The translation of the Compendium of good practices on the protection of critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks in Russian was finalized at the end of July 2019. The translation of this documents was suggested by Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED). It was realized in the framework of the third phase of the project “Towards the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Strategy...
The killing of two people outside a synagogue in Germany on Wednesday has been characterized by the UN Secretary-General as “another tragic demonstration of anti-Semitism.”
Recent positive trends could help transform the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into a stable country, the head of the UN operation there told the Security Council on Wednesday.
The 49th round of the Geneva International Discussions (GID) took place today.
In Working Group I dealing with security issues, the exchanges focused on the situation on the ground and the worrisome developments of August 2019, in particular in the Chorchana – Tsnelisi area. In this context, the Co-Chairs welcomed the continuous efforts undertaken in the framework of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in Ergneti to defuse tensions on the ground. The Co-Chairs also welcomed the participants’ commitment to de-escalation and called on relevant actors to continue their dialogue to find a mutually acceptable solution.
The exchanges in Working Group I also touched upon various other issues, including extensive discussions on non-use of force and international security arrangements. The Co-Chairs urged the participants to renew efforts to achieve progress on these core issues. In addition, the Co-Chairs reiterated their call for the resumption of the work of the Gali IPRM without further delay.
While acknowledging the recent lifting of crossing restrictions imposed at the Abkhaz administrative boundary line (ABL) in June 2019, the Co-Chairs stressed the need to reopen all crossing points along the South Ossetian ABL.
In Working Group II dealing with humanitarian issues, the co-moderators noted the impact of such restrictive measures on the freedom of movement and livelihoods of the conflict-affected population. The participants also discussed issues relating to missing persons, mobility, documentation, public health, education, cultural heritage and environmental challenges. The participants welcomed ongoing efforts to address the problem of environmental pests and agreed on the need to continue them.
It was once again not possible to complete discussions on the issue of internally displaced persons/refugees due to a walkout by some participants in Working Group II. The Co-Chairs express regret at this disruption and remind participants of the need to engage constructively on all agenda items.
An information session on the topic “Public health: best practices for managing communicable diseases” with experts from the World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control was held on the eve of this round.
The participants agreed to hold the next GID round on 10-11 December 2019.
“Multiple” airstrikes by the US military on alleged methamphetamine drug labs in a remote area of western Afghanistan earlier this year, killed or injured dozens of civilians who should not have been treated as military targets, the UN said on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s top stories: Global need for eye care is set to increase ‘dramatically’; work and reforms of the UN ‘at risk’; progress on Mali security; South Sudan peace accord anniversary; Rights chief Bachelet urges rollback on Australia migration policies; and an interview with Maha Mamo, living proof of why statelessness needs to end worldwide.
The UN chief on Tuesday expressed “great concern” over recent policy statements made regarding northeastern Syria, following the announcement from the United States at the start of the week, that it would withdraw troops from the area close to the border with Turkey.
Tripoli, 08 October 2019 - The Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Yacoub El Hillo, strongly condemns all attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Libya.
Some progress has been made towards restoring peace and stability in Mali as outlined in a fragile 2015 peace deal, yet sustainable peace developments are not happening fast enough, the Security Council heard on Tuesday.
The members of the Security Council met on 3 October 2019 to discuss the situation in the Great lakes region and the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region. They were briefed by Mr Huang Xia, Special envoy of the Secretary General for the Great Lakes region.
For the first time, part of the original manuscript of Tolstoy’s epic novel, War and Peace, has been unveiled amid tight security in Geneva, where it is the highlight of an exhibition helping to mark 100 years of cooperation between nations.
The Security Council’s strong engagement with its Member States, partner organizations and institutions in conflict prevention efforts on the African continent is needed “more than ever”, the Secretary-General told the 15-member peace and security body on Monday.
The UN Secretary-General has strongly condemned two separate attacks on Sunday against the organization’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) which left one peacekeeper dead and four others injured.
The UN Secretary-General is encouraged by the release of the leader of the main opposition party in Cameroon. Maurice Kamto had spent the past nine months in jail following peaceful protests disputing the outcome of the October 2018 presidential election in which he was a candidate.
This Week in DPPA aims to keep you abreast of developments and events on the agenda of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, at UN HQ and in the field, and especially those that sometimes "fly under the radar".
Pedersen: Constitutional Committee breakthrough offers ‘sign of hope’ for long-suffering Syrians
Huang Xia, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, told Council member in his briefing on 3 October that there was a golden opportunity now to address the deep-rooted causes of the instability in the region. He cited recent positive developments, such as strengthened diplomatic engagement following the election of a new President in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last December, the signing of an agreement aimed at easing tensions between Rwanda and Uganda, and regional cooperation to counter armed groups in the eastern DRC.
Zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse
SRSG visits Putumayo department to verify the progress of the reintegration process
The largest Model UN in the world took place in Bogotá
Vote counting underway in Afghanistan
New initiative to increase cooperation and trust between communities
Partnership Forum to map out a course for Somalia
The GambiaYoung people reflect on current peace and security situation in The Gambia
The importance of young people as change agents in sustaining and promoting peace in The Gambia is critical. On Tuesday 2 October, the Gambia National Youth Council and UNFPA, supported by the UN SG’s Peacebuilding Fund’s Women and Youth Project held in Banjul a youth reflection event on peace and security. . The gathering, bringing together about 70 young people from all the regions of the country, was an opportunity to create a space for young men and women to reflect on the current peace and security situation and identify how they can work to ensure sustainable peace for national development. Following these discussions, participants will help develop a youth position paper on peace and security in The Gambia that would be used as a policy brief to inform policy and decision-makers about the concerns of Gambian youth and the need for action to address potential conflict and promote tolerance and peaceful coexistence in country.
Read the full story on UNFPA’s website
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The United Nations is urging authorities in Iraq to allow citizens to exercise their right to freedom of expression after the security forces opened fire on mass anti-government protests which began earlier this week.
The international community must step up efforts to end instability around Africa’s Great Lakes so that millions there can benefit from its riches, the UN Special Envoy for the region told the Security Council on Thursday.
The Somalia Partnership Forum concluded on Wednesday in the capital Mogadishu, with attendees - including the UN Special Representative for the country - taking stock of progress made, while also noting remaining challenges and agreeing on a set of priorities moving forward.
A recap of Wednesday's top stories: Kyrgyz lawyer honoured by UN refugee agency; Positive but realistic outlook in runup to Syria talks; Security Council debates how African youth can bolster peace; refugees in Mexico pursue innovative labor initiatives; UN laments violent clashes in Iraq; Roadblocks in humanitarian aid for Haiti.
The United Nations condemned on Wednesday, with “the utmost energy”, simultaneous terrorist attacks on military camps in central Mali, close to the border with Burkina Faso, that left dozens dead and scores missing.
Recognizing the potential of African youth caught up in conflict to forge peace, is crucial for nurturing their developing identities, and could help them turn away from violence, a youth representative told the Security Council on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the global community marks the International Day of Non-Violence, which this year coincided with the 150th anniversary of the birth of the global peace icon who led India to independence, Mahatma Gandhi.
The Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has just arrived in Sana’a for a two-day visit.
He commended once again yesterday's unilateral release of detainees by Ansar Allah.
“Such initiatives help create a conducive environment and build confidence for the resumption of the peace process”, Mr. Griffiths said.
The Special Envoy hopes this will encourage parties to renew their commitments towards the exchange of prisoners and detainees in accordance with...
'Sign of hope' for long-suffering Syrians as new committee forms; Yemen prisoner release signals hope for Yemen; Assembly President closes formal Debate; Refugees evacuated from Libya to Rwanda; Multilingualism observed on World Day.
Following days of intensifying protests in Haiti, Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said on Monday the UN was “concerned by reports of violence and arson” across the country.
In one month, on 30 October 2019, I intend to convene 150 Syrian men and women for the launch of a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned, credible, balanced and inclusive Constitutional Committee facilitated by the United Nations in Geneva.
I believe this should be a sign of hope for the long-suffering Syrian people. It comes after the agreement of the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian Negotiations Commission to a package deal of the nominees to the committee and a Terms of Reference and Core Rules of Procedure to guide its work.
I believe we should stop for a minute and take stock of the significance of this agreement. This is indeed the first concrete political agreement between the Government and the Opposition to begin to implement a key aspect of Security Council resolution 2254 – to set a schedule and process for a new constitution. It implies a clear acceptance of the other as an interlocutor. It commits their nominees to sit together in face-to-face dialogue and negotiation, while at the same time opening the space for civil society at the table. And it is also a shared promise to the Syrian people to try to agree under the auspices of the United Nations on new constitutional arrangements for Syria – a new social contract to help repair a broken country. This can be a door opener to a wider political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.
Seizing this opportunity will not be easy. Syria remains in the gravest crisis, with violence and terrorism continuing, five international armies operating on its territory, appalling suffering and abuses, a deeply divided society, and a sense of despair among its people inside and outside the country. Trust and confidence is almost non-existent. The Constitutional Committee will really matter if it becomes a step along the difficult path out of this conflict and to a new Syria, and if its launch and work is accompanied by other steps to build trust and confidence among Syrians and between Syria and the international community.
The Secretary-General formally announced the agreement on 23 September. Allow me to join the Secretary-General in welcoming the progress made by the Government and the opposition. I particularly thank Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Moallem, and Syrian Negotiations Commission leader Hariri, for their engagement with me in a sustained dialogue to help bring this agreement about.
Like the Secretary-General, I am grateful to the wide range of Syrian women and men – including the Women’s Advisory Board, participants in the Civil Society Support Room, and Syrians from all parts of the country – who have offered their counsel and insight.
I join the Secretary-General in expressing my particular appreciation to the governments of Russia, Turkey and Iran for their support in the conclusion of this agreement.
I also join the Secretary-General in expressing my thanks for the support of the members of this Council including all five permanent members. And I join him in expressing appreciation to the Small Group for their support.
The Secretary-General transmitted the agreed Terms of Reference and Core Rules of Procedure of the Constitutional Committee via you to the Security Council – you all now have it as document S/2019/775.
The agreement is framed by key principles that must underpin any process and any settlement. These include respect for the United Nations charter, Security Council resolutions, Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity, and the Syrian-led and owned nature of the process. The principles also include the objective of UN supervised elections envisaged in resolution 2254 based on a new constitution. They also recognize the need for a broader political process to implement resolution 2254.
The Constitutional Committee has a clear mandate: it shall, within the context of the UN-facilitated Geneva process, prepare and draft for popular approval a constitutional reform as a contribution to the political settlement in Syria and the implementation of resolution 2254. The constitutional reform shall, inter alia, embody in the constitution and constitutional practices of the country the letter and spirit of the 12 living intra-Syrian essential principles that emerged in the Geneva process and were affirmed in Sochi. The Committee may review the 2012 constitution including in the context of other Syrian constitutional experiences and amend the current constitution or draft a new constitution.
The constitutional reform adopted by the Constitutional Committee must be popularly approved and transposed into the national legal order -- by a means that will need to be agreed.
There is a clear, balanced and I believe workable structure. There will be two equal co-chairs from the government and opposition who proceed in consensus and exert the prerogatives necessary to ensure the Committee’s smooth functioning. There is small body of 45 – 15 government nominees, 15 opposition nominees, 15 from civil society – to prepare and draft proposals. And there is a large body of 150 – 50 government nominees, 50 opposition nominees, 50 from civil society – to discuss and adopt proposals.
The agreement promotes consensus within the committee where possible, but also specifies a decision-making threshold of 75%. All main components need to be on board for proposals to move forward. No one bloc can dictate the outcomes. And the incentive exists to reach out to the middle ground and across the divide.
The parties have agreed and committed to work expeditiously and continuously to produce results and continued progress, without foreign interference or external deadlines – and also without preconditions or insisting on agreement on one point before discussion can begin on another.
The parties have welcomed and embodied in the agreement the facilitation role of the United Nations – including using good offices, and reporting to this Council on progress. Both parties have told me that they have confidence in the United Nations and want to work with us in a sustained and constructive manner. We will do everything we can to meet their expectations.
The names of the 150 members will be released by the United Nations once all nominees have formally confirmed their participation. But let me say a word about them.
Beyond the government and opposition nominees, the middle third comprises 50 civil society actors. They hail from different religious, ethnic and geographical backgrounds, hold a range of political leanings, and include respected experts. Some live inside Syria; others are based outside Syria. Facilitating agreement on this list has been the most complex part of the deal. Ensuring sufficient credibility, balance and inclusivity -- in a manner that keeps all on board -- has been a key priority for us. The result is a negotiated compromise, and like all compromises, no one is completely satisfied.
We are proud that nearly half the civil society list are women, and that we have around 30% women in the overall 150. Any viable and sustainable peace process needs to have women, of all political persuasions, at the table – who represent over half its population and who, throughout the course of the conflict, have taken on an ever-more prominent role in their communities.
We have worked hard to secure guarantees -- and here I quote from the agreement -- that “members of the Constitutional Committee and their relatives or political and civil society organizations and entities of which they are part are not subject to threat or harassment or actions against person or property directly related to their work in the Constitutional Committee and to addressing and resolving any incidents and concerns should they arise.” These guarantees have been solemnly given and must be respected.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of Syrian experts and activists, men and women, on all sides, have done outstanding work, throughout the years of this conflict, developing ideas and proposals as basis for lasting peace. In doing this, they helped create a “public space” for democratic and civic debates – and we have actively supported and facilitated this, as have others. Not all of them could be on this Committee. But I am confident that they will continue to make their voices heard. I am equally confident that committee members understand their responsibilities towards all Syrians and their obligation to listen to and take on board the ideas of others. I will continue to consult widely and closely among Syrian civil society, including through the Civil Society Support Room and with the Women’s Advisory Board, and with all components of the Syrian society – including in the North-East of the country.
Above all let me stress: the future constitution of Syria belongs to the Syrian people and them alone. The United Nations will jealously guard the Syrian-owned and Syrian-led nature of the process. Syrians, not outsiders, will draft the constitution, and the Syrian people must popularly approve it. We will be there to facilitate the process in a manner that ensures its continuing credibility, balance and inclusivity, and to help when needed.
Let me assure all of you and the Syrian people that I am fully aware that the constitutional committee alone cannot resolve the conflict. We must look squarely at the facts, and address the crisis more comprehensively in line with resolution 2254.
A humanitarian crisis continues in Idlib especially and in many other parts of Syria. Idlib is calmer today than it was last month. But violence continues. And there is an ever-present threat of Idlib, or other parts of Syria, being engulfed in all out conflict.
Meanwhile, terrorist groups, listed by this Council, continue to metastasize touching all Syrian communities. A solution is essential that does not endanger civilians – a solution to HTS and other extremist groups in Idlib, and to a resurgent ISIL elsewhere.
Violent confrontations between international players remain frequent – inside Syria and across its international borders. The specter of a broader regional conflagration still looms over the country. The country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence is not respected.
Steps on de-escalation, towards a nationwide ceasefire, are absolutely essential - because the violence and killing must stop, because there is no military solution, and because resolution 2254 tells us so. A ceasefire – with a shared international understanding of how to combat terrorism in a manner that protects civilians and upholds international law – is vital in its own right, and would help animate the political process.
Tens of thousands remain detained, abducted and missing; their families suffering from untold pain and daily challenges. I appeal for action on detainees, abductees and the missing – particularly the release of women and children. This would be a vital step. Now is the time, Mr. President. Now is the time for action on this.
Millions remain displaced, inside and outside Syria, many mired in hopelessness and fear. Meaningful steps will be required to create an environment for refugees and IDPs to return in a safe, voluntary and dignified manner.
Millions live in poverty, facing widespread commodity shortages and an economy that lies in tatters. Lawlessness and fragmentation abound, weakening the social fabric and prospects to build the rule of law and a culture of respect for human rights. This too must be our concern.
That is why, as we look towards the first meeting of the Committee, I urge all stakeholders – the Syrian parties and their backers – to think more broadly, more inclusively and with the ultimate objective of a country at peace. I appeal for them to seize upon the momentum that the Committee offers and take concrete actions, to build trust and confidence.
Language matters too. I hope that the Syrian parties and the international community can find the right words to clearly signal their good intentions - to each other and to the Syrian people - to open a new chapter and create new and better realities on the ground.
Ultimately, I hope that we can begin to build a positive dynamic. Step by step – by the Syrian parties, and also by international parties too -- we need to build the kind of safe, calm and neutral environment that could make Syrians feel that the political process can restore their country and respond to their aspirations.
This requires genuine international dialogue and cooperation in support of the Geneva process. Any concrete steps could be reciprocal, building trust between Syrians – and between Syria and the international community too. I know this will not be easy, but I sense among my key partners an honest understanding that it is indeed necessary. I will keep working on this.
Ultimately, the Syrian people must be able to participate in “free and fair elections under United Nations supervision” in line with resolution 2254, in which all Syrians, including those in the diaspora, are eligible to participate. Elections, held to the highest international standards, take a long time to prepare, and that is why I have already begun to think about how the United Nations could plan for this task, in dialogue, of course, with all Syrian parties.
Let me conclude with a simple request to this Council. I have greatly appreciated the excellent dialogue I have had with members of the Council, and I will need your support in the difficult work ahead.
I appeal to you to unite behind a revitalized effort by the United Nations with the parties to move forward the Geneva political process. I believe this moment is an opportunity for the Council to publicly support the process you have mandated in resolution 2254.
The road ahead will be long and difficult, but if the Council can unite, and keep united, behind the Syrian-led and owned process that the United Nations will seek to facilitate, I believe we can begin to make a real difference for the people of Syria, for the region, and for international peace and security.
Thank you, Mr President.
There is a “sign of hope for the long-suffering Syrian people” as a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned, credible and inclusive Constitutional Committee is set to start deliberations next month, the United Nations Special Envoy for the country told the Security Council on Monday.
Hopes for a possible end to the war in Yemen grew slightly on Monday, following the news that nearly 300 detainees have been released as a gesture of goodwill by Houthi forces, pitted against the Government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.