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Daily Press Briefing - Security Council, Egypt, South Sudan

The Secretary-General presented his latest report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict to the Security Council, in an open meeting this morning. The Secretary-General said that too many people are dying, in too many places. Sometimes they are caught in the crossfire; frequently they are targeted. He detailed attacks on civilians in places ranging from Afghanistan to Somalia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He added that, as we speak, the city of Homs and other areas in Syria are being shelled. UN observers have risked their lives to report to the world on what they have seen. They have reported armed assaults on civilians, execution-style killings and opposition forces firing from inside hospitals. The Secretary-General urged the Security Council and Member States to consider new approaches to prevent and respond to violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and ensure that the protection of civilians receives the attention it demands. His remarks are available in my office, as are those of the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.


In a statement we issued yesterday, the Secretary-General welcomed the conclusion of Egypt’s presidential election process and commended the Egyptian people for the peaceful atmosphere in which these elections were held. He congratulates Dr. Mohamed Morsy on his election and trusts that the President-elect will spare no effort in ensuring the people of Egypt realise their aspirations for greater democracy, the promotion of human rights, and a more prosperous and stable Egypt for all of its citizens. The Secretary-General notes that the imminent handover of power to the elected President marks the end of one important phase of Egypt’s transition to greater democracy. He stresses the need to strengthen and build strong, independent institutions and to allow civil society to flourish and to play its role fully and freely.


The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) released a report today on the findings of its in-depth investigation into the inter-communal violence that took place in Jonglei State in 2011 and early 2012. The UN Mission recorded 612 fatalities in the course of the attacks on Murle settlements and 276 deaths resulting from the attacks on the Lou Nuer and Dinka communities between 23 December last year and 4 February this year. In addition, children and women were abducted, tens of thousands of people were displaced and many homes were destroyed. The report calls for the prosecution of all those responsible for the violence. And the UN Mission calls on the South Sudanese Government to develop a comprehensive, multi-faceted plan for curbing violence in Jonglei and establishing a more protective environment for local residents. We have a press release from the Mission with more details.