National statement of Germany during the UN Security Council Open Debate on “Protection of civilians in armed conflict: 25th anniversary of SCR 1265 (1999) and the report of the Secretary General”, 21 May 2024

Protection of Civilians in armed conflict

Protection of Civilians in armed conflict, © GermanyUN

21.05.2024 - Speech

Statement delivered by Ambassador Leendertse, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Let me begin by reaffirming Germany's unwavering commitment to International Humanitarian Law. We share the concern of its negligence raised by Mozambique - that's why this meeting was organized and we are confident that this open debate will help raise the awareness for the needs, the suffering, and rights of civilians trapped in armed conflict.

Mr. President, civilians are the main victims of war. Protecting them during armed conflict, in particular vulnerable civilian groups such as women, children and displaced persons, is a cornerstone of International Humanitarian Law.

The Secretary General's report in front of us paints a sobering picture of the appalling harm inflicted on countless civilians across the world's conflict zones. My delegation shares the conviction that the Protection of Civilians agenda calls for respect for international law with the United Nations Charter at its core. And to put it very clearly, Germany supports the universal and equal application of international law and International Humanitarian Law, be it in Ukraine, Gaza, Sudan, or the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr. President, Security Council Resolution 1256 was an important achievement in recognizing that the protection of civilians is a matter of international peace and security.

Increasingly, attacks on civilians, medical and humanitarian personnel are making it impossible to ensure that those most in need are able to receive the assistance they need to be able to survive.

In this context, I would also like to draw your attention to the political declaration on explosive weapons in populated areas.

We think it remains a key instrument in addressing the grave humanitarian consequences of its use.

Just to come back to the first issue I touched upon. To conclude, I wanted to raise the issue of a particular group of civilians exposed to conflict and war: women and girls. In 2023, Germany took over the lead of the call to action on protection from gender-based violence in emergencies; and during the time of its lead, Germany follows four main objectives:

· Better situate the call to action as a cross stakeholder working platform

· Improve accountability for protection from gender-based violence

· And establish sustainable partnerships with local and women led organizations, improving the inclusion with humanitarian system.

Mr. President, protection of civilians must be at the core of our humanitarian-development nexus efforts, be it women and girls, be it men or boys, also in the face of increased mission drawdown and transitions.

I thank you.

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