The SG; SC Elections; DSG; Human Rights; Sexual Violence

The SG: This morning, the SG gave a speech at an event to celebrate of the opening of the Four Freedoms Park, the memorial to American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in New York. In his remarks, he noted that no single person was more instrumental in the founding of the UN than President Roosevelt and that his words guide us every day as we seek to advance peace and security, promote development, and uphold human rights around the world. The park celebrates the “four freedoms” President Roosevelt articulated in a speech in 1941. This afternoon, the SG travelled to Des Moines, Iowa to speak at the laureate award ceremony for the World Food Prize.

SC Elections: The UN GA elected Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea, and Rwanda to serve as non-permanent members on the Security Council for two-year terms this morning, beginning on January 1, 2013. These newly elected five will replace Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal, and South Africa, who will finish out their term through the end of this year. The Republic of Korea and Luxembourg were elected in a second round of balloting, the remainder elected in a first. Those who didn’t win a seat include Bhutan, Cambodia, and Finland.

DSG: The DSG is travelling to Mali on Friday, where he will attend the high-level meeting on the country taking place in Bamako. He will lead a UN delegation that includes the new Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, and the Special Representative for West Africa, Saïd Djinnit. DSG Eliasson will also meet with attending ministers and civil society, and is expected to hold a press conference on Friday while in Bamako.

Human Rights: In a press conference in Geneva today, Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay, noted that the Middle East and North Africa will continue to present major human rights challenges – and opportunities – for “many years to come.” She also emphasized the need to do more to end the ongoing conflict in Syria, as the situation is likely to descend into an all-out sectarian conflict with the international community remaining divided on how to end the crisis.

Sexual Violence: The elimination of sexual violence in conflict “is not impossible,” the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict said today in Geneva today, stressing that to fully eradicate this scourge there needs to be a stronger political will from governments as well as adequate legal frameworks in place to prosecute perpetrators. She outlined six objectives she will pursue in her new capacity: 1) addressing impunity
and justice for victims; 2) protecting and empowering affected women; 3) strengthening the political will for implementing SC resolutions pertaining strategies to combat and prosecute sexual violence; 4) coordinating the response of the international community to sexual violence; 5) understanding rape as tactic of war; and 6) encouraging local and national ownership of the problem and its solution.