H.E. Ambassador Desra Percaya
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia
to the United Nations
Security Council Open Debate on the Agenda Item
“Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict”
New York, February 12, 2014
I should preface by congratulating you on your presidency for the month of February. We thank you for convening this open debate. We are also thankful for your helpful and well-structured concept paper.
My delegation thanks the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, USG for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, USG for Peacekeeping Operations, as well as the Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), for their respective briefings.
While this year marks 15 years of pronounced focus and engagement by the Security Council on protection of civilians, the international community continues to witness the deplorable fact of growing civilians’ deaths.
The Security Council’s efforts, particularly in mandating a number of UN peacekeeping operations with protection of civilians’ tasks have heightened international attention, and led to the development of important normative framework on this issue.
Yet many challenges have to be tackled to satisfactorily enhance safeguarding of people during conflicts.
With that background in mind, Indonesia welcomes the adoption of the Presidential Statement, which reiterates commitments regarding this issue and reaffirms many important elements from all previous relevant PRSTs.
We recognize that protecting civilians is one of the most challenging tasks of UN peacekeeping. And as the Secretary-General’s latest report notes “peacekeepers are mandated to carry out increasingly complex missions in increasingly dangerous environments”.
It necessitates that all peacekeeping stakeholders, not least the Council, ensure that there is full clarity on the concept and operationalization of protection of civilians, and provision of requisite equipment and resources with robust and rapid support to and coordination with blue helmets and other UN civilian staff at all times.
We value significant steps on improving capabilities of the UN peacekeeping operations in this regard.
It is also important to be mindful in this deliberation that protection of civilians is the primary responsibility of the host country.
But human life is most precious and human dignity must be safeguarded regardless. Indonesia strongly believes that the UN missions should conduct their tasks without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the host government to protect civilians.
In this context, I would like to additionally mention three points:
Firstly, it is crucial to understand the local dynamic, how the civilian populations try to protect themselves, and to develop strategies that can effectively address threats to civilians at the earliest phase of mandate planning.
Indonesia concurs with the concept note that there is a lack of pre-mandate planning and assessment on protection of civilians.
It is therefore very important for the Secretariat and the Security Council, in consultation with the host government, troop and police contributing countries, to develop sound pre-assessment on civilians’ protection. There should be well functioning mechanisms based on realistic assessments, which can identify early threats before mandate planning as well as during the various stages of missions.
Secondly, the coherence of efforts on civilians’ protection by the Security Council, Secretariat, troops and police contributing countries, host government and other relevant actors cannot be emphasized enough.
This collaboration and cooperation can position the necessary political dialogue to mitigate hostilities on ground between the combat parties, as well as harness the required equipment and resources, yielding the essential support and situational awareness for the UN missions.
We stress the importance of regular evaluation and reporting on the implementation of protection of civilians’ mandates by the UN peacekeeping operations, as well as an open dialogue between the Secretariat and the wider Member States, including in the C-34 to undertake comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all theiraspects.
Thirdly,Indonesia wishes to emphasize the importance of ensuring the implementation of protecting the civilians does not go beyond the UN peacekeeping missions’ mandate.
Indonesia recognizes the importance of monitoring, evaluating and reporting by UN PKOs on the implementation of the protection of civilians’ mandate, in this regard.
While the approach must be holistic, we reiterate that the protection mandates should be clear and achievable with explicit goals and guidelines to blue helmets. Moreover, the senior mission leadership should have close coordination and clear understanding of mechanisms to work on civilians’ protection.
In this context, we also underscore that the relevant planning processes, guiding materials and training modules, before and during deployment, should be based on learning from contemporary missions’ and be up to the mark.
Indonesia, in this regard, concurs with the call in 2012 by the Special Committee on PKOs on the importance to widely disseminate information among peacekeeping personnel on UN Charter, international humanitarian and human rights law as well as refugee laws, including in training materials, in orderto enable them to better understand the interconnection between the implementation of the protection of civilians’ mandate with these fields of law, and to act accordingly.
Furthermore, as peacekeeping has developed to encompass broader humanitarian approach, it is worthy to underline the importance to strengthen our efforts towards increasing the number of female peacekeepers in UN peacekeeping missions. Their role and presence in UN peacekeeping missions have been critical, including in supporting peacebuilding and protecting civilians.
On its part, Indonesia is committed to enhancing capacities on protection of civilians for its peacekeepers before deployment, and will continue to improve its training on this issue at our peacekeeping training center, the Indonesian Peace and Security Center.
Finally, we hope that the 15th anniversary will further the promotion of “culture of protection” and strengthen cooperation and synergy among the concerned entities inside and outside the UN system.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
Tel: 1.212.972.8333, Fax: 1.212.972.9780 - www.indonesiamission-ny.org