H.E. AMBASSADOR DESRA PERCAYA
AT OPEN DEBATE OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL
“PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN ARMED CONFLICT”
Monday, 25 June 2012
The issue of protection of civilians in armed conflict has been considered by the Security Council for more than a decade. It is time that we reflect on the achievements as well as improvements that can bring about greater tangible results for protecting civilians affected by armed conflict.
Indeed the international community has achieved progress in setting up a robust international normative framework, and has provided a wealth of experience and best practices on this issue. However, the reality on ground remains characterized by the concern on adequately safeguarding people.
One very difficult point in the protection of civilians is the still vague meaning and distinction between armed groups, combatants, and civilians. This lack of clarity has cost civilian lives in various conflicts by both mistake and design.
The situation is confounded by the proliferation and fragmentation of non-state armed groups. Some of those non-state actors reject the premise of civilian protection.
Another key issue is the asymmetric nature of armed conflict in various regions, where the principles of distinction and proportionality are being violated.
These challenges underline the need for reinvigorated commitment and determined action in a comprehensive manner in dealing with protection of civilians in armed conflict.
In this connection, Mr. President, Indonesian delegation wishes to make a few observations:
Firstly, Indonesia is cognizant that the main failure in the protection of civilians in armed conflict stems from a lack of compliance and accountability by parties to conflict with their moral and legal obligations.
Regrettably, vested interests and power politics often ride roughshod over moral and legal imperatives.
We do note the constructive developments toward strengthening compliance and ensuring accountability through building of national capacity. This is an essential aspect in effectively preventing potential atrocities against civilians.
It also goes without saying that all states have the responsibility to ensure that adequate measures are taken to control and eliminate non-state armed groups and those perpetuating organized crime whose threat to people often accentuates during conflicts.
Secondly, it is crucial that adequate focus be made on developing tools and supporting and strengthening national capacities and resources, which enable effective systems for the wellbeing of civilians. Due regard should also be made to the special needs of women and children.
Member States’ role in promoting compliance and accountability, including through domestic legislation and legal means is critical to preventing violations.
In this regard, there are responsibilities on every state to not only undertake its requisite national steps but to support furthering of a global culture that ascribes highest protection for civilians in armed conflicts.
Thirdly,many UN peacekeeping missions have been entrusted with the protection of civilian mandates. As one of the leading troop contributing countries, Indonesia has sent its troops and police to several UN peacekeeping operations with this mandate.
It should be ensured that with the provision of clear goals and guidelines to blue helmets, they are properly equipped and supported in performing their mission goals.
We appreciate the Security Council’s efforts to that end. Initiative has been made to prioritize the protection of civilians in decisions concerning the use of “available capacity and resources” in the implementation of mission mandates.
The report has also specified the challenge of limited degree of cooperation from host states and their capacity to act, which affects the discharge of mandates by peacekeepers.
Undertaking of continued meaningful consultation among all peacekeeping stakeholders, including troop contributing countries, throughout various stages of a peacekeeping mission is extremely important to the effective accomplishment of mandate.
On its part, Indonesia is committed to enhancing capacities for training of the military, police and civilian components. The newly inaugurated Indonesia Peace and Security Centre will serve to cater to this important requirement.
There is indeed nothing better than preventing a conflict. Among others, the Security Council resolution 1265 (1999) explicitly expressed the need to address the causes of armed conflict, and to enhance the protection of civilians on a long term basis.
All relevant international actors must play their role, and cooperate and collaborate to generate the needed political synergy and support, which mitigates conflicts equitably and helps conflict-affected countries in taking effective measures to protect civilians.
Finally, Mr. President, I want to stress that the enabling of humanitarian access in a conflict situation is critical.Parties to conflict should cooperate fully with the UN and other humanitarian agencies to ensure a safe and unhindered access of humanitarian personnel, supplies and equipment.
I thank you.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
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