The number of incidents where civilians are targeted in armed conflict are growing, according to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
At the Security Council debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Mr. Ban drew attention to the key role of Council in dealing with the issue.
Mr. Ban also urges for new approaches to be considered to address the gowing incidents of civilian casualties in armed conflict.
“Too many people are dying, in too many places. Sometimes they are caught in the crossfire; frequently they are targeted.” -Mr. Ban
He states the world is witness to an appalling catalogue of sexual violence, forced disappearances, torture and other acts that violate international human rights law.
The UN chief cited recent developments across the world as examples. These included Afghanistan, where the UN mission there has reported a rise in civilian deaths, mostly attributable to anti-Government forces; Cote d’Ivoire, where seven ‘blue helmets’ serving with the UN peacekeeping mission there recently lost their lives defending villagers from armed attacks; and in Syria, where civilians have been killed in clashes between Government forces and armed opposition groups.
In addition, Mr. Ban notes that the Council has made important progress over the last year and a half in the area of protection of civilians.
He cites that the Council has also shown greater willingness to use targeted sanctions against those who violate international humanitarian and human rights law.
In his remarks, Mr. Ban also stresses the work of UN peacekeepers in protecting civilians in various conflict zones around the world.
He underlines that UN peacekeepers are identifying and addressing threats through political efforts to prevent violence and resolve conflict; immediate physical protection; and building a broader protective environment for civilians,” Mr. Ban said.
In Afghanistan, a UN report revealed that ordinary Afghans continue to bear the brunt of the ongoing conflict in the country.
UN reports there were 2,777 conflict-related civilian deaths in 2010.
Over the past four years, 8,832 civilians have been killed in the conflict with civilian deaths increasing each year.
Suicide attacks and improvised explosive devices killed the most Afghan civilians in the conflict in 2010, taking 1,141 lives, or 55 per cent of civilian deaths attributed to anti-government elements.
UN says millions of civilians worldwide are still victims of armed conflicts – losing their lives, being forced to flee their homes and becoming victims of physical and sexual violence – despite recent progress in some countries
UN underlines that civilians comprise the majority of casualties in armed conflict, often in contravention of international humanitarian law.