NAM standing for protection of civilians in armed conflict

In contemporary armed conflicts, innocent civilians often constitute an overwhelming majority of victims and have at times been deliberately targeted. On the concerning issue of protection of civilians in armed conflicts, there exists an exclusive responsibility of the State, for ensuring the protection of their citizens, in accordance with the obligations enshrined in the National Constitutions, as well as in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, namely non-intervention, respect for sovereignty, refraining from the threat or the use of force, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

The Non-Aligned Movement believes that due priority should continue to be given to the promotion of knowledge of, respect for and observance by States of their obligations assumed under the UN Charter, international law, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular those of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their 1977 Protocols that regulates the conduct of armed conflict and seeks to limit its effects. They specifically protect people who are not taking part in the hostilities (civilians, health workers and aid workers) and those who are no longer participating in the hostilities, such as wounded, sick and shipwrecked soldiers and prisoners of war.

NAM has called upon all parties to armed conflicts to redouble their efforts to comply with their legal obligations through, inter alia, prohibiting the targeting of civilian populations and civilian property and stressing their responsibility to ensure general protection against dangers arising from military operations to civilian installations, hospitals and relief materials and the means to transport and distribute such relief materials.

The Movement has reiterated its condemnation of the increasing attacks on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and urges the Governments of States Members of the United Nations to ensure respect for the protection of the personnel of UN humanitarian organizations, in conformity with the relevant provisions of international law. At the same time, NAM emphasizes that the principles of sovereign equality, political independence and territorial integrity of all States and of non- intervention must be upheld. Consent of the country is also imperative for granting access to humanitarian assistance to its territory and for its continued operations at all times. The movement has called upon parties to armed conflicts to redouble their efforts to comply with their legal obligations through, inter alia, prohibiting the targeting of civilian populations and civilian property and stressing their responsibility to ensure general protection against dangers arising from military operations to civilian installations, hospitals and relief materials and the means to transport and distribute such relief materials.

NAM believes that Peacekeeping Operations are a tool that could assist in the resolution of armed conflicts. As such, their guiding principles, namely those of impartiality, consent of the parties, the non-use of force except in self-defence, must be strictly applied. Non-Aligned Movement stresses that the United Nations peacekeeping Operations, in particular, with protection of civilian mandates should be guided by the principles of the United Nations Charter.

The Movement underlines that the protection of civilians is the primary responsibility of the host country and, accordingly, emphasizes that relevant peacekeeping missions with this mandate should conduct their tasks without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the host Government to protect civilians and correctly stresses that the successful conduct of tasks related to the protection of civilians requires the integration of efforts at all levels and a holistic approach that encompasses the timely provision of adequate resources, logistical support and required training, as well as clearly defined and achievable mandates.

International humanitarian law is founded on the principles of humanity, impartiality and neutrality. NAM has respected these principles and has urged the Governments of States Members of the United Nations to ensure respect for the protection of the personnel of UN humanitarian organizations, in conformity with the relevant provisions of international law. At the same time, NAM emphasizes that the principles of sovereign equality, political independence and territorial integrity of all States and of non- intervention must be upheld.

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