31 December 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is to extend the mandate of the independent United Nations commission charged with examining the facts and circumstances behind the December 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto by another three months, it was announced today. According to a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban has informed both the Pakistani Government and Security Council of his intention to extend the Commission of Inquiry’s mandate, which began on 1 July.The probe was due to submit its report today, but “because of the substantial amount of information collected by the Commission in Pakistan and further follow up work that remains, the Commissioners requested additional time to complete their report,” the Secretary-General said.Set up following a request from the Pakistani Government, the Commission has met with dozens of individuals and made several trips to the South Asian nation.After wrapping up its work, the probe will submit its report to Mr. Ban, who will also share it with the Government of Pakistan.The Commission is headed by Ambassador Heraldo Muñoz of Chile, and its other members are Marzuki Darusman, the former attorney-general of Indonesia, and Peter Fitzgerald, a veteran of the Irish National Police who has also served the UN in a number of capacities.
In his keynote address at the annual UN Department of Public Information (DPI)/non governmental organizations (NGO) forum Mr. Egeland proposed that the UN develop a more predictable funding base, strengthen response capacity, and develop a more predictable right to access, with improved security for aid workers. Referring to Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s report, “In Larger Freedom,” he urged UN members and NGOs to work cooperatively to meet the objectives of peace and security, development, human rights and United Nations reform. He also said that the world needs to harness the energies, resources and imagination of all sectors of society, and called for a moral and ethical revolution to match our technical progress, so that the benefits of innovation and technology could be available for all people who need them. The 58th Conference, “Our Challenge: Voices for Peace, Partnership, and Renewal” brought NGO’s together with representatives of Member States to discuss civil society’s perspective on issues of importance prior to the opening of 2005 World Summit.