SECURITY COUNCIL MOVES TO ENHANCE PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN CONFLICT
SECURITY COUNCIL MOVES TO ENHANCE PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN CONFLICT20000419
With Unanimous Adoption of Resolution 1296 (2000), Members Extend Concern to Cover Women, Children, Other Vulnerable Groups
The Security Council this afternoon reaffirmed its readiness to adopt appropriate steps to deal with deliberate attacks on civilian populations and other protected persons, as well as with widespread violations of international humanitarian law and of human rights in conflict situations.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1296 (2000), the Council noted that such deliberate violations might constitute a threat to international peace and security. It indicated its willingness to consider the appropriateness and feasibility of temporary security and safe corridors for the protection of civilians. It also expressed willingness to consider the delivery of assistance in situations characterized by the threat of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against civilian populations.
By other terms of the resolution, the Council reaffirmed the importance of a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention, and invited Member States and the Secretary-General to bring to its attention any matter that might threaten international peace and security. It further affirmed its willingness to consider the establishment, in appropriate circumstances, of preventive missions.
It reiterated its grave concern at the harmful and widespread impact of armed conflict on civilians, particularly women, children and other vulnerable groups. It reaffirmed the importance of addressing their special protection and assistance needs in drafting the mandates of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace- building operations. It expressed its intention, where appropriate, to call upon the parties to a conflict to make special arrangements to meet those protection and assistance requirements.
Elsewhere in the text, the Council reiterated its call to all parties concerned, including non-State parties, to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel, as well as personnel of humanitarian organizations.
It affirmed its intention to ensure, where appropriate and feasible, that peacekeeping missions were given suitable and adequate resources to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical danger. That would also include the strengthening of the United Nations ability to plan and rapidly deploy
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peacekeeping personnel, civilian police, civil administrators and humanitarian personnel, utilizing the stand-by arrangements as appropriate.
The Council also affirmed its intention to include in the mandates of United Nations peacekeeping operations, where appropriate and on a case-by-case basis, clear terms for activities related to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants. It would also include provisions for child soldiers as well as for the safe and timely disposal of surplus arms and ammunition. The Council emphasized the importance of incorporating such measures in specific peace agreements, where appropriate and with the consent of the parties. It also stressed the importance of adequate resources being made available.
The Council reiterated the importance of compliance with relevant provision of international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, and of providing appropriate training in such law, including child- and gender-related provisions.
Among those making statements during the day-long debate was Secretary- General Kofi Annan.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Netherlands, United States, France, Russian Federation, Malaysia, China, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Namibia, Argentine, Jamaica, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Mali, Portugal (speaking on behalf of the European Union), Israel, Republic of Korea, Austria (speaking on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), Singapore, Japan, Egypt, Bahrain and Azerbaijan (speaking on behalf of Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova). Australia, Colombia, New Zealand and Indonesia also spoke, as did the representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Switzerland. The Foreign Minister of Canada, Lloyd Axworthy, also spoke.
The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, briefed the Council.
The meeting, which started at 11:35 a.m., was suspended at 2:15 p.m. It resumed at 3:20 p.m. and adjourned at 5:55 p.m.
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Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning to consider the question of civilians in armed conflict. It considered the issue in a two-day debate on 16 and 17 September 1999, for which it had before it a report of the Secretary-General containing some 40 recommendations to protect civilians (document S/1999/957).
At the conclusion of that debate, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1265 (1999) by which it decided to immediately establish a mechanism to further review the recommendations contained in the report and to consider appropriate steps by April 2000, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter. Today's meeting is a follow-up to that review. The report (document S/1999/957) will also serve as a basis for today's discussion. It primarily seeks to encourage decisive Council actions to address the issue and promote a "climate of confidence". How the Council responds to this challenge is of critical importance, the Secretary-General says.
In the report, the Secretary-General draws attention to several proposals he believes to be of particular importance. First, that to permanently strengthen the capacity of the Council and the Organization to protect civilians in armed conflict, steps must be taken to strengthen the Organizations ability to plan and deploy rapidly, which includes enhancing participation in the United Nations Stand-by Arrangements System. Second, the Council should establish a permanent technical review mechanism of United Nations and regional sanctions regimes which can use information provided by Council members, relevant financial institutions, the Secretariat, agencies and other humanitarian actors to ascertain the impact of sanctions on civilians.
The Secretary-General also draws attention to recommendations that could be employed when the Council receives information that an outbreak of violence aimed at civilians is imminent. First, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council impose arms embargoes and that it urge Member States to enforce those embargoes in their own national jurisdictions. Second, that the Council consider deployment in certain cases of a preventive peacekeeping operation, or of another preventive monitoring presence.
Third, he recommends that the Council make greater use of targeted sanctions to deter and contain those who commit egregious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, as well as those parties to conflicts which continually defy Council resolutions. Fourth, the Council should deploy international military observers to monitor the situation in camps for internally displaced persons and refugees, and if such elements are found, deploy regional or international military forces that are prepared to take measures to compel disarmament.
Finally, the Secretary-General makes several recommendations intended to alleviate the suffering of civilians in situations where conflict has already broken out and civilians are being targeted. First, the Council should underscore in its resolutions, at the outset of a conflict, the imperative for civilian populations to have unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance and that failure to comply will result in the imposition of targeted sanctions. Second, the Council should also ensure that, whenever required, peacekeeping and peace- enforcement operations are authorized and equipped to control or close down hate media assets.
Third, in the face of massive and ongoing abuses, the Council should consider: the scope of the breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law; the inability of local authorities to uphold legal order, or identification of a pattern of complicity by local authorities; the exhaustion of peaceful or consent-based efforts to address the situation; the ability of the Council to monitor actions that are undertaken; and the limited and proportionate use of force, with attention to repercussions on civilian populations and the environment.
The report paints a stark picture of the realities faced by civilians in contemporary armed conflict and the challenges these present to the international community. The Secretary-General observes that the plight of civilians is no longer something which can be neglected, or made secondary because it complicates political negotiations or interests. It is fundamental to the central mandate of the Organization. The United Nations is the only international organization with the reach and authority to end those practices, the Secretary-General states.
KOFI ANNAN, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said he was pleased that both the Security Council and the General Assembly had followed up last years debate on the subject of protection of civilians in armed conflict with concrete steps. The General Assembly had focused its efforts on strengthening legal protections, namely the adoption of a text by the working group on an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the expansion of efforts to strengthen and extend the Protocol to the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.
He said the Security Council had also taken action to provide enhanced protection for civilians. Those efforts had found most concrete expression in establishment of the peacekeeping operations in Sierra Leone, East Timor and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The mandates of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) made specific provision for the protection of civilians. The mandates of UNAMSIL and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) provided for support for the protection of children through the deployment of Child Protection Advisers.
He said the efforts within the Council and the General Assembly had been supported in a variety of ways by the Secretariat and United Nations agencies, as well as by non-governmental organizations. The Organization had sought to strengthen the protection of internally displaced persons, most recently in February this year when the Secretary-Generals Representative on Internal Displacement had undertaken a mission to Burundi to urge the Government to dismantle the regroupement camps.
His report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict contained a number of recommendations, the Secretary-General said. The most far-reaching related to the creation of a rapid deployment force. The second recommendation related to cases where there had been sufficient warning of impending attacks or an escalation of conflict and where the Council had in some instances made use of preventive deployments.
Since the introduction of the report, he said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and others had taken a number of initiatives in relation to the security, civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps and settlements. Such efforts had included the provision of material support to local security services in Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, and an arrangement in the refugee camps in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that enabled Swedish police officers to work in partnership with the local police.
The Secretary-General said that in future conflict situations it might be necessary to consider temporary security zones and safe corridors for the protection of civilians, and he welcomed the Councils readiness to consider the feasibility of such measures.
He said the Council debate bore vivid testimony to a growing recognition that the first duty in any conflict was to protect the innocent civilians. Those civilians had no part in the fighting, had nothing to gain from its persistence, and no choice but to rely on the international community to help them in their most desperate hour of need. To answer their call was the Organizations most important obligation. He hoped the debate would give further impetus to the Organizations efforts.
JAKOB KELLENBERGER, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said that despite the obvious limits to what was known as legal protection, he was convinced that humanitarian law was as relevant as ever. That was one of the conclusions of a major survey, entitled "People on War", carried out by the Committee last year in several countries, most of which had been affected by war. The survey strongly reaffirmed the importance of maintaining the distinction between civilians and combatants, the cardinal principle of humanitarian law. In practice, however, that distinction tended to become blurred. Indeed, civilians have become the primary victims and often the very object of war.
The term "humanitarian" had often been misused, he said. There had been talk of a "humanitarian war" or even "coercive humanitarian countermeasures", just a few expressions that created dangerous confusion as to the respective roles and responsibilities of political actors and humanitarian organizations. The question was not the validity of coercive action in extreme circumstances, as such action was often the last resort to protect civilians. Indeed, it might be essential in situations where there were large-scale and systematic violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Coercive measures should be envisaged only in extreme cases. The Council had numerous other means at its disposal for enhancing the security of civilians.
The important thing, he continued, was to distinguish political and military action aimed at addressing the causes of conflict from humanitarian action aimed at addressing its effects. The legitimacy of the cause being defended could, in no circumstance, exempt a military operation from the obligations laid down in international humanitarian law.
He went on to say that peacekeeping operations were taking on an increasing number of humanitarian aspects. That trend entailed certain dangers. In situations where peace was still fragile, United Nations troops might have to use force, which could create the impression that they were party to the conflict. That could cause them to be denied access to certain regions and thus to some of the victims. Coercive action, apart from affording protection for civilians, should create conditions that allowed humanitarian agencies to operate. but without being associated with such action in any way. Being associated with coercive action would jeopardize the work of humanitarian organizations by undermining their credibility and their acceptance by the parties to the conflict. The use of force was the domain of the military, and relief activities the domain of humanitarian agencies.
JOOP W. SCHEFFERS (Netherlands) said the full compliance with the rules and principles of international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law, was most important. The Security Council should, in that regard, enhance its cooperation with the ICRC. The perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes should be prosecuted and duly punished. The early entry into force of the Statue establishing the International Criminal Court would contribute to ending impunity and thus to the prevention of future war crimes.
In the face of grave and widespread violations of human rights, the Council could not stand by and watch, but should consider what role to play in stopping those violations, he said. The Human Rights Commission had an important role in making sure that human rights standards were upheld. Unimpeded access of United Nations and humanitarian personnel to populations in need was equally important. The Council should act when there was a denial of such access. Under specific circumstances, that might comprise the use of all measures at the Councils disposal, such as the imposition of targeted sanctions.
It should be emphasized, he said, how important it was for United Nations and United Nations-mandated action to be adequate, comprehensive and integrated. Strategic Frameworks, such as agreed for Afghanistan, were a powerful tool to ensure such an approach. He encouraged the Secretary-General to make full use of the prerogatives conferred on him by the United Nations Charter and to fully participate in the preparation of such mandates.
NANCY SODERBERG (United States) said that ever since the founding of the United Nations and the conclusion of the Geneva Conventions, a civilianization of conflict had taken place. Traditional tools were not always completely effective, but members of the Security Council must identify the means to address the outrages being perpetrated against civilians. Every specific situation of armed conflict must be dealt with individually, in its own context, bearing in mind the global standards set by the applicable provisions of international humanitarian law. It was not advisable to define in advance a cookie cutter approach.
The best way to protect civilians was to prevent conflict before it erupted, she said. The importance of early warning and early preventive actions were recognized. A variety of options could be considered. At times, encouraging diplomatic talks between the parties might be the proper response. At other times, the Council might dispatch monitors, impose targeted sanctions, or even deploy civilian police or peacekeeping troops. The key was to define steps that were both feasible and effective. Badly devised actions raised the risks to the very people that needed help. It was also important to make sure that the United Nations personnel in the field were trained and equipped to get the job done right.
The United Nations had also a role in helping with demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of former combatants, including child soldiers. But it could not do those things alone. The host government must do its part. The World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other development agencies could also help make the transition from the initial phase of demobilization to the longer-term phase of reintegration back into society, she said.
A point of paramount importance was that civilians could not be adequately protected by the international community alone, she said. The authorities of the State in which armed conflict was occurring must cooperate with the international community and humanitarian organizations in ensuring access to the civilian population at risk and by ensuring the safety and security of the United Nations and humanitarian personnel involved in operations designed to assist civilians. Each government must do all in its power to live up to the tenets of international law and to protect the civilians under its authority against threats to their lives, their dignity and to their personal rights, she said.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said that the recent debates of the Council, particularly on the Carlsson report concerning the Rwanda genocide, illustrated the extent to which the subject of civilian protection was an essential part of the Councils agenda. Todays draft resolution clearly intended to place the question of civilians in armed conflict at the heart of the Councils preoccupations. The report of the Secretary-General on the subject would be a permanent reference work for the Council.
The resolution stressed the Councils determination to obtain all the necessary information on the situation of civilians in armed conflicts, he continued. It also marked the Councils determination to face its responsibilities and to act with all the means at its disposal to contribute to better protection of civilians in armed conflict situations. One such means concerned appeals of the Council to parties involved in conflict. Another was the creation of preventive measures, such as the mission in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Another means was the more traditional peacekeeping operation, he said. A fourth was the use of sanctions. The adoption of sanctions must not contribute to the suffering or deterioration of civilian populations. It would be up to the working group on sanctions created by the Council to take the Secretary-Generals recommendations into account.
The issue of sanctions affected the Councils actions within the framework of Chapter VII, he said. Todays draft contained important provisions under the subject. A provision in the draft stated that a threat to international peace and security might result from attacks directed against civilian populations and from the commission of systematic and flagrant and extensive violations of international humanitarian law and human rights. That was a most important assertion. He attached importance, as well, to the provision on the use of anti- personnel mines.
SERGEY LAVROV (Russian Federation) said that protecting civilians in armed conflict was a multifaceted issue and required a comprehensive approach. It was, therefore, fundamental to prevent or terminate all conflicts. The primary responsibility for protecting civilians in all circumstances rested with the States and parties to the conflict. However, the international efforts undertaken by the Council, among others, could contribute to that goal in a very positive manner. The resolution to be adopted today was a significant step in the right direction. It would serve to enhance the protection of civilians and international personnel and become a strong warning for those who violated international humanitarian law in the course of armed conflicts.
The last year marked 50 years since the adoption of the Geneva Conventions on the protection of victims of war, he said. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the vast majority of States had become parties to the Conventions, the gap between the provisions contained therein and their implementation during conflicts remained too wide. The problems in that sphere should continue to be addressed in the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the ICRC and other bodies directly involved in the protection of civilians in armed conflicts. He supported the strengthening of cooperation and coordination between the Security Council and those organs, on the understanding that in civilian protection, just as in other issues, there was a division of labour based on the provisions of the Charter and other international legal instruments.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said that 90 per cent of the conflict casualties around the world were civilians. Civilians had increasingly become deliberate targets of combatants. Such inhumane acts were unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms. The perpetrators of those acts must be punished.
The protection of civilians in armed conflicts should be all-encompassing and should be provided with legal protection under international law, he continued. It was important that United Nations personnel involved in peacekeeping missions be appropriately sensitized on the subject as part of their mandate and provided with adequate training, so as to be better able to handle actual situations on the ground. It was imperative that they had unimpeded access to those they were supposed to help. Serious efforts must be made to ensure that armed elements were not allowed into refugee camps.
He said the provision of protection to civilians in armed conflicts required coordinated and concerted efforts on the part of all concerned - peacekeepers, United Nations humanitarian workers and personnel of other international relief agencies and non-governmental organizations. While performing its own specialized duties, each played a supportive and reinforcing role in ensuring the physical, legal and psychological protection of the hapless civilians caught in the traumas of armed conflict.
WANG YINGFAN (China) said that there were still armed conflicts in many places of the world, inflicting great harm on civilians and causing damage to regional stability and development, and might even constitute a threat to international peace and security. How to effectively protect civilians in armed conflicts had always been a serious and difficult task for the international community.
The Security Council should handle the issue of protection of civilians in armed conflicts on a case-by-case basis. It was necessary to take timely measures in response to cases like the Rwandan genocide. Usually, however, it was the sovereign States that should bear the main responsibility for protecting civilians in armed conflicts. The Council should give full respect to the opinions of the countries or parties concerned. Governments were supposed to make decisions on what measures were necessary to protect civilians, in accordance with the nature of the conflict and the actual situation of civilians in the area of conflict. It would have severe consequences to wantonly interfere in other countries internal affairs or even attempt to overturn a legal government under the pretext of protection of civilians and by politicizing humanitarian concerns, he said.
The Council should also have a clear division of work and enhance coordination and cooperation with other bodies, he said. With its primary responsibility of the maintenance of international peace and security, the Council should draw upon both successes and failures in the past, so as to perform its duties in a more effective manner. The Council should focus its efforts on finding solutions to armed conflicts, he said.
Only by creating an overall favourable and peaceful environment, he continued, and defusing specific conflicts and disputes at an early date could the effective protection of civilians be truly realized. At the same time, the international community and relevant United Nations bodies should take further steps to eradicate the root causes of the conflicts by helping affected countries to eliminate poverty, develop their economies, promote national reconciliation and safeguard domestic stability.
Sir JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom) said that today's resolution would only have value if it became a catalyst for a more systematic approach by the Council to the protection of civilians in specific conflicts. The concept of security for individuals did not stand in opposition to security for States. It played an intrinsic part in the wider objective. When individuals were protected, and their human economic, social, political and cultural rights were upheld, international stability was consolidated. The goals in today's resolution lay at the heart of a sustainable conflict prevention strategy.
The Security Council's first objective should be to contain threats to peace, he continued. It was time to take a more professional approach to human security and conflict prevention. It was necessary to make a real effort to improve coordination and information flow within the United Nations system. It was also necessary to strengthen the proactive role of the Secretary-General, so that the coordination with the Economic and Social Council and relevant United Nations agencies could work more naturally. And the Organization needed to forge operational links between regional organizations and the Security Council. Most fundamental of all, it was necessary to make the psychological leap to tackling conflicts at their roots. When that failed, peacekeepers may well be needed.
It was also necessary to produce clear-sighted analysis, comprehensive and integrated planning and well-resourced implementation, he said. As for post- conflict activity, the international community should establish coherent strategies to build peace after the war was over. The United Nations could not wait until the peacekeepers and humanitarian teams had left before putting its plans in place. That was something that the United Kingdom was trying to do in Sierra Leone.
The draft before the Council concentrated on the promotion of physical security, which was the first area where the Council could make a difference, he said. Protection of civilians in armed conflict went wider than simple physical security. The international legal framework had made dramatic strides in recent years with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Ottawa Convention on anti-personnel mines -- although both were still awaiting the signature and ratification of too many Member States.
Actions on the national level should not be forgotten either. The primary responsibility for the protection of civilians did not rest with the Council, the ICRC, or with UNICEF. It was the responsibility of the belligerents in conflicts: of governments, non-state actors and their leaders. They too must make a commitment, and be reproached by the international community if they did not.
SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) said that the suffering of civilians in armed conflicts had been on the increase. They were deliberately targeted in armed conflicts. United Nations personnel had not been spared. Following a previous discussion of the subject of civilians in armed conflicts, the Security Council had condemned it and had affirmed the desire of the international community to deal with the problem. He observed that the Council was again considering the question. The inhuman practice of targeting civilians must be ended.
He supported the draft resolution before the Council. The question of the protection of civilians was extremely complex, as it was inter-linked with legal, political, peacekeeping and peace-building issues. Bearing in mind those linkages, it was important, consequently, that comprehensive action be taken on a case-by-case basis.
Humanitarian aspects must also be considered, he said. Prevention of conflicts was the best way to protect civilians in the first place. Coordination of effort was also valuable. There was a need to respect the sovereignty of States and non-interference in the affairs of States. The consent of the State involved in conflict should be sought. The question of the situation of civilians in armed conflicts was not new, he said, referring to the problems faced by civilians in occupied Arab lands. Problems of civilians in conflicts in Africa also deserved attention.
MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia) emphasized the need to address the uncontrolled inflow of small arms and sophisticated weapons into areas of conflict. Weapon- producing countries should not transfer arms, including landmines, to regions where armed conflict was imminent or raging. Equally important was the responsibility of Member States to ensure that their citizens were not used as mercenaries.
He said that displaced persons fleeing into neighbouring countries continued to place a huge social and economic burden on the host countries, especially in Africa. The international community should continue providing significant support to host communities and refugee populations.
The protection of civilians was closely linked to the capacity of United Nations peacekeepers to deploy rapidly, he said. The timely development, appropriate mandate and adequate resources could drastically improve the plight of besieged civilians during armed conflicts. The support of the international community remained crucial.
He said the Security Council should pay urgent attention to the disturbing continuation of attacks against United Nations and associated personnel. Political will was required to ratify and implement adequate measures to assure the security of humanitarian field workers. Namibia was concerned over the present situation and recommended that the Council continue to request reports from the Secretary-General at regular intervals.
ARNOLDO LISTRE (Argentina) said that recent experience indicated that civilians were no longer merely victims, but had become targets of belligerent factions. The Council had expressed its repudiation of that fact, but that was not enough. It must see to it that it did not recur. The international community had endowed itself with many legal instruments, and there was an adequate body of law to address those situations.
But where the international community could rely on legal instruments, in the field of physical protection of civilians, there were not enough instruments. It was crucial to human security that those instruments were developed, he said..
Also, there must be smooth communication between the Secretary-General and the Council, and the Council should explore all possible modalities of cooperation with regional organizations. When drafting mandates for peacekeeping operations, the Council should have a clear set of rules to control the flow of small weapons and to control media used to incite genocide. The staff of humanitarian operations should be free from attacks. Therefore, the Convention on the security of personnel of the United Nations of 1994 needed an additional protocol, he said.
M. PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) said it was regrettable that despite the international community's efforts to address the deliberate targeting of civilians in conflict areas, innocent women, children, refugees and other vulnerable groups remained the targets of warring parties. Promoting respect for international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, and addressing the current culture of impunity would contribute significantly to the overall protection of civilians in conflict situations.
She stressed the need to develop innovative strategies for addressing violations of international law by non-State actors, to whom existing legal regimes could not be easily applied. It was difficult to enforce accountability on militia and criminal elements in internal conflicts. There was an urgent need to ensure that the special protection and assistance needs of the vulnerable were addressed in the mandates of peace-making, peacekeeping and peace-building operations. The Security Council's recognition of the importance of child protection represented an important development in efforts to address their special needs.
It was vital to address the question of impunity resolutely in order to deter future human rights violations by parties to armed conflicts, she said. The design and implementation of Security Council sanctions must be improved significantly to increase their effects on targeted groups while minimizing their unintended effects on civilians.
VOLODYMYR YEL'CHENKO (Ukraine) said he endorsed the statement made by the representative of Azerbaijan. There was hardly a topic on the Council's agenda that had attracted such genuine attention of both the Council and the international community. Consideration of it had passed through several stages, gaining momentum each time and thereby bringing the Council closer to substantive results. The debate in March had uncovered difficult but important questions on the role of the Council and other United Nations organs, and on the limits on the Council and others to act for humanitarian purposes.
The resolution before the Council today answered many of those questions, and showed the growing consensus on ways and means to protect civilians, he said. It reaffirmed that the Council could act where civilians were deliberately targeted and where systematic, flagrant and widespread violations of humanitarian law and human rights were a threat to international peace and security. Areas where action was required were defined, and standards for such action established. By confining itself to physical protection, the Council consciously acknowledged non-members concerns. Conflict prevention, containment and elimination of conflict were the main tasks of the Council. Clear-cut principles and criteria for enforcement to prevent conflicts should be defined, as such a document would enhance the Council's capacity to avert conflicts and create better conditions for unanimity among Council members.
Some of the Secretary-General's important legal recommendations were not in the draft resolution, he said. Ukraine agreed with the recommendation on the need to accelerate ratification of the statute of the International Criminal Court. The Rome text might need further work, but the Court was the only viable universal mechanism to enforce respect for humanitarian law. Ukraine was working on elaborating legislation to give the statute domestic effect, inspired by Canada's Crimes against Humanity Act. Ukraine also attached great importance to the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, while recognizing that it failed to provide the same protection to those in missions not mandated by the Assembly or the Council, for which an additional protocol was required. Ukraine also hoped the Assembly would adopt the new protocol to the Rights of the Child Convention, on children in armed conflict, and that it would be rapidly ratified and implemented.
ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said that the issue of protection of civilians in armed conflict had lately received increasing attention in the Councils work. The subject was one of an evolving nature. The experience of the United Nations in armed conflict had not been the same for many reasons and the task of the Council had also had to evolve over time. One set of measures to address that issue would therefore not be enough. There were some commonalities, however, that could be addressed.
Steps to protect civilians in armed conflict had to be taken on a case-by- case basis. Women, children and other vulnerable parts of the population, such as refugees and internally displaced persons, had special needs. The legal framework available to address those issues, often considered inadequate, was a comprehensive one, he said.
His Government supported rapid action responses and preventive deployment. There should be a focus on situations where refugees and internally displaced persons were deliberately placed in vulnerable situations. The security of refugee camps should be increased, and the media component in the recommendations of the Secretary-General was a welcome one, as was the suggestion to establish temporary security zones and safe corridors for protection of civilians, he said.
Incorporating the mass media component might be useful, he added. Training of United Nations personnel in humanitarian aspects, and also in negotiating techniques, was equally important. He welcomed setting up of an informal working group on a temporary basis. It was heartening that the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations had taken up consideration of the recommendations as well, he said.
CHEICKNA KEITA (Mali) said that the protection of civilians in armed conflict was a cause of major concern for the Security Council. The systematic recourse to violence against civilians and attacks against United Nations personnel were a serious threat to international peace and security. The Secretary-General had made recommendations, which he supported.
Deliberate acts of violence against civilians required greater involvement of the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and governments in the areas concerned, he said. Physical protection of civilians in armed conflict meant greater legal protection, which in turn meant inclusion of international legal instruments in domestic law, he said.
Sanctions, the coercive arm of the international community, were also a cause of concern, for humanitarian reasons, he continued. Those concerns had to be addressed when taking up the sanctions issue in future situations. Another problem was the proliferation and uncontrolled use of small arms. The flow of illicit weapons and anti-personnel mines should be stemmed, he said. The West African region had addressed that issue. Until now, the international community had often been helpless in having embargoes respected, and it had to coordinate better against the flow of small weapons.
The number of conflicts called for establishing multidimensional peacekeeping operations with clear mandates, covering all aspects, including monitoring security of refugee camps, he said. It would also be useful to establish a rapid response instrument. The ultimate goal must be the economic, social and cultural protection of civilians, because there was no doubt that peace and economic security were linked, he concluded.
The Council President, LLOYD AXWORTHY, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, speaking in his national capacity, said there was need to adapt international practice to make the security of people - their rights, safety and lives - a collective priority. That meant rewiring global machinery to fit the needs of the new century. For Canada, that meant putting people first. It was the inspiration behind the anti-personnel mines ban Convention, the impetus for the creation of the International Criminal Court and the motive for Canadas efforts to address the proliferation of small arms and the needs of war-affected children. Advancing that human security agenda was also Canadas objective in seeking a seat on the Security Council.
He said the Security Council would today take action that effectively set a new course for its defence of the safety of people. The Secretary-Generals reports on the subject under discussion were the blueprint for action. The resolution before the Council was the handbook. Most importantly, he said the text entrenched the principle that, in the pursuit of peace, the security of people was at least as worthy a subject as the security of States. In both spirit and letter, the resolution provided the basis for Council concern and action for that purpose.
The resolution emphasized the special needs of women and children in conflict, the importance of unhindered humanitarian access to conflict zones and the pursuit of those who violated human security, he said. In so doing, he said it created an obligation and responsibility for the Council to shape its work accordingly.
On the question of war-affected children, he said there was a considerable momentum for global action. Later this month, Ghana and Canada would host a conference in Accra to catalyse efforts in the West African region. In September, Canada would host an international conference bringing together governments,
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international agencies and civil society to develop a global plan of action. Security Council engagement in that area would go a long way to complementing the impact of all those initiatives.
Work by the Council to promote human security remained a work in progress. However, it was work that should continue. Human security - including the security of civilians in armed conflict - must not be an issue to be considered once or even twice a year. The draft resolution would ensure that it was an integral part of the Councils deliberations each and every time it considered action - that, in effect, human security was hardwired into the Councils operations.
The meeting suspended at 2:15 p.m.
When the Council resumed at 3:20 p.m., ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal), speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU), Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, said that the safe and unimpeded access to those in need of assistance was an obligation under international humanitarian law. It was one which national authorities, and all other parties to a conflict, were legally bound to ensure. That obligation was in many instances deliberately flouted. The Council should make clear in its relevant resolutions that civilians must have unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance and that there should be full cooperation with the United Nations in providing such access. The safety and security of those entrusted with the delivery of assistance and supplies must also be ensured.
The first step in the protection of civilians was to prevent conflicts, he said. The link between the prevention of armed conflicts, the facilitation of the peaceful settlement of disputes and the protection of civilians during armed conflict had been well established by the Council. He stressed the importance of a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention, which in turn required the promotion of a culture of prevention within the international community. It also entailed paying attention to an expanded view on security.
The Union encouraged the Secretary-General to resort more often to the prerogative conferred on him by Article 99 of the Charter, he continued. Both the Secretary-General and Member States should be invited to bring to the Council's attention any matter which, in their opinion, might threaten peace and security. The establishment in the Council Secretariat of an early-warning mechanism for coordination and systematic dissemination of reliable information, including human rights information, could be one way to facilitate the Secretary-General's work.
The early deployment of preventive missions should also be considered whenever possible, he added. Because conflict situations evolve quickly, the United Nations must be ready to plan and deploy its operations accordingly. They must be placed on the ground as soon as possible with sufficient resources to achieve the mandates entrusted to them by the Council. At that early stage, a number of measures could be envisaged to determine potential conflicts and act preventively, such as the use of fact-finding missions, special envoys and monitors. The Union supported expanding the scope of the United Nations Standby Arrangements System, as well as training peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel in human rights and international humanitarian law, including child and gender- related provisions.
YEHUDA LANCRY (Israel) said that criminalizing the deliberate targeting of civilians would prevent actors from hiding behind their political or military purposes. The international community had finally established that no end justified the deliberate assault on the innocent. That was a universal principle. The next step might be for Member States and entities to explicitly outlaw the practice. The question that still plagues us is how did the century that saw the birth of our international human rights instruments also mark the most vicious targeting of civilians in human history? he asked.
Moreover, the current age had marked the growth of a new tactic, which was as cynical as it was brutal - the use of civilians as human shields, he continued. That practice must be subsumed under the same theme, for it was in essence the same crime -- the deliberate attempt to cause the death and suffering of civilians in armed conflict. More must be done to promote a climate of peace and respect for human rights. That began with the respect for the human rights of all people, regardless of ethnicity, religion or nationality.
He said that civilians must never be the direct target of war. They, however, must certainly be the target of peacemaking. All efforts at diplomatic reconciliation, between States and parties, must be supplemented by efforts to promote normalization of relations between peoples and societies. He hoped that the focus on the innocent would set the stage for a greater recognition of the inherent rights of all human beings across borders and continents. Only then would civil society be truly safe and free.
SUH DAE-WON (Republic of Korea) said that today's alarming breaches of international humanitarian norms flouted both the authority of the Council and the spirit of the Charter. Despite an ever-expanding legal corpus, there was still room for improving the protection of civilians within the international legal framework. It was imperative that a culture of compliance begin to prevail, so that legal protection and physical protection were no longer two separate matters. In that context, he echoed previous speakers in expressing his expectations for the future role of the International Criminal Court. Also, he concurred with the Secretary-General's recommendation for a more proactive use of preventive monitoring in areas of potential conflict and the deployment of preventive peacekeeping missions.
Further, he continued, in view of the multifaceted nature of recent conflicts, there was an urgent need to strengthen the United Nations rapid reaction capability to cover more than the traditional mandates of peacekeeping. It should also cover a number of other functions, such as the protection of humanitarian assistance to civilians. Also, there was a continuing need to minimize collateral humanitarian suffering through the imposition of more specifically targeted sanctions and periodic substantial review mechanisms. While the search for more effective and smarter sanctions continued, tighter arms embargoes should be sought in all situations where the parties to the conflict targeted civilians.
In addition, serious attention should be given to the Secretary-General's suggestion that States be provided with political and financial support to facilitate compliance with the Ottawa Convention, he added. Mine clearance was an urgent precondition to a minimum level of safety for civilians. Finally, he emphasized the primary importance of maintaining the civilian and humanitarian character of camps for refugees and internally displaced persons.
BENITA FERRERO-WALDNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria, speaking on behalf of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said that the steady increase in civilian casualties in conflict situations was one of the past centurys most horrific features. An impressive number of instruments of international humanitarian and human rights law had been adopted since the Second World War, but a new century was entered, a new century, a worldwide climate of compliance was still far away.
Cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE took place on a multitude of levels, he continued. Peace and security in the OSCE region were best guaranteed by the willingness and ability of each participating State to uphold democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, adopted at the 1994 Budapest Summit, obliged all participating States to ensure democratic control of their military, paramilitary and internal security forces, and to provide and maintain measures to guard against unauthorized use of military means, she said.
The OSCE strongly believed that in situations of armed conflict, it must focus on the victims and the vulnerable, their interests, rights and protection. The protection of children affected by armed conflict was a priority of the Austrian OSCE chairmanship. The protection of, and assistance to, the millions of people displaced within the borders of their own countries was of particular concern to all. The development of an appropriate, normative framework for the internally displaced was an important achievement. The OSCE would address that issue in a more systematic manner by, among other things, organizing a seminar on the topic, she said.
She said there was great potential to expand cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE to other areas of common interest, such as the fight against the proliferation of small arms, the protection and promotion of human rights in conflict zones, the training of field mission personnel, as well as peacekeeping and peace-building operations. Such common endeavours to protect the vulnerable would soon lead to concrete results.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said that the first goal of the United Nations was to prevent conflict. However, if conflict occurred, the job of the United Nations was to ensure protection of civilians over soldiers. Unfortunately, in place of inter-State wars, the international community now saw more intra-State conflicts. Now, it was neighbours who killed neighbours, friends who killed friends, civilians who killed civilians. Rwanda was not the only place where that had happened in recent history. The same thing had happened in Sierra Leone, in Kosovo and elsewhere. Rules to protect civilians and combatants alike against some of the more reprehensible acts of war had been clearly set in the Geneva Conventions. The delegation of Singapore could therefore support the call of the Secretary-General to encourage a "climate of compliance" with existing rules and principles.
Clearly, the long-term solution was to promote development and education, he continued. In that respect, several recent reports on the matter were of great value. The Council's informal working group had also been studying the Secretary- General's comprehensive recommendations since last September to see how they could be implemented. However, it was important to remember that the peoples of the world would judge the United Nations not by its words, but by its deeds. It was necessary to admit that both in Srebrenica and Rwanda, it would appear that the protection of the lives of soldiers had been more important than the protection of civilians. Fortunately, in East Timor the United Nations authorized the deployment of a well-equipped international force with a clear mandate and under strong leadership. That operation proved that the United Nations could fulfil its responsibility of preventing the brutalization of innocent civilians by armed militia.
To save civilians, effective military forces were needed, he said. However, even when troops and resources were available, it did not necessarily mean that civilians would be protected. It was troubling that several authors had reported a "reverse ethnic cleansing" taking place in Kosovo in the presence of more than 40,000 international troops. In short, protecting civilians in armed conflict would require hard decisions. Considerable resources would have to be placed at risk, and consistent policies needed to be worked out. "But in this context, is it fair to ask the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to do more when it was being starved of resources, especially from the United Nations major contributors? Isn't it obvious that an under-funded United Nations can do little to protect civilians?" he asked. It was necessary to set realistic expectations among the civilian populations of the world about what the international community could and could not do.
HIDEAKI KOBAYASHI (Japan), addressing the problems of internally displaced persons, said that that issue was a matter of international peace and security, since peace, reconciliation and reconstruction in war-torn communities depended in part on their effective reintegration. If unaddressed, internal displacement not only caused internal instability, but it might also spill across borders and upset external and regional stability.
Sovereignty was responsibility, he said. When a government was not in a position to completely fulfil its responsibility, for political, economic or other reasons, then the international community could come in to help, with the consent and understanding of the government. The UNHCR should, in such cases where refugees and internally displaced persons were generated by the same causes, or where refugees had sought asylum across the border in areas where there were also internally displaced persons, utilize its expertise and skills to protect the displaced.
That efforts towards greater coordination on the humanitarian front were being made by the United Nations and relevant organizations was encouraging, he said. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee was pursuing more accountability in the international response to internally displaced persons. A coherent and comprehensive response by all actors, including better protection, assistance and development, must be pursued effectively, he said.
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) reaffirmed his countrys position that the Security Council should not be the only body to consider the Secretary-Generals report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. It believed that the General Assembly should also consider it, particularly the Secretary-Generals recommendations on how the protection of civilians in armed conflict could be carried out. Egypt urged that the Security Council should act within its power to ensure the supply of humanitarian assistance. It condemned the specific targeting of civilians during conflicts, and urged parties to such conflicts not to use civilians as shields. There should be no impediment to the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Targeting of civilians in armed conflict was prohibited, and belligerent parties must observe international legal instruments on the subject. The Charter called for respect of civilians in armed conflict, and failure to show such respect could constitute a threat to international peace and security. Egypt believed that work should continue on the development of specific criteria that could be used to avoid such an outcome. There should be no double standards in determining violations. The Egyptian delegate said the Security Council should take up that question under powers granted it in the Charter.
He said the Council must first of all consider a conflict situation and determine whether it constituted a threat to international peace and security. Internal problems of States should not be considered a threat as such. He expressed his countrys support for the provision of humanitarian assistance in conflict zones, adding that there must be access to those areas. Humanitarian agencies must be impartial, and must seek the consent of the State where conflict was taking place. Humanitarian assistance should not be used selectively to enhance the political interests of any of the parties. The Security Council must take account of Charter provisions on respect for the sovereignty of States and non-interference in their internal affairs.
JENO C.A. STAEHELIN, the observer for Switzerland, said that the protection of the civilian population in armed conflict compelled the international community to consider the evolution of such conflicts in the world. The complexity of the conflicts in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan challenged the basis on which human rights instruments had been drafted. Respect for those instruments was dependent on the responsibilities of States, but non-State groups using violence were on the rise.
He said civilians were not only victims, they had also become targets of conflict. It was important to insure respect for international law by non-State armed actors. Those actors should be recognized under international law. Armed groups often held considerable power over the territory under their control and could therefore be called upon to protect the population under their control. That had to be done under the guidance of article 3 of the Geneva Convention, he said.
Another priority concern was, apart from eliminating mines, the question of small arms, he said. It was urgent to establish closer control over the presence and transfer of such weapons. It was also important to develop codes of conduct and actions to reduce the number of small weapons already present in conflict zones. There was also a need to involve the economic actors and the private sector in the search for a durable solution to armed conflicts, he said.
JASSIM MOHAMMED BUALLAY (Bahrain) said the situation of civilians in armed conflict called for prompt action by the Council. The root causes of such conflicts should be dealt with. The parties must be forced to respect the rights of civilians. Targeting civilians in armed conflict had been unanimously condemned.
He recalled that the Security Council had previously considered the question and adopted resolutions on it. Those responsible for genocide and other humanitarian violations should be brought to justice. There must be free access to humanitarian assistance.
The Security Council must address the problem of the proliferation of small arms, he stated, adding that exporters of such weapons must also bear responsibility. The recommendations in the Secretary-Generals report must be implemented . The objective should be the full protection of civilians , while at the same time upholding Charter provisions on such matters. It was now clear that the protection of civilians in armed conflict was imperative, he said.
ELDAR KOULIEV (Azerbaijan), speaking on behalf of Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, said that the protection of civilians in armed conflict was a priority for the international community, and for the Security Council in particular. Civilians were increasingly and deliberately targeted for attack. He was greatly concerned that genocide and other violations of humanitarian law were becoming just another way of waging war. The countries for which he spoke had experienced the tragic consequences of that phenomenon. It was clear that civilian populations must never be targeted in armed conflict. Obviously, unless there was an appropriate response, those negative processes would become irreversible, would begin to cover an increasingly larger area and would form a threat to peace and stability.
Of particular concern was the situation of internally displaced persons. Today, 20 million people belonged to that category, and they were the most vulnerable groups of the civilian population in armed conflicts. The problem of the return of refugees and other displaced persons to their homes under circumstances when the government did not control the territory also needed attention. When an armed conflict was not completely resolved, it could flare up again, and those civilians might again become a target, he said.
In modern wars, there existed a special link with groups spreading aggressive separatism and religious fanaticism. They were one of the root causes for bloodshed and continuing conflicts which threatened civilian populations. He therefore supported establishing an international centre to combat terrorism.
Efforts to put an end to the supply of weapons to areas of conflict would be one of the main ways of combating acts of violence against civilians, he said. The violations of arms embargoes were disturbing, and those embargoes must be strengthened. Preventing conflict was the best way to protect civilian populations in armed conflicts. Inter-ethnic reconciliation, economic development and supporting national stability, among others, were necessary. When conflict erupted, the parties must be urged immediately to end the conflict by peaceful means. Those parties should comply with international law, support and protect civilians and not interfere with humanitarian assistance.
PENNY WENSLEY (Australia) said the Secretary-Generals report and other statements today underlined that strengthening protection for civilians required a multi-dimensional approach, addressing legal and physical assurances, conflict prevention and post-conflict peace-building activities. Member States, the United Nations and regional bodies must focus more attention on ways of improving implementation and enforcement of existing humanitarian and human rights laws and norms, including the Geneva Conventions -- particularly the fourth - and the 1977 Additional Protocols, and promoting observance of those instruments at all levels. That meant support for efforts to develop consistent national laws and national institutions to disseminate laws of armed conflict through education and training.
Strengthening legal protections for civilians also involved ensuring adequate recourse to justice where violations had taken place, she continued. It was vital that there were effective institutions to bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against humanity. More emphasis should be placed on implementing and developing concrete measures to improve the physical security of civilians caught in conflict situations. Particular attention must be given to vulnerable groups, such as women, children and displaced persons, she said.
She said those concrete measures included greater use of preventive action and increased use of specific mechanisms for the protection of civilians provided for in international humanitarian law instruments. It also included increased use of Charter provisions to investigate conflict situations and, as a last resort, sanctions targeting delinquent parties, but tailored to minimize any adverse impact on the civilian population. Another important component was the sustained use of political and diplomatic pressure to ensure parties to conflicts guaranteed access to humanitarian assistance, and necessary protection for United Nations and related personnel, the ICRC and humanitarian relief workers.
Her Government supported the Secretary-Generals recommendations to include explicit provisions for the protection of civilians within United Nations peacekeeping mandates, where warranted, and where United Nations missions were provided with the resources to fulfil their responsibilities. She supported the provisions of the draft resolution before the Council. Its adoption represented another step in the Councils ongoing efforts to enhance international security, not only in the broad geo-political sense, but in a practical way that could benefit people at the village level.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said that on various occasions the Security Council had drawn attention to the situation of civilians in armed conflict. The Secretary-Generals recommendations should also be examined by the General Assembly, he believed. The millions caught in the crossfire of conflicts were rightly a source of concern for the international community. Colombia condemned the use of prohibited methods, such as taking of hostages and attacks on civilian installations in armed conflicts. The Security Council must adopt forceful attitudes towards the proliferation and use of small arms. He also said that children should not participate in conflicts under any pretext. His Government had fixed the age of 18 for enlistment in its armed forces, and urged other States to follow suit.
He also urged adoption of confidence-building measures to resolve conflicts, and hoped for the preparation of a handbook on the subject. He called for a case- by-case approach in the imposition of sanctions. Colombia supported the position taken by the Summit of Non-Aligned countries held in his country on the observance of international humanitarian law in armed conflicts. It would also support the draft resolution to be adopted by the Security Council.
MICHAEL POWLES (New Zealand) said that the speed and effectiveness of the Councils response in the case of East Timor was exemplary and set a benchmark for the future discharge by the Security Council of its key role in combating the deliberate targeting of civilians. The Council had taken the initiative, through the establishment of its informal working group, to take the matter of the protection of civilians in armed conflict a stage further, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter.
Current humanitarian law included all the necessary principles and basic rules. The international norms had been further developed in the child soldiers protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The problem of protection of civilians was more one of belligerents refusal to respect those laws. There was an urgent need to create a climate of compliance with international law. An effective enforcement mechanism was missing. He hoped that that would change with the establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court, he said.
His Government strongly supported the extension of the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel to cover a broader range of personnel and a greater variety of United Nations missions. Abduction and murder of humanitarian workers took place too regularly, he said.
The importance of the separation of combatants and other elements from civilians in refugee camps had been starkly demonstrated on numerous occasions, he said. Safety and humanitarian relief could not be assured without it, and arrangements for repatriation could be seriously hampered when militias exerted power over displaced people. Coupled with that was the need to ensure access for civilian populations to sources of humanitarian assistance. The diversion or withholding of relief supplies as a means to political ends was contrary to the principles of humanity and should attract appropriate sanctions.
MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said it was a tragic irony that despite the adoption of numerous conventions on international humanitarian and human rights law during the last five decades, civilians, including women and children, had become targets of brutality, terror and indiscriminate killing. Such dire situations called for a multifaceted approach that would provide both legal and physical protection to civilians during hostilities. The Secretary-General's report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict detailed measures that strengthen both aspects of protection. Their implementation was of the utmost importance in ensuring the inherent rights of civilians to safety and security. The plight of civilians could no longer be neglected and could only be dealt with by a comprehensive framework of action.
In attempting to do that, it must be remembered that international law did not take precedence over national law, he said. A balance between protecting those rights and the sacrosanct principle of national sovereignty must be found. Thus, any action or intervention must be based on the consent of the State concerned, rather than imposed, something reaffirmed by the Council in some conflict areas. At the same time, Indonesia was saddened to learn that there had been an absence of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity in a country that continued to experience internal conflict.
Monitoring, addressing and understanding the root causes and implications of conflict would help in consideration of options, and to prevent the outbreak of violence, he said. Because peace, stability and socio-economic development were inter-linked, there should be close coordination and cooperation between the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the Security Council to ensure a comprehensive approach to problems. While regretting the lack of consultations with the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, Indonesia welcomed the Secretary-General's guidelines requiring United Nations peacekeepers to comply with international humanitarian law, which will help promote the safety of both peacekeepers and civilians.
Action on Resolution
The Council then took up the draft resolution (document S/2000/335), which reads as follows:
The Security Council,
Recalling its resolution 1265 (1999) of 17 September 1999, the statement of its President of 12 February 1999 (S/PRST/1999/6) and other relevant resolutions and statements of its President,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 8 September 1999 on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (S/1999/957),
Expressing its appreciation to the informal Working Group established pursuant to resolution 1265 (1999) for its work,
Expressing further its regret that civilians account for the vast majority of casualties in armed conflicts and increasingly are targeted by combatants and armed elements, reaffirming its concern at the hardships borne by civilians during armed conflict, in particular as a result of acts of violence directed against them, especially women, children and other vulnerable groups, including refugees and internally displaced persons, and recognizing the consequent impact this has on durable peace, reconciliation and development,
Bearing in mind its primary responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations for the maintenance of international peace and security, and underlining the importance of taking measures aimed at conflict prevention and resolution,
Reaffirming its commitment to the Purposes of the Charter of the United Nations as set out in Article 1 (1-4) of the Charter, and to the Principles of the Charter as set out in Article 2 (1-7) of the Charter, including its commitment to the principles of the political independence, sovereign equality and territorial integrity of all States, and to respect for the sovereignty of all States,
Underlining the need for all parties concerned to comply with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and with rules and principles of international law, in particular international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, and to implement fully the relevant decisions of the Security Council,
1. Emphasizes the need, when considering ways to provide for the protection of civilians in armed conflict, to proceed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the particular circumstances, and affirms its intention to take into account relevant recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General of 8 September 1999 when carrying out its work;
2. Reaffirms its strong condemnation of the deliberate targeting of civilians or other protected persons in situations of armed conflict, and calls upon all parties to put an end to such practices;
3. Notes that the overwhelming majority of internally displaced persons and other vulnerable groups in situations of armed conflict are civilians and, as such, are entitled to the protection afforded to civilians under existing international humanitarian law;
4. Reaffirms the importance of adopting a comprehensive approach to conflict prevention, invites Member States and the Secretary-General to bring to its attention any matter which in their opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security, affirms in this regard its willingness to consider, in the light of its discussion of such matters, the establishment, in appropriate circumstances, of preventive missions, and recalls, in this regard, the statement of its President of 30 November 1999 (S/PRST/1999/34);
5. Notes that the deliberate targeting of civilian populations or other protected persons and the committing of systematic, flagrant and widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in situations of armed conflict may constitute a threat to international peace and security, and, in this regard, reaffirms its readiness to consider such situations and, where necessary, to adopt appropriate steps;
6. Invites the Secretary-General to continue to refer to the Council relevant information and analysis where he believes that such information or analysis could contribute to the resolution of issues before it;
7. Expresses its intention to collaborate with representatives of the relevant regional and subregional organizations, where appropriate, in order further to improve opportunities for the resolution of armed conflicts and the protection of civilians in such conflict;
8. Underlines the importance of safe and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to civilians in armed conflicts, calls upon all parties concerned, including neighbouring States, to cooperate fully with the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator and United Nations agencies in providing such access, invites States and the Secretary-General to bring to its attention information regarding the deliberate denial of such access in violation of international law, where such denial may constitute a threat to international peace and security, and, in this regard, expresses its willingness to consider such information and, when necessary, to adopt appropriate steps;
9. Reaffirms its grave concern at the harmful and widespread impact of armed conflict on civilians, including the particular impact that armed conflict has on women, children and other vulnerable groups, and further reaffirms in this regard the importance of fully addressing their special protection and assistance needs in the mandates of peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building operations;
10. Expresses its intention, where appropriate, to call upon the parties to a conflict to make special arrangements to meet the protection and assistance requirements of women, children and other vulnerable groups, including through the promotion of days of immunization and other opportunities for the safe and unhindered delivery of basic necessary services;
11. Emphasizes the importance for humanitarian organizations to uphold the principles of neutrality, impartiality and humanity in their humanitarian activities and recalls, in this regard, the statement of its President of 9 March 2000 (S/PRST/2000/7);
12. Reiterates its call to all parties concerned, including non-State parties, to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel, as well as personnel of humanitarian organizations, and recalls, in this regard, the statement of its President of 9 February 2000 (S/PRST/2000/4);
13. Affirms its intention to ensure, where appropriate and feasible, that peacekeeping missions are given suitable mandates and adequate resources to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical danger, including by strengthening the ability of the United Nations to plan and rapidly deploy peacekeeping personnel, civilian police, civil administrators, and humanitarian personnel, utilizing the stand-by arrangements as appropriate;
14. Invites the Secretary-General to bring to its attention situations where refugees and internally displaced persons are vulnerable to the threat of harassment or where their camps are vulnerable to infiltration by armed elements and where such situations may constitute a threat to international peace and security, expresses, in this regard, its willingness to consider such situations and, where necessary, adopt appropriate steps to help create a secure environment for civilians endangered by conflicts, including by providing support to States concerned in this regard, and recalls, in this regard, its resolution 1208 (1998) of 19 November 1998;
15. Indicates its willingness to consider the appropriateness and feasibility of temporary security zones and safe corridors for the protection of civilians and the delivery of assistance in situations characterized by the threat of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against the civilian population;
16. Affirms its intention to include in the mandates of United Nations peacekeeping operations, where appropriate and on a case-by-case basis, clear terms for activities related to the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, including in particular child soldiers, as well as for the safe and timely disposal of surplus arms and ammunition, emphasizes the importance of incorporating such measures in specific peace agreements, where appropriate and with the consent of the parties, also emphasizes in this regard the importance of adequate resources being made available, and recalls the statement of its President of 23 March 2000 (S/PRST/2000/10);
17. Reaffirms its condemnation of all incitements to violence against civilians in situations of armed conflict, further reaffirms the need to bring to justice individuals who incite or otherwise cause such violence, and indicates its willingness, when authorizing missions, to consider, where appropriate, steps in response to media broadcasts inciting genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of international humanitarian law;
18. Affirms that, where appropriate, United Nations peacekeeping missions should include a mass-media component that can disseminate information about international humanitarian law and human rights law, including peace education and childrens protection, while also giving objective information about the activities of the United Nations, and further affirms that, where appropriate, regional peacekeeping operations should be encouraged to include such mass-media components;
19. Reiterates the importance of compliance with relevant provisions of international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law and of providing appropriate training in such law, including child and gender-related provisions, as well as in negotiation and communications skills, cultural awareness, civil- military coordination and sensitivity in the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases, to personnel involved in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building activities, requests the Secretary-General to disseminate
appropriate guidance and to ensure that such United Nations personnel have the appropriate training, and urges relevant Member States, as necessary and feasible, to disseminate appropriate instructions and to ensure that appropriate training is included in their programmes for personnel involved in similar activities;
20. Takes note of the entry into force of the Convention on the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and their Destruction of 1997 and the amended Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices (Protocol II) annexed to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects of 1980, recalls the relevant provisions contained therein, notes the beneficial impact that their implementation will have on the safety of civilians and encourages those in a position to do so to support humanitarian mine action, including by providing financial assistance to this end;
21. Notes that the excessive accumulation and destabilizing effect of small arms and light weapons pose a considerable impediment to the provision of humanitarian assistance and have a potential to exacerbate and prolong conflicts, endanger civilians and undermine security and the confidence required for a return to peace and stability;
22. Recalls the decision of the members of the Council set out in the Note by its President of 17 April 2000 (S/2000/319) to establish on a temporary basis an informal Working Group of the Security Council on the general issue of sanctions, and requests the informal Working Group to consider the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General of 8 September 1999 relating to its mandate;
23. Recalls the letter of its President to the President of the General Assembly of 14 February 2000 (S/2000/119), takes note of the letter to its President from the President of the General Assembly of 7 April 2000 (S/2000/298) enclosing a letter from the Chairman of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations of 1 April 2000, welcomes in this regard the work by the Committee with reference to the recommendations in the report of the Secretary-General of 8 September 1999 which relate to its mandate, and encourages the General Assembly to continue consideration of these aspects of the protection of civilians in armed conflict;
24. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to include in his written reports to the Council on matters of which it is seized, as appropriate, observations relating to the protection of civilians in armed conflict;
25. Requests the Secretary-General to submit by 30 March 2001 his next report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, with a view to requesting additional such reports in future, further requests the Secretary-General to include in this report any additional recommendations on ways the Council and other Organs of the United Nations, acting within their sphere of responsibility, could further improve the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict, and encourages the Secretary-General to consult the Inter-Agency Standing Committee in the preparation of the reports;
26. Decides to remain seized of the matter.
The Council unanimously adopted the text as Security Council resolution 1296 (2000) * *** *