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More must be done to protect civilians in armed conflict: UN chief

06-26-2012 00:44 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, June 25 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon said here on Monday that the international community, in spite of some progress made in protecting civilians in armed conflict, must do more in this regard.

"Across this geography of conflict, we simply must do more," said Ban. "We must do more to protect women and children in particular. More to prevent attacks against journalists. More to save innocent lives."

The secretary-general made the statement as he was presenting a report to the UN Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. The 15-nation Council on Monday held an open debate on this issue.

The international community, Ban said, has recently taken some steps forward to better protect civilians.

"This Council has made important progress over the last year and a half," he said.

He added that the Council has shown more willingness to use targeted sanctions against human rights law violators and that legal mechanisms have held perpetrators more accountable as well.

"In recent months, landmark verdicts against Charles Taylor and Thomas Lubanga marked important steps for international justice and accountability," said Ban, referring to former rebel leaders in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo who were tried by the International Criminal Court for their notorious roles in the civil war in their countries.

The secretary-general noted that his ninth report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict highlighted five main challenges that must be overcome in this sector. The challenges include ensuring compliance of parties to conflict with international humanitarian and human rights laws, engaging more systematically with non-state armed groups, providing enough resources for UN peacekeeping missions, obtaining unhindered humanitarian access, and guaranteeing accountability for national authorities.

Meeting these challenges requires "political will," Ban said.

"It also implies the will, on the part of the Council, to deliver on its long-standing commitment to the protection of civilians by consistently using the tools at its disposal, including the imposition of arms embargoes, targeted sanctions and referral of situations to the International Criminal Court," he said.


Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: Xinhua

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