Vietnam prioritises protecting civilians in armed conflicts: Ambassador hinh anh 1Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese mission to the United Nations (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Protecting civilians in armed conflicts is the top priority of Vietnam at the United Nations and its Security Council, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese mission to the United Nations, has affirmed.

Addressing the council’s open debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict on May 27, Quy said that the most effective and long-term solution is to prevent and end conflicts and maintain sustainable peace.

When a conflict happens, the top responsibility of each nation is protecting its civilians, he emphasised, adding that international organisations and UN peacekeeping forces can support conflict-hit nations, but they need be supplied with sufficient resources.

The diplomat strongly condemned attacks targeting civilians and civil facilities, especially schools, hospitals and water and food production systems.

He also stressed Vietnam’s backing for UN Secretary-General António Guterres' appeal for a global ceasefire amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN Secretary-General said that more than 20,000 civilians were killed or injured in just ten conflicts in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen in 2019, and 90 percent of people killed by explosive weapons in populated areas were civilians.

Last year, tens of thousands of children were forced to take part in hostilities, and millions of people were displaced as a result of armed conflict, he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic rages on, causing enormous human suffering and additional stress to health systems, economies and communities, said Guterres. Where armed conflict continues, COVID-19 makes the protection of civilians more challenging than ever.

He urged States to review and rethink their approach to urban warfare, committing to the protection of civilians in their doctrine, strategy and tactics.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Liberian President, emphasised the need to exert efforts to put an end to conflicts. She called for regional and international solidarity to support underdeveloped countries, and intensify international cooperation and women empowerment./.