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Protection of civilians

  • Another thematic issue in the agenda of the Security Council that deals directly with the protection of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict settings is the Protection of Civilians (POC) agenda. After witnessing the violence suffered by civilians in Bosnia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, the international community resolved to make the protection of civilians caught in armed conflict a key concern of the Council’s mandate to maintain international peace and security.
  • The concept of POC is founded on international humanitarian law, international human rights law, and refugee law. This agenda item has become central to the mandates of peacekeeping missions -nine of which, representing over 90 percent of peacekeeping personnel deployed in the field, have a mandate to protect civilians-, the authorization to use force or impose sanctions, and the relationship with international courts.
  • The first thematic resolution was SCR 1265 in 1999 (S/RES/1265). Other key Security Council resolutions on POC include SCR 1674 in 2006 (S/RES/1674) and SCR 1894 in 2011 (S/RES/1894). An aide-mémoire proposed by the Secretary-General in 2002 and revised in 2010 facilitates the Council’s consideration of issues pertaining to the protection of civilians in country-specific situations. Since 2009, the United Kingdom chairs an informal expert group of the Council on POC, which meets regularly in connection with the renewal of relevant UN mandates and to received briefings by OCHA and DPKO on key protection issues.