The Security Council is negotiating a resolution on the issue of protection of civilians in armed conflict, the first in over five years. This resolution is intended to reaffirm key principles on the protection of civilians, take stock of recent developments and address major gaps in UN responses. The resolution under negotiation addresses issues of humanitarian access, protection of refugees and internally displaced persons, mandates of UN operations, and ending impunity.
One major development since the Security Council last held a debate on this topic is the endorsement of the Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The proposed resolution thus includes, for the first time, a reference to the Responsibility to Protect.
UN Member states publicly debated the issue of protection of civilians on 9 December 2005 at UN HQ in New York. This open debate was an important opportunity for governments to express their support of the World Summit commitment to R2P. Twenty-one governments gave statements in support of the responsibility to protect and argued in favor of the inclusion of a reference to the Summit agreement on this responsibility in the Security Council resolution. These governments argued that the Security Council, in its capacity as the UN body mandated with the maintenance of international peace and security, should embrace its responsibility to protect as already agreed by all of its member states in the Summit Outcome Document.
The resolution on the protection of civilians was expected to pass in December 2005, but reference to R2P remains one of the major points of disagreement among member states. Opponents of the inclusion of R2P in the Security Council resolution on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict have argue against any reference to the R2P commitment and resist Security Council taking on this issue prior to a review of these concepts in the General Assembly. For further analysis of the debate, visit the Security Council Report website.
Read an R2PCS compilation of excerpts on R2P from the open-debate or view the full transcript of the open-debate: Morning Session and Afternoon Session, including statements from Under-Secretary-General Jan Egeland and the International Committee for the Red Cross.
Also, visit the Archive of Government Statements for written statements submitted by the governments during the debate.