Dr Kelly To Address International Symposium

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3rd March 2010, 04:43pm - Views: 543

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Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support to address

International Symposium for the Protection of Civilians in

Conflict Zones

The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Support, Dr Mike Kelly, will deliver

an opening address today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the International

Symposium on the Protection of Civilians in Conflict Zones.

The three-day African Union Symposium, supported by the Australian

Government and the African Union’s Peace and Security Commission, brings

together the expertise of more than one hundred high level African and

international experts to consider guidelines designed to improve coordination

between civil, military and police participants to enhance the protection of

civilians in conflict zones.

“The guidelines have been developed to assist the African Union in planning

and implementing a more coordinated approach to the protection of civilians in

African Union and United Nations peace operations”, said Dr Kelly. 

“The challenges of maintaining peace and security are enormous, and the

tragic reality is that civilians continue to account for the vast majority of

casualties in armed conflict.

“Peacekeeping missions have become more complex over time.  To be

effective missions must integrate a range of civil, military and policing

elements that embrace the promotion of human security, confidence building,

capacity building, the provision of electoral support, programs to strengthen

the rule of law, and economic and social development.  The protection of

civilians, especially women, children and other vulnerable groups, is essential

to the credibility of peace operations,” said Dr Kelly. 

The Australian Government is committed to enhancing Australia’s civil-military

capability to respond to conflict, disasters and crises overseas.  Two initiatives

support this aim – the establishment of the Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of

Excellence in 2008 and the creation of an Australian Civilian Corps.  The

Australian Civilian Corps will facilitate the deployment of civilian specialists in

support of stabilisation and reconstruction activities in countries affected by

conflict or disaster.  

The Australian Government through the Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of

Excellence played a key role in the lead-up to the African Union Symposium. 

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In December 2009 the Centre facilitated the development of the draft

Guidelines that are under consideration in Ethiopia this week.

This initiative reflects Australia’s commitment to enhance its engagement with

the countries and institutions of Africa through strengthened political and

diplomatic contacts, trade and investment promotion, increased development

assistance, and cooperation on peace and security issues.

“Australia has a proud history of supporting peacekeeping operations.  Since

1948, more than 55,000 Australians have served in more than fifty United

Nations and multi-lateral peacekeeping missions including missions in Africa,”

said Dr Kelly. 

“Peace operations are no longer the exclusive domain of the United Nations. 

Non-United Nations peace operations are undertaken by other multinational or

regional groupings such as the African Union.

“The contribution we will make this week is a positive one aimed at better

equipping peacekeepers and making a practical difference to the lives of

people affected by conflict.” said Dr Kelly.

Media contacts:    

Mark Sjolander (Dr Mike Kelly)

02 6277 4840 or 0407 102 220

Defence Media Liaison

02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence.       www.civmilcoe.gov.au 

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