Security Council Presidential Statement Expresses Outrage at Continuing Heavy Casualty Toll on Civilians in Situations of Armed Conflict

SC/13517
21 September 2018
8359th Meeting (PM)

Security Council Presidential Statement Expresses Outrage at Continuing Heavy Casualty Toll on Civilians in Situations of Armed Conflict

The Security Council expressed its outrage today over the fact that civilians continue to account for the vast majority of casualties in situations of armed conflict, and over its short- and long-term impact on them, from forced displacement to sexual and gender-based violence.

Issuing presidential statement S/PRST/2018/18, read out by Nikki R. Haley (United States), its President for September, the Council affirmed the need for peacekeeping missions tasked with protecting civilians to ensure full implementation of that mandate.

Further, the Council reaffirmed its strong condemnation of violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by all parties to armed conflict, and called upon all parties to comply with their legal obligations.  It also recalled the importance of ensuring compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, ending impunity for violations and abuses, and ensuring accountability.

Reaffirming that parties to armed conflict bear the primary responsibility to ensure the protection of civilians, the Council also recalled the primary responsibility of States to respect and ensure that the human rights of all individuals within their respective territories and subject to their jurisdiction.

Recognizing that 2019 will mark the twentieth anniversary of resolution 1265 (1999) and the adoption of the protection of civilians as an item on its agenda, the Council expressed its intention to continue to address civilian protection regularly, in the context of both country-specific and thematic agenda items.

The meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 3:07 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2018/18 reads as follows:

“The Security Council reaffirms its commitment regarding the protection of civilians in armed conflict as one of the core issues on its agenda, and to the continuing and full implementation of all of its previous relevant resolutions, including its resolutions 1265 (1999), 1296 (2000), 1674 (2006), 1738 (2006), 1894 (2009), 2175 (2014), 2222 (2015), 2365 (2017), 2286 (2016), 2417 (2018) and those that address Women, Peace, and Security, Children and Armed Conflict, and Peacekeeping, and all relevant statements of its President.

“The Security Council reaffirms that parties to armed conflict bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians and recalls that States bear the primary responsibility to respect and ensure the human rights of all individuals within their territory and subject to their jurisdiction, as provided for by relevant international law.

“The Security Council expresses its outrage that civilians continue to account for the vast majority of casualties in situations of armed conflict, including as a result of both indiscriminate attacks and attacks targeting civilians, and at the short- and long-term impact of conflict on civilians, including through forced displacement, the use of starvation as a method of warfare, unlawful denial of access to humanitarian aid, attacks on medical personnel, humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, hospitals, and other medical facilities, intentional damage and unlawful destruction of civilian infrastructure, property and livelihoods, and sexual and gender-based violence, especially noting the targeting of women and girls.

“The Security Council affirms the need for peacekeeping missions with a protection of civilians mandate to ensure full mandate implementation.

“The Security Council reaffirms its strong condemnation of violations of international humanitarian law committed by all parties to armed conflict, as well as violations and abuses of international human rights law, as applicable, and calls upon all parties to comply with their legal obligations.  The Security Council recalls the importance of ensuring compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, ending impunity for violations and abuses, and ensuring accountability.

“The Security Council expresses its intention to continue to address protection of civilians regularly, in the context of both country-specific and thematic items on its agenda.  The Security Council recognises that 2019 will mark the twentieth anniversary of resolution 1265 (1999) and the adoption of the Protection of Civilians as an item on its agenda.

“The Security Council recognises the contribution of the updated Aide Memoire for the consideration of issues pertaining to the protection of civilians in armed conflict*, contained in the annex to this statement, to the protection of civilians, including its enhanced focus on the protection of medical facilities and personnel and on the use of starvation as a method of warfare.  The Security Council also recognizes the contribution of the aide memoire as a practical tool that provides a basis for improved analysis and diagnosis of key protection issues, and stresses the need to use it on a more systematic and consistent basis.

“The Security Council notes with appreciation the report of the Secretary‑General on the protection of civilians in armed conflict of 14 May 2018 (document S/2018/462) and the recommendations contained therein, and reiterates the need for systematic monitoring and reporting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, and the challenges and progress made in this regard.  The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to submit his next report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict by 15 May 2019, and requests the Secretary-General to include in this report a summary of achievements and challenges to the United Nations’ work on protecting civilians over the last 20 years and an update on progress made against the recommendations set out in his reports of 2017 and 2018.  The Council further requests that he submit future reports on the protection of civilians in armed conflict every 12 months thereafter, to be formally considered by the Security Council each year within the same General Assembly session.”

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*  The initial Aide Memoire was adopted on 15 March 2002 in S/PRST/2002/6.

For information media. Not an official record.