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Protection of civilians in armed conflict
The President ( spoke in Arabic ): I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Canada, Colombia, Finland, Israel, Lebanon, Myanmar and Norway, in which they request to be invited to participate in the consideration of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the consideration of the item, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
At the invitation of the President, the representatives of the aforementioned countries took the seats reserved for them at the side of the Council Chamber.
The President (spoke in Arabic ): In accordance with the understanding reached in the Council’s prior consultations, I shall take it that the Security Council agrees to extend an invitation under rule 39 of its provisional rules of procedure to Mr. Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
It is so decided.
I invite Mr. Egeland to take a seat at the Council table.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
At this meeting, the Council will hear a briefing by Mr. Jan Egeland. Before giving him the floor, I wish to note that this is Mr. Egeland’s last appearance in the Security Council in his capacity as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. On behalf of the members, I wish to extend our thanks and gratitude to Mr. Egeland for his dedicated efforts in addressing humanitarian concerns, as well as in bringing humanitarian issues to the attention of the international community. We understand that upon his departure, he will not immediately take up any challenging tasks, but will take some well deserved rest instead. We hope he will be able to implement that plan. In bidding him farewell, we wish him success and fulfilment in his future endeavours.
I now give the floor to Mr. Egeland.
Mr. Egeland : ...
In Gaza, since September, Israel has launched some 15,000 artillery shells, mostly into densely populated areas, killing civilians and children and destroying essential infrastructure. Palestinian militants have launched some 1,700 devices into Israel with no attempt to distinguish between combatants and Israeli civilians. Suicide bombings aimed at causing maximum casualties and terror among civilians have become a regular feature of violence in too many conflicts.
My second category includes those many countries that face widespread and chronic protection crises resulting from repeated cycles of violence. We must now recognize that the conflict related to the Middle East crisis has become so deeply entrenched that it has created one of the world’s most serious protection crises. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are at least 1.2 million refugees from Iraq living in neighbouring countries, with unconfirmed figures indicating that 40,000 to 60,000 people a month are crossing into Syria seeking refuge, with totally inadequate support. The worst aspects of the protection crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories are reflected in the deaths of more than 110 children under the age of 17 this year — more than twice the number of deaths in 2005.
The meeting was suspended at 1.15 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 C-154A.