Security Council hears updates on UNMIS, UNAMID, UN continues critical work to thwart cholera outbreak in Haiti, 18 new members elected to ECOSOC and more from UN Direct.

Sudan in Security Council: This morning, Alain Le Roy, head of DPKO, briefed the Security Council on the work of UNMIS and UNAMID.  Le Roy expressed his concern about the grave human rights situation of the South Sudanese living in the north and reports of voter intimidation.  He also addressed the need to pay close attention to the challenges in Darfur, even as attention shifts to the referenda.  While concerned that full preparations and voter criteria for the referenda have yet to be announced, he did note progress being made, adding that it is essential that the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan are granted a space to exercise free and fair voting.

Outbreak of Cholera in Haiti: as of yesterday, OCHA is reporting 254 deaths and 3,015 confirmed cases, but the number of new cases is starting to slow down. The UN is currently airlifting chlorine bags to all water pipeline systems in the affected areas and providing overland transport and storage in support of aid efforts.  OCHA is also setting up new cholera treatment facilities, while continuing hygiene promotion and awareness campaigns.

HRC Review: today the HRC Review officially began in Geneva with the first meeting of the intergovernmental working group.  At the beginning of the session, the Deputy High Commissioner, Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, delivered a statement on behalf of the OHCHR, stating that the Review should take into account the millions of people who have had their rights violated.  She said that flexibility should be the benchmark for measuring the effectiveness of the HRC and made several suggestions on how the Council could enhance its work; including, holding one session outside of Geneva each year, exploring links between the work of the Special Procedures and the UPR and streamlining/synthesizing UPR recommendations.  In introductory statements, a clear policy division among States became evident; namely, whether the Review should be based on the implementation of the HRC’s mandate (based on GA Res 60/251) or the implementation of the Institution Building Package (based on HRC Res 5/1).  For its part, NAM said the Review should be about the “work and functioning” of the Council and NOT its “mandate”, while the EU and U.S. shared the perspective that the Review should be an opportunity to assess the HRC’s ability to implement its mandate as measured against Res 60/251.  Key issues expected to be discussed throughout the Review include the UPR, Special Procedures, the HRC’s response to both crises and chronic human rights situations and the permanent agenda items of the Council, the latter of which may prove to be highly contentious.

SG Condemns Attack on UN Compound in Afghanistan: The SG condemned the suicide attack, which took place on Saturday on UN grounds in Herat, Afghanistan, where staff of UNAMA and other agencies are housed. The UN is conducting a full investigation. In addition to the SG’s statement issued over the weekend, members of the Security Council also issued a press statement, stating that they are awaiting the results of the investigation and noting their deep concern by the threats posed by the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other extremist groups in Afghanistan.

Attack on MONUSCO’s: over the weekend Roger Meece, SGSR in the DRC, condemned Saturday’s attack on the UN Mission’s operating base in North Kivu by roughly 50 armed men.   It is reported that the armed men stated their attention to attack and fired upon the peacekeepers, after which the peacekeepers open fired and the assailants eventually left the premises.  A joint investigation of MONUSCO and the Congolese authorities is currently underway.

ECOSOC Elections: today the GA elected 18 new countries to serve for 3-year terms on ECOSOC beginning January 1, 2011 (54 members in total): Australia, Cameroon, China, Ecuador, Finland, Gabon, Hungary, Latvia, Malawi, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russia, Senegal and the UK.