Press releases

May 22, 2018
Protection of civilians in armed conflict

On May 22, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention during the Security Council Open Debate dedicated to the theme of the “Protection of civilians in armed conflict.”  

In his remarks, Archbishop Auza said that the protection of civilians is at the heart of international humanitarian law and yet it has never been more dangerous to be a civilian in the middle of armed conflict as it is today, when the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals and schools, is commonplace as a tactic of war. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks of a “global protection crisis." Security Council Resolution 2286 from 2016 condemned attacks or threats against medical and humanitarian personnel, but this political will must be translated into action with parties to armed conflict unequivocally affirming that such personnel are off limits and violators ought to be criminally prosecuted. Similarly, parties that deny civilians access to food, water and medical care to gain military advance must be held accountable. The most long-lasting measure to protect civilians is by preventing the outbreak of conflict, Archbishop Auza concluded.  

His remarks can be found here.