Protection of civilians in armed conflict

Armed conflicts tear apart communities, infrastructure, and livelihoods, taking hundreds of thousands of lives away and displacing tens of millions of people around the world each year. The great majority of casualties in present-day conflict are civilians. Civilian casualties and the destruction of civilian infrastructure are not simply byproducts of war, but the consequence of deliberate targeting. Belligerents also often target civilians in particular roles, such as journalists, medical practitioners, and humanitarian staff.

Widespread use of  heavy artillery, aerial bombardments and small arms and light weapons has a significant impact on the scope and level of the violence that affects civilian populations in armed conflict. Anti-personnel landmines, cluster munitions, improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war have also been widely used in conflicts, killing and maiming thousands of civilians every year, including many children.

General Assembly

GA resolutions

Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel

Reports of the Secretary-General

  • A/70/383 Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of UN personnel
  • A/68/489 Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and the protection of UN personnel
  • A/69/268 The safety of journalists and the issue of impunity

Security Council

SC resolutions

Reports of the Secretary-General to SC

Security Council presidential statements

Security Council letters, concept papers

  • S/2016/722 Protection of health care in armed conflict.
  • S/2016/503 Protection of civilians in the context of peacekeeping operations.
  • S/2016/22 Protection of civilians.
  • S/2015/844 Challenges of policing within a protection of civilians mandate.
  • S/2015/307 Protection of journalists.
  • S/2015/176 Protection of minorities in the Middle East.
  • S/2015/32 Protection of civilians, with a particular focus on women and girls
  • S/2014/571 Protection of civilians.
  • S/2013/447 Protection of civilians.
  • S/2001/614Protection of civilians.

Human Rights Council

HRC resolutions