UNFPA: today the SG announced the appointment of Babatunde Osotimehin of Nigeria as the new Executive Director of UNFPA for a four year term beginning January 1. Previously Mr. Osotimehin was Minister of Health of Nigeria and Director General of the National Agency of Nigeria for the Control of HIV and AIDS. He is currently a Professor of Medicine and the African Spokesperson for PMNCH.
SG Travels: this weekend the SG will travel to Lisbon to attend the NATO Meeting on Afghanistan. While he is there, he is expected to hold bilaterals, including with Karzai, to discuss UNAMA and other UN efforts in Afghanistan. Afghan leaders and NATO are expected to sign an agreement which will set out the international community’s support to Afghanistan. The SG will be back in NY Monday.
Third Committee: yesterday, the Third Committee adopted three resolutions on the human rights situations in Myanmar, DPRK and Iran, all of which were co-sponsored by the U.S. The Iran text (80 in favor, 44 against and 57 abstentions) expresses States’ deep concern with various abuses, including torture, death penalty, persecution against minorities, restrictions of freedom of assembly, harassment and persecution of journalists, and “pervasive gender inequality and violence against women”, among others. In a statement released by the U.S. Mission, Ambassador Rice welcomed the resolution, highlighting the condemnation of abuses against women specifically. The Myanmar text (96 in favor, 28 against with 60 abstentions), which was revised after the November 7 elections, strongly regretted that the Government did not hold “free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections”, which included blocking access to foreign media and election observers, and condemned the “ongoing systematic violations” of human rights (including arbitrary detention, rape and sexual violence and targeting of persons based on ethnic origin). While welcoming the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the text also strongly urged the Government to release the over 2,100 prisoners of conscience. For its part, the DPRK resolution (100 in favor, 18 against and 60 abstentions) expressed States’ “very serious concern” at continuing reports of systematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights” including torture, limitations on free travel and trafficking of women, among others. It also expressed concern regarding the “precarious humanitarian situation” in the country. Ambassador Rice’s statement closed by stating, “By condemning three of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers and shining a spotlight on deplorable human rights practices in these countries, member states have stayed true to the founding values of the UN as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…today’s votes are a clear signal that the international community is watching closely”.
Haiti: last night MINUSTAH issued a statement in which SRSG Mulet asked demonstrators to stop blocking roads and infrastructure so that aid can get to those who need it, warning that it could lead to more cholera-related deaths.
Next week: On Monday, the Security Council will hold a debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict and the SG will receive an honorary degree from Seton Hall University and address the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relation’s World Leaders Forum. Bob Orr is also expected to brief the press on COP-16. On Tuesday, the UN will observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and UNAIDS is expected to release its 2010 Report.