Protection of Civilians: Security Council Open Debate
Under its presidency of the Security Council, Argentina today organised an open debate under the agenda item of the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
In his intervention, Luxembourg's Deputy Permanent Representative, Mr Olivier Maes, considered that there was still a considerable gap between the obligations and commitments of States on the one hand and the often dramatic situation on the ground on the other hand. He insisted in particular on the need to improve humanitarian access in the context of the Syrian conflict, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, mostly civilians. The people affected by the conflict not only need assistance, but they also have a right to it under international humanitarian law. It is therefore urgent that Syria responds to the requests by humanitarian actors and that it facilitates immediate, free and unrestrained access to the affected populations, through the most efficient means, including through the front lines and by cross-border access.
Given that the application of international humanitarian law is the best guarantee for the protection of civilians, Mr Maes encouraged all Member States who have not yet done so, to accede to the two additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions, but also to all other relevant instruments, like the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, concerning the involvement of children in armed conflict.
Before concluding, Mr Maes insisted on the effect of deterrence and prevention of justice and underlined the important role played by the International Criminal Court.