Sixth Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians: 14 January 2009
On 14 January 2009, the Security Council held the Sixth Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians. The President of the Security Council, France’s Ambassador Jean Maurice-Ripert, re-affirmed the need for states to respect all relevant international law, including international humanitarian law, human rights law, and refugee law to enhance protection of civilians in armed conflict.
The connection between the protection of civilians in armed conflict and R2P was noted by many states. Out of the 50 member states that spoke at the debates, 19 mentioned RtoP, and 17 did so positively. Only Sudan and China expressed opposing views, arguing the necessity of respecting sovereignty and allowing international action solely with content of the state in question.
To see excerpted statements of R2P related comments in government statements, please see the following compiled by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
Member States also noted the unique role that the Security Council has to play in invoking RtoP, and highlighted it as a mechanism for timely and dynamic action. Countries envisioned the incorporation of RtoP into the Security Council’s agenda through good office missions, support for the ICC and international criminal tribunals, and the Peacebuilding Commission. Promotion of peace and justice through preventative aspects of RtoP were emphasized, as well as the need to reconcile sovereignty and RtoP internally within the General Assembly. Many States spoke of the need for a common conceptual understanding and agreed strategy on how to implement RtoP principles. In that regard, states expressed that they were looking forward to the report of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on implementing the Responsibility to Protect, released 12 January 2009.