Civilians still need more protection from effects of armed conflict worldwide: UN official

09:12, July 08, 2010      

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In spite of the UN's progress on creating more institutional frameworks designed to handle the problems faced by civilians in armed conflict worldwide, the realities of life during wartime continue to be harsh, John Holmes, UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and UN emergency relief coordinator, said on Wednesday.

Holmes made the statement while briefing the UN Security Council during an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict. He also discussed difficulties that civilians face on the ground from Chad and Somalia to Pakistan and Gaza.

He praised the Security Council's "important role in expanding the weight of international jurisprudence" on several issues that impact people living in war-torn areas like the protection of women and children, and the displacement of populations.

"Nevertheless I fear all too little has changed for the better on the ground in recent years," said Holmes. "Civilians account for the vast majority of casualties in armed conflict, especially the internal conflicts which are now the norm. They are increasingly targeted by combatants and armed elements."

Holmes acknowledged some of the important steps the UN has taken in the past few years to alleviate the problems of violence against civilians and the displacement of civilians from their homes. These include the appointment of a special representative to the secretary-general on sexual violence in conflict, a special representative for children and armed conflict, and an informal group on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
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(Editor:李牧(实习))

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