Statement by Minister Naoto Hisajima
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
12 February 2013
At the outset, let me express my sincere congratulations to the Republic of Korea for its assumption of the presidency of the Security Council, and I thank the Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr. Kim Sung-Hwan, for holding this debate. I also thank H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms. Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Mr. Philip Spoerri, Director for International Law and Cooperation at ICRC for their respective briefings.
Japan associates itself with the statement to be delivered by Switzerland on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.
The need for the protection of civilians in armed conflict continues to increase. The five core challenges identified in the report of the Secretary-General remain relevant today and we need to address what concrete measures can be applied to tackle these challenges. Against this background, I would like to focus on two issues at this debate.
Although the protection of civilians, and building capacity to that end, have been mandated to a number of peacekeeping operations and other missions, ensuring the efficacy of these mandates remains a challenge. In this regard, MONUSCO, which counts the protection of civilians as one of its core goals, is expected to deploy UAV to improve surveillance capacity. Japan welcomes effective measures such as this to protect civilians.
In Mali, efforts by France, African states and Malian troops to reestablish stability are bringing about tangible results, and Japan commends their engagement. Nevertheless, a number of challenges still exist such as providing assistance to the many IDPs and refugees, stabilizing the recovered areas and promoting political transition in Mali. Strengthening the capacity of the Malian authority is crucial in tackling these challenges and therefore achieving the protection of civilians.
Japan is considering allocating 120 million USD in order to assist refugees and IDPs in Mali and its neighboring countries, and to strengthen governance and security in the region including by supporting PKO training centers. We strongly hope that such assistance will contribute toward the protection of civilians in Mali and its neighboring areas, and improve regional stability as a whole.
Furthermore, we believe that pre-deployment training for PKO and other mission personnel is extremely useful, and it is therefore important to provide comprehensive training on such issues as the protection of civilians and the prevention of sexual violence.
Ensuring accountability and compliance to international humanitarian law by parties to conflict are obviously important, but as the concept paper issued by the Republic of Korea points out, it is also important for the members of the Security Council to fully recognize that importance. The Security Council should take more proactive actions to accelerate concrete movement in this regard by, for instance, launching fact-finding missions and submitting referrals to the ICC. In this light, 57 countries including Japan requested that the Security Council refer the situation in Syria to the ICC. We all need to bear in mind that inaction on the part of the Security Council sends the wrong message to perpetrators and compromises the credibility of the United Nations.
In conclusion, it is important that this open debate not only promote discussion at the normative level but also contribute to the advancement of concrete actions toward the protection of civilians on the ground. In this regard, Japan hopes that the reports of the Secretary-General on the protection of civilians in armed conflict continue to be issued regularly, with concrete recommendations, and that the open debate provides a forum for active discussion on this matter.
I thank you, Mr. President.