Global Policy Forum

CARE to Brief U.N. Security Council Members on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

CARE Press Release
April 11, 2000

CARE, the international relief and development organization, is to brief members of the U.N. Security Council Wednesday, on the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict. This briefing is in preparation for a meeting of the Council addressing the issue on April 19. Canada, which holds the presidency of the Council this month, is focusing on the theme of human security. The briefing is being hosted by Ambassador Peter Van Walsum of the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the U.N. It is being held under the Arria Formula, a special informal arrangement that allows the Council to hear from experts on international peace and security issues.

CARE is joined by Médecins sans Frontií¨res (Doctors Without Borders) and Oxfam Great Britain at the briefing.

Briefings by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to members of the Council under the Arria Formula are rare. In the past, such briefings have been generally limited to representatives of governments, regional organizations and Breton Woods Institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. CARE briefed Council members on the crisis in the Great Lakes region of Africa on February 12, 1997. This was the first time the Council consulted with NGOs under an arrangement similar to the Arria formula. The briefing is in response to the UN Secretary-General's Report to the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.

"I applaud the prominence that the Security Council is giving to the protection of civilians," says Guy Tousignant, Secretary-General for CARE International. Tousignant adds, "The Secretary-General's report reflected an in-depth analysis of the needs of civilians in armed conflicts, but significant damage could be done if substantive policy changes and concerted action do not follow. CARE wants to bring special attention to the principle of unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance for civilians in need. We support the Secretary-General's recommendation that the Council underscore the importance of this issue at the outset of any conflict. We welcome the opportunity to offer our views on this and other recommendations in the Secretary-General's Report." CARE also urges the Council to act immediately to develop the capability of the U.N. to deploy rapidly in times of crisis.

Tousignant, who heads the CARE International delegation, became the organization's Secretary-General in 1997. He also served as Assistant Secretary-General for the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda from August 1994 to 1996. While he was in Rwanda he became involved with the work of NGOs and participated in the social reconstruction of the country. The delegation includes: Brenda Cupper, a former country director in Bosnia and Indonesia who is now Director of Program Support and Technical Assistance for CARE Canada; Marge Tsitouris, director of CARE USA's Emergency Group; and Sandra Tully, CARE International's liaison to the UN in New York. James Orbinski, M.D., president of Médecins sans Frontií¨res, and Paul Smith-Lomas, Humanitarian Affairs Director of Oxfam Great Britain, will represent their respective organizations at the briefing for Council members.

CONTACT: New York: Sandra Tully, (212) 362-2763 Atlanta: Alina Labrada, (404) 681-4579, ext. 383

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