Iran’s Permanent Envoy to the United Nations Gholam-Ali Khoshroo condemned in a statement all the attacks that have taken place against civilians, including medical and humanitarian staff throughout the world, especially in Palestine, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.
"It is most unfortunate that civilians still account for the vast majority of casualties in armed conflicts, as the latest report of the Secretary-General indicates "civilian populations continue to bear the brunt of armed conflicts across the globe," he added.
Following is the full text of Khoshroo's statement on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict:
In the Name of God, the most Compassionate the most Merciful
At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to the Polish Presidency for organizing this debate. I would also like to thank the briefers for their input in our today's debate.
I align myself with the statement made earlier by the representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries.
It is most unfortunate that civilians still account for the vast majority of casualties in armed conflicts, as the latest report of the Secretary-General indicates "civilian populations continue to bear the brunt of armed conflicts across the globe". The report shows that in 2017, at least 26,000 civilians were killed as the result of armed conflicts in just six situations, namely: Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Yemen.
The report paints a very bleak picture of the current state of the protection of civilians in armed conflict as well as the respect for the rules of international humanitarian and human rights law. According to the report, attacks against civilians and the civilian infrastructure, medical workers, facilities and the humanitarian convoys has increased since the adoption of resolution 2286 (2016). Those attacks are taking place in various places around the world, but they are more prevalent in the Middle East.
Last week and during the open debate on "Upholding International Law Within the Context of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security", my Delegation underlined that any serious effort to uphold international law entails accountability for all criminals and violators of international law, including the international humanitarian and human rights law. The violators shall be compelled to bear the responsibility for their wrongful acts. The international community and this Council need to vigorously fight impunity and support accountability.
We condemn all the attacks that have taken place against civilians, including medical and humanitarian staff throughout the world, especially in Palestine, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria.
The new round of repression and the massacre of unarmed Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including women and children, is the latest in an old pattern followed by the Israeli regime over the past seven decades.
On 14 May 2018, the world and this Council witnessed the Israeli army commit yet another war crime in Gaza, killing more than 60 and injuring thousands more unarmed Palestinian civilians in a single day. Given the circumstances, there is no doubt that these vicious attacks and killings were planned and deliberate. These criminal acts took place with total impunity extended to the Israeli regime by the United States in this Council, the same country that later tried to prevent the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry in the Human Rights Council.
The account of Canadian physician Tarek Loubani is very telling, as he notes: "on May 14, while treating patients with gunshot wounds in Gaza during the Great March of Return I was shot in both legs by Israeli forces. One medic on my team, Musa Abuhassanin, was killed while attempting to providing care to Palestinian protesters". This happened while medical staff were wearing "high visibility jackets" and when they approached injured Palestinians, they did so with their hands raised as to show soldiers they were unarmed medical professionals.
Over three years of the Saudi-led aggression against an already impoverished Yemen has claimed thousands of lives of civilians, in particular women and children, and brought about the destruction of Yemen's civilian infrastructure including hospitals, schools, roads, food factories and power plants, thus depriving civilians of their most basic necessities. Blocking humanitarian access to an already famine-stricken Yemen has further deteriorated the humanitarian nightmare in Yemen, leading to the most catastrophic humanitarian situation the world has seen for many decades.
This aggression continues under the watch of the Security Council. Worse still, this inhumane war enjoys the full military, logistical and training support of the United States.
Israeli and Saudi regimes continue their attacks on civilians while the US role, as a Permanent Member of this Council, is to attack the truth by supporting them and providing them with impunity.
We are living in a world with a growing sense of frustration to deal with the suffering of civilians in conflict. No one is winning wars; the international community urgently needs to end the conflicts and to prevent new ones from erupting for the sake of the millions of civilians who are suffering around the world.