Syria Accused of War Crimes; SG in Timor-Leste; UNDP; Amos in Syria

Syria Accused of War Crimes: According to a report issued by the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry (CoI), mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, the Syrian Government and opposition forces have perpetrated war crimes and crimes against humanity. The report states that war crimes, including murder, extrajudicial killings and torture, and gross violations of international human rights, including unlawful killing, attacks against civilians and acts of sexual violence, have been committed in line with State policy, with indications of the involvement at the highest levels of the Government, as well as security and armed forces.

SG in Timor-Leste: SG Ban Ki-moon is in Timor-Leste today, and praised the people of Timor-Leste for the progress they have made ten years after the country’s restoration of independence and as a member of the United Nations. In a press conference earlier today, the SG commended the Government for consolidating a security sector that will be able to protect the country as the UN peacekeeping mission prepares to leave at the end of the year.

UNDP: UNDP Chief, Helen Clark, today declared that disaster risk management must become a central feature of development planning, highlighting the agency’s intent to boost overall support for global disaster reduction. In a speech delivered in New Zealand, Clark underscored her plan to double UNDP assistance for disaster reduction over the next five years, as well as add five countries per year to the growing list of potential “champions of disaster resilience.”

Amos in Syria: Having landed in Syria yesterday, Humanitarian Chief Valerie Amos, called on the parties in the Middle Eastern country’s ongoing conflict to respect international humanitarian law and its provisions. After visiting schools hosting hundreds of displaced people in the Zahera district of Damascus, Ms. Amos said, “The people I met today told me they need clean water, sanitation, medical help and food. They are frightened. Many have no home to return to and they desperately need more help and support.”