New Envoy for Syria; the SG on Iran; World Humanitarian Day; HR in Australia; Cholera in Sierra Leone; This week at the UN

New Envoy for Syria: SG Ban Ki-moon, along with Secretary-General Nabil ElAraby of the League of Arab States, announced on Friday that Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi will be the new Joint Special Representative for Syria, replacing Kofi Annan. UN observers are now leaving the country, after the mission’s mandate ended on Sunday.

SG on Iran: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is “dismayed” by remarks threatening Israel’s existence by Iranian leaders over the past two days, according to his spokesperson. In a statement issued on Friday night, the SG “condemns these offensive and inflammatory statements” and emphasizes the need for leaders in the region to quell rather than incite further violence.

World Humanitarian Day: Yesterday, August 19th, marked World Humanitarian Day, also concluding the “I Was Here” Campaign, successful in completing its goal of reaching one billion people. In honor of the day, the DSG took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at UN headquarters on Friday for the UN staff killed in Baghdad in 2003, as well as those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. The US Mission issued a statement in support as well.

HR in Australia: The High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that the re-opening of offshore detention centers for migrants and asylum-seekers arriving in Australia by sea could result in violations of human rights, and called on the Australian Government to rethink the country’s asylum and migration policy.

Cholera in Sierra Leone: OCHA reported on Friday that the recent cholera epidemic in Sierra Leone – resulting in more than 100 deaths and 6,200 cholera infections since the beginning of the year – is the worst cholera epidemic in 15 years.

This week at the UN:

  • Monday, August 20: The United Nations is closed today in honor of Eid.
  • Tuesday, August 21: In Geneva at 11:30 AM there will be a press
    conference about the ongoing drought situations and the need for national
    drought-management policies; there will also be a commemoration of World
    Humanitarian Day.
  • Wednesday, August 22: SC briefing on the Middle East followed by closed
    consultations; Valerie Amos will be a guest at the noon briefing.
  • Thursday, August 23: SC will hold closed consultations on Sudan/South
    Sudan, followed by closed consultations on the United Nations Interim
    Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

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