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Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

On May 23, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention during the Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, which took place at UN headquarters in New York. The Statement was delivered by Msgr. Tomasz Grysa, First Counselor and Deputy Permanent Observer.

In his statement, Archbishop Auza said that we are now marking the 70th anniversary of the four Geneva Conventions and the 20th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1265, which provide pillars of international humanitarian law. Their condemnations of the deliberate targeting of civilians are more relevant now than ever, he said, when so many conflicts today involve non-State armed groups who act in total disregard for humanitarian law and principles in attacking schools, hospitals, medical staff, places of worship, cultural heritage sites, homes, women and girls, journalists, humanitarian actors and other vulnerable persons. A culture of impunity impedes warring parties from respecting the rules of war and more robust legal mechanisms and a new mentality are both needed, he said. Out of respect for those who have suffering, he concluded, this Open Debate must be translated into action to better protect civilians in conflict.

The statement can be found here.