Statement by Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan
On Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
10 May 2011
I thank you, Mr. President for convening today’s debate on Protection of Civilians. I would also like to thank Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General Alain Le Roy, and Assistant Secretary-General Ivan Simonovic for their briefing.
First, allow me to emphasize that the primary responsibility to protect civilians in accordance with humanitarian law and Security Council resolutions fundamentally lies with the government and the army of the country in which a conflict occurs. We are concerned that we still face constraints of access in many locations as well as difficulties in the provision of humanitarian assistance to the vulnerable. We call on all parties for their strict compliance with International Humanitarian Law. It is necessary for all of us to establish the rule of law, which includes strengthening judicial systems, as well as to continue the fight against impunity. We believe that in order to prevent civilians being victimized and to strengthen the protection of civilians, it is necessary and effective to enhance systems of monitoring and reporting.
In the cases of Libya and Côte d'Ivoire, Japan commends the effective and timely role which the Security Council has been playing in the protection of civilians and expects the Council to continue to take effective actions to that end.
As for the case of Libya, Japan has repeatedly called on the Libyan authorities to immediately cease committing acts of violence against the people of Libya, in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions. Japan strongly condemns the violence being perpetrated by Libyan authorities against their people, which has continued unabated despite the demands of the international community that it cease. Those who commit violence against the Libyan people including Muammer Al-Qadthafi should be held accountable for their actions including through the International Criminal Court.
We support the Member States that are taking measures in accordance with Security Council resolution 1973 to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya. At the same time, Japan believes that all diplomatic efforts should be made to achieve an immediate ceasefire and strongly supports all efforts in that regard especially that of Mr. Al-Khatib, Special Envoy of the Secretary General.
On Côte d'Ivoire, Japan supports the action taken, in accordance with resolution 1975, by UNOCI and French forces which support UNOCI, to protect civilians, including to prevent the use of heavy weapons in the deteriorating situation of security since the end of last November. We welcome President Ouattara to cooperate with the international investigation on human rights violations in the country, and also expect that perpetrators to be punished so that impunity never be allowed.
A peacekeeping mandate for the protection of civilians must be clear and achievable. It is also important to provide the mission with all the necessary resources for the implementation of the mandate. A comprehensive approach in addition to the Council’s resolutions will ensure successful protection of civilians through the following measures; namely, action taken by the Sanction Committee, strengthening the rule of law through the Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council, and close cooperation with regional organizations including the African Union and ECOWAS (The Economic Community Of West African States).
The ability of the Security Council to enforce accountability for the protection of civilians, especially women and children, must be further strengthened. In this regard, we expect that the monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence requested by resolution 1960 will be effectively operational as soon as possible. We also expect that the Council will take actions to hold accountable parties which attack schools.
Thank you, Mr. President.