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The President (spoke in French): Under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I should like to invite the representatives of Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cuba, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, the Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to participate in this meeting.
Under rule 39 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Mr. Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations; and Mr. Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and Head of the New York Office of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to participate in this meeting.
Under rule 39 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure, I invite His Excellency Mr. Pedro Serrano, Acting Head of the delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, to participate in this meeting.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda.
I now give the floor to Ms. Valerie Amos.
Ms. Amos: I will focus my remarks today on the pressing need to ensure more effective protection for civilians in the conduct of hostilities.
March and April of this year witnessed an escalation in violence in Gaza and southern Israel, with one Israeli child killed and three Israelis injured. Fifteen Palestinian civilians, including six children, were killed and 104 injured, 37 of them children.
When it comes to protecting civilians in the conduct of hostilities, the picture is stark. It will remain so in the absence of determined efforts by parties to conflict to comply with the law. Clear and binding rules regulating the conduct of hostilities exist. It is the willingness of parties to conflict to respect and ensure respect for those rules, including through the rigorous pursuit of accountability, that is absent.
Enhancing compliance with international law, particularly in the conduct of hostilities, is the first of the five core challenges identified in the last two Secretary-General’s reports on the protection of civilians (S/2010/579 and S/2009/277). As those reports made clear, aside from the fundamental responsibility on all the parties to conflict themselves, the Security Council too has a responsibility to promote compliance: first, by using all available opportunities to condemn violations and to remind parties of, and demand compliance with, their obligations; secondly, by applying targeted sanctions against the leadership of parties that routinely violate their obligations to respect civilians; and, thirdly, by promoting accountability, including by mandating commissions of inquiry to examine situations where concerns exist regarding serious violations, with a view to identifying the perpetrators and ensuring their prosecution at the national level, or referring the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The President (spoke in French): I thank Ms. Amos for her briefing.
The President (spoke in French): I now give the floor to the representative of Cuba.
Mr. Núñez Mosquera (Cuba) (spoke in Spanish): ...
We must recognize that no legal provisions exist by which to justify the legal nature of an intervention on the basis of humanitarian reasons or pretexts. The Security Council would have to undergo profound reforms, including in its membership and working methods, to ensure that any civilian protection actions taken would be non-abusive and non-selective.
How can we understand the inaction and dysfunction of the Security Council in the face of the death of innocent Palestinian civilians, who themselves have even fallen victim to the excessive and indiscriminate use of force?
The President (spoke in French): I now give the floor to the representative of Nicaragua.
Mrs. Rubiales de Chamorro (Nicaragua) (spoke in Spanish): ...
In conclusion, I wish to underscore that the inexcusable double standard of actions dishonours and fatally undermines the credibility of the Council and tarnishes the Organization as a whole. Where is the Council’s resolve when it comes to the heroic and martyred Palestinian people? It is precisely this double standard that fuels, inter alia, the expansionist and occupation policies that allow Israel to continue to act with full impunity against the heroic Palestinian people and the Arab nation.
The President (spoke in French): I now give the floor to the representative of the United Arab Emirates.
Mr. Al-Jarman (United Arab Emirates) (spoke in Arabic): ...
The United Arab Emirates has played a distinctive and transparent role in supporting efforts aimed at protecting civilians in conflict areas. It was among the first States to participate in international humanitarian operations and has made valuable contributions, including by providing various types of humanitarian relief and medical assistance to affected people, regardless of their affiliations or beliefs, in many conflict areas in the world. ...
In this context, we also call for all necessary measures to be taken to protect Palestinian civilians from the collective punishment and daily acts of excessive violence committed by Israel, the occupying Power, against them on their own territory. These measures must include the exertion of the necessary pressure on Israel to remove its inhumane and illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip in order to ensure that adequate humanitarian supplies, including basic construction materials, are delivered to the people of the Gaza Strip to enable them to rebuild and rehabilitate their institutions destroyed by the Israeli machine since 2006.
The meeting was suspended at 1.20 p.m.
This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. The final text will be printed in the Official Records of the Security Council. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room U-506.