News & views | 10 November 2017 | by Wilbert van der Zeijden

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Dutch will prioritise Protection of Civilians on UN Security Council 2018

The Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs released a Letter to Parliament (Zijlstra and Kaag 2017) laying out plans and priorities for the Dutch seat on the UN Security Council in 2018. The Dutch put Protection of Civilians front and central and PAX looks forward to working with the Dutch government to translate priorities into practical proposals and outcomes during the 2018 UNSC period and beyond.

“We want to work for a Security Council that does what the name says: Provide for security and protection of civilians, anywhere in the World” is the opening statement of the letter. As part of this effort, the Dutch will emphasise conflict prevention and the need to focus on addressing root causes of conflicts. Additional priorities for the Dutch include gender sensitivity and rule of law.

PAX is pleased with the emphasis on Protection of Civilians in 2018 and with the additional emphasis on the need to engage with local civilians to shape protection strategies. At PAX, we believe local civilian perspectives matter in all phases of a mission cycle. And that the strategic importance of attuning mission strategies to local human security needs deserves more attention than currently given.

the assertion in the letter that any UN missions must be embedded in a broader country specific strategy is also important. PAX believes this includes the need to reflect on the limited effectiveness of strategies that focus primarily on defeating non-state terrorist groups without addressing the root causes that allowed these groups to exert control in the first place. A human security focused, comprehensive approach to addressing root causes of conflict will have a better chance to end the cycles of violence of which terrorism is a symptom, not the root cause.

We look forward to work with the Dutch government in 2018 and beyond to achieve better equipped, better trained and more effective UN missions that work with clear human security centred mandates to protect civilians in conflict.

Sources used:
Zijlstra, Halbe and Kaag, Sigrid. 2017. “Inzet van het Koninkrijk in de VN Veiligheidsraad 2018.” Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. The Hague. 27 October 2017.

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