"Protection of civilians must continue to be the main focus of the work of the UN Security Council," said the Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, at the UN Security Council Open Session on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA (23/05).
The meeting, which was chaired by the Indonesian Foreign Minister as the President of the UN Security Council in May 2019, was attended by more than 80 UN member states and international organizations. Some countries are represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and officials at the Ministerial level. The UN Secretary General also attended and delivered the Annual Report related to the implementation of the agenda of Civil Citizens Protection in Armed Conflict. The President of the International Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, and Executive Director of the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), Federico Borello, were present as presenters.
The report of the UN Secretary General describes various achievements and challenges to the protection of civilians in the last 20 years. In this regard, the Indonesian Foreign Minister again reminded that the UN Security Council has a mandate and collective responsibility to protect civilians and the safety and security of civilians must always be put forward.
Indonesia also reaffirmed its support to strengthen international partnerships related to the promotion of human rights protection, especially for civilians in armed conflict. Indonesia's contribution so far has been reflected through Indonesia's active role in supporting issues of protecting civilians in various international forums and providing technical assistance to various countries in the field of infrastructure and good governance. Exemplified Indonesia's proactive efforts in empowering Palestinian communities with the establishment of hospitals for residents in Gaza, Palestine.
The Indonesian Foreign Minister stressed that community empowerment is a key element in increasing the country's capacity to protect civilians. The involvement of local communities, including women's groups, in designing and implementing a civil protection program will be more effective in achieving goals.
Protection of civilians is a multidimensional issue. Therefore, the Indonesian Foreign Minister encouraged 3 (three) things to be done in addressing these various challenges. First, the importance of strengthening the national capacity of the countries involved, including through community empowerment. Second, ensuring implementation and compliance with various applicable legal frameworks. Third, the development of innovative and practical efforts to protect civilians.
This Open Session is a series of main activities of the United Nations Security Council's Presidency in May 2019, which carries the theme "Sowing the Seeds of Peace". The meeting also marked the 20th anniversary of the discussion on the agenda of protecting civilians on the UN Security Council and the 70-year Geneva Convention on international humanitarian law. (source: Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)