UN Security Council’s open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict


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UN Security Council’s open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict

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On August 19, 2013, the United Nations Security Council held an open debate entitled “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict”. In their interventions a significant number of speakers touched upon the developments in Syria.

In his remarks, Armenia’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Garen Nazarian particularly noted that for his country the situation in Syria is not just another news headline adding that the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the escalation of violence are alarming. Ambassador Nazarian has condemned all attacks, kidnappings and terrorist acts that indiscriminately target civilians, including minority groups whose homes and churches destroyed and damaged. According to the Armenian Ambassador, as conflict continues a greater number of Armenians in Aleppo and Damascus are struggling to survive through unbearable conditions together with many Syrian citizens. Garen Nazarian has further noted that Armenia continues to receive refugees from Syria though a larger number of Syrian-Armenians still remain there continuing their daily life in the humanitarian crisis situation. He has particularly observed, “We are convinced that in order to address this kind of situation, we must abandon selective approaches to the violations of international humanitarian law. There must also be a strict adherence to the human rights standards. The international community must effectively seek thorough compliance by all parties to armed conflicts with the norms of international humanitarian law and recommend that the parties take all necessary measures to ensure rapid and unimpeded access by humanitarian actors.”

Another part of Nazarian’s statement focused on the accountability for mass atrocity crimes commending the UN Security Council’s role to end the impunity and thoroughly investigate and prosecute persons responsible for grave violations of IHL and human rights law. In this context, Garen Nazarian talked about the issue of reparations making a reference to the “Genocide Prevention” resolution initiated by Armenia and adopted by the Human Rights Council which inter alia stresses the importance of the promotion of truth, justice and reparation.