Afghanistan: On 1 April the UN operations centre at Mazar-i-Sharif was attacked, resulting in the murder of seven UN staff members, during demonstrations against the burning of a Koran in the US. The Council held consultations on 1 April and issued a press statement (SC/10216) condemning the attack and all incitement to and acts of violence. It called on the government of Afghanistan to bring those responsible to justice and take all possible steps, with the assistance of the International Security Assistance Force, as appropriate, to protect UN personnel and premises.
Haiti: On 6 April Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos presided at a Council open debate on Haiti (S/PV.6510). Speakers at the meeting included the Secretary-General, Haitian President René Garcia Préval and former US President and UN Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton. A presidential statement was adopted at the meeting (S/PRST/2011/7) which underlined that security and development areclosely interlinked and mutually reinforcing, reiterated the need forsecurity to be accompanied by social and economic development, reaffirmed the responsibility of MINUSTAH in supporting the rule of law and good governance in Haiti, called on international donors to fulfill their pledges and stressed the importance of consistentcoordination among Haiti, the UN and the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission.
Middle East: On 8 April Lebanon proposed that the Council approve elements to the press on the escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel. The Council was not able to agree on the matter. On 21 April, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, briefed the Council. This was followed by the Council’s regular open debate on the Middle East (S/PV.6520 and resumption 1). The stalemated peace process was the focus of discussion with many member states calling for the US to take a strong lead to revive the process. There were also calls for the Quartet to meet and endorse parameters of a peace deal (the Quartet postponed the March and April meetings).
Kenya: On 8 April, Council members met in consultations on Kenya’s request to defer the application of the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction, under Article 16 of the Rome Statute. (On 23 March, Kenya had sent a letter (S/2011/201) to the president of the Security Council, requesting that the Council hold an open debate on the matter.) At the 8 April the meeting, members maintained the same positions as outlined during the informal interactive dialogue with representatives of Kenya and the AU on 18 March, i.e. that the preferable venue for that issue to be determined is before the ICC itself, by way of an application under Article 19 of the Rome Statute. Following the consultations, the President of the Council stated to the press that Council members had considered the issue fully and did not agree on the proposal. He also said that no future meetings on the issue are planned.
Women, Peace and Security: On 12 April the Council met in consultations to hear a briefing from the head of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, on the work and priorities of UN Women, with an emphasis on the entity’s work on women, peace and security and in countries on the Council’s agenda. Bachelet provided an update on UN Women’s work on the indicators on implementation of resolution 1325—which the Council supported in its October 2010 presidential statement (S/PRST/2010/22)—as well as her recent travel. The consultations were highly interactive with Bachelet responding to multiple questions from members. On 14 April the Council received a briefing from the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Margot Wallström(S/PV.6515). Wallström’s briefing focused on the importance of applying the principles outlined in resolution 1960 adopted in December 2010 and reported on sexual violence in Libya and Côte d’Ivoire. Wallström outlined recent incidents of sexual violence in the DRC, including along the DRC-Angola border, plus successful actions taken by the DRC to bring perpetrators to justice. Wallström also reported the progress of her office in developing systems to implement resolution 1960 and her work in Liberia and Southern Sudan.
Terrorism: On 13 April the members of the Council condemned the 11 April “apparent terrorist attack” that occurred in Minsk, Republic of Belarus which killed a number of people and wounded hundreds (SC/10225).
Western Sahara: On 18 April the Council was briefed by the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Christopher Ross and Special Representative of the Secretary-General Hany Abdel-Aziz (S/PV.6516) on the situation in Western Sahara. The Secretary-General’s most recent report (S/2011/249) was considered. The report had been released late, which resulted in delaying the consultations. On 27 April the Council adopted resolution 1979 extending MINURSO’s mandate for another year. The resolution also stressed the importance of improving the human rights situation in Western Sahara and the Tindouf camps and encouraged the parties to work with the international community to develop and implement independent and credible measures to ensure full respect for human rights.
Yemen: On 19 April Council members were briefed by Gamal bin Omer who had recently visited Yemen as a UN envoy where he met President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Germany and Lebanon proposed a statement expressing concern at the political crisis and called on the parties to exercise restraint and enter into comprehensive dialogue. The proposed statement also expressed support for the mediation role of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Council members were unable to reach agreement and continued discussions the next day without result. It seems Russia opposed the initiative.
Sudan/Darfur: On 20 April the Council received a briefing from the Assistant Secretary-General of Peacekeeping, Atul Khare, on the situation in Darfur (S/PV.6519), largely drawing upon the latest quarterly report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/244). The Secretary-General issued a separate report on the implementation of the Darfur Political Process (DPP) (S/2011/252), as requested by the Council in February. On 21 February the Council issued a presidential statement (S/PRST/2011/8): reiterating its deep concern over the increase in insecurity in Darfur; noting the statement by the representative of Sudan on 20 April that his government would issue 1,117 outstanding visas for UNAMID personnel; and reaffirming support to the Doha peace process and the work of Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassolé. The statement also recognised the potential complementary role that a DPP could play to help the people of Darfur implement the Doha outcome and specified—drawing from the Secretary-General’s report on the DPP—six aspects of the enabling environment for such a process that were yet to be in place and called upon the government of Sudan to lift the state of emergency in Darfur.
Small Arms: On 25 April the Council received a briefing on the Secretary-General’s latest report on small arms and light weapons (S/2011/255) in a closed meeting. The Secretary-General’s report says the Council may wish to encourage states to strengthen their tracing capacity and to enhance international cooperation regarding tracing, as well as encouraging states to voluntarily provide the UN with information on the ammunition markings used bymanufacturers in their jurisdiction.
Syria: Council members were briefed on the crisis in Syria by the Secretary-General on 26 April. On 27 April the Council having failed to reach consensus on a press statement on the situation in Syria, held a public debate on the Middle East. The head of the political affairs department, B. Lynn Pascoe provided a detailed public briefing. Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari gave his government’s position on the situation. The draft press statement, proposed by France, Portugal, UK and Germany included calls for an end to the violence, urged restraint, stressed the importance of respect for human rights and supported the Secretary-General’s call for an independent investigation. However, Russia argued that Council action on Syria would constitute interference in a domestic matter. Lebanon was reluctant to associate itself with any statement because of its close links with Syria.