Status Update since our May Forecast
Children and Armed Conflict
On 4 May, the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict adopted its conclusions (S/AC.51/2018/1) on the report on children and armed conflict in Mali (S/2018/136). The Secretary-General’s report on Children and Armed Conflict in Mali was presented to the Working Group on 12 March. On 7 May, Council members held an Arria-formula meeting on “Ending and Preventing Grave Violations against Children through Action Plans: Best Practices from African States”. The meeting was organised by Poland in partnership with Côte d’Ivoire, France and Sweden.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
On 8 May, the Security Council held its semi-annual debate on BiH (S/PV.8248). High Representative for BiH Valentin Inzko presented his office’s latest report (S/2018/416). With general elections scheduled for 7 October, and in light of an increase in divisive nationalist rhetoric, the international community must remain united and coordinate its efforts to ensure a stable and prosperous country, Inzko said.
On 9 May, the Council was briefed on aspects of UN peacekeeping by three heads of military components of UN peace operations: Lieutenant General Leonard Ngondi, Force Commander of UNAMID in Darfur; Major General Jean-Paul Deconinck, Force Commander of MINUSMA in Mali; and Lieutenant General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi, Force Commander of UNMISS in South Sudan (S/PV.8251). Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix briefed the Council as well. On 14 May, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2018/10) on peacekeeping operations (S/PV.8253). The statement, which was drafted by the Netherlands, builds on the themes raised in the 28 March open debate on “Collective Action to Improve UN Peacekeeping Operations”, held during the Dutch presidency of the Council.
On 10 May, Special Envoy Michel Kafando briefed Council members on Burundi via video teleconference under “any other business”. On 24 May, Kafando and Ambassador Jürg Lauber (Switzerland), the chair of the Burundi Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, briefed the Security Council on Burundi (S/PV.8268). The briefing was followed by consultations, where an OHCHR representative was present to answer questions.
Council Visiting Mission to Bangladesh and Myanmar
On 14 May, the Council was briefed by Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi (Kuwait), Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra Velásquez (Peru), and Ambassador Karen Pierce (UK), the three co-leads on the Council’s visiting mission to Bangladesh and Myanmar from 28 April to 1 May (S/PV.8255). Following the briefing, Council members met in consultations, during which High Commissioner for Refugees Filipo Grandi briefed by video teleconference.
On 14 May, Special Representative and head of UNMIK Zahir Tanin briefed the Council (S/PV.8254) on the latest Secretary-General’s report (S/2018/407). Tanin noted that there have been some positive developments, including the new border demarcation agreement with Montenegro and recent talks in Brussels. He also said that the negative rhetoric between the parties has continued, however. Tanin called on parties to move forward towards common priorities and shared goals instead of mourning the past. In their statements, four Council members that are also EU members (the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and the UK) noted that they believe that the situation in Kosovo allows for a substantial reduction of the current reporting cycle and that there is a need for a strategic review of the mission.
On 15 May, the Council adopted resolution 2415, extending the mandate of AMISOM until 31 July (S/PV.8257). On the same day, Special Representative and head of UNSOM Michael Keating briefed the Council on the latest report of the Secretary-General on Somalia (S/2018/411). The head of AMISOM, Francisco Madeira, also briefed (S/PV.8259).
On 15 May, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2416, which renewed the mandate of UNISFA until 15 November and reduced the authorised troop ceiling of the mission from 4,791 to 4,500 (S/PV.8258).
Middle East (Israel/Palestine)
On 15 May, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov briefed the Council via video teleconference in a meeting requested by Kuwait, focusing on developments in Gaza, where over 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces the day before (S/PV.8256). On 23 May, Mladenov provided the scheduled monthly briefing on Israel/Palestine via video teleconference (S/PV.8265). He described plans for addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Consultations followed the briefing. On 30 May, at the request of the US, Mladenov briefed the Council on rocket and mortar fire by militants from Gaza into Israel on 29 May, to which Israel had responded by firing rockets on militant sites in Gaza (S/PV.8272). At press time, a draft resolution was being negotiated focused on protecting Palestinian civilians.
On 16 May, the Council held a briefing on Guinea-Bissau (S/PV.8261). Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun covered recent progress in resolving the political crisis, preparations for the November legislative elections, and steps taken to adjust the work of UNIOGBIS following the new priorities set by the Council to its mandate in February. Executive Director of UNODC Yury Fedotov, briefing via video teleconference from Vienna, described UNODC capacity-building activities in Guinea-Bissau to combat drug, money laundering and maritime crime. Ambassador Mauro Viera (Brazil), chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Guinea-Bissau configuration, briefed as well. He noted, among other points, his plans to visit the country most likely in July.
Rule of Law
On 17 May, the Council held an open debate on “Upholding international law within the context of the maintenance of international peace and security” (S/PV.8262). President of Poland Andrzej Duda chaired the open debate. The briefers were Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General, on behalf of the Secretary-General; Judge Hisashi Owada of the International Court of Justice, on behalf of the president of the court; and Judge Theodor Meron, President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.
Security Council meeting with EU Political and Security Committee
On 18 May, Security Council members held the sixth annual informal meeting with members of the EU Political and Security Committee, which is composed of the Brussels-based ambassadors of EU member states dealing with the EU’s common foreign, security and defence policy. The meeting focused on the following issues: peacekeeping in Africa, Syria, Iraq, and cooperation on sanctions.
On 21 May, the 1267/1989/2253 Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee met with the Monitoring Team to discuss the East Africa regional meeting on intelligence and security held in February. On 24 May, the 1373 Counter-Terrorism Committee convened to discuss the UN guiding principles for the collection of evidence on the battlefield and in high-risk situations and to discuss the committee’s visits to South Africa in May 2018 and Paraguay in July 2017. On 29 May, the CTC held an open meeting on countering terrorist narratives and preventing terrorist use of the Internet. On 14 May, Council members issued a press statement condemning the terrorist attacks on Christian churches and a police station in Surabaya, Indonesia, on 13 and 14 May, which resulted in at least 18 people killed and many more injured (SC/13336).
Protection of Civilians
On 22 May, the Council held a ministerial-level open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (S/PV.8264), following the release of the Secretary-General’s report on the issue (S/2018/462) on 14 May. The debate was chaired by Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz of Poland. Briefers included Secretary-General António Guterres; Director-General of the ICRC Yves Daccord; and Hanaa Edwar, an Iraqi human rights activist. On 24 May, the Council adopted resolution 2417 on the link between armed conflict and food insecurity (S/PV.8267). The resolution strongly condemns the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, as well as the unlawful denial of humanitarian access, and urges all parties to protect civilian infrastructure critical to the delivery of aid and to ensure the proper functioning of food systems. The resolution further requests the Secretary-General to report swiftly to the Council when there is a risk of conflict-induced famine and widespread food insecurity in the context of armed conflict, and to brief every 12 months on the resolution’s implementation in the context of his annual briefing on the protection of civilians.
On 23 May, the Council held a briefing on the joint force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel), or FC-G5S (S/PV.8266). It was briefed by Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita, who reiterated the importance of using assessed contributions to support the force as recommended by the Secretary-General in his 8 May report on the joint force (S/2018/432). Permanent Secretary of the G5-Sahel Maman Sidikou, Permanent Observer of the AU to the UN Fatima Kyari Mohammed, and Ambassador of the EU to the UN João Pedro Vale de Almeida also briefed. Later that day, Council members issued a press statement welcoming progress implementing resolution 2391 and the continued determination of G5 States to address the impact of terrorism and transnational crime in the Sahel region (SC/13353). The press statement encouraged G5 States to achieve the full operational capacity of the force as soon as possible and insisted on the critical need for generating support through the swift disbursement by donors of all pledges.
On 24 May, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenča briefed Council members in consultations on the implementation of resolution 1559 and the most recent Secretary-General’s report (S/2018/480). The discussions centred on several issues including presence of weapons outside government control and the existence of heavily armed militias and involvement of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict. Council members also discussed the successful holding of 6 May elections in Lebanon.
On 29 May, the Council held a briefing on the situation in Ukraine chaired by Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz (S/PV.8270). Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin delivered statements at the meeting. The Council was briefed by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo; Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock; and Ertuğrul Apakan, the Chief Monitor of the Organization for Security and Cooperation Special Monitoring Mission via video teleconference. All three briefers voiced their concerns about the recent surge of violence and dire humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine. These issues were also raised by the Council members. In his statement, Blok drew the Council’s attention to recent findings by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the downing of flight MH17. He said that both the Netherlands and Australia hold Russia accountable for the incident, and he called on Russia to accept its responsibility and cooperate in the process to achieve justice for the victims. Russia denied these allegations and said that evidence does not exist to support the findings of the JIT.
On 30 May, the Council received a briefing (S/PV.8271) by Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNAMI Ján Kubiš on the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2018/359) and on recent developments in Iraq. According to Kubiš, the parliamentary elections held on 12 May were conducted in a mostly peaceful and orderly manner. He added that they were also marked by a significantly decreased voter turnout of 44.5 percent in comparison to the last elections. He also briefed on the eighteenth report of the Secretary-General on the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives (S/2018/353). According to the report, the lack of tangible results in 13 years requires the adoption of new and innovative ways to take the file forward. Additionally, Under-Secretary-General of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) Vladimir Voronkov and Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) Michèle Coninsx briefed on their joint visit to Iraq in March. They elaborated on their support to the Iraqi government on a more comprehensive approach to countering terrorism and violent extremism, including addressing root causes.