In the past two months the United Nations Security Council has authorised military intervention in Libya and also in the Ivory Coast. On both occasions, it justified its decision on the basis of protecting civilians and preventing further civilian deaths.
On May 10, the UN Security Council meets in New York to discuss the protection of civilians. Perhaps never before will the gap between progress on the political, military and policy levels and the humanitarian reality on the ground have been so stark.
The challenge of protecting civilians – in all its various dimensions – is a daunting one. States, non-state actors, donors and humanitarian organisations all have their own particular role to play. It is all too easy to pass the blame for failure to someone else.
Read the article by Yves Daccord, director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross, here.