Protection of civilians in armed conflict; South Sudan; Egypt’s elections; Turkey/ Syria; UN Public Service day.

Protection of civilians in armed conflict: Highlighting the growing number of incidents where civilians are targeted in armed conflict, the SG today drew attention to the key role of the Security Council in dealing with the issue at a debate on the matter today.

Mr. Ban cited recent developments across the world as examples. These included Afghanistan, where the UN mission there has reported a rise in civilian deaths, mostly attributable to anti-Government forces; Cote d’Ivoire, where seven ‘blue helmets’ serving with the UN peacekeeping mission there recently lost their lives defending villagers from armed attacks; and in Syria, where civilians have been killed in clashes between Government forces and armed opposition groups.

South Sudan: The UN today called on South Sudan to develop a comprehensive plan for curbing violence in Jonglei state, as it released the findings of an investigation into inter-communal attacks that claimed hundreds of lives there in 2011 and early 2012.

The report, compiled by the UN Mission in South Sudan with support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), documents crimes and human rights violations that took place during the cycle of attacks between the Murle and Lou Nuer ethnic groups. It states that in December 2011, an estimated 6,000-8,000 armed youth, militarily organized and primarily from the Lou Nuer group, mobilized in Jonglei and launched a series of systematic attacks over 12 days on areas inhabited by the Murle group.

Egypt’s elections: SG Ban Ki-moon welcomes the conclusion of Egypt’s presidential election process following the release of official results, his spokesperson said today.

Egypt’s Higher Presidential Elections Commission announced the results of the 16-17 June run-off poll earlier Sunday; the announcement had been delayed since Thursday. The run-off had pitted Mohamed Morsy, representing the Muslim Brotherhood, against ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.

The elections are the first presidential election since the toppling of the long-standing regime of Hosni Mubarak amid popular protests in January 2011, and widely seen as a key element of the country’s transition to greater democracy.

Turkey/Syria: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his deep concern about the shooting down of a Turkish military jet shot over Syria – and particularly about the potential serious implications of the incident for the region – in a telephone call on Saturday with Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.

“He [Secretary-General Ban] commended Turkey for the restraint shown in its initial reaction and appreciated Turkey and Syria for conducting a joint search operation,” according to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, who added that Mr. Ban urged both countries to continue to address the situation diplomatically.

According to media reports, the Turkish military jet was shot down, apparently by a surface-to-air missile, over the Syrian coastline on Friday, raising concerns over regional tensions related to the situation in Syria.

UN Public Service day: Marking United Nations Public Service Day today, UN officials hailed the vital role played by those who dedicate their lives to public service and work diligently to make a positive difference in the lives of millions worldwide.

“Dedicated public servants work hard to ensure that people’s needs are met with care, respect and dignity,” he added. “By embracing a culture of innovation and excellence and engaging people in decisions that affect them, public servants are making a real difference in the lives of families and communities.”

In 2002, the General Assembly designated 23 June as UN Public Service Day “to celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community” and to encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.