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United Nations Daily Highlights, 02-08-22

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

FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, August 22, 2002

SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES MIDDLE EAST IN CONSULTATIONS

The Security Council met in closed consultations this morning. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Danilo Türk provided the Council with its monthly review of the situation in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, in Paris today, the meeting of the International Task Force on Palestinian Reform opened as scheduled.

The discussions will continue until Friday, and the Task Force is expected to release a statement at the end of Fridays session.

ANNAN NAMES CHIEF FOR INDIA-PAKISTAN OBSERVER GROUP

Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced today the appointment of Major-General Pertti Juhani Puonti of Finland as Chief Military Observer in the United Nations Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

Major-General Puonti succeeds Major-General Hermann K. Loidolt of Austria, who led the mission since July 2001.

Major-General Puonti was born in 1948 and has served in the Finnish armed forces since 1968.

UN MISSION WILLING TO SUPPORT INVESTIGATION IN AFGHANISTAN

The spokesman for the UN Mission in Afghanistan, Manoel de Almeida e Silva, today said that the United Nations has not been formally approached by the Afghan Government about helping in any investigation of mass grave sites in northern Afghanistan, but added that the United Nations would be prepared to support any investigation.

He reiterated that it would be ideal to protect the gravesite at Dasht-e-Leily, as recommended by Afghanistans Independent Human Rights Commission. Meanwhile, the UN Mission will send people to the area periodically to visit the site.

The Mission today also said that the disarmament process that was to have begun in Gosfandi, in the province of Sar-i-Pul, on Monday has been halted, with the factions in that area working to find a mutually acceptable solution.

A political officer from the UN Mission had travelled to Gosfandi following factional fighting in which eight people were killed last week, but he left the area this morning with the process of disarming combatants unresolved.

ANNAN SAYS 700,000 SOMALIS FACE HUMANITARIAN PROBLEMS

The Secretary-General, in his latest report to the General Assembly on Somalia, says that recent months have seen a worsening of the humanitarian situation in many parts of that country, with drought, conflict and displacement combining to affect some 700,000 Somalis who live at, or below, subsistence level.

The Secretary-General says that, although the United Nations is able to maintain a strong presence in north-western Somalia, access to the northeast, central and southern areas remains restricted because of the volatile security situation. Despite that, the United Nations remains committed to Somalia, with more than 900 projects to provide humanitarian and development assistance to its people.

The Secretary-General adds that the United Nations also will undertake peace-building activities aimed at strengthening communities and encouraging factional reconciliation, and he urged Member States to contribute to the trust fund for such peace-building activities.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Maxwell Gaylard, today drew attention to the problems that factional armed conflict has created by hindering humanitarian access to vulnerable communities.

In Mogadishu, a crime wave which has included the brief abductions of three local UN staff over the past six months has made aid efforts there difficult, while heavy fighting in Baidoa, in the southwest, and Puntland, in the northeast, have slowed humanitarian projects in those areas.

Gaylard said in Geneva today that the sanctity of the UN flag must be restored, so that vital humanitarian assistance can be delivered to where it is most needed.

TRIBUNAL RESPONDS TO CRITICISMS FROM RWANDAN GOVERNMENT

The President of the Rwanda Tribunal, Judge Navanethem Pillay, in a letter to the Security Council, responded to accusations levelled at the Tribunal by Rwandas Government of inefficiency, corruption and other failings.

The Tribunals reply notes the problems it has had in obtaining witnesses from Rwanda for its trials in Arusha, Tanzania, which, it says, has severely disrupted trial proceedings at the Rwanda Tribunal, setting them back by several months.

It defends its treatment of witnesses, who come under the care of a witness support unit, and notes that over 80 percent of its witnesses testify anonymously and are given appropriate security protection before, during and after their testimony.

It also notes efforts by the Tribunal to reform its management over the years and to pick up the pace of trials, a process which is expected to improve following the approval by the Security Council earlier this month of the creation of a pool of 18 additional ad litem, or short-term, judges.

The Tribunal ends by stressing the importance for the Security Council to underscore the independence and impartiality of the Tribunal and the obligation of all States, including Rwanda, to cooperate with it.

UN MISSION OUTLINES PROCESS TO EVALUATE BOSNIAN POLICE

The UN Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina today outlined the process it has designed to certify that Bosnian police meet international standards of professional competence and personal integrity.

All Bosnian police officers, the Mission says, will need to meet requirements on their ability to exercise police powers; they will need to have clean criminal records and valid educational credentials; they must have completed compulsory courses provided by the UN Mission; and they must have proof of their Bosnian citizenship and full compliance with housing laws.

Should any of these criteria not be met, the Mission says that officers will not be certified.

IN CAMBODIA, RIGHTS CHIEF URGES ACTION AGAINST TRAFFICKING

High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson left Cambodia today, one day after she addressed the countrys National Assembly and told it that she hoped the people of Cambodia are now on the road towards a society in which a responsible, democratic and representative government will be firmly established.

She told the National Assembly that Southeast Asia remains a major center for the trafficking of women and children, with more than 200,000 women and children trafficked in the region every year. She said of the victims of such trafficking, They are our sisters and daughters; they are our children. This trafficking in them must stop. She urged all countries in the region to work together to end what she called this vicious and inhuman trade.

Robinsons next, and final, stop on her current travels in Asia is East Timor.

FAO AFGHANISTAN PROJECT SHOWS IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE

In a continuing effort to underscore priorities in advance of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Spokesman today focused on the priority of agriculture.

Del Jan is one of many thousands of Afghan women who, along with their families, were forced to flee their homes to avoid increased violence and fighting in the countryside.

She initially sought refuge near Jalalabad, and then returned to her village, where she went back to her primary occupation: farming. However, she soon realized she could not earn enough money to feed her family with proceeds from a small vegetable stand.

Del Jan then decided to take part in a Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) project on village poultry production. From FAO, Del Jan received a starter package of 10 hens, construction material for a coop and a shed, 10 kilos of chicken feed, vaccines and training.

Today, using high-productivity breeds, Del Jan's family was able to quadruple their yearly egg production. This has enabled her to make a small income by selling eggs in the market in Kabul. Egg production contributes about 40 percent of the income of poor Afghan families.

Del Jan is one of some 2,500 village women taking part in this project. More than 90 percent of poultry production in Afghan villages is in the hands of women.

The program is not just a one-time gift of a starter kit. For six months, small groups of women meet three times per week to discuss poultry production, management, marketing, and animal disease prevention. The meetings also provide an opportunity to talk about social and health issues.

Poultry production has big potential in Afghanistan. Working with the farmers, FAO has created a unique infrastructure of self-sustainable projects that could be easily expanded. These types of projects help to generate income and business opportunities especially for women, and contribute to a better diet for Afghan families.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

The World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization Secretariat today published a joint study of the relationship between trade rules and public health. The study, WTO Agreements and Public Health, covers areas such as drugs, intellectual property rights, food safety and tobacco. It outlines the implications of WTO agreements on health and trade policies.

The World Food Programme today launched an online donation feature on its website.

The new feature allows individuals to use a credit card to make direct donations to help the agency feed hungry people. With a few clicks of a mouse, individuals can make a difference in the fight against hunger, said James Morris, WFP's Executive Director, while making the first online donation.

There will be an evacuation drill at UN Headquarters on Friday, sometime between 8:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon.

  • The guest at the briefing was Catherine Bertini, the Secretary-Generals Personal Humanitarian Envoy, who just returned from the Middle East, where she had been sent by the Secretary-General to the assess the nature and the scale of the humanitarian crisis, and to review humanitarian needs in the light of recent developments.

    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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