Poland joined a growing number of countries in endorsing the Kigali Principles on Monday during a ceremony held at Rwanda’s permanent mission to the United Nations in New York, USA.
The Kigali Principles are a voluntary set of principles on the protection of civilians in peacekeeping initially agreed upon by the governments of Rwanda, Italy, Netherlands, Uruguay and Uganda in Kigali following a High Level International Conference on Protection of Civilians last May.
The May 2015 conference was a follow up to the High level Summit on Peacekeeping operations held in September 2014, on the margins of the 69th UN General Assembly in New York.
The Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, and Permanent envoy to the UN Amb. Eugene-Richard Gasana welcomed Poland as new signatory and remarked that the Kigali Principles are important to address the plight of civilians in armed conflict.
Amb. Gasana said: “We call upon other significant troop and police contributing countries to join us in endorsing these principles to strengthen our collective efforts to eliminate suffering and advance conditions for peace around the world.”
The Kigali Principles establish that protection of civilians is the core function of peacekeeping and that effective protection of civilians requires properly trained troops, adequate equipment, and a strong political commitment.
They represent a shared commitment by signatories to strengthen efforts in peacekeeping operations to address “the terrible plight that civilians continue to endure in armed conflicts.”
Poland is in the process of returning as a troop and police contributing country and the endorsement of the Kigali Principles affirms the country’s commitment to advancing the protection of civilians by implementing these best practices that can shed a light on the way forward.
“The Kigali Principles can assist troop and police contributing countries in modernizing their ways and adopting values that meet the needs of civilians entangled in today’s conflicts, with most of them on the African continent,” reads part of a statement by Rwanda’s permanent mission to the UN.
The Permanent Representative of Poland to the UN, Boguslaw Winid, stated that his country attaches great importance to the protection of civilians.
On May 11, on the margins of the high-level thematic debate of the UN General Assembly on peace and security, Rwanda and the Netherlands will co-host an event for the further endorsement and implementation of the Kigali Principles.
This event will be an opportunity to steer the many conversations held about advancing the protection of civilians agenda into something tangible and concrete that can be a lasting framework for the effective implementation of protection of civilian mandates.
Ethiopia, Senegal, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka are the other troop and police contributing countries that have endorsed the Kigali Principles.
Initiators of the Kigali principles have started rallying countries in their respective region to endorse these principles and the May 11 event will also be another opportunity to call for more endorsement.
Since inception, top troop and finance contributing countries agreed to strengthen nine out of 16 UN peace keeping missions. Africa is the biggest UN troop contributor, implying that the civilians at stake here are Africans and, many UN peace keeping missions are deployed on the continent.