Security Council; DRC; Pakistan; India; and more

Security Council: On Monday the UN-Arab League Special Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan will brief Council members in consultations by videoconference on his mediation efforts. Council members are likely to be interested in Annan’s recent visits to Moscow and Beijing and his plans to visit Tehran and Riyadh in the near future, according to Security Council Report.

On 27 March, Annan received a positive response from the Syrian government to his six-point plan, which comprises an inclusive political process, cessation of all violence, humanitarian access, release of detainees, access for journalists and the right to peaceful demonstrations.

Council members are likely to be interested in the details of President Bashar Al-Assad’s agreement to the six-point plan. It seems Assad has told Annan that he needs to secure agreement from opposition elements to cease violence in order for the Syrian government to withdraw its troops and heavy weapons. The sequencing of the cessation of violence has been an ongoing discussion in the Council’s approach to the Syrian crisis and this dynamic may surface again in discussions following Annan’s briefing.

: The United Nations refugee agency today spoke out about an increase in the number of attacks in recent weeks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in central Africa, leading to the displacement of thousands of people.

The spokesperson said that since UNHCR’s last update on 6 March, there have been 13 attacks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which resulted in two killings and 13 abductions, and the displacement of 1,230 people mostly from the Dungu territory in the country’s north-east. In the Central African Republic (CAR), LRA attacks have resumed after a lull since April last year, with 11 attacks recorded this year.

: The United Nations refugee agency reported today that more than 100,000 people have become displaced since January by Pakistani military operations against militant groups in the north-western part of the country that borders Afghanistan.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 101,160 people, mostly women and children, have been uprooted by the fighting that began on 20 January in the Khyber Agency region of the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA).

She said a recent increase in the intensity of the fighting is driving even larger numbers of families to flee to the safety of the Jalozai camp, where UNHCR is registering them and providing them with basic humanitarian supplies.

: While commending the generally high level of commitment by India to human rights, a United Nations expert today urged the Government to continue to fight impunity for extrajudicial executions, and communal and traditional killings.

The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, said he recognized the size, complexity, security concerns and diversity of India – however, he remains concerned that the challenges with respect to the protection of the right to life in the country are still considerable.

World Autism Day
: The annual observance of World Autism Awareness Day should spur global action to combat the “unacceptable” discrimination, abuse and isolation that people with the disorder and their loved ones face, according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

He stressed the need for greater investments in the social, education and labour sectors, since developed and developing countries alike still need to improve their capacities to address the unique needs of people with autism and cultivate their talents.