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United Nations Daily Highlights, 04-11-09

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SPOKESMAN'S NOON BRIEFING

BY FRED ECKHARD

SPOKESMAN FOR THE

SECRETARY-GENERAL

OF THE UNITED NATIONS

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

ANNAN URGES RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS OF ALL IN COTE DIVOIRE

The

Secretary-General, Kofi Annan,

condemns the attacks that have taken place across the Zone of Confidence, including against the French Licorne force.

He deplores the continuing violence in Abidjan, including against foreign citizens. To prevent any further deterioration in the situation, he urges the parties to ensure the maintenance of the ceasefire and the earliest restoration of calm and normalcy, including through the cessation of all hate media.

He calls on the parties to ensure the protection, safety and respect for the human rights of all in Côte dIvoire.

The Secretary-General welcomes the commencement of joint patrols in Abidjan by units from the

UN Operation in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI), the National Armed Forces of Côte dIvoire (FANCI) and the French Licorne force.

The Secretary-General welcomes the

statement by the

President of the

Security Council of 6 November 2004, which confirms that UNOCI, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, is authorized to prevent any hostile action, in particular, within the Zone of Confidence.

The Secretary-General is increasingly concerned about the humanitarian dimensions of the crisis. There are worrying reports that water and electricity are no longer available at numerous locations, in particular, in the North. Additionally, UN agencies and NGOs have been forced to drastically reduce their programmes due to security concerns.

The Secretary-General urges the Ivorian authorities to restore and maintain basic services and calls on those concerned to ensure that aid workers have unimpeded access to populations in need.

The Secretary-General welcomes todays visit to Abidjan by South African President Thabo Mbeki, on behalf of the African Union, and reiterates his full support for the efforts pursued by the African Union and ECOWAS, in coordination with the United Nations, to find a rapid and lasting solution to the current crisis in Côte dIvoire. He reiterates his call to the parties for a resumption of dialogue and a return to the process of implementing the Linas-Marcoussis and Accra III Agreements.

U.N. PEACEKEEPERS TAKE PART IN JOINT PATROLS TO SECURE ABIDJAN;

HATE RADIO GROWS ABUSIVE; MORE FOREIGNERS SEEK U.N. PROTECTION

UN peacekeepers from Niger and Togo patrolled the tense city of Abidjan today with their counterparts from France and Cote DIvoire in a joint military operation designed to secure some areas and reassure the frightened population.

However, the

UN Operation in Cote dIvoire reports an increase in hate messages on radio and television, which it says are getting more abusive. For example, the number plate of a white van said to be driven around by French nationals was given on national television.

Meanwhile, South African President Thabo Mbeki has arrived in Cote DIvoire on behalf of the African Union to try to end the current crisis.

On the military front, no Ivorian troops (FANCI nor Forces Nouvelles) are reported in the UN-monitored Zone of Confidence. The northern part of Côte d'Ivoire is reported to be generally quiet.

In Abidjan, violent demonstrations showed no signs of waning. Thugs control some areas. Today, women had to pay 100 CFA (about 20 U.S. cents) to get access to at least one market. Food is reportedly getting scarce in some areas.

The number of people, mostly foreign nationals, seeking refuge in UN-protected locations reached more than 1,800.

And in Bouake, the humanitarian situation is reported to be alarming in some areas, where there is no water and no electricity. The UN mission is trying to get fuel to hospitals in the area.

MORE THAN 1,300 IVORIANS HAVE FLED TO LIBERIA TO ESCAPE VIOLENCE

Since the outbreak of violence in Cote d'Ivoire on Thursday, at least 1,327 Ivorians mostly women, children and some elderly have fled into northeastern Liberia,

reports the

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

UNHCR

says it is extremely concerned over the security situation in Cote d'Ivoire and the impact it could have on its neighbours, particularly Liberia, which is itself struggling to emerge from 14 years of civil strife.

The Ivorian arrivals in Liberia, apparently frightened by the sound of gunfire, crossed at several entry points along the Liberia-Cote d'Ivoire border.

The only other place reporting an influx from Cote d 'Ivoire since the weekend was Ghana, where 270 immigrant workers, mostly from Burkina Faso and Nigeria, arrived.

UNHCR offices in the region surrounding Cote d'Ivoire have been alerted for any contingencies.

Planning in case of an outflow of Ivorians is in full swing, including an assessment of emergency stocks and staff in the region.

SECURITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS COTE D'IVOIRE THIS AFTERNOON

At 3 p.m., the Security Council has scheduled closed consultations on Cote D'Ivoire.

MORE EIGHT MILLION AFGHANS VOTED IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

More than eight million

Afghans, or some 70% of registered voters, participated in last months elections, Under-Secretary-General for

Peacekeeping Operations,

Jean Marie Guéhenno, told the

Security Council in an open briefing this morning.

Guéhenno said that ethnic considerations played an important role in the voting, yet candidates were able to operate widely outside their core constituencies.

More importantly, he said, Afghans showed that they are united in their rejection of violence and their right to participate in a peaceful political process.

He said that the

UN Mission in Afghanistan, following initial consultations, says that the overwhelming majority of Afghans is ready to embark on the next stage of the electoral process, to create representative local and national institutions. Parliamentary and local elections are scheduled for next spring.

Guéhenno said that a number of groups are working around the clock to seek the release of three UN staff members who were abducted in Kabul on 28 October.

Meanwhile, he said, a number of special measures have been taken by the United Nations to enhance staff security, which are the most stringent to be put in place in Kabul since 2001.

Security Council members followed the open briefing with closed consultations on Afghanistan.

In a press statement, Council members recognized the historic importance of the first popular presidential election in Afghanistan's history and expressed hope that parliamentary, provincial and district elections planned for spring 2005 be carried out as peacefully and successfully as the presidential election.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY CONCERNED AT FATE OF PEOPLE FLEEING FALLUJAH

The

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today

said it is extremely concerned at the fate of tens of thousands of people who have fled the

Iraqi city of Fallujah to escape the fierce fighting there.

The displaced people are staying with relatives, friends or other Iraqis around Fallujah, UNHCR says, citing information received from groups monitoring the situation in Iraq.

Some of the displaced people have been provided with tents. The majority of civilians appear to have left the city, although it is difficult to establish numbers with any certainty.

UNHCR says the most immediate needs of the displaced are food, shelter, water and sanitation and health care.

SOUTHERN SUDAN: DISPLACED PERSONS, REFUGEES BEGIN RETURN HOME

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan,

Jan Pronk, has met with John Garang, the Chairman of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) to discuss issues related to the

UN Mission's role in the south.

On the humanitarian front pertaining to southern

Sudan, the Mission reports that many internally displaced persons and refugees have begun to return to their areas of origin. They are encouraged by the good prospects for peace, between the Sudanese government and the rebel SPLM.

Protection of these returnees along the main roads remains a concern, the mission says. Landmines constitute a major risk for them.

On Darfur, the

World Food Programme (WFP) noted today that in October, WFP was able to reach 1.1 million persons in

Darfur with food aid. In September, it had been able to reach almost 3 million persons in Darfur. The main reason for the decrease was the lack of security and the resumption of violence.

U.N. ENVOY CERTIFIED RESULTS OF KOSOVO ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Kosovo,

Soren Jessen-Petersen, has certified the results of the Kosovo Assembly elections held last month.

Speaking at the certification ceremony today, he said he expects that the political parties will accept the results, and that they will now get down to work which means once again quickly forming a new government, and moving on the many priorities for Kosovo over the next six to eight months.

He also mentioned the need for political parties to listen to the voices of all minorities in Kosovo, especially that of the Kosovo Serbs.

HUMANITARIAN SITUATION GRADUALLY IMPROVES IN GONAIVES, HAITI

From

Haiti, the

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is reporting that, despite serious security concerns, the humanitarian situation in the northwestern city of Gonaives is gradually improving.

The amount of clean water being distributed to the population has greatly increased although it is still far short of the volume that a population of some 200,000 people would normally require.

UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund, and the NGO Oxfam are working together to restore the clean water supply to some 50 schools and working together to disinfect wells in the area.

Due in large part to the presence of a 120-bed Canadian/Norwegian Red Cross field hospital, health care in Gonaives is now considered to be better than it was before storms battered the city in September.

But the health sector still suffers from a lack of Haitian doctors, a shortage of free medical services and difficulty in replacing epidemiologists who have left the area. Another urgent priority is restoring the destroyed irrigation systems, as the vast majority of Gonaives population depends on agriculture for employment.

Much of the reconstruction work is being hampered by lack of funds.

OCHA notes that UN humanitarian agencies have received only 27% of the $37 million required under the Haiti Floods Flash Appeal.

UNICEF has

announced that a selection of Brazilian soccer players who won the 1994 World Cup will face off against the current Haitian national team in a friendly match to focus attention on the situation in Haiti. The

friendly match will take place in Miami this coming Saturday, 13 November. Ticket sales will fund UNICEFs programmes in Haiti for health, nutrition, education and protection.

SHORTAGE EXPECTED IN MEDICINE FOR MALARIA TREATMENT

The

World Health Organization (WHO)

says there is likely to be a shortage of one of the most effective medicines for the treatment of the deadliest form of

malaria from now until at least March next year.

WHO says this is due to heavy demand for a key ingredient known as artemether-lumefrantine.

WHOs supplier has told it that its own providers in China are experiencing a shortage of the ingredient.

This means that WHO will not be able to procure the quantities it needs to provide countries with during the coming months.

WHO is recommending that all countries facing shortages increase procurement of their second-line anti-malarial treatments.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

REPORT LOOKING INTO ALLEGATIONS ABOUT INTERNAL OVERSIGHT OFFICE COMPLETED: Asked about allegations made about the

UN Office for Internal Oversight Services, the Spokesman said that a report looking into those allegations has been completed by the Department of Management and is expected to go to the

Secretary-General later today.

NO COMMENT ON REPORTED DEATH OF YASSER ARAFAT: Asked about reports on the death of Yasser Arafat, the Spokesman said that the United Nations had seen conflicting reports, and the matter has not been confirmed to its satisfaction.

UNICEF CHIEF CALLS FOR EQUAL EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES FOR GIRLS:

Carol Bellamy, the Executive Director of

UNICEF, the UN Childrens Fund, has

called on nations to respect promises made to ensure that girls and boys receive the same educational opportunities. Worldwide, 121 million primary-school-age children are currently denied schooling. More than half of them are

girls. Bellamy said that in some regions, investment and assistance for education has not been enough to sustain gains made during the 1990s; and new challenges such as

HIV/AIDS and civil conflicts have eroded these gains. Bellamy has outlined a strategy to achieve a radical breakthrough in these areas.

MEETING REPORTS ON NEW MEASURES AGAINST SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN: In a three-day meeting in Bangkok, which concludes today, government, civil society and youth delegates from more than 20 countries in East Asia and the Pacific have been

reporting on new measures to protect children from

commercial sexual exploitation, assist victims and punish exploiters. These efforts include the worlds first multi-country Memorandum of Understanding to prevent trafficking which was signed by six East Asian countries on 29 October, as well as action to address the prostitution of children within their home countries.

ASSESSMENT TEAM CONCLUDES THAT DR CONGO MINE MUST STAY CLOSED: A UN assessment at the Shinkolobwe Uranium Mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo

found high risks of mine collapse and potential chronic exposure to ionising radiation, and concluded that the mine must remain closed. The assessment followed an earlier mine collapse in July 2004 that killed eight people. The interagency team, led by the

UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the

United Nations Environment Programme, visited the mine in the southwestern province of Katanga between 25 October and 4 November, and is preparing technical recommendations.

DEBATE ON INTERNET GOVERNANCE GAINS MOMENTUM: The international debate on governance mechanisms of the Internet is gaining momentum with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) advocating the principle of openness in the debate. The Working Group on Internet Governance will meet at the United Nations in Geneva on 23, 24 and 25 November 2004 with one day of open Consultations for all stakeholders on 24 November, to meet the need for an open, transparent and inclusive process.

  • ** The guest at the noon briefing was Alberto Motivans, Research Officer for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. He briefed on the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2005.

    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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