Turtle Bay

 In recent years, a dominant voice has been repeatedly heard: “The military option is on the table.” Against the backdrop of this illegal and ineffective contention, let me say loud and clear that “peace is within reach.” So, in the name of [my government] I propose, as a starting step, the consideration by the United Nations of the project: “the World Against Violence and Extremism.” (WAVE). Let us all join the “WAVE.” I invite all states, international organizations and civil institutions to undertake a new effort to guide the world in this direction.

      ” I regret being in this position. The first time I heard Muammar Al-Qadhafi, he was addressing a secondary school, in the south, in 1959. He was talking about how he wanted freedom for the Congo. In 1960, I listened to him denounce the French nuclear tests in Algeria. In 1961, I listened to him speak out against the separation of Syria and Egypt. Today, I listened to him telling his people “Either I rule over you or I destroy you.”

The Security Council “is political feudalism for those who have a permanent seat….It should not be called the Security Council, it should be called the terror council…Permanent is something for God only.”

UN amb. Khazee statement

The   Islamic Republic of Iran appreciates the efforts of the UN Secretary General and his special envoy, Mr. Brahimi in finding a political solution for Syrian crisis. Iran has always been supportive of finding a political solution for this crisis.  
However the Islamic Republic of Iran does not accept any preconditions for its participation in Geneva II conference. If the participation of Iran is conditioned to accept Geneva I communique, iran will not participate in Geneva II conference.


PRESS STAKEOUT (opening remarks; Q&A to follow)
New York, 19 January 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening.

Tomorrow I depart for Montreux for the Geneva Conference on Syria.  The Conference is our long-awaited chance to end the violence and begin putting the country back together.

I welcome the decision by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Armed Forces to participate.  I look forward to seeing an inclusive opposition delegation.

Over the past 48 hours, I have had a series of intensive meetings and telephone conversations with many global leaders and others who are part of the diplomacy aimed at helping Syria to regain the path of peace.

I have been striving to generate momentum and to create the best possible atmosphere for the success of this crucially important undertaking.

Further to these discussions, I have decided to issue some additional invitations to the one-day gathering in Montreux.  They are: Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Greece, the Holy See, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Iran. I believe the expanded international presence on that day will be an important and useful show of solidarity in advance of the hard work that the Syrian Government and opposition delegations will begin two days later in Geneva.

As I have said repeatedly, I believe strongly that Iran needs to be part of the solution to the Syrian crisis.

I have spoken at length in recent days with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Javad Zarif.  He has assured me that, like all the other countries invited to the opening day discussions in Montreux, Iran understands that the basis of the talks is the full implementation of the 30 June 2012 Geneva Communique, including the Action Plan.

Foreign Minister Zarif and I agree that the goal of the negotiations is to establish, by mutual consent, a transitional governing body with full executive powers.  It was on that basis that Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Iran would play a positive and constructive role in Montreux.

Therefore, as convenor and host of the conference, I have decided to issue an invitation to Iran to participate.

After nearly three years of devastation, and after many months of discussions about the conference, it is now time for the Syrian parties, the region and the international community to unite behind a political solution based on the Geneva Communique.

I call on all those who come to Montreux to act in good faith.

Let me be clear – Montreux is not a venue for negotiations. The Syrian parties themselves will begin that process in Geneva on 24 January.

In Montreux, we are gathering countries and organizations to show their solidarity with this process and of course with the Syrian people, who have suffered so much.

I especially appeal to the Syrian parties themselves to keep one goal in mind: the end of the suffering of the Syrian people and the beginning of a transition to a new Syria.

Thank you.

UN peacekeeping spox Kieran Dwyer on Neur Dinka sign posts


As you know, when the UN supports large numbers of displaced persons in this sort of situation, UN personnel work closely with the community leaders of those in the bases. UNMISS informs that UN staff working with the displaced people at the base were told by community leaders that tensions between communities were high and they requested to the UN that community members from each of these two ethnic groups be allowed to gather in separate areas for security reasons.

UN spox on Neur Dinka sign posts

As you know, when the UN supports large numbers of displaced persons in this sort of situation, UN personnel work closely with the community leaders of those in the bases. UNMISS informs that UN staff working with the displaced people at the base were told by community leaders that tensions between communities were high and they requested to the UN that community members from each of these two ethnic groups be allowed to gather in separate areas for security reasons.

58 die in attacks on UN in 2013, according to UN staff union

Press Release
8 January 2014 


Working for the UN became more hazardous last year, with at least 58 persons losing their life in deliberate attacks.  According to the Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service of the United Nations Staff Union, 33 peacekeepers and 25 civilians and associated personnel were killed in 2013.  The civilian fatalities included nine staff members, four security officers and 12 contractors working on behalf of the Organization.

In 2012, 37 United Nations personnel — 20 civilians and 17 peacekeepers, two of them police officers — were killed in the line of duty.  In 2011, 36 personnel — 26 civilians, nine peacekeepers and a military adviser — were killed.

The highest number of fatalities in 2013 occurred in the ambush on 9 April in which five peacekeepers, two national staff and five contractors were killed; in the attack in Mogadishu on 19 June, in which one United Nations staff member, three contractors and four security officers were killed; and in the attack in Darfur, the Sudan, on 13 July, in which eight peacekeepers were killed.

Sixteen peacekeepers were killed in Darfur, seven in South Sudan, four in Mali and four in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Five civilian staff members, four of them working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), were killed in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Following is an overview of deadly incidents in 2013, according to the Staff Union Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service (the list may not be exhaustive):

— Nasri Khalil Hasan, a mathematics teacher with UNRWA, was hit on 13 March by shrapnel from a nearby explosion in Khan Eshieh camp, 27 kilometres from Damascus, Syria, during an intense armed engagement.  He was rushed to a hospital and died of his wounds on 14 March.

— Thirty-two peacekeepers with United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), who were escorting a United Nations convoy, were ambushed on 9 April by some 200 attackers — some armed with rocket-propelled grenades — near the settlement of Gumuruk, Jonglei State, South Sudan.  Five peacekeepers, two UNMISS national staff and five civilian contract employees — four Kenyans and one South Sudanese — were killed in the ambush.  The peacekeepers were Mahipal Singh, Shiv Kumar Pal, Heera Lal, Bharat Sasmal and Nand Joshi.  The national staff members were driver Yumana Deng and vehicle mechanic Peter Makwe Kiko.

-- In the early morning hours of 19 April, a Nigerian peacekeeper of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Aminu Ibrahim, was shot dead and two others were injured in an attack by unidentified assailants on the Mission’s team site near Muhajeria, East Darfur state.

— An Ethiopian peacekeeper of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), Genetu Woldegebriel, was killed and two were seriously wounded on 4 May in an attack by an assailant on a UNISFA convoy in the Abyei Area, which is contested by Sudan and South Sudan.

— A military convoy of the United Nations Organization Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) was ambushed by unidentified assailants on 7 May while travelling from Walungu to Bukavu, South Kivu province, eastern DRC.  A Pakistani peacekeeper, Tanveer Hussain, was killed.

— Shelling on 14 June on the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism interim headquarters in Kadugli, South Kordofan state, the Sudan, which served as a logistics base for UNISFA, killed a UNISFA peacekeeper from Ethiopia, Mesert Nrea, and wounded two others.  The shelling was reportedly carried out by elements of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

— A vehicle rigged with explosives was detonated outside the gate of the United Nations Common Compound in Mogadishu on 19 June, and attackers then entered on foot.  Gunfire and further explosions followed, as staff took refuge in secure areas.  Among the victims were Rita Wairimu Muchucha, of Kenya, a Somalia operations manager of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); three United Nations demining contractors — two South Africans, Morne Lotter, 42, and Alan Simpson, 35, and a Somali, Isak Mohammed Osmani; and four Somali security officers who defended the compound — Ibarhim Addow Alasow, Siciid Mohamed Hussein, Abdulkadir Abshir Mohamed and Dahir Abdulle Moallim.  Thirteen other people were also killed, including six civilians and seven al-Shabab attackers.

— A joint UNAMID patrol was ambushed on 13 July in South Darfur, approximately 25 kilometres west of the Mission’s Khor Abeche team site, and came under heavy fire from a large unidentified group.  The peacekeepers were outnumbered four to one by their attackers who number between 100 and 150 and had trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns.  Following an extended firefight, the patrol was extracted by UNAMID reinforcements.  Seven Tanzanian military peacekeepers were killed: Shaibu Shehe Othuman, Oswald Chaula, Mohamed Ally, Mohamed Chukilizo Mpandana, Rodney Ndunguru, Photunatus Msofe and Peter Werema.  Seventeen others were wounded.  Another peacekeeper, John Sesay, a police advisor from Sierra Leone, who was seriously injured by bullet wounds, died on 30 September.

— Muhannad Husein Ishmawi, 39, a school attendant with UNRWA, sustained serious head injuries on 14 July when a shell exploded in Palestine Street in Yarmouk, Syria.  He was rushed to a hospital in Damascus where he died of his injuries.

— Khatibu Shaaban Mshindo, a Tanzanian peacekeeper with MONUSCO, was killed and 10 others were wounded on 28 August in eastern DRC during an attack against the 23 March Movement (M23) rebel group, as the M23 directed artillery fire on a United Nations position north of Goma.  The attack occurred as MONUSCO supported action by the Congolese armed forces to push the M23 off the heights from where they had been shelling Goma.  One of the wounded Tanzanian peacekeepers, Hugo Munga, died on 18 September.

— A UNAMID military observer from Zambia, Alfred Banda, died on 11 October in El Fasher, North Darfur, following an attack by armed men who stabbed him and hijacked his vehicle.

— Three UNAMID peacekeepers from Senegal — Thierno Mbaye, Issa Faye and Mamadou Ndiaye — who were escorting a water convoy from El Geneina town to the Mission’s regional headquarters in West Darfur, were killed and one injured on 13 October, when the convoy was ambushed by an unidentified armed group.

— A suicide bomber on 23 October drove an explosive-laden vehicle to a checkpoint of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) at the entry to the northern town of Tessalit, killing two Chadian peacekeepers, Mbatssou Zigalaouna Hournou and Zakaria Bechir Ahmat, and injuring six others.  Two other people were killed, including a child.

— A MONUSCO peacekeeper, Rajabu Ahmed Mlima, of Tanzania, was killed and another injured on 27 October after coming under fire from the M23 in Kiwanja, eastern DRC.  The attacks occurred as MONUSCO supported action carried out by Congolese armed forces to protect civilians on the Kiwanja-Rutshuru axis, 25 kilometres north of Goma.

— An UNDOF national staff member, Sami Khaled Issa, was killed on 4 November by mortar shrapnel on the outskirts of Damascus.

— A UNAMID convoy came under attack by unknown armed people on 24 November on the road from Kabkabiya to Saraf Umra, North Darfur.  A Rwandan peacekeeper, Christian Ruhara, was shot during the assault and succumbed to his injuries in the Mission’s hospital in Kabkabiya.

— Mohammad Suheil Yousef Awwad, 40, a UNRWA maintenance technician, was killed on 24 November in Damascus when a mortar shell struck his vehicle, also killing three other passengers.

— On 2 December, Suzan Ghazazweh, 57, a UNRWA teacher, died when a shell struck her home in Dera’a, southwestern Syria.

— A car bomb attack on 14 December in the north-eastern Malian town of Kidal killed two MINUSMA blue helmets from Senegal, Ousmane Fall and Cheikh Tidiane Sarr, leaving several others injured.  The car bomb attack occurred early in the day as MINUSMA and Malian troops were jointly securing a bank in downtown Kidal.  The power of the explosion caused the collapse of the building and damaged the facades of surrounding buildings.

— Two UNMISS Indian Battalion troops, Subedar K. P. Singh and Subedar Dharmesh Sangwan, were killed in action and one was injured on 19 December in Akobo, South Sudan, following an assault on a UNMISS base.

— A national staff member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Abdon Doewiss Ningha, was killed on 24 December in the Central African Republic.

— Two UNAMID peacekeepers (police), Talal Al Rjoub, of Jordan, and Allou Ka, of Senegal, were killed on 29 December in an armed attack by unidentified assailants on a UNAMID convoy near Greida, South Darfur.

Abductions and illegal detentions

Abductions of United Nations personnel continued throughout the year, mostly in relation with the conflict in Syria:

— An international staff member of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was abducted on 17 February in the demilitarized zone separating Israel and Syria.  He was released on 17 October — eight months after his capture.

— On 6 March approximately 30 armed fighters of the Syrian opposition stopped and detained 21 UNDOF observers from the Philippines on a supply mission within the Area of Limitation, east of the B-Line.  The observers were released on 9 March.

— Four UNDOF peacekeepers from the Philippines monitoring the ceasefire line between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights were held on 7 May by armed elements of the Syrian opposition in the vicinity of Al Jamla; they were released on 12 May.

— A group of armed elements of the Syrian opposition on 15 May broke into a United Nations observation post in the Golan Heights and detained for several hours three military observers from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization’s (UNTSO) Observer Group Golan.

— A Russian-made Mi-8 helicopter of a UNAMID contractor, tasked with delivering supplies to various UNAMID locations in South Darfur, made an emergency landing on 3 August due to severe weather conditions.  The helicopter landed at about 50 kilometres south-east of Nyala, South Darfur state.  Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minawi detained the crew, which included one Sudanese and two Ukrainians, releasing them on 27 August.

— At least 16 United Nations and associated personnel were detained in Syria, and three remained missing at the end of the year.

Helicopter crashes continued in 2013.  On 9 March, a Mi-8 AMT helicopter contracted by MONUSCO crashed around 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the regional capital, Bukavu, killing the four Russian crewmembers — Vladimir Safonov, Alexander Sarafanov, Alexander Bessmertny and Yevgeny Nikitin.  Helicopter crashes in Ethiopia and Darfur caused injuries.  

* *** *
Remarks from Hilde F. Johnson Special Representative of UN Secretary- General and Head of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
Press Conference on South Sudan – Wednesday 1 January, 2014
Opening Remarks

SRSG HILDE F. JOHNSON: Thank you on this first day of the New Year 2014, I want to remind us all of the past.   On 5-6 December almost 800 businessmen and women from all over the world convened in Juba, for a major Investment conference.   There was huge interest, a lot of enthusiasm, and I think everyone present felt that now things are moving in the right direction for South Sudan.   

Just 10 days after, the country was thrown into peril with a situation where political struggle took a violent turn and then spilled over into the communities. Today on this first day of the New Year, we would have and should have, looked back at 2013 with satisfaction and with content.  But we are not. It has been a tough year overall for South Sudan, but the past two weeks have been devastating for the country.

What has happened since December 15 is a tragedy. These two weeks have brought back the nightmares of the past, for so many South Sudanese citizens, who have revisited feelings they had thought they had buried a long time ago.

We have seen people fleeing for their lives, other people being killed and thousands and thousands having their lives and livelihoods uprooted.

So what started as a political struggle, then permeated into major incidences of violence. There also forces who have exploited this situation where members of one community have been  pitched against the other, whether here or there.  Those who have done that have a lot to answer for.

This is where we are on January 1 2014.  The country is at a cross roads, it’s at the fork in the road. But it can still be saved from further major escalations of violence.

It is up to the leaders of this country and the two parties.  Both President Salva Kiir Mayardit and former Vice President Riek Machar who is leading the forces against the government have both said to me and to others that they want to talk, to have a dialogue and to give peace a chance.  They still can pull the country back from the brink.

The leaders of the region, IGAD the regional organization, neighboring countries have been engaged as we know, in active efforts to bring the two parties to the table. So have many many leaders of the world, and many of us have engaged. I am pleased to say that today both parties are sending delegations to Addis Ababa. The Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, to whom I have just spoken to on the phone, told me they are expected to arrive this afternoon.

The IGAD-leaders as we know have called for a cessation of hostilities, the release of political detainees, political dialogue and humanitarian access. Those four demands were put on the table squarely in the Communique of Friday past.  

We on our part in the United Nations have joined hands with them in calling for the same.
Now, when the two parties are coming we expect delivery on these critical demands of IGAD. We urge that the fighting stops immediately.  

We call for both parties to use this first day of the New Year to take a decisive step for peace.  To cease all hostilities from today, and to mark the beginning of the New Year 2014 as the day the fighting stopped. We want to make this day, the day that the fighting stopped.

But as we know, and this is my second point, violence may still continue in its own way, because we have seen terrible acts of violence in the past two weeks. There have been killings and brutality, grave human rights violations and atrocities committed. We have seen evidence of apparent targeting of South Sudanese citizens on ethnic grounds.

This can lead to a perpetual cycle of violence that can destroy the fabric of the new nation. We need to do everything possible to prevent such a cycle of violence between the communities of South Sudan.

I condemn in the strongest possible terms the atrocities committed against innocent civilians of different communities by elements from both sides who have exploited this crisis. There is no excuse for these terrible acts of violence. All perpetrators must be held accountable.

And we know that if no one is held accountable there is a major risk that the violence continues.
I have issued a statement on this issue yesterday and it is in the package for you. So for violence to stop accountability must happen.  

That is also why I welcome the decision of the African Union’s Peace and Security Council they met at the Heads of State level, on the South Sudanese crisis on Monday and they decided to establish a Commission under the AU to investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed, and make recommendations on ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities.

Accountability is also critical for reconciliation to happen so that trust can be rebuilt between communities; and where trust has been broken healing and reconciliation needs to happen for the country and communities to move towards peaceful relations.

Peace is also only possible when it is accompanied by reconciliation and healing.

The negotiations in Addis are at a political level and as we have said before, this is a political struggle that can only be resolved politically, through the negotiations at the negotiating table.

But the negotiations in Addis need to be accompanied also by something else – by a deeper process that focuses on national reconciliation, and reconciliation between the communities.

Deep rooted tensions and wounds of the past have actually made the situation worse. And we have seen that the violence that happened in the last two weeks have exacerbated already deep rooted tensions.  These wounds, these tensions, and what has happened in the past two weeks, these feelings need to be healed.

As the political process starts we need to see also very soon a process of reconciliation happen.

But first the fighting has to stop and the political talks have to proceed then we will be in a position to move forward in support of such a process.

This of course is again a decision of the leaders of this country, and it is in their hands to start such a process.

At the same time UNMISS will continue to protect civilians. The scale of the crisis has challenged an already overstretched Mission. We now have approximately 68, 000 people that have sought refuge in our camps. And they are in 13 different locations all over the country or in the three major states first and foremost.

The numbers fluctuate, so we have been up to 75,000, and in some places people are returning and in other places people come in, so they go back and forth.

It is very clear to us we must not only protect civilians in our compounds and in our camps, we must be also able to protect them out there where they are at risk.   That is why we are getting reinforcements from other countries, both with additional police and with additional forces.

This is essential because at this point in time, all capacity is now concentrated on protecting the camps, the security of them as well as internal, and as well as external.

We have also taken decisions to move most of our contingents into the concerned areas, so virtually all peacekeepers in South Sudan now under the United Nations are surrounding or in the relation to the camps, and working to protect the camps internally and externally.

We are at OCHA the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator’s Office.  I want to assure you all our humanitarian colleagues have been working around the clock to assist in this crisis.

And they are also providing assistance to the more than 180,000 displaced nationwide. I want to underline that this is not only therefore people in camps, significant efforts are made to protect and help and provide assistance to internally displaced elsewhere in the country.

There are very many IDPs out there that are now being assisted, and I want to mention in particular Awerial, which is a location south of Bor.  

There are thousands and thousands of IDPs, there has been missions flying in yesterday and today.  We believe the numbers might be as high at 60,000 but we need to register first and see.  

The humanitarian coordination is in charge of this with humanitarian partners, Toby Lanzer, and as far as his information comes, food distributions have already started.

Totally US$166 million are needed immediately for immediate response to be able to assist the internally displaced in relation to the crisis.  

We urge all donors to come forward and assist because the conditions of the IDPs are not good, they are in desperate need for help on all fronts. Water, shelter, sanitation food, health services—a significant effort needs to be made to assist them.

The UN stands together with all the people of South Sudan on this very day and the leaders of this country have a historic responsibility to the future and people of this young and new nation.

We hope today marks the beginning of a peaceful era for South Sudan and that this New Year can become a happy new year.

So my new year’s greetings to you and the people of South Sudan, let us all hope and pray that this is a year of peace. And the babies that were born in the camps, the past two weeks, and there are very many, that on their first birthday, their one  year birthday, they will look back at 2014 that actually on January 1, 2014 that is when we turned a new page and that this has been peaceful year for the country.

Thank you to all.

U.S. draft statement on Syria


 The Members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the escalating level of violence in the Syrian conflict and condemned all violence by all parties.  They expressed outrage at the use of airstrikes by the Syrian government, in particular the use of heavy indiscriminate weapons, including SCUD missiles and “barrel bombs”, which were dropped on Aleppo between December 15 and 18, leaving more than 100 dead, many of whom were children.

 The Members of the Security Council recalled that all obligations under international humanitarian law must be respected in all circumstances. They recalled, in particular, the obligation to distinguish between civilian populations and combatants, and the prohibition against indiscriminate attacks, and attacks against civilians and civilian objects.  The Members of the Security Council reiterated their call on all parties, in particular the Syrian government, to immediately implement in full the provisions of the October 2 Presidential Statement.

The Members of the Security Council emphasized that the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate in the absence of a political solution to the crisis, based on the Geneva Communique of 30 June 2012 and they welcomed, in this regard, the convening of the Geneva II Conference on January 22, 2014 in Montreux, Switzerland.