H.E. Mr. Hasan Kleib
Charge d’ Affaires ad interim
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia
to the United Nations
"Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict"
New York, 11 November 2009
Let me begin by joining previous speakers in extending our appreciation to you for convening this open debate of such an important subject.
We thank the Secretary General for his statement. We are also grateful to the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, for their respective briefings.
My delegation also wishes to associate itself with the statement delivered by the Representative of Egypt on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement.
Every year, thousands of civilians fall victims of armed conflict situations. Their plight should always be our concern. It is our shared responsibility to alleviate their suffering wherever it occurs. The UN Charter unmistakably highlights this obligation.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Security Council’s initial consideration on this issue; and; the sixtieth anniversary of the Geneva Conventions. The nature of armed conflict has evolved since then; as have the causes and consequences. The wisdom that inspired the old Geneva Conventions should be renewed as the path taken to address the current circumstances. Likewise, it is a time to reflect on the achievements and on improvements that can bring about tangible results.
The last ten years of the Council’s consideration on this issue has set a robust international normative framework as well as a wealth of experience and best practices. In spite of that, tremendous challenges still lie before us.
One of the most difficult tasks in the protection of civilians is the increasingly blurred line between armed groups, combatants, and civilians. The lack of clarity has cost civilian lives. There is also proliferation and fragmentation of non-state armed groups. Another key issue is the increasingly asymmetric nature of armed conflict, where the principles of distinction and proportionality are being violated.
These challenges serve to highlight the need for reinvigorated commitment and determined action in a comprehensive manner.
In this connection Mr. President, we wish to highlight two of the three thematic areas in your concept paper, related to the five core challenges as described in the Secretary-general’s report.
On ‘Strengthening the rule of law, enhancing compliance and ensuring accountability’,Indonesia is cognizant that the key failure in the protection of civilians in armed conflict stems from lack of compliance and accountability by parties to conflict with their moral and legal obligations to protect civilians. Indonesia underlines that when it comes to the protection of civilians, all parties to the conflict have equal responsibility. There is no distinction of responsibility. There is one single responsibility. All have to adhere to this fundamental principle.
Indonesiavalues the constructive developments towards strengthening compliance and ensuring accountability through building national capacity. Only through this avenue, we, the international community, can prevent the emergence of atrocities committed against civilians. No amount of international assistance and efforts can bring long term results, should local institutions fail to discharge their duty in the first instance.Our focus; our dedication; should be about strengthening of local institutions.
Member states’ role in promoting compliance and accountability through domestic legislation and legal means is a vital building block in preventing violations on civilians that merits further support.We look forward to further developing other means and tools to strengthen national capacity. Due regard should continue to be made to the special needs of women and children.
On ‘Improving the implementation of protection mandates by peacekeeping missions’, Indonesia recognizes the role peacekeeping missions have in improving protection of civilians on the ground.
We note that much more needs to be done in responding to situations where conflict can potentially or has reemerged. Thus, we note with interests the detailed analysis conducted by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). Key findings and recommendations of the Study should be thoroughly discussed together by Troop-contributing Countries, the Secretariat, and the Council.
We also value the effort to ensure that the protection of civilians is prioritized in decisions concerning the use of “available capacity and resources” in the implementation of mission mandates. We believe that these are vital steps to bridge the disconnect between mandates, intentions, expectations and real implementation capacity challenges as highlighted by the Secretary-General’s report.
My delegation is of the fullest conviction that a more effective measure for the protection of civilians is the prevention of conflict itself. This approach entails addressing the root causes of conflicts. The Security Council resolution 1265 (1999) explicitly expressed the need to address the causes of armed conflict in order to enhance the protection of civilians on a long term basis.
Finally, Mr. President, let me reiterate that protection of civilians is a universal and timeless issue. Generation after generation has envisaged effective measures to protect civilians from the looming danger of armed conflicts. Our current discussion is part of that long and unbroken chain of efforts. Today’s discussion is a way to reinvigorate us and encourage the quest for new solutions to address it, and strengthen the existing mechanism.
I thank you.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
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