Pillay condemns torture of BBC reporters in Libya, Obama announces $12.6 million to support Ivorian refugees and more from UN Direct

Libya: Valerie Amos, USG for Humanitarian Affairs, has called on all parties in Libya to protect civilians. She noted the continuing heavy fighting in the West and reported deaths and injuries are unknown. Additionally, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has condemned the torture of the BBC reporters in Zawiya. The three-person crew was beaten and Pillay stated that the target of the news team is completely unacceptable and in serious violation of international law. Furthermore, Radhika Coomaraswamy, SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict, says that her office has received unconfirmed reports of violence against children in Libya. Coomaraswamy reminds the Libyan government, pro-government supports, and anti-government parties to protect children under armed clashes, and that recruitment of child soldiers is a war crime.

DRC: Yesterday, 11 officers of the Congolese army were found guilty on counts of rape, pillaging, destruction of schools, and abduction of children among other violations. Margot Wallstrom, SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, explained, “This sends a strong signal to all perpetrators of sexual violence that no military commander is beyond the law, including members of the national army. It also shows that the focus on ending impunity for this type of crimes continues to render concrete results.”

Côte d’Ivoire: With more than 75,000 Ivorian refugees and IDPs in Liberia due to the continuing political crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, Obama announced that the U.S. will provide $12.6 million to assist UNCHR, WFP, the IOM, and select NGOs in Liberia with humanitarian assistance and relief efforts. In total, the U.S. will have provided nearly $17 million in the region. Meanwhile, Pillay said that the human rights situation has been deteriorating. There is more interethnic violence. At least 392 people have been killed in the country since mid-December; roughly 27 were killed just this past week. Pillay has urged all sides to respect each other and is concerned by the violence by leaders who are deliberately provoking it against civilians as well as UN staff and operations working in Côte d’Ivoire.

Somalia: The SG spoke at today’s Security Council meeting on Somalia, saying that the situation requires urgent attention. He explained that the TFG and AMISOM are fragile while the humanitarian situation is dire. While both entities are delivering, AMISOM would be more effective if it had more military and helicopters. Piracy off the coast remains a growing menace.

Sudan: With ongoing clashes between the SPLM and rebel groups, UNMIS continues to call on all parties to refrain from any actions.

Upcoming briefings: Tomorrow, the SG and his newly appointed Special Envoy for Libya will address the press at 11:15 AM.