UN marks 10th anniversary of 1325, SG briefs Security Council on Somalia, Myanmar’s human rights under scrutiny and more from UN Dispatch

SG on Resolution 1325: This morning, the SG made remarks at an event entitled “Women Count for Peace” to mark the 10th anniversary of Res 1325.  He praised the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action and 1325, but said, “we must admit that we have failed to build sufficiently on these conceptual foundations” as women still face sexual violence during and after conflict.  However, with the appointment of nine female SRSGs/DSRSGs and the launch of UN Women, the UN is developing tools to improve 1325’s implementation.  Earlier this year, a set of indicators to measure progress on 1325 was presented to the Security Council.

SG on Somalia: This morning, the SG also addressed a Security Council meeting on Somalia, characterizing the situation as “fragile” but with “glimmers of hope”.  He urged the Somali Parliament to endorse the new Prime Minister to allow a new government to come into place.  Somalia currently faces 2 million people in need of emergency aid, including the 1.4 million displaced since 2007, and foreign extremist elements infiltrating the country.  He said the UN can help support the Djibouti peace process through: 1) supporting the reconciliation efforts of the TFG (through SRSG Mahiga and the UN Political Office in Somalia/UNPOS); 2) supporting TFG in completing tasks set out in the Transitional Federal Charter (such as talks on the Constitution); 3) advancing agreements between the TFG and regional authorities; and 4) developing Somali institutions.  The UN will continue its “light footprint” approach.  The SG also called on the Security Council to enhance the capacity of AMISOM to deliver.

New Settlements Built in the Palestinian Territory: Today, Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said that the reports of new Israeli settlements are alarming, as it is illegal under international law and goes against the repeated appeals of the international community to create conditions conducive to negotiations.

Financial Situation of the UN: details on the financial situation of the UN as of October 5, 2010 can be found in document A/65/519, which USG Management Angela Kane presented to the Fifth Committee early last week.  The report details the budgetary status of both the regular and peacekeeping budgets, as well as those of the tribunals and CMP.

Myanmar in the Third Committee: yesterday, the HRC-mandated Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, reported on the situation of human rights since March 2010, focusing primarily on the upcoming elections November 7 (the first in 20 years) and concluding, the “conditions for genuine elections are limited”.  In his recommendations to the government, he calls for the respect of freedom of expression and of assembly, the release of all prisoners of conscience and assurance of justice and accountability.  In regards to the latter, he asserts that if the government fails to assume this responsibility, it falls to the international community, which has the option of establishing a commission of inquiry (the GA, HRC, Security Council or SG could mandate this).  The U.S. has expressed its support for the establishment of such a commission, stating “the U.S. believes a properly structured international commission of inquiry that would examine allegations of serious violations of international law would be warranted and appropriate”.

UNESCO: upon the completion of the 58-member UNESCO Executive Board session yesterday in Paris, the decision was made to suspend the UNESCO-Obiang Prize for Research in the Life Sciences, which had faced tremendous opposition from Western States due to former Equatorial Guinea President Obiang’s human rights record.  The agreement was reached to suspend its implementation until an agreement could be reached.  The Board meets twice a year.