Violence Against Women; DRC; Syria; South Sudan; UNESCO Prize

Violence Against Women: The SG spoke at an event commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women today, calling on governments to fulfill their “obligation to develop or improve the relevant laws, policies and plans” to bring justice to women who have been victims of violence. The event, focused on the SG’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, also featured remarks from the Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, the PR of Liberia, Ms. Marjon V. Kamara, and others. Attention was also brought to the first ever draft resolution aimed at ending the practice of female genital mutilation, approved by the Third Committee this week.

DRC: MONUSCO reported today that M23 is preparing for withdrawal from Goma, in accordance with terms of the communiqué from the Conference in Kampala this weekend. Although there is no reported movement by M23 according to the Spokesperson, the situation remains calm as MONUSCO monitors human rights violations by both M23 and the Congolese Armed Forces. Hervé Ladsous and Chef de Cabinet Susana Malcorra briefed the SC last night on the situation, while the SC extended the sanctions against armed rebel groups in the DRC – initiated in 2003 – until February 1, 2014.

Syria: OCHA Chief Valerie Amos closes out her three-day visit to Jordan and Lebanon today, calling on the international community to tackle the consequences of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria. Amos thanked both Jordan and Lebanon for their generous support of Syrian refugees, expressing the need to “redouble our efforts” to support neighboring states in absorbing the costs of assisting such large refugee populations. Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi met with the SG this morning, and will brief both the GA and the SC this week.

South Sudan: DPKO Chief Hervé Ladsous, presented the SG’s latest report on South Sudan to the SC this morning. He noted that the lack of progress in solving security, economic, and political problems between Sudan and South Sudan continues to have a negative impact on South Sudan’s economic stability. Ladsous expressed the urgent need for a comprehensive and inclusive political process led by the Government to address the core grievances of the parties involved.

UNESCO Prize: Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been designated as laureate of the 2012 UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights. Announced today by UNESCO Chief Irina Bokova, Tutu was chosen for his “exceptional contribution to building a universal culture of human rights at the national, regional and international levels” and will be given the award at UNESCO’s Paris HQ on Human Rights Day, December 10.