posted on WED 16 APR 2014 8:35 PM
Briefing on Myanmar

Tomorrow morning (17 April), the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, will brief Council members during informal consultations under “any other business”. It appears that the UK requested a briefing on the situation in Myanmar as it has been almost exactly a year since this issue was discussed. (Nambiar last briefed Council members on 16 April 2013). Nambiar came back from a visit to Myanmar last week and is expected to provide a general update on the situation.

Among key issues that Nambiar is likely to address is recent progress in the peace talks.
Government and representatives from armed groups met in Yangon on 9-10 March and media reports indicate that they reached agreement “in principle” to work on a consolidated ceasefire accord text. The agreement included the establishment of a joint drafting group comprising nine members from the ethnic armed groups and nine from the government, with three each from the executive branch, legislature and military. The leaders of the ethnic armed groups and government negotiators are expected to meet in early May to work on the remaining issues. With the peace process at a critical stage Council members may be interested in having Nambiar, who was an observer at the peace talks held between the Myanmar Government and Ethnic Armed Organisation in Myitkyina on 4 - 5 November 2013, share his thoughts on the prospects for further progress as well as the possible challenges to getting final agreement on a peace accord.

Nambiar is likely to also talk about the recent escalation of intercommunal tensions in Rakhine state and the controversy surrounding the census currently underway in the whole country. Tensions between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims have persisted since June 2012, but appear to have recently escalated. In January, there were reports that more than forty Rohingya Muslims had been killed in two separate incidents of ethnic violence on 9 and 13 January. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, on 23 January called on the government to investigate these incidents. The Myanmar government has denied that the incidents took place. Council members may be looking for greater clarity on these developments.

Another issue that is likely to be covered is the census, which began on 30 March and is being carried out by the government in collaboration with UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The census includes questions about race and ethnicity that seem to have further increased intercommunal tensions. In Rakhine state, nationalists threatened to boycott the census over a clause that would allow responders to self-identify their ethnicity as Rohingya. Protests against the census escalated to include attacks on offices and homes of international humanitarian workers in late March leading to the evacuation of humanitarian staff to Yangon. The boycott was called off, however, after the government on 29 March decided to prevent people from self-identifying as Rohingya. The decision has been widely criticised and has prompted questions about the validity of the census. Council members are likely to be keen to hear Nambiar’s assessment of the situation and efforts to de-escalate tensions.

The UK is the penholder on Myanmar and seems mindful of the need for the Council to remain engaged with regard to the situation in the country. The last formal Council discussion was held on 13 July 2009 when the Secretary-General briefed the Council on his recent visit to Myanmar. (It was initially added to the agenda of the Council on 15 September 2006. The decision to do so was the last procedural vote taken by the Council.) Since then the Council has considered this issue only during informal consultations, generally related to a briefing by the Special Advisor. As a result, Myanmar would have been deleted from the Council’s agenda if the UK on 26 February 2013 had not written to the Council president (S/2013/116) asking for the retention of the situation in Myanmar on the list of matters of which the Council is seized. (An issue which the Council has not considered formally for the preceding three years will automatically be deleted from the list unless a member state requests its retention.) It seems that it has now become practice for the UK to request a briefing from the Special Advisor in informal consultations on a regular basis.

posted on WED 16 APR 2014 4:23 PM
Arria-Formula Meeting with the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)

Tomorrow afternoon (17 April), Australia, France and the US have convened an Arria formula meeting with the members of the commission of inquiry on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) established by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on 21 March: Michael Kirby (chair, Australia), Sonja Biserko (Serbia) and Marzuki Darusman (Indonesia), who also serves as the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK. Kirby will brief on the findings and recommendations of the commission’s… Read more »

posted on WED 16 APR 2014 1:20 PM
Meeting on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine

This afternoon, the Council will hold a public meeting on the situation in Ukraine at the request of Lithuania. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović will brief on the human rights situation. Council members are likely to be interested in getting a first-hand account of the human rights situation from Šimonović, as he has spent more time in Ukraine since the start of the conflict than any other senior UN official.… Read more »

posted on TUE 15 APR 2014 4:44 PM
Prevention and Fight Against Genocide Briefing

Tomorrow (16 April), the Council will hold a briefing on “threats to international peace and security: prevention and fight against genocide”, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. The briefers will be Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and former Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the UN, Colin Keating, who served as Council president in April 1994 when the genocide started. A resolution, which was been put in blue today, is expected to be adopted during the meeting.… Read more »

posted on MON 14 APR 2014 5:19 PM
“Arria-formula” meeting on Detention in Syria and the “Caesar” Report

Tomorrow morning (15 April), Council members will convene for an “Arria-formula” meeting organised by France with a focus on detention of Syrians by the Syrian regime, human right violations committed during detention in Syria and justice for crimes committed in Syria. This meeting follows circulation by France of the “Report into the Credibility of Certain Evidence with regard to Torture and Execution of Persons Incarcerated by the Current Syrian Regime” (codenamed the “Caesar” Report) as a document of the Security… Read more »

posted on WED 9 APR 2014 5:04 PM
Resolution Establishing UN Peacekeeping Mission in CAR

Tomorrow (10 April), the Council is set to adopt a resolution establishing the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until 30 April 2015, largely in accordance with the recommendations of the Secretary-General’s report (S/2014/142). The text was put in blue today. Among the new mission’s key tasks will be protection of civilians (including by disarming armed groups), supporting the implementation of the transitional political process and the restoration of state authority, facilitating humanitarian assistance, promoting… Read more »

posted on WED 9 APR 2014 5:00 PM
Consultations on UN Mission in South Sudan and Sudan-South Sudan

The Council is scheduled to hold consultations on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and on Sudan/South Sudan issues tomorrow morning. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous will brief on UNMISS, while Haile Menkerios, Head of the UN Office to the AU and Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, is expected to brief on Sudan-South Sudan. At press time, it was unclear if there would be an outcome. (An attempt at a press statement following the 12 March… Read more »

posted on MON 7 APR 2014 4:15 PM
Briefing by the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Tomorrow morning (8 April), High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will brief Security Council members on the situations in the Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Mali, South Sudan and Syria. Pillay last briefed the Council during a 12 February open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict and her last briefing on a country-specific issue was on 18 January 2013 when she briefed on Syria. (Her office, however, has briefed on South Sudan and Ukraine in 2014.)… Read more »

posted on MON 7 APR 2014 4:00 PM
Burundi Briefing by Political Affairs Head

Tomorrow (8 April), the Council will be briefed under “Any Other Business” by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on recent developments in Burundi. This is the second time in less than a month that Council members will receive a briefing on Burundi. On 26 March, at the request of the US, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun updated Council members in consultations on the deterioration in the political situation. At press time, no draft outcome document had been… Read more »

posted on THU 3 APR 2014 11:36 AM
Briefing by Political Affairs Head on Guinea-Bissau Elections

In consultations this morning under “Any Other Business”, the Council expects to receive a briefing from Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman on preparations for presidential and legislative elections in Guinea-Bissau, which are scheduled for 13 April. The elections, meant to restore a democratically elected government following the 12 April 2012 coup, have been already postponed twice from their previously scheduled November 2013 and March 2014 dates. For the briefing, which was initiated by the Department of Political Affairs… Read more »