UN / PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS

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25-May-2021 00:03:08
UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowwcock told the Security Council, “accountability for violations must be systematic and universal, because what is not punished is encouraged,” adding that “we have the laws and the tools to protect civilians from harm in armed conflicts. It’s time that all States and parties to conflict apply them.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS
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SOURCE: UNIFEED
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DATELINE: 25 MAY 2021, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

RECENT - NEW YORK CITY

1.Wide shot, exterior, United Nations Headquarters

25 MAY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

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3. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“If war crimes go unpunished, things will get worse. Accountability for violations must be systematic and universal, because what is not punished is encouraged. That takes political will on the part of Member States to investigate and prosecute allegations of serious violations whenever they occur. We have the laws and the tools to protect civilians from harm in armed conflicts. It’s time that all States and parties to conflict apply them.”
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5. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Conflict causes acute hunger in direct and indirect ways. It displaces civilians from their agricultural land, their grazing areas and their fishing grounds. In Nigeria last year, for example, at least 110 farmers were killed in an attack on a rice farm. In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, people have been displaced, crops have been destroyed and looted, and food and other relief has been blocked.”
6.Multiscreen
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Conflicts also disrupt commercial food systems and markets. And parties to conflict destroy food stocks. Prices rise and families are less able to buy food. Member States, Mr. President, need to take more effective action to tackle these challenges. That starts by finding political solutions to conflicts, by ensuring respect for the rules of war, and by addressing the economic crises that fuel and flow from fighting. As you know, the Secretary-General has strengthened the UN’s famine prevention efforts through the creation of a High-level Task Force. It is working to ensure coordinated, high-level attention to the countries most likely to fall into famine and mobilize support for the most vulnerable people.”
8. Multiscreen
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“Fighting parties must change their choice of weapons and tactics. The Secretary-General has repeatedly called on parties to conflict to avoid using wide-area explosive weapons in populated area.”
10. Multiscreen
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross:
“Five years since the UN Security Council demanded an end to impunity for attacks on healthcare, our observations in 40 countries affected by conflicts show that attacks on healthcare have gone abated. Healthcare delivery continues to be impeded due to the disregard for international humanitarian law, we have also seen an increase of cyber attacks in healthcare facilities. Clearly, not enough has been done to protect healthcare workers and medical facilities to translate Resolution 2286.”
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STORYLINE:

UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowwcock told the Security Council, “accountability for violations must be systematic and universal, because what is not punished is encouraged,” adding that “we have the laws and the tools to protect civilians from harm in armed conflicts. It’s time that all States and parties to conflict apply them.”

Addressing the Security Council today (25 May) on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Lowcock focused on areas highlighted in the Secretary-General’s annual report on the protection of civilians, which was released last week.

The interplay between conflict and hunger is the first area. The humanitarian chief said, “Conflict causes acute hunger in direct and indirect ways. It displaces civilians from their agricultural land, their grazing areas and their fishing grounds.”

He added, “In Nigeria last year, for example, at least 110 farmers were killed in an attack on a rice farm. In Ethiopia’s Tigray region, people have been displaced, crops have been destroyed and looted, and food and other relief has been blocked.”

Lowcock continued, “Conflicts also disrupt commercial food systems and markets. And parties to conflict destroy food stocks. Prices rise and families are less able to buy food. Member States, Mr. President, need to take more effective action to tackle these challenges. That starts by finding political solutions to conflicts, by ensuring respect for the rules of war, and by addressing the economic crises that fuel and flow from fighting.”

He added, “ As you know, the Secretary-General has strengthened the UN’s famine prevention efforts through the creation of a High-level Task Force. It is working to ensure coordinated, high-level attention to the countries most likely to fall into famine and mobilize support for the most vulnerable people.”

Another area is the use of explosive weapons in towns and cities. According to OCHA, almost 90 per cent of the people killed when explosive weapons are used in urban areas are civilians. That compares to less than 20 per cent when these weapons are used in rural areas.

Lowcock said, “Fighting parties must change their choice of weapons and tactics. The Secretary-General has repeatedly called on parties to conflict to avoid using wide-area explosive weapons in populated area.”

The effects of using explosive weapons in populated areas - Protection of the environment - Protection of medical care, on which I note we now mark five years since the adoption of your resolution 2286 - And strengthening compliance with international humanitarian law and accountability for serious violations.

Peter Maurer, President of International Committee of the Red Cross also briefed the Council via a video link. He said, “Five years since the UN Security Council demanded an end to impunity for attacks on healthcare, our observations in 40 countries affected by conflicts show that attacks on healthcare have gone abated. Healthcare delivery continues to be impeded due to the disregard for international humanitarian law.”

Maurer also said that there has been an increase of cyber attacks in healthcare facilities, he said, “Clearly, not enough has been done to protect healthcare workers and medical facilities to translate Resolution 2286.”
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