(as delivered)


Statement after the Vote by H.E. Mr. Motohide Yoshikawa

Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations


On the Security Council Draft Resolution on the

“Health Care in Armed Conflict”


3 May 2016



Good Morning Mr. President,


          It is very difficult to be the first speaker after having heard sobering stories and strong appeals from the Secretary General, President of ICRC and International President of Médecins Sans Frontières but I will try my best.


          My delegation is very proud to have worked with other co-authors in the preparation of the resolution. They are Egypt, New Zealand, Spain and Uruguay. I also thank many member states who have joined us as co-sponsors. I am very happy to note that there are 19 co-sponsors from Asia Pacific Group. Finally I would like to acknowledge the work of the “Group of Friends of the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict” led by Switzerland, as well as the initiative taken by Uruguay as a chair of the month of January, to hold an open debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.


Mr. President,


          The Geneva Conventions provide that medical personnel and medical facilities shall be respected and protected at all times. Therefore, they shall not be the object of attack. There is no room for argument on this point.


          This resolution does not focus on any specific conflict areas. However, I have to say that the situation in Syria in particular in Aleppo illustrates vividly the importance of this issue.


          Despite this universally accepted legal principle, medical personnel and medical facilities are exposed to attacks in armed conflicts and the situations are getting worse.


          In its effort to tackle this question of compliance to international humanitarian law, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2175 in 2014 which aims to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel.


          However, as the Secretary General, Mr. Peter Maurer of ICRC and Ms. Liu of MSF spoke in detail, attacks against medical personnel and medical facilities are considerably increasing. Only to add one example, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, and UNICEF documented 125 incidents affecting access to healthcare in Afghanistan in 2015. They include 20 health workers killed, 43 injured and 66 abducted. This is more than double of the number of incidents in 2014, which was 59.


          Facing this grave situation, we believed it urgent and necessary to adopt a resolution focusing exclusively on protection of medical personnel and medical facilities. I was very pleased to witness the resolution adopted unanimously today.


          Resolution 2286 sends a strong message by the Council condemning attacks on medical personnel and facilities and demanding all parties to armed conflicts to ensure respect and protection of these personnel and facilities.


Mr. President,


          The next step is the implementation of this resolution by the international community. All UN members should demonstrate their commitments to strengthen compliance with the international humanitarian law.


          In this context, I would like to see further deliberation of the comprehensive mechanisms to encourage relevant parties to comply with international humanitarian law. This subject was discussed intensively at the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva last December. However, we failed to reach an agreement. I do hope that feasible compliance mechanisms of international humanitarian law would be established in the near future through an inclusive process.


Mr. President,


          With this resolution, the Council strongly urges States to develop effective measures to prevent attacks against medical personnel through the development of domestic legal frameworks. This, I understand, is the proposal No.1 made now by President Maurer of ICRC. It would lead to end impunity and ensure accountability.



          In this regard, I wish to share with you that Japan has provided assistance to countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Iraq to develop domestic legal frameworks, by sending experts and conducting training programs.


Mr. President,


          The role of States with influence on the ground is of particular importance for the effective implementation of this resolution. The role of the Secretary General to alert the Council on any obstructions or acts of violence is also important.


          I wish to conclude by paying tribute to all the humanitarian personnel who are working under very serious circumstances of conflict and stating that Japan will continue to play an active role in the area of humanitarian assistance and international humanitarian law.



I thank you, Mr. President.



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