SECURITY COUNCIL STRONGLY CONDEMNS VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS, OTHER PROTECTED PERSONS IN CONFLICT SITUATIONS

15 December 2003
SC/7953

SECURITY COUNCIL STRONGLY CONDEMNS VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS, OTHER PROTECTED PERSONS IN CONFLICT SITUATIONS

15/12/2003
Press ReleaseSC/7953

Security Council

4882nd Meeting (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL STRONGLY CONDEMNS VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS,

OTHER PROTECTED PERSONS IN CONFLICT SITUATIONS

Presidential Statement Reaffirms Need to Ensure Safety,

Security, Free Movement for United Nations, Associated Personnel

The Security Council this afternoon strongly condemned all attacks and acts of violence directed against civilians or other persons protected under international law and international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict.

In adopting a statement (contained in document S/PRST/2003/27) read out by its President, Stefan Tafrov (Bulgaria), the Council reaffirmed its concern at the suffering inflicted upon, and hardships borne by, civilians during armed conflict.

It reaffirmed the need for parties to armed conflict to take all possible measures to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel, as well as personnel of international humanitarian organizations, in accordance with applicable international law.

The Council also recognized that secure humanitarian access and the swift re-establishment of the rule of law, justice and reconciliation were essential components for an effective transition from conflict to peace.  It reiterated its call to all parties to armed conflict to comply fully with the United Nations Charter and with the rules and principles of international law, in particular, international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.

The Council also adopted, as part of the presidential statement, the updated aide-mémoire originally annexed to its presidential statement of 15 March (S/PRST/2002/6) as a means to facilitate its consideration of issues pertaining to the protection of civilians.  It expressed its willingness to annually update that text in order to reflect emerging trends in the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

By a related provision, the Council reiterated the importance of the aide-mémoire as a practical tool to provide a basis for improved analysis and diagnosis of key protection issues during deliberations on peacekeeping mandates.  It stressed the need to implement the approaches set out therein on a more regular and consistent basis.

The Council also noted with interest the proposal presented by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs in the 9 December open meeting for a

10-point plan on the protection of civilians in armed conflict and looked forward to further discussions and consultations on that issue.

On 9 December, the Council heard a briefing by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, in which he noted the changing landscape in which the United Nations was operating, as evidenced by the recent assassinations of humanitarian workers of the United Nations, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and non-governmental organizations.  Such deliberate attacks against humanitarian personnel dramatically reduced access to civilians in armed conflict and the “humanitarian space” required to render support.  The first challenge to be addressed, therefore, was access and protection, he urged.

This afternoon’s meeting was called to order at 12:06 p.m. and adjourned at 12:11 p.m.

Presidential Statement

Following is the full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2003/27:

“The Security Council recalls its resolutions 1265 (1999) of 17 September 1999 and 1296 (2000) of 19 April 2000 on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, as well as the statements by its President of 12 February 1999 (S/PRST/1999/6), of 15 March 2002 (S/PRST/2002/6) and of 20 December 2002 (S/PRST/2002/41), and reaffirms the need to keep the protection of civilians in armed conflict as an important item on the Council’s agenda.

“The Security Council also reaffirms its concern at the suffering inflicted upon, and hardships borne by, civilians during armed conflict, and recognizes the consequent impact that this has on durable peace, reconciliation and development.

“The Security Council strongly condemns all attacks and acts of violence directed against civilians or other protected persons under international law, in particular (ad ref) international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict, including such attacks and acts of violence against women, children, refugees, internally displaced persons and other vulnerable groups; reaffirms the need for parties to armed conflict to take all possible measures to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel, as well as personnel of international humanitarian organizations in accordance with applicable international law; and recognizes that secure humanitarian access and the swift re-establishment of the rule of law, justice and reconciliation are essential components for an effective transition from conflict to peace.

“The Security Council reiterates its call to all parties to armed conflict to comply fully with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and with the 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.

“The Security Council recalls the obligations of States to respect and to ensure respect for international humanitarian law, including the four Geneva conventions (ad ref), and emphasizes the responsibility of States to end impunity

and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and serious violations of humanitarian law.

“The Security Council also notes with interest the proposal presented by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs at the 9 December open meeting of the Security Council for a ‘10-point action plan’ on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, and looks forward to further discussions and consultations on this issue. (ad ref)

“Recalling that on 15 March 2002 the Security Council adopted the aide-mémoire annexed to the statement by its President (S/PRST/2002/6) as a means to facilitate its consideration of issues pertaining to protection of civilians, and recalling further that in the statement by its President of 20 December 2002 (S/PRST/2002/41), the Security Council expressed its willingness to update annually the aide-mémoire in order to reflect emerging trends in the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the Security Council adopts the updated aide-mémoire contained in the annex to this presidential statement.

“The Security Council reiterates the importance of the aide-mémoire as a practical tool that provides a basis for improved analysis and diagnosis of key protection issues during deliberations on peacekeeping mandates, and stresses the need to implement the approaches set out therein on a more regular and consistent basis, taking into account the particular circumstances of each conflict situation, and undertakes to remain actively seized of the matter.”

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For information media. Not an official record.