The UN Security Council yesterday resumed talks on the protection of civilians, especially women, children, refugees and internally displaced persons, during armed conflicts. Speakers called for stronger enforcement of humanitarian law, unimpeded access for humanitarian workers and an end to the recruitment of child soldiers. They noted that parties who were accountable to no one often ignored or had no knowledge of international humanitarian and human rights laws. Landmines and the proliferation of small weapons also had to be tackled, they said.
The meeting was held to allow countries that are not members of the Council to share their views. A UN press release quoted several delegates at the meeting as drawing attention to the anarchic nature of contemporary conflicts, most of them internal. Other speakers said economic sanctions should be targeted so as not to increase the poverty and suffering of the primary victims of war - women, children and the elderly.