UN Radio: UN Announces Special Envoy To Iraq
UN Radio: UN Announces Special Envoy To Iraq
Annan Announces Vieira de Mello as his Special Representative in Iraq
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has announced that Sergio Vieira de Mello will serve as his special representative in Iraq. Mr. De Mello, currently the UN high commissioner for human rights, will lead the UN effort in Iraq for the next four months.
The Secretary-General says de Mello has an exceptional and unique experience in running these operations having worked in Kosovo and East Timor. The Secretary-General said it was not an easy decision but it also reflects the important challenge that the United Nations needs to take on.
Meanwhile, Mr. De Mello says the people of Iraq have suffered enough. He says it's time for all the Iraqis, the coalition authority and the United Nations to come together to ensure that this suffering comes to an end.
De Mello says he considers the development of a culture of human rights in Iraq as fundamental to stability in the country.
WFP Appeals for $16 Million for Food in Cote d'Ivoire
The UN food agency (WFP) has
warned of a deteriorating food supply in Cote
And it has appealed for US $16 million to deliver food assistance to hundreds of thousands who are already facing food shortages caused by civil unrest. WFP's regional coordinator in Abidjan, Gemmo Lodesani, told UN radio the appeal is to cover the period between now and the end of the year. He said that overall, this operation is going to provide assistance to more than half a million people at about 300,000 students. That, he adds, is a huge component of the emergency operation. Mr. Lodesani said the operation would also assist refugees from Liberia and displaced populations in the camps and transit centers.
UNHCR Denies Allegations of Collusion with Liberian Rebels
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has rejected
accusations by the Liberian government that it was backing a
new rebel group in the war-torn country.
UNHCR said its representative in Liberia has denied any prior knowledge of attacks on the southeastern port town of Harper by the group Movement for Democracy in Liberia. Spokesman Delphine Marie said UNHCR lost four trucks during the attacks. She said the official denied the presence of UNHCR staff in Harper right now, adding that they fled to Cote d'Ivoire along with Liberians and Ivorian refugees. The government's allegations come in the wake of the visit of the head of the refugee agency to Liberia during which Ruud Lubbers said the long-running conflict threatened west Africa.
Reports of Renewed Fighting in Bunia - UN
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there are reports of renewed fighting in Bunia between the Union of Congolese Patriots and the Ituri Patriotic Resistance Front. The outbreak of fighting comes as military observers from the UN mission continue to patrol in Bunia town. Meanwhile, the UN and its humanitarian partners have strongly condemned a statement by the Union of Congolese Patriots threatening to forcibly remove all internally displaced persons from UN premises where they've taken refuge. The UN and its partners say any such attempt is a contravention of international law and humanitarian norms.
UN Envoy Critical of Intimidation of Human Rights Groups in Thailand
A United Nations human rights envoy has criticized the Government of Thailand for creating what's described as a "climate of fear" among human rights groups. UN special representative on human rights defenders Hina Jilani said human rights groups are facing harassment and intimidation that's hampering their work. She said the level of insecurity amongst human rights defenders and the NGO's is increasing in Thailand which, she adds, is of great concern. She said she's also found that there are communities of human rights defenders who suffer from a higher level of insecurity than others, especially those who are protecting the rights of more marginalized communities like indigenous hill tribes.
Annan Proposes New Option to Solve Western Sahara Problem
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed a new option aimed at solving the problem in Western Sahara. And he strongly recommends that the Security Council approve the plan. A UN Spokesman says the plan combines elements of the draft framework agreement and agreed elements of an earlier settlement plan. Spokesman Fred Eckhard:
"The Secretary-General goes on to say that it is fair and balanced and following a transitional period of self-government, offers the bona-fide residents of Western Sahara an opportunity to determine their future for themselves."
Spokesman Fred Eckhard quoted the Secretary-General as saying that after more than 11 years and close to $500 million in assessed contributions, it should be acknowledged that the Security Council is not going to solve the problem of Western Sahara without asking that one or both of the parties do something they are not otherwise prepared to do.