The UK Government’s Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict for 2010 to 2013 sets out the actions we believe are necessary to help protect civilians in armed conflict. It describes how we promote full respect for the rights of the individual, in accordance with international humanitarian law, human rights law, refugee law and criminal law, in our political, security and humanitarian work. An annual review, published in December, summarises progress against the strategy.
At the United Nations, the UK leads in the UN Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict agenda. We work to ensure that UN peacekeeping mandates make robust reference to the need to protect civilians bound up in conflict. Nine mission mandates currently contain specific language on this, including the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and African Union/UN Assistance Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), where protection of civilians has been given a renewed focus. The UN Security Council Open Debate held on 25 June helped to draw international attention to key protection issues, including the imperative to maintain humanitarian access to the vulnerable and those most in need.
The UK also continues to fund those UN agencies which have a civilian protection mandate, including the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and has continued to provide funding in a number humanitarian crises in the last two years, including the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Syria and Libya.
The UK is active across the globe in providing security and justice assistance to international partners. We have considerable experience and expertise to offer other countries in strengthening institutions such as the police and judiciary in Afghanistan, Nepal, Sierra Leone and Kosovo. DFID has committed to new security and justice programmes in 12 fragile and conflict-affected states, and is improving programming and policy through a vibrant community of practice and support on measuring and demonstrating impact at the country level.