Uganda to Chair Security Council; US Action at the HRC; DRC Mapping Report Out Tomorrow

Human Rights Council: today U.S. advanced one of its top priorities for the 15th session of the HRC with the passage of a resolution on freedom of assembly, including the creation of a  Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association.  When introducing the resolution on behalf of a cross-regional group and over 60 co-sponsors, Ambassador Donahoe underlined that “civil society is essential to political and economic progress”.  In his speech to the GA last week, President Obama touched on the importance of this issue stating, “the arc of human progress has been shaped by individuals with the freedom to assemble”.  The passage of the resolution without a vote was a victory for the U.S., who was up against concerned countries such as China, Russia, Cuba, Libya and Pakistan, who ultimately never forced a vote.  Also on the HRC, yesterday, by a vote of 30 to 1 with 15 abstentions (the U.S. voted against), the Council endorsed the conclusions of the report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the flotilla incident, which said the conduct of the Israeli military was “disproportionate and excessive” and “serious violations of both humanitarian and human rights law occurred”.  For its part, the U.S. said it was concerned by the Report’s “unbalanced language, tone and conclusions” and urged that it not be used to disrupt ongoing negotiations.  The U.S. regards the Secretary-General’s Panel of Inquiry as the “primary method for the international community to review the incident”.  The Panel of Inquiry’s findings have not yet been released.

DRC Mapping Report: the much anticipated Mapping Report of human rights abuses in the DRC is expected to be released by the High Commissioner tomorrow at 3pm Geneva time.

Haiti: Nigel Fisher, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Haiti, reported that the 30-minute storm last Friday in Port-au-Prince damaged or destroyed 15,000 tents in 262 of the 1,300 camps, where 1.3 million survivors have been living since the earthquake.  The UN and Haitian Government began assessing the situation immediately after the storm, distributing supplies just hour later.  Fisher stressed the importance of continuing contingency and mitigation plans and disaster preparedness.

Pakistan: the UN continues to step up its relief efforts in Pakistan, with over 20 million people affected by the flooding.  WHO has provided medicine for 5 million people, and has worked with  UNICEF to acquire half a million bednets to address the increase risk of malaria.  Roughly 3.67 million people are receiving potable water, more than 448,400 families have been provided shelter and the UN and its partners have provided food assistance to an estimated 7 million.  To date, 31% of the Floods Emergency Response Plan has been funded.

Security Council: tomorrow Uganda assumes the rotating Presidency of the Security Council from Turkey.