Inside the Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians

By Ijechi Nwaozuzu, United Nations Security Council Monitor

Hanaa Edwar, Secretary-General of the Iraqi Al-Amal Association, addresses the Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (UN Photo/Loey Felipe)

On 22 May 2018, under the Presidency of Poland, the Security Council held a ministerial-level open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. The debate was framed as an opportunity to review the current state of protection of civilians and allow Member States to share their views and existing good practices. Many speakers shared measures to facilitate the rapid and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid for vulnerable persons and promote respect for international humanitarian law. Importantly, recognising the indiscriminate impact of and the lack of accountability for the use of weapons against the civilian population, Ireland, Costa Rica and Austria also initiated a political declaration to indicate support for the development of an international political instrument on explosive weapons.
Civil society speaker, Ms. Hanaa Edwar, Secretary-General of the Iraqi Al-Amal Association, shared her experiences from Iraq and called for greater engagement of local actors in determining the way in which support and assistance is delivered into communities. “Humanitarian aid must address longstanding, structural drivers of conflict, which remain issues for communities in return”, she added. However, the debate inadequately addressed the importance of women’s participation and gender-sensitive root cause analysis. These are essential to developing sustainable and effective mechanisms for the protection of civilians, as guided by the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
Read WILPF Analysis of the UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians here>>