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Fact Sheet: Protection of Civilians


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Fact Sheet on Australia's stance on the UN doctrine of Protection of Civilians.

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Fact Sheet: Protection of Civilians

  1. 1. Australia has been a long-standing supporter of United Nations (UN) and othermultilateral peacekeeping and peace-related operations. Australia continues thattradition today as an active contributor of personnel and financial support to globalpeace operations. These demonstrate our commitment to the UN Charter and effortsto constructively resolve disputes through the international system. The AustralianGovernment draws attention to the plight of civilian populations affected by armedconflict and other situations of violence, and efforts to protect them, known as‘protection of civilians’ (POC). We believe in the importance of peacekeepers havingthe right tools (guidance, training and resources) and clarity regarding what isexpected of them, to fulfil their responsibilities on the ground.Australia’s Engagement on Australia remains a consistent supporter of efforts to ensure better protectionProtection of Civilians in of civilians in peacekeeping operationsPeacekeeping Operations by : (1) developing practical tools forIncreasingly in the last decade, the UN Security training peacekeepers; (2) engaging withCouncil has mandated POC in peacekeeping other Member States to build a commonoperations and frequently reaffirmed its understanding on POC in the context ofcommitment to POC through a wide range peacekeeping operations; and (3) workingof resolutions, presidential statements and to support regional organisations in thedirections. However, significant challenges area (in particular Africa).remain to ensure this progress is translatedinto tangible results on the ground.
  2. 2. Practical tools for training Engaging with Member statespeacekeepers Australia has actively engaged Member StatesAustralia provided support to key UN in the Special Committee on Peacekeepingagencies to develop an inventory of best Operations (C-34), advocating for thepractice in preventing sexual violence development of guidelines and training forduring conflict entitled Addressing Conflict- peacekeepers on POC. In 2009–2010, AustraliaRelated Sexual Violence—An Analytical co-hosted three POC workshops withInventory of Peacekeeping Practice. This was Uruguay in New York, to provide a forum forproduced under the auspices of UN Action the peacekeeping community, particularlyAgainst Sexual Violence in Conflict, with the troop and police contributing countries, toDepartment of Peacekeeping Operations share their experiences and lessons learnt(DPKO) and UN Women (formerly UNIFEM). on POC and examine efforts to improve theThe inventory provides practical examples of implementation of POC mandates. As one ofpeacekeeping tactics to reduce sexual violence the 19 partner countries of the Internationaland improve the safety of women during Forum for the Challenges of Peace Operations,conflict. Australia continues to support the Australia also contributed to the globaldevelopment and rollout of scenario based dialogue by hosting the 3rd Internationaltraining materials, to assist peacekeepers Forum for the Challenges of Peace Operationscombat sexual violence. in Queanbeyan, Australia in April 2010 on the theme “Challenges of Protecting Civilians inThe Australian Government, in partnership Multidimensional Peace Operations”.with the United Nations Institute of Trainingand Research (UNITAR), has produced a40 minute documentary titled Mandated to Working to support regionalProtect: Protection of Civilians in Peacekeeping organisationsOperations. The UN Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon introduces the documentary The Australian Government supported thein which interviewees provide insights on drafting of Guidelines for the Protection ofPOC in peacekeeping missions, both past Civilians in African Union Peace Supportand present. DPKO was consulted in its Operations. This was one of the first initiatives by a regional peace and security organisationdevelopment. Australia also provided support to create strategic and operational-levelfor a pilot training course on DPKO scenario- guidance on POC for peace operations. Inbased training materials - an important step for 2010, the Australian Government hosted thethe UN. Efforts are also being undertaken within International Symposium on the Protection ofAustralia, with the development of POC doctrine Civilians in Conflict Zones held in Addis Ababa,for the Australian Defence Force and Australian Ethiopia, where the proposed Guidelines wereFederal Police. considered. The AU Commission has recently established a special working group to develop a comprehensive approach towards POC.