‘Uncomfortable Truth’ – Liberia’s UN Envoy On Children In Arms Conflict

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New York, United States – Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Lewis Garseedeh Brown, II has challenged the UN Security Council to do more to protect civilians caught up in arm conflicts around the world.

In a statement at the Security Council’s open debate on protecting civilians in arm conflicts recently in New York, Ambassador Brown said the increasing wave of violence and brutality meted against civilians in armed conflict is an uncontrollable truth the world must face and pointed out that the best way to protect civilians is to prevent the outbreak and escalation of armed conflicts.

Ambassador Brown: “Gleaning from these important contributions, we are compelled to confront an uncomfortable truth: Even while we debate this issue, the global state of protection of civilians in armed conflict is anything but assured with increasing acts of violence and brutality perpetrated against civilians causing unimaginable human suffering, deprivations and carnage. The SG is right – this is unconscionable! So, too, is our continued inability to act…

“Liberia could not agree more with the Secretary-General – the most effective way to protect civilians is to prevent the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of armed conflicts. This is why we stand in support of the new paradigm of preventing conflict and sustaining peace. However, we must also commit ourselves to work creatively, selflessly and aggressively to end ongoing conflicts. We can do this.”

He added: “We must do it for the wailing mothers and dying children for whom there might be no tomorrow; for the humanitarian and healthcare workers, who despite the rising risks to their own lives, continue to offer hope in obvious desolation and surrounded by a rising tide of hopelessness. We know that for all of these people whose faces we may never see and voices we may never hear, and yet to whom we are all inextricably connected by the common thread of our humanity; we can end the many debates and good talks, and we can collectively recommit ourselves to act as we know we should.”

The Liberian Envoy’s plea comes on the heels of continued criticisms against the UN of being a reactionary institution, instead of being a proactive force.

He noted that the Security Council has passed numerous resolutions calling for the protection of civilians, humanitarian and health personnel, as well as the obligation to distinguish between civilian populations and combatants yet, the atrocities which astound our collective consciences have continued.

He added: “Here in the SC, for instance, when we fail to equitably and fairly apply the agreeable and available tool of International Humanitarian Law, not because it does not adequately address the problem of protecting civilians in armed conflict, but because we have vested interests in one side or the other – when we cannot lift our sights high enough to see the lowering standards of our humanity across these conflicts; when we cannot move beyond our narrow self-interests to agree to help those who need our help the most, the victims and unwilling participants in these conflicts — we just do not fail the innocent women and children, doctors, nurses and other healthcare and humanitarian workers, but also we fail the United Nations and all that it should truly represent. We fail the common values of our humanity. And yes, we fail ourselves.”

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