Practice Relating to Rule 7. The Principle of Distinction between Civilian Objects and Military Objectives
Section D. Attacks against places of civilian concentration, including schools
In 2011, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate in connection with the agenda item “Children and Armed Conflict”, made on behalf of the Group of Friends of Children and Armed Conflict, the deputy permanent representative of Canada stated:
The Friends Group is pleased with the work undertaken by the Security Council, in the last few years, in progressively strengthening the protection framework for children affected by armed conflict. …
Members of the Friends Group have reliably called on the Security Council to strengthen its protection framework even more and consistently called for all six grave violations committed against children in armed conflict to be included amongst the Security Council Resolution 1612 [of 2005] listing criteria. The Friends Group has supported a progressive approach in this regard and therefore commends the Security Council in filling an important gap in the child protection framework by including attacks against schools and hospitals as the latest trigger through the resolution it will adopt today [Resolution 1998(2011)].
For the Friends Group, a new trigger such as this not only includes in the annexes to the Secretary General’s reports on children and armed conflict those parties to armed conflict that, in contravention of applicable international law, engage in attacks against schools and hospitals, but also those who engage in threats or attacks against schoolchildren, patients, educational or medical personnel.
On behalf of Canada, the deputy permanent representative stated:
We strongly believe that the adoption today of a new resolution on children and armed conflict will increase the profile [of] the grave violation of attacks against schools and hospitals just as the adoption of Resolution 1882 raised the profile of rape and sexual violence against children and Resolution 1612 on the recruitment and use of children in hostilities.
In 2012, in a statement before the UN Security Council during an open debate in connection with the agenda item “Children and Armed Conflict”, the permanent representative of Canada stated: “This year’s Secretary General’s report continues to document grave violations and abuses being committed against girls and boys – including … attacks against schools and hospitals. These despicable actions must be stopped.”
In 2013, in a statement during a UN Security Council open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, the deputy permanent representative of Canada stated: “The conflict in Syria continues to take a terrible toll on the civilian population. … Health care and educational facilities continue to be targeted …”.
In 2013, Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development issued a press release entitled “[Foreign Affairs Minister] Baird Condemns Air Strikes on Syrian Civilians”, which stated: “Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement: ‘Canada strongly condemns the ongoing air strikes inflicted by the Syrian regime on Aleppo and surrounding areas that are killing hundreds of innocent civilians’, many of whom are women and children. …’”.