posted on FRI 27 MAR 2015 6:23 PM
Briefing and Consultations on Boko Haram

On Monday (30 March), the Council will have a briefing followed by consultations on Boko Haram, covering the impact of the group on the security, political and humanitarian situations in Nigeria and the region. Special Representative Mohammed Ibn Chambas of the UN Office for West Africa or Department of Political Affairs Assistant-Secretary General Tayé-Brook Zerihoun will brief. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Assistant-Secretary-General Kyung-wha Kang is also expected to brief. No outcome is expected but the briefing comes as the Council continues negotiations on a draft resolution on the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) that is being formed to combat Boko Haram by the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the AU.

The US requested the briefing on Tuesday night. It seems that in making the request, the US noted that, as the Council is negotiating a draft resolution on the MNJTF, it would be useful to have a briefing on the situation before adopting it.

The briefing from Chambas or Zerihoun will likely update Council members on the efforts of the LCBC states and the AU to combat Boko Haram. The intervention of forces from Chad as well as Niger in northeast Nigeria over the past two months has led to the retaking of a number of towns that Boko Haram had seized beginning in mid-2014, and a series of victories against the group, reversing its previous momentum. Intensified efforts since January by the LCBC countries (Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria), Benin, and the AU have resulted in progress in the formation of the MNJTF—including the finalisation of the MNJTF’s strategic concept of operations (CONOPS) (S/2015/198), and the AU Peace and Security Council’s 29 January decision to authorise the force and its 3 March decision endorsing the CONOPS, while increasing its authorised troop strength from 7,500 to 10,000 personnel.

In particular, following some of the questions that have been raised during negotiations on the current draft resolution, members may be interested in gaining greater clarity on the status of the MNJTF’s operationalisation, and the relationship of Chad and Niger’s forces currently active in Nigeria with the MNJTF. There appears to be some confusion among members over whether these units are operating as part of the MNJTF or through separate arrangements with Nigeria.

With Nigeria’s presidential and parliamentary elections set to take place tomorrow (28 March), either Chambas or Zerihoun may update Council members on the ability of those in conflict-affected areas and of internally displaced people (IDPs) to participate in the elections. The elections were already postponed from their originally scheduled date of 14 February, according to Nigerian authorities, because they could not guarantee the security of polls in the northeast. There has also been concern that the disenfranchisement of a large number of citizens from Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states could lead to a lack of acceptance of the results. More broadly, there has been concern that the closely contested presidential race between incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and challenger Muhammadu Buhari could lead to violence among their supporters on election-day or over the results. The meeting on Monday could therefore also be an opportunity to update the Council on any significant incidents or disputes, if any arise over the weekend, regarding the polls.

Regarding the humanitarian situation as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency, according to the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) public figures from 16 March, there are 1,188,018 IDPs in northeast Nigeria and a total of 47,276 IDPs in Nigeria’s North Central States. Additionally, there are approximately 200,000 refugees and returnees, received by Cameroon (74,000), Chad (18,000) and Niger (more than 100,000). Reports on figures vary, however, with some estimates putting the numbers of refugees and IDPs higher. The 2015 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria, launched by OCHA on 28 February, seeks $100 million. More recently, on 15 March, OCHA chief Valerie Amos announced a regional allocation of $28 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund to address humanitarian needs related to the Boko Haram conflict, which will be dispersed to relief agencies operating in Nigeria ($10 million), Cameroon ($7 million), Niger ($7 million) and Chad ($4 million).

In addition to these issues, during the meeting, members may stress the importance of the MNJTF and security forces fighting Boko Haram to conduct their operations in compliance with human rights law, a concern a number of members have based on reports, in particular over the past year, of human rights violations by security forces in combating the group. Some members are also likely to stress the importance of a holistic approach to defeating Boko Haram. In this regard, they are likely to suggest an approach that not only involves a military response but also addresses problems that fuel radicalisation and support for extremist groups such as poor governance, lack of economic and education opportunities, and addressing the long standing feelings of marginalisation of Nigeria’s northeast. Council members such as Chad, Nigeria and the P3 that are involved in either the operations against Boko Haram or in providing bilateral support may use the session to further inform the Council on their activities.

Regarding the draft resolution, a text was circulated on 17 March by Chad on behalf of the three African Council members and LCBC member states. Since 18 March, there have been four expert level meetings. In addition, following an impasse over whether the resolution should be under Chapter VII, the Council discussed the draft under “any other business” (AOB) yesterday (26 March). Divisions emerged earlier in the week among the African countries on this issue with Nigeria no longer supporting a Chapter VII text, which Chad strongly favours. (While a Chapter VI resolution can be binding, pursuant to Article 25 of the UN Charter, which states that “The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter”, only a Chapter VII resolution can specifically authorise force.)

Following the AOB meeting yesterday, it was decided that further negotiations will need to be done at a higher level, such as among permanent representatives or deputy permanent representatives. Despite initial reluctance expressed by some members on the appropriateness of a Chapter VII resolution since the MNJTF already has a legal basis to conduct its operations based on the host country’s consent and the decisions of the AU, it seemed that members had after their first meeting reached agreement to pursue a Chapter VII draft text in line with the preferences of the African members. Now that Nigeria has changed its position, members are waiting for the three African Council members to develop a consensus position. It seems that some members have noted that due to the primary role of Nigeria in addressing the conflict, it would be difficult for them to support a Chapter VII resolution if Nigeria is against it.

Other issues that still need to be worked out include how the Council should express its support for the mandate of the MNJTF (largely contingent on whether this will be a Chapter VII text or not), the MNJTF’s funding and reporting requirements to the Council.

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posted on THU 26 MAR 2015 6:43 PM
Adoption of Two Resolutions on Libya

Tomorrow (27 March), the Security Council apppears to be ready to adopt a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) until 15 September 2015 and the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1970 Libya Sanctions until 15 March 2016. A resolution focusing on countering terrorism in Libya is also scheduled to be adopted tomorrow. At press time the counter-terrorism resolution was still under silence but members were not expecting silence to be broken.… Read more »

posted on WED 25 MAR 2015 7:32 PM
Adoption of Resolution Renewing the UN Mission in the DRC

Tomorrow (26 March), the Security Council is set to adopt a resolution to renew the mandate of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and its intervention brigade. The draft resolution was put in blue today.… Read more »

posted on WED 25 MAR 2015 4:57 PM
Open Debate on Protection of Minorities in the Middle East

On Friday (27 March), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will chair a ministerial-level open debate on the situation of persecuted ethnic or religious minorities in the Middle East. The Secretary-General will brief in person along with High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein, via video teleconference from Geneva. Vian Dakhil, an Iraqi parliamentarian of the Yazidi faith, and Louis Raphaël I Sako, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon, will also address the Council.… Read more »

posted on TUE 24 MAR 2015 4:09 PM
Open Debate on Child Victims of Non-State Armed Groups

On Wednesday (25 March), the Security Council will hold an open debate on children and armed conflict focused on child victims of non-state armed groups. There will be briefings by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Layla Zerrougui and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF Yoka Brandt. The field will be provided by the Child Protection Advisor from Save the Children in the Central African Republic, Julie Bodin, while Junior Nzita Nsuami, a former… Read more »

posted on MON 23 MAR 2015 7:29 PM
Sudan/South Sudan Consultations and South Sudan Presidential Statement

Tomorrow morning (24 March) Council members will hold consultations on Sudan/South Sudan. Haile Menkerios, Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan and Special Representative to the AU, is expected to brief via video teleconference. In the afternoon, the Council is expected to adopt a presidential statement on South Sudan.… Read more »

posted on SUN 22 MAR 2015 1:49 PM
Council Emergency Meeting and Presidential Statement on Yemen

This afternoon (22 March) the Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Yemen at Jordan’s request. The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Jamal Benomar, will brief via video teleconference. Representatives of Yemen and Qatar, the latter on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), are also expected to make statements. During today’s public session, the Council is also expected to adopt a presidential statement. The Council will then move into closed consultations.… Read more »

posted on WED 18 MAR 2015 6:48 PM
Arria-Formula Meeting on Crimea and Eastern Ukraine

Tomorrow (19 March) Security Council members will convene for an Arria-formula meeting chaired by Lithuania on the human rights situation, media freedom and situation of the national minorities in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine. The meeting will be open to the wider UN membership. Council members will hear from a leader of the Crimean Tatar National Movement and member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Mustafa Dzhemilev and a representative of the Crimean Field Mission on Human Rights, a joint… Read more »

posted on TUE 17 MAR 2015 4:57 PM
Council Debate on the Mission in Haiti

Tomorrow morning (18 March), the Security Council will hold its semi-annual debate on the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Special Representative and head of mission Sandra Honoré will brief on recent developments and present the Secretary-General’s report (S/2015/157). In discussing the situation in Haiti, Council members will likely be influenced by their impressions from the recent visiting mission to Haiti from 23-25 January. (The co-leads of the trip, Chilean Ambassador Cristián Barros and US Ambassador Samantha Power briefed the… Read more »

posted on MON 16 MAR 2015 2:44 PM
Briefing on Situation in Darfur and Mission Strategic Review

Tomorrow (17 March) the Council will have a briefing, followed by consultations, on the AU/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and the situation in Darfur. Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous is expected to brief. During the meeting, the Council will likely consider two reports: the regular Secretary-General’s quarterly report on UNAMID (S/2015/141) and a special report (S/2015/163) that analyses the implementation of a strategic review of the mission and includes “recommendations for the future mandate, composition, configuration and exit… Read more »