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Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Arm Conflict in the frame of the Peacekeeping Operations

(New York, February 12, 2014)

Statement by H.E. Miguel Camilo Ruiz, Deputy Permanent Representative



Madame President,

I would like to thank the Mission of Lithuania for organizing the present debate and for the preparation of the concept note that guides it. Let me also thank the statements presented to the Security Council by Mrs. Valery Amos, UN Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mrs. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Herve Ladsour, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Mr. Yves Daccord, Director of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Colombia considers highly valued the opening of this kind of scenarios for reflection and for addressing the importance of the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict through United Nations Peacekeeping Operations and other relevant missions.

Colombia considers it appropriate to remember that Peacekeeping Operations prove their success when they are no longer necessary while laying the foundations for lasting peace and empowering national authorities. On the other hand, they also prove successful when they incorporate the protection of civilians as an international obligation and duty.

Madame President,

We share the concern about the situation faced by civilians in situations of armed conflict in some parts of the world and the repeated breach on the obligation by the parties involved in a conflict to respect and protect civilians in accordance with international law.

We also agree that the respect toward international law should be promoted among all parties involved in a conflict, and that the protection of civilians must be guaranteed, and that accountability should be promoted when the law is violated.

In this regard, Colombia –as a contributing country who supports the role of Peacekeeping Operations in those tasks- is convinced about the need for clear concepts and operability when implementing the activities of protection of civilians, both of which have been taken care of by the Secretariat.

To ensure a successful implementation we consider essential to pay special attention to the stages of planning and developing mandates, adequate resources appropriation as well as the assurance of training troops with the necessary standards.

In this regard, the Security Council should strengthen its capacity to acquire accurate information about the situation of civilians before the elaboration of mandates and to monitor progress in the field during their implementation.

To do so, the Security Council will need to use indicators on the situation of civilians in places where it is planned to carry out Peacekeeping Operations, requests reports on progress in the work of protection of civilians and to use tools such as the Arria Formula and interactive dialogues for further analysis and sharing lessons learned.

However, we are aware that the effectiveness in fulfilling mandates for protection of civilians by the UN must be strengthened by the political will of the States and their ability to meet responsibilities to the civilian population.

My Government understands the positive role played by different mechanisms of accountability to strengthen the protection of civilians during armed conflicts, but without closing the door to negotiations in which incentives are offered to combatants to demobilize and reintegrate into civilian life. For Colombia, the quest for peace and reconciliation goes through justice, reparations for victims, reconstruction of truth, and guarantees of non-repetition.

Madame President,

The Colombian government has taken note of the report by the Secretary-General on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict of November 22, 2013, whose recommendations will be taken into account by my country in accordance with its pertinence.

My delegation also wants to reiterate the importance that UN agencies fully understand and work align national governments in the field of protection of civilians, in order to prioritize the work and to inform the UN of particular cases. Verified, objective, balance, and unbiased information include the identification of gaps and challenges, but also the recognition of progress by each country.

The United Nations should promote compliance with international humanitarian law by non-state armed groups to protect civilians, determining carefully the mechanisms to accomplish this goal. In our view, every situation is different and must be addressed taking into account their special circumstances.

Finally, my Government understands and shares the concern for humanitarian access and also believes that international assistance in this field must follow the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence enshrined in resolution 46/182 of the General Assembly.

Following these principles, the collective efforts in support of national authorities acquire a greater significance when cooperation is aimed at countries that enjoy democratic institutions and lawfully constituted governments.

Thank you very much.


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