Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed that only a political solution will end the crisis in Syria. He fully supported the call of the International Committee of the Red Cross for a daily humanitarian pause or truce to enable the delivery of assistance by the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and reported that Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos will travel to Syria at the earliest opportunity to negotiate access with the authorities.

Syria; Somalia; Sexual violence in conflict report; Iraq; and more

A commission of inquiry answering to the UN Human Rights Council said it had compiled a confidential list of those "up to the highest levels" who had ordered the shooting dead of unarmed women and children, shelling of residential areas and torturing of wounded protesters in hospital. It released its findings on Thursday as Western and Arab League diplomats and Syrian opposition figures gathered in Tunis to hammer out proposals to put pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to quit.

Syria; Somalia; Iran; Yemen elections; and more

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the United Nations relief chief, Valerie Amos to visit Syria to assess the humanitarian situation in the Middle Eastern country, where a deadly Government crackdown continues against a pro-democracy uprising. Mr. Ban has asked Valerie Amos “to visit Syria to assess the humanitarian situation and renew the call for urgent humanitarian access,” the Secretary-General’s spokesperson told reporters today.

Syria Envoy; Sustainable Energy for All; The Sahel; Kenya; and more

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday he was working urgently to find a special envoy for Syria who would initially have a humanitarian role but would also seek a political solution for the violence-torn country.Ban, who was asked by the U.N. General Assembly last week to appoint the envoy, told Reuters in an interview that he hoped to select an Arab who would represent both the United Nations and the Arab League.

SG Travels; Libya; Iran; MDGs in the Asia-Pacific; and more

The Secretary-General will begin a three-nation trip next week that will take him to the United Kingdom, where he will attend an international conference on the situation in Somalia, before proceeding to Zambia and Angola, where he will meet with senior officials. He will also attend the launch of a polio vaccination campaign and meet with young people at a project on water and sanitation.

Syria; Women and Youth empowerment; Access to contraception; and more

The General Assembly today strongly condemned the continued “widespread and systematic” human rights violations by the Syrian authorities and demanded that the Government cease all violence and protect its people. The text, which was adopted by a vote of 137 in favor to 12 against with 17 abstentions, also called on Syria “to immediately put an end to all human rights violations and attacks against civilians.”

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Syria draft in GA; Somalia; Bahrain; and more

The U.N. General Assembly has scheduled a Thursday vote on an Arab-sponsored resolution strongly condemning human rights violations by the Syrian regime and backing an Arab League plan aimed at ending the 11-month conflict.Similar to the failed Security Council resolution, the assembly draft "fully supports" the Arab League plan floated last month and demands an immediate halt to military operations in Syrian cities and withdrawal of government security forces.

SG at KPMG Summit; Sudan/South Sudan; Advancement of Women; Madagascar; and more

G Ban Ki-moon today at the  KPMG Summit: Business Perspective for Sustainable Growth encouraged more businesses to embrace the principle of sustainability in their strategies, noting that with the most of the world’s ecosystems in decline, widening social inequality and climate change, global prosperity, productivity and stability was at stake. He urged business leaders gathered at the conference to five steps to advance sustainability:

Syria; Sudan/South Sudan; the Sahel; Haiti; and more

The UN human rights chief today appealed to Member States to act now to protect the Syrian people as the Government’s violent crackdown on peaceful protests continues unabated and the number of dead and injured continues to rise. “The longer the international community fails to take action, the more the civilian population will suffer from countless atrocities committed against them,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the General Assembly.