SG arrives in Ethiopia, underlines importance of health workers and midwives in saving women’s and children’s lives, UNOCI defends work in Duekoue, and more from UN Direct

SG: Today, the SG arrived in Addis Ababa, where he spoke in depth about issues relating to Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Somalia, and Libya at the Extraordinary Summit of the AU on Peace and Security Issues in Africa. Specifically, he said that despite some speculation about differences, all of us, without equivocation, condemned the violence in Libya, adding that everyone recognizes the Libyan peoples’ legitimate aspirations for freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, dignity, and justice. Last night, the SG spoke with Al Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi, PM of Libya, on the phone, to reaffirm the need for an immediate and real ceasefire to conduct negotiations. While in Ethiopia, he met with the VP of South Africa, the Presidents of Senegal and Equatorial New Guinea, and the PM of Ethiopia. He also visited a health post in Northern Ethiopia, where he met with health workers who are providing essential services to communities previously living without access to care. Speaking to the press, he explained that deaths could be avoided and the lives of many women and children could be saved by training health workers and midwives. He also went to a larger health center, which supports the health post by providing it with supplies and on-the-job training. The SG spoke with doctors, nurses, and patients there.

Sudan: The situation in and around Abyei remains tense. Yesterday, the crew of 4 UNMIS helicopters witnessed shots fired close to the Mission’s premises. The helicopters weren’t hit and were able to land safely. There are also reports that the recent looting and pillaging has left the town badly damaged.  Because of the escalating conflict, UNMIS temporarily relocated its staff that was based in Abyei.

Côte d’Ivoire: In response to AI’s criticism of UNOCI’s peacekeeping efforts, particularly in Duékoué, Nesirky explained that the fighting occurred at a time when the Mission was under siege and attack. However, despite those constraints and the fact that the peacekeepers were in the middle of rotation, they did their utmost to protect the people of Duékoué. An inter-departmental assessment mission recently heard praise for UNOCI’s work of protecting over 25,000 people that have taken refuge at Catholic and Protestant Missions.  Additionally, over 6,000 people were rescued by UNOCI after fleeing into the bush and other remote locations. UNOCI has also documented numerous human rights violations, which is being pulled together in a report that is expected to be published soon. Finally, the HRC’s Commission of Inquiry continues to look at the circumstances and facts surrounding a number of allegations and will present its findings at the next HRC session in June.