Ban Ki Moon will visit Sri Lanka later this week and the Secretary General had this to say in advance of the trip.
“The task now facing the people of Sri Lanka is immense and requires all hands,” he said, stressing the need for progress in three critical areas: immediate humanitarian relief; reintegration and reconstruction; and a sustainable and equitable political solution.
The task now facing the people of Sri Lanka is immense and requires all hands
Progress on all three of these fronts must move forward in parallel – and it must begin now, he stated.
Mr. Ban’s Chief of Staff, Vijay Nambiar, is currently in the country and is engaged with relevant parties on how best to respond to the humanitarian situation of the large number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and initiate a process for early recovery and long-term reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
I’ll judge the trip a success if the outcome includes opening the internment camps to international aid agencies and the media.
The Miami Herald is reporting that the UN will make an official announcement tomorrow.
“It is an honor to accept the secretary general’s invitation to become special envoy to Haiti,” former President Clinton said in a statement to The Miami Herald. ‘Last year’s natural disasters took a great toll, but Haiti’s government and people have the determination and ability to `build back better,’ not just to repair the damage done but to lay the foundations for the long-term sustainable development that has eluded them for so long.”
He’s been there before, of course (and with pretty distinguished company), and has long been interested in the country. Laura Rozen has more, and to Spencer Ackerman’s legitimate question — will Haiti’s government suppose that this provides it with a diplomatic “backchannel” to the White House? — I can only answer relatively pro forma: Bill is the UN‘s envoy to Haiti, not the United States’. And while, sure, the United States is the major player on the world stage (and especially on quasi-neighboring Haiti’s), Clinton provides no greater official connection between Haiti and the U.S. than, say, Kai Eide does between Afghanistan and Norway. Eide’s wife is not Norway’s foreign minister, of course (not that I know of, at least), but I can easily envision Obama making it pretty clear to his Haitian counterpart that Bill will not be playing unofficial go-between for Haiti’s government and his wife.
* Smart Guardian editorial on why Burma needs aid, not sanctions.
* A video recorded by slain Guatemalan attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg accuses the Guatemalan president of having a hand in his murder. The U.N. International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala will take up the case. ( Via, The Los Angeles Times.)
* The official United Nations Environment Program twitter feed says “UNEP will plant one tree for every twitterer who follows UNEPandYou between now & 5 June, World Environment Day.” Follow them!
A globe-spanning U.N. digital library seeking to display and explain the relics of all human cultures has gone into operation on the Internet for the first time, serving up mankind’s accumulated knowledge in seven languages for students around the world.
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.