SG Briefs Press, Haiti in the Security Council, Human Rights Council Session Begins

SG: Briefing the press today, the SG provided an update on preparations for the upcoming MDG Summit, saying 139 Heads of State are expected to attend and agreement has been reached on the outcome document. The main message of the document is that the Goals can be achieved. The challenge is to put resources where they will yield the greatest impact. He also flagged the highly-anticipated launch of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health on September 22, adding that $26 billion is needed in 2011 to achieve the health MDGs in the 49 lowest income countries alone and $42 billion must be invested by 2015. Speaking on Sudan, the SG said President Obama has made it clear that he will attend a high-level meeting that the SG is hosting on September 24.

Haiti in the Security Council: Today, SRSG for Haiti, Edmond Mulet, briefed the Security Council on Haiti, noting progress in the political process, security situation (which he described as “generally calm, but fragile”) and relief efforts. On the upcoming November 28 elections, he noted the difficulty of registering voters due to lost national identification cards among the displaced population. Long-term challenges for Haiti include organizing elections, maintaining order in IDP camps, reconstruction/debris clearing and relocation of displaced persons. In her statement, Ambassador Rice expressed the U.S.’ concern with sexual and gender-based violence, adding that addressing the issue must be part of a wider effort to empower women throughout the reconstruction process.

Human Rights Council: The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, introduced her updated annual report at the opening of the HRC’s 15th session in Geneva today, which will run through October 1 under the Presidency of Thai Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow. Items expected to come up in the 15th session include Sudan, Somalia and the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Flotilla, among several other country-specific and thematic issues. In her opening statement, U.S. Ambassador Eileen Donahoe said the Council’s upcoming Review is an opportunity to promote the Council’s work more positively and affect human rights situations on the ground more directly. Specifically, she said the Council should be ready and able to address country-specific situations – particularly human rights crises – under a “common rubric with an integrated toolbox of options”. She also called on the High Commissioner to visit Iran in the near future and urged the Iranian Government to grant her access. Today, Ambassador Donahoe also wrote an op-ed in the IHT which made the case for U.S. engagement with the Human Rights Council, listing results achieved over the past year (including authorization of mandates to monitor abuses in Burma, North Korea, Cambodia and Sudan).