01 May 2006
On April 28, 2006, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1674 on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, the first resolution on this subject in over five years. Resolution 1674 contains the historic first official Security Council reference to the responsibility to protect: it eaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 of the World Summit Outcome Document regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.r
The complete resolution can be found at: http://www.un.org/docs/sc/unsc_resolutions06.htm.
Below are the following information resources regarding this resolution and the historic reaffirmation of the responsibility to protect (R2P).
PART I. R2PCS Background and Analysis:
Security Council protection of civilians resolution eaffirms R2P
PART II. Related News Articles:
U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL AFFIRMS INTERNATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT CIVILIANS FROM GENOCIDE, Houston Chronicle, By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer, 29 April 2006
UN TALKS BUT WONT ACT ON GENOCIDE, SAY ACTIVISTS
Inter Press Service Terra Viva UN Journal, By Thalif Deen, 1 May 2006
UN Security Council strongly condemns violence against civilians in wartime, UN News Centre, 28 April 2006
PART I. Security Council Protection of Civilians Resolution eaffirms R2P
The protection of civilians agenda is a framework for the UNs diplomatic, legal, humanitarian, and human rights activities directed at the protection of populations during armed conflict. The Security Council has included the protection of civilians as a thematic issue on its agenda since 1999, with a particular focus on the duties of states and the role of the Security Council in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations including refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), women and children.
Building on Resolutions 1265 (1999) and 1296 (2000) on the protection of civilians, and related resolutions on children and armed conflict and on women, peace and security, the resolution includes the following important elements:
Demands compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee laws and calls on states that have not already done so to ratify these instruments;
Reaffirms practice of ensuring that mandates of peacekeeping and political missions include provisions regarding protect civilians, humanitarian assistance, creation of conditions for return of refugees and IDPs; expresses intent to ensure that these mandates include clear guidelines and that these issues are given priority in decisions about resources and funding;
Calls for consideration of the special needs of women and children in all peace processes, peace agreements and post-conflict recovery;
Emphasizes responsibility to end impunity and draws attention to the range of mechanisms to be considered toward that end, including nternational and ixed criminal courts;
Underscores the importance of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants (DDR) including the availability of appropriate resources - in UN missions and peace agreements;
Condemns sexual exploitation with specific condemnation of acts of sexual exploitation by those involved in UN operations;
In noting that deliberate targeting of civilians and commission of systematic violations of humanitarian and human rights law may constitute threat to international peace and security, reaffirms readiness to consider dopt[ing] appropriate steps in response to such situations.
The protection of civilians agenda is directed at ensuring that all parties nderstand how their responsibilities for the protection of civilians should be translated into action (as described by the Secretary-General in his 28 November 2005 report). In this context, the World Summit endorsement of a responsibility to protect populations against genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing was a major development for the Security Council to consider.
Inclusion of R2P in this resolution received considerable governmental support, as evidenced by the Security Council open debate on 9 December 2005 at UN HQ in New York. Twenty-one governments spoke in favor of R2P and its inclusion in the protection of civilians resolution. Excerpts are available at www.responsibilitytoprotect.org. The resolution on the protection of civilians was expected to pass in December 2005, but reference to R2P was among the major points of disagreement among member states that stalled negotiations. Some Security Council members expressed opposition to any further codification of a responsibility to protect, seeking to undo or at least restrict the achievements of the Summit in this area. Others wanted the Security Council to refrain from discussing R2P prior to the consideration of these concepts in the General Assembly. As a result, the final resolution language on R2P is weaker than that which was in the November 2005 draft where the Security Council:
underlines the importance of its provisions regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, including in this regard the responsibilities of individual Members States as well as the international community acting through the Untied Nations, including the Security Council.
Impact of R2P Reference by the Security Council
In the World Summit Outcome document, world leaders pledged that the international community, acting through the Security Council as prepared to take collective action in a timely and decisive manner when states are anifestly failing to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This development was welcomed as one of the most significant achievements in the Summit; it was a political commitment that could be used to hold the international community accountable if a population was threatened by genocide or similar large-scale atrocities.
With a reaffirmation of this provision in Resolution 1674, the Security Council itself accepts the commitment made at the September Summit and further codifies R2P principles into the UN system: according to the UN Charter, all UN member states are obligated to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.
Neither the resolution nor the Summit Outcome Document, however, automatically ensure that timely action will be taken by the Security Council. The World Summit Outcome language leaves to Security Council the discretion as to when it might act (n a case by case basis). For millions of civilians suffering or at risk of violence as a result of armed conflict, Security Council action has come too late, if at all. The Security Council must work to fulfill this commitment by responding earlier to warning signals using a range of measures commensurate with the seriousness of the threat to populations. This responsibility must be a political priority for member states as they deliberate on next steps for Darfur and future crises. Reform of Security Council working methods for example, an agreement by permanent Council members to refrain from use of the veto in instances of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing is also imperative. Civil society organizations must play a key role in ensuring that this responsibility accepted first by world leaders and now by the Security Council is respected.
For further analysis of the debate in the Security Council, visit the Security Council Report website at www.securitycouncilreport.org. For a timeline of UN activities on the protection of civilians agenda, visit the OCHA website (http://ochaonline.un.org/webpage.asp?Page=779). The resolution is available at http://www.un.org/docs/sc/unsc_resolutions06.htm.
PART II. Related News Articles
U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL AFFIRMS INTERNATIONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT CIVILIANS FROM GENOCIDE
By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer
29 April 2006
The U.N. Security Council affirmed for the first time Friday that the international community has a responsibility to protect civilians from genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing when national governments fail to do so.
A resolution, which was unanimously approved by the 15-nation council, endorsed an agreement reached by world leaders at last year's summit that was aimed at preventing tragedies like the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
Britain's U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, who has been pressing for adoption of the resolution since November, said he was pleased that the Security Council had for the first time referred to the concept of the responsibility to protect in a resolution (emphasis editors). "I think that is good news," he said.
Security Council resolutions are legally binding so the inclusion of the international community's responsibility to protect civilians from atrocities gives the world leaders' agreement added clout.
Relief agencies applauded the decision.
Oxfam International called it a historic resolution and an important moment for the protection of millions of people caught in violent and deadly conflicts.
As part of the protection of civilians, the resolution underscores the importance of disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating ex-combatants into society. Jones Parry stressed the need to do more in this area.
The resolution adopted Friday reaffirms the paragraphs in the final summit document adopted by world leaders "regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity."
Full text: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/3828242.html
UN TALKS BUT WONT ACT ON GENOCIDE, SAY ACTIVISTS
Inter Press Service Terra Viva UN Journal
By Thalif Deen
1 May 2006
UNITED NATIONS, Apr 30 (IPS) The 15-member U.N. Security Council, which has shown a reluctance to penalize those accused of war crimes in conflict-ridden Darfur in Sudan, unanimously adopted a resolution Friday to protect civilians in armed conflicts. The resolution, which condemns the deliberate targeting of civilians, was a follow-up to an agreement reached by over 150 world leaders at last September's U.N. summit in New York. The international charity Oxfam described the resolution as "historic", pointing out that if it is implemented effectively, "it should save countless lives.r
Asked if the resolution will remain effective only on paper -- considering the fact that the Security Council has failed to stop the ongoing genocide in Darfur - Nicola Reindorp, head of Oxfam International's New York Office, told IPS: "Time will tell." As with all Security Council resolutions, she pointed out, "This resolution will only protect people if U.N. member states turn their words into actions."
Ann-Louise Colgan, director for policy analysis and communications at the Washington-based Africa Action, said Friday's resolution affirming the international responsibility to protect civilians from genocide and other such crimes "marks an important commitment to stand up for vulnerable people in conflict situations around the world". "But this principle must be put into practice in Darfur, Sudan, if it is to have real credibility and impact," Colgan told IPS. As crimes against humanity continue to be perpetrated against the people of Darfur, the international community must assert its responsibility to protect these people and must deploy a U.N. peace-keeping force to the region as soon as possible, she added.
But the Council has so far been slow to take action -- primarily because of resistance by two veto-wielding permanent members, namely Russia and China, who claim they do not want to jeopardise the current peace negotiations
The adoption of Friday's resolution on civilian protection coincides with a new military offensive by the Sudanese government in south Darfur that is placing civilians at grave risk, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW)Two other villages in the area have also been attacked in the past 10 days. In a statement issued Friday, Oxfam said this was the first resolution approved by the Security Council to include the World Summit agreement on "the collective responsibility to protect". The commitment establishes a joint understanding among all governments on their responsibilities for the protection of civilians at the national and international level, Oxfam added. "The Summit agreement and Security Council resolution affirm that national governments have the primary responsibility to protect their civilians from genocide, crimes against humanity and other similar atrocities," the statement said. Oxfam also said that the international community has the obligation to support these efforts and prevent such crimes, and if national governments fail to protect their people, the international community must act.
According to the resolution, "the deliberate targeting of civilians and other protected persons, and the commission of systematic, flagrant and widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in situations of armed conflict, may constitute a threat to international peace and security". And the Security Council reaffirms "its readiness to consider such situations and, where necessary, to adopt appropriate steps".
Full text: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=33060
UN Security Council strongly condemns violence against civilians in wartime, UN News Centre,
28 April 2006 The United Nations Security Council today issued a ringing condemnation of all violence committed against civilians during armed conflict, directing its strongest language at attacks on women and children, and pledged to ensure that all peace support operations employ all feasible measures to prevent the scourge.
In its unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-Member body also condemned all attacks deliberately targeting UN personnel and others involved in humanitarian missions, urging States to bring those responsible to justice.
Acknowledging that the most effect way to deal with violence against civilians would be to eradicate armed conflict world-wide, the Council nevertheless demanded that all parties involved in such conflicts comply strictly with all the obligations of the Geneva Conventions, as well as the earlier Hague Conventions.
Council reprobation was particularly directed at sexual violence, including all acts of sexual exploitation, abuse and trafficking by personnel involved in UN operations, for which it welcomed the zero-tolerance policy now in place.
In his latest report on the issue, released in December 2005, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that despite a sharper United Nations focus on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, civilians continue to suffer devastating ollateral damage, as well as targeted violence, increasingly in the form of sexual abuse, forced displacement, terrorism and extreme economic deprivation, requiring ever-evolving protective mechanisms.
n the five years since the adoption of Security Council resolution 1296 (2000) there have been new challenges to the safety and well-being of civilian populations, and the tools that we have at our disposal to address these concerns need to be developed accordingly, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in his latest report on the matter, which the Council discussed today.
In his report, Mr. Annan points to the conflicts in northern Uganda, the Darfur region of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as examples of the forced displacement and violence against women.
The occupied Palestinian territory and Colombia were cited as examples of complex situations that include terrorism, and Nepal and Myanmar as cases of economic suffering resulting from armed conflict.