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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-06-19

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 MICHELE MONTAS

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Thursday, June 19, 2008

BAN KI-MOON WILL SOON APPOINT MESSENGER OF PEACE

TO ADVOCATE FOR END TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice opened the Security Councils meeting today on women and peace and security.

Addressing that meeting this morning, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that an increasing and alarming number of women and girls are falling victim to sexual violence in conflict.

But we can and must push back, he said. In that context, he added that he would soon appoint a Messenger of Peace tasked entirely with advocacy for ending violence against women.

The Secretary-General also told Security Council members that when they adopt resolutions with strong language on sexual and gender-based violence, the UN can respond more forcefully. In that regard, he said, we should ensure that all future mandates have clear provisions on protecting women and children in conflicts.

Referring to the all-female Indian civil police unit in Liberia, he said that, when Member States send the UN qualified female personnel, it can demonstrate the central role of women in restoring stability to war-ravaged countries. He added that he needed Member States to come forward with more women candidates.

The Secretary-General also said, Let me be clear: the United Nations, and I personally, are profoundly committed to a zero-tolerance policy against sexual exploitation or abuse by our own personnel.

He added that we must do far more to involve women in conflict prevention, peace negotiations and recovery after the guns fall silent. By creating a culture that punishes violence and elevates women to their rightful role, we can lay the foundation for lasting stability, where women are not victims of violence, but agents of peace.

DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL DECRIES

CONSEQUENCES OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro also addressed todays meeting, saying that sexual violence has not only grave physical and psychological health consequences for its victims but also direct social consequences for communities and entire societies.

Impunity for sexual violence committed during conflict perpetuates a tolerance of abuse against women and girls and leaves a damaging legacy by hindering national reconciliation, she added.

The Deputy Secretary-General concluded that if we promote the full and equal participation of women in the security sector, we can ensure that security services effectively identify and respond to their needs.

U.N. POLITICAL CHIEF CALLS ESCALATING VIOLENCE IN ZIMBABWE UNACCEPTABLE

Attending the Roundtable on Zimbabwe on behalf of the Secretary-General this morning, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe called the escalating violence in Zimbabwe unacceptable and said that, should current conditions prevail, it would be difficult for the international community to recognize the outcome of the elections.

It is of utmost importance that the violence is stopped immediately and that humanitarian assistance is facilitated, not prevented, Pascoe said.

We must be prepared to send a strong message to ensure that the will of the Zimbabwean people is respected and to call for renewed efforts to restore security and the rule of law in the country. Pascoe added that the country is currently so polarized that whatever the result of the election, a winner-takes-all strategy will not bring peace and stability to the country.

Pascoe also commented on the humanitarian situation, saying that the current political crisis is compounding an already deep social, economic and humanitarian crisis, in a country where as many as four million people are vulnerable and in need of help.

While the Government has now lifted the suspension of field operations for non-governmental organizations running supplementary feeding schemes and those involved in AIDS-related issues, the humanitarian space remains very restricted, Pascoe said.

UN AGENCY HEADS IN SOUTH AFRICA CALL FOR URGENT ACTION

TO PROTECT DISPLACED PERSONS

Heads of UN agencies in South Africa have joined senior national Government Ministers and other high-level representatives of provincial and local government in calling for urgent action to ensure the safety, security and well-being of displaced persons affected by the recent outbreaks of violence in Gauteng and Western Cape provinces.

At a consultation in Cape Town on Tuesday, the officials pledged to find sustainable humanitarian solutions to resolve the crisis arising from the attacks.

The meeting affirmed the importance of continued vigilance for the maintenance of peace and security.

The officials stressed the need for improved communication between government institutions, especially provincial and city structures, affected and displaced people, and responsible communities affected by violence.

PALESTINIANS FORCED TO GET BY WITH LESS AND LOWER QUALITY FOOD

Soaring food prices, falling incomes and growing unemployment are forcing Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to get by with less and lower quality food, three UN agencies warn.

According to a new

report by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme, Palestinian purchasing power has fallen to an all-time low this year.

In the West Bank, 58 per cent of a workers daily wages are spent on food; in Gaza, its nearly 70 per cent.

The combination of high food prices, a contracting local economy and the effects of Israels security measures is making Palestinians more dependent on relief aid, the report says.

At the same time, rising food and fuel prices are making it more expensive for international aid agencies to deliver aid to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

MUCH REMAINS TO BE DONE TO REACH A SETTLEMENT IN CYPRUS

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Cyprus, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, said in Nicosia today that a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus is not a foregone conclusion.

Much hard work remains to be done, and compromises will have to be made.

In that regard, it is crucial to keep in sight the ultimate objective: bringing about a future of durable peace and prosperity for all the people of Cyprus.

And that, he added, is why the leadership, courage and vision demonstrated by the Greek Cypriot leader, Dimitris Christofias, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, are so crucial.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL BEGINS THIRD YEAR

WITH ELECTION OF NEW PRESIDENT AND OFFICERS

Today in Geneva, the Human Rights Council

elected the new President and officers for its third annual cycle, which began today. It was also expected to adopt its programme of work and calendar of meetings for the coming year.

In a statement, the new President,

Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi of Nigeria, said that no nation or people has a monopoly over human rights, but all nations, and certainly all people, have a duty to promote and protect them.

He added that States must show the world that they are indeed abiding by their commitment to respect the human rights of citizens.

Uhomoibhi is the third President of the Human Rights Council. His predecessors were Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico and Doru Romulus Costea of Romania.

U.N. REFUGEE AGENCY CHIEF VISITS SOMALI REFUGEE CAMP

The High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres has described the plight of Somali refugees as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. Guterres made his comments yesterday during a visit to a refugee camp on the Kenya-Somalia border.

Some 200,000 Somali refugees live at the sprawling Dadaab camp, one of the world's biggest, oldest and most congested refugee sites, and Guterres visit was timed to highlight World Refugee Day, which will be commemorated tomorrow.

UNHCR figures place at 457,000 the number of Somali refugees worldwide. Meanwhile, another 850,000 Somalis have fled gun battles in Mogadishu in the past 18 months, bringing to one million the number of internally displaced Somalis.

Guterres urged the international community to make peace in Somalia a priority. He also pledged greater engagement by the UN Refugee Agency to help Somalis uprooted by 17 years of armed conflict.

The UN refugee agency, meanwhile, is launching a pioneering Facebook application to raise funds and awareness about refugee protection. UNHCR says it is its latest bid to reach the massive online community and inform people about its work helping millions of uprooted people around the world.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER EXPRESSES SERIOUS CONCERN

ABOUT EGYPTS DEPORTATION OF ERITREAN ASYLUM SEEKERS

High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today

expressed serious concern about the recent deportation of Eritrean asylum seekers from Egypt to their home country.

Arbour urged Egypt to stop any further deportation of Eritreans until their asylum status has been properly clarified. In that context, she welcomed the Egyptian Governments decision to grant staff from the UN Refugee Agency limited access to the asylum-seekers in order to determine their refugee status.

"People who could well be at risk in their home country should never be sent back before their asylum claims have been properly addressed," Arbour said.

CÔTE D'IVOIRE IS DECLARED ELIGIBLE

FOR ASSISTANCE FROM PEACEBUILDING FUND

The Secretary-General has declared Côte dIvoire eligible to receive assistance from the Peacebuilding Fund.

According to Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Carolyn McAskie, Côte dIvoire was declared eligible to ensure that key areas are supported to turn forever the page on the crisis, keeping in mind in particular the lead-up to the elections scheduled later this year.

The exact amount of the funding will be announced at a later date.

Launched in 2006, the Fund has so far allocated more than $100 million for projects in Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and the Central African Republic.

NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS EXPECTED TO GROW BY 60 PERCENT BY 2030

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the number of nuclear power reactors around the world is estimated to increase up to 60 per cent by 2030.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of nuclear power generation in the Republic of Korea, Deputy Director General of the IAEA, Yury A. Sokolov, said that the experience gained over the past decades in energy planning for sustainable development, as well as in the construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants, will be crucial to help newcomers in the nuclear field.

He added that experiences of countries such as Korea are crucial to future development around the world.

Sokolov stressed however, that the global nuclear power industry must find convincing answers to the challenges posed by future development including sustainability of uranium resources, in order to contribute to the worlds energy supply in the long term.

NEW TOOL ALLOWS AIR TRAVELERS TO CALCULATE CARBON FOOTPRINT

The International Civil Aviation Organizations Carbon Calculator is now available on its website. The internationally-approved tool identifies the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from any given flight.

According to the President of the Organizations Council, the calculator responds to the wish of many travelers for a reliable method to estimate the carbon footprint of a flight.

Travelers can then choose the programme best suited to offset the impact of their trips.

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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