SG speaks to reporters on bin Laden’s death, HRC establishes fact-finding mission on Syria, DSG in Tanzania for Accountability Commission on women’s and children’s health and more from UN Direct

Osama bin Laden’s Death: Late last night, Obama announced that the U.S. killed bin Laden. This morning, in remarks to reporters, the SG said that the death of bin Laden is a watershed moment in the fight against terrorism. Going further, he said that the crimes of al Qaeda touched most continents, bringing tragedy and loss of life to thousands of men, women, and children. The UN condemns in the strongest possible terms terrorism in all its forms, regardless of its purpose and wherever it is committed. In an effort to completely eradicate global terrorism, the GA has adopted a counter-terrorism strategy. In regards to a question on whether the killing of bin Laden will change UN strategy in Afghanistan, Nesirky reiterated the UN’s clear position in stressing the need to reach a political solution there. He noted that the Taliban and other anti-government elements have an opportunity to move dialogue and that the UN will continue to support the Afghan-led peace efforts.

Libya: 12 UN international staff in Tripoli have temporarily left the capital due to unrest in parts of the city. Humanitarian operations are continuing, with the redeployed staff from Tripoli supporting operations in western Libya from Tunisia. The UN is exploring ways to re-enter the Libyan capital immediately. As of yesterday, more than 12,000 people have been evacuated out of Misrata. According to OCHA, more than 665,000 people have fled Libya.  UN compound in Tripoli was ransacked but no staff members were hurt.

Syria: On Friday, April 29th, the Human Rights Council held a special session on the developments in Syria and adopted a resolution establishing an urgent fact-finding mission by the OHCHR to look into the escalating human rights violations in the country. The resolution also  instituted follow-up reporting to the Council at its upcoming sessions in June and September, along with an interactive dialogue on the situation. Secretary of State Clinton stated that the Council’s forceful statement, coupled with its decision to establish an urgent investigation, ensures that the international community will remain actively engaged in the human rights crisis. Additionally, Ambassador Eileen C. Donahoe explained that members of the HRC got together to express outrage at the extreme violence used by the Syrian government to silence their citizens’ universal rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and participation in the affairs of their state. Donahoe also addressed Syria’s candidacy for HRC membership, stating, “Governments that turn guns on their people have no place in this chamber. Countries engaged in such egregious and ongoing human rights abuses are not qualified to be members of the Human Rights Council. The United States is strongly opposed to Syrian membership. We encourage other members to oppose their candidacy.”

Senior UN Staff Travel: DSG Asha-Rose Migiro is currently in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for the second and final meeting of the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, chaired by President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and PM Stephen Harper of Canada. Migiro will return to NY on Wednesday.  The SG will travel to Bulgaria on Wednesday, followed by Istanbul for the 4th UN Conference on LDCs and Geneva for the 3rd session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and the launch of the 2011 Global Assessment Report.

Sudan: Haile Menkerios, the head of UNMIS, said that the elections in southern Kordofan shouldn’t be a “make-or-break” process, but should lead to an inclusive government. Menkerios met with two candidates for the governor’s position, noting that both had pledged their commitment to this. In addition, he met with the state security committee responsible for ensuring safety for elections. Asked about armed incidents in southern Sudan, Nesirky said that the UN was informed on Sunday by the Abyei authorities that a clash between unidentified armed men and the Abyei police took place in the vicinity. UNMIS dispatched patrols and found 14 dead bodies.

Upcoming Briefings: Ambassador Gerard Araud of France will brief the press on the Council’s program of work at 5 PM tomorrow afternoon. Abdul Illah al-Khatib, Special Envoy for Libya, will brief the Security Council this week.

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