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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-08-15

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

Thursday, August 15, 2002

ANNAN TO SPEAK AT UN CEREMONY MARKING SEPTEMBER 11

The United Nations will hold a solemn Ceremony of Remembrance on the morning of September 11, as an expression of shared loss with New York, its host city, and with people throughout the world who lost loved ones. UN staff and members of delegations are invited to attend.

The Ceremony will be held on the North Lawn at UN Headquarters. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, as well as the President of the General Assembly and the Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN, will speak. Selected UN staff will also be invited to speak.

Asked about the timing of the event, the Spokewoman said that it was still being worked out, to avoid any potential conflict with Security Council or General Assembly proceedings.

Asked about other events on September 11, she said the Secretary-General might attend a ceremony organized that evening by the City of New York. For now, the United Nations is awaiting a formal invitation to that event, to be held in downtown New York.

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON ANGOLA, DR-CONGO PEACE ACCORD

The Security Council today held two open meetings.

The first meeting was to adopt a presidential statement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in which the Council welcomed, and pledged its support, for the Pretoria agreement recently signed between Rwanda and the DRC.

The Council then adopted a resolution relating to Angolan sanctions, extending the suspension of the travel ban on officials of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) for a further 90 days.

Earlier this morning, while meeting in closed consultations, Security Council members received a briefing on the latest developments in the town of Bunia in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was the recent sight of fierce fighting between the Hema and Lendu ethnic groups. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi provided the briefing.

HUMANITARIAN ENVOY VISITS PALESTINIAN OFFICIALS IN GAZA

Catherine Bertini, the Secretary-Generals Personal Humanitarian Envoy, focused her attention on the situation in Gaza today.

She began her activities today by meeting with senior Palestinian Authority officials in Gaza, including the ministers responsible for Social Affairs, Health and Supply. The officials briefed her on the humanitarian situation faced by the residents of Gaza.

She then went to the Karni commercial crossing, the main transfer point for goods going in and out of Gaza from Israel, to view the crossing procedures from the Palestinian side. Bertini visited the Israeli side of the Karni crossing earlier this week.

The remainder of the day was spent in the Jabalia camp in northern Gaza strip, which houses over 100,000 refugees. There, Bertini toured health and social services projects and had the opportunity to meet with workers and refugee families alike.

Bertini and her team will remain in Gaza overnight.

UN VOICES CONCERN AT INDONESIAN TRIALS ON EAST TIMOR

On Wednesday afternoon, following the three-year prison sentence handed down to former East Timor Governor Abilio Soares by the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal in Indonesia, the Spokesman put out a statement noting the suggestion made during the Tribunals proceedings of irregularities by the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) during the 1999 popular consultations. These allegations are false.

For the record, the Spokesman noted four points: that security responsibility throughout the popular consultations process rested at all times with the Indonesian authorities and not UNAMET; that an independent Electoral Commission certified the results, after a close scrutiny of complaints; that recruitment to work for UNAMET was open to all qualified East Timorese, regardless of political belief; and that the announcement of the result, on September 4, 1999, was in accordance with planned procedures, in consultation with the Indonesian Government.

Therefore, it cannot be concluded that the large-scale, organized and coordinated violence of September and October 1999 was a consequence of any irregularities in the ballot, bias or abdication of security responsibilities on the part of the UN Mission.

The Secretary-General also fully endorsed a statement put out by High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, which voiced concerns that the prosecution in the Indonesian trials had not put before the court evidence that portrayed the killings and other violations as part of a widespread or systematic pattern of violence. A further concern she noted was that the prosecutions included only a very small percentage of the available testimony, despite offers of assistance by UN officials.

Robinson urged the Indonesian authorities to take all possible measures to investigate fully the violations of human rights perpetrated in East Timor, and called for the ad hoc tribunals to function in full respect of international human rights standards.

UN MISSION HELPS BROKER AGREEMENT BETWEEN AFGHAN FACTIONS

The UN Mission in Afghanistan today announced in Kabul that it helped to broker an agreement between two warring commanders in northern Afghanistan, which had led to fighting last weekend in Gosfandi, in the district of Sar-i-Pul, where eight soldiers had been killed.

The agreement called for the complete demilitarisation of the central bazaar in Gosfandi, and for all military groups to stand down from their positions and remain in their respective villages. The UN representative who had travelled on Sunday to Gosfandi to help broker the agreement told Kabul that so far, both parties were complying with the agreement.

The UN Mission also noted the positive development on Wednesday, when Afghan Defence Minister Mohammed Fahim said that all weapons belonging to his faction have now been registered as state property, and will be kept at the State Depot.

FORMER RWANDAN ARMY HEAD TO APPEAR BEFORE TRIBUNAL

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda announced today that General Augustin Bizimungu, who had been chief of staff of Rwandas armed forces during the 1994 genocide, was arrested in Angola on Monday and has been transferred to the custody of the Tribunal. He will make his initial appearance before a Tribunal judge shortly.

Bizimungu is one of the most senior former Rwandan military commanders to be apprehended by the Tribunal to date, and the first arrested on the Tribunals behalf in Angola, where he was identified during the process of demobilizing UNITA forces. He has been indicted on charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER TO VISIT THREE ASIAN NATIONS

High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson will visit China, Cambodia and East Timor to address human rights concerns in those countries. Her trip will be from August 18 to 25.

On her seventh visit as High Commissioner to China, Robinson will take stock of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding concluded with China in November 2000.

In Cambodia, her visit will focus on judicial and legal reform, human trafficking and economic and social rights.

In Dili, she will deliver an address to Parliament and will also attend the first public hearing of East Timors Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

UN BOSNIA MISSION CONCERNED AT RESPONSE TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING

The UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNMIBH) today said that it remains concerned at the high level of judicial ineffectiveness in dealing with cases of human trafficking in that country.

The Mission noted that last week, a Bosnian district court found three individuals guilty of having trafficked three women, but sentenced them only to suspended prison terms of one to one-and-a-half years. The Mission responded, This mild sentencing is appalling and an insult to women who had become victims of severe human rights violations.

The Mission also mentioned some signs of progress in the fight against human trafficking, with 10 cases where traffickers have been successfully tried and sentenced since June of this year, a sharp increase from previous years.

Also on trafficking, in a report to the General Assembly, the Secretary-General says that more action by Governments and others to deal with human trafficking needs to be taken, including preventive measures, as well as measures to ensure adequate protection to support trafficking victims. Programs and policies to assist trafficking victims, he writes, should include training for police officers, government officials and customs and border police.

ANNAN COMMENDS COOPERATION BETWEEN UN, PACIFIC ISLANDS

In a message to the 33rd Pacific Islands Forum held in Suva, Fiji, delivered by John Renninger of the Department of Political Affairs, the Secretary-General commended as most useful the cooperation between the United Nations and the Forum. The UN has facilitated the electoral processes in Fiji and the Solomon Islands, and the peace process in Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.

The Secretary-General said, The challenges we face in this age of globalization oblige all countries and regions to work together in all spheres of human activity.

He also noted that in just two weeks time, the world will gather to discuss issues of the utmost importance to the Pacific countries in Johannesburg for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. I know you have been and continue to be fully engaged in the crucial work to seek a successful outcome there, he said.

UNDP, OTHERS SIGN ON TO OFFSET TRAVEL COSTS TO JOHANNESBURG

The UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank have become the first inter-governmental organizations to sign up to the Johannesburg Climate Legacy, an initiative committing those who travel to the World Summit on Sustainable Development later this month in Johannesburg to offset the environmental costs created by such travel.

The organizations will pay to neutralize the amount of carbon dioxide from emissions released by their travel, paying the money to a trust fund set up by the Development Bank of South Africa.

UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown said the initiative was an opportunity for UNDP to set an example to take practical steps towards addressing climate change issues, while providing tangible benefits to local communities.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

UNDP noted today that 11 Latvian companies have recently joined the Secretary-Generals Global Compact, which encourages businesses to uphold nine human rights, labour rights and environmental standards.

El Salvador signed the protocol dealing with trafficking in persons, especially women and children; the protocol against the smuggling of migrants; and the protocol against the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms.

Also today, Haiti signed the two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, dealing, respectively, with children and armed conflict and with the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

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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