UN chief deplores lack of civilian protection

Added On May 25, 2019

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has deplored the lack of civilian protection in armed conflicts and the erosion of respect for international humanitarian law.
World News has more.
The UN chief made the remarks on Thursday at a Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
He added that the normative framework for civilian protection has been strengthened, while compliance has deteriorated.
SOUNDBITE (English): ANTONIO GUTERRES, UN Secretary-General
"As my report underlines, civilians continue to make up the vast majority of casualties in conflict. In 2018 alone, the United Nations recorded the death and injury of more than 22,800 civilians in just six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen."
The UN chief noted that most recently in Idlib in northwest Syria, there was a new wave of shelling and airstrikes against hospitals, schools, markets, and camps for the displaced, killing, wounding and creating panic among the civilian population.
SOUNDBITE (English): ANTONIO GUTERRES, UN Secretary-General
"In all conflicts, when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 90 percent of those killed and injured were civilians.(DELETE) Overall, some 1.4 million people were newly displaced across international borders, while a further 5.2 million were internally displaced. Widespread access constraints jeopardized humanitarian and medical assistance to civilians in need. Violence against humanitarian and medical workers and facilities persisted.(DELETE)"
In the meantime, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, has asked for unity among the Security Council on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
He added that seventy years after the universal ratification of the Geneva Conventions and 20 years after the Security Council took the protection of civilians as an important item on its agenda, outrageous violations are happening on a daily basis.
"As we mark the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions this year, we urge states to recall their spirit, which is to uphold human dignity in the midst of armed conflict."