BRIEFING - NON-PROLIFERATION/DPRK
Strongly condemning the recent underground nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Security Council, during an emergency meeting, discussed options that will promptly de-escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Many Council members expressed alarm, calling for adopting fresh sanctions to economically choke the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear program.
Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that, as tensions rose, so did the risk of misunderstanding, miscalculation and escalation. Stressing that the latest serious developments require a comprehensive response to break the cycle of provocations from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, he said such an action must include wise and bold diplomacy to be effective.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, said that the latest nuclear test represented a grave and reckless provocation in violation of multiple Security Council resolutions. Italy is committed to a firm and cohesive response at the international and European Union levels to pressure Pyongyang to stop its current provocations. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s actions posed a threat to international peace and security and seriously challenge the non-proliferation regime. Italy expressed solidarity with the Governments and peoples of the region that were directly affected by the consequences of Pyongyang’s dangerous actions. The latest test posed a new level of threat, and in that context, Amb Cardi called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to completely stop the development of its missile and nuclear programs in a verifiable and irreversible manner. Further sanctions must be explored, bearing in mind that such measures must remain a tool aimed at a peaceful and long-term solution for the Korean Peninsula and the whole of the region.
ADOPTION ON RESOLUTION 2374 (2017) - THE SITUATION IN MALI
Targeting actors derailing the peace process in Mali, the Security Council decided unanimously to impose sanctions and create a new committee and panel of experts to examine alleged violations.
Adopting resolution 2374 (2017), the Council also decided to impose a travel ban on and freeze the assets of designated individuals and entities actively stymying progress in implementing the Agreement of Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, signed in 2015 by Mali Government and both the Plateforme and Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad coalitions of armed groups.
Ambassador Inigo Lambertini voiced Italy support for the resolution.
BRIEFING ON COLOMBIA PEACE AGREEMENT
The new mission that would oversee the next phase of the 2016 peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP), is on track to begin its activities as scheduled on 26 September, the Head of the United Nations Mission in Colombia told the Security Council.
Jean Arnault, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, briefing the Council on measures taken to establish the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, as per Council resolution 2366 (2017), said the new mission would begin once the mandate of the current United Nations Mission in Colombia expired.
On the temporary ceasefire agreed by the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) that would start on 1 October, he said both sides had confirmed to him their interest in the United Nations involvement in that process.
MEETING ADOPTION SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA
The Security Council decided to impose a raft of new sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — including a ban on the sale of natural gas liquids to the North-East Asian nation, and on its textile exports — while also prohibiting Member States from providing work authorizations to its nationals.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi said the grave situation provoked be the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had necessitated such decision. Pyongyang’s actions revealed a deliberate attempt to undermine international peace and security as well as the Council’s authority, he said, noting that the Council had stood united once again to ensure that Pyongyang’s threats did not go unanswered. He also urged the international community to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
BRIEFING ON COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UN AND AFRICAN UNION
Extolling the virtues of a strong partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, members of the Security Council suggested ways in which to further enhance peace and security operations and foster progress in advancing common goals.
Haile Menkerios, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union on issues of peace and security in Africa. Since early action remained a challenge in prevention efforts, the United Nations and the African Union must strengthen their collaboration in engaging non-State actors, he continued, noting that the two Councils had emphasized the need to pay greater attention to addressing root causes and preventing relapses into conflict.
Ambassador Cardi, encouraged the United Nations Secretariat and African Union Commission to strengthen their cooperation on the root causes of conflict, said regional capacities in Africa must be enhanced, including through triangular mechanisms, as cited in the Secretary-General’s report. Flexible frameworks would respond to the legitimate demand for African solutions to African problems. Italy supported the creation of a mechanism for the joint planning and mandating of African Union peace operations, he said, adding that his delegation also favored exploring the use of United Nations assessed contributions for such operations as long as standards for troop quality, accountability, human rights compliance and conduct were met.
PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT - THE SITUATION IN GUINEA-BISSAU
The Security Council expressed concern about the negative effects of the political crisis on the civilian population in Guinea-Bissau and urged all political actors to put the interests of the people of Guinea-Bissau above all other consideration and, in this regard, called upon Bissau-Guinean political leaders, including the President, the Speaker of Parliament and the heads of political parties, to abide by their commitment to bring political stability to Guinea-Bissau by engaging in genuine dialogue, including on the constitutional review, finding common ground for a swift resolution of the political crisis, and refraining from all rhetoric and acts likely to undermine peace and national cohesion.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN SOMALIA (UNSOM)
Hard-won gains in Somalia could be swept away without predictable funding to ensure continued support for joint efforts to stamp out the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, as well as corruption and instability, the Security Council heard.
Describing the sustainable funding of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as a top priority, Michael Keating, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), said by videoconference that ongoing efforts, as well as the peaceful transition of power in early 2017, had created a sense of hope and a moment of political opportunity. “But, the honeymoon period is now over,” he added, citing the formidable immediate and long-term humanitarian, economic, security and political challenges that persisted against a backdrop of regional instability.
“The alternative is gloomy,” he said, adding that funding was “essential for us to be able to undertake the operations”. For its part, the Mission was holding AMISOM-UNSOM joint training sessions, tackling child recruitment by terrorist groups and working with the Federal Government and international partners on the national security architecture and a new security pact. As for the Mission’s exit strategy, he said a conference of African Union and Federal Government experts had addressed such issues as the handover of security responsibilities and the release of 1,000 AMISOM troops before the scheduled drawdown in December. The experts had also discussed a possible contingency plan for early withdrawal, should financial support dry up, he added.
BRIEFING ON PEACE AND SECURITY IN AFRICA (BOKO HARAM)
Recent progress against Boko Haram notwithstanding, Africa’s Lake Chad Basin continued to suffer a “staggering” and under-funded humanitarian crisis, the United Nations political affairs chief told the Security Council, warning that Governments across the region had been forced to divert already scarce resources to fight terrorism and other security challenges.
“Without question, Boko Haram’s combat capacity has diminished,” said Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, as he briefed the Council. Introducing the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin (document S/2017/764) — outlining developments on the ground and the Council’s March visit there — he pointed to successful operations by the Multinational Joint Task Force comprising personnel from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
Ambassador Lambertini, said solutions to the multidimensional challenges must consider the root causes. For its part, Italy supported a project targeting youth and a national development program. In all such efforts, human rights must be respected, including in tackling climate change challenges and forced displacement, as must women’s rights, particularly in conflict-related scenarios. A comprehensive approach was needed to address the ongoing crisis, as the terrorist threat and trafficking were spreading through the region, he said, expressing support for the G-5 Sahel force (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) and other similar regional efforts.
ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION 2376 (2017) - EXTENSION THE MANDATE OF THE UN SUPPORT MISSION IN LIBYA (UNSMIL)
The Security Council decided unanimously to extend the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) until 15 September 2018 as an integrated special political mission.
Adopting resolution 2376 (2017), the Council tasked the Mission with supporting an inclusive political process within the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement, and in full accordance with the principles of national ownership. In that regard, UNSMIL would support the Agreement’s implementation, consolidation of the Government of National Accord’s governance, security and economic arrangements, and subsequent phases of Libya’s transition process.
Also by the text, the Council further decided that UNSMIL would support key Libyan institutions, support the provision of essential services and the delivery of humanitarian assistance upon request, and carry out human rights monitoring and reporting. In addition, the Mission would support the securing of uncontrolled arms and related materiel and counter their proliferation; coordinate international assistance; and assist Government efforts to stabilize post-conflict zones, including those liberated from Islamic State in Irag and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh).
ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION 2377 (2017) - COLOMBIA
The Security Council approved the Secretary-General’s recommendations regarding the size, operational aspects and mandate of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2377 (2017), the Council welcomed the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2017/745), which states that the Mission would begin its activities on 26 September.
The Verification Mission is expected to oversee the next phase of the 2016 peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP). The Council established the Verification Mission by unanimously adopting resolution 2366 (2017) as a successor to the United Nations Mission in Colombia.
BRIEFING ON AFRICAN UNION-UNITED NATIONS HYBRID OPERATION IN DARFUR (UNAMID)
While moving forward with its reconfiguration efforts, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) remained focused on the implementation of its key strategic priorities, including the protection of civilians, the Security Council heard as it took up the Secretary-General’s latest report on that mission
Jeremiah Mamabolo, Joint Special Representative for UNAMID, said top priorities included mediation efforts between the Government of Sudan and armed movements, and support for ending intercommunal conflicts in Darfur. The mission had also developed plans to deploy the Jebel Marra Task Force and requested land from the Government for the establishment of a temporary operating base in Golo. The protection strategy for Jebel Marra had also been developed, while the review of civilian personnel, commensurate with the new troop ceiling and configuration, had been completed and would be reflected in the new budget submission.
ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION 2378 (2017) - PEACEKEEPING REFORM
The “primacy of politics” — including through mediation, ceasefire monitoring and assisting in the implementation of peace accords — should be the hallmark of the United Nations approach to resolving conflict, by the terms of a resolution adopted by the Security Council.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2378 (2017) on reform of United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Council noted that the prevention of conflict remained a primary responsibility of States, and actions undertaken within the framework of conflict prevention by the Organization should support and complement conflict-prevention roles of national Governments. It also reaffirmed the duty of all States to settle international disputes by peaceful means, and recognized that the good offices of the Secretary-General could help resolve conflict.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said the debate provided an opportunity to examine financing approaches and bolster the partnership with the United Nations. Given their unique position, African Union peace operations should be supported through United Nations-assessed contributions, he said, emphasizing that sustainable solutions required sustainable financing. Decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis resulting from joint analyses of each situation, he said, adding that “our institutional credibility is at stake”. Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter highlighted the role of regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security.
Jose Ramos-Horta, Chair of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, said that his report’s recommendations had been well received by Member States. The document included recommendations from people from many walks of life, from police officers who saw war up close to community leaders and activists who lived amid conflicts. He acknowledged the extent to which former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had embraced the recommendations, and the consideration they had been given by the General Assembly and the Security Council. But the essential shifts advocated by the Panel remained to be achieved.
Paolo Gentiloni, Prime Minister of Italy, said the “Sustaining Peace” agenda required a holistic approach, a notion that the Secretary-General’s proposals had pushed further. Concrete actions must now effectively implement such an approach, he said, outlining Italy’s strategy. As a troop-contributing country, Italy had provided assistance and training based on the principle of zero tolerance for sexual abuse and exploitation. The Council had already acknowledged the role of regional organizations in providing local solutions to local problems, he said, noting the efforts of the Group of Five for the Sahel (Sahel G-5) joint force. Highlighting other efforts, including initiatives to protect cultural heritage, he said budgetary and financial support were essential to ensuring success for long-term solutions. Although not an easy task, it was the Council’s duty, as mentioned in the United Nations Charter.
ADOPTION OF RESOLUTION 2379 (2017) - THREATS TO INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY (DAESH)
The Security Council asked the Secretary-General to establish an independent investigative team to support domestic efforts to hold Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) accountable for its actions in Iraq.
By the terms of resolution 2379 (2017), adopted unanimously, the team would collect, preserve, and store evidence of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the terrorist group in Iraq. The Council asked the Secretary-General to establish the team, to be headed by a Special Adviser, and to submit terms of reference acceptable to the Government of Iraq.
Angelino Alfano, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, said that the resolution was a vital step in holding Da’esh accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Few times in history had the world seen such deliberate and systematic acts of murder, kidnapping, sexual violence, enslavement and the destruction of cultural heritage. He saluted the courage of the Iraqi people and the commitment of the Iraqi authorities to uphold the rule of law. No one was asking for an eye for an eye, he said, and the vote was in favour of a resolution to help achieve something more difficult: accountability. Accountability resisted the temptation of revenge and retribution outside of the law. The fear of being caught was often a more powerful deterrent than the punishment, and anyone who would join the cause of terror would be identified and there would be serious consequences. Peace needed to be won with reconciliation, accountability in the eyes of the law and dialogue. The resolution was an important decision in the right direction.
BRIEFING ON NON-PROLIFERATION OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
The de-escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula should flow from the lessons generated by the diplomacy that shaped the agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme, speakers in the Security Council said.
During a ministerial-level briefing on the threat posed by the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the best ways to halt the flow, speakers shared grave concerns about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s recent nuclear and ballistic missile tests, many urging swift collective action.
Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, recalled that in 1991, the Council had called upon Iraq to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction programme, and had effectively normalized that country’s international non-proliferation obligations. On Iran’s nuclear issue, direct engagement and a commitment to dialogue had resulted in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which the Council had endorsed in resolution 2231 (2015). As inspectors continued to verify its implementation, a sustained commitment by all remained essential for the historic agreement’s success, she said.
The Council had also taken timely action to ensure the removal of vulnerable chemical weapons stockpiles in Libya, she continued, noting also that, through successful engagement by the Russian Federation and the United States, Syria had eliminated its chemical weapon programme. Regrettably, evidence of chemical weapons use continued to appear in that country, she noted, emphasizing that those responsible must be held accountable. The Council’s unity and action was essential in that regard.
Angelino Alfano, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, said non-proliferation should be defended as a guarantee of peace, security and stability. He condemned Pyongyang’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan on 15 September, saying the Security Council must send a clear message to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea that any further attempts would backfire. Noting that Iran had moved in a positive direction on its own nuclear programme, he said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action had delivered gains for global security by imposing strict limits on Tehran’s nuclear programme.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN MIDDLE EAST
“Continuing settlement expansion, most notably during this period in occupied East Jerusalem, is making the two-State solution increasingly unattainable and undermining Palestinian belief in international peace efforts,” Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov told Council members. Violence against civilians and incitement had also perpetuated mutual fear and suspicion, impeding efforts to bridge gaps between the two sides.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN
Progress, as well as daunting challenges and opportunities for political engagement, characterized the situation in Afghanistan, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council. Tadamichi Yamamoto said steps were being taken to lay the foundation for the most important electoral reforms in Afghanistan since 2001. Important progress had already been made in organizing parliamentary and district council elections scheduled for July 2018.
Despite those positive developments, however, the security situation remained a major concern, he said, noting that, with the persistence of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) in the east, and the group’s growing presence in the north, as well as in the capital, Kabul, the situation had become more complex. “I am convinced that a political settlement is possible,” he said, while cautioning against allowing another fighting season to begin without progress towards substantive negotiations. Otherwise, opportunities would be lost and the cost would be paid in thousands of Afghan lives and tremendous financial expense, he warned.
Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, said terrorism remained a grave threat in Afghanistan, requiring renewed collective support for Government efforts to establish peace and security. Italy would continue training, advising and assisting the security forces within the framework of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Ultimately, however, the solution must be a political one, with negotiations between the Government and armed opposition groups within the framework of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process supported by the country’s partners. Welcoming the United States strategic review, he said the role of regional actors would be crucial. The fight against corruption must go forward with determination, while the promotion of women’s rights must remain a top priority.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN SUDAN & SOUTH SUDAN
Despite initial progress, implementation of the peace accord in South Sudan had been disrupted, the senior United Nations official in that country told the Security Council today, as he urged members to speak in one voice in persuading all parties to lay down their arms and return to negotiations.
Urging the members also to help address the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crisis as he briefed the 15-member Council, David Shearer, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said the world’s youngest country was beset by economic and humanitarian challenges.
Mr. Shearer, said that the situation in the country, which approached the end of its rainy season, was beset by social, economic and humanitarian challenges. The Government of South Sudan appeared to be emboldened by its recent military gains, including in some key strongholds of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) loyal to Riek Machar. Deep mistrust of military forces, exacerbated by human rights abuses, fuelled their flight into neighbouring countries. Across the country, the opposition remained deeply fractured and had suffered significant military setbacks in recent months.
Festus Mogae, Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, briefed the Council via videoconference from Juba, noting that the scale of the fighting in South Sudan had changed over the last month, with reports indicating that there had been relatively fewer clashes. Nevertheless, the fighting continued to lead to the displacement of civilians, and the situation concerning in Upper Nile State remained tense. The displacement of 3,000 civilians into Ethiopia had been reported, and there was fighting and armed robberies in some places. Intercommunal tensions had been reported in some areas, he said, highlighting that the humanitarian crisis persisted, with 6 million people suffering from food insecurity and inconsistent humanitarian access.
Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, said that, as the continued fighting in South Sudan caused so many to flee their homes, neighboring countries were called on daily to buffer that “human hemorrhage”. Working for a shared solution meant putting an end to the wound on the African continent. That remained a moral imperative. Gender-based violence and the recruitment of children into armed groups was slowly destroying the young country. There could never be peace in South Sudan without justice. In the last two weeks, small but important steps had been made, particularly in regards to bilateral meetings in New York. He welcomed the African Union and the Security Council in a high-level summit uniting efforts to support the IGAD process. As the crisis was regional in nature, it was up to IGAD to lead reconciliation efforts.
BRIEFING ON THREATS TO INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY CAUSED BY TERRORIST ACTS: AVIATION SECURITY
Inputs from Governments and industry had greatly benefited the development of the new Global Aviation Security Plan, although its successful implementation would depend on the dedication and actions of State and industry operators, the Security Council heard today as it took up the threat to civil aviation by terrorist acts.
The Plan, which the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council was expected to approve in November, had been widely supported by Member States, said Fang Liu, Secretary-General of the ICAO, who highlighted that the global framework’s core objective was to enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of civil aviation security measures.
However, only through sustained political will, especially at the highest levels of Government and industry, would the Plan succeed, warned Ms. Fang, adding that ICAO intended to analyse indicators and monitor progress in achieving the framework’s milestones.
Italy stressed that civil aviation remained vulnerable to the threat of terrorist attacks, which was why the international community needed to strengthen cooperation, information sharing and implement security standards. The Group of Seven (G-7) leaders had confirmed their commitment to strengthening cooperation among border agencies and the use of advance passenger information for screening. However, many countries needed capacity-building projects to strengthen their capabilities, highlighting that there were many technological restraints, which would require the management of different systems for a certain period. Ensuring the safety of international flights and passengers were the essential goals of the resolution.
BRIEFING ON THE SITUATION IN SYRIA
While there had been some progress, the situation in Syria remained fragile and highly susceptible to backsliding, the United Nations Special Envoy warned, urging both sides to assess the situation realistically and responsibly and return to Geneva talks, which he said he intended to reconvene in October.
Staffan De Mistura, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, said that while the Amman and Astana meetings had created four zones of de-escalation, along with the de-confliction zones brokered by the Russian Federation in Ifreen and Eastern Qalamoun, the situation in Syria still remained fragile and highly susceptible to backsliding. Expressing concern for the Al-Nusra Front offensive in Idlib and Hama provinces, he said that for the first time since April air strikes had allegedly hit some civilians and civilian infrastructure. “So the situation is far from perfect or ideal,” he said, adding that nevertheless the creation of the de-escalation zones was an important next step in the effort to curb the violence.
Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that the de-escalation following the 4 May agreement had a positive impact on civilians in certain parts of south-west Syria, rural Damascus and north-west Homs, as well as Idlib. Nevertheless, he was concerned about reports of recent fighting and air strikes in Idlib and Hama, which had resulted in significant death, injury and damaged critical infrastructure. There were reports that an air strike on Wednesday in the Wadi al-Zeib area in rural Hama may have killed as many as 80 people fleeing ISIL/Da’esh. Three hospitals in the Kafr Nabl, Khan Sheikhoun and Heish sub-districts were no longer in service, leaving more than a half a million people without access to medical care. “Such attacks result not only in direct human suffering from the attacks themselves, but they also cause unnecessary consequential suffering and death by depriving people of access to medical care for what would otherwise be treatable conditions,” he said.
BRIEFING ON THREATS TO INTERNATIONAL PEACE & SECURITY CAUSED BY TERRORIST ACTS
Strengthening coordination and coherence would be the top priority for the Office of Counter-Terrorism, the new entity’s chief said today as the Security Council took up threats to international peace and security caused by terrorism.
Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General for the United Nations Office of Counter‑Terrorism, said that the newly established Office intended to make a qualitative difference in its support to Member States by bringing leadership, mobilizing resources and developing a coherent and well-coordinated “One United Nations” framework to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism. Support and assistance for the Member States would be the key words, in that regard. To meet that goal, he intended to work closely with all Member States, the Security Council and all other relevant organs and bodies of the United Nations. “Listening and acting on your priorities will be my priority,” he stressed.
David Scharia, Officer-in-Charge of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, said that its task since inception had been to provide the Committee with independent assessments of Member States’ implementation of Council resolutions on terrorism. Among the principal tools used in that process was the country visit — a collaborative process that involved experts from many partner organizations. Since January, the Executive Directorate had visited some 16 countries and seven more visits were scheduled for the remainder of 2017. In all, the Executive Directorate had conducted 133 visits to 96 Member States, including 45 since its previous review. Much had been accomplished through that process including new national and regional laws enacted, new institutions established and capacities strengthened.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, said resolution 1373 (2001) still represented a milestone in the commitment of Member States in tackling terrorism. Sixteen years since its adoption, the text could not be more relevant and timely. Italy was involved in the fight against ISIL particularly through training of law enforcement and enhancing border control. In that context, the Executive Directorate was vital in identifying gaps, challenges and good practices. That knowledge must be made available to relevant United Nations bodies and used to prioritize technical assistance. Further acknowledging the vital role played by the Executive Directorate, he said it must be provided with the resources to continue its work. Italy was playing a leading role in the fight against terrorism by focusing on countering its financing and combating human trafficking and the illegal flow of money, he added, emphasizing the phenomenon could not be defeated by military means alone.
BRIEFING BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON THE SITUATION IN MYANMAR
Amid an escalating crisis in northern Rakhine state in Myanmar, United Nations Secretary-General today urged its Government to end military operations, allow unfettered access to those in need, and ensure the safe and voluntary return of displaced Rohingya to their homes.
“The situation has spiralled into the world’s fastest-developing refugee emergency and a humanitarian and human rights nightmare,” said António Guterres, as he briefed the 15-member Security Council.
The devastating humanitarian situation was not only a breeding ground for radicalization, it also put vulnerable people — including young children — at risk of criminal elements, including trafficking, he continued. “We have received bone-chilling accounts from those who fled — mainly women, children and the elderly,” he added. Testimonials pointed to excessive violence and serious violations of human rights, including indiscriminate firing of weapons, the use of landmines against civilians and sexual violence.
Emphasizing the role of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State as a blueprint for the longer-term issues, he stressed that the Muslims of Rakhine must be granted nationality. In the interim, an effective verification exercise as previously foreseen must allow those entitled to be granted citizenship according to present laws. All others must be able to obtain a legal status that allowed them freedom of movement and access to labour markets, education and health services.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, expressed concern about the appalling increase in the number of refugees over the past month. It was the Security Council’s responsibility to urgently address the situation and send a strong, unified and constructive message in line with the priorities outlined by the Secretary-General. The violence must end immediately, and in that context, he called on the authorities to stop the attacks against civilians and stressed the need for the security response to fully respect international humanitarian and international human rights law. Attacks against the Rohingya were a matter of grave concern and could not be tolerated. National authorities were responsible for protecting lives. Safe and unhindered humanitarian access must be ensured. Humanitarian agencies and donors had quickly mobilized, yet the needs on the ground exceeded the available resources and access to those in need faced major restrictions. He commended the Government of Bangladesh for keeping the borders open and its efforts in hosting the refugees. Their voluntary, safe and sustainable return would be critical, including for the stabilization of the region.