The international humanitarian law is under threat
Protection of civilians; Burundi - Remarks to the press by Mr. François Delattre, Perrmanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 25 may 2017
Three quick remarks on the protection of civilians.
The first to tell you that the debate we are about to have on this critical issue is not a doctrinal or theoretical debate. This is to summarize the number one priority of the UN, according to us. And it is a day to day issue for us at the UN, especially when we deal with the peacekeeping operations in countries where hundreds of men, women, children, medical and humanitarian staff, journalists are facing threats and violence. For all of us here at the UN, and at the Security Council in particular, we owe these men and women to do our very best to make sure they are protected. Number one.
Number two, we have to be honest with ourselves: the international humanitarian law in particular is under threat, if not under attack. So we have to protect it and to promote it. At the same time, we have made much progress over the past years in the field of protection of civilians, including in building up more robust and pro-active UN Missions. But we can and must do better: on the humanitarian access, I will insist on that, on accountability, and also on very concrete proposals such as the “no strike lists” to increase the protection of medical staff in conflicts, or strict rules of engagement to limit the humanitarian impact of military operations. This is what France is doing in Mali with training provided to Malian troops by our national force Barkhane on IEDs and also on protection of medical infrastructures for instance.
Number three, we hope this debate will be useful to help us together promote a political priority, the protection of civilians, and also promote concrete recommendations in this regard. And in a few minutes I will make some recommendations on behalf of France. For example, regarding the protection of medical and humanitarian staff, I will suggest to add an annex to the annual report by the SG on the protection of civilians dedicated to this, dedicated to the implementation of Resolution 2286.
Q: On Burundi, with Mr. Michel Kafando coming next week, what do you hope to accomplish and will there be a report to the Council in June in writing including on human rights on the question of Burundi?
The one thing I can say on Burundi is that it remains more than ever a very high priority for us and for the Security Council, that needs to stay mobilized on this to help promote inclusive political dialogue, and we believe that with Mr. Kafando we are lucky to have such a highly regarded figure, highly respected figure by, I believe, every party, to try to initiate this inclusive political dialogue.