Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Head of Vietnam’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, at an Open Debate on May 17(Source: VNA)

New York (VNA) – Vietnam strongly condemns and opposes all acts of violence or abuses committed against civilians and excessive use of lethal weapons to strike civilian facilities, including schools, hospitals, residential and public areas.

“Such acts have constituted a clear violation of international law and gravely threatened international peace and security,” Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Head of Vietnam’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, said at the UN Security Council’s Open Debate themed “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts” on May 22.

The Ambassador affirmed that each country has the primary responsibility to protect its own civilians and to deal with violence against civilians within its jurisdiction.

She called on parties involved to strictly comply with their obligations to protect civilians in line with human rights and humanitarian laws and relevant Security Council resolutions, notably Resolutions 1894 and 2286, as well as fully respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of states.

“The United Nations should further enhance its leading role, in close coordination with regional organizations and other relevant actors, to help strengthen the culture of complying with international law, promote good examples and best practices in addressing armed conflicts and protecting civilians, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians in need, as well as assist countries’ efforts in resolving conflicts by peaceful means, improving their national capacity to address the root causes of conflict and advancing sustainable development,” Nga suggested.

The Ambassador expressed concern about the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip over the past days, causing many deaths and casualties to the Palestinians. She called on concerned parties to exercise restraint, stop escalating tensions, settle conflicts through peaceful measures and strive for a comprehensive, equitable and sustainable solution, saving life of the Palestinians and ensuring legitimate interests of the parties concerned, and regional peace and stability.

“Prevention of conflict and peaceful resolution of dispute are the best ways to protect civilians,” she stated. “It is high time now to translate from words to deeds to end the sufferings of innocent people”.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that over 128 million people, particularly in conflict hotbeds in the world such as Afghanistan, Central Africa, Congo, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen, need relief.

Escalating conflicts have left serious consequences on human and property, destroyed many civilian facilities, violated human rights and hampered international humanitarian relief.

He confirmed the UN gives the priority to conflict prevention and peaceful resolution and consider it the most effective way to protect civilians.

He recommended governments of member states to build strategies, a code of conduct and action plans to protect civilians during conflicts.

Participating countries showed their back for the UN Secretary General’s recommendations, emphasising the need to pay attention to measures to ensure civilians’ safety as well as protecting civilian facilities, address the root reasons of conflicts, and increase national capacity and resilience to protect civilians effectively.-VNA