|Statement by Ambassador Liu Jieyi at the Security Council Open Debate on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict|
China appreciates the Lithuanian initiative to hold an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. I wish to thank the High Commissioner for Human Rights Pillay, Under-Secretary-General Ladsous and Under-Secretary-General Amos for their briefings. China also listened carefully to the statement made by the representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 1265 (1999), on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. In the past 15 years, the Security Council has adopted multiple resolutions and presidential statements and laid down the legal framework for strengthening the protection of civilians in armed conflict. Protecting civilians has become one of the mandates of United Nations peacekeeping operations.
As the nature and characteristics of conflicts evolve over time, civilians of some countries and regions continue to suffer from the impact of armed conflict. The protection of civilians remains an arduous task for the international community. China supports holding in-depth discussions in the Security Council on the challenges faced in the protection of civilians in armed conflict and making pragmatic and effective efforts to achieve constructive results to that end. I should like to focus on the following four points.
First, all parties in an armed conflict must comply with their obligation to protect civilians. The primary responsibility in protecting innocent civilians from the harm of conflict and wars lies with national Governments. At the same time, other parties involved in a conflict must also fully comply with international humanitarian law and the relevant Security Council resolutions and spare no efforts in protecting civilians. The assistance provided by the international community and external organizations must be in line with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries concerned. In addressing violations of human rights and international humani