Protecting civilians in armed conflict
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Statement of Mr. Alain Délétroz, Director General of Geneva Call, on the adoption of Resolution 2462 by the United Nations Security Council

2nd April 2019 |

On 28 March 2019, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2462 on preventing and combating the financing of terrorism. While the legitimate concerns of United Nations Member States regarding the need to address the security threat posed by terrorism are understood and shared by Geneva Call, we are concerned regarding the potential negative impact that such measures may have on the provision of impartial humanitarian protection activities in conflict zones.

We commend the inclusion of Article 24 of the Resolution, which aims to ensure that States take into account the impact of counter-terrorism measures on exclusively humanitarian activities. Nonetheless, we believe that the implementation at domestic level of this Resolution carries with it a real danger that Member States could hamper or even criminalise humanitarian action, including the type of humanitarian engagement with armed non-State actors (ANSAs) carried out by Geneva Call since the year 2000.

As an impartial, independent and neutral non-governmental organisation, working to promote the protection of civilians in conflict zones, we see this Resolution as potentially threatening our ability to continue our humanitarian engagement with ANSAs. Geneva Call is active in many of the most conflict-affected countries worldwide where our staff uses a range of tailored awareness raising approaches and training tools to ensure that both ANSAs and communities are better informed of their rights and obligations under IHL. Such humanitarian training is crucial to ensure that armed actors are fully aware of their obligations under IHL, and thus better able to protect the civilian populations living in areas which they may control.

We therefore urge Member States to take concrete steps to protect humanitarian action and preserve humanitarian space when it comes to implementing this Resolution at the national level and to avoid, at all costs, interfering with the essential and important work carried out by humanitarian organisations to improve the protection of civilian populations. In doing so, we recommend that they consult and work closely with humanitarian organisations, such as Geneva Call, which specialise in the field of the protection of civilians in conflict zones. In addition, any measures taken to combat the financing of terrorism must, imperatively, comply with IHL and international law more broadly.

 

©UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe