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Rwanda to host Conference on Peacekeeping Operations

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Kigali: As an active and committed contributor to peacekeeping efforts around the world, the Government of Rwanda is organising the Kigali International Conference on the Protection of Civilians from 28-29 May 2015.

The forum brings together most of the top 30 UN troop contributing countries, the ten financial contributing countries and Rwandan institutions to evaluate and discuss how to effectively implement the Protection of Civilians mandate in peacekeeping.

The conference is a follow-up to the High-level Summit on Peacekeeping Operations, co-hosted by the US, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Japan, which was held in September 2014 on the margins of the 69th general debate of the UN General Assembly in New York. Rwanda’s goal is that the conference will pave the way to the effective protection of civilians in armed conflicts.

Rwanda’s involvement in peacekeeping is informed by the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Over 100 days, more than a million Rwandans were killed as the International Community failed in its responsibility to protect innocent civilians.

Today, Rwanda, which is the co-chair of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), works tirelessly with the rest of the International Community to ensure that all nations live up to their responsibility to prevent conflict, protect the lives of civilians, and act when confronted with challenges to peace and security. Rwanda is the fifth largest global contributor of UN peacekeepers and third in Africa.

When conflicts arise, and when the state is unable to contain or resolve the crisis, the UN Security Council and the International Community as a whole have the responsibility to maintain international peace and security, including by deploying peacekeepers whose mandate should include the protection of civilians under imminent threat.

Over the past 70 years, the United Nations has made significant progress in advancing and streamlining the Protection of Civilians mandate. There remains however much to be done to achieve robust peacekeeping, which entails more effective and better-coordinated protection efforts on the ground.

Although the majority of active peacekeeping missions have Protection of Civilian mandates, and despite troop and police contributing countries’ commitment to the Protection of Civilians, differences in expectations and understanding of these mandates pose a challenge to their successful implementation.

The Kigali International Conference on the Protection of Civilians will discuss these challenges and make concrete proposals on how to further enhance our collective responsibility for international peace and security, while protecting the most vulnerable. (End)


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