Syria; Myanmar; Countering global terrorism; UNDOF; Lebanon

Syria: The Action Group for Syria will convene in Geneva, at the ministerial level, this Saturday, the Joint Special Envoy, Kofi Annan, said today:

“The objectives of the Action Group for Syria are to identify steps and measures to secure full implementation of the six-point plan and Security Council resolutions 2042 and 2043, including an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms,” Mr. Annan said in a statement.

Citing a dramatic escalation in the fighting in Syria and ongoing human rights violations, the chairperson of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, Paulo Pinheiro, today urged the international community to act to put an end to the violence.

Paulo Pinheiro, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that gross violations of human rights are occurring regularly amid increasingly militarized fighting, which – in some areas – bears the characteristics of a “non-international armed conflict.”

In addition, military engagements have escalated dramatically in recent weeks and have extended to other regions not previously involved. The UN estimates that more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising.

Myanmar: The UN and the Government of Myanmar today signed an action plan to prevent the recruitment and use of children by Myanmar’s armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, and allow for the release of under-age recruits.

“UNICEF welcomes the signing of the action plan and is ready to support the Government to take forward these key commitments,” the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in the South-East Asian nation, Ramesh Shrestha, said in a news release.

The action plan sets a timetable and measurable activities for the release and reintegration of children associated with Government armed forces, as well as the prevention of further recruitment.

Countering global terrorism: United Nations top officials today called for new approaches to address global terrorism and foster dialogue among nations.

The seminar, organized by Assembly President Al-Nasser in partnership with the UN Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force, seeks to give countries the opportunity to learn from existing good practices that are being used in various regional and national programmes to counter the appeal of terrorism through a series of interactive panel discussions.

The UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy underscores the need to tackle the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, prevent and combat terrorism, build States’ capacity to counter terrorism, and ensure respect for human rights against the backdrop of the fight against terrorism.

UNDOF: The Security Council has extended the mandate of the United Nations force monitoring the ceasefire in the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria until 31 December 2012.

In the unanimously adopted resolution extending the mission, the Council called on all parties to cooperate fully with the operations of UNDOF and to ensure the security of, as well as unhindered and immediate access for, the UN personnel carrying out UNDOF’s mandate. The Secretary General added that since the discontinuation of indirect peace talks in December 2008, there have been no negotiations between the parties, and the current crisis in Syria further complicates efforts towards Israeli-Syrian peace.

Lebanon: In a meeting with Lebanon’s Prime Minister, a United Nations senior official stressed the need to continue the dialogue between the country’s different political movements. During the meeting, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon welcomed the calm in recent months in southern Lebanon, and condemned violence in the capital, Beirut, earlier this week, in particular the attacks on the Al Jadeed television station. He also welcomed the steps taken by Lebanese authorities to strengthen security measures and the rule of law across the country.