Mali; UNMISS; Syria; New HQ

Mali: The SC authorized the deployment of an African-led International Support Mission in Mali, to be known as AFISMA, for an initial period of one year to assist the authorities in recovering rebel-held regions in the north and restoring the unity of the country (though it is not likely that the force will be deployed until Fall 2013). AFISMA will be responsible for supporting the Malian authorities in protecting the population and creating a secure environment for the civilian-led delivery of humanitarian assistance and the voluntary return of internally displaced persons and refugees. The SC also urged the transitional authorities of Mali to finalize a transitional roadmap, to fully restore constitutional order and national unity, and to hold peaceful and credible elections by April 2013.

UNMISS: The Mission in South Sudan today reported that one of its helicopters was gunned down by the SPLA in Jonglei State this morning, resulting in the fatalities of its four crew members. The Mission investigation is ongoing and DPKO, in constant contact with the UNMISS, will provide updates as they become available. The Spokesperson issued a statement on the SG’s behalf “strongly condemning” attack and urging the South Sudanese Government to immediately carry out an investigation.

Syria: Adama Dieng, the SG’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, warned today of increasing sectarian violence in Syria and urged all parties to the conflict to adhere to international humanitarian and human rights law. He is deeply concerned that entire communities risk paying the price for crimes committed by the Syrian Government, and that there is a growing risk that civilian communities including Alawite and other could be subject to large-scale reprisal attacks. WFP also announced that it will start providing ready-to-eat meals to 125,000 vulnerable Palestinians and displaced Syrians caught up in fighting around Yarmouk camp in Syria, delivering around 12 kilograms of food for each family per week.

New HQ: The SG cut the ribbon to inaugurate the newly renovated UN Headquarters today, saying that the opening “celebrates the rebirth of an architectural masterpiece for the 21st century.” He called the day a major milestone toward the completion of the Capital Master Plan, and noted that the new HQ reduces the energy and water consumption of the building by more than 50 per cent, allowing the UN lead by example in sustainable development.