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 “collateral 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.
“In 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.