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International Course On The Kigali Principles On Protection Of Civilians In Conflict Zones

From 9 to 16 November 2016 the Republic of Rwanda, in partnership with the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United States of America, will organize an International Course on the Kigali principles on Protection of Civilian (PoC). The course will be conducted at Rwanda Peace Academy, Musanze District.

This follows a High-level International Conference on the Protection of Civilians that was organized by the Republic of Rwanda on May 28-29, 2015, in Kigali in the run-up to the Leaders’ Summit on UN Peacekeeping. During that conference, Rwanda presented the Kigali Principles on PoC. A year later several countries have endorsed the principles.

UN Members States that have endorsed the Kigali Principles include: 

Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Djibouti, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malawi, Montenegro, Netherlands, Niger, Norway, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tanzania, Togo, Ukraine, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Zambia.

The Kigali Principles set out critical benchmarks for Member States to guide collective efforts in improving the capacity of peace operations to protect civilians.

Despite the evolution of UN peacekeeping doctrine, the international community often continues to fall short in its efforts to prevent conflicts and atrocities, respond to early warning signs, and adequately protect vulnerable civilians.

Civilians caught up in the middle of armed conflicts may become safer as the world adopts Rwanda’s values on protection of civilians. These values known as the ‘Kigali Principles’  require countries contributing to UN peacekeeping troops to always send well trained peace keepers and to intervene without delay in a country where an armed conflict is killing civilians.

Troops/Police Contributing Countries (TCC/PCCs) are expected to use force to protect civilians, as necessary and consistent with the mandate and to take direct military action if it is clear that armed actors have a hostile intent to harm civilians. They should avoid undue delay in protecting civilians, because such delays and reluctance lead to unprecedented cost of lives, such as in Rwanda where a million lives were killed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The Principles are designed to make sure that civilians are not abandoned by the international community again.

The interactive discussions of the international course on PoC will be an opportunity for TCC/PCCs and other Member States to reflect on the Kigali Principles, and consider how their implementation can best contribute to future efforts to uphold civilian protection mandates. It will also be an opportunity to better understand the current and emerging challenges TCC/PCCs face with regard to protecting civilians.

The course will include military, police and civilian participants from 14 nations, including 12 African nations.

                                                                                                Lt Col Rene Ngendahimana

                                                                                                Ag Def & Mil Spokesperson