Security Council Meeting on the Situation in Mali

20190628 Security Council

(Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/statephotos/29795162411)

The last Security Council meeting in June convened today to discuss the exacerbated situation in Mali and rally support from the member states on the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), set to expire on June 30th, for another 12 months. The chair began with the Secretary-General’s report on the status of Mali and the implementation of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in the concerned region, which identified unresolved dangers to peace and proved the cruciality of MINUSMA’s work. By passing resolution 2480 without any objections, the mission was given a modified framework with clearer benchmarks on the definition of success and more specific and centralized work in the most dangerous area of Mali.

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Confrontation between the US, Russia, & China on the Crisis in Venezuela

The Security Council convened, by request of the US, for an emergency session discussing the Venezuelan crisis. While the meeting began typically, with briefings on progress and problems, the morning took a turn once US Vice President Mike Pence came to speak. After arriving late, Pence turned the conversation from humanitarian needs to the need for democracy and the rule of law. He blamed the crisis on the Maduro regime, which he claimed to, in the midst of deprivation and suffering, use violence against those who oppose it, killing protesters and jailing journalists. He called the international community to remove Maduro and recognize the interim president appointed by the national assembly, Juan Guaidó, which the US attempted to do in a resolution vetoed by China and Russia. Pence blamed these two nations for directly supporting the Maduro regime out of personal interests.

Russia retaliated, saying Russia would take as much time as it needs to speak, regardless of time. Russia denied Pence’s allegations and blamed US sanctions on Venezuela for the crisis. He claimed that US desire for intervention had to do with its own geopolitical interests, citing US involvement in Latin America going back to the Monroe doctrine. He questioned how the US can speak of humanitarian assistance when it still has own damage from Hurricane Maria. He ended saying that if American is trying to make itself great again, Russia is watching.

China also responded, insisting against intervention while also saying that while “On the one hand we hear tall talks about helping the people of Venezuela, on the other hand we keep seeing more sanctions.” China called the allegations unfounded, and said that China never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs, nor does it impose its will, leaving unsaid the suggestion that the US does exactly this.

Meeting​: United Nations Security Council: The Situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Date/Location​: Wednesday April 10, 2019; 10:30 to 1:30; Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​: Secretary-General António Guterres, USG for Humanitarian Affairs, Joint Special Representative of the UNHCR, Dr. Kathleen Page, a professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine, US Vice President Mike Pence, Russia, China,  France, UK, Peru, Dominican Republic, Belgium, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Venezuela

Written by: WIT Representative Bertina Kudrin

United Nations Security Council: The Question Concerning Haiti

The Security Council met to discuss the situation in Haiti. The meeting began with a briefing by the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations. Much progress had been made. Police in Haiti are more professional and are overall maintaining humanitarian standards in dealing with the country’s instability. On the socio-economic front, the IMF, Haitian central bank, and Haitian government reached a deal on March 8th for a three year loan to help the most vulnerable parts of the population. Problems do persist, however. Gangs are still clashing. The prime minister’s government has been subjected to votes of no confidence and has begun consultation for the selection of his 3rd government. Overall, the Under Secretary remained optimistic about the end of the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti which is coming up soon. He recommended transitioning to a smaller political advisory group within Haiti, a sentiment echoed by later briefers and delegates.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights discussed the state of humanitarian aid going to Haiti. Structural challenges continue. There is limited employment opportunities, especially for youth. Natural disasters have inflicted damage over the past few years. Heavily armed gangs in the capital are taking advantage of the limited presence of the state. There is a 1,100 day average pre-trial detention period for prisoners, well over the limit established by international law. The results are overcrowding, lack of hygiene, and a lack of resources spent on prisoners.

Loune Viaud, the executive director of Zanmi Lasante, Partners in Health’s sister organization in Haiti, talked about sexual assault and gender inequality in Haiti. Haiti has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Cancer in Haiti primarily affects women, as 75% of Viaud’s patients are women. While the organization is doing its best, obstetric and cancer care are still lacking.

Meeting​: United Nations Security Council: The Question Concerning Haiti

Date/Location​: Wednesday April 3, 2019; 10:00 to 12:00; Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Speakers​: Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Executive Director of Zanmi Lasante, United States, Belgium, Cote D’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Peru, Kuwait, South Africa  

Written by: WIT Representative Bertina Kudrin

Security Council Voted Unanimously to Give Aid to Syrians

UN Security Council voted unanimously on Resolution 2165, which authorized direct provision of humanitarian assistance to Syria through four checkpoints from the neighbouring countries without the consent of the Assad regime.

Syrian Vote

The authors of the resolution took the floor immediately after the vote to explain the rationale of passing the resolution. Australia stated that the resolution “should not have been necessary”, for it was the consistent non-compliance of previous resolutions 2135 and 2139 that gave rise to the instant resolution. The Austrian Ambassador added it is the “cynical manipulation of humanitarian aid by the regime” and “calculated denial of life-saving medical supply” that caused the council to act in unison. Luxembourg spoke on the monitoring procedures of the resolution, stating that a Secretary-General initiated monitoring regime will ensure that only aid and aid workers pass through the specified checkpoint. The third author, Jordan, reminded the council that the new resolution should be read in concert with previous ones, and that the previous resolutions are still in force. Other members of the council explained their vote by reiterating the “untold suffering of Syrian people” and the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in Syria. They also highlighted the need to find political solutions for the political problems facing Syria. Many, including American Ambassador Samantha Power, commended the council for the new unity in handling the Syrian crisis. Members also urged all sides in Syria to work with the Secretary-General’s new envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.

In response to the resolution, the Syrian Ambassador reiterated his government’s provision of humanitarian aid, and stated that the opposition is part of the humanitarian crisis but not the solution of it. He denounced some countries for supporting the opposition, stating that such stubbornness of these governments encouraged terrorism from Iraq spilling over to Syria.

Meeting Title –7216th meeting of the UN Security Council
Speakers – Permanent Representative of Argentina, Australia, Chad, China, Chile, France, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Republic of Korea and Rwanda, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States to the United Nations
Location – Security Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters
Date – July 14th, 2014
Summary Written By – Harrison Chung