The UN Security Council on Tuesday adopted its first-ever resolution on persons reported missing during armed conflicts, recalling “its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security” and “the need to promote respect for the rules and principles of international humanitarian law”.
The resolution urges countries that are not yet parties to the Additional Protocols I and II of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions to consider becoming parties at the earliest date.
Regarding civilians in armed conflict, the resolution reaffirms that parties to the armed conflict bear the primary responsibility to “take all feasible steps” to protect civilians, and that countries bear the primary responsibility to “respect and ensure that the human rights of all individuals within their territory and subject to their jurisdiction, as provided by relevant international law.”
The resolution stresses the importance of measures to prevent persons from going missing as a result of armed conflict, as well as enacting national legislation, providing training for armed forces, and providing proper means of identification upon outbreak of an armed conflict.
The resolution also strongly condemns the practice of deliberately targeting civilians and/or protected persons during armed conflicts, and calls upon parties to armed conflict to actively search for persons reported missing, to enable the return of their remains and to account for persons reported missing without adverse distinction.