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Protection of Civilians

2003/10/16


Armed conflicts throughout the world differ in their causes, manifestations and natures. The international community should address the issue of the protection of civilians in armed conflict on a case-by-case basis, dealing with each situation on its own merits. Usually, it is the sovereign States that bear the main responsibility for protecting civilians in armed conflict. The Security Council cannot successfully consider and address this issue without the close cooperation of the countries involved. It should fully respect the opinions of the countries or parties concerned, assist them in accordance with their specific needs. Any attempt to politicize humanitarian concerns, interfere in other countries' internal affairs runs counter to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and will inevitably have serious consequences.The issue of protection of civilians in armed conflict involves political, peacckeeping, humintarian, disarmament, legal and many other dimensions. It requires the concerted efforts of the entire international community and the whole UN system. All agencies within the UN system should work with a well-defined division of labor and terms of reference. This is the only way that they can work in harmony and mutual reinforcement, allowing the UN system to play its role more effectively as a whole.

The international community should take further steps to eradicate the root causes of conflict by helping the countries concerned to eliminate poverty, develop their economies, promote national reconciliation and maintain domestic stability. Only thus can a fundamental solution be reached to the issue of protection of civilians in armed conflict.

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