[JURIST] The UN Security Council Friday passed a wide-ranging resolution on duties to civilians in armed conflict that included a landmark affirmation of an international responsibility to protect [backgrounder] in the face of war crimes, genocide and ethic cleansing when their own countries refuse to take action. The Council specifically invoked two key sections of the final outcome document [text, PDF] adopted [JURIST report] at the September 2005 UN World Summit [official website] that set out the duty. The affirmation was hailed as a major breakthrough by UK Ambassador to the UN Emyr Jones Parry, who had been negotiating with other members on the issue since November. Russia and China in particular had been hesitant to adopt the statement, regarding it as a device to interfere in countries' internal affairs, but the inclusion of other provisions in the final document allowed them to support it. Humanitarian assistance groups also welcomed the measure.
Resolution 1674 [summary and text] also calls on states to uphold the principles of international humanitarian law, labels deliberate targeting of civilians a "flagrant violation," and condemns all acts of sexual exploitation, abuse and trafficking of women and children by personnel involved in United Nations operations. AP has more.