Syria; Mali; The SC; Hate Speech; Next week at the UN

Syria: UN humanitarian relief in Syria reached the northern region for the first time today, as UNHCR completed its first delivery of winter emergency relief to the Azzas area where thousands of internally displaced people are living in makeshift camps. It has also been confirmed that Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi will meet this evening with Moaz al-Khatib, a leader of the Syrian opposition, on the margins of a security conference in Munich. Brahimi will also meet with US Vice President Joseph Biden and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tomorrow.

Mali: Considerable challenges remain to the safe return of displaced people to their homes in Mali, UNHCR said today. Refugees are continuing to leave to neighboring countries, as reports of unrest and revenge attacks against certain groups are dissuading individuals from returning. Reasons for waiting to return home include shortages of food, fuel and electricity, as well as disruption to basic services such as health and education that continue in Northern Mali.

The SC: The Republic of Korea has assumed the SC’s rotating Presidency for the month of February. The Council’s first consultations are to start on Monday on its program of work.

Hate Speech: In an event today on the prevention of hate speech used to incite violence and genocide, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide noted that a multi-layered approach to countering such speech is needed. Given the limits of legislation and the imperative to preserve freedom of expression, legal mechanisms must be complemented with fighting racism and discrimination, through dialogue and other measures, as well as countering it with “positive speech” from government and civil society.

Next week at the UN:

Monday, February 4: Ambassador Kim Sook, PR of ROK and President of the SC for the month of February, will brief the press; there will be a briefing on “The global consultation on addressing inequalities in the post-2015 development agenda” in NLB at 1:15 PM.

Tuesday, February 5: There will be a briefing on “UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development (IPFSD)”.

Wednesday, February 6: DPKO Chief Hervé Ladsous will be guest at the Noon Briefing; In Geneva, OCHA will hold a press conference on the humanitarian situation in Mali and in the Sahel.