Posted by: APO | 4 January 2008


4 January 2008



The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.



** Kenya


On Kenya, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that around 250,000 Kenyans are now internally displaced.  That’s a considerable increase compared to previous estimates.  A further 5,400 Kenyan refugees have crossed into Uganda.  Overall, the number of people affected by the post-election violence is between 400,000 and 500,000.


For its part, UNICEF is working to reduce malnutrition among displaced people in the worst-hit areas.  It is also working to establish so-called “safe spaces” for displaced mothers and children, provide water and sanitation to over 100,000 people, and distribute family kits to supply up to 100,000 people with blankets, plastic sheeting, cooking sets, soap and jerry cans.


Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) will shortly provide food through the Kenya Red Cross for 100,000 people displaced in the northern Rift Valley.


Kenyan security forces recently escorted 20 WFP trucks, allowing them to carry food aid to north-western Kenya, Southern Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  However, insecurity and vigilante roadblocks are still hampering humanitarian access. 


We have more information upstairs.


In response to your questions, the Secretary-General spoke earlier today with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.  He also spoke a few minutes ago with opposition leader Raila Odinga.  In both conversations, he discussed the return to calm and normalcy in Kenya and humanitarian needs.  The Secretary-General called upon the political leaders to resolve their issues through dialogue.


The Secretary-General has also been in touch with other parties dealing with the situation in Kenya, including, by phone, with President John Kufuor of Ghana, the current Chairman of the African Union.



** Democratic Republic of the Congo


The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights today released the preliminary findings of its investigation into events that happened in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa in March 2007.  The investigation concluded that serious human rights violations took place during the hostilities between Government forces and members of the personal security detail of former Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba.


The investigative team recommended that a judicial investigation be carried out by the Congolese authorities, that victims who lost family members, who were injured, or whose property was damaged be compensated or indemnified, and that the Congolese authorities should issue a comprehensive public statement about the events, explaining what happened and what has been done by the authorities to correct wrongdoing by Government forces. 


We have more on that upstairs.


The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) is assisting that country’s Government in a new sensitization campaign in the Kivus.  That campaign is aimed at disarming all remaining armed groups, both national and foreign, in the area.


MONUC is supporting the Government by producing radio broadcasts and distributing leaflets that encourage combatants to surrender and return home.  There are approximately 8,000 foreign combatants remaining in the Kivus, the majority of them FDLR combatants from Rwanda, according to MONUC.


The Mission notes that much progress on the issue of armed groups will depend on the upcoming Kivus peace conference, which starts Sunday in Goma.


We have more information upstairs.


** Chad


Turning now to Chad, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) started its training of trainers programme for the Chadian police today.  A total of 36 officers, including 20 internationals and 16 nationals, are taking part in this seven-day training.  The Chadian participants are from the Gendarmerie Academy and the police force.  The purpose of the training is, as the UN Security Council states in its 1778 (2007) resolution:  “To enhance the capabilities of Chadian police and gendarmes to provide effective police service to the population in eastern Chad affected by the Darfur crisis, including refugees, IDPs, local population and humanitarian workers.”


The 36 officers in training today will, in turn, train 200 Chadian police each month for the next four months.  The goal is to reach a total of 850 trained Chadian police who will specialize in the protection of refugees and IDPs in Chad.




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