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Statement by Ambassador LIU Jieyi at the Security Council Debate on Protection of Health Care in Armed Conflict

2016/05/03

At the outset, I wish to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council this month. I am sure that you will ably lead the Security Council through a productive and fruitful month in May. Once again, I wish to express the sincere appreciation of the delegation of China to the members of the Council for all the support that they have given us during the month of April. I wish to thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his briefing. China has listened carefully to the briefings made by Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the representative of Médecins Sans Frontières.     

In recent years, the safety of medical personnel and humanitarian organizations exclusively engaged in medical duties and of the medical facilities and equipment during armed conflict have been increasingly under threat, which has received broad international attention. China pays tribute to the medical personnel and humanitarian-assistance organizations for putting themselves at risk to save lives and care for the wounded and sick. We are concerned about the safety of that personnel and relevant medical facilities and equipment. We therefore support the enhancing their protection by the international community. I wish to emphasize the following four points.

First, protecting medical personnel and facilities during armed conflict is the inescapable responsibility of the States and parties to the conflict. States have the primary responsibility for protecting the population throughout their entire territory, and they should step up the protection of medical personnel and facilities. Parties to the conflict should respect international law, including international humanitarian law, international conventions and the relevant Security Council resolutions, in fulfillment of their obligation to protect medical personnel and facilities, so as to ensure safe and timely humanitarian access. Acts of violence, attacks and threats against medical personnel and facilities during armed conflict should be investigated and punished by States in accordance with the law. The international community should provide the necessary assistance and support on the basis of full consultations with States.

Secondly, medical personnel and humanitarian organizations engaged in medical duties should, in carrying out their humanitarian assistance activities during armed conflict, fully comply with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, respect the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence in providing humanitarian assistance, and fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, avoiding any involvement in the conflict or supporting any of the parties to the conflict. That is the basis of humanitarian assistance - to win the understanding and trust of all parties, which serves as an important guarantee to ensure the safety of medical personnel and facilities in conflict areas.

Thirdly, the Security Council should actively carry out preventive diplomacy and political good offices with the aim of striving towards the settlement of differences among parties through peaceful means, including through dialogue and negotiation, so as to find a political solution to the questions and to prevent or contain conflicts from escalating in order to fundamentally prevent medical staff and facilities from being threatened.

Fourthly, the United Nations should carry out its actions together with humanitarian assistance organizations. The United Nations should conduct in-depth analysis and assessments of the risks and challenges faced by humanitarian assistance activities in conflict areas, and, on the basis of respecting the views of States, maintain communications and coordination with all parties to conflict in order to step up the protection of medical personnel and facilities. The relevant medical staff and humanitarian assistance organizations should maximize preparedness for their own safety and protection, while establishing effective communications mechanisms with States, the parties to the conflict and the relevant United Nations agencies and institutions.

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