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Cross-Cutting Report No. 2: Protection of Civilians

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This is Security Council Report's fourth Cross-Cutting Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. Nine months have passed since our third report came out in late October 2010, but much has happened in the area of protection of civilians during this period. The crisis in Libya and the post-electoral violence in Côte d'Ivoire stand out as two of the most important protection challenges for the Security Council. But there were also continuing protection concerns in other situations such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Somalia and Sudan. Most recently, the situations in Syria and Yemen have caused growing concern among many Council members.

The present report involves a change to our cycle of reporting. (Our previous cross-cutting reports were published every 12 months towards the end of the year.) The rationale for changing the cycle flows from the fact that our statistical analysis compares calendar years, so it seemed that an earlier publication date each year would make more sense and be more useful to our readers. (Our intention had also been to publish this report in time for the Security Council's open debate on protection of civilians in May. But unfortunately this became impossible when the date of the debate was moved forward at the last minute.) The result of this change in timing is that the present report covers less ground than our previous ones on this issue, although the statistical analysis still covers one full calendar year. In the future, we will be publishing a report every 12 months. Our next cross-cutting report on protection of civilians can therefore be expected in the first half of 2012.

resolution 1894 on protection of civilians adopted in November 2009, which asked for more detailed and comprehensive reporting on protection of civilians. The resolution asked the Secretary-General to develop guidance for such reporting, but this has yet to be finalised.

  • The Council demonstrated a greater willingness to use targeted sanctions against perpetrators of violations of international human rights or humanitarian law. It made additional listings based on criteria related to such violations under existing sanctions regimes and in 2011 established a new sanctions regime for Libya that includes among its listing criteria attacks against civilians. Five of the Council's 12 sanctions regimes now include listing criteria related to violations of international human rights or humanitarian law.
  • In May 2010, the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, was for the first time invited to brief one of the Council's Sanctions Committees—the Committee on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This resulted in a revision of the DRC sanctions listings to include recruitment and use of children in the designation justifications for nine individuals.
  • Four of the current seven UN peacekeeping missions with a protection mandate have developed comprehensive protection of civilians strategies. These are the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), the AU/UN Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and the UN Mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI). In March 2011 the Secretariat finalised the framework for drafting comprehensive protection of civilians strategies in UN peacekeeping operations requested by the 2010 session of the General Assembly's Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. This may facilitate further progress in developing such strategies as requested by resolution 1894.
  • There were no major changes in the functioning of the Council's informal expert group on the protection of civilians. The group held a total of 12 meetings in 2010 compared with seven meetings over the course of 2009. It continued to meet in connection with the renewal of relevant UN mandates to receive briefings by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on key protection issues for consideration in the drafting of country-specific resolutions. It is noteworthy, however, that the group held a meeting on Côte d'Ivoire in March 2011 which was not linked to the regular mandate renewal schedule. It was requested by OCHA to convey concerns about the impact on civilians of the post-electoral crisis in the country. China still does not participate in the meetings of the expert group.
  • The first case study, on Libya, provides an example of swift and decisive protection action by the Council. The Council first condemned the violations against civilians, demanded compliance with international law, imposed an arms embargo and targeted sanctions and referred the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC).  

    The Council subsequently authorised the use of military force to protect civilians in Libya. This was among its most significant decisions in recent years. However, the divisions among Council members and in the wider UN membership over the military action which has followed, demonstrate that significant differences still remain in terms of the appropriate response to attacks against civilians. In particular, there are concerns with regard to the use of military means as opposed to political solutions to stop violence against civilians. The dividing lines (as the subsequent discussions in the Council on Syria showed) as to what kind of violations constitute a threat to international peace and security and what should be considered an internal matter, were sharpened. One of the main criticisms is how quickly the narrative by those countries most involved in the military response switched from protection of civilians to regime change, and how quickly events on the ground morphed into a civil war.

    At the time of writing it was unclear how the Council's decisions on Libya might impact on future support for the protection of civilians agenda over the long term. An important test was the tenor of the open debate in the Council on protection of civilians of 10 May 2011. Contrary to expectations of some observers, the pushback against the protection of civilians agenda was more muted than expected. The Council decisions in March on Libya demonstrated more than anything else, that this was a special case.   

    Our other case study, Côte d'Ivoire, provides an interesting contrast. In Côte d'Ivoire the crisis played out over a more extended period, opening the window for the Council to use wider tools, such as subregional and regional mediation rather than coercive efforts to solve the post-electoral crisis at the outset. When these tools failed to produce results, the Council finally used its Chapter VII powers, signalling to UNOCI that its longstanding mandate to use force if necessary to protect civilians should be implemented so as to stop heavy weapons being used against civilian targets. This was significant because it marked a new and robust implementation role for UN peacekeeping in clear contrast to the inability of the Council, the UN and troop contributors to find the political will to act robustly in 1994 in Rwanda. As in the case of Libya, however, (although to a much lesser degree), there is some residual controversy over the Council's actions on Côte d'Ivoire. Some seem to question whether UNOCI's protection of civilians operation in April could have been avoided by more astute political efforts at an earlier stage.

    Finally, the present report also outlines some possible options regarding future Council action on protection of civilians. Key challenges remain, including how to ensure compliance with the normative framework, including through effective political prevention tools, and how to establish accountability for violations. Some practical options to improve the Council's own working methods, in particular with regard to monitoring and oversight, are suggested.  

    Future action on the protection of civilians, both thematic and country-specific, will depend on political will and the unity of the Council. On the one hand, some argue that the Council's robust action to protect civilians both in Côte d'Ivoire and Libya have in fact set a new high water mark for future cases. On the other hand, as noted above, others continue to see the Libya case, in particular, as controversial.

    It remains to be seen what the long term impact will be of these developments. Much may depend on how the end game in Libya plays out. But the May open debate on protection of civilians seemed to indicate that in spite of the prevailing differences there is still overwhelming support for the protection of civilians agenda and a convergence of views on many important issues. Looking ahead to the next open debate on protection of civilians, this seems to suggest that there is still some room to further advance this important thematic agenda.

    S/1998/318) and on protection of humanitarian assistance to refugees and others (S/1998/883).  

    The Council's first thematic decision on protection of civilians in armed conflict was a presidential statement adopted in February 1999 which condemned attacks against civilians, called for respect for international humanitarian law and expressed the Council's willingness to respond to situations in which civilians had been targeted by combatants. It requested a report from the Secretary-General on recommendations for the Council's future work. The first landmark report containing forty recommendations was issued in September that same year. Later that month the Council adopted its first resolution on the protection of civilians. Resolution 1265 stressed the need to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law, address impunity, and improve access for and safety of humanitarian personnel, and it also emphasised the importance of conflict prevention and cooperation with regional and other organisations.

    Since that time, the Council has remained engaged on the issue of protection of civilians, both at the thematic level and in country-specific situations. It is now established practice for the Council to hold biannual open debates on the protection of civilians. The Council has adopted three additional thematic resolutions—resolutions 1296, 1674 and 1894—reaffirming its initial commitment to the issue and strengthening provisions in certain areas.  

    In resolution 1502 adopted in August 2003, in the wake of the attack on the UN compound in Baghdad, the Council reinforced its previous decisions on the protection of humanitarian and UN and associated personnel and in 2006, the Council adopted resolution 1738 on the protection of journalists and other media professionals.

    The Council has adopted a total of nine presidential statements on the protection of civilians. The second presidential statement of 15 March 2002 endorsed an aide-mémoire proposed by the Secretary-General as an instrument of guidance to facilitate the Council's consideration of issues pertaining to the protection of civilians in country-specific situations, in particular relating to peacekeeping mandates. It listed key objectives for Council action and specific questions for consideration in meeting those objectives. The aide-mémoire was last revised on 22 November 2010. This revision was endorsed by the Council in a November 2010 presidential statement on the protection of civilians.  

    Another tool the Council has invoked to facilitate protection discussions in country-specific situations is the informal Council expert group on protection of civilians. This was established in January 2009 under UK chairmanship. It meets regularly at working level in connection with the renewal of relevant UN mandates to receive briefings by OCHA on key protection issues for consideration in the drafting of country-specific resolutions. 

    At the request of the Council, the Secretary-General has issued a total of eight reports on the protection of civilians, providing more than one hundred recommendations to the Council. The established reporting cycle is every 18 months, but each report is explicitly requested by the Council in a presidential statement.   The ninth report is due in May 2012.

    report on protection of civilians was published in November 2010 just in time for the Council's open debate on this issue that same month. The report focused on the five core protection challenges that were identified in the Secretary-General's previous protection report of May 2009 (S/2009/277). Those were:

    • enhancing compliance with international law by parties to conflict;
    • enhancing compliance by non-state armed groups;
    • strengthening protection of civilians by UN peacekeeping and other missions;
    • improving humanitarian access; and
    • enhancing accountability for violations of international law.

    The report reviewed progress in responding to these challenges. It noted that a comprehensive normative framework was now in place and suggested that in the future the focus should be on making practical progress on the ground in specific cases. The Secretary-General recommended to the Council:

    • the systematic application of the aide-mémoire on the protection of civilians;
    • active use of the informal protection expert group to discuss peacekeeping and other mission mandates as well as other Council protection action; and
    • monitoring implementation of Council resolutions.

    The Secretary-General also recommended that other UN actors become more effective in coordination, strategy setting, prioritising, monitoring and candid reporting to all relevant bodies, including the Council.  

    Other key recommendations in the report included:

    • UN members states and international organisations should consider the impact on civilians of explosive weapons of war, including through systematic data collection and analysis of human costs;
    • a comprehensive approach should be developed to improve compliance with international law by non-state armed groups, including the development of strategies for engaging such groups in seeking enhanced protection of civilians; and
    • specific benchmarks should be developed, with the Council's support, to measure and review progress in the implementation of peacekeeping protection mandates, in particular in advance of the drawdown of a mission.

    The Secretary-General called on the Council to:

    • take a more consistent and comprehensive approach to addressing humanitarian access constraints and ensure accountability for grave instances of denial of access;
    • request that situations where humanitarian operations are deliberately obstructed be brought to its attention;
    • take action to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law, including by enforcing cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC), requesting investigations of possible violations or mandating commissions of inquiry with a view to imposing targeted measures or refer situations to the ICC (In this context, the Secretary-General expressed his intention to request the Secretariat to undertake a review of the UN's experience with commissions of inquiry in order to identify how they might be used on a more consistent and less politically-influenced basis.); and
    • call on states to establish or mandate mechanisms to receive claims from individuals alleging to be the victims of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. 

    Finally, the report outlined three additional areas for action:

    • ensuring a comprehensive approach by finding ways to address situations not formally on the Council's agenda where protection concerns exist;
    • ensuring a consistent approach including by considering ways to make further use of the informal expert group on protection of civilians through briefings on thematic protection issues such as peacekeeping and on progress made against established benchmarks; and
    • ensuring an accountable approach by developing indicators for systematic monitoring and reporting on the protection of civilians.

    3.2 Open Debate and Adoption of Presidential Statement on the Protection of Civilians in November 2010

    The Council discussed the Secretary-General's report during a 22 November 2010 open debate on the protection of civilians. The debate featured briefings by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay and Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Yves Daccord. More than fifty member states also spoke.

    Amos said in her statement that the Secretary-General's report "paint[ed] a very bleak picture of the state of the protection of civilians", but acknowledged that there had been some progress at Council level in the normative approach. She drew particular attention to the humanitarian impact of explosive weapons of war and called for a closer consideration of this issue. She also highlighted in particular the need for drawdown of peacekeeping missions to be conditioned on the achievement of clear protection benchmarks, the need for improved coordination between all actors on the ground to implement protection mandates and the importance of involving local communities in all protection strategies. Humanitarian access was another key concern and Amos called on the Council to ensure accountability for obstruction of access. 

    Le Roy, while underlining that peacekeeping operations cannot protect all civilians at all times and cannot act as a substitute for state authority, said the Departments of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and Field Support (DFS) were working to improve the UN's performance in protecting civilians along five tracks:

    • development of a strategic framework to provide guidance to missions for comprehensive protection strategies;
    • development of pre-deployment and in-mission training modules;
    • evaluation of resource requirements for implementation of protection mandates;
    • evaluation of protection planning processes; and
    • capability development efforts to better understand the requirements for the performance of protection tasks.  

    Pillay pointed out that human rights are integral to UN peace missions and that there are currently 17 missions with human rights components. She said the approach to protection by her office was above all to prevent the commission of violations through human rights monitoring and reporting, citing the report on the mass rapes that took place in August 2010 in Walikale in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as an important way to expose protection gaps.

    Pillay noted that access for human rights officers is often severely limited for security or other reasons and called on the Council to give missions the mandate to ensure better access for human rights monitoring. She highlighted the role of her office in promoting accountability and expressed satisfaction that it had been invited to participate in the review of the UN's experience with commissions of inquiry proposed by the Secretary-General. Finally, she expressed her readiness to participate in less formal meetings with Council members such as Arria formula meetings or expert-level meetings to discuss protection issues. 

    ICRC's Yves Daccord said the fundamental protection problem was the lack of respect for international humanitarian law together with the "prevailing culture of impunity". He highlighted ICRC's role in ensuring respect for the law and urged all parties to conflict and the Council "to show the necessary political will and good faith to turn legal provisions into reality".

    The Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2010/25) during the debate that endorsed an updated version of the aide-mémoire that was first adopted in March 2002 to facilitate consideration of protection issues. The revisions incorporate agreed Council language on protection issues and developments since the previous revision of January 2009.  

    The presidential statement also reaffirmed the Council's commitment to the protection of civilians and its condemnation of all violations of applicable international law. It emphasised in particular the need to fight impunity, the importance of humanitarian access and implementation of protection mandates in peacekeeping operations. (It did not contain any direct reference to the ICC, but took note of the "stocktaking of international criminal justice" undertaken by the review conference of the Rome Statute held in May-June 2010 in Kampala.)

    The presidential statement contained several specific requests by the Council which:

    • called for the continuation of systematic monitoring and analysis of constraints on humanitarian access;
    • welcomed the proposals, conclusions and recommendations on the protection of civilians included in the 2010 report of the General Assembly's Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations;
    • stressed the importance of ensuring engagement by senior peacekeeping leadership on protection;
    • emphasised the importance of improving pre-deployment training on protection for peacekeeping personnel;
    • underlined the need for peacekeepers to communicate effectively with local communities to carry out protection mandates;
    • reaffirmed the importance of benchmarks to measure progress in the implementation of peacekeeping mandates and the need to include protection indicators in such benchmarks; and
    • reiterated its request to the Secretary-General to include more detailed and comprehensive reporting on protection issues in his reports to the Council and develop guidance to UN missions on such reporting.  

    The statement also noted the Montreux document on international legal obligations and best practices of private military and security companies during armed conflict, adopted in September 2008, and emphasised that all civilians affected by armed conflict deserve assistance.

    3.3 Open Debate on Protection of Civilians in May 2011

    The next open debate on protection of civilians was held on 10 May 2011 and featured briefings by Amos, Le Roy and Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović. (This position was created in May 2010.) It took place with the ongoing crises in Libya and Syria as well as recent developments in Côte d'Ivoire as an important backdrop. Many speakers referred to these situations in their statements.    

    Amos appeared to question the Council's consistency of approach on Libya and Côte d'Ivoire, seeming to suggest it might have been helpful to have imposed sanctions at an earlier stage in the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire. She emphasised that implementation of Council decisions "must be exclusively limited to promoting and ensuring the protection of civilians" and reiterated that the Council must be "comprehensive and consistent in its approach and consider all situations requiring attention."

    On Libya, Amos called for a temporary cessation of hostilities against Misrata on humanitarian grounds to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance and for people to leave if they wished to do so. She expressed concern about the use of cluster munitions by the Tripoli regime and reiterated the Secretary-General's call on all parties to conflict to refrain from the use of such weapons in densely populated areas.  

    Other situations of concern highlighted by Amos were Côte d'Ivoire, Somalia, the DRC (including the threat posed by the Lord's Resistance Army), Sudan, Colombia, Gaza and Afghanistan. She also expressed concern about the violence against civilians in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria and emphasised the need for an investigation as a follow-up to the recent report of the Secretary-General's panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka.

    Le Roy said there had been significant developments relating to protection mandates in peacekeeping operations since the previous thematic debate, in particular in the General-Assembly's Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations. The Secretariat had finalised the framework for drafting comprehensive protection strategies as well as protection training modules and would soon consult with troop-contributing countries on protection of civilians resource requirements. Le Roy addressed in particular concerns expressed by some member states regarding the respective roles of UN missions and host governments. He underlined that protection mandates are not meant to replace the responsibilities of governments, but to supplement them. He stressed the role of the Council in providing political support for missions as well as the necessary capabilities to implement protection mandates. 

    Šimonović said that denial of human rights was among the root causes of violent conflict. With regard to Libya, he said that any use of force should be limited to military targets and highlighted the important role of the commission of inquiry established by the Human Rights Council. He also called for the prevention of further violence in Syria and announced that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was preparing to send a mission there to investigate allegations of violations of international human rights law. Šimonović welcomed the Secretary-General's report on Sri Lanka and urged the Sri Lanka government to implement its recommendations. He emphasised the importance of ensuring accountability in Côte d'Ivoire and the DRC and the need to strengthen protection of civilians in Somalia and South Sudan. Finally, Šimonović expressed his willingness to interact with the Council's informal expert group on the protection of civilians.

    3.4 The Council's Informal Expert Group on the Protection of Civilians

    The Council's informal expert group on the protection of civilians has held six meetings since our last cross-cutting report. It met twice in December, first in connection with the termination of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) as of 31 December and then to discuss the renewal of the authorisation of the AU Mission for Somalia (AMISOM).  

    In March 2011 the group met for the first time to receive a briefing not related to a mandate renewal when it discussed the situation in Côte d'Ivoire. OCHA had asked for the briefing to convey the UN's growing concern about the impact on civilians of the continuing post-electoral crises in the country. In March, in addition to the briefing on Côte d'Ivoire, there was a briefing on Afghanistan to prepare for the mandate renewal for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).  

    In May 2011, the group met to discuss protection challenges in South Sudan in preparation of the establishment of a mission there to succeed UNMIS. In June there was a meeting on the DRC focusing on the mandate renewal of the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) at the end of the month. 

    The format of the meetings has stayed the same. OCHA plays a secretariat role for the group and is the only briefer. DPKO is present, however, to answer questions. Briefings focus on the most important protection concerns in the situation under consideration. OCHA also reports on actions taken on the ground to address such concerns, and makes suggestions for Council action, including possible language for inclusion in resolutions based on the aide-mémoire endorsed by the Council.

    It is worth mentioning that invitations to the expert group meetings were initially sent to Council members' protection experts only, although geographic experts were encouraged to attend. However, starting in March 2011 with the meeting on UNAMA, geographic experts now receive separate invitations. This seems to have increased attendance in the briefings on a regular basis by geographic, as well as thematic experts.  

    A total of 12 meetings were held in 2010 compared with seven meetings over the course of 2009. This seems to indicate an increasing level of activity. As noted in our last cross-cutting report, in 2010 the agenda of the group expanded slightly to include mandate renewals not only of UN peacekeeping operations with a protection aspect or a UN political mission involved in protection tasks, but also of UN mandated missions such as AMISOM or the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF). So far in 2011 (as of June 2011) the group has met four times. 

    3.5 Other Developments

    There was an interesting new initiative on protection of civilians under the Brazilian presidency of the Council in February 2011. Council members met in informal consultations on 18 February to discuss all three thematic protection-related items on its agenda: protection of civilians; women, peace and security; and children and armed conflict. The aim of the consultations, as outlined by Brazil in a concept note, was to help ensure that the Council dealt with the three related protection frameworks in a coherent way and that work undertaken by the Secretariat is mutually supportive.  

    Brazil suggested some specific issues to be discussed, including:

    • how to ensure that the various mechanisms in place for monitoring and reporting reinforce each other and that complementarities are taken advantage of to most effectively inform the Council;
    • implementation of peacekeeping mandates and assessment of remaining protection gaps;
    • sexual violence as a cross-cutting issue and how to ensure its mainstreaming in all relevant areas; and
    • the reporting and discussion calendar for protection issues and whether it would make sense to adjust reporting and debating cycles in order to ensure that reports and debates are more evenly distributed throughout the year.

    Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Atul Khare, Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy and Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Margot Wallström were invited to brief.  

    There was no formal decision arising from the consultations. However, the discussions seemed to strengthen the understanding among Council members that the current frameworks for Council involvement in the three protection issues function well and should be retained. At the same time members generally agreed that coordination could be improved, in particular in the field. Most members seemed to find the consultations useful though some would have liked the High Commissioner for Human Rights to have been among the briefers.

    A significant new development in the wider area of protection was the Council's decision in December 2010 to establish a new mechanism for monitoring sexual violence in conflict situations. Following an open debate on the Secretary-General's latest report on sexual violence in conflict featuring briefings by Margot Wallström, Alain Le Roy and the former force commander of the UN Mission in the DRC, Lieutenant Colonel Babacar Gaye, the Council adopted resolution 1960 that established a monitoring, analysis and reporting mechanism on conflict-related sexual violence in situations on the Council's agenda.  

    Resolution 1960 calls on parties to armed conflict to make specific, time-bound commitments to prohibit and punish sexual violence and asks the Secretary-General to monitor those commitments. The Council requested the Secretary-General to include in his annual reports on conflict-related sexual violence (next report is due in December 2011) an annex listing the parties credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of rape and other forms of sexual violence in situations of armed conflict on the Council's agenda, using the same listing and delisting criteria as the current annexes prepared for children and armed conflict reports. The Council indicated its intention to use the annex list as a basis for decisions on sanctions.

    resolution 1923 to withdraw MINURCAT by the end of 2010 following a request from the Chadian government for the UN to leave. The mission was established in 2007 with protection of civilians, particularly refugees and displaced persons, as its main objective. With the closing down of MINURCAT in December 2010, there are now seven UN peacekeeping missions left with a mandate to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical danger. (For more in depth analysis on the protection issues in Chad and the decision to close the mission, please see the case study on Chad in our 2010 Cross-Cutting Report.) 

    Did the Council continue to strengthen its protection language in 2010 when compared with similar decisions in 2009?

    Almost all of the resolutions adopted in 2010 pertained to mandate renewals for UN peacekeeping operations with a protection mandate, UN missions or UN mandated operations. When looking at the substance of the language adopted, it appears that, apart from the decision to close down MINURCAT, there were no major revisions in protection mandates. There was, however, some interesting new language that seemed to indicate that the Council is paying closer attention to protection issues.

    In 2010 the Council adopted six resolutions on UNOCI, including a technical rollover and authorisations for a temporary increase in authorised strength and a temporary deployment from the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to support UNOCI in connection with the holding of elections in Côte d'Ivoire. While there were no significant changes in UNOCI's protection mandate, the Council did add a provision when revising UNOCI's mandate in resolution 1933 adopted in June 2010 requesting the mission to "work closely with humanitarian agencies, particularly in relation to areas of tensions and of return of displaced persons, to exchange information on possible outbreaks of violence and other threats against civilians in order to respond thereto in a timely and appropriate manner". This provision seemed to reflect a growing depth of awareness in the Council of the need for early warning systems following a series of protection failures in the DRC and elsewhere.  

    In the case of Haiti, following the catastrophic earthquake that struck the country in January 2010, the Council first adopted resolution 1908 increasing the number of authorised military and police personnel for the UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in order to support immediate recovery, reconstruction and stability efforts. In June the Council authorised a strengthening of MINUSTAH's police component while recognising in particular the need to assist the Haitian government in "providing adequate protection for the population, with particular attention to the needs of internally displaced persons and other vulnerable groups, especially women and children". When MINUSTAH's mandate was renewed in October, the Council used similar language to once again emphasise the mission's role in ensuring protection of civilians.

    In the mandate renewals both for the UN Mission in Sudan and UNAMID in Darfur, the Council appeared to strengthen language on small arms (which are often the principal source of civilian casualties—please see our Cross-Cutting Report on the Security Council's Role in Disarmament and Arms Control: Conventional Weapons and Small Arms of 24 September 2009). In its resolution on UNMIS, the Council underlined the detrimental impact of the proliferation of arms, in particular small arms, on the security of civilians and encouraged UNMIS to continue its support for the government's disarmament process. It also expressed concern over the proliferation of small arms in Darfur.  

    Somalia continued to be a focus for Council action in 2010 with the adoption of five resolutions. Two of the resolutions were on Somalia piracy and had some references to humanitarian access. However, the two resolutions relating to the authorisation of AMISOM saw a significant strengthening of protection language. Prior to the renewal of AMISOM's authorisation in January 2010, the Council's informal expert group on protection of civilians discussed this mission for the first time. (The group, although established in January 2009, did not meet prior to the extension of AMISOM's authorisation in May that year.)

    Subsequently, the Council, in resolution 1910 relating to AMISOM, strengthened the protection language both in the preambular and operative parts. It expressed serious concern at the worsening humanitarian situation and attacks against journalists and condemned obstruction of humanitarian assistance, targeting of humanitarian workers and violations of human rights and international humanitarian and human rights law. It stressed the legal obligations of all parties and reaffirmed the importance of the fight against impunity. It emphasised in particular the importance of humanitarian access, calling on the parties to "take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and supplies" and "ensure full, safe and unhindered access". This language was further strengthened when the Council extended the authorisation in December 2010 in resolution 1964.  

    Did the Council address implementation of protection strategies and measuring progress against benchmarks in peacekeeping missions?

    The trend that was noted in our last cross-cutting report towards a greater emphasis on comprehensive protection strategies and benchmarks in peacekeeping operations in 2009 continued in 2010. This corresponds with the emphasis given to these two elements in resolution 1894 on protection of civilians which was adopted on 11 November 2009. 

    When the Council decided to terminate MINURCAT in resolution 1923, a key consideration was the prospect for implementation of the Chadian government's commitment to take over the responsibility for the protection of civilians. The resolution established a set of protection benchmarks that would bind the government, including:

    • voluntary return of displaced persons;
    • demilitarisation of refugee camps; and
    • improvement in the authorities' capacity to protect civilians in eastern Chad.

    The resolution also called for the establishment of a joint UN/Chad high-level working group to monitor the situation on the ground for civilians as well as progress towards achieving the benchmarks. This was the first time that the Council established clear benchmarks against which to measure a government's performance relating to the protection of civilians.  

    In the case of MONUSCO, implementation was a major focus. Implementation of a "UN system-wide protection strategy" was made part of the mission's mandate when it was revised in May 2010 in resolution 1925. The mandate also specified detailed protection measures such as joint protection teams, community liaison interpreters, joint investigation teams, surveillance centres and women's protection advisers. The resolution established benchmarks for the future configuration of MONUSCO among which is the improved capacity of the Congolese government "to effectively protect the population".

    In the mandate renewal of UNMIS in Sudan, the Council in resolution 1919 called for the mission to implement a mission-wide civilian protection strategy. It also requested the Secretary-General to report on progress in meeting benchmarks, although there was no direct reference to protection indicators.  

    When it renewed UNAMID's mandate in Darfur in July 2010, the Council requested that the mission develop a "comprehensive strategy for the achievement" of the protection of civilians and requested the Secretary-General to report on progress made in implementing the mandate, including "on progress towards and obstacles to the implementation" of this strategy.

    The resolution renewing MINUSTAH's mandate in Haiti in October 2010 contained no request for a protection strategy, or direct reference to benchmarks. However, it did request that the Secretary-General provide a "comprehensive assessment" of threats in Haiti, in particular relating to the protection of women and children, and on progress in the resettlement of displaced persons.    

    4.2 Presidential Statements

    2010 saw a further decline in the number of presidential statements adopted by the Council compared with past years. The Council adopted 30 such statements in 2010 compared with 35 in 2009 and 48 in 2008. (It seems that in part the reduction in the number of presidential statements may be reflecting a growing practice of issuing press statements on several issues where previously formal decisions would have been adopted, for example condemning specific terrorist incidents.)

    According to our analysis, only nine of the statements adopted in 2010 could reasonably be expected to address protection issues and of these, seven in fact did. The two statements that did not include protection language were a statement on Iraq focusing on the political situation and a statement on Somali piracy.  

    The fact that presidential statements often respond to specific developments and tend to focus on certain issues means that it is not always appropriate to draw clear conclusions in terms of trends related to the protection of civilians.   This is even truer given the limited number of statements with a protection dimension adopted in 2010. Overall, however, the Council seemed to strengthen its focus on protection issues in the relevant statements which were adopted.  

    Two statements on the referendum in South Sudan, while focusing on the political processes, also included clear language on the protection of civilians, expressing concern about the increase in violence against civilians, including humanitarian personnel, and called on all parties to protect civilians. 

    In September 2010, the Council issued a statement condemning the mass rapes which occurred in the Walikale region in eastern DRC in July and August. It urged the government to swiftly prosecute the perpetrators of the rapes and expressed the Council's readiness to consider all appropriate actions, including targeted measures against the perpetrators. It also reiterated its call on the Congolese government to end impunity, in particular for human rights violations, and underlined the need for MONUSCO to improve relations with host communities to improve information about threats to civilians. Finally, it requested a briefing on MONUSCO's protection of civilians strategy "and the overall challenges the mission faces in implementing this strategy".  

    Another noteworthy decision which focused almost entirely on protection issues, was the Council statement adopted in connection with the termination of MINURCAT in December 2010. The Council affirmed its intention to continue monitoring the situation for civilians in Chad by requesting the Secretary General to report by the end of MINURCAT's liquidation phase on 30 April 2011 on progress made in eastern Chad on the protection of civilians in terms of meeting the benchmarks previously established by the Council.

    4.3 Developments in Council Sanctions Regimes

    The Council has shown an increasing willingness to use targeted sanctions as one of the tools available to it to respond to situations where civilians are under attack. There were relatively few changes in Council sanctions relating to the protection of civilians in 2010. But the beginning of 2011 saw some significant developments. The first was the establishment of a new sanctions regime in response to the crisis in Libya with its list of 20 individuals. The second was the decision shortly thereafter to add five new listings under the sanctions regime for Côte d'Ivoire. In both cases violence against civilians was referred to as the justification for some of the listings. 

    Five of the Council's 12 sanctions regimes now include listing criteria related to violations of international human rights or humanitarian law. In all of these five cases, the listing criteria have in fact been used as a basis for some of the designations of individuals for targeted sanctions. The following analysis provides further details on developments in Council sanctions regimes since January 2010.

    Côte d'Ivoire

    The Côte d'Ivoire sanctions regime, initially established in 2004, imposes an arms embargo and also travel restrictions and asset freeze on any persons responsible for serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. In 2006, the Council's Côte d'Ivoire Sanctions Committee designated three individuals for the travel restrictions and asset freeze, including one for human rights and humanitarian law violations.   

    The escalation of violence in Côte d'Ivoire resulting from the disputed presidential elections held in November 2010, led to renewed discussions about additional sanctions designations to target those found to be responsible for violations against civilians in the country. As a preventive step the Council, when renewing the sanctions regime in October 2010 in resolution 1946, again reiterated that it was fully prepared to impose targeted measures against anyone involved in "serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in Côte d'Ivoire."

    The 2010 final report of the Group of Experts monitoring the sanctions regime was submitted to the Sanctions Committee in September 2010, but was only released publicly in April 2011, apparently because of the sensitive nature of its content, in particular in the context of the election dispute, although it should be noted that this report did not contain any suggestion of human rights or international humanitarian law violations.  

    Widespread reports of violations committed against civilians in Côte d'Ivoire did begin to emerge subsequently from many other sources. The prosecutor of the ICC issued a statement in December 2010 expressing deep concern about the situation.   The EU in December 2010 and the US in January 2011 imposed targeted sanctions against former president Laurent Gbagbo and some of his associates. 

    The Council initially seemed reluctant to follow up its October warning that it would consider additional listings in response to violations against civilians. But on 30 March 2011 it adopted resolution 1975 imposing targeted sanctions against Gbagbo, his wife and three associates. The justification for some of these listings referred to "public incitement to hatred and violence" and "participation in violent repressions of popular movements". (For more details on resolution 1975, please see the case study on Côte d'Ivoire below.) 

    Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

    The DRC sanctions include provisions imposing a travel ban and asset freeze on individuals found to have committed serious violations of international law involving the targeting of children or women or obstruction of access to or the distribution of humanitarian assistance in the eastern part of the country. (Originally established in 2003, the sanctions regime was expanded twice in 2008.)

    In 2010 widespread attacks against civilians continued, especially against women. A major atrocity took place in North Kivu Province's Walikale region over a four-day period from 30 July through 2 August when armed men raided some 13 villages and committed mass rape of more than three hundred women. The Group of Experts monitoring the DRC sanctions regime continued to report extensively on such violations in both its mid-term and final reports to the Council in 2010 (S/2010/252 and S/2010/596).  

    Some important steps were taken by the Council in response. In May 2010 the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhik