UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the current pause in US drone strikes on its border regions has given “respite” to civilians there, and emphatically called for a complete cessation in the use of the remotely controlled aircraft.
"What we have called for, and what we continue to call for, is a halt, a stop, a cessation in the use of armed drones," Ambassador Masood Khan said in an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
The Pakistani envoy said the drone attacks have violated Pakistan's sovereignty, killed hundreds of civilians and radicalised more people. The use of armed drones has thus been “counterproductive”, he added. In his speech, Masood Khan also said that civilian protection was an integral part of 95 per cent of peacekeeping missions around the world, and, by now, that mandate was widely recognised.
Civilians disproportionately bore the brunt of war and conflict, with women and children the hardest-hit victims, he said.
The international community had done better where the United Nations invested its resources and maintained peacekeeping missions, he added. The Pakistani envoy said peacekeepers were mandated to do more without adequate resources, which resulted in unmet needs and unsafe security conditions.
Since there was a limit to what peacekeepers could do, it was important to incorporate lessons learned into mission planning, he said.
Participation of troop-contributing countries in the planning stage was crucial, he stated.
Peacekeepers could not remain passive bystanders, nor could they become the national defence force of the host country, he added.
"Our experience has shown that a proactive stance in implementing protection mandates, such as through effective and frequent patrolling, disarmament and demobilisation, serves as a credible deterrent and, in many situations, obviates the need for the use of force," he said.
Masood Khan also called on the Security Council to make a clear distinction between civilian protection and the responsibility to protect.