[JURIST] The UN's top humanitarian expert told the UN Security Council [official website] Wednesday that immediate action must to be taken to prevent civilian deaths [meeting summary] in ongoing armed conflicts in several countries. Jan Egeland [official profile], UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that "In Iraq, Sudan, Uganda, Somalia, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, civilians continue to bear the full brunt of armed conflict and terror," and that "women are still raped and violated as a matter of course, children are still forcibly recruited, and defenceless civilians continue to be killed in violation of the most basic principles enshrined in centuries of international lawmaking." While applauding Security Council Resolution 1674 [text], which provides peacekeepers with specific instructions on how to shield civilians from open fire, Egeland called for more effective legal tools, increased financial resources for peacekeepers to mediate political conflicts before violence breaks out, and for providing peacekeeping missions with broad and flexible mandates to respond to quickly-changing situations.
Egeland also said that international legal mechanisms designed to protect civilians in armed conflicts [UN materials] must be consistently enforced. AP has more. The UN News Centre has additional coverage.