Follow by Email

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ban's report on the implementation of Resolution 2139 / Syria

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (seated, centre) poses for a group photo with Security Council members. 
22 April 2014

Report of the Secretary-General
23 April 2014
I. Introduction
1. This second report is submitted pursuant to Paragraph 17 of Security Council resolution 2139 (2014), in which the Security Council requested the Secretary-General to report, every 30 days, on the implementation of the resolution by all parties in the Syrian Arab Republic.
2. The report covers the period 22 March to 21 April 2014. The information contained in the report is based on the limited data available to the United Nations (UN) actors on the ground as well as reports from open sources and Syrian Government sources.

II. Major Developments

A. Political/Military
3. During the reporting period fighting between Government and opposition forces, as
well as between various opposition groups, continued in many parts of Syria. Fighting was particularly intense in Aleppo, Latakia, Dar’a, Homs and Rural Damascus governorates. Clashes also continued in several other parts of the country, including in Hama, Idleb, Ar-Raqqa and Deir -ez-Zor governorates. The conduct of hostilities by all parties to the conflict, including direct and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian areas, continued to cause deaths and injuries.
4. In Aleppo, fighting escalated with significant shelling and the continued use of other heavy weaponry by Government forces. The use of missiles and rocket launchers by opposition groups resulted in a high number of casualties and injuries. An average of 20 shells and missiles were reported to have fallen daily on neighbourhoods in both eastern and western Aleppo between the end of March and early April. According to Human Rights Watch, which conducted a review of satellite imagery on 22 February, 1 March and 2 April 2014, there is strong evidence to suggest the use by government forces of indiscriminate aerial bombardment and ground attacks of opposition-held neighbourhoods in Aleppo. This reportedly includes over 85 major places impacted since 22 February with damage signatures strongly consistent with the use of improvised barrel and conventional bombs, resulting in the destruction of a vast number of residential buildings. This damage was particularly evident in opposition held neighbourhoods of Masaken Hanano, al Sakhour, Terbet Lala, Helwaniye, Jabal Badro, Al Heidariyya and Owaija.
5. Since 5 April, armed groups have also launched an offensive in the Al-Layramoun and Al-Zahraa neighbourhoods, in north-west Aleppo city, with armed clashes resulting in scores of civilians injured and displaced. In addition, armed clashes between Government and opposition groups in and around Ramousa town on the southern outskirts of Aleppo city have rendered access to the western part of Aleppo irregular since 12 April. Aleppo city is effectively encircled by armed opposition groups. Fighting, especially near the only supply route from Homs, Damascus and the coast into the city, has raised concerns about fuel shortages and rising food prices and other commodities in both western and eastern Aleppo.
6. In Latakia, armed opposition groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and Ansar al-Sham, launched a major offensive on Kassab town and surrounding areas on 21 March, taking control of the adjacent border crossing with Turkey from the Syrian Government. The fighting reportedly led to the forced displacement of over 7,500 people, many of whom have sought shelter in Latakia city. There have been reports of attacks on civilians, as well as looting of civilian homes and religious sites, including churches, although these remain unconfirmed.
7. In Dar’a Governorate, conflict persisted in locations with a heavy concentration of civilians including displaced people. Reports of a high number of aerial bombardments were reported in Dar’a city, Jasim and Ankhal (north Dar’a); Tassil, Tafs and Mzeireb (southwest); and Tiba and Sayda (east of al-Naseeb border crossing with Jordan). This included, for example, the damaging of grain silos storing 25 tons of wheat in Dar’a on 26 March.
8. Government-controlled cities and towns, including Damascus, were subject to indiscriminate mortar attacks and shelling by armed opposition groups. Between 26 March and 1 April heavily populated areas of Damascus, such as Al Midan, Al Mogambo, Al Sulaymaniya, Al Khaldiya and Nile Street, were attacked with mortars, resulting in secondary and tertiary displacement. In the first week of April alone, over 100 mortars were fired on neighbourhoods of Damascus. Opposition groups shelled residential areas in the city including the districts of Al-Malk, Bab Touma, al-Sadat, al-Kabbas and al-Zablatani.
9. Car bombings and suicide attacks, including against civilians, resulted in further civilian deaths and injuries. In particular, multiple instances of vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) were reported in the governorates of Idleb, Dar’a, Al-Hasakeh, Latakia and Homs. For example, according to open sources, on 9 April at least 25 people, including women and children, were killed and another 100 were wounded when two car bombs exploded in the Karam al-Luz district, a predominantly Alawite neighbourhood of Homs city. Two volunteers from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were among the injured as they arrived in an ambulance to treat people hurt by the initial blast.
10. Fighting near the Khan Danoun Palestinian Refugee camp, in south Damascus, resulted in a number of deaths and injuries of Palestine refugees. Several buildings and a mosque were also damaged. Four Palestinians were taken hostage by armed opposition groups and are still missing. After several hours of fighting the armed groups withdrew from the camp.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

UN Secretary General's updated report on Western Sahara

Report of the Secretary-General on the situation concerning Western Sahara

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2099 (2013), by which the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 30 April 2014 and requested the Secretary-General to provide a report to it on the situation in Western Sahara well before the end of the mandate period. It covers developments since my report dated 8 April 2013 (S/2013/220) and describes the situation on the ground, the status and progress of the negotiations and the existing challenges to the Mission’s operations, as requested by the Council in its resolution 2099 (2013).

Recent developments
2. The situation in Western Sahara, as it presents itself to MINURSO, is generally calm. The ceasefire continues to hold and the people can live without fear of a resumption of armed conflict in the medium term.
3. That part of Western Sahara under control of Morocco, west of the berm marking the ceasefire line, continued to witness considerable Moroccan investment in infrastructure and in the social and cultural sphere. Public life proceeded peacefully, and holidays brought large numbers of people into the streets, generally without incident. This was at least in part due to the extensive presence of security forces.
4. An increased number of delegations from foreign legislatures and diplomatic missions, as well as governmental and non-governmental institutions and journalists, visited the western part of the Territory. Moroccan authorities showed increased openness to and engagement with such visits, although on occasion visitors deemed hostile to Moroccan interests were denied access to or expelled from the Territory.
5. Some underlying discontent, however, remained perceptible among the Saharan population, expressing itself in sporadic demonstrations in Laayoune and other towns in the western part of the Territory throughout the reporting period. These were usually small in scale, but at times the participation of up to 300 demonstrators was reported. These demonstrations aimed at drawing attention to human rights concerns, socioeconomic issues and political demands, including the right to self-determination. They were swiftly dispersed by Moroccan security forces. On most such occasions, there were credible reports of heavy-handedness on the part of security forces, as well as violence, such as stone-throwing, on the part of demonstrators. At times, the regional offices of the Moroccan National Human Rights Council (Conseil national des droits de l’homme) in Laayoune and Dakhla deployed observers and tried to defuse tensions and prevent clashes.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blue draft resolution on Central African Republic

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressing the National Transitional Council. Bangui, Central African Republic 05 April 2014

8 April 2014 – CAR  Draft resolution – BLUE

The Security Council

Recalling its previous resolutions and statements on the Central African Republic (CAR), in particular resolutions 2121 (2013), 2127 (2013) and 2134 (2014),

Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the CAR, and recalling the importance of the principles of non-interference, good-neighbourliness and regional cooperation,

Reaffirming the basic principles of peacekeeping, including consent of the parties, impartiality, and non-use of force, except in self-defence and defence of the mandate, and recognizing that the mandate of each peacekeeping mission is specific to the need and situation of the country concerned,

Expressing deep concern at the security situation in the CAR,

Recalling that the Transitional Authorities have the primary responsibility to protect the population in the CAR,

Emphasizing that any sustainable solution to the crisis in the CAR should be CAR-owned, including the political process, and should include the restructuring of the Central African security forces

Further emphasizing that the continued role of the region, including the Chair of ECCAS and its Mediator, as well as the AU, will be critical for the promotion of lasting peace and stability in the CAR,

Welcoming the positive and decisive impact of MISCA’s actions on the ground in protecting civilians and preventing serious violations of international law, and the progress made in the implementation of other aspects of its mandate as reflected in the first progress report of the AU Commission on the deployment and operations of MISCA submitted pursuant to paragraph 32 of resolution 2127 (2013),

Remaining seriously concerned by multiple violations of international humanitarian law and the widespread human rights violations and abuses, including those involving extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, sexual violence against women and children, rape, recruitment and use of children and attacks against civilians, in particular but not limited to Muslims, and attacks against places of worship, denial of humanitarian access,  committed by both former Seleka elements and militia groups, in particular the “anti-Balaka,”

Condemns in the strongest terms all the attacks and provocations against MISCA contingents by armed groups and urging the CAR Transitional Authorities to take all possible measures to ensure the arrest and prosecution perpetrators,

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Security Council Sanctions Committee on Iran: New Report

90-day report pursuant to paragraph 18 (h) of resolution 1737 (2006)
Madam President,
  1. I have the honour to present the report of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1737 (2006), in accordance with paragraph 18 (h) of the same resolution.  The present report covers the period from 13 December 2013 to 19 March 2014, during which time the Committee held two informal meetings, one informal informal meeting, and conducted additional work using the no-objection procedure envisioned by paragraph 15 of the guidelines for the conduct of its work.
  1. The Committee presented its Annual Report to the President of the Security Council on 27 December 2013.  The Annual Report provides a useful snapshot of the range of activities pursued by the Committee in accordance with its mandate in 2013.  I would particularly like to highlight the Committee’s communications with Member States and international organisations on matters of implementation and compliance.  Providing guidance to Member States who request assistance with their implementation of the relevant provisions of the key resolutions is a critical dimension of the Committee’s program of work; and I encourage Member States to take us up on our offer.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Brahimi's report to UN General Assembly: Re-electing Assad won't end Syrians' suffering


Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Mr. Secretary General, .
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates.

l. I am deeply honoured to address this august Assembly.
2. On Tuesday 25 February, the General Assembly was briefed by the Assistant Secretary General for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Director General of the World Health Organisation. They have confirmed what you have known only too .well: that the humanitarian situation is bad and continues to get worse, and that the UN and aid agencies do not have all the space and assured protection they need to do as much as they can and should do.
3. will therefore not say too much about the humanitarian situation except to underline the gravity of that situation, the immense suffering inflicted upon the Syrian people and the urgent need to solve this crisis which, as the Secretary General has just reminded us, is entering its fourth year. I feel however that it is my duty, to pay tribute to the UN Staff, national and international who are trying to deliver aid to the millions of suffering Syrian men, women and children. I salute the memory. of the local Syrian staff who have made the ultimate sacrifice all 14 of them - alongside 34 young volunteers of the Syrian Red Crescent also killed while flying to help their suffering compatriots. I would like to draw attention to those of our colleagues, national staff, - 23 from UNRWA, 2 from UNDP and one from IOM who have been imprisoned and call on the Syrian Government to release them. And I would like to pay tribute to all the partners of the UN, chief among them the ICRC, for their admirable compassion and dedication. And I must add my voice to the many calls made for the release of the ICRC staff members who have been kidnapped in Northern Syria; several months ago.
4. The scope of the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria is mind-boggling: we now speak of close to 10 million people who need aid to simply survive. About this time last year, we were told that the number of refugees will pass the‘ 2 million mark by the end of 2013; it has. We now hear that, if the conflict continues at its present level of devastation, we should expect the refugees to number 4 million by the end of this year and the number of the dead may reach 350,000 if not more by 2015. These numbers sound frighteningly high. But when one hears that half a million people left Aleppo during the past few weeks, we see that those levels will alas! be attained and probably surpassed.
5. The admirable hospitality of Syria’s neighbours and the generous solidarity of the donor community are highly appreciated: they are saving thousands and thousands of lives; they will naturally not provide a lasting solution to a catastrophe of this magnitude. Only a political solution to the crisis will. The Secretary General has been calling for such a solution from the very beginning of the crisis. And when the confrontation between the Government and significant parts of the population became a military confrontation, he ceaselessly called for an end to the flow of arms to all parties and pleaded for a collective international effort to help the Syrians solve their crisis through peaceful means. His appeals have unfortunately not been heard.
6. For a long time, each side in the bloody confrontation in Syria was determined to achieve military victory and confident that such a military victory was within reach. It was first the Government who thought they would crush in no time what they called a foreign-inspired and funded terrorist campaign. It was then the opposition, armed and civilian, who thought that the present regime in their country would crumble the way the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt did. Others expected or called for a repeat of the Libyan scenario. It is now again the Government who are confident that their side will win on the battlefield and soon.
7. The military position of the Government of Syria is clearly much stronger in the beginning of 2014 than it was in 2013. Nonetheless, the conflict remain in a stalemate. The assessment of most observers is still that neither
side can achieve a decisive military victory in 2014. Relationships between Armed Groups were and still are complex. The Free Syrian Army has firmly distanced themselves from Al-Qaeda affiliates. But locally, the two sides at times get together to carry out joined operations. In other cases, heavy fighting occurred between various Armed Opposition Groups. Thus, in Aleppo the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Sham or ISIS managed to expel other groups and take control of a significant number of neighbourhoods starting from September 2013, which led to a decision by other armed groups, mainly the Islamic Front and Jaysh Al Mujahedeen, to start a campaign against ISIS.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

American draft resolution on Ukraine: Crimea referendum illegitimate

Draft UNSCR – Ukraine

The Security Council,

PP1     Recalling the obligation of all States under Article 2 of the United Nations Charter to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, and to settle their international disputes by peaceful means,

PP2     Recalling its primary responsibility under the United Nations Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security,

PP3     Reaffirming that no territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal,

PP4     Recalling the 1975 Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum,

PP5     Stressing the importance of maintaining an inclusive political dialogue in Ukraine that reflects the diversity of its society and includes representation from all parts of Ukraine,

PP6     Welcoming the continued efforts by the Secretary-General, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other international and regional organizations, to support de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine,

PP7     Noting with concern the intention to hold a referendum on the status of Crimea on 16 March 2014,

OP1     Reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders;

OP2     Urges all parties to pursue immediately the peaceful resolution of this dispute through direct political dialogue, to exercise restraint, to refrain from unilateral actions and inflammatory rhetoric that may increase tensions, and to engage fully with international mediation efforts;

OP3     Calls on Ukraine to continue to respect and uphold its obligations under international law and to protect the rights of all persons in Ukraine, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities, and in this regard, welcomes the statements by the transitional government in Ukraine affirming its commitments to uphold the rights of all Ukrainians, including those belonging to minorities, and to an inclusive national political dialogue;

OP4     Notes that Ukraine has not authorized the referendum on the status of Crimea;

OP5     Declares that this referendum can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea; and calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of Crimea on the basis of this referendum and to refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status;

OP6     Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.
Follow me on Twitter @NabilAbiSaab

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Security Council draft statement on Libya / Morning Glory oil vessel

Draft Press Statement on Libya
The members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at reports that a vessel sailing under the name “Morning Glory” was attempting unlawfully to export oil from the Libyan port of Sidra.
The members of the Security Council condemned the illegal seizure of energy facilities and the smuggling of natural resources from Libya and called upon all parties to refrain from such acts.
The members of the Security Council stressed the importance that disruptions to Libya’s energy exports be resolved peacefully.
The members of the Security Council re-iterated their support to the people of Libya in the face of significant challenges to the democratic transition.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya.

Follow me on Twitter @NabilAbiSaab