posted on THU 12 DEC 2013 12:28 PMArria Formula Meeting on Protecting Journalists
Tomorrow (13 December) Security Council members will hold an Arria formula meeting on the protection of journalists that will be co-chaired by Ambassador Gérard Araud (France) and Ambassador Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala). Arria formula meetings are informal gatherings which enable Council members to interact with civil society and NGOs to exchange views within a flexible procedural framework.
Rosenthal is expected to open the meeting with some introductory remarks, followed by presentations by six speakers: Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO; Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the ICC; David Rohde, investigative journalist for Thomson Reuters; Christophe Deloire, Director General of Reporters Without Borders; Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression; and Anne-Marie Capomaccio, Head of the Office of Radio France Internationale in Washington. Following these presentations, Council members, other member states and NGOs will have the opportunity to make brief interventions. If sufficient time is available, there may also be an opportunity for the panelists to respond to any questions posed by member states and NGOs during their interventions. Araud is expected to make closing remarks.
The purpose of the meeting is to take stock of the implementation of resolution 1738, which focused on the protection of journalists and other related personnel in armed conflict, and to engage with journalists and other related personnel who operate in dangerous conditions in both conflict and non-conflict settings. Several Council members are concerned that since the adoption of this resolution in December 2006, violence against media personnel continues to be a major challenge. Also of concern is the lack of success in holding the perpetrators of this violence accountable. In a concept note circulated in preparation for the Arria formula meeting, France and Guatemala noted for example that there is a 90 percent impunity rate for such crimes.
Council members may be interested in discussing concrete measures that can be taken to help address the dangers faced by journalists. Towards this end, the concept note poses three main questions focusing on: how to ensure a safe and enabling environment for journalists; how to strengthen implementation of norms and mechanisms to protect journalists; and how to enhance the protection of journalists in non-armed conflict settings.
There is widespread support among Council members for the protection of journalists, especially in light of the high rate of violence against them in various regions in recent years. On 17 July the Council considered this issue, holding an open debate under the US presidency that featured presentations by four prominent media professionals: Mustafa Haji Abdinur, a reporter with Agence France-Presse; Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, foreign correspondent with The Guardian; Kathleen Carroll, Senior Vice-President and Executive Editor of the Associated Press and Vice-Chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists; and Richard Engel, Chief Foreign Correspondent of NBC News. Although there was no formal outcome to the open debate, several Council members expressed their dismay with the levels of violence against journalists in situations on the Council’s agenda, particularly Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. Many also raised the challenge of impunity among the perpetrators of this violence.
Tomorrow’s Arria formula meeting takes place against the backdrop of continued assaults of journalists since the 17 July open debate. For example, the concept note begins by mentioning the kidnapping and murder of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November. There has also been a spate of abductions in Syria of foreign journalists by Al Qaida-affiliated groups in recent months. According to some Council members, such incidents underscore the importance of the Council’s engagement with the protection of journalists.
While there is large-scale concern in the Council about the protection of journalists, one issue that remains sensitive with some Council members is whether discussion of the safety of journalists should only be discussed within the context of conflict-situations, or be broadened to include non-conflict environments as well. France and Guatemala intend to widen the range of tomorrow’s meeting to include non-conflict situations, but some members appear to have reservations about broadening the scope of Council engagement in this way. For example, in the 17 July open debate, Russia emphasised that the Security Council should focus strictly on “ensuring the safety of journalists in the context of protecting civilians in situations of armed conflict.” It is however possible that these different views among members may be muted in tomorrow’s discussion, given that this is not a formal Council meeting.
posted on WED 11 DEC 2013 6:20 PMBriefing and Presidential Statement on the Sahel Strategy
The Security Council is likely to adopt a presidential statement tomorrow (12 December) on the Sahel region following a briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, on the implementation of the UN integrated strategy for the Sahel (S/2013/354). The Council is also expected to be briefed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, the EU Special Representative for the Sahel Michel Reveyrand de Menthon and AU Permanent Observer Tete Antonio on the… Read more »
posted on TUE 10 DEC 2013 4:01 PMDemocratic Republic of the Congo Consultations
Tomorrow Council members will be briefed in consultations on recent developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) Martin Kobler and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region Mary Robinson.… Read more »
posted on TUE 10 DEC 2013 12:41 PMMali Consultations: Countering Insecurity in the North
This afternoon, Council members will receive a briefing by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Edmond Mulet, on the political and security situation in Mali. Ambassador Gérard Araud (France) is also expected to brief Council members in his national capacity on the implementation of the mandate of the French forces in support of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).… Read more »
posted on MON 9 DEC 2013 4:53 PMSomalia Briefing and Consultations
Tomorrow morning, 10 December, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Nicholas Kay, will brief the Security Council via video conference. The briefing will concern the most recent report of the Secretary-General on UNSOM (S/2013/709), covering the period from 16 August to 15 November. Council members will also hold consultations following the briefing. A Council outcome is not anticipated.… Read more »
posted on MON 9 DEC 2013 12:42 PMLiberia Sanctions
The Security Council will adopt a resolution Tuesday morning (10 December) that renews the Liberia sanctions regime for a further 12 months while significantly rolling back the sanctions. The draft resolution was put in blue Friday evening (6 December). Some members of the Council, notably France, the UK and the US, the penholder on Liberia, have been keen to begin scaling back the sanctions arguing that they have been in place for 10 years and are poorly implemented. They also… Read more »
posted on FRI 6 DEC 2013 3:47 PMConsultations on Security Situation and Political Developments in Libya
Monday morning (9 December), the Security Council is scheduled to receive a briefing by Tarek Mitri, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), followed by consultations. The Council will also receive the periodic briefing by the chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana (Rwanda), and hold consultations on Libya sanctions. Although at press time no draft outcome had been circulated, some Council members may be interested in discussing… Read more »
posted on FRI 6 DEC 2013 2:36 PMGuinea-Bissau Presidential Statement
The Security Council is set to adopt a presidential statement on Guinea-Bissau on Monday (9 December). Togo, as penholder on Guinea-Bissau, expressed its intention to seek a presidential statement last week and circulated a first draft on 30 November. It was put under silence procedure on the evening of 4 December (Wednesday). However, although Morocco and Rwanda objected to wording in the final paragraph regarding conditions for future reengagement with Guinea-Bissau, a compromise was found late in the afternoon of… Read more »
posted on THU 5 DEC 2013 2:48 PMExtraordinary Election to the Security Council
Tomorrow morning (6 December), the General Assembly will hold an extraordinary election to fill one of the five non-permanent seats in the Security Council for the 2014-2015 term. On 17 October, Chad, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia were elected for a two-year term starting on 1 January 2014. In an unprecedented move, on 18 October, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement announcing its “apology for not accepting [the] membership of the Security Council” citing the double… Read more »
posted on WED 4 DEC 2013 12:10 PMAdoption of a Resolution on the Central African Republic
Tomorrow (5 December), the Security Council is expected to adopt a resolution authorising the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), an AU peacekeeping force known by its French acronym MISCA, and a UN trust fund to support it, the deployment of French troops to assist MISCA and a sanctions regime.… Read more »