In a statement read out at an open meeting by its President, Ambassador Alfonso Valdivieso of Colombia, the Council reaffirmed its concern at the hardships borne by civilians in conflict situations and the need for parties to ensure the safety, security and freedom of movement of UN personnel and other relief workers.”The Council recognizes that secure humanitarian access, a clear separation of civilians and combatants, and the swift re-establishment of the rule of law, justice and reconciliation are essential for an effective transition from conflict to peace,” the statement said.On 10 December, the Council held a daylong meeting coinciding with International Human Rights Day to discuss the issue of protecting civilians in armed conflicts. During the debate, most speakers agreed with the need for concrete and systematic action to protect civilians in armed conflict, including the universal application of international human rights law.Participants also welcomed the Secretary-General’s emphasis on secure humanitarian access, the clear separation of civilians and combatants and the swift re-establishment of the rule of law, justice and reconciliation during the transition from conflict to peace.In its statement today, the Council underscored the importance of the “aide-memoire” it had adopted in March as a “practical tool that provides a basis for improved analysis and diagnosis of key protection issues during deliberations” on peacekeeping mandates, and stressed the need to implement the approaches set out in the document on a more regular and consistent basis.The Council also noted that the number of obstacles undermine efforts aimed at providing humanitarian access to those in need, including attacks on relief workers, and acknowledged the emerging issues that could “seriously effect” the capacity of Members States to protect civilians in armed conflict, including sexual exploitation, the plundering of natural resources and terrorism.The text recognized the importance of a comprehensive, coherent and action-oriented approach to the protection of civilians in armed conflict and encouraged further cooperation among States and various UN agencies and programmes. read more