UNMIS Office of the Spokesperson press briefing 21 Dec 2005

Report
from UN Mission in Sudan
Published on 21 Dec 2005
Following is a near-verbatim transcript of today's weekly briefing (12:30PM) by Radhia Achouri, Spokesperson for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan:
Good afternoon ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to the press briefing. Before I start my press briefing we have some new colleagues which I would like for you to know but we will make the introductions a bit later. One of our newcomers is Ms. Jihan ElAlaili and she will be working, in UN Radio and she will be the chief of the News Section for UN Radio and will be dealing with you extensively later on.

I have a guest also today and he will be briefing you after I finish my briefing as usual. Our guest today is Mr. Sajjad Malik and he is the Senior Coordinator for Returns and Reintegration from UNHCR and I know that many of you were following very closely the issue of the repatriation of refugees to the southern Sudan and he will be giving you a briefing updating you on that particular issue.

Without further ado, I will start my briefing with the latest from the Secretary-General on Darfur.

UN SECRETRAY-GENERAL ON DARFUR

In a statement issued yesterday, the Secretary-General condemned the latest attack on Abu Sorouj village in West Darfur. Reports indicate that approximately 500 armed men over horses and camel back suspected to be Arab Militias entered Abu Sorouj village on 19 December and started shooting indiscriminately, killing around 20 civilians and burning dozens of huts. The attackers looted livestock.

The Secretary-General urged the Government of Sudan to take immediate measures and to pursue those responsible. 'The perpetrators of this and other attacks against civilians must be brought to justice" the Secretary-General said.

The Secretary-General condemned all the violent clashes, instances of banditry and intertribal fighting that has continued in Darfur in recent days. He called on the parties to the conflict in the strongest terms to respect their agreements and the provisions of international humanitarian law, and to accelerate their efforts to reach an early, negotiated settlement in Abuja.

The statement is available in the room.

U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL

The Security Council held a meeting on 19 December on the humanitarian situation in Africa and heard in this regard a briefing by Jan Egeland, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator. Jan Egeland focused his briefing on the crisis in Darfur and its impact on Chad, and the regional crisis caused by the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, Sudan and most recently the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On Darfur, he noted that unless measures taken by the Security Council have a real impact on the ground, the wound will continue to bleed, and appealed for an expanded and more effective security presence on the ground as soon as possible.

He made proposals to the Council to address the crisis caused by the LRA including a creation of a panel of experts to explore the sources of funding and support of the group.

ACTIVITIES OF THE MISSION AND ITS SENIOR LEADERSHIP

-The DSRSG for Humanitarian Affairs and Development and the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, Manuel Aranda Da Silva, took part in the recent UN Development Group / UNDP mission to Southern Sudan. The mission, headed by Kathleen Cravero - Head of UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recover - and Sally Fegan Wyles - Head of UN Development Group - sought to examine the coordination mechanism during the transition from relief to recovery and development. The mission included meetings with the UN Country Team (UNCT), UNMIS, UNDP, OCHA, Ministry of International Cooperation, NGOs and donors. It also met with NGOs, UNDP, UNCT and UNMIS and government in Juba and Kadugli.

-On 15 Dec., UNMIS participated in the 'Darfur program for training on Sexual exploitation and abuse,' organized and hosted by UNFPA in Khartoum and attended by UN agencies and NGOs. The Gender Unit provided feedback on a draft training manual to be delivered to humanitarian aid workers in Darfur, and discussed the appropriate steps for ensuring that humanitarian aid workers are held accountable for any acts of SEA.

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