UN maintains active presence in Cote d’Ivoire, HRC appoints Commission of Inquiry into rights abuses, SG embarks on multi-nation trip and more from UN Direct

Côte d’Ivoire: The SG continues to closely monitor the situation in the country. He spoke with President Ouattara last night and underlined the expectation that any further bloodshed will be avoided in the hands of Ouattara’s forces. Additionally, the SG welcomed Ouattara’s call for an immediate establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Committee and called on parties to aid in establishing a national unity government, reunify security forces, disarm numerous irregular forces, and complete unfinished aspects of the peace process among other things. UNOCI is working with the Ouattara government to ensure that law and order are addressed in Abidjan and elsewhere. UN peacekeepers have expanded control into the Abidjan port and are patrolling the streets using all available assets, focusing on efforts to receive surrendering pro-Gbagbo forces, collecting arms and ammunition, and securing former Gbagbo strong points. UNOCI will continue its mandate to protect civilians and stands ready to support the efforts to address the critical humanitarian situation as well as the investigations into human rights violations. UNHCR is monitoring the situation in Abidjan and the western part of the country and has confirmed 536 deaths in the west in the past few weeks. In Geneva this morning, the President of the Human Rights Council appointed three high-level experts – Vitit Muntabhorn from Thailand, Suliman Baldo from Sudan, and Reine Alapini Gansou from Benin – as  members of the Commission of Inquiry to investigate the allegations of serious abuses and violations of human rights. Meanwhile, OCHA explained that humanitarian staff must have access to the people in need. An eight-member UNDAC team has been deployed. Today, the WFP started airlifting food to IDPs in Côte d’Ivoire and Ivorian refugees in neighboring Liberia. The WFP has revised its plans in Liberia upwards to reach 150,000 Ivorian refugees and 36,000 Liberian host families with 25,000 metric tons of food.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A UN report on the progress by the Palestinian Authority in building institutions assesses that a handful of government functions where the UN is most engaged are sufficient for a functioning government of a state. Robert Serry, Special Coordinator for the Mideast Peace Process, commended President Mahmoud Abbas and PM Salam Fayyad, noting that this is a decisive period ahead of the September 2011 target for the PA’s statehood readiness.

SG Travel: Tomorrow, the SG will be in Doha to meet with the Libya Contact Group, and will be accompanied by Abdul Ilah Khatib, the Special Envoy for Libya, and B. Lynn Pascoe, USG for Political Affairs. The SG plans to be in Cairo on Thursday in an effort to coordinate an international response to the developments in Libya by chairing a meeting at the League of Arab States Headquarters. On Friday, he will start a four-country trip to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine, and Russia. In addition to meetings with the presidents and foreign ministers of each country, the SG will participate in the Kiev Summit on Safe and Innovate Use of Nuclear Energy in Ukraine, where he will reassess the international emergency response framework and the nuclear safety regime.

Somalia: SRSG for Somalia Augustine Mahiga is currently chairing a two-day HL Consultative Meeting on Somalia today and Wednesday in Nairobi. Mahiga noted that the meeting marks the start of consultations towards the end of Somalia’s transitional period. He also deplored the absence in Nairobi of members of Somalia’s executive branch, stressing the UN’s role is to facilitate dialogue among the Somali parties.

Security Council: This morning, the Council held consultations relating to women, peace and security issues, and was briefed by Michelle Bachelet, the ED of UN Women, on the new agency’s work.

Upcoming Briefing: Tomorrow at 12:30 PM, the PGA will hold a press conference on the work of the GA.