Twice a year, the United Nations Security Council has an open debate around the role of civilians in armed conflict. Today, the Security Council held this biannual debate, with testimony from Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy and Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic.
The last time the Council met, as reported by Security Council Report, The Secretary-General called on the Council to:
- take a more consistent and comprehensive approach to addressing humanitarian access constraints and ensure accountability for grave instances of denial of access;
- request that situations where humanitarian operations are deliberately obstructed be brought to its attention;
- take action to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law, including by enforcing cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC), requesting investigations of possible violations or mandating commissions of inquiry with a view to imposing targeted measures or refer situations to the ICC. (In this context, the Secretary-General expressed his intention to request the Secretariat to undertake a review of the UN’s experience with commissions of inquiry in order to identify how they might be used on a more consistent and less politically-influenced basis.); and
- call on states to establish or mandate mechanisms to receive claims from individuals alleging to be the victims of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.
During this meeting, the Council heard from experts regarding recent tensions in the Middle East and North Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria and Israel-Palestine among others.
In her testimony, Ms. Amos referred to the IDPs around the world as well as access of humanitarian workers in conflict situations and the use of sexual violence in conflict. Mr. Le Roy commented on the ongoing dialogue between member states and his office in work to protect civilians. Mr. Simonovic referenced the denial of human rights as a root cause of war.
The Security Council then heard statements from members of the Security Council and other UN Member states. The statement made by the United States is available here.
The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations believes that the protection of civilians and access for humanitarian workers is necessary in areas of conflict. Let us pray for these protections and peace and security for all God’s people.