UN chief calls for upholding promise to protect civilians caught in conflict

United Nations, May 24 (KMS): In what seems to be a significant statement also for occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the occupier India, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told the UN Security Council that the world is failing to live up to its commitment to protect civilians during wartime, urging greater respect for international humanitarian law.

The UN chief was speaking during a debate on ensuring the security and dignity of people caught in the crossfire and addressing the related issue of access to food and essential services.

“Civilians have suffered the deadly effects of armed conflict for too long. It is time we live up to our promise to protect them,” said Guterres, who also called for action “to break the deadly cycle of armed conflict and hunger”.

Last year, civilians accounted for 94 percent of victims of explosive weapons deployed in populated areas, he said.

More than 117 million people worldwide also faced acute hunger in 2022, primarily because of war and insecurity, which he described as “an outrage”.

The secretary-general pointed to recent action towards alleviating the impact of conflict on civilians. For example, some warring parties have taken steps to protect children and allow humanitarians to access people in need.

The Secretary-General urged the international community to intensify efforts to prevent conflict, protect civilians, preserve peace and find political solutions to war.

“Where war continues, all countries must comply with international humanitarian law and members of this Council have a particular responsibility,” he said.

He urged Governments to incorporate international humanitarian law into their own laws, and military rules and training, adding that humanitarians also must be assured safe access and attacks against them must cease.

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