UN maintains focus on Libya in NY, Geneva & D.C., Amos briefs on humanitarian situation, Pascoe wraps-up Egypt visit and more from UN Direct

Libya @ Security Council: On Saturday, the Security Council unanimously passed SCR. 1970 which imposes sanctions on Qaddafi, his family, and his inner circle of advisers who have been responsible for the widespread attacks on Libyan citizens, including an asset freeze and travel ban. In addition, it imposes a complete arms embargo on Libya and takes new steps against the use of mercenaries by the Libyan government to attack its own people. All Member States are prohibited to provide any kind of arms to the country and Libya is also prohibited from exporting arms and related material. Because Libya isn’t a party to the ICC Rome Statute, the Council gave ICC jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the country since February 15 – the first unanimous Security Council Resolution to refer a case of heinous human rights violations to the ICC. Speaking to the press after the resolution’s adoption, Ambassador Rice said, “First of all, I can’t remember a time in recent memory when the Council has acted so swiftly, so decisively, and in unanimity on an urgent matter of international human rights…I think all members of the Security Council are united in their determination that these sanctions work, that they work as swiftly as possible, and that they have the intended effect of stopping the violence against innocent civilians.” On the humanitarian front, SCR. 1970 also calls for the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies, as well as humanitarian agencies and workers, into Libya, and demands the immediate lifting of restrictions on the media. After the unanimous vote at the Council, the Secretary-General expressed his “solidarity with the people of Libya as they brave the bloodshed and as they cope with possible shortages of food and medical supplies and other humanitarian impacts.”

SG: Today, the SG traveled to D.C. to meet with Obama and discuss the developments in Libya. Afterwards, he visited the Holocaust Museum, warning that it’s one more time to adhere to the words, “Never again”, adding that violations in Libya will not be tolerated.

Clinton in Geneva: today Secretary Clinton was in Geneva for a series of meetings to strengthen the coordinated international response to Libya and follow-up on the HRC’s session and Security Council’s resolution.  Clinton also addressed the opening of the 16th session of the HRC, which runs through March 25, stating that Qaddafi “must be held accountable” and must go “now, without further violence or delay”.  She called Friday’s decision by the HRC to establish an international commission of inquiry an “important first step toward accountability” and called on the GA to vote to suspend Libya’s participation in the HRC tomorrow, adding that the AU should follow the League of Arab States’ decision to suspend Libya’s membership as well.  Going further, she outlined the work the U.S. is engaging on in partnership with the UN, ICRC and NGOs to organize a humanitarian response and said it will continue exploring all possible options for action, adding “nothing is off the table”.  Speaking on work before the HRC, she noted the U.S.’ intention to work with Sweden and others to create an independent expert to monitor and report on human rights in Iran, stating that this is a “Seminole moment for the Council”.  In her remarks, Clinton also touched on the HRC Review, reiterating that the Council must have the ability to respond to emergencies in real time, it must apply the same standard to all countries based on the UDHR, and that it should abandon rhetorical debates and focus on improving people’s lives.  Clinton also spoke at the ongoing session of the Conference on Disarmament, calling on States to end the stalemate and open negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) “without further delay”.

Valerie Amos on Libya: USG for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos briefed the press this afternoon on the current humanitarian situation in and around Libya, discussing the continued violence which has left women and children gravely wounded in particular. Tens of thousands are crossing over into Tunisia (approximately 40,000), Egypt (over 61,000), and Niger. Water and food are urgent concerns and OCHA is currently working on various contingency plans for food assistance. Presently, UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations are able to provide assistance in eastern Libya and reports illustrate that the area is returning to normalcy. However, Libyans deeper inside the country and in the capital are being prevented from fleeing and are also not able to receive food or health access due to the extremely volatile security situation. To address this obstacle, OCHA is working to rapidly deploy a team to Cairo to reinforce the resident coordinator in Tripoli. Another focus of OCHA are the border areas, and it hopes that Tunisia and Egypt maintain open borders, and the European Union opens its borders as well. UNHCR, IOM, and UNICEF are assisting people at the borders.

Egypt: B. Lynn Pascoe, USG for Political Affairs, wrapped up his three-day visit in Cairo and explained that the team’s primary aim was to listen, expressing his appreciation for the spirit of dialogue that the team had with government ministers who were interested in the role that the UN could play there.

Senior UN Staff Travel: Today, Pascoe has begun a three-nation trip today, starting with Cameroon, then the Central African Republic, and lastly Gabon.

Security Council: Today the Council adopted a Presidential Statement on al Qaeda and the Taliban sanctions. Tomorrow, China will assume the rotating presidency for the month of March.

ECOSOC: To mark International Corporate Philanthropy Day (ICPD) today, a press conference was held this afternoon on Education for All, with two panels that briefed the press.  The press conference also coincided with an event hosted by ECOSOC today on “Partnering with the Philanthropic Community to promote Education for All”.  The first panel discussed how universal access to primary education yields one of the highest returns on our money and how investing in education for all works. The second panel discussed various pledges by companies and how they’re going to take this initiative forward. The first panel included: Irina Bokova, DG of UNESCO; Michaelle Jean, 27th Governor General of Canada and UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti; Petra Nemcova, Founder of Happy Hearts Fund; Carlos Dominguez, Senior VP of Cisco, and Olav Seim, Director of Education for All (EFA) Global Partnerships Team. The second panel included: Danielle Ryan, Representative of Cathal Ryan Trust; Hikmet Ersek, President, CEO and Director of Western Union, and Jaime Barclay, Sr. Philanthropy Specialist of Symantec Corporation. The panelists highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility, and how investing in children’s education will be favorable to the global economy. Olav Seim explained that from 2002 to 2005, there was sustained economic growth and education was at the top of the agenda. Since 2005, he noted, education hasn’t been a top priority and the private sector needs to help advocate education for job creation and development. In regards to commitments being made for Education for All, Danielle Ryan announced that Cathal Ryan Trust has committed $14 million to support a UNICEF program, which will fund large schools, provide grants for university potentials, help train teachers, and fund fully-stocked libraries. $250,000 will go to UNDP for youth community-wide benefits, which will focus on the Philippines and Morocco, $600,000 will go to UNICEF for Haiti efforts, and $250,000 will help fund the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.

Arms Trade Treaty: today through Friday, March 4, the second PrepCom of the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (scheduled for 2012) will be held in NY.