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United Nations Daily Highlights, 09-11-17
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
BY FARHAN HAQ
SPOKESPERSON FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
BAN KI-MOON STRESSES NEED TO REACH SIGNIFICANT AGREEMENT IN COPENHAGEN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is on his way back to New York, having wrapped up his trip to attend the World Food Summit in Rome. Before departing, he continued discussions with a number of leaders on
climate change and next months conference in Copenhagen.
Speaking to the press in Rome yesterday, the Secretary-General said that he remains positive about Copenhagen. He said, We have known for a while that we will not have a treaty in Copenhagen. This is not news. But he added, We can still reach a significant agreement in Copenhagen that will provide the foundation for a treaty next year.
IN ROME, U.N. CALLS ON ALL TO MOBILIZE TO END HUNGER
On the second day of the
World Summit on Food Security in Rome, Josette Sheeran, the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) said that all world citizens not just global leadersmust mobilize to feed the more than one billion hungry people around the world.
Sheeran said that food security was not only a matter of humanitarian assistance and agricultural development, but also a matter of national security, peace and stability. This is the emergency issue of our generation, she added. At this moment in time we must galvanize all nations, all people and all resources to defeat hunger.
HUMANITARIAN CHIEF BEGINS VISIT TO SRI LANKA, MEETS INTERNALLY DISPLACED
On day one of his mission in
Sri Lanka, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes today visited camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) to see the evidence of recent progress in releases from camps, as well as some of the remaining problems.
He visited the displaced people in one of the two remaining camps in Jaffna, who continue to suffer from lack of freedom of movement and are hoping for early return to their homes, or release.
Holmes also spoke to some of the 60,000 recent returnees to Jaffna, mainly from the Menik Farm camp in Vavuniya, who were happy to be out of the camps but continue to face problems, including separation from family members, and lack of means of livelihood.
He also met with the local Government in Jaffna and was updated on the progress in the demining exercise to facilitate the return of IDPs to their areas of origin. They also discussed early recovery issues.
While in Jaffna, Holmes also met the Bishop of Jaffna and other prominent representatives of local civil society, and members of the local Humanitarian Country Team.
On Wednesday, the Humanitarian Coordinator will travel to Vavuniya where he will visit IDPs in Manik Farm and then proceed to Rice Bowl in Mannar district where people have returned in the northwest.
He will then return to Colombo for meetings with Government officials, and representatives from non-governmental organizations working in the country.
SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS INCREASING ATTACKS BY THE L.R.A.
Council was briefed this morning by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe on the Great Lakes region and the Lords Resistance Army, in consultations.
Later, the President of the Security Council read a press statement on that topic. In it, the members of the Security Council strongly condemned the continued and recently increasing attacks carried out by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Sudan which have resulted in the death, abduction and displacement of thousands of civilians.
The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern at the direct and serious threat the activities of the LRA pose to the civilian population, the conduct of humanitarian operations and regional stability. They commended the states in the region for their increased cooperation and welcomed the joint efforts they have made to address the serious threat posed by the LRA.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their demand that the LRA immediately cease all attacks on civilians, and urged them to surrender, assemble and disarm, as required by the Final Peace Agreement.
This morning, the Council also took up other matters. During that time, UN envoy Tiébilé Dramé briefed on Madagascar.
DARFUR PEACE TALKS TO RESUME TOMORROW WITH CIVIL SOCIETY PARTICIPATION
The Darfur peace talks, organized under the auspices of the African Union-United Nations (AU-UN) Joint Mediator, Djibril Bassolé, will resume tomorrow, 18 November in Doha -- this time with the participation of Darfurian civil society organizations, including womens and youth groups.
Mr. Bassolé recently remarked that the involvement of civil society in the talks would give them a voice and enable them to contribute to and implement the results of the Doha peace process.
The Doha forum, facilitated by the Government of Qatar, presents the opportunity for the Sudanese Government and rebel movements to negotiate and agree on common measures that would help push the Darfur peace process forward.
Meanwhile, as part of a 10-day tour to gain a first-hand view of the situation in Sudan, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, visited the North Darfur city of El Fasher. Todays field visit included meetings with the Wali of North Darfur and the Ministry of Social Welfare, dialogue with civil society groups, religious leaders, and the local Humanitarian Aid Commission, as well as a briefing with senior staff of UNAMID.
U.N. COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO BHUTTO KILLING MEETS WITH FORMER PAKISTANI PRESIDENT
The Commission of Inquiry into the facts and circumstances of the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has met with dozens of individuals in the course of fulfilling its mandate.
As a matter of principle, the Commission does not divulge with whom it has met or the content of those meetings.
However, as agreed with former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, the Commission confirms having met with him. The Commission of Inquiry had a frank, open and cordial conversation with former President Musharraf, having been able to pose to him many queries on issues central to its mandate.
D.R.CONGO: U.N. HUMAN RIGHT CHIEF CALLS GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT LAWYERS, RIGHT DEFENDERS
On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay,
urged the government to guarantee the protection of lawyers and human rights defenders, including journalists, to allow them to perform freely their duty, without risk of interference, discrimination, threat or reprisal.
She made that statement as a new UN report produced by her Office and the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUC, was released today.
The report focuses on the judicial process following the assassination of Serge Maheshe, a Congolese journalist and UN national staff member, in 2007.
One of the conclusions of the report is that the judicial process was interspersed with several irregularities suggesting that the judiciary authorities lack the will to establish the truth regarding this assassination.
INTERNATIONAL RWANDA TRIBUNAL ORDERS RELEASE OF TWO DETAINEES
A trial chamber for the
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda today acquitted a Rwandan priest, Hormisdas Nsengimana, of genocide and crimes against humanity. It ordered his immediate release from the UN Detention Facility in Arusha, Tanzania.
Yesterday, the Tribunals Appeals Chamber acquitted Protais Zigiranyirazo, brother-in-law of the former Rwandan President, who had earlier been convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity. His immediate release from the UN Detention Facility was also ordered.
The Appeals Chamber reversed Zigiranyirazos convictions after finding several serious factual and legal errors in the Trial Chambers assessment of his alibi, regarding both events on which his convictions were based.
AFGHANISTAN ENVOY MEETS WITH EUROPEAN UNION COUNCIL
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, is in Brussels today, where he is attending a meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of the European Union and speaking to Development and Foreign Affairs Ministers. He will talk to them about elections in Afghanistan, the security situation and the role of the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan (UNAMA).
Yesterday, Eide has a bilateral meeting with European Union High Representative Javier Solana.
He will return to Afghanistan tomorrow, so that he can attend the inauguration ceremony of President Hamid Karzai on Thursday.
CYPRUS LEADERS CONTINUES DISCUSSING PROPERTY ISSUES
Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met today under UN auspices in Nicosia. The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Cyprus, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, spoke to the press afterwards.
He noted that the leaders held good and friendly discussions and that talks on the issue of property are still ongoing.
The Cypriot leaders will meet again this Friday to take up organizational matters, and then again next Tuesday, to discuss citizenship, immigration and asylum.
HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES SEEK MORE THAN $143 MILLION IN REVISED APPEAL FOR PHILIPPINES
International humanitarian organizations have requested more than US$143.7 million in a revised Flash Appeal to support the Government of the
Philippines respond to the effects of a series of typhoons that have ravaged the country since September, affecting 10 million people.
This revised Appeal is planned to run from November 2009 to March 2010.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairss Financial Tracking Service (FTS) indicates that only $26 million was received following the initial Flash Appeal in early October requesting $74 million.
New detailed assessments by UN agencies show that the overall number of people in need of humanitarian assistance stands at 4.2 million out of the 10 million people affected in all areas. Those in need include more than 520,000 children under the age of five.
Of particular concern for humanitarian agencies are the estimated 1.7 million people still displaced or living in areas that remain flooded. These areas are likely to remain flooded for another 3 or 4 months, putting those affected at serious risk of disease outbreaks.
U.N. SUPPORTS LARGEST-EVER YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CAMPAIGN
The World Health Organization and UNICEF report that they are supporting the largest-ever yellow fever mass vaccination
The week-long event, which will kick off next week, will target nearly 12 million people across Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone. All three of those countries are at high risk of yellow fever outbreaks.
The campaign is the first in which yellow fever vaccination drives will be simultaneously launched across several countries.
UNICEFS MARKS 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
UNICEF is launching a special edition of the State of the Worlds Children to mark the 20th anniversary of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child. This year UNICEFs flagship report will focus on the impact the Convention has had on the lives of millions of children and challenges moving forward.
The Convention is the first legally binding international convention to affirm human rights for all children. Since 1989, the Convention has achieved near-universal acceptance, having now been ratified by 193 parties.
UNICEFs Executive Director, Ann Veneman, will launch the report here at its Headquarters in New York, one day before the anniversary, on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. UNICEF Ambassador and actress Lucy Liu and Grace Akallo, a former child soldier, will also be present.
On Friday, 20 November, a commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Convention will be held in the Trusteeship Council from 10 a.m. to noon.
PALESTINE REFUGEE GRADUATES TO CREATE ONLINE VIDEO YEARBOOK
Also to mark the twentieth anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is teaming up with a non-governmental organization to launch a project, in which young Palestine refugee graduates across the Middle East will create the regions first-ever online video yearbook.
The project will bring together online a community divided and scattered by decades of statelessness and exile, UNRWA says.
Hundreds of flip cams have already been distributed to tens of thousands of students in UNRWA schools in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. On Thursday, the students will be recording 30-second messages for the yearbook.
Asked about the situation at crossing points in Gaza, the Spokesperson noted that the Secretary-General has repeatedly raised the issue with senior Israeli officials, including the Prime Minister. There has been an easing at times at the crossing points, he acknowledged, but the United Nations continues to push for more goods to be allowed to move through.
SECRETARY-GENERAL NAMES MARTIN NESIRKY OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AS HIS NEXT SPOKESPERSON
The Secretary-General today has named Martin Nesirky of the United Kingdom as the new
Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
Mr. Nesirky succeeds Michele Montas of Haiti who is retiring from the Organization on 30 November 2009. The Secretary-General is grateful to Ms. Montas for her dedication and service as his Spokesperson since the beginning of his term on 1 January 2007.
Mr. Nesirky brings to this position more than 20 years of experience in journalism, media relations and international affairs. He comes to the United Nations from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, where he has served for more than three years as Spokesperson and Head of Press and Public Information. The 56-country OSCE spans the region from Vancouver to Vladivostok and co-operates with international organizations and Mediterranean and Asian partner countries, including Afghanistan.
Mr. Nesirky has also served for more than two decades as an international correspondent and editor for Reuters covering salient issues affecting international peace and security, both regional and functional, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, events in the Balkans and nuclear nonproliferation issues. He was Reuters Bureau Chief in Moscow, with responsibility for coverage of the Commonwealth of Independent States. He was also posted in Berlin, The Hague, and Seoul, was a senior editor in London handling global political news stories including the Middle East and Africa.
Mr. Nesirky holds a university degree from the University of Bath (UK).
He is married and has three children.
SECRETARY-GENERAL IS CONCERNED ABOUT PIRACY OFF SOMALI COAST: Asked about a recent incident of piracy in the waters off the coast of Somalia, the Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General has repeatedly expressed his concern about such piracy and has encouraged efforts by Member States to ensure the security of shipping in those waters. He noted that Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Patricia OBrien has provided legal advice concerning the appropriate treatment of people arrested on the high seas off the Somali coast.
SECURITY COUNCIL HAS BEEN BRIEFED ON DJIBOUTI AND ERITREA: Asked about the situation between Djibouti and Eritrea, the Spokesperson said that Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe has on occasion briefed the Security Council, at the Councils request, to report on that matter.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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New York, NY 10017
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