Syria; Peacebuilding; UNHCR; Myanmar; New Appointment

Syria: The independent international Commission of Inquiry on Syria released their latest update today on the continuation of violence in the country. The update spans from September 28 to December 16, and brings attention to the increasingly “sectarian” nature of the violence – particularly between the Alawite minority and Sunni populations – which could shift the violence from protests for political reform to “confrontation between ethnic and religious groups” at a moment’s notice. The Commission of Inquiry will present its fourth report to the Human Rights Council in March next year.

Peacebuilding: The SC held a meeting on post-conflict peacebuilding this morning, where the SG issued remarks emphasizing the UN’s increased agility in deploying senior leaders, specialized experts, and staff to the field. He noted that the UN has made “significant progress” on its peacebuilding agenda, the outcome of these various efforts a more coherent, timely, and effective response to immediate post-conflict priorities. The US also issued a statement at the meeting, emphasizing that “building institutions, gender-responsive peacebuilding, and division of labor based on core competencies” should be priorities for improvement going forward.

UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency expressed its concern today about the recent security incidents in Kenya, which have killed scores of Kenyans as well as refugees residing in the country. UNHCR condemns these attacks and extends its sympathy and solidarity to all victims, the Kenyan people and their Government, and urges the Government of Kenya to continue to uphold the rights of refugees and asylum seekers who have fled to Kenya in search of protection.

Myanmar: The SG’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, just finished a visit to Myanmar today at the invitation of the country’s government. During this trip, he met with people displaced by the inter-communal violence in Rakhine state as well as discussed the problems facing such communities with the government itself. Myanmar’s Minister for Immigration and Population Affairs released a proposal for a way forward, which Mr. Nambiar noted was “forward-looking and realistic, while taking into account the dignity and essential interests of the affected communities.”

New Appointment: The UN and AU today announced the appointment of Mohamed Ibn Chambas (Ghana) as their Joint Special Representative for Darfur, head of UNAMID, and the AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator. Mr. Chambas served as President of ECOWAS from 2006 to 2009 and replaces Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria.