New Appointments; The Sudans; Nuclear Testing; Bahrain; UNICEF in Syria; Food Prices

New Appointments: Today the SG appointed James W. Rawley of the United States as Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, at the level of Assistant Secretary-General.  Mr. Rawley will also serve as United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory. The current Special Coordinator is Robert H. Serry. Rawley served most recently as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt. Moustapha Soumaré of Mali will also take on the role of Deputy Special Representative for MONUSCO in the DRC, where he will also serve as the UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator, and Resident Representative of UNDP.

The Sudans: Special Envoy Haile Menkerios briefed the SC on the implementation of Resolution 2046 regarding Sudan and South Sudan this afternoon. The US Mission expressed concerned over progress in a statement today, in which Ambassador Rice “had hoped that the signing of the MOU for humanitarian access to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states would result in assistance swiftly reaching the hundreds of thousands of those in desperate need. Unfortunately, that is not yet the case.” 

Nuclear Testing: The GA met today to observe the third annual International Day against Nuclear Tests. At the meeting, the SG urged States to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as soon as possible, and pending the Treaty’s entry into force, all States to uphold the existing moratorium on all nuclear test explosions.

Bahrain: Both the SG and Human Rights Chief expressed their deep concern over harsh sentences, including life imprisonment, against twenty Bahraini political activists that was recently upheld by a Bahrain appeals court. In a statement issued today, the SG reiterates his appeal to the Bahraini authorities to ensure the application of international human rights norms, including the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly.

UNICEF in Syria: Thousands of Syrian children are being screened to prevent malnutrition as part of a regional response to meet the growing health and nutrition needs of children both inside Syria and in neighboring countries. UNICEF and the Jordanian Ministry of Health are working with WHO and partner agencies to launch a large-scale polio and measles vaccination campaign, targeting more than 100,000 children in Za’atari Camp in Jordan, nearby transit centers, and communities hosting refugees in the northern part of the country.

Food Prices: August food prices stayed the same compared to July, the FAO reported today. Despite no change, the DG of FAO warned that the international community should continue to be vigilant and seek to prevent sharp price increases in order to prevent shocks in the future.