CIVIC and 21 non-governmental organizations have issued a joint statement calling on members of the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary-General, and all governments to strengthen protection for civilians caught in armed conflict. The statement comes in advance of a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians, which will take place on Thursday, May 23, 2019.

This year marks twenty years since the UN Security Council took up the protection of civilians on its agenda. While noting progress over the past twenty years, the joint statement warns that civilians are paying the highest price for the failure of parties to armed conflict – and those Member States that support them – to abide by the norms and laws that safeguard humanity.

The endorsing organizations also warn of a “worrying retreat from multilateralism and the rules-based international order,” which creates a “permissive environment for violations and abuses against civilians in conflict zones.”

The joint statement outlines priority recommendations to enhance civilian protection in country-specific situations, and calls on the UN Security Council, Secretary-General, and all governments to take meaningful steps to advance an ambitious vision for the protection of civilians agenda on the occasion of the 20th anniversary.

The statement urges the UN Security Council to prioritize civilian protection in its decisions and deliberations, and calls on Council members to cease their support for parties to armed conflict where there are serious allegations of violations and abuses against civilians.

The endorsing organizations also call on UN Secretary-General António Guterres to deliver on a commitment to lead a global effort in support of the protection of civilians agenda, and to ensure that UN peacekeeping operations fully implement their mandates to protect civilians.

Finally, the joint statement encourages all governments to prioritize the protection of civilians, including by adopting national policy frameworks on protection, as well as supporting initiatives to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, which carry devastating humanitarian impact on individuals and communities.


Read the full NGO statement.


Endorsing organizations:

Action Against Hunger

Amnesty International

Article 36


Center for Civilians in Conflict

Child Fund Alliance

Concern Worldwide US


Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack

Human Rights Watch

Humanity & Inclusion


The International Network on Explosive Weapons

International Rescue Committee

Norwegian Refugee Council



Save the Children

War Child

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict

World Vision International