Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians

We, the troop and police contributing countries, following the International Conference on the Protection of Civilians held in Kigali, from 28-29 May 2015 under the theme “Protection of Civilians through Peacekeeping: From Mandates Design to Implementation”; bringing together the top 30 troop and police contributing countries, the top ten financial contributing countries and other stakeholders; and after deliberations on how to effectively implement the Protection of Civilians mandates in peacekeeping operations, pledge the following:

1. To train all of our troops on the protection of civilians prior to their deployment to missions.

2. To ensure that our sector and contingent-commanders, as well as our nominees for mission leadership positions, have a high level of training and preparedness on peacekeeping operations and, in particular, the protection of civilians.

3. To be prepared to use force to protect civilians, as necessary and consistent with the mandate. Such action encompasses making a show of force as a deterrent; inter-positioning our forces between armed actors and civilians; and taking direct military action against armed actors with clear hostile intent to harm civilians.

4. Not to stipulate caveats or other restrictions that prevent us from fulfilling our responsibility to protect civilians in accordance with the mandate.

5. To identify and communicate to the UN any resource and capability gaps that inhibit our ability to protect civilians.

6. To strive, within our capabilities, to contribute the enabling capabilities (e.g. helicopters) to peacekeeping operations that facilitate improved civilian protection.

7. To avoid undue delay in protecting civilians, by investing our contingent commander with the authority to use force to protect civilians in urgent situations without the need for further consultations with capital.

8. Not to hesitate to take action to protect civilians, in accordance with the rules of engagement, in the absence of an effective host government response or demonstrated willingness to carry out its responsibilities to protect civilians.

9. To demand clarity from the UN and mission leadership on our rules of engagement, including under which circumstances the use of force is appropriate.

10. To seek to identify, as early as possible, potential threats to civilians and proactively take steps to mitigate such threats and otherwise reduce the vulnerability of the civilian population.

11. To seek to enhance the arrangements for rapid deployment, including by supporting a full review of the UN’s standby arrangements, exploring a system in which earmarked units from troop and police contributing countries could be placed in readiness in order to ensure rapid troop deployment, and encouraging the utilisation of partnerships with regional organisations such as the African Union and its RECs.

12. To be vigilant in monitoring and reporting any human rights abuses or signs of impending violence in the areas in which our personnel serve.

13. To take disciplinary action against our own personnel if and when they fail to act to protect civilians when circumstances warrant such action.

14. To undertake our own review, in parallel to any after-action review, in the event that our personnel are unable to protect civilians, and identify and share key lessons for avoiding such failures in the future.

15. To hold our own personnel to the highest standard of conduct, and to vigorously investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute any incidents of abuse.

16. To better implement protection of civilians mandates and deliver on our responsibilities, we request better, regular and more extensive consultations on the mandating of peacekeeping missions. When mandates of peacekeeping missions are under review and may change, it should also be mandatory for the Security Council to consult all troop and police contributing countries deployed to the mission. We commit to bring our own ideas and solutions to these consultations that can strengthen the implementation of protection of civilians mandates.

17. To urge the Security Council to ensure that mandates are matched with the requisite resources, and to commit to support a process that addresses the current critical resource gaps in several missions. We support a more phased mandating process that can ensure a better alignment of resources and mandates.

18. Noting that any well-planned mandate implementation may be undermined by inefficient mobility, logistics or support; To call for effective support of all military plans, including contingency plans; and to commit to work with the Secretariat to review the current support arrangements, including possible transfer of authority over more of the logistical capability to the military component, where appropriate.

Recommend that these principles be endorsed on a voluntary basis and that the signatories meet once each year to discuss how to further improve the implementation of the Protection of Civilians mandate in UN peacekeeping operations.

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JOINT COMMUNIQUE ANNOUNCING THE KIGALI PRINCIPLES ON THE PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS IN PEACEKEEPING

Joint Statement by the Governments of Italy, Netherlands, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Uruguay: the Inaugural Signatories to the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians in Peacekeeping, September 2, 2015

Following a High Level International Conference on Protection of Civilians in Kigali in May, the governments of Rwanda, Italy, Netherlands, Uruguay and Uganda have agreed to a voluntary set of principles on the protection of civilians in peacekeeping.

The Kigali Principles establish that protection of civilians is the core function of peacekeeping and that effective protection of civilians requires properly trained troops, adequate equipment, and a strong political commitment.

The Kigali Principles represent a shared commitment by signatories to strengthen their efforts in peacekeeping operations to address the terrible plight that civilians continue to endure in armed conflicts. We call upon other significant troop- and police-contributing countries to join us in endorsing these principles to strengthen our collective efforts to eliminate suffering and advance conditions for peace around the world.

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