UN Radio: Security Council Discusses DRC Situation
UN Radio: Security Council Discusses Current Situation in the DRC
Security Council Discusses Current Situation in the DRC
The UN Security Council has been meeting today on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a call for human rights crimes to be tried. In his statement to the Council, the Under-Secretary for Peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guehenno, said violence in Ituri province had been compounded by issues of economic necessity and the exploitation of natural resources by both local and external forces. He said the deployment of a strong multi-national force in Bunia had begun to change the security situation, allowing thousands of displaced civilians to return home. The Acting UN Human Rights Commissioner, Bertrand Ramcharan, called for those who commit human rights atrocities in the DR Congo to be brought to justice:
"There is controvertible evidence pointing to the criminal responsibility of particular individuals. They must know from this Security Council that they will be brought to justice. They must know from this Security Council that the Democratic Republic of the Congo of the future will be built on the foundations of human rights."
Meanwhile the new Special Representative for the DRC, William Lacy Swing of the USA, has arrived in Kinshasa over the weekend, to resume his duties.
UN Officials and Mediators Finalise Liberian Peace Deal as US Military Team Arrives in Monrovia
UN officials and mediators from the West African political grouping ECOWAS, as well as representatives of the political spectrum in Liberia have resumed talks in the Ghanaian capital Accra to finalise a comprehensive peace plan. The resumption comes as a team of American military experts arrived in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, to assess the possible deployment of an American-led multinational force in Liberia. The UN Representative for Liberia, Abou Moussa, who's at the peace talks in Ghana, explains the three areas they are focusing on.
"The first thing has got to be with the stabilization force, everybody agrees that there should be one and there's the need to define the mandate and when they should arrive. The second has got to do with the transitional government, the composition who will lead, how will it be structured. And the third point is the issue of constitution, how will it be applicable to what we're doing. So those are the three main areas we're looking at right now."
The indicted Liberian president Charles Taylor has agreed to accept an offer of asylum in Nigeria, but he insists that he will only leave Liberia after the international peacekeeping force has been deployed in the country.
UN Holds Conference on Fight Against Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons
Representatives of UN members states have begun the first-ever international meeting to implement an action plan to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons. In a message delivered on his behalf by the Under-Secretary for Disarmament Affairs Nobuyasu Abe, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said small arms and light weapons are truly a global scourge. He said small arms and light weapons cause mass destruction and kill about 60 people an hour or half a million people a year, 90 per cent of them women and children.
WHO Works on Eradicating SARS Worldwide
The World Health Organisation has called for further vigilance even after it declared over the weekend that the flu-like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome SARS had been contained worldwide. Over the weekend, Taiwan became the last region to be removed from the WHO's SARS advisory list after it went twenty days without any new reported cases. WHO spokesman Dick Thomson says some work still has to be done to eradicate SARS completely:
"One of the top two research priorities for the next few months is to find out if there is an animal reservoir - and it's most likely southern China - what's the animal that harbours it and see if we could control that perhaps by eliminating those animals that are infected."
UN Nuclear Agency Urges Safer Transportation of Radioactive Material
Experts from the International Atomic Agency and other connected international organisations have begun meeting in Vienna, Austria to look at safer and more secure ways of transporting radioactive materials used in hospitals, research institutions and other industries.