Israel/Gaza; IDPs in Yemen; ASEAN; Cameroon; Next week at the UN

Israel/Gaza: As the violence continues in Gaza and Israel, the SG is “extremely concerned” and “deeply worried” by the rising cost in terms of civilian lives. He urgently appeals to all concerned to do everything under their command to stop this dangerous escalation and restore calm, calling for rocket attacks to stop at once and for Israel to exercise maximum restraint. The SG plans to visit the region shortly. According to the Spokesperson, Navi Pillay also has repeatedly and unequivocally condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets and urges all sides involved to comply strictly with international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

IDPs in Yemen: UNHCR reported today that growing numbers of internally displaced people are returning to their homes in southern Yemen. Over the past four months, the Refugee Agency and Yemeni authorities have helped more than 80,000 people go home, the first significant decline in displacement since May 2011. Although efforts continue, there are still over 300,000 still displaced in northern Yemen due to conflict between Yemeni Government forces and al-Houthis.

ASEAN: OHCHR today highlighted their concerns about a draft for Southeast Asia’s first ever regional document on human rights protections, which the ASEAN is set to consider on Sunday for adoption. In an open letter to ASEAN states, human rights experts expressed reservations with the current draft, noting that it is “imperative” ASEAN’s landmark human rights instrument “maintains international standards” if it is to complement the work of the UN human rights system.

Cameroon: After recent reports of LGBT people in Cameroon being harassed, intimidated, arrested and imprisoned for their sexual orientation, OHCHR called for an end to such practices. Article 347 of the current penal code in the country criminalizes ‘sexual relations with a person of the same sex’ and provides for a penalty of up to five years imprisonment and a fine. OHCHR spokesperson, Rupert Colville, said today in Geneva that the law breaches Cameroon’s international human rights commitments and violates rights to privacy and to freedom from discrimination.

Next week at the UN:

Monday, November 19: The Security Council will have an open debate on piracy; there will be a GA plenary meeting on cooperation between the UN and regional and other organizations.

Tuesday, November 20: There will be a special meeting of the Counter-terrorism Committee on preventing and suppressing terrorist financing; press conference by UNAIDS to launch its new HIV Results report.

Thursday, November 22: The UN is closed for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 23: There will be a presentation of the Least Developed Countries Report 2012 by UNCTAD.