(Continued) Ensuring the Security and Dignity of Civilians in Conflict: Addressing Food Insecurity and Protecting Essential Services - Security Council, 9327th Meeting

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23-May-2023 05:11:12
(Continued) Open debate of the Security Council in connection with "Ensuring the security and dignity of civilians in conflict: addressing food insecurity and protecting essential services" under the agenda item "Protection of civilians in armed conflict" [S/2023/307, S/2023/345]. 

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The world is failing to live up to its commitments to protect civilians in armed conflict, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned the Security Council today, urging greater respect for international humanitarian law through action and accountability, as speakers, during a day-long open debate, outlined priority action areas for ensuring civilians’ survival, security and dignity.

“We must never lose sight of the meaning and purpose of international humanitarian law. nbsp;It is the difference between life and death, between restraint and anarchy, between losing ourselves in horror and retaining our humanity,” Secretary-General Guterres stressed, briefing the 15-nation organ on his report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (document S/2023/345).nbsp;

Where war continues, all must comply with international humanitarian law, States must investigate alleged war crimes and prosecute perpetrators and the Council must urge countries to respect the rules of war, he said.nbsp;

Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), pointed out that development and peace become unachievable when conflicts are characterized by widespread destruction and international humanitarian law violations.nbsp;

Enabling neutral and impartial humanitarian access is critical, she continued. nbsp;With misinformation and disinformation hindering humanitarian operations, fuelling dangerous divisions and undermining communities’ acceptance of humanitarian missions, all States must take the necessary measures to prevent and mitigate their harmful effects on the safety and rights of civilians. nbsp;However, until international humanitarian law is upheld for all genders, there is no chance for enduring stability or security, she underscored.

Building on that, Aïchatou Mounkaïla, President of the Network of Women-led Organisations of the Lake Chad Basin, said that the humanitarian crisis in her region — be it climate or security-related — has a female face.nbsp;

As such, the Council must encourage the donor community to devote more funds to gender-sensitive livelihood reconstruction and insist on the full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls, she stressed, adding that “without [women], no sustainable peace is possible”. nbsp;

During the day-long open debate, more than 80 Heads of State, ministers, Government officials and representatives underscored the importance of upholding international humanitarian law. nbsp;Many welcomed the Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians from the Humanitarian Consequences arising from the use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas — adopted in Dublin in 2022 — and the recent extension of the Black Sea Initiative. nbsp;Speakers also underlined the need to address the link between food insecurity and conflict, with some advocating for action from the Council as several underlined its nature as a development issue.

The meeting began at 9:36 a.m., suspended at 12:35 p.m., resumed at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 8:15 p.m.
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