SG condemns violence against demonstrators in Syria, calls for investigation, UN commemorates World Malaria Day and more from UN Direct

Syria: Over the weekend, the SG issued a statement condemning the violence against peaceful demonstrators and calling for a halt to the violence in Syria. He reminds Syrian authorities of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The SG has called for an independent, transparent, and effective investigation into the killings. He has taken note of the state of emergency and the program of reforms that were announced by President Assad. Meanwhile, Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights, says that the Syrian “Government’s response has been erratic, with paper reforms followed by violent crackdowns on protestors. Just a few days after the announcement of sweeping and important reforms, we are seeing such disregard for human life by Syrian security forces. The killings must stop immediately.” In response to a question on the SG’s stance to Syria’s membership on the HRC, Nesirky reiterated the responsibility of Member States who make up the HRC to ultimately make such decisions.

Security Council: This afternoon at the Security Council, consultations will take place to discuss the SG’s report on small arms. Sergio Duarte, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, will brief the Council as well. Tomorrow afternoon, the SG will brief the Council on recent developments and his recent travels to Qatar, Egypt, and Russia among other countries.  Afterwards, the SG plans to talk to the press at the stakeout at 4:30 PM.

SG: Tomorrow, the SG will mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. He will explain that it was a moving experience that provided an opportunity to reflect upon the impact of the disaster, the lives lost or changed forever, and to face the harsh reality of illness and environmental damage for generations of the past and future. On this anniversary, he says, let’s resolve what’s going on and continue to build an enduring legacy and safety for the future.

World Malaria Day: To celebrate World Malaria Day, the SG issued a statement that took note of the success in fighting this preventable and treatable disease. On the other hand, roughly 781,000 people a year, most of them young children, still die from malaria – a leading killer of children under the age of five. The SG explained, “Success in this fight is crucial to improving the health of women and children around the world, especially in Africa, and in generating progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals.” With this in mind, he referenced the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. The SG has urged all partners to increase investments in both research and programs to defeat malaria, and build up human capacity in malaria-endemic countries. Also, Ray Chambers, Special Envoy for Malaria; Ms. Awa Marie Coll-Seck, ED of Roll Back Malaria Partnership; and Mandy Moore, Singer/Songwriter briefed the press on recent malaria-related developments. Chambers stated that 11 countries have reported a 50% drop in mortality due to malaria. Zanzibar is down to zero mortality, which is evidence of the goal of reaching zero malaria deaths by 2015. In addition, he noted that while close to $5 billion has been used to fight malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, this disease has cost roughly $40 billion of the region’s GDP, making these efforts well-worth the investment. Coll-Seck emphasized the importance of maintaining the work that is currently being done and pushing the ownership and leadership to the leaders of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), which was formed several years ago. It is expected that ALMA will take responsibility and work closely with the WHO. Going forward, another key goal expressed by the panelists is to raise awareness and money not only for efforts in Africa but also for malaria cases identified in other parts of the world.

Sri Lankan Report: In regards to numerous questions about why the report is taking so long to be released, Nesirky explained that the report is expected to be published today, in full and without changes.