Force Not the Only Way of Protecting Civilians in Conflicts: India

United Nations, Nov 10 (IANS): With a clear allusion to how the West was dealing with recent conflict situations in the Arab world, India has called for an integrated approach to national reconciliation in conflict-ridden states that ensures protection of civilians in an effective manner without necessarily a "military or police response".

"Force is not the only way of protecting civilians. It should only be the measure of last resort and be used only when all diplomatic and political efforts fail," India's Permanent Representative Hardeep Puri, said Monday.

"The Security Council must also be clear that its responsibility for protecting civilians does not end with a military or police response," he said participating in a UN Security Council debate on protection of civilians.

Civilians require humanitarian wherewithal for survival, Puri said noting, "it requires a more integrated view. In this process, multiple stakeholders are involved, not just the military."

"The actions of the Council and international community should facilitate an engagement between warring factions in a conflict situation in a nationally owned and inclusive political process and not complicate the situation by threats of sanctions, regime change, etc," Puri said.

"This inclusive approach to national reconciliation, anchored in state sovereignty, is the only way to move forward and ensure the protection of civilians in an effective, pragmatic and enduring manner," he said.

As a country that has contributed more than 100,000 peacekeepers to virtually every United Nations peacekeeping operation in the past six decades, India is steadfast in its commitment to protect civilians at the international level, Puri said.

In India's view protection of its population is the first and foremost responsibility of each State, he said.
"While the right of people to protest peacefully is to be respected, states cannot but take appropriate action when militant groups, heavily armed, resort to violence against state authority and infrastructure."


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