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United Nations Daily Highlights, 07-12-31
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From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: email@example.comARCHIVES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
[There are no noon briefings planned until January 2, 2008.
Developments within the UN system will be posted on this website daily throughout this period.]
Monday, December 31, 2007
BAN KI-MOON CONCERNED BY POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE IN KENYA
The Secretary-General has been closely following the developments in Kenya since the announcement of the results of the elections. He is concerned about the ensuing violence and strongly deplores the loss of human lives. He urges the security forces to show utmost restraint. The Secretary-General appeals to the population for calm, patience and respect for law.
The Secretary General calls on the political parties and leaders to resolve their differences peacefully through dialogue and by making full use of the existing legal mechanisms and procedures.
In a separate statement, High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour also expressed her deep concern today about the continued violence following election results in Kenya.
She said the Kenyan Government must abide by its international human rights obligations in responding to demonstrations. That includes holding police accountable for their actions, she added.
She also said that, while she recognized the challenges in maintaining order, security forces must employ force only in proportion to the actual threat faced.
Arbour further stressed that it was essential for the organizers of the demonstrations and their followers to employ only peaceful means of protest.
She also strongly urged the Government of Kenya to ensure that journalists be permitted to freely carry out their work.
UN-AU HYBRID OPERATION TAKES OVER FROM AFRICAN UNION MISSION IN DARFUR
The United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) today formally took over from the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) in a ceremony at the new missions headquarters in El Fasher this morning.
In a message delivered by the Joint Special Representative for UNAMID, Rodolphe Adada, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asserted, Today, we open a new and profoundly challenging chapter in the history of United Nations peacekeeping.
The Secretary-General emphasized the need for troop and police contributing countries to deploy their personnel as quickly as possible. If we are to have a real impact on the situation on the ground within the first half of 2008, these deployments must happen far more swiftly than they have done so far, the Secretary-General said in his message. He added that critical gaps remained in the UNAMID force.
The Secretary-General added, To succeed, UNAMID will need the active cooperation of the Government of Sudan. He said that he was encouraged that Sudan recently agreed to a number of points related to UNAMID deployment and expected the Government to follow through on the commitments it has made.
Stressing that the deployment of UNAMID will only be as effective as the political process it is mandated to support, the Secretary-General urged all parties to cease all military action and turn their energies to the substance of the negotiations and to come to the negotiating table to settle their differences.
The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for
Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, also spoke at the ceremony and stressed that peace in Sudan was indivisible, adding that comprehensive peace can only be achieved when all parts of the country have achieved peace and harmony.
We should all work towards a prosperous, peaceful and united Sudan, Qazi said. He called on all parties to the Darfur conflict to shun violence and participate in the peace process for the sake of the future generations of Sudan.
At full strength, the new mission, authorized by the UN Security Council on 31 July 2007, will be the UNs largest peacekeeping operation, with some 20,000 troops and more than 6,000 police and civilian staff.
CEASEFIRE COMMISSION CHAIR VOICES CONCERN AT DARFUR ARREST
In a statement released Sunday, the Chairman of the Darfur Ceasefire Commission, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, noted with great concern the arrest of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) representative to the Commission, Major General Bashir, and five other JEM members on Sunday in El Fasher.
Despite the relentless efforts of the African Union Mission in Sudans (AMIS) leadership to prevent the arrest, Government authorities stormed the premises housing the JEM representative early Sunday morning. Agwai has been in contact with both JEM and the Government of Sudan to de-escalate the tensions and ensure the safe release of the JEM representatives.
U.N. CONCERNED BY HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN EASTERN D.R. CONGO
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
reports that it remains seriously concerned about insecurity in the eastern Democratic Republic of the
Congos North Kivu province.
According to OCHA, civilians continue to be harassed by uniformed men, and houses continue to be looted. Compounding the problem is the continued closure of the Kilambo airstrip, which hampers humanitarian access.
The World Food Programme (WFP) has managed to distribute food aid to more than 4,500 internally displaced families.
For its part, UNICEF helped with a mass vaccination campaign in mid-December for children under the age of 15. UNICEF school kits were also distributed.
Meanwhile, the UN Population Fund distributed condoms and blankets in the Rutshuru territory.
FOOD SECURITY SITUATION WORRYING IN ETHIOPIAS SOMALI REGION
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that the humanitarian situation in Ethiopias Somali region continues to be of great concern, especially in terms of food security. Complicating the situation are poor rains, decreasing pasture and water availability, and restrictions on the cross-border movement of goods, which are leading to high prices. There are also concerns about a desert locust outbreak, especially as the dry season begins.
According to OCHA, some cases of malnutrition have been reported in the area.For its part, the World Food Pogramme has distributed over 17,000 tons of food.
UNICEF has supported and trained five mobile health and nutrition teams and also plans to replenish the ten major health facilities with emergency drug kits. The Food and Agriculture Organization, meanwhile, is working with the Government on a locust response plan.
DEPARTING U.N. ENVOY VOICES HOPE AND CONCERN FOR AFGHANISTAN
Tom Koenigs on Sunday gave his farewell press conference as the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, and said that he left the country with both hope and concern: hope because Afghanistan is moving towards becoming a progressive Islamic country striving to improve the lives of its peoples, but concern because of the security situation, particularly in the south.
He said that the efforts to improve security in Afghanistan must be accompanied by equal efforts to bring schools, hospitals and jobs to the people. Koenigs emphasized that the UN Mission in Afghanistan was helping that effort, and had doubled its presence in Afghanistans provinces with the opening of eight new field offices.
U.N. TRIBUNAL TERMINATES PROVISIONAL RELEASE OF FORMER CROATIAN COMMANDER
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has terminated the provisional release of Mladen Markač for violating the conditions of his release.
Markač is accused of murder, persecutions, deportation, inhumane acts, and other crimes allegedly committed during his time as Commander of the Special Police of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia. He has been on provisional release since December 2004.
Last week, the Trial Chamber received information from the Registry that Markač had left his designated residence in Zagreb to go on a hunting trip in Biligora. The order noted that Croatian authorities did not report any breach of provisional release conditions in the five days following that trip, photos of which were published in the local media, but did confirm the violation upon the Registrys request.
The Judge requested the Government of Croatia to arrest Markač immediately and transfer him to the UN Detention Unit in The Hague.
LIBYA TO ASSUME PRESIDENCY OF SECURITY COUNCIL FOR JANUARY
Today is the last day of Italys Presidency of the Security Council. Libya will take over the rotating Council Presidency for January.
Libyas Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Giadalla Ettalhi, is scheduled to brief the press on Thursday afternoon, following the Security Councils consultations that morning on its programme of work for January.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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