SG cuts LA trip short to discuss Libya, Luck and Deng sound alarm on violence, and more from UN Direct

SG: The SG cut his trip in LA short due to the unfolding situation in the Middle East and met with senior advisers today. At the Global Creative Forum Dinner in LA last night, he stated that our message must be consistent and strong: no violence, adding, “the time to change is now”. On Libya, he expressed his happiness that the Security Council produced a strong and unified message, adding that it’s imperative that the international community act together to ensure a prompt and peaceful transition. He also noted that Arab leaders suspended Libya from the League of Arab States. In addition to the situation in Libya, the he also talked about the launch of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which has received $40 billion in commitments from governments, companies, philanthropists, and non-profits, as well as his meeting with Linkin Park and the work they’ve done to raise money for Haiti through Download to Donate.  Speaking to the press this afternoon, he said that he’s dispatching USG Pascoe to Egypt tomorrow, as well as a senior official from DPA to Tunisia over the weekend, adding that he welcomes the HRC’s decision to convene a special session on Libya Friday.  He added that the violence in Libya is “totally unacceptable”, must stop and those responsible must be punished.

Libya: the Human Rights Council will convene a special session on the situation in Libya on Friday, at the request of Hungary and supported by 47 members and non-members, including the U.S., EU, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Qatar, Palestine and Jordan.  This will be the first time a Council member is the subject of a special session.  The EU has tabled a draft resolution for the session, which condemns the “extremely grave human rights violations committed in Libya, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of peaceful demonstrators, which if widespread and systematic, may amount to crimes against humanity” and calls for an independent UN-led investigation into the killing of protestors by alleged Libyan security forces to ensure accountability. Yesterday, Francis Deng, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Edward Luck, Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, issued a press release stating their alarm by reports of mass violence, adding that widespread and systematic attacks against civilian populations by military forces, mercenaries, and aircraft are egregious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.  Moreover, the release said that if the nature and scale of attacks are confirmed, they may constitute crimes against humanity, for which national authorities should be held accountable. In regards to humanitarian needs in the country, OCHA says that it’s difficult to assess such needs because of poor communications, but it is concerned about access to health services, lack of medical supplies, as well as the need for blood.  At present, it is trying to consolidate information from various parts of the UN system to determine how best to handle the humanitarian aspects of the crisis. At present, 5,000 people have arrived at the Tunisian border and roughly 15,000 are at the Egyptian border. Borders between the countries are open and medical supplies are being allowed in. In regards to refugee support and efforts, UNHCR and the WFP have small offices in Libya and UNHCR is sending staff to the border areas of Tunisia and Egypt to assess needs.

Senior UN Staff Travel: On Thursday, DSG Asha-Rose Migiro will travel to Kuwait from to represent the SG at the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait. She will also hold meetings with the Kuwaiti Government and UN officials, and visit a project being carried out by the UN Country Team.