Syria; Haiti; South Sudan; LRA; and more

Syria: The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for Syria, Kofi Annan, said he expects to hear back from Syrian authorities today on the proposals he put forward during his recent meetings in Damascus on ending the ongoing crisis in the country.

Mr. Annan is currently in Ankara, Turkey, where he is meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to discuss the situation in Syria, following his weekend visit to Damascus, where he met with President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that some 30,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, while a significant number of people are thought to be internally displaced.

Three Pakistani police in the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti have been found guilty of sexual abuse and ordered jailed, the UN said Tuesday. The three police were at the center of one of two new sexual abuse investigations involving UN police in the Caribbean nation announced in January.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said a court-martial had been held by the Pakistani military in Haiti and the three had been found guilty, ordered jailed and repatriated. The three will be imprisoned and given a dishonorable discharge on their return to Pakistan, the UN mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, was told, according to the spokesman. Details of the prison term were not immediately known.

South Sudan:
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan today said it has sent patrol units and a medical team to an area on the country’s border with Ethiopia where unidentified raiders reportedly attacked several cattle camps occupied by members of the Lou Nuer ethnic group.

According to information provided by the local authorities, most of the cattle camps that were attacked are located on the Ethiopia side of the border. Some 63 wounded people have been treated in the hospital on Akobo town, but reliable casualty figures, including deaths, are not yet available.

The latest attacks came even as the Government of South Sudan appointed a peace committee to broker reconciliation between feuding communities in Jonglei. A voluntary and simultaneous civilian disarmament process has also been launched in an effort to break the cycle of violence.

UN and government officials from central Africa will meet in Uganda next week to finalize a comprehensive regional strategy on combating the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the rebel group that gained notoriety for its atrocities in Uganda, but which has in recent years extended its violence to neighbouring countries.

The meeting in the Ugandan city of Entebbe on Thursday and Friday next week follows a previous one in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kinshasa, in January, when African countries affected by the LRA agreed to toughen measures against the group.

The meeting in Entebbe will also be in pursuance of the mandate given to UNOCA by the Security Council last year to develop, in cooperation with UN missions and the African Union, a regional strategy for international humanitarian and development assistance, as well as peacebuilding in areas affected by the LRA violence.

Water access in Europe:
A United Nations report launched today spotlights the need to address unequal water access in Europe, stressing that certain populations such as rural communities and marginalized groups are still not getting this vital resource.

The report, which was produced by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), provides guidance on how to address water access disparities, and showcases successful policies that have been implemented by governments, water operators and civil society. In addition, the report underscores that social inclusion policies are needed to be able to provide water access to marginalized and vulnerable groups such as the homeless, disabled, sick, or those living in unsanitary housing, who are often unable to get access to safe drinking water.