The Council adopted resolution 2206 on 3 March creating a sanctions regime for South Sudan (S/PV.7396). On 18 March, Haile Menkerios, Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan and Special Representative to the AU, briefed Council members in consultations, telling them that hardliners on both sides of the South Sudan conflict were committed to a military solution. On 24 March, the Council held a meeting (S/PV.7413) to adopt a presidential statement that reiterated the intent to impose sanctions, including an arms embargo or targeted measures against senior figures who have threatened South Sudan’s peace, security and stability (S/PRST/2015/9).
On 3 March, Council members were briefed in consultations by Special Adviser Jamal Benomar on the implementation of resolution 2201 that deplored the Houthi’s actions to take over government institutions and urged negotiations to resolve the political impasse. On 20 March, Council members condemned attacks against Aden International Airport and airstrikes on the presidential compound in Aden in a press statement (SC/11826). Also on 20 March, Council members issued a press statement condemning suicide bombings at two Zaydi Shi’a mosques (SC/11827). In response to these events, an emergency meeting was held on 22 March. Benomar briefed from Doha by video teleconference. Yemen and Qatar, on behalf of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), also participated (S/PV.7411). The Council adopted a presidential statement the same day condemning the Houthi’s unilateral actions and reaffirming its readiness to take further measures (S/PRST/2015/8). On 24 March, President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi sent the Council a letter asking for a Chapter VII resolution inviting all willing countries to provide support to deter the Houthi advance in the south. He also informed the Council about his request to the GCC and other Arab countries to intervene militarily against the Houthis. That same day the Qatari mission to the UN hosted an informal meeting with Council members, outlining the elements of a resolution that GCC countries were preparing, but at press time no text had been circulated. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia announced that it was commencing airstrikes against Houthi targets with other Arab countries in response to Hadi’s request.
DPRK (North Korea)
On 4 March, the Council adopted resolution 2207, renewing the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the 1718 DPRK Sanctions Committee until 5 April 2016. The Panel of Experts’ most recent report was transmitted to the Council on 23 February (S/2015/131).
On 4 March, Special Representative Bernardino León briefed (S/PV.7398) the Council on the UNSMIL report (S/2015/144). The chair of the 1970 Libya Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Hussein Haniff (Malaysia), presented the report of the Panel of Experts (S/2015/128). On 5 March, the Council adopted resolution 2208, a technical rollover of UNSMIL as well as on the measures on vessels transporting crude oil illicitly exported from Libya until 31 March (S/PV.7399). On 27 March, the Council adopted resolution 2213 renewing UNSMIL, the 1970 Libya Panel of Experts and the above mentioned measures, and resolution 2214 focused on counter-terrorism efforts (S/PV.7420).
On 6 March, the Council held a briefing on the political, humanitarian and human rights situation in Ukraine (S/PV.7400) with briefings by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, OCHA official John Ging and Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović. On 19 March, Lithuania organised an Arria-formula meeting on the human rights situation, media freedom and the situation of national minorities in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine. At this meeting Council members heard from Mustafa Dzhemilev, a leader in the Crimean Tatar National Movement and member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and Andrey Zubarev, a representative of the Crimean Field Mission on Human Rights—a joint initiative of Ukraine, Russia and other CIS countries’ civil society organisations monitoring the human rights situation in Crimea.
On 9 March, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, briefed the Council on cooperation between the EU and the UN and stressed the importance of this relationship for maintaining international peace and security (S/PV.7402). Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also addressed the Council and welcomed such cooperation.
Security Council Visiting Mission to Africa
Council members visited the Central African Republic (CAR), Burundi and the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa from 10 to 13 March (S/2015/162). Angola and France co-led the visit to CAR and Addis Ababa. The CAR visit assessed progress and challenges facing MINUSCA and gave Council members an opportunity to meet with the transitional authorities on the political process, including preparations for elections. In addition to their activities in Bangui, Council members went to Bria in eastern CAR to visit local authorities, civil society and ex-Séléka members. On 12 March, the Council held its Ninth Annual Joint Consultative Session Meeting with the AU Peace and Security Council. Following an additional week of negotiations, a communiqué on the joint session was issued (S/2015/212). Angola, France and the US co-led the Burundi visit where Council members met with MENUB, the UN Country Team, government officials, other political actors and civil society. The focus of these discussions was whether President Pierre Nkurunziza would seek a third term, which the opposition contests would violate the constitution and could lead to violence. In the meeting with Nkurunziza, Council members stressed that he take actions that ensure the country’s unity. France and Angola briefed the Council on the visiting mission on 18 March (S/PV.7407).
The Council held its quarterly debate on UNAMA on 16 March (S/PV.7403). Special Representative Nicholas Haysom presented the Secretary-General’s Afghanistan report (S/2015/151), noting that UNAMA had urged Afghanistan’s political leaders to finalise the appointment of senior government officials and expressed concern with the rise of civilian casualties in the conflict. Afghanistan also addressed the Council. The Council adopted resolution 2210 renewing UNAMA until 17 March 2016.
On 18 March, Special Representative Sandra Honoré briefed (S/PV.7408) the Council at its semi-annual debate, presenting the Secretary-General’s MINUSTAH report. The discussion included an update on preparations for legislative and presidential elections and the merits of the planned drawdown of the military component of the peacekeeping mission.
On 16 March, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous updated Council members on the political and security situation in Liberia following the Ebola outbreak. Ladsous recommended that the drawdown, which had been postponed due to the Ebola outbreak, should resume during the remainder of UNMIL’s current mandate, which expires 30 September. It seems likely the Council will consider a resolution taking up this recommendation in the near future.
On 19 March, Special Representative Martin Kobler briefed (S/PV.7410) the Council on the latest MONUSCO report (S/2015/172). Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, briefed on the latest report on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework Agreement (S/2015/173). DRC Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda also addressed the Council. The Council adopted resolution 2211 on 26 March, renewing MONUSCO and its intervention brigade until 31 March 2016.
On 17 March, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed the Council (S/PV.7405) on the most recent UNAMID report (S/2015/141) and on the special report on the implementation of UNAMID’s strategic review (S/2015/163). He said that the “security situation had deteriorated significantly over the past year” in Darfur. He also indicated that the UN, the AU and Sudan had begun discussions on the creation of an exit strategy for UNAMID. Sudan also addressed the Council. On 25 March, the UK circulated a draft presidential statement reiterating the Council’s endorsement of UNAMID’s revised strategic priorities. At press time, adoption was still pending.
On 18 March, Council members condemned the terrorist attack at the National Bardo Museum in Tunisia (SC/11823).
Sudan and South Sudan
On 17 March, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous briefed Council members under “any other business” on the situation in Abyei, focusing on a 2 March incident in which Misseriya assailants attacked a Dinka village. He noted that UNISFA peacekeepers detained several of the assailants, and based on interrogations, learned that one of the attackers was affiliated with Sudanese military intelligence. On 24 March, Haile Menkerios, Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan and Special Representative to the AU, briefed via video teleconference on Sudan/South Sudan relations.
UNDOF (Golan Heights)
On 24 March, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations briefed Council members in consultations on the Secretary-General’s latest UNDOF report (S/2015/177).
On 24 March, Ambassador Román Oyarzun (Spain), chair of the 1737 Iran Sanctions Committee, briefed the Council (S/PV.7412). He emphasised that although there are ongoing P5+1 negotiations with Iran, UN sanctions remain in full effect.
Children and Armed Conflict
On 25 March, the Security Council held an open debate on children and armed conflict focused on child victims of non-state armed groups (S/PV.7414). France circulated a concept note in preparation for the debate (S/2015/168). There were briefings by the Secretary-General, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Layla Zerrougui and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF Yoka Brandt. Perspectives from the field were provided by the Child Protection Advisor from Save the Children in the Central African Republic, Julie Bodin. Junior Nzita Nsuami, a former child soldier from the DRC who heads Paix pour l’enfance, shared his experience as a child soldier and goodwill ambassador for the implementation of the action plan on child recruitment in the DRC. The Secretary-General noted that numbers of children affected by armed conflict have grown with the intensification of many conflicts and the emergence of new ones. He also highlighted the rising number of cases of abductions by armed groups. Given the large number of non-state actors that have been documented to have committed violations against children, Zerrougui highlighted the need to enter into constructive dialogue with non-state actors. France is likely to follow up by circulating a letter with a non-paper containing a summary of key points made in the debate.
Protection of Minorities in the Middle East
On 27 March, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius chaired a ministerial-level open debate on the situation of persecuted ethnic or religious minorities in the Middle East (S/PV.7419). The Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein briefed. An Iraqi parliamentarian of the Yazidi faith and the head of the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon also addressed the Council. France circulated a concept note in preparation for the debate (S/2015/176).
On 28 March, the members of the Security Council issued a press statement strongly condemning the attack by Al-Shabaab on a hotel in Mogadishu the previous day, which resulted in the deaths of numerous Somalis (SC/11844). The members of the Council expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims, who included Somalia’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Yusuf Bari-Bari.
On 30 March, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang and the head of the UN Office for West Africa, Special Representative Mohammed Ibn Chambas, were expected to brief the Council on the security, political and humanitarian situation in Boko Haram-affected areas, followed by consultations (S/PV.7421). On 26 March, the draft resolution on Boko Haram and the Multinational Joint Task Force was raised under “any other business”—the timing of any possible adoption remained unclear at press time.