Several countries, including the US, Belgium, Estonia, Guinea and Djibouti, have joined a growing number of countries in endorsing the Kigali Principles bringing the total to 24.
The Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians, adopted in May 2015, are a set of best practices to enhance implementation of civilian protection mandates. The 18 recommendations provide a blueprint to strengthen the international community’s commitment to effectively protect civilians.
The new endorsements came early this week a day before the Governments of the Kingdom Netherlands and Rwanda, in collaboration with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, co-hosted a high-level event on “The Future of Civilian Protection in Peace Operations: Endorsing and Implementing the Kigali Principles.”
The meeting was convened at UN Headquarters in New York was addressed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Albert Koenders, and the Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation and Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN, Amb Eugène-Richard Gasana.
Koenders noted: “People and communities under threat, with nowhere to go, need to know the UN will do anything within its scope to provide protection.”
The meeting concluded with a ceremony to welcome 12 new member states who endorsed the principles.
Amb. Gasana said: “Rwanda’s history teaches us the high price paid by civilians when the UN is unwilling or unable to protect civilians from mass atrocities.”
Dr Simon Adams, the Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, urged all the UN member states to endorse the Kigali Principles.
“In far too many situations in the world today, peacekeepers in blue helmets are all that stand between civilians and those who prey upon their misery. The Kigali Principles recognise that the protection of civilians is at the heart of twenty-first century peacekeeping. They should be endorsed by all UN member states,” he said.
Last month, Poland endorsed the Kigali Principles during a ceremony at Rwanda’s permanent mission to the United Nations in New York.
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.”
Since its inception, top troop and finance contributing countries agreed to strengthen nine out of 16 UN peace keeping missions.