The UAE renewed its commitment to bridging the gap between rhetoric and implementation to protect civilians and upholding international law during an open debate of the UN Security Council on the protection of civilians.

In its written submission to the UN Security Council the UAE stated: “These are difficult times for civilians in conflict-affected areas around the world. In addition to the existing threats they face – violence, food insecurity and displacement, among others – the COVID-19 pandemic presents a dramatic new threat to civilians and has created new challenges to their safety. In order to mitigate the impact of armed conflict on civilians around the world, the UAE takes this opportunity to renew its support for, and commitment to, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ appeal for a global ceasefire. As he underscored, this is the most effective way to protect civilians and is also an opportunity to remind us of our shared humanity.”

Protecting vulnerable populations is at the core of the UAE’s humanitarian programs and its efforts to support the global fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic. The UAE has partnered with the World Health Organization to support the worldwide delivery of critical medical equipment through Dubai’s International Humanitarian City. Recently, the UAE also launched an international air bridge operation in partnership with the World Food Programme that will enable the movement of life-saving cargo and personnel where they are needed most. The UAE expressed support the Council’s efforts to negotiate a resolution welcoming the UN Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire, urging Council members to overcome their divisions and take unified action. Additionally, the UAE also stressed the importance of the measures taken by the international community to address the COVID-19 pandemic be consistent with international humanitarian law.

The UAE urged the Council to tailor and apply the range of tools within its disposal to effectively address the growing threat to civilians posed by non-state actors and ensure their compliance. The UAE underscored the importance of addressing grave violations of international humanitarian law committed by non-state actors, such as the Houthis in Yemen, stressing that left unanswered such violations could contribute to the erosion of the essential set of rules seeking to mitigate the effects of armed conflict.

Furthermore, the UAE expressed its continued commitment to supporting all efforts towards ending sexual and gender-based violence in conflict as well as to implementing the outcomes of the Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Crises conference it co-hosted in Oslo in 2019. The UAE noted that training and capacity development are a core element of promoting accountability and statement compliance with international obligation – through both national and international accountability instruments. In this regard, the UAE reiterated support for UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh (UNITAD)’s mandate, in particular its critical work documenting sexual and gender-based crimes against religious minorities.

In its statement, the UAE also encouraged the Security Council to more regularly consider the impact of growing challenges to protecting civilians from threats like the malicious use of digital technologies and climate change in their deliberations.