UN aircraft crashes in DRC with 32 aboard, UN officials arrive in Afghanistan to demonstrate solidarity, and more from UN Direct

DRC: It’s confirmed that a UN aircraft crashed at 13H GMT on landing in Kinshasa, DRC. There were 29 passengers plus the air crew aboard the aircraft. MONUSCO has set up a crisis task force and is currently working at the crash site. There are no exact figures on casualties at this point.

Côte d’Ivoire: Ivan Simonovic, the ASG for Human Rights arrived in Abidjan today to assess the human rights situation that has seriously deteriorated, noting massacres in the west of the country. The SG spoke by telephone with Ouattara this weekend and expressed his concern that pro-Ouattara forces killed people in the west. Ouattara denied that his forces killed and launched an investigation. UNOCI continues to come under fire by Gbagbo forces, with heavy weapons used. SRSG for Côte d’Ivoire Choi Young-Jin said that these attacks are unacceptable.  Today, UNOCI joined French forces in striking Gbagbo’s military camps, as part of its mandate to protect civilians.

Afghanistan: Vijay Nambiar, the Chef de Cabinet, and Gregory Starr, the USG for Security and Safety, have arrived in Afghanistan, where they are demonstrating solidarity of the entire UN system for the UN Mission following the attack last Friday in Mazar-e-Sharif. Staffan de Mistura, the SRSG for Afghanistan, said that the UN will remain by the side of the Afghan people and doesn’t intend to withdraw from the country. While demonstrations in other parts of Afghanistan have given rise to further questions about the UN presence and posture, de Mistura said that the UN doesn’t intend to evacuate from the country or diminish its presence for the time being. At this point, a board of inquiry is being launched. The Spokesperson stated that the killings can’t be justified under any circumstances and made clear that there were no beheadings.

Haiti: Michel Martelly has been elected the new president of Haiti, defeating Mirlande Manigat in the run-off vote. After the appeal period, the final results are expected on April 16 and the new president will take office in May.

Alliance of Civilizations: President Jorge Sampaio, the UN High Representative of the Alliance of Civilizations, said that any desecration of the Koran and other holy texts have to be vehemently repudiated. Going further, he explained that no religion tolerates the slaughter of innocents. The violence that took place in Mazar-e-Sharif needs to be condemned.

Security Council: Today, Ambassador Nestor Osorio of Colombia held a press conference on the April Program of Work as this month’s Security Council President. This afternoon, the Council held consultations on Libya with the SG’s Special Envoy. Tomorrow morning, the SG will report on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire. On Wednesday, April 6th, the Security Council will hold a special open debate on the situation in Haiti. President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, President René Préval of Haiti, and Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Special Envoy to Haiti will be at the debate. Members of MINUSTAH will also attend the debate.