UNITED NATIONS – (May 16, 2018) – In his second annual report on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres outlines the “unrelenting horror and suffering” civilians in conflict face around the world. Recognizing the far-reaching impact of conflict on civilians, the UN chief calls upon Member States to uphold their legal obligation to protect civilians and take practical steps, including enacting national policy frameworks and other good practices, to enhance the protection of civilians. Upon publication of the report, Federico Borello, Executive Director of Center for Civilians in Conflict, issued the following statement:

“CIVIC stands at the ready to support Member States and regional actors seeking to answer Secretary-General Guterres’s call to action. CIVIC was founded based on first-hand understanding of the devastating short- and long-term impacts of armed conflict on civilians. We know that failure to protect civilians causes inconceivable pain to families and immense damage to communities, hinders peace and reconciliation, and feeds lasting cycles of violence. This knowledge fuels our efforts to develop and implement practical solutions to prevent, mitigate, and respond to civilian harm.

“As noted in the Secretary-General’s report, progress has been made toward civilian harm mitigation as we work in collaboration with stakeholders to take a pragmatic approach to protection in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Nigeria, and elsewhere. The need to mitigate civilian harm is more urgent than ever. From scenario-based training to national policy frameworks covering arm sales and amends, we welcome the opportunity to further global efforts to recognize the dignity and rights of civilians, prevent civilian harm, protect civilians caught in conflict, and amend harm.

“One year shy of two decades since the Security Council’s first-ever resolution on the protection of civilians, we are encouraged by the recognition that protection of civilians must be a number one, non-negotiable priority. We need principled leadership by parties to armed conflict, the Security Council, Member States, regional actors, and the UN chief himself to make this a reality.

“The Security Council Open Debate next week presents an opportunity to discuss the report and translate words in the Council chamber into concrete action to protect civilians.”


  • Secretary-General António Guterres’s Second Annual Report on the Protection of Civilians
  • For more on CIVIC’s work in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Ukraine, as cited in the Secretary-General’s call for the adoption of national policy frameworks on the protection of civilians, see our Annual Report.
  • To learn more about prioritizing the protection of civilians in arms transfers and security partnerships, as included in the Secretary-General’s recommendations, see our report, “With Great Power,” and recent article, “Reducing the Human Costs of ‘By, With, and Through.’”
  • To learn more about the protection of civilians through UN peacekeeping operations, see our Peacekeeping Program page.


Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)’s mission is to work with armed actors and civilians in conflict to develop and implement solutions to prevent, mitigate, and respond to civilian harm. Our vision is for a world where parties to armed conflicts recognize the dignity and rights of civilians, prevent civilian harm, protect civilians caught in conflict, and amend harm.

For more information, contact us at comms@civiliansinconflict.org.

Image courtesy of CIVIC