posted on THU 23 OCT 2014 6:34 PM
Resolution on Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions and AU Mission in Somalia

Tomorrow (24 October), the Council is set to vote on a resolution on Somalia-Eritrea sanctions and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). A draft text was first circulated last Friday, followed by three expert-level meetings this week. At press time the draft resolution was expected to be put into blue this evening.

In relation to sanctions, the draft resolution authorises for 12 months the interdiction of vessels believed to be carrying charcoal from Somalia in violation of the charcoal export ban or transporting weapons in violation of the arms embargo, and decides to review these measures within six months. It also renews the partial lifting of the arms embargo for the security forces of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) until 30 October 2015, and requests the FGS to report to the Council twice, by 30 March 2015 and then by 30 September 2015. In addition it renews the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG) until 30 November 2015 and requests submission of final reports on Somalia and Eritrea sanctions by 30 September 2015. It also renews the humanitarian exemption until 30 October 2015 and requests the Emergency Relief Coordinator to report to the Council by 1 October 2015. With regard to AMISOM, the draft resolution renews the mission’s authorisation until 30 November 2015, and requests the Secretary-General to incorporate humanitarian access issues related to AMISOM operations into regular reporting on the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia.

The innovative provisions regarding the interdiction at sea of illicit charcoal exports and illicit arms imports were the most difficult for Council members to negotiate, perhaps due to their technical nature and the relative lack of precedents to draw upon. The impetus for their inclusion came from a letter dated 8 October, in which Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud specifically asked the Council to authorise maritime forces to prevent charcoal exports and arms imports by Al-Shabaab. In order to allay the concerns of some Council members, there are numerous safeguards built into the text including: a notification procedure involving the FGS and the Secretary-General regarding which naval forces are authorised to carry out interdiction, a “reasonable grounds” threshold for naval forces to take action, provisions regarding compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law, reporting requirements to the 751/1907 committee for any member state that undertakes inspection at sea as well as within 30 days after the destruction or disposal of arms or charcoal, and a Council review within six months.

While the partial lifting of the arms embargo in Somalia had been controversial in previous negotiations, particularly when first authorised in March 2013 with resolution 2093, it has become increasingly less contentious over time. It appears that there was little dissent over this issue during the negotiations. However, in its final report on Somalia, the SEMG found that while the reporting of the FGS has improved, given “anomalies, inaccuracies or lack of notification”,the FSG has not been in full compliance with its obligations when importing weapons (S/2014/726). The SEMG also determined that the import of arms and ammunition to date (13,000 weapons and 5.5 million rounds of ammunition) exceed the requirements of the security forces, and there continue to be problems with the diversion of arms and ammunition to markets in Mogadishu. The SEMG accordingly recommended an annual quantitative limit on future FGS arms imports, which was not incorporated in the current resolution. As outlined in its presidential statement of 22 May 2014 (S/PRST/2014/9), the Council’s approach has been to focus on capacity building for the FGS to better regulate arms and ammunition. The draft resolution reiterates the Council’s request to the FGS to establish a joint verification team with international partners to conduct routine investigations and therefore mitigate the diversion of arms and ammunition.

The Council has praised the success of the joint AMISOM and Somali National Army (SNA) military offensive, while at the same time expressing concern over human rights and humanitarian issues. Significantly, the draft text requests AMISOM and the SNA to give top priority to securing supply routes for humanitarian actors (at the initiative of Chile, the Council was briefed in consultations yesterday on the deteriorating humanitarian situation is Somalia by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos).

Overall, the language on human rights has been strengthened and includes new elements. In this regard, it welcomes the AU’s investigation and investigations by troop-contributing countries into reports of sexual exploitation and abuse, underlining the importance of accountability and transparency, while requesting that the outcome of the investigations be made public. The draft text further includes language on the need for civilian casualty tracking, the importance of pre-deployment training and human rights accountability mechanisms, strengthening institutional structures to prevent sexual and gender based violence, and condemns human rights violations against children.

The draft resolution also addresses economic factors, particularly the need for accountability in public financial management and the petroleum sector. The draft text expresses concern that corruption may be undermining security and statebuilding, it urges greater transparency regarding assets recovered abroad and port revenues, urges the FGS to tighten financial governance procedures and welcomes the establishment of the Financial Governance Committee (which includes membership by the World Bank, African Development Bank and an observer from the International Monetary Fund). More systematic transparency is also encouraged on the part of international donors. Regarding the oil sector, a preambular paragraph stresses the need to resolve issues of resource management and ownership within the context of broader discussions regarding federalism. A recommendation by the SEMG to impose a moratorium on oil licensing was not incorporated. At least one member of the Council, Russia, voiced strong objections on the basis of national sovereignty.

Regarding Eritrea, the draft resolution welcomes meetings held in Paris and Cairo and via teleconference between the SEMG and the government of Eritrea, while underlining the Council’s expectation that the depth of cooperation will increase during the next SEMG mandate, including through regular visits to Eritrea by the SEMG. During the most recent reporting cycle, the SEMG was once again denied access to conduct investigations within Eritrea (S/2014/727). During negotiations, there was some disagreement among Council members regarding the wording of a reference to linkages between Eritrea and Somalia within the context of an Article 39 determination of a threat to international peace and security. Two permanent members objected to language regarding Eritrea’s “role” in Somalia because the SEMG had not documented a direct link between Eritrea and Al-Shabaab, It appears a compromise was reached with a reference to Eritrea’s “influence” in Somalia.

posted on THU 23 OCT 2014 5:35 PM
Ukraine Briefing on Human Rights and Political Situation

Tomorrow morning (24 October), the Council will hold a briefing on the human rights and political situation in Ukraine at the request of the UK. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic will brief the Council on the human rights situation and the sixth report of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), while Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco is expected to brief on the political situation in Ukraine.… Read more »

posted on WED 22 OCT 2014 6:15 PM
Working Methods Debate

Tomorrow morning (23 October), the Security Council will hold its fifth annual open debate on Council working methods. Ambassador María Cristina Perceval (Argentina), the chair of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions, will brief. , There will also be briefings by the Ombudsperson for the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, Kimberly Prost, and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda as Argentina has suggested in its concept paper (S/2014/725) that the open debate focus on… Read more »

posted on TUE 21 OCT 2014 4:45 PM
South Sudan Briefing by Head of UN Mission

Tomorrow morning (22 October), Ellen Margrethe Lǿj, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), is expected to brief the Council on the situation in South Sudan and the current UNMISS report (S/2014/708). Zainab Hawa Bangura, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, is also expected to brief via video tele-conference from Geneva, likely focusing on her 5-11 October trip to South Sudan. Consultations will follow.… Read more »

posted on TUE 21 OCT 2014 4:12 PM
Adoption of the Security Council Annual Report

Tomorrow ( 22 October), the Council is expected to adopt its annual report to the General Assembly covering the period from 1 August 2013 through 31 July 2014. (Under Article 24(3) of the UN Charter, the Security Council must submit an annual report to the General Assembly for its consideration.) Rwanda—which, as Council president in July was responsible for drafting the introduction of the report—is expected to speak ahead of the adoption.… Read more »

posted on MON 20 OCT 2014 4:27 PM
Open Debate on the Middle East

Tomorrow (21 October), the Security Council will hold its quarterly open debate on the Middle East with Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefing*. The main focus is expected to be Gaza and reconstruction efforts there following the devastation wrought by the 50-day conflict with Israel last summer. Feltman is also expected to update Council members on the clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces last week in the Old City area of East Jerusalem over fears that Israel planned… Read more »

posted on FRI 17 OCT 2014 3:37 PM
Golan Heights Consultations: Options for UNDOF’s Mandate

On Monday (20 October), Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Edmond Mulet will brief Council members in consultations on the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). Monday’s briefing is a follow-up to a 19 September presidential statement that requested the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to update the Council on the steps necessary to maintain UNDOF’s ability to carry out its mandate while adjusting the mission’s posture to minimise risk to personnel (S/PRST/2014/19).… Read more »

posted on WED 15 OCT 2014 4:41 PM
Security Council Elections 2014

Tomorrow morning (16 October), the General Assembly will hold elections to fill five of the ten non-permanent seats in the Security Council (for the 2015-2016 term).… Read more »

posted on TUE 14 OCT 2014 10:18 AM
Briefing and Consultations on Ebola

This afternoon (14 October), the Council will receive a briefing on Ebola followed by consultations. Briefers will be Anthony Banbury, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. The meeting, proposed by the US, is expected to focus on the security implications of the Ebola epidemic and its impact on the political and peacekeeping missions in the region.… Read more »

posted on MON 13 OCT 2014 8:09 PM
Resolution Renewing the Mandate of UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti

Tomorrow morning (14 October) the Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution extending the mandate of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). At press time, the US, the penholder on Haiti, had put a draft resolution in blue authorising a further drawdown of MINUSTAH’s military strength as recommended by the Secretary-General in his latest report (S/2014/617) and extending the mission’s mandate for a further 12 months until 15 October 2015. However, with some Council members continuing to have reservations… Read more »