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Security Council holds thirteenth open debate on
the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

On 25 June 2012, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held its thirteenth open debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict (POC). A thematic issue on the UNSC agenda since 1999, POC focuses on the duties of states and the role of the UNSC in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations including refugees, internally displaced persons, women and children. During this debate, Council Members were joined by other governments -45 Member States participated in total- as well as  UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, UN Assistant Security-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović, and Director for International Law and Cooperation at the International Committee of the Red Cross Philip Spoerri. Participants addressed the POC normative framework as well as relevant country cases, including those of Syria, Mali, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Libya. Speakers looked in particular at challenges to protection articulated in the June 2012 report on POC from the UNSG, namely, enhanced compliance of disputing parties with international humanitarian and human rights law; consistent and effective engagement with non-state armed groups in order to improve compliance with the law; strengthened protection by United Nations (UN) peacekeeping and other relevant missions; improved humanitarian access; and the promotion of accountability for violations. Participants touched on a range of available tools for protection as well as the crucial role of actors at all levels. The UNSG noted the importance of peacekeepers, governments and local institutions in fulfilling the “fundamental responsibility to protect”. Šimonović, speaking on behalf of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, reminded, “It is our responsibility to protect the lives of civilians using every tool available to us.”  
 
See full statements from the debate.

Read the United Nations
summary of the debate.

For more information on the POC framework and its relationship with RtoP, read the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect’s policy brief. The Global Centre has provided excerpts of selected statements. 

Statements delivered at the thirteenth open-debate in the UN Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos
UN Assistant Security-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović
Director for International Law and Cooperation at the International Committee of the Red Cross Philip Spoerri
Armenia
Brazil
Chile (in Spanish)
European Union
Germany
Guatemala
India
Iran
Libya (in Arabic)
Nordic Countries
Russia
South Africa
Sri Lanka
United Kingdom
Unites States
Venezuela



 

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