Inside the UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians

By Sarah Tunnell and Anne Lescure

Christine Beerli, Vice-President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), addresses the Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians and medical care in armed conflict. (Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)

The Security Council Open Debate entitled, “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: Health Care in Armed Conflict” was convened by Uruguay on 25 May 2017. The meeting was framed as an opportunity for Member States to assess the scope of threats to medical facilities in conflict situations, broaden the protection of civilians’ agenda to a more inclusive health care, respect for international humanitarian law and forced displacement, as well as to assess the implementation of Resolution 2286 (2016).

Though the debate’s general discussion included a number of strong statements regarding issues such as conflict prevention, displacement, justice and implementation, gender perspectives were absent from these contexts and were only incorporated as general references or as protection concerns. Despite strong statements concerning general disarmament, the only speaker who offered a gender perspective on disarmament issues was the representative of Ireland, who highlighted the nexus between explosive weapons in civilian areas and women and girls most often displaced by this phenomenon.

Read WILPF’s full analysis of the Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict here>>