UN Radio: Peacekeepers TakeOver French in DR Congo
UN Radio: Peacekeepers Take Over From French in DRC
UN Peacekeepers Take Over From French in DRC
UN peacekeepers have taken over from the French-led European Force in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The peacekeepers have been given a more robust mandate to enforce the peace. Spokeswoman for the UN Mission, Patricia Tome, says this was a clear message in the town of Bunia, during the handover ceremony on Monday:
"First of all we have the means. We have attack helicopters, we have a big amount of weapons. We can use these weapons. So the message to the population is very clear, that we are here to enforce peace, to stabilize, to secure, and to protect the population."
The Blue Helmets are expected to be deployed beyond the borders of Bunia in two weeks.
UN Court Rejects Milosevic's Request for Two Years to Prepare for His Defence
The Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia today rejected former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's request for two years to prepare for his defence. Mr. Milosevic, who has been on trial at the tribunal in The Hague since February last year, faces war crimes charges for his involvement in the wars that broke up the former Yugoslavia in the 1990's. The presiding judge, Richard May, said there was absolutely no question in a criminal case for there to be a break in the middle of two years. Jim Landale is the spokesman for the Court's registry:
"He said that the trial judges would consider what was a reasonable break and what help to be given to Mr. Milosevic to help facilitate the preparation and presentation of his defence case. But he was clear that a two-year break is not on the cards."
Mr. Milosevic is also charged with genocide, the gravest of war crimes.
Sudanese Refugees Flee to Eastern Chad
The number of Sudanese refugees fleeing to eastern Chad since April of this year has now reached some 65,000, according to UNHCR. The refugees, many of them in poor health are fleeing fighting in the Darfur region of western Sudan. A truce between the Khartoum government and southern rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement or Army is reported to largely holding, while peace talks continue in Kenya. UNHCR says this leaves Darfur as Sudan's main battlefront.
Human Rights Expert is Disturbed by Reports of Aung San Suu Kyi Hunger Strike
The UN Human Rights Commission's Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, is deeply disturbed by reports that Aung San Suu Kyi is on hunger strike. The Rapporteur says although restrictions on information make it impossible to confirm this news, he remains gravely concerned about the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi in an undisclosed location. He is also concerned about the impact of her confinement on her safety and health. The spokesman of the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Jose Luis Diaz:
"He reiterates earlier appeals that he has made to the government of Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi immediately and unconditionally. He also underlined the government's responsibility for the protection of Aung San Suu Kyi and her safety."
The Special Rapporteur repeats his calls for the release without delay of all other persons imprisoned for their peaceful expression of their views.
UN Envoy Calls on Asia Not to Ignore HIV/AID
The Secretary-General's Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Asia, Dr. Nafis Sadik, today called on Asian leaders not to ignore the threat of HIV/AIDS and its devastating impact. Speaking at the annual meeting of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Dr. Sadik said AIDS was no ordinary crisis and it must call forth an extraordinary response. She added that people in Asia cannot continue to leave in a make believe world.
WHO Calls For Vaccination Against Influenza
The World Health Organization has called for
the urgent vaccination of people at high risk of contracting
influenza. This is in part to prevent the disruption of
health services and costly precautionary measures resulting
form suspected cases of the Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome, SARS. The agency says that while the influenza
vaccine does not provide protection from SARS, high
vaccination coverage may reduce the number of pneumonia
cases caused by influenza that might raise suspicions of