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United Nations Daily Highlights, 06-01-12

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 STEPHANE DUJARRIC

SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, January 12, 2006

PANEL TO REVIEW U.N. ADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed a panel of external and independent experts to explore ways to redesign the system of administration of justice at the United Nations.

The establishment of the Redesign Panel responds to a request by the General Assembly. It builds on recently announced initiatives such as the creation of the ethics office, the promulgation of a whistleblower protection policy, and the introduction of more rigorous financial disclosure requirements for senior officials, and is a major part of current efforts to strengthen accountability, increase transparency and improve management reform at the United Nations.

The Secretary-General has long felt that the current system of administrative justice has serious shortcomings, in particularly its slowness, and needs to be modernized and professionalized.

The reform of the United Nations will be incomplete if we do not fix the internal system of justice, the Secretary-General says. Staff must have recourse to a system that is efficient and fair.

The Panel is expected to start work by 1 February 2006 and submit its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by the end of July 2006.

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES WORK ON PREVENTION OF GENOCIDE

Fifty-five years ago, on this day, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide entered into force. Ever since, it has embodied the United Nations aspiration to prevent massive and serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

Last year, at the 2005 World Summit, world leaders collectively affirmed the responsibility of each individual State to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Today, as we recall our collective failures in places like Rwanda and Srebrenica, it remains my hope that we may never again be found wanting where so many lives hang in the balance.

That is why I

encourage Member States and non-governmental organizations to work with the United Nations, and with my

Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, to develop the Organizations capacity to provide early warning of potential genocidal situations. Simultaneously, the international community's capacity for preventive action must be strengthened, as should its ability to take timely and decisive measures in the face of serious human rights violations that may degenerate into genocide.

SECRETARY-GENERAL AND SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSS DARFUR

There are no meetings or consultations of the

Security Council scheduled for today, but members are having their monthly lunch with the Secretary-General.

The Secretary-General is expected to discuss Darfur with Council members and briefed reporters on those discussions following the luncheon.

ANNAN SPOKE WITH IRANIAN NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR

The Secretary-General spoke to the Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani for over 40 minutes on the latest developments.

The Secretary-General will be giving you more details when he speaks to you after the Council luncheon.

U.N. ENVOY TO IRAQ CONDEMNS LATEST VIOLENCE

Ashraf Qazi, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for

Iraq, today condemned the upsurge of violence since last months elections, notably in the cities of Baghdad and Karbala.

He said that much of the violence appears to be politically motivated and calculated to provoke further inter-communal strife. Qazi commended the calls of spiritual and community leaders, as well as of ordinary Iraqis, for an end to the violence.

He added that it is also important that the formation of a new government proceed in an atmosphere free of intimidation.

U.N. MISSION IN HAITI SAYS DEATH OF COMMANDER WAS SUICIDE

The

UN Mission in Haiti says that suicide was the official cause of the death of Lieutenant-General Urano Teixeira Da Matta Bacellar, the late Force Commander for UN peacekeepers in the Caribbean nation.

That was also the conclusion of the Brazilian investigation.

SOUTH AFRICA TO LEAD THE G-77

Later this afternoon, we expect that South Africa will assume the chairmanship of the

Group of 77 coalition of developing nations for the coming year, replacing Jamaica.

The Secretary-General will speak at that handover, and he is to call on the Group of 77 members to redouble their efforts for an early agreement on a new Human Rights Council, as well as to move ahead on UN management reforms.

He is to say that tremendous work lies ahead, with the disappointing outcome of last months trade talks in Hong Kong illustrating that agreement on difficult and contentious issues does not come easily.

MEMBER STATES KICK OFF 2006 HUMANITARIAN FUNDING

As a follow-up to the Humanitarian Appeal 2006, which the Secretary-General launched last November, Member States

gathered in Geneva today to state their humanitarian priorities as well as their funding intentions for 2006.

Called the Programme Kick-off, the event marked the start of the new funding cycle and highlighted the need for donations, so that this years humanitarian programmes could get up and running as soon as possible.

High Commissioner for Refugees Antˇnio Guterres, who was a key speaker at todays meeting, said that humanitarian aid should not depend on strategic considerations or public opinion. Rather, it should be distributed fairly.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE PREPARES SMALL ARMS CONFERENCE

A

General Assembly committee meeting has been going on all this week on the prevention of the illicit spread of small arms.

The meeting is in preparation for a conference to be held in New York starting June 27th to review progress on small arms work, worldwide, over the past five years.

In the opening session

Nobuyasu Abe, the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs warned delegates that the problem is a long term one.

He

said while significant progress had been made in combating the illicit small arms scourge, those weapons remained a massive problem, killing, maiming and threatening individuals daily.

U.N. ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME ISSUES REPORT ON CHINA RIVER POLLUTION

Last month, we told you that a team from the

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) had gone to China following the chemical explosion that led to pollution of the Songhua River.

That teams

report is now available. Among other things, it

recommends that China conduct a risk assessment of a random sample of Chinese chemical factories in order to strengthen safety-related procedures, minimize the risk of accidents, and improve the handling of accidents if they do occur.

The report also suggests that China boost the coordination of local communities to reduce the risk of industrial accidents.

UNEP stands ready to help the Chinese authorities to implement the recommendations, and both the Chinese Government and UNEP have agreed to share the report with the relevant Russian authorities.

URGENT HELP NEEDED IN EAST AFRICA DROUGHT

The

UN Environment Programme

says urgent action is needed to overcome the drought which is spreading across parts of East Africa, and threatens misery for millions alongside livelihoods and livestock.

There are many causes of the drought and these range from issues of good governance to tensions and conflicts in water-scarce regions, but the drought also has strong links with ongoing environmental damage to forests, grasslands, wetlands and other critical ecosystems as well as global climate change.

UNEP is urging countries in the region to invest in and rehabilitate their natural or nature capital in order to buffer vulnerable communities against future droughts.

U.N. DOCUMENTS TO BE PRINTED IN BRAILLE

The United Nations will be able for the first time to

print material in Braille thanks to the donation of a state-of-the-art printer by the non-profit organization Services for the Visually Impaired, in collaboration with the World Blind Union.

The printer was today handed over to Ambassador Don MacKay of New Zealand, the Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee on a convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.

It will be immediately used at the seventh session of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, which is meeting at the United Nations from 16 January to 3 February.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY MAKING PROGRESS ON HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

According to the

General Assembly, informal consultations on the Human Rights Council yesterday produced encouraging results, and they concluded on a very positive note.

Member States -- a considerable number of which were represented at the Permanent or Deputy Permanent Representative level -- agreed that the basis for further discussions would be the 19 December text presented by the Co-Chairs of the consultations, of South Africa and Panama.

It was also agreed that several items in the text presented in bold face would be addressed as a priority. These items relate to the size and membership of the future Council, as well as method of adoption of country-specific resolutions.

They will now proceed to hold consultations with individual member states or small groups of states, and informal consultations of the plenary will resume subsequently, at a date to be determined.

General Assembly President Jan Eliasson will take part this afternoon in the ceremony to mark the formal handover of the chairmanship of the Group of 77 from Jamaica to South Africa.

Asked about several proposals for the reformed Human Rights Council, the Spokesman said that the UN Secretariat would not comment on the details of those proposals or insert itself into the negotiations currently underway among Member States.

He noted that the Secretary-General had put forward his vision of the Human Rights Council in his In Larger Freedom report, and that heads of state and government had committed themselves to establishing a Council last year, with Member States now working on the details.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

MURDER OF INDIAN JOURNALIST CONDEMNED: The UN

Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today

condemned the murder last week in India of reporter Prahlad Goala. UNESCO Director General

Ko´chiro Matsuura said, This killing must be considered a heinous crime against society as a whole. Goalas murder follows on the publication of a series of articles in which he linked local forestry officials to timber smuggling.

UNITED NATIONS COOPERATING WITH INVESTIGATIONS: Asked about the UN response to the arrest of Tongsun Park, the Spokesman said that the UN has been cooperating, and continues to cooperate, with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, as it has done with a number of law enforcement officials around the world. He added that the United Nations would do its utmost to cooperate as requested.

Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 100178

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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