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UN Security Council calls for civilian protection, access to services during conflict

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The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Tuesday calling for civilians to be protected during conflicts, allowing them access to water, food and health care to ensure the survival of populations caught in war zones.

The text was written by Vietnam, which holds the rotating presidency of the council for April.

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It “strongly condemns attacks in situations of armed conflicts directed against civilians... resulting in the deprivation of the civilian population of objects indispensable to their survival.”

And the resolution “strongly condemns the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare” and “the unlawful denial of humanitarian access.”

Examples of such violations against civilians abound, said UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock, ranging from Yemen to Syria, Tigray, South Sudan, Ukraine and Nigeria.

“Any attacks on food supplies and food infrastructure are unacceptable,” he said during the virtual Security Council session.

Even a slight change in water supply can have “enormous consequences,” he warned.

Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, joined the call for better humanitarian protection in conflict zones.

“There is often no safe water to drink, no electricity to power homes or health services to treat the wounded and sick,” he said.

“We urge the adoption of measures so that health care and interconnected services such as water, sanitation and electricity are protected.”

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