We condemn oppressive use of violence on civilians: India at UN

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United Nations, Jan 20: Condemning the oppressive use of violence on civilians during armed conflicts, India has said consulting with troop contributing countries of the UN Peacekeeping Missions would enhance credibility and effectiveness of the Security Council.

"India condemns the oppressive use of violence on civilian populations, regardless of who commits it," India's permanent representative at the UN Syed Akbaruddin said yesterday in his address to the UN Security Council Open Debate on 'Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.'

United Nations

This malaise is not new. Wars in pursuit of imperial ambitions testify to a history of scant respect for civilian lives in times of military campaigns.

However, the nature of threats faced by civilians in UN Peacekeeping situations has undergone significant changes in recent years, he said. India believe that the Protection of Civilians is primarily a national responsibility. Hence, contribution to national capacity building rather than intervention mechanisms should be the priority, Akbaruddin said.

Local societies have developed coping strategies for protection before the deployment of a UN Mission and will apply these after the withdrawal of a Mission.

"Approaches that are drawn up during Peacekeeping should therefore be built on an appreciation for the social capital of host communities to manage their own protection," he said.

Underscoring that solutions to threats of violence to civilian populations should be sought within the framework of international law, Akbaruddin said the response of the international community must be based on use of appropriate methods in proportion to the perceived threat.

As a developing country with years of peacekeeping experience, India feels frequent and regular consultation between the Council, the Secretariat and Troop Contributing Countries will enhance the credibility and effectiveness of the Council in protecting civilians, he told the members of the UN Security Council.

"Absence of consultation hurts everyone - the country hosting the Peacekeeping Mission; the Troop Contributing Countries who put their troops' lives at risk in the service of the UN; the Council as an institution; and the UN. It is ultimately the UN as a body that gets a bad name when the Council's decisions go wrong," Akbaruddin said.

The top Indian diplomat said the time has perhaps come to consider disaggregating the complex multidimensional nature of the UN peacekeeping mandates, and address issues confronting Protection of Civilians in armed conflict situations through focused peacebuilding activities, so that the transition to a post-conflict society can be sustainable.

"Efforts at peace building should be initiated right at the beginning and the cause of the armed conflict addressed through national reconciliation and inclusive political processes giving all sections of society a stake in peaceful co-existence," Akbaruddin added.

PTI

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