On 11 May 2016 the Governments of the Kingdom Netherlands and the Republic of Rwanda, in association with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, co-hosted a high-level event on “The Future of Civilian Protection in Peace Operations: Endorsing and Implementing the Kigali Principles.”
The meeting, convened at UN Headquarters in New York, was launched by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Albert Koenders, and the Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation and Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the UN, H.E. Mr. Eugène-Richard Gasana. Additional opening remarks were delivered by H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the UN General Assembly.
H.E. Ms. Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Lt. General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, former UN Force Commander, and Mr. Ian Martin, Executive Director of Security Council Report, were panelists. The event was moderated by Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect.
The Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians, adopted on 28-29 May 2015, are a set of best practices to enhance implementation of civilian protection mandates. The eighteen recommendations provide a blueprint to strengthen the international community’s commitment to more effectively protect civilians.
In his opening remarks H.E. Mr. Bert Koenders noted: “People and communities under threat, with nowhere to go, need to know the UN will do anything within its scope to provide protection.”
H.E. Mr. Eugène-Richard Gasana added: “Rwanda’s history teaches us the high price paid by civilians when the UN is unwilling or unable to protect civilians from mass atrocities. The Kigali principles are a commitment to ensure that modern peacekeeping learns from past failures and protects the vulnerable.”
The meeting concluded with a ceremony to welcome 19 new Member States who endorsed the principles, namely: Austria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Estonia, Finland, Ghana, Guinea, Ireland, Latvia, Malawi, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, United States and Zambia. To date, the Kigali Principles have been endorsed by 28 Member States.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Adams urged all Member States to endorse the Kigali Principles: “In far too many situations in the world today, peacekeepers in blue helmets are all that stand between civilians and those who prey upon their misery. The Kigali Principles recognize that the protection of civilians is at the heart of twenty-first century peacekeeping. They should be endorsed by all UN member states.”