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UN Daily News
Issue DH/6118 Monday, 26 March 2012
In the headlines:
• UN chief ‘deeply concerned’ over military clashes • UN Drylands Ambassador calls for greater efforts to
on Sudan-South Sudan border fight desertification
• Top UN officials stress national ownership and • UN food agency calls for measures to preserve
partnerships for successful peacebuilding natural teak forests
• UN-Arab League envoy receives response from • UN environment agency calls for urgent action to
Syria on his plan to end crisis support Mongolia’s reindeer herders
• With presidential poll now over, Ban urges • True protection of UN staff demands collective
Senegalese leaders to work together action, says Secretary-General
• Security Council concerned over situation in Sahel • Situation on Korean peninsula, nuclear security
region, condemns Mali rebellion feature in Ban's talks in Seoul
• Investing in agriculture most effective way to • On International Day, Ban pays tribute to all those
eradicate poverty in Africa – UN seeking truth and justice
More stories inside
UN chief ‘deeply concerned’ over military clashes on Sudan-
South Sudan border
26 March - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply concerned about the military clashes
in the border region of Sudan and South Sudan, and calls on their Governments to fully
respect and implement the agreements they have already reached on security, border
monitoring and the disputed area of Abyei, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said today.
“He urges the parties to utilize to the fullest extent existing political and security
mechanisms to peacefully address their differences,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
The disputed town of Abyei was the scene
of renewed violence in May 2011 after
There have been media reports that the armed forces of each country clashed on Monday Sudanese Government forces took over
around their shared border region, and that Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir has the area. UN Photo/Stuart Price
suspended plans to attend a meeting with his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir, on 3
The Governments of Sudan and South Sudan have been in talks aimed at resolving post-independence issues, including
agreements reached on the status of citizens of each State and the demarcation of the border.
In his statement, Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said he welcomes the spirit of cooperation recently shown by the two
Governments in addressing outstanding post-secession issues, and urged their Heads of State to meet as planned in on 3
For information media -
not an official record
UN Daily News -2- 26 March 2012
Top UN officials stress national ownership and partnerships for
26 March - United Nations peacebuilding efforts are more effective when post-conflict
countries set their own priorities and take ownership of the national institution-building
process, senior UN officials told the Security Council today.
“Building peace means helping national institutions reach a point where they are able to
maintain a sufficient level of stability and security, in particular through respect for the rule
of law and human rights,” said the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations,
Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General Hervé Ladsous, in his remarks to a Council meeting on peacekeeping and its role in
for Peacekeeping Operations, briefs the peacebuilding. “Strong national ownership and leadership in the formulation of
Security Council. UN Photo/Evan
Schneider peacebuilding priorities is essential.”
Peacekeeping is the most visible of the United Nations’ work to maintain international peace and security. The Department
of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) currently has 15 peacekeeping missions in four continents, with more than 120,000
men and women serving. Peacekeepers are often called early peacebuilders as increasingly since the 1990s peacekeeping
operations have become involved in a wide range of activities to help build the foundations for sustainable peace in war-torn
“In these last three years,” Mr. Ladsous told Council members, “we have come a long way in sharpening our understanding
of what peacebuilding entails.”
“What then,” he asked, “is the specific role of peacekeepers in this effort?”
The peacekeeping chief emphasized that talking about the role of peacekeepers in peacebuilding is not about expanding
peacekeeping, adding new tasks to mandates. “It is about making the best of tasks that peacekeepers area already being
asked to perform,” he said.
“Peacekeepers are best suited to prioritize those initiatives that advance the peace process or political objectives of a
mission,” Mr. Ladsous noted. “These initiatives may also ensure security or lay the foundation for longer-term institution
building in a few key areas.”
He added that peacekeeping missions have a restricted time horizon and must synchronise their plans with those actors
better suited to undertake long-term engagements.
In her remarks to the Council, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Susana Malcorra, focused on the social and
economic impact on the life of host countries by peacekeeping missions, through job creation and local procurement but
also, unless proper care is taken, through problems like environmental degradation and distortion of the job market.
Ms. Malcorra said that high levels of unemployment and slow economic recovery made it difficult for youth and war-
affected populations to find legal income-generating opportunities locally. She added that such scenarios present a serious
impediment for war-affected populations to establish alternative livelihoods and encourage sustainable reintegration in local
Ms. Malcorra cited the example of Liberia, where the UN peacekeeping mission in that country (UNMIL) and its partners –
the World Bank, the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the country’s Ministry
of Public Works – designed a series of labour intensive road repair projects increasing accessibility as well as short-term
The projects were concentrated around vulnerable communities, such as communities along borders and those in close
proximity to desirable natural resources. They created over 75,000 jobs and channelled almost $6 million into local
communities, with the workforce including representation from all communities, ex-combatants, returnees, and women. In
UN News Centre • www.un.org/news
UN Daily News -3- 26 March 2012
addition, 600 kilometres of primary roads and 300 kilometres of secondary roads were rehabilitated, improving access year
round to many parts of the country.
Ms. Malcorra also focused on the Civilian Capacities initiative being undertaken by the Department of Field Support, aimed
at supporting the development of national capacities.
“Accessing more effectively the needed civilian experts and deploying them into missions to support the development of
national capacities, and to help us plan and execute peacebuilding tasks, as well as effective transitions, depends on stronger
partnerships between the UN and external providers – principally Member States,” she said.
Building the capacity of national staff in peacekeeping missions is an important contribution of peacekeeping operations in
post-conflict societies, said Ms. Malcorra. She noted that several UN peacekeeping missions – such as those in Sudan,
Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – have introduced specific strategies and programmes that are aimed at
strengthening the capacity of national staff members who will play a critical role in the development of their country beyond
the UN’s presence.
The officials also addressed the importance of partnerships for UN peacekeeping, with both UN and non-UN actors, based
on each actor’s comparative advantage at different stages of the peacebuilding process, as well as their ability to deliver.
Mr. Ladsous said that the UN is only one of many actors contributing to any peacebuilding effort, and building strong
partnerships with regional organizations, bilateral partners and international financial institutions in the early stages of
planning processes is also necessary to ensure a coherent and coordinated approach.
The UN’s top peacekeeper pointed especially to peacekeeping missions as they draw down, a time-period when regional and
bilateral partners are critical, as risks may persist after a peacekeeping operation draws down requiring planning of longer-
term security guarantees with the help of partners.
“How do we know when to move beyond a peacekeeping mission? There is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer to this
question,” Mr. Ladsous said. “In an ideal scenario, drawdown should happen gradually, on the basis of a careful review of
the situation on the ground, discussions with our national, bilateral and regional partners, and testing of the host country’s
capacity to assume responsibilities and public perceptions.”
He noted that no matter how much progress a country has made towards peace, the departure of a peacekeeping mission can
also be expected to raise anxieties, and may be destabilising in itself.
“Building confidence between the host government, key national stakeholders and the international community and clearly
articulating the facts of a transition through continued dialogue and communication strategies is critical to a successful
drawdown planning,” Mr. Ladsous said.
Ms. Malcorra echoed his comment, noting that transitions from peacekeeping operations may be inherently political
processes, but they can only succeed if they are well prepared and executed.
UN News Centre • www.un.org/news
UN Daily News -4- 26 March 2012
UN-Arab League envoy receives response from Syria on his plan
to end crisis
26 March - The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States
for Syria, Kofi Annan, today received a formal response from the Syrian Government on
his six-point proposal to end the ongoing violence in the Middle Eastern country, according
to a statement issued by his spokesperson.
“Mr. Annan is studying it [the response] and will respond very shortly,” the statement said.
Last Wednesday, the Security Council fully endorsed Mr. Annan’s proposal, which he
Joint UN-Arab League Special Envoy on
Syria Kofi Annan. UN Photo/Paulo
submitted during his visit to Damascus earlier this month, and called on Syria’s
Government and opposition to immediately implement it. The proposal seeks to stop the
violence and the killing, give access to humanitarian agencies, release detainees, and start
an inclusive political dialogue to address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people.
On Sunday, Mr. Annan held meetings in Moscow with the Russian Federation’s President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov. Speaking to reporters at a joint press encounter afterwards, Mr. Annan thanked the President and
the Russian Federation for their support for his mission, and said he would be rely on the President's continued support and
advice going forward.
In his remarks, Mr. Annan said he agreed with President Medvedev that “Syria has an opportunity today to work with me
and this mediation process to put an end to the conflict, to the fighting and really to allow access to those in need of
humanitarian assistance as well as to embark on a political process that can lead to a peaceful settlement.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Council’s endorsement of Mr. Annan’s proposal last week, saying he hoped
that united action by the Council on Syria would mark a turning point in the international community’s response to the
Mr. Ban also discussed the situation in Syria with various world leaders today, in meetings on the sidelines of the Seoul
Nuclear Security Summit in the Republic of Korea. He briefed Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, on the latest
developments, and exchanged views with Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the President of Finland,
There are currently two missions in the Syrian capital addressing the crisis: a team of experts that is discussing ways to
implement Mr. Annan’s six-point proposal, and a humanitarian team that – along with the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation – is assessing the humanitarian needs in the country.
The UN estimates that more than 8,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and tens of thousands displaced since the
uprising – part of the broader Arab Spring movement across North Africa and the Middle East – began in March last year.
UN News Centre • www.un.org/news
UN Daily News -5- 26 March 2012
With presidential poll now over, Ban urges Senegalese leaders
to work together
26 March - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the outgoing President of
Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, and Macky Sall, the reported winner of the presidential run-off
poll, to work together in the coming days in the interest of the country.
Following Sunday’s presidential run-off vote, Mr. Ban spoke by telephone with the two
men, congratulating them and the people of Senegal for the exemplary manner in which
both rounds of the presidential elections were conducted, according to information released
by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson. Defaced poster of President Abdoulaye
Wade during Senegal’s 26 February 2012
election campaign. Photo: IRIN/Tanya
Both Mr. Ban and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, had voiced Bindra
their concerns about the polls after a campaign marred by several deadly incidents.
Protesters angry about Mr. Wade’s decision to seek a third term had taken to the streets of the capital, Dakar, and other cities
in the run-up to the elections.
The Secretary-General commended Mr. Wade for his gracious and statesmanlike actions, his spokesperson said.
Mr. Ban also underlined the high sense of civic responsibility displayed by all political actors and civil society throughout
the process, which he said was indicative of Senegal’s strong democratic commitment.
Security Council concerned over situation in Sahel region,
condemns Mali rebellion
26 March - The Security Council today voiced serious concern over the rapidly
deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Africa’s Sahel region, saying that the presence of armed
and terrorist groups, as well as the proliferation of weapons in the area, have exacerbated
In a presidential statement read out at the end of briefing on peacekeeping operations, the
15-member United Nations body also strongly condemned the seizure of power in Mali by
members of the armed forces. Amb. Mark Lyall Grant. UN Photo/Evan
“The Security Council condemns the acts initiated and carried out by mutinous troops
against the democratically-elected government and demands they cease all violence and return to their barracks,” said the
statement read by Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council presidency for the month
of March. “The Security Council calls for the restoration of constitutional order, and the holding of elections as previously
Due to poor rainfall and failed harvests, the Sahel region is currently in the grip of a food crisis, with some 15 million people
estimated to be at risk of food insecurity.
Late last week, rebel Malian soldiers took control of the country and announced the dissolution of the Government led by
President Amadou Toumani Toure. Ambassador Lyall Grant spoke out against the rebellion in comments to the press last
week; as did Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other officials in separate statements.
Monday’s presidential statement also condemned the attacks by rebel groups against Malian Government forces and urged
the insurgents to cease all violence and to seek a peaceful solution through political dialogue. The Council stressed the need
to “uphold and respect the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Mali.”
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UN Daily News -6- 26 March 2012
In the wider Sahel region, the Council noted that drought, food shortages and the return of thousands of people from Libya
following last year’s civil strife, were other factors that have made the hardship worse for residents there. It said it had been
informed that millions of Sahelians are affected by the crisis and that thousands have been forced to migrate to neighbouring
countries where conditions are better.
The Council urged national authorities, international, regional and sub-regional organizations to take urgent steps to
strengthen their concerted efforts to address the challenges facing the region in an effective manner.
Its members welcomed the emergency programmes undertaken by authorities in the affected countries, as well as efforts by
regional and sub-regional organizations – such as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States –
to help alleviate the Sahel’s food and nutrition crisis. They also encouraged the international community to help resolve the
crisis in Mali and the wider region, based on an integrated strategy that addresses people’s immediate and long-term needs,
encompassing security, development and humanitarian issues.
In its statement, the Council commended the joint efforts of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA) and other UN agencies to provide assistance and draw international attention to the scale of the problem in the
On a visit to Burkina Faso last week, OCHA’s Director of Operations, John Ging, commended that country for providing
hospitality to the 22,000 refugees who recently arrived from Mali.
“In a world that can be inhospitable to refugees, the people and Government of Burkina Faso provide us with a role model
for humanity and hospitality for people seeking refuge and escaping conflict,” said Mr. Ging at the end of his two-day visit
He also said that with two million people in Burkina Faso in need of humanitarian assistance because of the food and
nutrition crisis in the region, the country’s Government and partners have developed a humanitarian and development
response plan that takes a “commendably innovative approach” that goes beyond the most urgent needs to also focus on
strengthening the population’s longer-term resilience to future crises.
The response plan requires a total of $224 million to implement. The Government of Burkina Faso is contributing $37
million, while donors have pledged $79 million, leaving a shortfall of $108 million, according to OCHA.
Investing in agriculture most effective way to eradicate poverty
in Africa – UN
26 March - With the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
just three years away, a senior United Nations official today emphasized that spending on
agriculture is the most effective type of investment for halting poverty in Africa.
“Increasing investment in agriculture is essential to achieving the MDGs,” said the
President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F.
Nwanze. “Investments in agriculture are more effective in lifting people out of poverty than
IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze. investments in any other sector – they not only drive economic growth and set the stage for
Photo: IFAD long-term sustainable development, they pay high dividends in terms of quality of life and
dignity for poor rural people.”
Mr. Nwanze’s comments came on the eve of his departure to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he will join African ministers at
high-level meetings to plan concrete actions to push growth in the continent, by ensuring that agriculture is at the top of
“The experience of IFAD has shown that agriculture is a business, and our business is to make sure smallholder agriculture
is profitable so that rural communities can thrive,” Mr. Nwanze said in a news release, adding that “to accelerate progress in
meeting the MDGs, agriculture must be viewed as the main engine of economic growth.”
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UN Daily News -7- 26 March 2012
IFAD specializes in helping eradicate rural poverty in developing countries. The eight MDGs – which range from halving
extreme poverty to providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all
the world’s countries and all of the world’s leading development institutions.
The events in Addis Ababa – the Joint Annual Meeting of the African Union Conference of Ministers of Economy and
Finance and the UN Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic
Development – will focus on how to plan post-2015.
According to IFAD, a key challenge is helping build the capacity of smallholder farmers and their organizations so that they
can become viable rural businesses, particularly for women and young people who shoulder the future of African
At the meetings in the Ethiopian capital, the IFAD President will share his vision for ensuring smallholder farmers are at the
centre of any plan for post-2015. Such farmers represent 80 per cent of all farms in sub-Saharan Africa and contribute up to
90 per cent of production in some countries.
Mr. Nwanze also expects to speak about the impact of climate change on sub-Saharan Africa, noting how African
smallholder farmers are particularly affected by the global phenomenon as they do not have the means and know-how to
adapt to its consequences.
UN Drylands Ambassador calls for greater efforts to fight
26 March - With land degradation and desertification affecting 1.5 billion people across
the globe, 75 per cent of them among the world’s poorest, the United Nations’ most
recently-appointed Drylands Ambassador today called for greater efforts to combat the
“I want us all to agree that we will become a society that is free of land degradation,” said
Leila Lopes, also the holder of the Miss Universe 2011 title, at a press conference at UN
UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Headquarters. “I want us to agree on a goal that will help us to reduce land degradation,
Gnacadja (left) with Miss Universe 2011 rehabilitate more land than is being degraded. I truly believe that we can come together and
and UNCCD Drylands Ambassador Leila
Lopes. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine create awareness about this important environmental issue.”
Drylands, or ecosystems characterised by a lack of water, cover some 40 per cent of the world’s terrain, ranging from
cultivated lands and grasslands to savannas and deserts. They are home to 38 per cent of the world’s population or 2.7
billion people, and account for half of global livestock production.
Earlier this year, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) appointed Ms. Lopes as one of its
Drylands Ambassadors, charged with helping raise international awareness about desertification, land degradation and
drought, causes and possible solutions. Miss Lopes comes from the African region where desertification is the foremost
environmental challenge – part of her home country of Angola is threatened by desertification.
In her remarks to the press, Ms. Lopes stressed that “drylands are not wastelands,” noting that they can be restored, and
pledged to work hard to create awareness on the threat of land degradation. She added that she will travel to Brazil in June to
participate in activities leading up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20.
Speaking at the press conference, the UNCCD Executive Secretary, Luc Gnacadja, pointed out that 75 billion tonnes of
fertile soil is lost every year as a result of land degradation. He added that land degradation and drought in drylands causes
the loss of about 12 million hectares of productive land every year on which 20 billion tonnes of grains could grow.
“This is equal to 23 hectares of land transformed into man-made desert every minute,” Mr. Gnacadja said. “Sustainable land
use for all and by all is an imperative. It should be the cornerstone for the green economy for sustainable development and
poverty eradication, and I hope that the Rio+20 Conference in Brazil will live up to this imperative.”
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UN Daily News -8- 26 March 2012
He highlighted two mechanisms which he said can help halt the shrinkage of fertile land. The first of these entails the
management of non-degraded fertile lands in ways that do not cause degradation, thus halting further loss; while the second
method calls for the restoration of already degraded lands.
UN food agency calls for measures to preserve natural teak
26 March - The United Nations food agency today called for implementing measures to
preserve natural teak forests, which are currently in decline, and improve management
practices of planted teak forests, to sustain the supply and quality of the wood extracted
from this natural resource.
Natural teak forests teak forests grow in only four countries: India, Laos, Myanmar and
Thailand. According to an assessment carried out by the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO), except for Thailand, the countries have registered a significant decline in teak forest Cutting trees at a teak plantation in the
hectares, as well as deterioration in the quality of teak wood – one of the most valuable Casamance Forests in Zingenchor,
Senegal. UN Photo/A. Holbrooke
hardwoods in the world.
Between 1992 and 2010, Laos lost 68,500 hectares of teak forests, India 2.1 million hectares, and Myanmar 1.1 million
hectares. Thailand’s complete ban on logging in natural forests introduced in 1989, the report suggests, may have
contributed to the recovery of natural teak forests, which increased by 2.9 million hectares during the same time period.
An FAO Forestry Officer, Walter Kollert, stressed that production of teak logs from natural forests will be further limited
due to continuing deforestation and competition for environmental services, making it vital to put measures in place to
“Supply trend points to a continuing decline in the volume and quality of natural teak, which results in progressive loss of
genetic resources,” Mr. Kollet said. “This is why it is essential in the near future to plan, organize and implement a
programme for the genetic conservation of native teak resources in the four countries with natural teak forests.”
The assessment, which was conducted in 60 tropical countries, found an opposite trend in planted teak forests. Its findings
suggest that these are increasing globally, with African, Asian and Latin American private sectors heavily investing in teak
to obtain hardwood.
“Although the time until trees reach harvestable dimensions is comparatively long and on average takes between 20 and 80
years, teak planting serves local communities as a savings account and in the long run helps smallholders improve their
livelihoods and the livelihoods of their children,” Mr. Kollert said.
Currently, Asia holds more than 90 per cent of teak resources worldwide, with India managing 39 per cent of the world’s
planted teak forests. Eleven out of 14 reporting countries named India as their number one importer, absorbing 70 to 100 per
cent of global teak exports. The report added that Myanmar, India and Indonesia, are also expected to maintain their position
in the market as sources of premium quality teak, but the supply may be limited in the future.
UN News Centre • www.un.org/news
UN Daily News -9- 26 March 2012
UN environment agency calls for urgent action to support
Mongolia’s reindeer herders
26 March - Urgent action is needed to support Mongolia’s reindeer herders and protect
them from unregulated mining, logging, water pollution and climate change, among other
threats, according to a report by the UN environment agency, released today.
The report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), “Changing Taiga: Challenges for
Mongolia’s Reindeer Herders,” assesses the current living situation of Mongolia’s reindeer
herder community, the Dukha, of which only some 200 members remain, and explores
ways to guarantee their livelihoods, as well as of preserving the ecosystem in which they Executive Director of UNEP Achim
live in. Steiner. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
“The taiga – the Dukha homeland – is a hotspot for biodiversity and is rich in natural resources, but it is also one of the
regions of Mongolia which could suffer the greatest impacts of climate change over the coming decades,” said UNEP’s
Executive Director, Achim Steiner.
Many herders, the report found, have abandoned pastures because of damage caused by unregulated, small-scale artisanal
mining of gold and jade, which leads to deforestation, forest fires, chemical contamination and poisoning of water sources.
Mr. Steiner stressed that the challenges faced by the herders reflect challenges faced by communities across the world which
are seeking to transition to a sustainable future that generates jobs and livelihoods while still protecting the environment.
In the case of Mongolia, its transition to a market economy in the 1990s resulted in eight million livestock being added to its
pastures, significantly affecting traditional herding practices. In addition, certain measures to conserve biodiversity in the
region, such as the creation of national parks and stricter hunting laws, have limited access to pastures and affected herding
communities negatively since their subsistence depends on trapping wild animals.
Droughts and extreme winters in the past decade have also posed a threat to herders as they have led to widespread livestock
“As a culture tightly-coupled with the taiga environment, Dukha reindeer husbandry has played a significant role in shaping
the environment and conserving the unique biodiversity surrounding them,” said the report’s Chief Editor, Kathrine I.
Johnsen. “It is important that any protected area regulations or community partnerships take full account of the Dukha’s
needs and rights to access to their traditional pasture grounds and migration routes.”
Other activities such as tourism have been both beneficial and detrimental for the Dukha community, the report states, as it
provides herders with incomes and alternative ways to participate in the market economy. However, herders have altered
reindeer migration routes to accommodate tourists, forcing animals to graze on pastures of poorer quality and limiting their
ability to increase the herd size.
The report includes recommendations such as closely monitoring reindeer numbers and changes in migration routes,
forming community partnerships to support biodiversity and traditional Dukha livelihoods, re-evaluating current hunting
regulations, and providing assistance to develop local herders’ institutions, among others.
UN News Centre • www.un.org/news
UN Daily News - 10 - 26 March 2012
True protection of UN staff demands collective action, says
25 March - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged all nations to join forces to
protect the thousands of United Nations personnel who risk their lives to help people in
need around the world.
“True protection demands collective action,” Mr. Ban said in his message on the
International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, observed on 25
Elaine Collett (left), wife of Alec Collett,
gives Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a
memorial pin on 25 March 2008
And yet, he noted, only 90 Member States have ratified the 1994 Convention on the Safety
of UN and Associated Personnel, and only 27 have ratified the 2005 Optional Protocol
which extends protection to UN personnel delivering humanitarian, political or
UN Staff Union President Barbara Tavora-Jainchill, also noting these figures, said that international instruments to protect
staff are in place, but too many Member States still have not made use of them. “It is their nationals that these instruments
seek to protect,” she stated.
Mr. Ban drew attention to the fact that “scores” of UN staff and personnel were victims of detention, abduction, kidnapping,
assault, harassment and even murder over the past year.
The UN Department of Safety and Security (DSS) has documented 189 cases where UN civilian personnel were detained or
arrested by Member States in 2011. The problems continue this year. As of today, four staff are being held.
DSS has further reported that 18 UN civilian personnel were abducted and held hostage by criminal elements and extremist
groups in 2011. During the first two months of 2012, 10 UN personnel were abducted. All but one have been released.
“On this International Day, I demand the immediate release of all detained staff members, and I call on all countries to join
forces to protect the thousands of United Nations personnel who risk their safety to help suffering people in some of the
most dangerous parts of our world,” said Mr. Ban.
He said that every attack on a UN staff member is a tragedy for the individuals involved, a serious crime that must be
prosecuted and an attempt to undermine the Organization's global work for peace, human rights and development.
“We must respond with prevention, protection and justice,” he stated.
The International Day marks the anniversary of the abduction of Alec Collett, a former journalist and UN staff member who
was working for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) when he was
abducted by armed gunmen in 1985.
With his remains having been found and returned to his family in 2009, the Day is also intended to honour his memory, and
of all those who have suffered similar fates.
UN News Centre • www.un.org/news
UN Daily News - 11 - 26 March 2012
Situation on Korean peninsula, nuclear security feature in Ban's
talks in Seoul
24 March - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the Republic of Korea
(ROK), Lee Myung-bak, held talks in Seoul today, focusing on issues such as the situation
on the Korean peninsula, global nuclear security and the crisis in Syria.
Mr. Ban, who is currently on an official visit to his native ROK, reiterated serious concern
about the announcement earlier this month of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(DPRK) to launch a so-called “application satellite” next month, according to information
released by the Secretary-General's spokesperson. Secretary-General Ban Ki-mon (right)
and President Lee Myung Bak of the
Republic of Korea (file)
He renewed his call on the DPRK to fully comply with relevant Security Council
resolutions, particularly resolution 1874 of 2009 which bans “any launch using ballistic
He also urged Pyongyang to reconsider its decision in line with its recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile
The Secretary-General shared the deep concern of the ROK Government about dislocated people from the DPRK, and
encouraged the concerned parties to do their utmost to find a mutually agreeable solution.
He also congratulated Seoul on hosting the two-day Nuclear Security Summit that will begin on Monday and draw a number
of world leaders. He commended the leadership role of Mr. Lee in advancing the international community's efforts to
prevent nuclear terrorism and strengthen the global nuclear security and safety regime.
The two leaders also discussed the country's contribution to peacekeeping and the ongoing crisis in Syria, with Mr. Ban
briefing the President on Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan's efforts to secure an end to violence and to gain unhindered
On International Day, Ban pays tribute to all those seeking
truth and justice
24 March - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute to all the brave individuals
worldwide who have devoted their lives to protecting human rights and to promoting access
to truth and justice.
The General Assembly in December 2010 proclaimed 24 March as the International Day
for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity
of Victims to honour the memory of victims of gross and systematic human rights
A wall of photos at the Tuol Sleng violations and promote the importance of the right to truth and justice.
Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh,
Cambodia, the site of infamous Security
Prison S-21, documents the Khmer It is also designed to pay tribute to those who have devoted their lives to, and lost their lives
Rouge's brutal treatment of detainees.
in, the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all, particularly Monsignor Oscar
Arnulfo Romero, who was murdered in El Salvador on this day in 1980 for refusing to be
silent in the face of violence, abuse and injustice.
In his message for the Day, Mr. Ban noted that the “dramatic and transformational” events of the past year, marked by
widespread popular uprisings against long-entrenched dictators, showed yet again the acute need to preserve and reveal the
truth about human rights violations committed during periods of repression and conflict.
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UN Daily News - 12 - 26 March 2012
“To deny victims this vital knowledge is to deny them justice, dignity and recognition of – as well as reparations for – their
suffering and loss,” he stated.
“The implications reverberate well beyond individuals who have been directly affected by attempts to cover up human rights
abuses. The rights to truth and justice are central to ending impunity for gross violations of human rights,” he added.
Mr. Ban said that in cases of enforced disappearance, families have the right to know the fate and whereabouts of their loved
“In all instances, honouring this right puts others on notice that violations cannot stay hidden for long,” he stated.
He also highlighted the range of truth-seeking mechanisms supported by the United Nations that can play a powerful role in
documenting gross human rights violations and which are central to the quest for justice and stability. These include truth
and reconciliation commissions, international commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions.
He also welcomed the recent decision by the UN Human Rights Council to appoint a new Special Rapporteur on the
promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.
More intensified push needed to end global epidemic of
tuberculosis – Ban
24 March - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marked this year's World Tuberculosis Day
with a call for a greater push to eliminate once and for all the second top infectious killer of
adults after HIV/AIDS.
“I call for intensified global solidarity to ensure that all people are free from fear of
tuberculosis and its devastating effects,” Mr. Ban said in his message for the Day. “Let us
vow to end the neglect of TB and to end deaths from this disease in our lifetime.”
A laboratory technician in Bangladesh
manipulates multi drug resistance
Observed annually on 24 March, World TB Day raises awareness about the global tuberculosis (MDRT) samples. Photo:
epidemic and efforts to eliminate a disease that the Secretary-General said has not received The Global Fund/Thierry Falise
sufficient attention and resulted in needless suffering.
In 2010 alone, nearly nine million people fell ill with TB and 1.4 million died, with 95 per cent of these deaths occurring in
developing countries. These numbers make tuberculosis – an infectious bacterial disease that most commonly affects the
lungs – the second top infectious killer of adults worldwide.
The impact reverberates far beyond the individuals directly affected, the Secretary-General pointed out, adding that the
disease takes a heavy toll on families and communities.
“It is critical to support those who lack the means to respond with the care and treatment they need to enjoy healthy and
productive lives,” said Mr. Ban. “With the right interventions, we can make a major difference.”
Earlier this week, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the Stop TB Partnership warned that childhood TB
continues to be overlooked despite availability of treatment. The disease often goes undiagnosed in children under the age of
15 because they lack access to health services or health workers do not recognize the signs and symptoms of TB in that age
According to the Stop TB Partnership, 200 children die from TB every day. Yet it costs less than three cents a day to
provide therapy that will prevent children from becoming ill with TB and 50 cents a day to provide treatment that will cure
Mr. Ban pointed out that some 46 million people have been cured and 7 million lives have been saved since 1995 thanks to
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UN Daily News - 13 - 26 March 2012
the efforts of the UN, governments, donors, civil society groups, private partners, public health experts, and tens of
thousands of health workers and affected families and communities.
“Now is the time to be even more ambitious and 'Stop TB in our lifetime',” stressed Mr. Ban, referring to the theme of this
Comprehensive approach needed to combat modern day
slavery, says top UN official
26 March - A comprehensive approach through laws, education and international
cooperation is needed to end modern-day slavery, the President of the General Assembly,
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, said today.
“The terrible impacts of slavery and the slave trade are still felt to this day,” Mr. Al-Nasser
said in remarks delivered on his behalf to a General Assembly meeting to commemorate the
International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave
Trade. “They have devastated continents and countries. They have led to profound social
and economic inequalities, and have given rise to hatred, racism and prejudice.”
In 2007, the General Assembly designated 25 March as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery
and the Transatlantic Slave Trade to honour the 28 million estimated Africans who were violently removed and cast into
slavery, mainly in colonies in North America, South America and the West Indies.
In his remarks, Mr. Al-Nasser emphasized that Member States must work tirelessly to eradicate modern slave-like practices
that have emerged in the forms of racism, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, child labour, forced marriage, and the
forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
The General Assembly President also underlined that existing international instruments on slavery “should be fully utilized
to bring about necessary change in attitudes and customs, to punish the offenders, and to support innocent victims in re-
gaining their lives and dignity.”
“Let us learn from the horrors and sacrifices of the past, and ensure through concrete actions and results that slavery in all its
forms is forever eliminated,” the General Assembly was told.
Since Friday, the UN has been hosting a series of events to pay tribute to the men and women who bravely fought against
the transatlantic trade as well as those who continue to stand up against modern forms of slavery.
This year’s commemoration at UN Headquarters includes an exhibition of images of heroes and activists, original
documents, historical illustrated newspapers and artefacts, as well as an evening of cultural and culinary specialties of Africa
and a global student videoconference.
In addition, plans are underway to erect a permanent memorial in the UN Headquarters complex to remind the world that
millions of Africans were violently removed from their homelands, abused and robbed of their dignity over the course of
four centuries during the transatlantic slave trade.
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UN Daily News - 14 - 26 March 2012
UN tribunal refers case of fugitive genocide suspect to Rwanda
26 March - The United Nations tribunal trying key suspects implicated in the 1994
genocide in Rwanda today ordered the case of an indicted suspect who remains at large be
referred to the Rwandan High Court for trial.
The referral chamber of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
ordered that the case regarding Charles Sikubwabo, the suspect, be referred to the
authorities in Rwanda who will in turn send it for trial by the High Court.
UN Photo/Mark Garten
Mr. Sikubwabo, a former mayor of Gishyita in the western Kibuye prefecture, is charged
with genocide or complicity in genocide, as well as conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. In
November 2010, the ICTR’s Prosecutor had requested that the court refer the case to Rwanda.
In today’s announcement, judges ordered that Mr. Sikubwabo’s case be handed over to the Prosecutor-General of Rwanda,
as soon as possible and no later than 30 days after the ICTR decision has become final.
The referral chamber expressed its hope that Rwanda, in accepting referrals from the ICTR, will put into practice
commitments it has made about its good faith, capacity and willingness to enforce the highest standards of international
justice in the referred cases.
The ICTR judges requested Rwanda to provide the tribunal or the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
with quarterly reports on efforts taken to apprehend Mr. Sikubwabo until the time when the accused is arrested or Rwanda
receives news and confirmation of his death.
Based in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, the ICTR was set up after the Rwandan genocide, when at least 800,000
ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed during three months of bloodletting that followed the death of the
then-president Juvenal Habyarimana.
Regional engagement crucial as Afghan transition gathers pace
26 March - As Afghanistan’s transition picks up pace, regional engagement becomes even
more important, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as the country’s partners met in
Afghan authorities are working with the international community so that by 2014 they can
assume full responsibility for security in all of the country’s 34 provinces. They are also
working towards taking greater ownership of the country’s development.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN
“Economic cooperation is basic to laying the foundation for a secure future. A
stable security environment, that at the same time denies space for narco-business
and terrorism, is also essential if development is to take root,” Mr. Ban said in a message delivered on his behalf
by his Special Representative to Afghanistan, Jan Kubiš, to the fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference
The conference, held this year in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe, began seven years ago as a meeting of representatives of 11
countries to help promote stability and prosperity in Afghanistan.
Mr. Ban said it is encouraging that the conference has grown to include delegates from some 80 States and international and
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UN Daily News - 15 - 26 March 2012
regional organizations, as well as leaders from civil society, the private sector, the arts and academia.
“We must work together so that Afghans can see tangible improvements in their daily lives,” he said. “With this in mind, I
welcome your focus on investment, trade and transit, as well as infrastructure and human resource development.”
He also voiced full support for continuing the conference as an “Afghan-centred and Afghan-led process” focused on
reaching concrete objectives and mobilizing the resources needed to achieve them.
In a briefing to the Security Council last week, Mr. Kubiš said that the transition process remains on track despite recent
tragic incidents, adding that efforts continue to strengthen the capacity of national institutions to maintain rule of law and
provide services to the population.
“The transition so far has been on track and on target and the Afghanistan National Security Forces have proven that they
are up to the task,” he said, referring to the gradual transfer of security responsibilities from the UN-mandated International
Security Assistance Force to national authorities.
In his message, Mr. Ban also stated that the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the 28 UN agencies,
funds and programmes present in the country remain committed to increasing the capacity of the Afghan authorities and
institutions to meet the needs of the Afghan people.
“We stand ready to do everything possible to help them build a new future,” he said.
UN agency welcomes US contribution of $10 million to help
26 March - The head of the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees today
welcomed a $10 million contribution from the United States to its funding.
The contribution was announced at a youth conference of the UN Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Brussels last week. Funded almost
entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States, UNRWA provides assistance,
protection and advocacy for some five million registered Palestine refugees in the Middle
Palestinian children playing in Khallet East, pending a solution to their plight.
Zakariya beside the Israeli settlement of
Alon Shvut. IRIN/Erica Silverman
“I’m heartened that this donation came during such an important conference,” said
UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi. “The United States remains UNRWA’s
largest bilateral donor and this latest contribution again demonstrates America’s strong support to the agency and its
activities, of which improving the lives of Palestinian refugee youth, and the opportunities open to them, is such an
Contributions to UNRWA’s so-called General Fund are a critical means of supporting its work with Palestine refugees,
particularly youth. Sixty per cent of the General Fund budget is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of the over
480,000 children who attend UNRWA schools.
The US’ latest contribution brings its total contribution to UNRWA to $65 million so far this year.
The UN Daily News is prepared at UN Headquarters in New York by the News Services Section
of the News and Media Division, Department of Public Information (DPI)