The Sovereign Military Order of Malta addresses the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts
New York, November 11, 2009 -- On Wednesday, November 11th, H. E. Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, Minister of International Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, appeared before the United Nations Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. This is the first time the Order of Malta has addressed the Security Council since being granted Observer Status at the United Nations in 1994.
In his statement, the Minister cited the Order’s activities in over 120 countries, many of which are carried out in the regions where civilians are suffering most gravely as the victims of armed conflict—such as South Sudan, Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He called on the Council to address the violations perpetrated against civilians and humanitarian actors. In accordance with settled principles of the international law of “command responsibility,” not only the perpetrators of these abuses but also their commanders must be held accountable. The Council should therefore clearly and unambiguously: endorse these principles, insist that all combatants observe them, condemn violations of these principles, urge all Member States to take appropriate action to investigate and punish violations, and consider referring to the International Criminal Court any gross violations that Member States are unable to pursue through the ordinary course of their domestic law and procedure.
He also called upon the international community to outlaw or restrict the trade in small arms and cluster munitions, which indiscriminately kill or injure civilians.
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His Excellency Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, Minister of International Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, addressing the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. His Excellency Ambassador Robert L. Shafer, Ambassador and Permanent Observer of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta to the UN, seats behind him. [Credits UN Photo]