Protection of civilians transcends politics: United Kingdom

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UN vehicles lead the evacuation from the Old City of Homs, Syria, during a three-day “humanitarian pause” in early February 2014. Photo: Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC)/B. AlHafez

The protection of civilians by the United Nations in times of conflict has to be undertaken at an early stage if people are not to suffer human rights abuses.

United Kingdom's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Peter Wilson made the remarks during a Security Council debate on the protection of civilians.

Ambassador Wilson reiterated his country's support for a humanitarian resolution for Syria to improve the lives of the people stuck in the conflict.

Politics and protecting civilians should not be mixed and protecting civilians transcends politics, he noted.

"Early action to prevent conflict and mass human rights abuses remains vital. This must start long before peacekeepers may be required. And once peacekeeping missions are deployed, their protection mandates are a fundamental part of the UN's ability to protect civilians in conflict. They must be fully implemented. Priority should be given to protection of civilians in Mission planning assessments, allocation of resources and in activities on the ground."

The UK Deputy Ambassador added that the Security Council "can and must" play a key role in alleviating the impact on civilians in crises like the one in Syria.

He commended the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) for "opening its doors to civilians fleeing the brutal violence".

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’23″

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