Côte d’Ivoire: UNOCI is reporting that ONUCI-FM, the UN radio station, is still on the air despite the decision read out last night by the National Council for Audiovisual Communication (CNCA) on its suspension. UNOCI explained that this was yet another unacceptable attempt to disrupt its mandate. In January, UNOCI provided free medical care to 3,099 people, distributed 71,000 liters of water, and conducted 4,822 patrols – nearly 1,000 of those patrols were in Abidjan. Today UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres called for the end of the political stalemate in the country, which is “becoming more deeply entrenched causing the humanitarian situation to get worse and worse”. He also addressed the massive displacement of Ivorians and noted a potential negative impact this can have on Liberia, which is temporarily housing 35,000 registered Ivorian refugees. Guterres stated, “Given these circumstances, I commend Liberia for its open border policy and the Liberian people who have so generously opened their homes and shared their scarce resources.”

Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony: Today, the UN hosted a ceremony to remember the six million Holocaust victims and discuss the role that women of the Holocaust played. PGA Joseph Deiss discussed the necessity to foster a culture of peace and tolerance through remembrance and mentioned the 2005 establishment of the Responsibility to Protect. The SG paid special tribute to the women of the Holocaust, and how women and girls are at the center of the UN development agenda, especially with the recent creation of UN Women. He also said that we must stand together to say “never again” and speak out against those who would deny the Holocaust and its important lessons for humanity. He added that the list of survivors is shrinking and we must ensure that the memory of their suffering and endurance never dies. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, said, “We remember men who were dragged from their homes, walled into ghettoes, starved and beaten, and killed by firing squads and in factories of death…Together, let us never forget.” Among the speakers was also Ehud Barak, Israel’s Defense Minister, who explained, “On this day, when we remember the six million victims, let us also remember two lessons: first, ‘the Holocaust – never again.’ And second – an independent, strong, thriving and peaceful State of Israel is the vengeance of the dead. It is also the comfort for those remaining alive. Thus, we have the uppermost responsibility to protect and defend it for the future generations.”

Israel: Today, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak addressed the press after meeting with the SG, noting that it went well. They covered issues such as the Mideast peace process and efforts by the UN and Quartet. In regards to Israel’s refusal to stop the building of settlements and the Mideast peace process, Barak explained that peace can only emerge from a dialogue between the partners, especially between the Israelis and the Palestinians, as they are 20 years into these negotiations.  He said, Israel is ready to open immediate discussions on how to establish security readiness in the future Palestinian state and noted his optimism in the peace process and that, “in spite of the turbulence around, we should look for opportunities around us.”

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