Peacekeepers are increasingly called upon to uphold the international community's Responsibility to Protect civilians from mass atrocity crimes, namely genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Ten out of sixteen current United Nations Security Council-authorized missions, constituting 97 percent of peacekeepers, have the protection of civilians at the core of their mandate. Despite the evolution of UN peacekeeping doctrine, the international community often continues to fall short in its efforts to prevent conflicts and atrocities, respond to early warning signs, and adequately protect vulnerable civilians.
During 2014 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established a High-level Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations (HIPPO) to comprehensively assess the state of UN peace operations, including peacekeeping operations and special political missions, and the challenges they face in addressing the emerging needs of populations. The HIPPO submitted its assessment report, entitled "Uniting our strengths for peace: politics, partnerships and people," during June 2015. The report provides recommendations on how peace operations can "better support the Organization's work to prevent conflict, achieve durable political settlements, protect civilians and sustain peace."
The Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians are a non-binding set of eighteen pledges for the effective implementation of the protection of civilians in UN peacekeeping. The principles emanated from the High-level International Conference on the Protection of Civilians held in Rwanda on 28 and 29 May 2015. The Kigali Principles address the most relevant aspects of peacekeeping, including assessment and planning, force generation, training and equipping personnel, performance and accountability. While they are framed around the protection of civilians, the principles address broader deficiencies that undermine the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations conducted in volatile situations, including peacekeeper abuse.
Member States who have endorsed the Kigali Principles:
Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Djibouti, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malawi, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Ukraine, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Zambia.
High-Level Event on "The Future of Civilian Protection in Peace Operations: Endorsing and Implementing the Kigali Principles"
On 11 May 2016 the Permanent Missions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations (UN) and the Global Centre for the Responsibility convened a high-level event on the The Future of Civilians Protection in Peace Operations: Endorsing and Implementing the Kigali Principles. The event was held on the margins of the High Level Thematic Debate on the UN, Peace and Security.
The concept note is available here: Concept Note: The Future of Civilian Protection in Peace Operations - Endorsing and Implementing the Kigali Principles
And the corresponding Media Advisory is available here: Media Advisory: The Future of Civilian Protection in Peace Operations - Endorsing and Implementing the Kigali Principles
The high-level event was co-chaired by Mr. Bert Koenders, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Mr. Eugène-Richard Gasana, the Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation and Ambassador to the UN of the Republic of Rwanda. The President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, provided opening remarks. Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, moderated the event. The event featured an esteemed group of speakers, including Ms. Samantha Power, Ambassador to the UN of the United States, Lt. Gen. Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, the former Force Commander of the UN peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mr. Ian Martin, the Executive Director of Security Council Report.
The meeting closed with representatives of the then 28 signatories of the Kigali Principles posing for a photo:
For More Information on the Kigali Principles See: The Kigali Principles, A Commitment to Civilian Protection