Security Council Roundup: April 2022

Under United Kingdom presidency in April, the Security Council discussed, among other issues, the implementation of resolutions that focus on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on peace and security and on the importance of accountability in ending cycles of sexual violence in conflict. Focusing on Ukraine, Council members considered the political and humanitarian situation, issues related to the protection of women and children and displacement within and outside the country. There were also six briefings on other situations under the purview of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA).

Ukraine

Barbara Woodward (centre), Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of April, chairs the Security Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine. At left is Secretary-General António Guterres, and at right is Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

“The war in Ukraine is one of the greatest challenges ever to the international order and the global peace architecture,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said at a Security Council briefing on 5 April. Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo told the meeting that the longer the war continues, the greater the risk that it will further weaken the global institutions and mechanisms dedicated to preserve peace and security. “The war in Ukraine was started by choice. There is no inevitability to it or to the suffering it is causing,” she said, adding that the UN is ready to do everything possible to help end it.

To read Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo’s remarks, click here

Briefing on 11 April, Sima Bahous, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) said that increasing reports of sexual violence and human trafficking in Ukraine — allegedly committed against women and children in the context of massive displacement and ongoing fighting — are raising “all the red flags” about a potential protection crisis. Also briefing, Manuel Fontaine, Director of Emergencies at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said that children, families and communities remain under attack, many do not have enough food, and attacks on water systems have left some 1.4 million without access to safe water. As of 10 April, the United Nations has verified 142 children killed and 229 children injured, but “we know these numbers are likely much higher”.

On 19 April, Kelly T. Clements, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, briefed the Council via video-teleconference from Hungary, where almost a half million Ukrainians have fled — a fraction of the almost 5 million who have been forced to leave their country and the 7 million people displaced within Ukraine. The United Nations also estimates that 13 million more Ukrainians are in the hardest hit areas, many unable to move and difficult to safely reach with aid. For his part, Antonio Vitorino, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), noted that more than one quarter of Ukraine’s total population has been forced to leave their homes in little more than seven weeks — a speed and magnitude of displacement not seen in Europe since the end of the Second World War.

Implementation of Resolutions 2532 (2020) and 2565 (2021)

Ted Chaiban (on screen), Global Lead Coordinator for COVID-19 Vaccine Country-Readiness and Delivery in UNICEF, speaks at the Security Council meeting on maintenance of international peace and security. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Rapid action in the next six months, especially in conflict zones, is essential for addressing vaccine equity gaps, Ted Chaiban, Global Lead Coordinator for COVID19 Vaccine Country Readiness and Delivery — part of the COVAX facility — told the Council on 11 April. He stressed the importance of strong political leadership and planning in implementing mass vaccination campaigns that can help achieve vaccine equity. In the 34 countries that the COVID19 vaccine delivery partnership is focused on, there are many competing health, humanitarian and economic priorities, he noted. Bundling COVID19 vaccination with other health and humanitarian interventions, and implementing the “humanitarian buffer” — which acts as a measure of last resort to ensure access to COVID19 vaccines — has enabled COVAX to reach vulnerable populations, Chabain reported. However, “the window of opportunity is gradually closing”, he cautioned.

Colombia

Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in Colombia. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Carlos Ruiz Massieu, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, told the Council on 12 April that the UN has witnessed a peacebuilding process that is advancing, at different levels, along the path outlined by the Final Agreement. He added that overcoming the challenges and risks that threaten the consolidation of peace in the country and persisting in the comprehensive implementation of the Agreement must be the objectives that guide the work in the coming years.

To read his full remarks, click here

Ending Cycles of Sexual Violence in Conflict

Hilina Berhanu (on screen), civil society briefer, briefs the Security Council meeting on women and peace and security. Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and UNODC Goodwill Ambassador, is in the seats on the right. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

“Every new wave of warfare brings with it a rising tide of human tragedy, including new waves of war’s oldest, most silenced and least-condemned crime,” Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramilla Patten, told Council members during the briefing on ‘Ending Cycles of Sexual Violence in Conflict’ on 13 April. Welcoming the Council’s focus on accountability as prevention — which is particularly relevant during today’s “dark and difficult times” — she said the lived experience of survivors must guide the search for global solutions. Urging Member States to support the clear, categorical prohibition on sexual violence — and to make it more visible in their military manuals, international humanitarian law trainings, codes of conduct and disciplinary measures at all levels of the chain of command — she stressed: “It is time now to make accountability inevitable,” adding, “societies must realize that the only shame of rape is in committing, commanding or condoning it”.

To read her full remarks, click here

Yemen

Hans Grundberg (on screen), Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East (Yemen). UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Briefing the Council on 14 April, Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg reported on the recent two-month nationwide, renewable truce by the parties agreed on 2 April. He said that the agreement is broadly holding, offering a moment of respite for Yemenis. But it is still fragile and temporary, he added, recalling the need to work collectively and intensively in these coming weeks to ensure that the truce agreement does not unravel. “The Truce offers a rare opportunity to pivot toward a peaceful future. The coming weeks will be a test of the parties’ commitments to uphold their obligations. This is a time to build trust and confidence, which is not easy after more than seven years of conflict,” the Special Envoy said, appealing also to the international community to redouble efforts and support during this critical period.

To read his full remarks, click here

Sudan/South Sudan

Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa, briefs the Security Council meeting that heard Reports of the Secretary-General on the Sudan and South Sudan and the situation in Abyei. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Hanna Tetteh on 21 April briefed the Council regarding the implementation of Resolution 2046 on outstanding bilateral issues between Sudan and South Sudan and the situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. “Clearly, the coup has had a negative effect on progress on the bilateral initiatives which the two countries had started deepening and which they are now trying to re-boot,” Tetteh said. “It is however gratifying that, while each of them is grappling with its internal conflict, they continue to complement one another in the search for peace, and to build on the progress achieved so far.” Also briefing was UN Peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix on the work of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in the oil-rich border area between Sudan and South Sudan. Although the overall security situation in the disputed Abyei region has remained calm, the “trust deficit” between the two main communities continues to be a great concern, he said.

To read here statement, click here

Middle East

Tor Wennesland (on screen), Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. UN Photo/Mark Garten

“A serious escalation is avoidable,” Tor Wennesland, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Council on 25 April. He urged members not to lose sight of the imperative to end the occupation and advance towards a two-State reality: “The ultimate goal remains clear: two States, living side-by-side in peace and security.” The briefing took place during heightened tension and a month marred by violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and terror attacks in Israel, which have killed and injured scores of civilians. In Jerusalem, the situation remains relatively calm, he said, despite inflammatory rhetoric and violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli Security Forces (ISF) that have taken place at the Holy Sites. “Violence, provocations and incitement must stop immediately and be unequivocally condemned by all,” Wennesland stressed. He urged the parties to maintain calm through the final week of Ramadan so it can be celebrated without interruption.

To read the Special Coordinator’s full remarks, click here

Syria

A wide view of the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East (Syria). On the screen are, at right, Geir Pedersen, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria, and at left, Nirvana Shawky, Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa of CARE. UN Photo/Manuel Elías

Briefing the Council on 26 April, Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen urged Member States to focus on Syria, recalling that it is “a hot conflict, not a frozen one”, with an uptick in airstrikes and intensified clashes in the northeast in the past month, “regular incidents between or involving international actors” as well as the threat of terrorism emanating from the crisis. “The current strategic stalemate on the ground and Syria’s absence from the headlines should not mislead anyone into thinking that the conflict needs less attention or fewer resources, or that a political solution is not urgent,” he stressed. In this regard, Pedersen announced that he had issued invitations for the 8th session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee to be held from 28 May to 3 June in Geneva.

To read his remarks to the Council, click here

Great Lakes region

Huang Xia, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Great Lakes region. The Council heard a report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Huang Xia, the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, on 27 April, briefed the Council on the status of implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the region. João Samuel Caholo, Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) also briefed the Council. Special Envoy Xia informed the Council about the security situation in the Great Lakes region, which saw a resurgence in attacks in North Kivu province, eastern DRC, attributed to the M-23 rebel movement and to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). “All of this reminds us how much peace in eastern DRC is still extremely fragile and how much we need to redouble our collective efforts to achieve a region totally free from the horrors of war,” the Special Envoy said.

To watch the Special Envoy’s briefing, click here

Other meetings

View of the Security Council in session. UN Photo/Manuel Elías

Briefing the Council on 7 April, El-Ghassim Wane, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said March saw several deadly attacks by Islamic State, leading to the death of 40 civilians and displacement of 3,640 households. MINUSMA had received reports of serious rights abuses against civilians during the course of an offensive by Malian armed forces against Katiba Macina elements in Moura village, south of Mopti. The mission conducted a reconnaissance overflight on 3 April, however, despite “extensive engagement” with national authorities, authorization for an “integrated mission” had not been issued, Wane noted.

Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo briefed the Security Council in closed consultations on Libya on 19 April, providing updates on the work of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the efforts by Special Adviser Stephanie Williams.

The Council held closed consultations on 20 April on the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO). Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, briefed, as well as Alexander Ivanko, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of MINURSO.

The same day, Caroline Ziadeh, Special Representative and Head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), expressed concern over recent incidents in northern Kosovo, including attacks apparently targeting Kosovo police patrols. Against that backdrop, she called on both Pristina and Belgrade to be judicious in their actions and political rhetoric, as these leaders bear the main responsibility for reducing — rather than fueling — tensions.

Outlining a four-pronged new investigation strategy to the Council on 28 April, Karim Khan, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, pledged his commitment to delivering justice against crimes committed in Libya. Presenting the twenty-third report on the Libyan file, he said survivors and the families of victims are waiting for justice, and the report contains benchmarks for the first time to help move cases forwards.

The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2629 (2022) on 29 April to extend the mandate of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) until 31 July 2022. The integrated special political mission will continue to support the political process in Libya.

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The online magazine of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

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