UN Security Council Addresses Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict | The Center for Victims of Torture

UN Security Council Addresses Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Last Friday, the UN Security Council held a meeting on the “Protection of civilians in armed conflict.”

In a statement delivered before the Security Council, Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant UN Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, shared some disturbing facts.

Excerpts from her statement:

  • The need for protection has increased dramatically in recent years, mainly as a result of armed conflict. At the start of 2014, humanitarian organizations appealed for aid to help 52 million people in urgent need of assistance and protection. By the end of the year, the number had gone up by almost 50 per cent to 76 million. The overwhelming majority of these people are civilians affected by conflict. And the majority are women and girls.
  • In most conflicts, women and girls continue to be disproportionately affected by sexual violence. Indeed the brutalization of women remains a consistent and persistent feature of conflict.

Kyung-wha Kang also stressed, “This Council and the international community must take steps to tackle the impunity that continues to fuel many conflicts, as well as the endless flow of weapons and arms. There is nothing that emboldens violators more than knowing that they will not be brought to account for their crimes.”

In seeking solutions to conflict, she added that the UN Secretary-General’s Human Rights Up Front initiative is at the center of these efforts.

On behalf of the United States, Ambassador David Pressman, Alternate Representative to the UN for Special Political Affairs, said in his remarks:

The unique horror confronted by women and girls in conflict is as chilling as it is urgent. While conflict does not discriminate on the basis of gender, it does disproportionately affect those who are marginalized, vulnerable, or oppressed. And in too many societies around the world, for too long, women and girls have been marginalized, vulnerable, or oppressed. If we care about addressing the problems encountered by women and girls in wartime, we must be prepared to address the enduring problems of discrimination and inequality of women in peacetime. As the Secretary-General documented in his 2014 report on Women, Peace and Security, the threats facing women and children in conflict are worsening, not improving, in many parts of the world. We can and we must work together to turn this tide.

He ended by saying:

Expanding opportunity and empowering women in peacetime is essential to tackling the unique problems women confront in wartime. After all, the best protection from sexual violence in conflict that targets women and girls is building societies where women and girls are respected; have equal access to justice, educational opportunities and health care services; societies where women enjoy equal protection under the law and equal access to political space.


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