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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-06-16
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY MICHELE MONTAS
SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Monday, June 16, 2008
SECRETARY-GENERAL CONDEMNS ATTEMPTS AT DESTABILIZATION IN CHAD
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the deterioration of the security situation in Chad as a result of renewed fighting in the eastern part of the country, particularly the latest offensive by the Chadian Armed Opposition Group (CAOG).
The Secretary-General condemns all attempts to destabilize the country and is concerned about the risk of a deterioration of the already grave humanitarian situation, especially in eastern Chad, where the international community is actively engaged in providing relief and securing the voluntary, safe and sustainable return of refugees and displaced persons.
The Secretary-General calls on all parties to cease hostilities immediately and abide by their commitments under the different peace accords signed by them. He appeals to the parties to urgently resort to dialogue to reach a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the crisis in Chad.
SECURITY COUNCIL URGES DARFUR PARTIES TO COOPERATE WITH INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
The Security Council held consultations this morning on Liberia sanctions and other matters. The Libyan Ambassador, who chairs the Security Council Committee dealing with Liberia sanctions, briefed on the latest report of the Panel of Experts.
The Council then moved into the formal chamber to adopt a presidential statement on Sudan, urging the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict in Darfur to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court.
Following that, the Council moved back into consultations to hear a briefing on developments in Chad from Dmitry Titov, one of the Assistant Secretaries-General in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
The Council then returned to the formal chamber to adopt a presidential statement on Chad, the Central African Republic and the subregion, condemning in the strongest possible terms the attacks conducted by Chadian armed groups since 11 June 2008.
Following that adoption, the Council President read out a press statement, welcoming the recent International Conference in Support of Afghanistan, held last week in Paris.
SECRETARY-GENERAL MEETS U.K. OFFICIALS IN LAST STOP ON WEEKLONG TRIP TO EUROPE AND SAUDI ARABIA
The Secretary-General will wrap up his week-long trip to London, Paris and Jeddah this evening, when he will speak at the sixtieth anniversary of the International Maritime Organization.
After that, he will attend the unveiling of BBCs Breathing Sculpture a tribute to journalists who have died in the course of their work and he will honour the memories of all those who paid for their courage as reporters with their lives.
Earlier today, the Secretary-General continued his meetings with a wide range of officials in the United Kingdom, including Defense Secretary Des Browne and opposition leader David Cameron.
He spent the weekend in Saudi Arabia, where on Saturday he met with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in Jeddah. They discussed what the Secretary-General described as the linked problems of rising fuel prices, rising food prices and climate change, and what can be done about it.
The issues of food prices, fuel prices and climate change should be addressed in a comprehensive manner, the Secretary-General told reporters on Sunday, adding that he was grateful that the King intends to convene a high-level meeting of major oil producers and consumers on this issue next week in Saudi Arabia.
The Secretary-General and the King also discussed Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the Kings proposal for interfaith dialogue among the worlds religions.
King Abdullah especially welcomed the progress made by the Somali parties last week in the Doha talks, under the auspices of Special Representative Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, and said that the parties could sign the agreement in Saudi Arabia at any time. The date of the signing will be fixed immediately, the Secretary-General said.
On Sunday, the Secretary-General continued his meetings with Saudi Government officials, including with the Kingdoms Crown Prince and Interior Minister, and he spoke by phone with the Oil Minister about rising fuel prices.
Asked if the Secretary-General should be credited with persuading the Saudi leadership, including the King, to increase oil output by 200,000 additional barrels a day, the Spokeswoman explained that Ban Ki-moon was relaying to journalists traveling with him information given him by the Saudi oil minister. According to that information, Saudi Arabia had increased its output by 300,000 barrels a day from May to June and will increase it again by 200,000 from June to July. "Total production should then be at 9.7 million barrels a day," Montas added.
In response to another question, Montas said that the Secretary-General and the Saudi king had "a very productive meeting."
Asked if Ban Ki-moon believed that surging oil prices were caused by low oil production, Montas said that the free market and laws of supply and demand were driving up oil prices and that greater oil output might help bring down prices.
Asked if the Secretary-General's apparent focus on getting oil producers to increase output could blind him to the more systemic failures in the global market itself, Montas stressed that Ban Ki-moon is fully aware of the comprehensive nature of the problem. Since the start of the crisis, he has been actively discussing the larger implications of the problem, including its impact on food prices as raised by participants in the Rome Conference convened earlier this month by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). "The Secretary-General," Montas said, "has been calling for a comprehensive approach to the surge in the price of food and oil because they are all parts of the same issue."
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT SUSPENDS PROCEEDINGS AGAINST CONGOLESE LEADER
The International Criminal Courts trial chamber with jurisdiction over the case of Congolese rebel commander Thomas Lubanga Dyilo has suspended proceedings against the accused. The Judges said in a statement that unless this stay is lifted the trial process in all respects will remain at a halt. A hearing is now planned for 24 June to consider Lubangas release.
The judges say that the Prosecutor failed to disclose to the defense more than 200 confidential documents that could have proven Lubangas innocence, in an apparent violation of the fundamental right of the accused to a fair trial.
Thomas Lubanga, the leader of Union of Congolese Patriots, was arrested and delivered to the Court in March 2006 on an ICC arrest warrant. War charges against him were confirmed in January 2007 for recruiting of children under the age of 15 and deploying them in active hostilities in Ituri province.
U.N. NOTES IMPROVED ACCESS TO MYANMAR BUT SAYS RELIEF WORKERS NEED TO BE ABLE TO STAY LONGER
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) notes some improvement in access for aid workers in Myanmar. Approximately 195 visas have now been issued for UN staff alone, and a joint assessment team of 250 people is now on the ground in affected areas.
However, international relief workers still require much more sustained access to the Delta area. This particularly includes key skilled technical staff, such as technicians for water plants, hygiene promoters and sanitation engineers, OCHA says. Some workers are limited to stays of only two to three days at a time.
The World Food Programme now has ten chartered helicopters flying in the Delta, enabling the UN to transport critical supplies directly to remote villages and areas that were previously unreachable, such as Bogale and Labutta.
A joint needs assessment currently underway will provide a more detailed understanding of gaps and assistance required, but it may still be some time before the picture is complete.
U.N. MISSION IN LIBERIA HANDS OVER REFURBISHED COMPLEXES TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES
The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and several UN agencies have refurbished Liberias largest prison facility. The newly-reopened National Palace of Corrections has been re-designed to improve living conditions for prisoners, as well as working conditions for staff.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is building ten new County Headquarters; the first one has been handed over to the national police leadership in the eastern county of Grand Gedeh. All of the centers will have a Women and Childrens Protection Section. UNMIL notes that, with increased confidence in the rule of law, more and more women and children are coming forward to report crimes.
UNMIL has also built a new safe house for victims of sexual and gender-based violence. The house, at an undisclosed location, will be operated by a local NGO, with support from UNICEF.
D.R. CONGO: HIGH-LEVEL CONSULTATION ON ERADICATING SEXUAL VIOLENCE GETS UNDERWAY
Now underway in Goma, a northeastern town of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a two-day high-level regional consultation on the eradication of sexual violence and the elimination of impunity in the Great Lakes Region.
The meeting aims to accelerate the implementation of an urgent response to the problem of sexual violence. It also seeks to adopt measures to ensure the prevention, protection and access to care and justice for women and children. These measures could be expanded into the first regional action plan to root out sexual violence and combat impunity for this crime in the Great Lakes Region.
The consultation is being organized by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region with financing from and the participation of the UN Development Fund for Women, the UN Population Fund, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC).
Now available on MONUCs website is the human rights report of the assessment team deployed to inquire on rights violation during a deadly face-off between government troops and the militant Banda dia Kongo in the Bas Congo province in February. The report blames the government for the killing of some 100 BDK supporters and for destroying 200 civilian buildings. The mission recommends a criminal investigation by the Congolese authorities into the violence.
DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL NOTES NEED TO IMPROVE U.N. SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE ON GENDER ISSUES
The Deputy Secretary-General is participating this morning in informal consultations of the General Assembly on system-wide coherence focusing on gender equality and womens empowerment.
In prepared remarks, she says that gender equality and womens empowerment are core elements of fostering peace, achieving development, protecting the environment, promoting human rights and reaching so many of the UNs goals.
However, the Deputy Secretary-General notes that while UN entities increasingly work together on gender equality programmes and take steps to improve inter-agency coordination, overall effectiveness and coherence remain limited.
Support to Member States is crippled by the lack of a recognized driver that can provide direction and guidance to the UN system on long-standing and emerging challenges and hold the system accountable for delivering results on the ground.
So, she says, it is essential that we support change to strengthen the UNs gender equality and womens empowerment work. Success lies in the hands of each and every one of us, she says.
U.N. ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME TO ADDRESS HAZARDOUS WASTE AND OTHER ISSUES IN AFRICA
The UN Environment Programme is undertaking two major initiatives in Africa. In the first,
launched today, UNEP will help the Governments of Côte d'Ivoire and other countries in the region to manage hazardous waste, both within their countries and across borders. The plan will also tackle the issue of waste generated on ships.
In a separate project, UNEP is also
helping Kenya to green its capital, Nairobi. The plan will focus on solid waste management, improving air quality, rehabilitating rivers, developing riverfronts, and generating energy from slaughterhouse and other organic wastes.
DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD FOCUSES ON CHILDRENS PARTICIPATION
Today marks The Day of the African Child, which this year is dedicated to the right to participate.
On this occasion, the UN Children Fund (UNICEF) highlights the importance of child participation in schools, community action, media, and governance.
To make children seen and heard, UNICEF supports the 4th Junior 8 Summit in Japan next month that will give young people the opportunity to share their views directly with world leaders gathered for the G8 Summit.
U.N. CALLS FOR A GLOBAL CHILD HELPLINE NUMBER
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has called for a harmonized global child helpline number.
The ITU has endorsed the number 116 111, already in use in many countries.
Child helplines have become an important mechanism for children in many countries, says the ITU.
U.N. SAFETY AND SECURITY REPORT BEING STUDIED BY LEGAL EXPERTS: The Spokeswoman, in response to a question, said that the report prepared by the Panel on the Safety and Security of UN Premises and Personnel was being studied by legal experts and was not yet available to the public.
U.N. POLITICAL OFFICIAL EN ROUTE TO ZIMBABWE: Haile Menkerios, the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, was still en route to Harare where he is expected later today for a series of meetings on the current political crisis in Zimbabwe, the Spokeswoman said in response to a question.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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