Arms Trade Treaty; PGA/ Rio Outcome; Syria; Sudan aid; Myanmar; SG at the Olympics

Arms Trade Treaty: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed to countries to show flexibility and make progress in the negotiations of a treaty that would regulate the conventional arms trade. With just two days left before the end of the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Mr. Ban is also concerned about the “very limited progress in the negotiations” according to a statement issued by his spokesperson. The four-week long Conference has brought together the UN’s 193 Member States to negotiate what is seen as the most important initiative ever regarding conventional arms regulation within the United Nations.

PGA/Rio Outcome: The President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, today called on countries to focus on implementing the outcome document from the Rio Conference last month. “We have defined the future we want,” Mr. Al-Nasser said, making a reference to the title of the Conference’s outcome document, in his remarks to a meeting of the General Assembly held to adopt a resolution endorsing the document. “Now what is important is implementation.”

Syria: The United Nations human rights chief today urged Syria’s Government and armed opposition to protect civilians and abide by their obligations under  international human rights and humanitarian law – or face the consequences. “The Government has the prime responsibility to protect civilians from all forms of violence,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Navi Pillay, said in a news release.

Sudan aid:  The UN’s humanitarian arm announced today it is providing $20 million to help alleviate the suffering of Sudanese civilians who have fled conflict and hunger and sought refuge in South Sudan. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, noted that nearly 170,000 Sudanese refugees have fled the conflict in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Many more are on their way to South Sudan.

Myanmar: The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has delivered aid to over 30,000 people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The people were displaced by recent inter-communal clashes. An estimated 80,000 people are displaced in and around the towns of Sittwe and Maungdaw, according to UN and NGO assessments. Most of them are living in camps with smaller numbers staying with host families in surrounding villages.

SG at Olympics: The Secretary-General attended a reception at Buckingham Palace in London on Friday before going to the  Olympic Games opening ceremony. Earlier, the Secretary-General took part in an event with the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to highlight the Olympic Truce. The Secretary-General also held talks with Mr. Hague and with the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg. The Secretary-General has also spoken about his meeting in London with the Joint Special Envoy, Kofi Annan. The Secretary-General will be returning to New York on Saturday.