HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING
UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
There are no noon briefings
planned until January 4, 2010.
Developments within the UN system will be posted daily on this website daily throughout this period.
AFGHANISTAN: WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME IS DISTRESSED OVER KILLING OF STAFF MEMBER
- The World Food Programme said it was deeply distressed to learn that one
of its staff members was amongst the innocent victims of the suicide bombing
in the southern city of Kandahar on Thursday 24 December. The remains
of the slain WFP security guard were identified by a relative on Sunday. For
his family’s protection, his identity is not being released.
- “I am shocked and saddened by this terrible loss,” said WFP Executive
Director Josette Sheeran. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family,
friends and colleagues of this dedicated man whose courage and commitment
have contributed to our ability to provide food assistance to the hungry in
- The victim was a 24-year-old Afghan national who began working with WFP
in July as a warehouse security guard.
- He was among the eight people killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives concealed in a horse-drawn cart in central Kandahar on the evening of 24 December. Three Afghan civilians and a police officer were wounded in the blast.
TOP REFUGEE OFFICIAL IS DISMAYED AT THAI DEPORTATION OF LAO HMONG
- The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres,
expressed his dismay today
at Thailand's deportation of Lao Hmong. "I call upon the Thai Government to
halt the forced return of the Lao Hmong, some of whom have international
protection needs,” he said.
- This morning Thailand began deporting the first group of an estimated
4000 Lao Hmong from the Huay Nam Khao camp in Petchabun, to whom UNHCR has
not been granted access. The deportations will continue over the coming days
and, as announced by the Thai Government, will include a second group of 158
recognized refugees held in detention in Nong Kai.
- On Thursday, the High Commissioner issued an appeal to the Thai
Government not to go ahead with its planned returns of Lao Hmong. In his
statement he noted that the refoulement, or forced return, would "not only
endanger the protection of the refugees but set a very grave international
- UNHCR urges Thailand to halt the deportations to allow time for solutions of voluntary return and third country resettlement in a manner that respects the cardinal international principle of non-refoulement, or no forced return.
GAZA: BAN KI-MOON SOUNDS WARNING OVER UNRESOLVED ISSUES
- On the first anniversary of the launch of a
three-week Israeli military offensive in Gaza, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
is deeply concerned that neither the issues that led to the conflict nor its
worrying aftermath have been addressed.
- Very few of the key elements for stability, as
identified in Security Council resolution 1860, have been implemented,
according to the statement issued on Sunday. While violence has been at
lower levels this year, incidents continue and there is no durable ceasefire
- The quality and quantity of humanitarian
supplies entering Gaza is insufficient, broader economic and reconstruction
activity is paralyzed, and the people of Gaza are denied basic human rights.
Efforts are being made to combat illicit trafficking of weapons, but
smuggling continues. Egypt has tirelessly worked for Palestinian unity, but
without a breakthrough so far.
- There is a sense of hopelessness in Gaza today
for 1.5 million Palestinians, half of whom are under eighteen. Their fate
and the well-being of Israelis are intimately connected.
- A fundamentally different approach to Gaza is
urgently required. The Secretary-General calls on Israel to end the
unacceptable and counterproductive blockade of Gaza, facilitate economic
activity and civilian reconstruction, and fully respect and uphold
international law. He calls on Hamas to bring an end to violence and fully
respect and uphold international law. The Secretary-General also calls on
all Palestinians to work for unity and elections within the framework of the
legitimate Palestinian Authority.
- Today's anniversary is a reminder of the bitter
consequences of the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to which there
is and can be no military solution. The urgent priority of all Israeli and
Palestinian leaders, the region, and the international community as a whole
must be the achievement of a two State solution.
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
United Nations, S-378