Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · Geneva

23 April 2002


Marie Heuze, Director of the Information Service, briefed journalists about Resolution 1405 adopted by the Security Council and the Secretary-General's announcement of a fact-finding team on Jenin camp in the West Bank. She also informed journalists about the fight against AIDS. The humanitarian organizations continued to bring news of their on-the-ground activities in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Fact-finding team on Jenin camp

Ms. Heuzé stated that the Secretary-General had established a fact-finding team mandated by the Security Council to develop accurate information regarding recent events at the Jenin refugee camp. Mr. Annan had given a press conference yesterday in New York to announce that. The members of the team comprised Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, the former President of Finland, who would head the fact-finding mission; Mrs. Sadako Ogata, former High Commissioner for Refugees; and Mr. Cornelio Sommaruga, former head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In addition, General Bill Nash would accompany them as military adviser and Peter Fitzgerald as police adviser. The full transcripts of the press conference were in the press room in English and French.


Middle East

The Spokesperson for OCHA, Elisabeth Byrs, announced that a UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC) had been dispatched by the Office at the request of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The team comprised seven experts, five of whom arrived in the West Bank on 21 April, with the rest arriving yesterday. Meetings had already been held with UNSCO, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) the World Bank and UNRWA. The team visited Jenin and Nablus yesterday and was expected to report back today. The team would also identify sites on which to install 800 tents for those recently left homeless in Jenin. Ross Mountain the Director of OCHA Geneva, had left this morning and would return on Sunday. Ms. Byrs said a briefing could be arranged with him upon his return.

The UNICEF spokesperson described the persistent difficulties in gaining humanitarian access. Vaccines had been delivered to Ramallah's hospitals and labs, and to 45,000 children in Tulkarem. Schools were reopening there after 25 days. 600,000 children had been denied access to schools due to the recent events. In Jenin, the return to school was especially problematic because of unexploded ordinance in the buildings. UNICEF and the Palestinian Red Crescent were engaged in a public education campaign to make people, especially children, aware of what unexploded ordinance looked like and how to leave it alone. They did this by using loudspeakers and broadcasts from mosques.


For information media - not an official record