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United Nations Daily Highlights, 10-09-02
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
FARHAN HAQ, ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON FOR THE
U.N. HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
Thursday, September 2, 2010
There will be no Spokespersons Noon Briefing on Friday, although this page will be updated that day. Monday is an official UN holiday, with UN Headquarters closed, and there will be no briefing on that day. The regular noon briefing will resume on Tuesday, 7 September.
SECRETARY-GENERAL IN VIENNA FOR MEETINGS, ADDRESSES ANTI-CORRUPTION CONFERENCE
Secretary-General arrived in Vienna this morning. He has been holding talks with Austrian officials, including Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger. They discussed, among other topics, the
Millennium Development Goals, disarmament, the Balkans and peacekeeping.
The Secretary-General also
addressed a conference on fighting corruption. The event is part of the founding conference for the new International Anti-corruption Academy, which will open soon. The Secretary-General visited the academy premises, just outside Vienna.
He will spend Friday with the Austrian President before heading to the Austrian town of Alpbach to address a forum and a
Security Council retreat and take part in an annual retreat with senior UN officials.
RESULTS OF MAPPING EXERCISE IN D.R. CONGO TO BE MADE PUBLIC ON 1 OCTOBER
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Navi Pillay, announced today that the report of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious human right violations in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between 1993 and 2003 will be made public on 1 October 2010.
She said, Following requests, we have decided to give concerned states a further month to comment on the draft, and I have offered to publish any such comments alongside the report itself on 1 October, if they so wish.
The report describes a total of more than 600 incidents in the DRC between 1993 and 2003 in which tens of thousands of people were killed. Most of these attacks were directed against non-combatant civilian populations consisting primarily of women and children. More than 1,280 witnesses were interviewed to corroborate or invalidate alleged violations, including previously undocumented incidents, and more than 1,500 documents were collected and analysed during the two years that it took to research and write the report.
Asked why the report was not being published until 1 October, the Spokesperson said that Pillay had made clear that, following requests, her office had decided to give concerned states a further month to comment on the draft.
Asked about rapes in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said that the
United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) had said on Wednesday that it continued to receive more information about rapes in different communities in the Walikale area. There were at least 240 reported rape victims, with additional reports being received.
Asked about emails that indicated knowledge of rapes as early as 30 July, Haq said that the difficulty for UN peacekeepers was in verifying anecdotal information about rapes and rebel activity. Some MONUSCO patrols had not been able to obtain any information about such activity when they first went to the area, he said.
He pointed to the problems that the peacekeepers in the Walikale area faced, with some 80 people assigned to patrol an area four times the size of Manhattan.
Haq noted that the Assistant Secretary-General for
Atul Khare, had been sent by the
Secretary-General to the country to find out more about the rapes and the response by MONUSCO. Khare, he reiterated, would report back to the Secretary-General and to the
Security Council upon his return.
SENIOR U.N. OFFICIAL EXPRESSES SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF SOMALIA
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs,
B. Lynn Pascoe, expressed his solidarity with the people of
Somalia during a one-day visit to Mogadishu on Wednesday. Pascoe, who was accompanied by the Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, met President Sheikh Sharif and Somali Cabinet Ministers.
He said after the trip, It is crucial to show the long suffering people of Somalia that the Government can deliver basic services.
Pascoe also praised the work of African Union forces deployed in Somalia since 2008 and commended the UN for providing them with logistic support. At the same time, he called for more troops as well as financial and logistical support for the force.
U.N. MISSION OPENS FIRST REFERENDUM BASE IN SUDAN
UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has
opened the first of a number of county referendum bases it is building to support the planned
South Sudan referendum. The first base is located in the Western Equatoria State county of Mundri West.
About a dozen UNMIS staff, including police advisors, will be deployed at the Mundri West base. The police advisors will help train South Sudan law enforcement personnel in ensuring public safety during elections.
U.N. FORCE COMMANDER IN LEBANON HELD TRIPARTITE MEETING
The Force Commander of the
UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL),
Major-General Alberto Asarta Cuevas, chaired a tripartite meeting today with senior officials from the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defence Forces.
UNIFILs investigation report on the exchange of fire on 3 August was a topic of discussion. Both parties provided their comments and additional information of relevance for the investigation.
UNIFIL is to study the comments and information provided by the parties and will inform the UN headquarters about the respective positions of the parties.
Asarta Cuevas said after the meeting that the parties clearly put special importance on the Blue Line marking process as a way to avoid misunderstandings and prevent incidents. He added: The discussions today reconfirmed that no party would like to see any escalation.
Asked about the report by UNIFIL, the Spokesperson said that the report is being finalized, and he added that UNIFIL will study the comments and information provided by the parties.
SCALE OF FLOODING IMPOSES CONSTRAINTS ON PAKISTAN RELIEF EFFORTS
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that lifesaving assistance has reached millions of people in need in flood-hit
Pakistan, but major constraints hamper operations and make it impossible to deliver aid at the necessary speed.
The major obstacle is the staggering scale of the disaster itself, with 18 million people affected across an area larger than the surface area of England. That poses enormous challenges for the procurement, handling, and delivery of relief supplies.
OCHA has established five main inter-agency coordination hubs, to ensure that assessments and response plans are devised as effectively as possible in every part of the country.
Efforts are underway to repair damaged infrastructure, and by the
World Food Programme and other entities are bringing in more helicopters in the coming days.
In particular, OCHA and its partners are increasingly concerned about the humanitarian situation in Pakistans south-western province of Balochistan, and are working to step up their activities there.
Funding for the activities envisaged in the
Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan which requires $459.7 million has improved significantly during the week following the
Secretary-Generals visit to Pakistan in mid-August. But it has almost stalled since the beginning of last week, with contributions reaching just 63.4 per cent of the amount needed.
U.N. OFFICIAL DOES NOT SHARE PRESS STATEMENTS IN ADVANCE WITH SUDANESE GOVERNMENT
In response to a question from Wednesdays Spokespersons Noon Briefing about whether the Deputy Special Representative for the
Sudan and UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in that country,
Georg Charpentier, shared draft press statements with Sudanese Government officials, the Spokesperson said that the Humanitarian Coordinator works closely with Government officials as he does with opposition groups as well as the humanitarian country team and other partners.
Haq added that Charpentier does consult with a wide range of interlocutors but does not submit any press statement to the Government for approval, with the exception of joint press releases on joint initiatives.
SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS PROGRAMME OF WORK FOR SEPTEMBER: In its first consultations for this month, the
Security Council adopted its programme of work for September this morning.
CONDOLENCES OFFERED FOR FAMILIES OF LAHORE ATTACK VICTIMS: Asked about the killings in Lahore, the Spokesperson said that the United Nations condemns all terrorist attacks, and he conveyed the Secretary-Generals condolences to the families of the victims.
U.N. ENVOY FOR WESTERN SAHARA CONTINUES TO WORK WITH PARTIES: Asked about the work of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary General for Western Sahara,
Christopher Ross, the Spokesperson said that Ross continues to work with the parties and the neighboring states with the objective of entering into substantive negotiations to find a mutually agreed political solution for the conflict of
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