posted on Thu 18 Aug 2011 10:20 AM
Briefing on South Kordofan and Libya

On Friday, 19 August, Council members are expecting a briefing on South Kordofan and Libya from High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos and a representative from DPA. It seems that there is some interest in also getting UN Special Envoy for Libya, Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib, to brief by video-conference but it is uncertain if this is going to be logistically possible.

Pillay is expected to update the Council on the current situation in South Kordofan as well as highlight the key findings and recommendations in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report which was released on 16 August. The report focuses on alleged violations of international law in South Kordofan covering the period from 5 to 30 June 2011.

The report recommends that “an independent, thorough, and objective inquiry be conducted into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that occurred during the hostilities in Southern Kordofan with a view to holding perpetrators to account”. It also asks for access to be granted to human rights monitors to conduct investigations into allegations of continuing violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and for unhindered access to be given to humanitarian actors.

Last week Council members began discussions on a draft press statement on South Kordofan following the 8 August briefing on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan by Under-Secretary Generals for peacekeeping and humanitarian affairs, Alain Le Roy and Valerie Amos. However, differences over both language and substance seem to have led to it being put aside. Although it appears that there are no immediate plans to revive the press statement, depending on the content of the briefing, some members may be encouraged to put it back on the table.

As for Libya, if Al-Khatib is able to brief Council members by video-conference, there is likely to be interest in his recent visit to Tunisia where he held informal talks with Libyan government officials and rebel representatives. Some members appear to also be interested in hearing about NATO action in Libya.

It appears that Pillay’s presence in New York for the Council briefing on Syria on 18 August prompted some members to request a briefing on South Kordofan. This was followed by a request from other members for Pillay, to also update the Council on Libya and to explore the possibility of having a video-conference with Al-Khatib.

It seems that Council members are interested in being briefed on fast-changing situations like Sudan, Libya and Syria for different reasons. Some members see these briefings as an opportunity to get up-to-date information which could prompt Council action if necessary. For members who are concerned about mandate creep, particularly following resolution 1973, it appears these briefings are important in monitoring the UN’s role.