Secretary-General travel; China; DR Congo; South Sudan; and more

Secretary-General Travel: The Secretary-General will travel to Switzerland next week, where he will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos. The SG will engage with a number of private sector leaders and will speak at the WEF sessions on Ending Energy Poverty and on the Rio+20 sustainable development summit.  He will also meet with a number of Heads of State and Government.

The Secretary-General will later travel to Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, to attend the African Union Summit.  He will also officially receive the report of his High-level Panel on Global Sustainability from the two Panel Co-Chairs: President Jacob Zuma, of South Africa and President Tarja Halonen, of Finland, at a launch event in Addis Ababa on 30 January.

: The United Nations voiced deep concern on Friday at China’s sentencing of a writer to 10 years in prison for subversion and called for a halt to what it said was a trend of “severe suppression of dissent” in the country. The office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has raised the latest cases with Chinese authorities and called for anyone detained for peaceful expression of dissent to be unconditionally and swiftly released, said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

DR Congo:
The United Nations refugee agency today voiced concern over fresh violence in eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that has forced more than 100,000 civilians to flee their homes in the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu since November.  Before the latest outbreak of violence, there were more than 1.1 million people uprooted by years of armed conflict in North Kivu and South Kivu.

South Sudan:
More than 120,000 people affected by the recent violence in South Sudan’s Jonglei state may need emergency assistance – double the number of those originally thought to need help – the United Nations humanitarian official in the country said today. The recent spike in inter-communal violence has compounded an already difficult humanitarian situation in South Sudan, OCHA stated. Aid agencies were already supporting 30 simultaneous emergency operations before the crisis in Jonglei began.

Yemen: More than 103,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from the Horn of Africa made the perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen during 2011, the United Nations refugee agency said today, while warning of increasing violence directed towards migrants. The increase in migrants has come particularly from Ethiopia, which now accounts for three out of four arrivals. Until 2008, the majority of those crossing the Gulf had come from Somalia, as refugees fled violence and human rights abuses in their country. However, since 2009, Ethiopians make up the majority.

: Mali has become the first African country to conclude an agreement to enforce sentences of imprisonment handed down by the International Criminal Court (ICC), it was announced today. The agreement was signed by Fatoumata Dembele Diarra, the First Vice-President of the ICC, and Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, Mali’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in the West African country’s capital, Bamako, last week. The Court currently has seven situations under investigation, all of them in Africa.

UN Youth Camp:
Twenty-nine young people from nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the occupied Palestinian territory enhanced their leadership skills on how to use sport to address social issues affecting their communities during a United Nations youth camp in Doha, Qatar. For 11 days, participants and their instructors covered a series of themes, including human rights, health, peace education, gender equity, and the inclusion of persons with disabilities. Participants will now implement the plans they developed during the workshop in their communities with the support of camp organizers and partners to ensure the legacy of the project.