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Paris Peace Forum: "Protecting Civilians in Populated Areas"

Published: November 12, 2019; 13:28 · (Vindobona)

At the Peace Forum, Austrian Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein met French President Emmanuel Macron, several Heads of State and Government and directors of international organisations. She also presented the initiative "Protecting Civilians in Populated Areas".

Brigitte Bierlein at the 2nd Paris Peace Forum. Picture with French President Emmanuel Macron. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Andy Wenzel

At the Paris Peace Forum, Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein presented the initiative "Protecting Civilians in Populated Areas".

She emphasized that increased international cooperation is based on rules that must be observed by all: "When it comes to the protection of civilians in conflict regions, we as a global community cannot and must not accept disregard for international humanitarian law. We are legally and morally obliged to take a firm stand against this."

"It is unacceptable and inhuman that 90 percent of the victims of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas are civilians."

Elaboration of a political declaration

International humanitarian law can only protect if it is respected.

Austria's aim is to draw up a political declaration and to monitor and implement it at annual meetings. "We must not only silently deplore the suffering of the civilian population in populated conflict areas. It is about our credibility and a sincerely sustainable commitment to effective multilateralism, a rule-based international order and a continuous commitment to strengthening international humanitarian law. A better world begins with the recognition of the problem," Brigitte Bierlein invited to the joint development of the political declaration on the protection of individuals against the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

"Women without Borders" - Strengthening the role of women

The NGO "Women without Borders" based in Vienna, whose founder, Edith Schlaffer, met the Federal Chancellor at the Paris Peace Forum, is concerned with the involvement of women and civil society in the security dialogue. "The activities of this NGO are of particular concern to me, as they are concerned with raising awareness of the role of women in the fight against violence and radicalisation," said Bierlein, who pointed out that "change is always possible and even small steps can achieve great effects.

During her stay in Paris, Federal Chancellor Bierlein's programme includes bilateral meetings with the presidents of Northern Macedonia and Albania.

In addition, a tour of the European Jewish Centre is planned, during which she will be welcomed by the presidents of the Jewish community, Joёl Mergui, and Chief Rabbi Haïm Korsia.

Finally, the Federal Chancellor will present the exhibitions "Otto Wagner. Maître de l'Art nouveau viennois" and "Trésors de l'Albertina. Dessins d'architecture" in the museum "Cité de l'Architecture et du patrimoine". The President of the Architecture Museum, Marie-Christine Labourdette, as well as representatives of the Wien Museum and the Albertina are also expected to attend.

Bierlein met several heads of state and government as well as directors of international organisations at a dinner hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron at the start of the event on Monday.

During a two-day conference in Vienna, last month representatives of more than 100 states, international organisations and civil society as well as stakeholders discussed concrete measures to protect the civilian population and the elaboration of a possible political declaration within the framework of the United Nations.