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Ambassador Zhang Jun Elaborated on China's Position on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict at Security Council Open VTC

2020-05-27 22:35

On May 19, the UN Security Council held an Open VTC on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer and member of the Elders Ms. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf briefed the Council. Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, participated in the meeting and expounded China's position on this issue.

Zhang Jun pointed out, that the best approach to protect civilians is to address the root causes of conflicts, and promote development for peace. The international community should effectively implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with poverty eradication as the first priority, and jointly pursue for innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. The Security Council should tirelessly prevent and peacefully resolve conflicts through political dialogue, mediation and negotiation. All parties to conflicts should respond positively to the Secretary-General's call for a global ceasefire, and move toward political settlement through inclusive dialogue. The fundamental principles of international law, such as peaceful settlement of disputes, and the prohibition of the threat or use of force, must be upheld.

Zhang Jun emphasized, that all parties to the conflict must fulfill their obligations of protecting civilians under international law, and give special attention and care to vulnerable groups in particular women and children. National governments must bear the primary responsibility to protect their civilians. The international community should respect the sovereignty of countries concerned. Meanwhile, the protection of civilians should not be politicized or used as an excuse for interference in internal affairs, even regime change. The COVID-19 pandemic brings further risk to civilians in armed conflict. Relevant countries should lift unilateral sanctions immediately and join the global efforts of combating the virus, including by supporting the leading role of WHO.

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