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International Humanitarian Law: Protecting Civilians in Conflict — [Mr Peter Bone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 18th June 2019.

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Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Labour, Cynon Valley 9:30 am, 18th June 2019

Absolutely. I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s experience on the Council of Europe, given the kind of discussions that take place there. Unfortunately in so many areas of conflict, we are all aware of examples of such attacks on what should be protected people, facilities and so on.

Despite the frameworks in place that are meant to protect civilians in armed conflict, and their further development and consolidation, including through the UN, civilians continue to suffer in armed conflict. According to the May briefing paper of the Overseas Development Institute, “Twenty years of protection of civilians at the UN Security Council”, a century ago civilians represented about 10% to 15% of total casualties in armed conflict; by the second world war that had risen to 50%; and by the 1990s civilians accounted for between 80% and 85% of such casualties, a trend that has unfortunately continued and possibly even intensified into this century. What is going wrong?