Gains by Abyei interim force can help advance resolution of border issues between Sudan and South Sudan, UN peacekeeping chief says
#UnitedNations; #UNpeacekeeping; #UNISFA; #Jean-PierreLacroix; #Sudan; #SouthSudan
United Nations, Apr 30 (Canadian-Media/UN): The United Nations (UN) security force for Abyei remains essential to stability in the border regions between Sudan and South Sudan, the UN peacekeeping chief said on Tuesday, proposing the creation of a civilian unit to support progress towards political resolution of the dispute between the neighboring countries, and requesting a six-month extension of its mandate, UN reports said.
Image Credit: UN Photo/Stuart Price: UNMIS Troops prepare for a patrol in Abyei (file).
“This modest shift in the mission’s role is necessary to match the reality on the ground,” Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations said during a briefing to the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the work of the UN Interim Security Force, known by the acronym UNISFA.
He explained that a civilian component would enable the mission to support the parties, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel and the African Union Commission to advance daily solutions.
Image Credit: UN Photo/Loey Felipe: Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Peace Operations, briefs the Security Council on the situation in the Sudan and South Sudan including the situation in Abyei.
“The proposed support is particularly pertinent given the difficult internal circumstances in both countries,” noted Mr. Lacroix, adding: “It is important to prevent the dispute over Abyei and the border regions between Sudan and South Sudan from becoming another frozen conflict and preserve the gains achieved by UNISFA.”
Stressing that while the situation generally remains calm – amid efforts by the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya communities to preserve peace through dialogue – Sudan and South Sudan have made no progress on the issue of Abyei.
Further, there have been delays in the Council’s request to reconfigure the mission, he said. The first phase of troop reductions – a repatriation of 260 troops by 15 March – has not taken place, but efforts are under way to start the process on 12 May.
As for the increase in police personnel, while the selection of police officers and the formed police unit has been completed, 130 visas from the Sudanese Government, necessary for their deployment, remain outstanding.
Against this background, Mr. Lacroix said that while UNISFA continues to play a stabilizing role in the Abyei Area and along the border regions, the operation can only provide a conducive environment for the parties, whose own efforts remain essential to progress.
“I am encouraged by the significantly improved relations between the two countries in the past year, as evidenced by Sudan’s role in facilitating the revitalized peace agreement reached by the South Sudanese parties and the resumption of joint oil operations,” he told the Council, urging the two countries to continue this “positive trajectory” and extend their cooperation to move forward on the resolution of their disputes.
Gains in relations between Sudan and South Sudan should not be lost
Also briefing the Council, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, said that both id Sudan and South Sudan “are at a crossroads with critical political processes under way.”
Image Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider: Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa, briefs the Security Council on the situation in the Sudan and South Sudan including the situation in Abyei.
Following the ouster of Sudan’s President on 11 April after months of popular protests, the new authorities may need time to resume bilateral relations on the border, the Two Areas and Abyei.
“We have a de facto status quo situation,” he said. In the absence of a joint administration and progress on Abyei’s final status, UNISFA remains central to preventing and resolving intercommunal conflicts.
In the coming weeks, he will encourage the respective capitals, Khartoum and Juba, to take a fresh look at the Abyei file, with a focus on implementing temporary arrangements for the Area’s administration.
Noting that Sudan’s political transition could allow for redefining relations between the “centre” and its “peripheries” in a way that ends discrimination based on ethnicity, religion and territorial belonging, he said he will encourage parties to resolve the conflicts on the basis of a new political dispensation.
#UnitedNations; #Syria; #GeirPedersen; #peace
Syria, Apr 30 (Canadian-Media/UN): It will take “action and tangible progress” between Syrian Government and opposition leaders, not just dialogue, to bring about lasting peace said the UN Special Envoy for the war-torn country on Tuesday, stressing that Syria “contains many threats for renewed escalation”, United Nations (UN) reports said.
Image Credit: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell: A woman stands on her balcony in the El Khalideh neighbourhood of the Old City of Homs, in Syria. (March 2019)
Geir Pedersen, in his second briefing in the job to the UN Security Council in New York, said he had been “doing everything I can” in the past eight weeks, to consult and help bring the "key players" closer together both inside and outside the country.
“Even where violence has abated, the toll of suffering remains staggering”, he said. “There is a desperate need to meet the humanitarian and protection needs of Syrians across the country.”
He noted the “terrible situation” facing 73,000 in the overcrowded Al Hol camp, where many of the families of former extremist fighters, are alongside those displaced by the fall of ISIL – 92 per cent of them women and children.
Helping facilitate “concrete action” over those detained or abducted during eight years of war, would be “an important confidence building measure” said Mr. Pedersen, highlighting also the fate of tens of thousands who have gone missing. “The scale of this issue is of unprecedented proportions. It obliges us to continue our collective attempts to make progress”, he said, adding it would take “months if not year of meticulous and committed work.”
Image Credit: UN Photo/Loey Felipe: Geir Pederson, the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, addresses the Security Council on 30 April 2019.
Scale of suffering ‘weighs heavily on me’
For a political solution to work, it would have to meet the aspirations of the people said the Special Envoy, saying that only weeks into the role, the “terrible scale” of suffering “and the uncertain future of millions, weighs heavily on me, as it should us all.”
The Women’s Advisory Board, he said, “continues to remind us of the specific security, economic and human rights concerns of Syrian women - women who bring diverse experiences and views to the table and share the right to have a voice at the table.”
He expressed optimism that the stalled negotiations over an inclusive Constitutional Committee, to draft a new political roadmap for Syria, could now move forward: “I believe the final terms of the mandate can be agreed, with a modicum of goodwill…Work continues to identify a set of names that, when viewed in totality, can have the support of all concerned” to serve, he added.
Finally, he called for further international engagement and support for a Syrian-led and owned process. “I remain convinced that key international players agree on far more than it might seem", he said, noting that external intervention was “a hard reality of the conflict".
"Syria’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity, must be respected and restored - but saying so will not make it so", said Mr. Pedersen.
“External intervention poses real threats to international peace and security. Five international armies operate across Syria’s land and airspace, in tension or even in conflict, generating risks for dangerous escalation. These risks must be contained and ultimately removed”, he told Council members.
He concluded on an upbeat note, said progress was being made: “I hope that next time I brief you, I will be able to report tangible achievements on the long road to a political settlement.”
#UnitedNations; #UNhealthagency; #migrants; #refugees; #violence; #fighting; #WorldHealthOrganization; #WHO; #LibyanNationalArmy; #UNRefugeeAgency; #UNHCR; #humanitarianAccess; #UNHCR; #primaryhealth; #OCHA
United Nations, Apr 24 (Canadian-Media/UN): Nearly three weeks since fighting began near the Libyan capital Tripoli, the United Nations (UN) health agency warned on Tuesday that “large numbers” of people are sheltering in medical clinics, while civilians continue to be killed or injured, and refugees and migrants remain exposed to clashes, UN reports said.
Image credit: UNOCHA/Giles Clarke: Former Parliament Speakers Chamber in Tripoli, Libya.
“The latest figure as of last night is 264 dead and 1,266 wounded”, World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told journalists.
Of that number, 21 civilians had perished and 69 had been injured since 5 April, he said, amid concerns that the conflict between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) - led by General Khalifa Haftar – risks becoming bogged down.
Migrants, refugees ‘still trapped in detention centres close to clashes’
Echoing those fears, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) spokesperson, Babar Baloch, appealed for humanitarian access to thousands of refugees and migrants believed trapped in State-run detention centres south of the capital.
“Our concern is for some 6,000 who still remain in detention in some of the detention locations,” Mr. Baloch said, “but also the immediate concern is for about 3,600 refugees that are currently trapped in some of the detention centres which are very close to where the fighting is taking place now.”
In the past two weeks, UNHCR has moved 541 vulnerable refugees from the detention centres of Ain Zara, Qasr Bin Ghashir, Abu Selim and Janzour, to a safe location in central Tripoli. These detention centres are in “areas which are very close to the ongoing fighting and clashes”, Mr. Baloch explained.
And despite fighting and access problems, the agency evacuated more than 160 refugees from Libya to Niger last Friday, Mr. Baloch said.
To respond to growing needs – and some 32,000 people displaced by the violence - WHO is recruiting additional specialized emergency medical teams to be deployed to Tripoli-area hospitals.
11 ambulances damaged by fighting
In addition, the UN agency is also equipping four new primary health care facilities with essential drugs and medical equipment to help vulnerable families.
“WHO staff have been visiting health clinics in areas where large numbers of displaced people are sheltering, to ensure that those health facilities have what they need to treat the displaced," Mr. Jasarevic said, while noting that 11 ambulances have so far been damaged since the onset of fighting, in contravention of international humanitarian law.
Amid “rapidly increasing” needs in Libya caused by military engagement and a lack of safety guarantees, the UN’s humanitarian coordinating arm, OCHA, appealed for far greater international support.
“Through the Tripoli Flash Appeal, the humanitarian community urgently calls for $10.2 million to continue its work in helping conflict-affected people in Libya,” OCHA said in a statement, noting that just six per cent of the total had been received.
#UnitedNations; UNICEF; SriLankaDeaths;
United Nations, Apr 23 (Canadian-Media/UN): In Sri Lanka, some 45 children are now believed to have been killed in the coordinated terrorist suicide bombings across the country on Easter Sunday, according to UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.
World Bank/Dominic Sansoni: Village shop at dusk in Sri Lanka lit by solar panels.
To date, more than 320 people are believed to have died and around 500 more have been injured.
In a statement condemning the outrages which targeted churches and hotels, the UN agency said that the young victims were a mixture of both Sri Lankan and other nationalities. The youngest victim is believed to have been 18 months old, UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said:
“Twenty children have been admitted to hospital in Colombo with four of them in intensive care as a result of the blast, in Colombo. Many children have lost one or more parents and countless children have been witness to shocking or senseless violence.”
According to reports, Sri Lankan police have arrested dozens of suspects in connection with the bombings.
Communities and religious leaders have come together to call for peace and calm in Sri Lanka, following the deadly church and hotel suicide bombings, on Easter Sunday. The UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanna Singer, warned that beyond the “fear and shock” there was rising concern over a possible “backlash”. The UN is on the ground supporting communities and providing medical supplies, as well as psychological aid for those who witnessed the violence.
Killing of Egyptian peacekeeper in Mali ‘may constitute war crimes’ Guterres warns, urging ‘swift action
#mineExplosion; #warcrime; #EgyptianPeacekeeper; #MINUSMA
Mali (Egypt), Apr 21 (UN/Canadian-Media): An improvised roadside mine which exploded hitting a UN peacekeeping convoy in Mali, killing one ‘blue helmet’ from Egypt, and wounding four others, may constitute a war crime, the UN Chief said on Saturday, as senior UN officials condemned the blast, UN reports said.
MINUSMA/Harandane Dicko: MINUSMA troops based in Kidal in the extreme north of Mali, ensure the security of the camp, and also the safety of the civilian population
Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement on Saturday night in New York, giving details of the deadly bombing, which took place against a convoy of vehicles in central Mali, close to the border with Burkina Faso, belonging to the UN Mission, MINUSMA. The vehicles were en route between Douentza and Boni, in the Mopti region.
“MINUSMA peacekeepers responded, killing an assailant and apprehending eight others,” said the UN chief, in the message issued by his Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric. “The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the family of the victim and to the Government of Egypt. He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.”
Attacks “targeting United Nations peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law”, the statement continued, and Mr. Guterres called on the Malian authorities to take “swift action to identify the perpetrators of this attack and bring them to justice.”
On Twitter, UN peacekeeping chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, also issued his heartfelt condolences to the family of the fallen soldier noting that he and his colleagues from Egypt were “performing the critical task of protecting convoys”.
MINUSMA’s mandate from the Security Council began after extremist militias seized control of northern Mali in 2012, which following a failed coup, were repulsed by French military action the following year. A UN-backed peace agreement in 2015 signed between the Government and various armed groups, failed to stabilize the febrile central and northern regions of the northwest African country.
Earlier this week, according to news reports, the Prime Minister resigned together with his cabinet in the capital Bamako, in the face of widespread criticism from across the political spectrum, over the failure to make inroads against the continuing violence to the north.
Since 2013 when MINUSMA deployed, more than 190 peacekeepers have died in Mali, including close to 120 killed during hostilities.
The Secretary-General reaffirmed that the latest casualties “will not diminish the resolve of the United Nations to continue supporting the people and the Government of Mali in their quest for peace and stability.”
UN, world leaders, condemn Sri Lanka terrorist attacks targeting churches, hotels, leaving more than 200 dead
#UnitedNations; #explosions; #SriLanka; #Easter; #terrorattacks
United Nations, Apr 21 (UN/Canadian-Media): More than 200 have been killed and hundreds injured by a series of explosions inside churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, as Christians gathered for services to celebrate Easter, UN reports said.
World Bank/Dominic Sansoni: Village shop at dusk in Sri Lanka lit by solar panels
In a statement, UN chief António Guterres said he was "outraged by the terror attacks" and called for the perpetrators to be "swiftly brought to justice".
According to news reports, three churches were targeted, in the cities of Batticaloa, Negombo, and the capital, Colombo. The Shangri-La, Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and another hotel, all in the capital, were also hit.
So far, no group has claimed responsibility for carrying out the likely suicide bombings, but police have reportedly arrested seven people in connection with the attacks.
The Secretary-General said in a statement that on what was "a sacred day for Christians around the world", he recalled "the sanctity of all places of worship".
The statement issued by his Spokesperson said the UN chief "expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, the people and Government of Sri Lanka, and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured".
Guterres commends Sri Lankan leadership, and 'unity of the people'
He also commended "the leadership demonstrated by the authorities and unity of the people in Sri Lanka in the wake of the attacks"
In a tweet, the UN’s Resident Coordinator for the Indian Ocean island, Hanaa Singer, said the UN "strongly condemns the horrific attacks carried out against civilians and worshippers...Heartfelt condolences to the families, victims, Government and people”. She also urged Sri Lankans to stand united” in the face of the carnage.
The President of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, also expressed her “deep sadness” in a tweet, saying that her thoughts were with the people of Sri Lanka, “affected by yet another act of senseless violence”.
“We must unite in our common humanity to condemn these heinous acts and stop targetting innocent people, practicing their faith in peace”, she added.
Sir Lanka’s bloody 26-year civil war waged between Government forces and Tamil separatists in the north, ended in 2009 with the defeat of the rebels, and in the years since, there has been sporadic violence, some targeting religious minorities.
The island is home to around 1.5 million Christians, the vast majority Roman Catholic. The Singhalese majority are Buddhist – around 70 per cent of the population - with sizeable Hindu and Muslim minorites also.
In response to Sunday’s attacks, a national curfew has been put in place, and social media networks have reportedly been blocked.
Eye witness reports from St. Sebastian’s church in Negombo describe a scene of carnage, with dozens killed. There were also heavy casualties at St. Anthony’s in the Kochckicade district of Colombo, where the first blast detonated.
Pope Francis, in his Easter Address outside St. Peter’s in Rome, reportedly expressed his “affectionate closeness” for the Christian community in Sri Lanka which had been struck while gathering for one of its biggest celebrations of the year, and his thoughts to “all the victims of such cruel violence”
UN chief Guterres, concluded his statement reiterating the "supprt and solidarity of the United Nations, with the people and the Government of Sri Lanka, in this difficult moment for the nation."
United Nations, Apr 20 (Canadian-Media): A contingent of 530 Ugandan “Blue Helmets” (63 women, 467 men) is playing a crucial role in the United Nations’ (UN) efforts to help bring peace and stability to Somalia, UN reports said.
UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed: A female Ugandan soldier serving under the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU) scans the horizon through a pair of binoculars while on duty at a security tower in Mogadishu, Somalia.
They make up the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU), that is tasked with protecting UN compounds in Mogadishu in order to assist the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) to carry out their mandate.
The job does not come without risks. An attack on the United Nations compound in Somalia in January this year is “still fresh in our minds” according to the commander of Ugandan peacekeepers who are tasked with protecting the base and its personnel.
Seven mortars landed inside the compound in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on New Year’s Day, injuring two UN staff members and one contractor. The group, Al-Shabaab, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.
This was a “notable indirect mortar attack shelling of United Nations compound within Mogadishu International Airport,” said Colonel Stuart R. Agaba, the commander of the UNGU.
UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed: The Commander of the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU) in Somalia, Colonel Stuart Agaba speaks during an interview in Mogadis.
The Commander of the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU) in Somalia, Colonel Stuart Agaba speaks during an interview in Mogadishu.
“UNGU responded immediately by adopting a counter infiltration - defensive posture and was more than ready to fend off any follow-up attack,” added Colonel Agaba.
“Female soldiers, both rank and file,” are a key element of the UNGU as they “give hope to women and children of the host country”Colonel Agaba, UNGU
That includes deterring and protecting UN personnel and infrastructure against armed attack including patrolling inside and in the immediate vicinity of UN compounds. The Ugandan peacekeepers are also trained to provide a “rapid extraction and evacuation capability for UN personnel.”
Perilous The UN describes the security situation in Somalia as “volatile” and recently in Mogadishu there has been “a spike in reported activities,” by terrorist organizations. According to Colonel Agaba, the Ugandan peacekeepers are working in a “in perilous operational environment,” that “oscillates between medium to high risk.”
The Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF) has been providing troops for the UNGU since 2015; this is the fifth rotation of forces who serve for one year.
This is a “new experience for men and women of the UPDF,” said Colonel Agaba. “They have a myriad of experiences, they learn endurance, how to manage stress and get to understand how the UN works,” he added.
UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed
A female Ugandan soldier serving under the United Nations Guard Unit (UNGU) in Somalia, searches a vehicles at a checkpoint in Mogadishu.
Currently, there are 63 women serving in the contingent. “Female soldiers, both rank and file,” are a key element of the UNGU as they “give hope to women and children of the host country,” said Colonel Agaba.
The female officers are deployed in a range of roles including commanding troops, search and security and other guard duties and play a key role in the Security Information and Operations Centre (SIOC).
Pan-Africanist ideology Somalia is a near neighbour of Uganda’s in East Africa and according to Colonel Agaba, his country’s contribution to peacekeeping “stems from a pan-Africanist ideology in which Uganda has made and continues to make sacrifices for Somalia’s quest for peace, prosperity and stability.”
And as the commanding officer Colonel Agaba believes that “ensuring that UNGU officers, men and women, effectively carry out mandated operations with utmost compliance to UN principles, makes our contribution to UN global peace efforts a gratifying experience.”
#Ebola; #WHO; #DRC; #security; #MinistryofHealthofDRC
Geneva, Apr 20 (Canadian-Media): Dr Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, an epidemiologist deployed by World Health Organisation (WHO) in the response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was killed yesterday in an attack on Butembo University Hospital, WHO reports said.
Two other persons were injured in the attack but are believed to be in a stable condition.
“I and all of WHO are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and brother Dr Mouzoko. He put himself on the frontline to save lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We grieve with his family and friends at this very difficult time.”
“This is a tragic reminder of the risks health workers take every day to protect the lives and health of others. We are outraged by this attack: health workers and health facilities must never be targets.”
The attack took place during a coordination meeting being held at the hospital at that time.
“We are assessing the security situation to ensure the safety of all patients, health workers and Ebola responders”, said Dr Tedros. “At the same time, we remain committed to continue supporting the Ministry of Health of DRC to end this outbreak as quickly as possible.”
#UnitedNations; #migrantchildren; #Libya
United Nations, Apr 18 (Canadian-Media): In and around Tripoli, an increasing number of children are “at imminent risk of injury or death” two senior United Nations officials warned on Thursday, citing a surge of aggression in crisis-torn Libya.
UNICEF/Romenzi: Migrant children walk outside a detention centre located in Tripoli, Libya
General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, which controls much of eastern and southern Libya, has waged a two-week military campaign to take Tripoli from fighters loyal to the UN-recognized Government.
Calling the escalation in fighting “the worst in years”, Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, issued a statement reminding all of Libya’s warring parties that they are obliged “to protect children at all times in full compliance with international law”.
“Killing, injuring and recruiting children, and attacks on education, medical and water facilities are all grave violations of children’s rights and must cease immediately”, they stated – reminding that in line with Security Council resolution 2427, “prevention measures must be put in place to better protect children”.
Together they also urged for “safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all children in need, and for a ceasefire to allow civilians to safely leave areas under conflict”.
Children caught in the middle
Nearly 1,800 children are among the civilians who need urgently to be evacuated from frontline fighting, as the raging violence has already displaced 7,300 others, the two UN officials said. Moreover, around 500,000 children are estimated to be affected by violence across the country’s west.
“Children trapped in conflict areas are at risk of running out of food and losing access to medical care” they explained. “Unable to leave these areas, they cannot safely seek protection or assistance”.
Pointing out that the violence has also left nearly 1,000 refugee and migrant children held in detention centres “in grave danger”, Mses. Fore and Gamba stressed that “they should be immediately released and provided with safe shelter until their asylum claims can be processed or they can be provided with safe repatriation assistance for reunification with their families”.
For their sake, and the sake of the country’s future, the fighting must stop – UN officials
“The principle of non-refoulement must be respected”, they maintained, underscoring that unaccompanied minors, many of whom are in transit, “are at risk of grave violations including recruitment and use, sexual violence or abduction”.
The fighting is also depriving children of their right to education.
The two UN officials detailed that the academic year has not only been suspended in all schools throughout conflict-affected areas, but seven are acting as shelters for displaced families. Additionally, a recent attack on an education warehouse destroyed five million schoolbooks and national school exam results.
“Libya has suffered through more than seven years of persistent conflict that has left at least 820,000 people, including some 250,000 children, in dire need of humanitarian assistance”, the UN officials stressed, “and the situation is deteriorating yet again”.
“For their sake, and the sake of the country’s future, the fighting must stop,” concluded Mses. Fore and Gamba.
#UnitedNations; UNSecurityCouncil; #Talibanmilitants; #Afghanistan; #UNAssistanceMissioninAfghanistan; #UNAMA
United Nations, Apr 17 (Canadian-Media): The United Nations (UN) Security Council has condemned the announcement by Taliban militants in Afghanistan of its spring offensive, saying it will result in more “unnecessary suffering and destruction for the Afghan people”.
Photo: UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA): Cover of a UNAMA report paints a picture of a deliberate campaign of violence and intimidation conducted by the Taliban.
Recognizing citizens’ “strong desire for sustainable peace in Afghanistan”, the Council underscored that “calls for more fighting will not advance the goal of making a sustainable peace”.
According to news reports, the announcement, which came as the UN lifted travel bans on the Taliban’s senior leaders to facilitate United States-led peace talks, signals that although negotiations are gaining momentum, fighting is likely to intensify around the country.
“Seize the opportunity to begin an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations that result in a political settlement”, the Security Council urged all parties to the conflict.
Number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, 2009-2018., by UNAMA report
The Council members reiterated “the importance of an inclusive Afghan-led and-owned peace process for the long-term prosperity and stability” of the country and expressed their “full support for the Afghan Government’s efforts to that end”.
“The members of the Security Council reiterated that, as mandated by the Security Council, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General stand ready to provide their good offices to support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, if requested by and in close consultation with the Afghan Government”, they concluded.
The cost of violence
In February, UNAMA released devastating figures showing the direct impact of the conflict on civilians, with 3,804 deaths recorded last year, the highest number since the UN started keeping records ten years ago. In addition, 7,189 people were injured in 2018, five per cent more than in 2017.
“But even these figures do not capture the full human cost of the war,” the UN Special Representative in Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, informed the Council last month – noting that over half the population of the country lives under the poverty line and that 13.5 million people “survive on less than one meal a day,” which was compounded by last year’s severe drought.
At the same time, Afghanistan’s presidential election, originally due to take place this coming weekend, has been pushed back twice, from April to July, and most recently to September.