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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-04-04

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 NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Friday, April 4, 2008

FOUR YEARS ON, CONTINUED SUFFERING IN DARFUR

IS BOTH UNFORGIVABLE AND PREVENTABLE

In a statement issued in his name, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: "Four years ago this week, the Security Council first took up the issue of

Darfur. The situation remains grim today, as then, if not worse. Violence targeting civilians, including women and girls, continues at alarming levels with no accountability, or end, in sight.

"Some 4.27 million civilians, including 2.45 million internally displaced, continue to suffer. As a result of ongoing attacks by armed forces and groups, more than 100,000 civilians have been forced to flee from violence this year alone, at a rate of 1,000 per day.

"The ongoing conflict risks the lives of civilians and also jeopardizes regional stability.

"Furthermore, the deterioration of the security situation undermines the deployment of the UN-AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and threatens the historic North-South peace agreement, which ended one of Africas longest and bloodiest wars.

"Where humanitarian workers have been able to operate, they have been effective, preventing epidemics and keeping widespread mortality in Darfur below emergency thresholds. There are approximately 14,700 aid workers providing life-saving assistance to those in need.

"At the same time, these humanitarian staff and their assets have increasingly become targets of armed groups and individuals. The safety and security of humanitarian personnel must be ensured or else we risk rolling back the humanitarian gains of the last four years to emergency levels.

"However, humanitarian aid, while necessary, is never the only solution. The international community has spent close to $1 billion per year during the past three years on humanitarian assistance and recovery operations in Darfur in the hope that peace and development would follow.

"Resolving the Darfur conflict requires all parties and stakeholders to lay down their arms and commit to a peaceful settlement of the conflict. A peacekeeping operation can be only effective when there is a peace to keep. Pressure must be maintained on all parties to commit to a cessation of hostilities and ultimately a cease-fire and political settlement. While we press forward with the deployment of UNAMID, we will continue to support the joint AU-UN mediation efforts.

"Although the Security Council has adopted seven resolutions related to Darfur since 2004, the conflict and suffering of the people of Darfur continue.

"I call upon all parties and stakeholders to immediately focus on the fundamental requirement for the protection of civilians and the establishment of sustainable peace and stability in Darfur. Four years on, the conflict in Darfur persists at extreme and unacceptable levels. But continued suffering is both unforgivable and preventable, and the potential for peace and progress is great. So let us not dwell on what has been lost in Darfur, but call upon all parties and stakeholders to immediately focus on what can be achieved by ending the hostilities, protecting civilians and coming to the negotiating table in good faith to secure the peace the Darfurians desperately need now."

Asked for an update on troop composition for the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur, the Spokeswoman said that there were currently 7,533 military troops and 1,687 police officers on the ground in Darfur.

Okabe added, in response to another question, that UNAMID police are now conducting an average of 125 daily confidence-building patrols between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. in 45 community policing posts across the three sectors. Night patrols have also begun, though on small scale, in selected areas and are expected to be expanded further, she said.

In response to a question, Okabe said the United Nations had obtained the agreement from the government of Sudan for the deployment of peacekeepers from Thailand and Nepal.

Asked if the Secretary-General's statement above came in response to letters from Chad and Sudan, Okabe said that it was not. Rather, she added, the statement is being issued to mark the fourth anniversary of the Security Council's first meeting on Darfur.

In response to a question about the delivery of critically needed assets for the Darfur mission, Okabe said that the Secretary-General has informed the Security Council in his latest report that there have been no new pledges for the required aviation and transportation units from troop contributing countries. She added that the mission still lacked one heavy and one medium ground transportation units, three military utility aviation units (i.e. a total of 18 helicopters) and additional attack helicopters to meet the full operational requirements.

Ethiopia, Okabe noted, has pledged four attack helicopters but there have been no changes since this last pledge.

Asked if the receiving of the required helicopters was so essential as to hold up any further deployment of peacekeeping troops, Okabe replied that the Secretary-General has made it clear that it is incumbent upon Member States to pledge these critical capabilities or prevail upon other states that may be able to do so. The deployment of UNAMID without these critical capabilities will make it a force that lacks the capability to respond to the challenges in the complex environment in which it is deployed, Okabe said.

The deployment is going on as quickly as possible, she noted, but the deployment of soldiers alone is not going to able to allow the Mission to do its job as mandated by the Security Council.

U.N. ACCELERATING DARFUR DEPLOYMENT;

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY APPEALS FOR FUNDS

In his latest 30-day report to the Security Council on the deployment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), the Secretary-General says we are accelerating the deployment of Egyptian and Ethiopian battalions. Following their arrival, we will prioritize the deployment of the Thai and Nepalese units, which are ready to deploy and possess the required capabilities to make UNAMID an effective force.

The report also says that the Peacekeeping Department and all levels of the UN Secretariat continue to pursue options with regard to the missing aviation and transportation assets. It is incumbent upon Member States to pledge these critical capabilities or prevail upon other States that may be in a position to do so. The deployment of UNAMID without these critical assets will make it a force that lacks the capability to respond to the challenges and complex environment in which it is deployed.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency issued an appeal today for US$40.3 million to provide protection and assistance to refugees and internally displaced people in the Darfur region of Sudan in 2008. The funds will be used to help some 2.5 million displaced Darfurians and returnees as well as 47,500 refugees from Chad and the Central African Republic who have fled inter-ethnic clashes and conflict in their own countries.

SITUATION IN GEORGIA TENSE BUT SECURITY REMAINS STABLE

In the Secretary-Generals latest report on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, he notes that the past three months have witnessed moments of tension between the two sides.

Nevertheless, according to the UN Observer Mission in Georgia, the security situation in its area of responsibility remains relatively stable overall.

This is a welcome development that contrasts favorably with the same period last year, he adds.

PROTESTERS BREAK INTO U.N. HAITI COMPOUND

The situation in the Haitian town of Les Cayes remains tense following yesterday's demonstration against the rising cost of living which turned violent after a small group attacked the local UN office.

Thats according to the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, which adds that some protesters broke into the UN compound, ignoring warning shots from UN peacekeepers, pillaged two containers, and damaged the main entry gate. They also burned shops in the town, threw rocks and fired weapons at UN peacekeepers during the night. No UN employees were hurt in the incident.

The Mission says it has sent reinforcements to Les Cayes, flying in more than 100 additional peacekeepers. The Missions top police officials are now in Les Cayes to oversee UN police operations and coordinate with the Haitian police.

U.N. HUMANITARIAN OFFICIALS CALL FOR END TO VIOLENCE IN IRAQ AND GREATER ACCESS FOR RELIEF WORKERS

Two senior UN humanitarian officials today

called for an immediate end to the violence in Iraq, along with greater efforts to enable the safe passage of relief personnel and supplies.

At a press conference in Amman, Jordan, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said that ongoing hostilities and restrictions on freedom of movement have hindered access by aid workers to millions of Iraqis in need.

He said that it remains a UN priority to address the most acute needs of all Iraqis who can be reached, while taking into account the safety of humanitarian aid workers. He also urged donors to provide full funding of the $265 million appeal launched in February.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, David Shearer, recently returned from an assessment mission to Basra. He told reporters in Amman that supplies are reaching more people in the southern Iraqi port city, averting a humanitarian crisis there, but much more needs to be done. He also noted significant obstacles to delivering aid to Baghdads Sadr City.

U.N. HAS DISMANTLED MOST OBSERVATION POSTS IN CÔTE D'IVOIRES

ZONE OF CONFIDENCE

The UN Mission in Côte d'Ivoire says it continues to dismantle its observation posts in accordance with the March 2007 Ouagadougou Political Agreement, which ended active hostilities between government and rebel forces.

The Mission says that of its original 17 military observation posts built inside the former Zone of Confidence between government and rebel-held areas, only two now remain operational.

The dismantling process, the Mission says, was being completed gradually after a UN-led security assessment and in consultation with the Ivorian parties.

SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES EVERY STATE TO RATIFY MINE CONVENTION

Today is the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

To mark this day, the Secretary-General in a message, calls on every State to ratify all disarmament, humanitarian and human rights law instruments related to landmines, explosive remnants of war and to the survivors of the devastating devices.

He also says that widest possible ratification and full compliance are the only ways for the international community to succeed in preventing new injuries and fatalities while ensuring that victims and their families fully realize their rights.

He adds that, with initiatives under way to eliminate these cluster munitions, new international instruments may soon emerge. The Secretary-General welcomes all endeavors to end the humanitarian impact of these weapons.

Stressing that member States, civil society and the UN must strive to foster the legislative, social and economic conditions that enable survivors to realize their rights and be productive members of society, the Secretary-General says Mine action-related assistance integrated into broader efforts to ensure respect for the rights of persons with disabilities will also contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Many events are taking place around the world on the occasion. At the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, a series of presentations took place displaying de-mining equipment and mine risk education materials and mine clearance activities.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon organized several mine risk education sessions and other activities in order to raise awareness about the problem and inform on preventive measures against the threat posed by mines and cluster bombs in the area.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL TO DELIVER KEYNOTE ADDRESS ON DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING: Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro is planning to travel this afternoon to Syracuse University in Upstate New York to deliver the keynote speech at an event commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King's life and achievements. The Deputy Secretary-General will focus her remarks on Dr. King's contribution to peaceful relations among people and nations, and on how his mission resonated with the values and principles of the United Nations.

U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF TO CONTINUE CONSULTATIONS ON CYPRUS: The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, will visit Athens and Ankara, respectively, on 7-8 April, continuing his consultations on how the United Nations can best assist reunification efforts in Cyprus.

SECRETARY-GENERAL CLOSELY MONITORING SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE: Asked for a reaction to reports of violent attacks on the opposition in the wake of bitterly contested elections in Zimbabwe, Okabe said that the Secretary-General continues to closely monitor the situation.

NO COMMENT ON PRESS REPORTS ON NEW HEAD OF U.N. PEACEKEEPING: The Spokeswoman declined to comment on press reports that the Secretary-General had assured the French President that the post of Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping would go to France.

THE WEEK AHEAD AT THE UNITED NATIONS[1]

Saturday, April 5

In Saudi Arabia, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes begins a six-day visit to the Gulf region to strengthen collaboration between the UN and Gulf States in addressing humanitarian issues worldwide. He will also travel to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

Monday, April 7

The guest at the noon briefing, Manuel Escudero, Head of the Academic Initiatives at the UN Global Compact office, briefs on the Principles for Responsible Management Education, a UN-backed global initiative to promote corporate responsibility and sustainability in business education.

Today is World Health Day.

At 6 p.m. in the Delegates Entrance in the Kuwaiti Boat area, the commemoration of the fourteenth anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda takes place. The Secretary-General is expected to deliver remarks.

From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, there will be a screening of A Walk to Beautiful, which chronicles the stories of five Ethiopian fistula survivors, followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers.

All this week in Conference Room 1, the 41st Session of the Commission on Population and Development meets to discuss the growing urbanization of world population and its social and environmental impacts.

From today through 24 April at Headquarters, the Disarmament Commission holds its substantive session.

All this week, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Criminal Accountability of UN officials and experts on mission meets at Headquarters.

Today and tomorrow, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, visits Athens and Ankara, , continuing his consultations on how the United Nations can best assist reunification efforts in Cyprus.

From today through 18 April in Geneva, the Human Rights Councils Universal Periodic Review Working Group holds its first session, during which 16 States will have their human rights records examined.

In Dubai, the launch of the regional Global Compact network for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries takes place.

Tuesday, April 8

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing and hold consultations on Haiti. A briefing and consultations on the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) for Lebanon are scheduled for the afternoon.

At 4.45 p.m. in S-226, there will be a press conference by Daniel Bellemare, Commissioner of the IIIC.

Today and tomorrow in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, the General Assembly holds an informal thematic debate on Toward a common understanding on management reform.

At 1.15 p.m. in S226, Hania Zlotnik, Director of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division; Eduardo Moreno, Chief of the Global Urban Observatory of the Monitoring System Branch of UN-HABITAT; and others discuss the work of 41st Session of the Commission on Population and Development.

Today and tomorrow in Conference Room 7, there will be a workshop on Debt, finance and emerging issues in financial integration.

The International Monetary Fund launches its Global Financial Stability report.

From today through Friday, the First Global Agro-Industries Forum: Increasing Competitiveness and Development Impact takes place in New Delhi.

Wednesday, April 9

From today through Friday, the Secretary-General is in Moscow, where he is expected to meet with Russian Government leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He is also scheduled to speak at the Moscow State University and the launch of the UN Global Compact's Russia network.

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Conference Room 4, the Peacebuilding Commission holds an informal, open meeting of its Burundi configuration.

From 3 to 5.30 p.m. in Conference Room 8, there will be a panel discussion, based on the first volume of the World Report on Regional Integration Multilateralism, Regionalism and Bilateralism in Trade and Investment.

The International Monetary Fund launches its World Economic Outlook.

Thursday, April 10

This morning, the Security Council is scheduled to hold consultations on Timor-Leste.

The guest at the noon briefing, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, discusses the outcome of last weeks first round of negotiations in the Bangkok Climate Change Talks on a new global climate change agreement.

From today through 24 April, the Ad Hoc Committee on the Administration of Justice at the United Nations meets at Headquarters.

Friday, April 11

At 11 a.m. in Room S-226, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim provides an update on the Assemblys work, including the outcome of recent meetings on the Millenniuum Development Goals and management reform, as well as a look ahead at upcoming activities.

Following the noon briefing, there will be a technical briefing by Gary Fowlie, Chief of the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, on media arrangements for Pope Benedict XVIs visit to the UN on 18 April.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055

to the Spokesperson's Page


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