BRIEFING BY THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
The number of forcibly displaced people around the world was now approaching 66 million, and that sharp rise reflected the weakness of international cooperation in responding to the crisis, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees told the Security Council.
High Commissioner Filippo Grandi pointed out that whereas many refugee‑hosting countries — particularly those adjacent to conflict zones — kept their borders open, certain others — often the wealthy States least affected by refugee flows — had closed their borders, restricting access to asylum and deterring entry.
Sustainable peace was critical to securing solutions to displacement, he continued, noting that only 500,000 refugees around the world had returned home in 2016.
Vincenzo Amendola, Italy’s Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Council President for November, said the refugee crisis required an urgent, coherent and collective response as well as preventive action whenever possible. “We cannot close our eyes in front of human suffering,” he emphasized. “We cannot hide its tragic consequences on future generations.” The approach to human mobility must shift from an emergency approach to a long‑term perspective, he said. Capacity must be built to tackle the root causes of the refugee crisis, and hope and dignity restored to the most vulnerable segments of populations around the world, particularly young people.
BRIEFING ON MINUSCA
Urgent, decisive action was needed by leaders in the Central African Republic in partnership with the international community to reverse a new spiral of violence that interrupted progress in the political transition, Parfait Onanga‑Anyanga, Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council.
“We count on your support to ensure that this current cycle of violence in the [Central African Republic] is broken and the resilience and hope shown by so many Central Africans is maintained”, Parfait Onanga‑Anyanga told as he presented the Secretary-General’s latest quarterly report.
Speaking via video‑teleconference from Bangui, Mr. Nébié said the African Union Initiative for Peace and Reconciliation had established all structures to make its road map operational during an 11 September meeting, and a facilitation panel was planning to meet with armed groups. MINUSCA would provide logistical, financial and security support for the Initiative, with a dialogue between the Government and armed groups organized for February. The obstacles to the Initiative included the lack of trust between the Government and others, weak governance, poverty, religious manipulation, security and a low level of education.
Mr. Garofalo (Community of Sant’Egidio), in his briefing, said the Secretary‑General’s visit had already had a positive effect in the country. There was a need for more such signals to counter the pessimistic narrative that had become the norm and to reverse the long‑standing lack of trust. Rebuilding the social fabric, improving relations between groups and institution-building were part of that effort.
PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT ON MYANMAR
Through a statement read out by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, its President for November, the Council condemned the attacks against Myanmar security forces carried out by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (“ARSA”) on 25 August in Rakhine State, as well as the attacks against the Myanmar security forces by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on 25 August, while strongly condemning violence and abuses that had taken place since then that had displaced more than 607,000 people, the vast majority Rohingya, citing reports of systematic killing, sexual violence and destruction of homes.
ADOPTION RESOLUTION 2382 (2017) - STRATEGIC GUIDANCE FRAMEWORK FOR POLICE PEACEKEEPING
The Security Council resolved to include, on a case by case basis, policing as an integral part of the mandates and decision-making structures of United Nations peacekeeping operations and special political missions.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2382 (2017), the Council would take into account the need to give clear, credible, achievable, appropriately resourced mandates for policing‑related activities, and emphasize in that context the need to ensure a United Nations system‑wide approach to the rule of law.
Briefing the Council, Under‑Secretary‑General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean‑Pierre Lacroix said the United Nations police played a continued vital role in bridging the Organization’s work from prevention and peacekeeping to peacebuilding and development. United Nations police now operated on a solid foundation based on the Strategic Guidance Framework, used comprehensive approaches to operations, capacity‑building and development and focused on basic skills transfer and strengthening host‑State police institutions. As more was demanded from police officers, he said, there was also a need to ensure their welfare, safety and security in the field. As such, they needed to be supplied with up‑to‑date equipment to increase their situational awareness.
Issoufou Yacouba, Head of the Police Component of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said the situation on the ground was characterized by a resurgence of attacks against Malian security forces, Mission forces, Operation Barkhane, humanitarian workers and civilians in the north and centre of the country. MINUSMA had developed a comprehensive policing plan charged with strengthening the Malian structures that fought both criminality and terrorism. Some 24,000 security personnel had been trained, with 1,385 trained specifically for fighting organized crime and terrorism. A gender strategy was a large part of all training. In addition, Mission officers continued to support the work of the special judicial police.
Priscilla Makotose, Police Commissioner of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), said including more women was indeed important. Noting that 20 per cent of UNAMID officers were female, she said few women were serving in the Sudanese police in Darfur, emphasizing that progress was essential in order to address conflict‑related sexual violence and sexual- and gender‑based violence. Women also needed additional training, mentoring, more role models and the appointment by Member States of more qualified females to senior positions.
Georges‑Pierre Monchotte, Police Commissioner of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH), said the first challenge of the transition was managing troop drawdowns and tailoring the initiative to the new landscape, including promoting gender equality. A harmonious transition had been made in cooperation with Haiti’s national police, using a new approach to transferring skills, with the aim of generating cultural exchanges. An advice and support programme had centred on mentoring senior officials in the areas of command and administration. More broadly, he encouraged police‑contributing countries to deliver the necessary resources and to include more female officers.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi affirmed the central role of police contingents in situations around the world, particularly in the fight against terrorism and organized crime as in Mali, in preventing the relapse in conflict as in Haiti, and in mainstreaming a necessary gender perspective as in Darfur. Readiness is crucial; for that reason the standing police capacity in Brindisi is an important asset. Pre-deployment training is vital for protection responsibilities, particularly of vulnerable groups. Recruitment of more women is another critical element of improving effectiveness. In all areas, police must be equipped with the resources they need for effectiveness and for ensuring their safety.
PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT ON DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The Security Council reiterated the need for the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to fully investigate the killing of two members of the Group of Experts on that country and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Council welcomed the cooperation of the Congolese authorities with United Nations enquiries into the murders of Zaida Catalán (dual national of Chile and Sweden) and Michael Sharp (United States) in March, as well as with law enforcement investigations that were being conducted, or may be conducted, by Sweden or the United States.
ADOPTION RESOLUTION 2382 (2017) - SECURITY COUNCIL RENEWS AUTHORIZATION FOR INTERNATIONAL NAVAL FORCES TO FIGHT PIRACY OFF COAST OF SOMALIA
The Security Council renewed for another year its authorization for international naval forces to join in fighting piracy off Somalia’s coast, underscoring that such crime exacerbated instability in the country and fuelled corruption and terrorism.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2383 (2017) the Council again affirmed the primary responsibility of Somali authorities in the effort to combat piracy. It also renewed the call upon States and regional organizations that were able to do so to cooperate with those authorities and each other through deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, providing logistical support, and seizing and disposing of boats, arms and related equipment reasonably suspected to be used in piracy and armed robbery in the area.
The Council commended the contributions of the European Union’s Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Operation ATALANTA, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Operation Ocean Shield, the Combined Maritime Forces’ Combined Task Force 151, the African Union and the Southern Africa Development Community, as well as individual States for naval counter‑piracy missions and protecting ships transiting through the region.
The Council recognized the need to continue investigating and prosecuting those who plan, organize, or illicitly finance or profit from pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia, including key figures of criminal networks involved in piracy. It also urged States, working in conjunction with relevant international organizations, to adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia.
ADOPTION RESOLUTION 2384 (2017) -RENEWAL AUTHORIZATION OF MULTINATIONAL STABILIZATION FORCE IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Urging all parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to step up the pace of reforms and to refrain from polarizing actions and rhetoric, the Security Council renewed its authorization of the European-led multinational stabilization force (EUFOR ALTHEA) for one further year before commencing a debate on the situation in the country.
Prior to the unanimous adoption of resolution 2384 (2017), the Council also heard a briefing by Valentin Inzko, High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, who presented his latest report (document S/2017/922), which described political tensions due to divisive positions on electoral laws in the lead-up to general elections planned for October 2018.
Mr. Inzko said that in many ways the country had made remarkable progress since 1995 when the tragic conflict there came to an end. Those achievements included the establishment of institutions, a unified military and an efficient tax collection system. The country was at a crucial moment in its aspirations to European Union candidate status. However, divisive nationalism and persistent challenges to the Dayton Peace Agreement and the institutional arrangements provided for under that agreement were threatening to take the country backwards.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi he voiced strong support for the European Union path, noting progress made in that regard. The demands of all citizens for a better future deserved to be met and divisive actions and rhetoric that were rooted in past were not serving that progress. Regaining momentum in the reform agenda is necessary to unblock assistance of the European Union. He called on all parties to engage in dialogue on the issues of the electoral framework. Noting that many challenges remained, such as strengthening the rule of law and fighting corruption, he said citizens’ trust in institutions must be restored.
BRIEFING ON SYRIA (JOINT INVESTIGATIVE MECHANISM)
Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, reporting on the implementation of resolution 2118 (2013), said that although the remaining two chemical-weapons production facilities declared by Syria could now be accessed, long-standing issues related to the country’s declaration on chemical weapons and subsequent amendments remained unresolved.
Edmond Mulet, Head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons‑United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism, said that despite the very real challenges of investigating complex cases during an armed conflict, the Mechanism had taken great care to ensure that its methodology and findings were technically and scientifically sound. The Mechanism’s leadership panel had identified Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) as responsible for the use of sulfur mustard at Umm Hawsh, and Syria as accountable for the use of sarin at Khan Shaykhun.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, President of the Security Council, speaking in his national capacity, supported the work of the Mechanism and expressed deep concern over the findings of its investigation. The chemical attacks were totally unacceptable; he condemned them in the strongest terms. The non‑proliferation regime continued to be continually violated in Syria. As long as no one was held accountable, however, the incidents would continue to grow in number. That was another reason to renew the mandate. The Council must defend the crucial, long‑standing norms against the use of weapons of mass destruction by holding violators responsible and for that reason he had voted for the renewal two weeks ago. He called for further attempts to reach consensus on the issue.
BRIEFING ON INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (LIBYA)
Detailing two additional arrest warrants for grave crimes in Libya, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court reaffirmed to the Security Council that her Office continued its crucial work in the strife-filled country, despite challenges arising from security constraints and insufficient resources.
“Accountability for serious crimes and full respect for the rule of law are key factors which must be encouraged and supported if Libya is to achieve peace, security and stability,” said Fatou Bensouda, presenting her fourteenth report on the situation to the 15-member organ.
The Prosecutor’s Office continued to receive credible information of grave crimes allegedly perpetrated around the country, she continued. Most recently, it had been granted a warrant of arrest for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, a commander in a special forces unit of the Libyan National Army. The charge was responsibility for war crimes in relation to seven executions that resulted in the murder of 33 people. He remained at large.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi said that as President of States Parties to the Rome Statute, he was conscious of the delicate task the Prosecutor was charged with, noting she had made progress in many areas. Her activities could bring positive developments to the country as long as the Council remained united. There must be no impunity for war crimes. Perpetrators must be brought to justice and all pending arrest warrants must be executed, he said. Impunity must have no space and accountability was crucial in reconciliation efforts. Concerned by reports of crimes against migrants and that the deplorable security situation had been hampering investigations in the field, he said and hoped that the Prosecutor could soon be allowed to visit Libya. Condemning recent episodes such as the bombing in Derna and the killing of 38 men, he called on all Libyans to work together in the reconciliation process. He added that the Council must adopt a more structured approach regarding international prosecutions and that justice and accountability must become an integral part of the Council’s preventive actions.
ELECTION OF FOUR JUDGES TO INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
The Security Council, meeting twice independently from but concurrently with the General Assembly, elected four candidates to the International Court of Justice for nine‑year terms, beginning on 6 February 2018.
In the election, six candidates were contesting five positions for nine‑year terms, beginning on 6 February 2018. Five of the candidates are current members of the International Court of Justice: Ronny Abraham (France), the incumbent President of the Court; Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia), the incumbent Vice‑President; Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil); Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom); and Dalveer Bhandari (India). The sixth candidate is Nawaf Salam, currently the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations.
ADOPTION RESOLUTION 2385 (2017) - EMBARGOES ON SOMALIA & ERITREA
The Security Council extended the modified arms embargo on Somalia and the authorization for maritime interdiction of illicit arms imports and charcoal exports until 15 November 2018, as well as the renewal of the arms ban on Eritrea for that same period.
Adopting resolution 2385 (2017) by a vote of 11 in favour to none against, with 4 abstentions (Bolivia, China, Egypt, Russian Federation), the Council also extended the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group until 15 December 2018.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi highlighted Italy's historic ties with the region and welcomed the text’s adoption, describing efforts made to incorporate the concerns of all Council members in developing the draft. The conditions on the ground had been monitored closely in that regard. In light of the lack of evidence of Eritrean support to Al‑Shabaab, he called for that country to further cooperate with the Monitoring Group and the international community and to take advantage of the overtures offered to it. He agreed, finally, that sanctions were not an end in themselves, but a means to ending destabilizing situations.
BRIEFING ON KOSOVO (UNMIK)
Kosovo’s peaceful and orderly municipal elections on 19 October had seen a significant increase in participation by ethnic Serbs in areas where they formed the majority, the Secretary‑General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations mission there told the Security Council.
Briefing the Council as he presented the Secretary‑General’s latest quarterly report on the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (document S/2017/911), Zahir Tanin said more than 7,000 candidates had competed across Kosovo. However, campaigns had been affected by restricted competition and intimidation in Serb‑majority municipalities.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi said that normalizing relations between Belgrade and Pristina remained crucial. Italy called upon both parties to take advantage of a window of opportunity to steadily move towards that objective. He welcomed the formation of a new government in Pristina, emphasizing that it must intensify efforts on much‑needed reforms. Rule of law and the fight against corruption should remain high on its agenda. He praised the work of UNMIK and EULEX and confirmed Italy’s participation in KFOR, adding that his country looked forward to the Secretary‑General’s recommendations on the Mission’s future configuration in the context of broader peacekeeping reform.
ADOPTION RESOLUTION 2387 (2017) - EXTENSION OF MINUSCA MANDATE
The Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) until 15 November 2018, increasing its troop level to provide greater capabilities in protecting civilians and other mandated tasks.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2387 (2017) the Council decided to increase the Mission’s troop limit by 900 military personnel, resulting in an authorized troop ceiling of 11,650 military personnel, including 480 military observers and military staff officers, 2,080 police personnel and 108 corrections officers.
The Secretary‑General’s latest report on the Central African Republic (document S/2017/865) found that, due to the resurgence of violence over a wide area of the country, the Mission’s resources were overstretched. It recommended augmenting capabilities in protection while also focusing on the core task of facilitating the political process.
ADOPTION RESOLUTION 2386 (2017) - EXTENSION OF UNITED NATIONS INTERIM FORCE FOR ABYEI
The Security Council decided to extend until 15 April 2018 the mandate of the United Nations Interim Force for Abyei (UNISFA), and to limit support for the disputed territory’s border monitoring mechanism to a further five months, while awaiting implementation of measures agreed by Sudan and South Sudan.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2386 (2017), the Council also decided to maintain UNISFA’s authorized troop ceiling at 4,791, after which it would decrease to 4,235 unless the Council decided to extend the mission’s support for the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism.
BRIEFING ON DARFUR (UNAMID)
The armed groups in Darfur had largely been defeated, the ferocity of intercommunal violence had declined, and there had been no new large‑scale displacements, Bintou Keita, Assistant Secretary‑General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Security Council.
However, those positive developments had not led to the voluntary and sustainable return of internally displaced persons, Ms. Keita said, noting that nearly one third of Darfur’s population remained displaced. Presenting the Secretary‑General’s latest report on the African Union‑United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (document S/2017/907), she said the slow returns reflected anxiety about security and lack of confidence about present and future prospects due to slow progress in addressing such issues as land, poor resource management, accountability, and security sector reform.
BRIEFING ON LIBYAN AGREEMENT (UNSMIL)
Two months since the launch of the Action Plan for Libya, the United Nations mission in that country had simultaneously started working to amend the Libyan Political Agreement, organizing a national conference, preparing for elections and providing humanitarian assistance, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council.
Briefing on the situation, Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), said the country was divided at an “atomic level”. An explosion of competing individual agendas often masqueraded as representing regions, cities or tribes, he said, emphasizing the crucial importance of reconstructing the national polity, without which effective institutions could not form.
The President of the Security Council, Angelino Alfano, Italy’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, stressed that the stability of the entire Sahel region was at stake in Libya. Priorities included fighting terrorism and controlling borders. The decline in migration flows was encouraging but it could not be at the expense of human rights, he emphasized. As the first country to re-establish a diplomatic presence in Tripoli, he welcomed the United Nations presence and encouraged other Member States to return to Libya.
SECURITY COUNCIL FAILS TO ADOPT DRAFT RESOLUTIONS ON EXTENDING MANDATE OF JOINT MECHANISM INVESTIGATING CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACKS IN SYRIA
The Security Council failed to renew the mandate of the investigative team formed to determine the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria following the rejection of two draft resolutions, tabled by the United States and Bolivia, respectively.
It rejected the United States draft on extending the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons‑United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism due to a permanent member’s veto in a vote of 11 in favour to 2 against (Bolivia, Russian Federation), with 2 abstaining (China, Egypt). Had the draft been adopted, it would have extended the Mechanism — established by resolution 2235 (2015) and set to expire on 17 November — for a further one year.
Ambassador Cardi, a supporter of the United States draft and opponent of the other text, recounted the extensive negotiations that had gone into ensuring that all concerns were addressed. The outcome weakened the security architecture and was difficult to accept, he said, pledging continued efforts to ensure that investigations continued.
BRIEFING ON SECURITY CHALLENGES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
The Mediterranean is a global junction of mutually enriching cultures, societies and economies, but violence and hatred are threatening that dynamism, to the detriment of the entire world, the Secretary‑General of the United Nations told the Security Council.
António Guterres stressed that the Mediterranean region faced serious challenges, among them illicit trade in narcotics, weapons and petroleum products, large movements of refugees, and maritime piracy. In some parts of the region, fragility was being exacerbated by systematic violations of human rights and violence against women and girls. Not only was the Mediterranean suffering from severe environmental degradation, but long‑festering regional wounds and sectarian divides had been made worse by atrocity crimes, terrorism, and attempts to annihilate minorities, the plundering of cultural heritage, forced displacement and the use of chemical weapons.
Angelino Alfano, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Council President for November, spoke in his national capacity, noting that although the Mediterranean was a small sea, it was the centre and dissemination point of a large portion of global insecurity. Giving an overview of the services Italy had provided to many migrants, he stressed that the entire international community had to play its part. Turning to the matter of security, he also described Italy’s engagement in the fight against terrorism, including the training of military units to counter ISIL. Intelligence had to be improved worldwide to stem the threat of that organization, even though its safe havens had been retaken. At the same time, the plight of migrants who were vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers and others had to be addressed.
SECURITY COUNCIL FAILS FOR FOURTH TIME TO RENEW MANDATE OF JOINT MECHANISM INVESTIGATING CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACKS IN SYRIA
Due to the veto of a permanent member, the Security Council failed for the fourth time in three weeks to renew the mandate, due to expire at midnight, of the investigative body formed to determine the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria.
The draft resolution, tabled by Japan, was rejected by a vote of 12 in favour and 2 against (Bolivia, Russian Federation), with 1 abstention (China). By the text, the Council would have extended the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for 30 days.
BRIEFING ON MIDDLE EAST (ISRAEL/PALESTINE)
Critical intra‑Palestinian talks were scheduled to open in Cairo, Egypt, on 21 November, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process told the Security Council, emphasizing that a genuine change in Gaza, including full Palestinian Authority control over security, would help restore confidence in the feasibility of a comprehensive peace agreement.
Nicolay Mladenov said via video link from Jerusalem that by signing the intra‑Palestinian reconciliation agreement in Cairo on 12 October, Palestinians had embarked on a long road that could lead to reconciliation. However, first, they must solve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and return the Strip under the full civilian and security control of the Palestinian Authority. The Authority had regained control over Gaza crossings, and on 2 November, the Palestinian committee tasked with rationalizing and integrating Gaza’s public sector had held its first meeting. The transfer of responsibility at Gaza‑based public institutions was slowly proceeding, he said.
BRIEFING ON BURUNDI
Despite slow progress towards inclusive dialogue in Burundi, the United Nations must continue its support for the political process there as the only way forward, the Secretary‑General’s Special Envoy to the East African country told the Security Council.
“The United Nations has the obligation, whatever difficulties persist, to continue its good offices mission, alongside regional actors, to allow Burundi to emerge from crisis,” Special Envoy Michel Kafando emphasized, presenting the quarterly briefing required under resolution 2303 (2016). The Council adopted that text due to rising tensions following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement in April 2015 that he would run for a third term, outside constitutional limits.
ADOPTION RESOLUTION 2388 (2017) - TRAFFICKING OF PERSONS
The Security Council reiterated its condemnation of trafficking in human beings, particularly the sale of people by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), as well as other violations and abuses by Boko Haram, Al‑Shabaab, the Lord’s Resistance Army and other such groups for the purpose of sexual slavery, sexual exploitation and forced labour.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2388 (2017) ahead of a day‑long debate on that subject, the Council underscored the importance of collecting and preserving evidence relating to such acts so as to ensure that those responsible could be held accountable. It reaffirmed its condemnation, in the strongest terms, of all instances of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, who made up the vast majority of all trafficking victims in areas affected by armed conflict.
Secretary‑General Guterres declared “it is our collective responsibility to stop these crimes” by bringing perpetrators to justice, increasing humanitarian aid and strengthening national capacity to protect the vulnerable. There is also an urgent need to ensure more opportunities for regular migration and to restore the integrity of the refugee protection regime. “Slavery and other such egregious abuses of human rights have no place in the twenty‑first century,” he stressed. However, reports from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) showed that increasing numbers of victims trafficked from Iraq, Syria and Somalia were appearing in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Mr. Fedotov said the UNODC had designed tools for United Nations entities in conflict situations, enhanced data‑collection processes, developed training for police officers seconded to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and helped victims. Widespread and systematic violations of people’s fundamental rights during mass movements remains a grave concern. Thanks to efforts by the Council and the wider United Nations system, there is forward momentum against trafficking, but the international community’s resolve must be translated into action across all regional processes and initiatives.
Ms. Giammarinaro said egregious patterns of trafficking, forced labour and slavery were a strategy for terrorist groups, pointing out that such gross human rights violations were perpetrated systematically by criminal or armed groups taking advantage of the breakdown in the rule of law to carry out the “dirty business” of trafficking and become more powerful and dangerous. Violations such as trafficking were not only a consequence of conflict, but also a cause, she pointed out, saying the Security Council’s agenda on trafficking should therefore be linked with the processes linked to the Global Compact on Migration and Refugees, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Moreover, it should be addressed in tandem with the women, peace and security agenda, and the Six Grave Violations against Children during Armed Conflict Agenda. Expressing particular concern about the situation of children, she said they were used as child soldiers or sexual slaves during conflict, and were disproportionally affected by displacement.
Mr. Chergui said interventions to prevent trafficking should include measures to reduce vulnerability, build capacity alongside national Governments and strengthen border security, noting that national legal frameworks were inadequate and often needed strengthening. Immediate actions should include demolishing camps in Libya and destroying criminal networks, he said, declaring: “Our common humanity is at stake.”
Vincenzo Amendola, Under‑Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Italy, welcomed the adoption of the resolution, noting its provisions on victim protection, greater coherence within the United Nations system and other ways in which it complemented the first resolution on the issue. Condemning human trafficking, he said Italy fought it every day while prioritizing the human rights of migrants and other persons in the massive movement of human beings affecting the Mediterranean region. Links to organized crime must be better explored, and all States must ratify the Palermo Protocol, he emphasized, adding that a comprehensive approach was needed to address root causes of vulnerability such as conflict and poverty.
BRIEFING ON UNAMI
Victory over Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) had come at a very high cost, with thousands of fighters and civilians killed or wounded, hundreds of thousands of children brainwashed, entire cities in ruins, and some six million people displaced, the Secretary‑General’s Special Representative in Iraq said, as he briefed the Security Council.
Ján Kubiš, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) noted that ISIL/Da’esh had exterminated or enslaved thousands of Muslims as well as minority communities, particularly women and girls, in action amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, perhaps even genocide. He presented the Secretary‑General’s reports pursuant to Security Council resolutions 2107 (2013) and 2367 (2017) (documents S/2017/880 and S/2017/881), respectively, and congratulated the Government and people of Iraq on their historic victory.
Major Anna Patrono, Arma dei Carabinieri Team Leader of the First Female Policing Course in Baghdad, who said her contingent had played the lead role in Operation Inherent Resolve since 2015, when a task force had been deployed to coordinate training for the Iraqi Federal Police. Gender balance constituted the backbone of the Carabinieri strategy, she said, explaining that strengthening women’s participation in policing, as well as their influence in post‑conflict environments, could dramatically improve stabilization efforts. Some 100 female police personnel had already been trained through a dedicated programme, and there were plans to train many more in the coming months.
BRIEFING ON MIDDLE EAST (SYRIA)
Pointing to signs of emerging common ground towards implementing the United Nations process for ending the conflict in Syria, the Secretary‑General’s Special Envoy for Syria called on the Security Council to support meaningful progress in the eighth round of talks, due to begin in Geneva on 28 November.
Speaking to the 15 member Council via video teleconference from Geneva, Staffan de Mistura emphasized that emerging threads of consensus must be stitched into a universal resolve to implement Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). That text outlined a course of action, under the aegis of the United Nations, to draft a new constitution and hold inclusive elections as the basis for a Syrian-led, Syrian-owned process to end the conflict.
He had been stressing to the parties that they should come to the talks with no preconditions, he continued. The Government and the opposition delegations should be ready to negotiate, with the opposition united in its position, he said, adding that he looked forward to progress on the path to a new constitution and elections supervised by the United Nations.
BRIEFING ON LIBYA
Slavery and other grave human rights abuses affecting migrants and refugees travelling to North Africa and beyond constituted an abomination that could no longer be ignored, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees told the Security Council.
Filippo Grandi said more than 116,000 people had crossed the sea from North Africa to Italy in 2017, many of them refugees. The international community’s inability to prevent and resolve conflict was at the root of their flight, he explained, adding that they are exposed to appalling harm, including torture, rape, sexual exploitation, slavery and other forms of forced labour. More than 17,000 refugees and migrants are currently detained in Libya, and many more are held by traffickers under the protection of well‑known militias.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi said human mobility and the situation in Libya remained at the centre of Italy’s actions at the United Nations and in its November Council Presidency. Resolution 2388 (2017) underscored that trafficking and the smuggling of persons in the Sahel were further exacerbating conflict and instability in that region, he said, adding that it provided the legal basis for a victim‑centred approach.
BRIEFING ON UNMISS (SUDAN/SOUTH SUDAN)
Despite assurances from the Government of South Sudan, violence and governmental restrictions continued to prevent peacekeepers and humanitarian workers from fulfilling their respective mandates to protect civilians and deliver aid to those badly in need of it, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations told the Security Council.
Briefing the Council on the Secretary-General’s 30‑day report relating to South Sudan, Bintou Keita said those obstacles to the free movement of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) were being erected against a backdrop of a continuously dire humanitarian situation, she said, noting that 4 million people had been displaced and 6 million faced food insecurity, including 1.7 million living on the brink of famine. While President Salva Kiir had issued a new order on 9 November, calling for unhindered humanitarian access, a genuine and concerted effort must ensure that the decree trickled down to levels on the ground where obstructions frequently occurred.
Ambassador Inigo Lambertini said the tragic humanitarian situation, where men and women were doomed to flee or die, was the opposite of the promises and commitments made by the new country in 2011. Noting President Kiir’s commitment to remove restrictions on the movement of humanitarian organizations, he said UNMISS must also be allowed to operate in all regions under its purview. Expressing support for IGAD efforts, he said that regional guidance was also essential. In closing, he encouraged all South Sudan stakeholders to invest in the peace process.
BRIEFING ON FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS
With violent extremists having suffered defeats in Syria and Iraq, the international community must step up cooperation to address the complex problem of foreign terrorist fighters returning home or travelling to other regions, the senior‑most United Nations official on that issue told the Security Council.
“This is a truly global challenge that demands an urgent and concerted multilateral response,” emphasized Vladimir Voronkov, Under‑Secretary‑General and Head of the Office of Counter‑Terrorism. Joining Mr. Voronkov in briefing members were Michele Coninsx, Executive Director of the Counter‑Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) and Kairat Umarov (Kazakhstan) in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council 1267/1989 Sanctions Committee on Al‑Qaida and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) and associated groups.
Michele Coninsx, Executive Director, United Nations Counter‑Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, said that despite recent successes, the international community faced significant challenges in countering the global terrorist threat, especially the activities of foreign terrorist fighters. Over the past two years, the return of such fighters to their States of origin had accelerated, as a consequence of ISIL’s losses in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Over the same period, terrorist plots resulting in fatalities had increased dramatically, owing in part to the returnees, but also to the ways in which terrorists used information and communications technologies. Of particular concern were attacks carried out by lone terrorists. Investigations had shown that those loners received support, often via the Internet or social media.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Council President speaking in his national capacity, reviewed Council actions to combat the threat of foreign terrorist fighters and to build State capacity in that regard. He noted in particular the lack of adequate information‑sharing, a major area in which global cooperation must improve. He also noted Italy’s cooperation in international investigations and its training of a range of staff in information collection and sharing. Indeed, international best practices must be compiled and shared. Italy would support constant updating and strengthening of international efforts to address the threat.
BRIEFING ON SYRIA
Although the United Nations and its partners were continuing to deliver life‑saving aid despite constant challenges, some 13.1 million people in Syria were still in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, the Under‑Secretary‑General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council.
Introducing the Secretary‑General’s report (document S/2017/982), Mark Lowcock said that the United Nations 2018 Humanitarian Needs Overview for Syria, released last week, highlighted the continued plight of the Syrian people. Syria remained the world’s largest displacement crisis, with half of all Syrians displaced. Not only were an estimated 1.75 million children out of school, but one third of schools had been damaged or destroyed, and fewer than half of Syria’s health facilities were fully operational. Nearly three million people lived in besieged and hard to reach areas, 94 per cent of them in eastern Ghouta.
EMERGENCY BRIEFING ON NORTH KOREA/NON-PROLIFERATION
The Security Council was briefed by USG Feltman and Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi as Chair of 1718 Sanctions Committee on North Korea following the ballistic missile launch by DPRK, November 28th.
USG Jeffrey Feltman, said that there is nothing more dangerous to peace in the world of what is taking place right now in North Korea. The United Nations Security Council needs to do all it can in oder to prevent escalation. The solution can only be political.
As Chair of sanctions committee, Sebastiano Cardi briefed the United Nations Security Council expressing strong condemnation for continuous violations by North Korea, & particularly the last ballistic missile launch. He was satisfied that the Submission rate of States' implementation Reports on sanctions for the last resolutions was much higher than previously.
BRIEFING ON DESTRUCTION AND TRAFFICKING OF CULTURAL HERITAGE BY TERRORIST GROUPS
With the obvious goal of undermining national identity and international law, terrorists — particularly in armed conflict situations — were not only destroying lives and property, but also historical sites and objects, the head of the United Nations Office of Counter‑Terrorism told the Security Council.
Under‑Secretary‑General Vladimir Voronkov pointed out that when terrorist groups targeted World Heritage Sites, they attacked common historical roots and cultural diversity. Illicit trafficking in cultural objects also led to the financing of terrorism and criminal networks. The protection of cultural heritage had therefore become a vitally important task for the international community.
Audrey Azoulay, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said the adoption of Council resolution 2347 (2017) testified to a new awareness of the importance of culture in reducing conflict, preventing radicalization and fighting violent extremism. Already, 29 Member States had shared information on new actions taken to protect cultural heritage, strengthening tools and training of specialized personnel.
Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) called for greater implementation of the almost universally agreed conventions against transnational organized crime, against corruption and for the suppression of terrorist financing. Cooperation in investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases must be strengthened, and more information exchanged. The art market and museums should pay special attention to the provenance of cultural items they were considering acquiring.
Jürgen Stock, Secretary‑General of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), called the destruction and trafficking of cultural heritage in armed conflict serious transnational crimes, which financed terrorist groups, hindered reconciliation through attempts to erase and desecrate public assets, and caused loss to the global community.
Alessandro Bianchi, Project Leader of Cultural Heritage Protection in Italy’s Ministry of Culture, said such assets were in the cross‑hairs of the enemy, viewed as symbols of identity that deserved desecration and destruction. Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) had demolished 36 of 80 notable buildings in Mosul in June 2014 because they were legacies of the Shia community. He advocated better coordination between law enforcement and judicial bodies in preventing illegal excavations, harmonizing customs procedures and inspecting the trade in artefacts.
Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Council president for the month of November, speaking in his national capacity, said attacks on cultural heritage were linked to violence against local populations, in addition to multiple other harms. All forms of trafficking in cultural property must be stopped, which was a main priority for Italy. In that context, he described Italy’s support for the Blue Helmets of Culture initiative, the Unite4Heritage campaign, and the working groups on Da’esh financing and the smuggling of cultural artefacts, as well as its cooperation with UNODC, UNESCO and INTERPOL to address illicit trafficking. Italy also had worked with France in bringing about the adoption of resolution 2347 (2017), and continued to work on the issue because preservation of cultural diversity was vital to peacemaking and equitable development.