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End impunity and protect civilians in armed conflict, says UN human rights chief

In a statement delivered by her deputy, Kyung-Wha Kang at the UN Security Council yesterday, the UN human rights chief Navi Pillay called for more commitment from the international community to enforce international human rights and humanitarian law which protects civilians caught in armed conflict.

The UN Security Council in session - © UN Photo/Paulo FilgueirasReviewing four situations on the Security Council’s agenda, namely Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Sudan, the statement also highlighted the disparity between the United Nations' mandated responsibilities and the inadequate resources allocated to the world organization to sustain peace efforts.

The address highlighted that the most important gap remains between policy and practice. Closing that gap will require a greater commitment by all to the explicit application of international law, and to its enforcement. It will require more political will, and less political exceptionalism – all must be held to a single standard. It will require enhanced resources and their more rapid deployment. And it will require an unwavering focus on the three, mutually-reinforcing imperatives of accountability for perpetrators, redress for victims, and protection for the vulnerable.

13 November 2009