Skip to main content

Minister Coveney addresses UN Security Council meeting on the Protection of Civilians

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D., today spoke at a UN Security Council meeting chaired by Vietnam on the protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.

The Minister highlighted the devastating impact of attacks food and water supplies, hospitals and other objects that are protected under international law, and stressed that civilians must be protected from famine in conflict situations.

“Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. We have a clear responsibility, therefore, to protect civilian objects that act as a bulwark against famine.”

The Minister denounced attacks on medical personnel and hospitals and called on all parties to fully respect their status under International Humanitarian Law.

“The indispensable nature of medical facilities, medical assets, and health care workers in times of conflict cannot be understated. Their protected status in armed conflict is unequivocally enshrined in International Humanitarian Law.

Attacks on medical infrastructure deprive the sick and the wounded, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, the old and the young, of their most fundamental dignity, and of vital care and assistance when they need it the most.”

Minister Coveney also spoke of the impact of explosive weapons in populated areas, and Ireland’s efforts to address the issue. 

“Of particular relevance to today’s discussion is the effect of explosive weapons in populated areas on critical infrastructure, such as roads, hospitals and sanitation facilities. This infrastructure is vital to meet immediate humanitarian needs and for post-conflict development.

Ireland is leading negotiations in Geneva on a Political Declaration to address the humanitarian consequences arising from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.” 


Press Office

27 April 2021


Note to Editors:

The meeting, chaired by Vietnam, is one of the signature events of Vietnam’s Presidency of the Council in the month of April.

The meeting will be chaired by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, Mr Bui Thanh Son.

Vietnam has led the negotiation of a resolution on the same theme, which is expected to be adopted on 27 April.

The meeting will begin with briefings from Mr. Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Mr. Kevin Rudd, Chair of the Board of Directors, International Peace Institute (IPI).

The meeting is available to view on UN Web TV:

« Previous Item | Next Item »