The protection of civilians in armed conflict continues to occupy a prominent place on the Security Council’s agenda, more than 10 years after it adopted its first thematic resolution on the issue in 1999. In recent years, concern for the protection of civilians has increasingly featured in the Security Council’s country-specific deliberations and decisions. Despite this, hundreds of thousands of civilians in armed conflicts continue to face the daily threat of violence and serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.
As the most recent report of the Secretary-General on the protection of civilians in armed conflict (S/2010/579), published in November 2010, emphasized: “there must be greater consistency in the manner and extent to which the Council addresses protection in those contexts of which it is actually seized”. In this regard, the Aide Memoire is an important tool at the disposal of the Security Council for identifying the key protection of civilians concerns in armed conflicts and, based on examples of the Council’s own past practice, sets out specific actions the Council can take to respond to these concerns.
This document is the fourth edition of the Aide Memoire on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. It was prepared by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in close consultation with Security Council members and with inputs from the relevant United Nations entities.
The current version of the Aide Memoire maintains the overall structure of the previous edition that was published in January 2009. It has been updated and includes specific language from the numerous thematic and country-specific resolutions that were adopted by the Council between January 2009 and November 2010. The role of peacekeeping missions in the protection of civilians remains a prominent feature of the Aide Memoire. It also covers a range of protection issues on which the Council has taken action, with a number of important new themes included in this latest edition. These include inter alia protection benchmarks; durable solutions for internally displaced persons and refugees; housing, land and property; humanitarian assistance and preparedness; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; security sector reform; and specific measures on children affected by armed conflict and conflict-related sexual violence.
The Aide Memoire is an important practical tool for the Security Council to enhance its actions to protect civilians on the ground in the midst of armed conflict. I strongly encourage the Council to apply the Aide Memoire systematically in all relevant situations of which it is seized and in particular in the context of its informal Expert Group on the protection of civilians. In addition to being of use to the Council, the Aide Memoire can also be used as the basis for analysis and reporting of protection concerns during humanitarian crises.
1er juin 2011 – Relief Web.
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