The SG; HRC Elections; Syria; Gaza; Haiti

The SG: The SG is at Yale today, delivering a lecture to students entitled “Shaping Solutions for a World in Transition.” In his lecture, he will reiterate his grave concern about Syria as well as speak about the challenges the world faces: climate change, sustainable development, and hunger. He will return to New York this evening.

HRC Elections: Human Rights Council elections were held yesterday in the GA, with 18 countries, including the United States, appointed seats for three years starting in January 2013. Argentina, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Montenegro, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, United Arab Emirates, United States and Venezuela were elected by secret ballot during the elections held at UN HQ. Both Ambassador Rice and Secretary Clinton were “pleased and proud” that the United States was elected, winning a WEOG seat, the only competitive seat in the election.

Syria: The Spokesperson noted today that UNHCR is making progress in its major effort to provide aid to up to half a million people by the end of this year, despite recent disruptions to operations due to security problems. Last week, humanitarian operations were disrupted on at least two days in Damascus and Aleppo due to violence in both cities. To date, the Agency has provided family aid packages to nearly 300,000 people.

Gaza: The SG called for an immediate de-escalation of tensions amid the new wave of violence in Gaza and southern Israel yesterday, violence that has resulted in several Palestinian deaths, including civilians, and wounded people on both sides. The SG called on Israel to “exercise maximum restraint” and for an “immediate cessation” of attacks. According to media reports, sporadic missile fire from Gaza hit southern Israel today for a fourth straight day, and Israel has reportedly said it will intensify its actions if rocket-fire continues.

Haiti: WFP today warned that more than 1.5 million Haitians could remain at risk of food insecurity well into 2013 if they do not receive adequate assistance to recover from a series of natural disasters that have hit the country over the past six months, including a drought, Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Sandy. The agency responded by distributing food to some 14,000 people during the first week after the Hurricane and will continue to assist 20,000 of the worst-affected households, with almost 800 tons of food during the month of November.