Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti,
Permanent Representative of Brazil
to the United Nations
Open debate of the Security Council on "Protection of
civilians in armed conflict"
7 July 2010
would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive
statement. I also thank Under-Secretary-General John Holmes and High
Commissioner Navi Pillay for their briefings this morning.
would like to join you, Madam President, and previous speakers in paying
special tribute to Sir John Holmes. We have greatly appreciated his
work. During his tenure, we went through numerous humanitarian crises.
His leadership and dedication made the response of the international
community more effective and the suffering of those affected less
unbearable. We wish him every success in his future endeavours.
attaches great importance to the protection of civilians in all its
aspects. We have sought to actively contribute to the many dimensions of
this issue, including the questions of humanitarian access; improving
compliance with humanitarian, refugee, and human rights law;
strengthening the International Criminal Court; and promoting the
well-being of internally displaced persons, among others. Today, I wish
to focus on the protection of civilians by peacekeeping operations.
yearís report by the C-34 demonstrated the growing consensus on the
importance of the protection of civilians by peacekeepers. It encouraged
the Secretariat to continue its conceptual and operational work in this
area, including through the preparation of training modules. We deem it
very important that DPKO continue engaging closely with TCCs and PCCs
throughout this process.
C-34 also requested the Secretariat to prepare strategic frameworks for
mission-wide protection strategies. These strategies are particularly
important inasmuch as they reinforce the fact that protection of
civilians is a multidimensional task. They should clarify the relevant
protection roles of all mission components, including Police, Human
Rights, Civil Affairs, and Public Information.
The Council has been very clear regarding the
priority it attaches to the task of protecting civilians. Nevertheless,
we must ask ourselves if this priority is adequately reflected in the
means and resources that are given to those responsible for making
protection a reality on the ground.
On the military side, we must continue to consider
issues such as training, guidance, oversight mechanisms, intelligence,
dissemination of information on International Humanitarian Law, and use
of non-lethal armaments and techniques.
We must also ensure, however, that the civilian
aspects of the mission receive equal attention, including in terms of
adequate staffing and guidance materials. The Secretariat and the
General Assembly must work together to ensure that civilian components
of missions are properly backstopped at Headquarters.
components play a central role in the preventive dimension of protection
efforts by peacekeeping missions. Missions must work together with other
actors, particularly those in the areas of development and human rights,
to create a protective environment. In addition, establishing a
positive, two-way dialogue with the local population is an important
factor in ensuring the sustainability of post-conflict peace and
The debate on the protection of civilians by
peacekeeping operations should not be read as a false opposition between
protection and other mandated tasks. When confronted with gross
violations of human rights, peacekeepers face a moral obligation to act.
Moreover, standing by while such abuses are committed can imperil the
missionís credibility in the eyes of other actors and compromise its
ability to fulfill other mandated tasks.
On the other hand, a mission that protects civilians
under imminent threat, but makes no progress in helping address the
underlying causes of the conflict or in peacebuilding tasks will not
lead to a sustainable peace. Helping States onto the path of peace,
stability and development is, ultimately, the best way for the United
Nations to contribute to the long-term protection of civilians.
The protection of civilians by peacekeeping missions
is one dimension of a multifaceted issue. Many others deserve careful
attention by the relevant bodies. Among these, I would cite: how to
ensure compensation for damages caused to civilian victims of conflicts,
even when they derive from actions committed in accordance with
international law; how to preserve cultural, collective, and community
rights in situations of armed conflict; and how to strengthen local
mechanisms of justice, monitoring, and prevention.
My delegation is ready to work with other Member
States and the UN system in order to address these and other central
questions in our collective strategy to ensure the adequate protection
of civilians in armed conflict.
Thank you very much