretoria at the end of last month.

In a letter, the President of the Security Council informed the Secretary-General that the Council took note of his proposal to extend the mandate of the UN Office in Guinea Bissau until December 31, 2003.

Today, Cyprus became the 36th country to sign the Protocol on trafficking in firearms supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378 New York, NY 10017 Tel. 212-963-7162 - press/media only Fax. 212-963-7055

All other inquiries to be addressed to (212) 963-4475 or by e-mail to: inquiries@un.org


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