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Press Release
UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


Security Council
4679th Meeting (Evening)
SC/7618
20 December 2002


SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT STRONGLY CONDEMNS VIOLENCE

AGAINST CIVILIANS, PROTECTED PERSONS IN CONFLICT SITUATIONS


The Security Council this evening condemned strongly all attacks and acts of violence directed against civilians or other protected persons under international law and international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict.

In a statement (document S/PRST/2002/41) read out by its President, Alfonso Valdivieso (Colombia), the Council reaffirmed the need for parties in armed conflict to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel and those of international humanitarian organizations.  It recognized that secure humanitarian access, a clear separation of civilians and combatants, and the swift re-establishment of the rule of law, justice and reconciliation were essential for an effective transition from conflict to peace.  The Council also emphasized the responsibilities of States to end impunity and to prosecute those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of humanitarian law.

Mindful of the particular vulnerability of refugees and internally displaced persons, the Council reaffirmed the primary responsibility of States to ensure their protection.  United Nations multidisciplinary assessment teams, with the consent of the host country, could assist and support States in the separation of combatants and civilians.  The Council, moreover, recognized the needs of civilians under foreign occupation and stressed in that regard the responsibilities of the occupying Power.

Regarding gender-based violence, including sexual exploitation, abuse and trafficking of women and girls, the Council encouraged States, particularly troop-contributing countries, to use the six core principles developed by the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to prevent and remedy situations of sexual abuse and exploitation when their nationals were involved in such cases.  The Council further condemned all forms and manifestations of terrorism, however and by whomever committed.  It recognized the importance of a comprehensive, coherent and action-oriented approach to the protection of civilians in armed conflict.

The meeting, which began at 7:26 p.m., adjourned at 7:37 p.m.

Following is the full text of Presidential Statement S/PRST/2002/41:

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