Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuo Kodama
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
25 June 2012
I would like to express my sincere congratulations to China for its presidency of the Security Council and to thank China for holding this Open Debate on the ‘Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict’. I also thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Emergency Relief Coordinator Ms. Valerie Amos, Assistant-Secretary-General for Human Rights Mr. Ivan Simonovic, and Director for International Law and Cooperation of the ICRC Dr. Philip Spoerri for their briefings.
The current state of the protection of civilians has not improved since the last open debate of the Security Council on this issue, and attacks continue against civilians, humanitarian workers and UN peacekeepers. Earlier this month, seven UN peacekeepers were attacked and lost their lives during patrols to protect civilians in Côte d’Ivoire. The Government of Japan strongly condemns such attacks.
Also, the use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas as seen in Syria and Sudan is of grave concern, as it results in numerous civilian casualties. It also leads to the creation of scores of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, which affects not only the epicenter of violence but also neighboring countries and regions.
Based upon this current state of affairs, I would like to raise the following 3 issues:
- Need for enhancing effectiveness in implementing PoC mandate
First, there are high demands on PKO missions to provide protection to civilians in a role supplementary to the primary responsibility of host governments, and indeed many missions are mandated to do so. The implementation of the PoC mandate, which can affect the credibility of a mission, is increasingly challenging and important, and the lack of adequate resources is a pressing issue. In this light, we commend efforts made by DPKO and DFS to produce resource capacity matrix and training modules, and we look forward to further improvement of these tools. In addition, we call for efforts to improve the effectiveness of the implementation of the PoC mandate, with attention paid to mid- and long-term capacity building of host countries as well as efforts made by local residents.
Second, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access is indispensable in protecting civilians. Political climate, including UN sanctions, often complicate negotiations on humanitarian access; however, we stress that humanitarian assistance, which stands on the principle of neutrality and impartiality, should not be politicized and host countries should cooperate in light of their responsibility to protect civilians. In such complex circumstances, close communication among relevant bodies such as the Security Council, DPKO and DPA as well as the leadership of Emergency Relief Coordinator are critical.
Third, it is crucial to seek facts and hold perpetrators accountable for violence against civilians in order to prevent further deterioration of situations. In this light, the Government of Japan welcomes the resolution adopted at the Human Rights Council earlier this month to request the Commission of Inquiry to urgently conduct an inquiry into the events in El-Houleh. We urge the Government of Syria to cooperate with the Commission to fully implement the resolution.
The history of the issue of the protection of civilians at the Security Council is short. Nevertheless, the issue was brought to the Council in the wake of a series of violent incidents in a number of countries including in Bosnia and in Rwanda. This proves that the Security Council has been strengthening its efforts to respond to the affairs of the world as they occur. The agenda of protecting civilians is increasingly important and the Security Council should bear in mind its important role on this issue and jointly fulfill its duty.