UN / PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS

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23-May-2019 00:03:09
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said despite advances in the protection of civilians, “grave human suffering is still being caused by armed conflicts and a lack of compliance with international humanitarian law.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS
TRT: 3:09
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 23 MAY 2019, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UNHQ exterior

23 MAY 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. Wide shot, Guterres at Security Council meeting
4. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“But, despite these advances, grave human suffering is still being caused by armed conflicts and a lack of compliance with international humanitarian law. As my report underlines, civilians continue to make up the vast majority of casualties in conflict. In 2018 alone, the United Nations recorded the death and injury of more than 22,800 civilians in just six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.”
5. Wide shot, Security Council
6. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“First, to develop national policy frameworks that establish clear institutional authorities and responsibilities for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Second, principled and sustained engagement by humanitarian organizations and others with non-State armed groups to negotiate safe and timely humanitarian access and promote compliance with the law. Third, ensuring accountability for serious violations. The UN Security Council, as a practical matter, can do much to enhance compliance with the laws of war.”
7. Wide shot, Security Council
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC):
“Seventy years after the universal ratification of the Geneva Conventions, more than 40 years after the adoption of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, and 20 years after the UN Security Council held its first Protection of Civilians debate, we are still seeing outrageous violations on a daily basis. While we do understand that political consensus is difficult, we ask you to be clearer in your support for the respect of international humanitarian law - and in stating and following through on the simple truth that no one is abo e the law and no civilian can be excluded from protection.”
9. Med shot, Kuwaiti delegate
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC):
“Measures must be taken which protect civilians from physical harm but also from the invisible, psychological harm, from abuses like sexual violence, torture in detention, or not knowing the fate of missing loved ones.”
11. Med shot, Russian and South African ambassadors
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC):
“While we ask more from the members of the Security Council and the international community at large, we ask at the very least that you do not hinder people in need in their effort to protect themselves. Too often do we see that in addition to being exposed to war and violence, populations are stopped from reaching safer spaces, are constrained by bureaucratic obstacles and are limited in their free movement.”
13. Wide shot, ambassadors
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Federico Borello, Executive Director, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC):
“This is a make-or-break moment. The situation is not hopeless, but we need action by the Security Council, the United Nations, and all governments to reduce the suffering experienced by millions of civilians caught in conflict.”
15. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said despite advances in the protection of civilians, “grave human suffering is still being caused by armed conflicts and a lack of compliance with international humanitarian law.”

Addressing an open debate of the Security Council today (23 May) on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Guterres noted the progress made on the issue in the last two decades. He said a culture of protection has taken root in the Security Council and across the United Nations, pointing examples such as the protection of children in armed conflict and civilians from sexual violence in conflict and how the UN peace operations have protected and saved countless of lives.

Despite such advances, the Secretary-General said “civilians continue to make up the vast majority of casualties in conflict. In 2018 alone, the United Nations recorded the death and injury of more than 22,800 civilians in just six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.”

The Secretary-General recommended action in three areas: “First, to develop national policy frameworks that establish clear institutional authorities and responsibilities for the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Second, principled and sustained engagement by humanitarian organizations and others with non-State armed groups to negotiate safe and timely humanitarian access and promote compliance with the law. Third, ensuring accountability for serious violations.”

Guterres stressed that the Security Council, “as a practical matter, can do much to enhance compliance with the laws of war,” including by providing financial and technical assistance to support the investigation and prosecution of war crimes in conflict-affected States.

Peter Maurer, President of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said “Seventy years after the universal ratification of the Geneva Conventions, more than 40 years after the adoption of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, and 20 years after the UN Security Council held its first Protection of Civilians debate, we are still seeing outrageous violations on a daily basis.”

He said the last two decades have shown how the political and military decisions made in the Council impact the human conditions on battlefields around the world. He added, “While we do understand that political consensus is difficult, we ask you to be clearer in your support for the respect of international humanitarian law - and in stating and following through on the simple truth that no one is abo e the law and no civilian can be excluded from protection.”

Maurer said, “Measures must be taken which protect civilians from physical harm but also from the invisible, psychological harm, from abuses like sexual violence, torture in detention, or not knowing the fate of missing loved ones.”

The Head of the ICRC added, “While we ask more from the members of the Security Council and the international community at large, we ask at the very least that you do not hinder people in need in their effort to protect themselves. Too often do we see that in addition to being exposed to war and violence, populations are stopped from reaching safer spaces, are constrained by bureaucratic obstacles and are limited in their free movement.”

The Executive Director of the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), Federico Borello told the Council that civilians are not collateral damage. He said they deserve recognition, especially in times of conflict, adding that those who go to war have the power to spare civilians from its worst effects.

He added, “This is a make-or-break moment. The situation is not hopeless, but we need action by the Security Council, the United Nations, and all governments to reduce the suffering experienced by millions of civilians caught in conflict.”

Borello said efforts to protect civilians and resolve conflict would more likely succeed if undertaken in full consultation and partnership with civilians and communities. He stressed that community engagement should empower and support existing community-based protection initiatives and abide by the ‘do no harm’ principle.
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