Prospects for Protecting People Improve When Sovereignty Not Viewed as ‘Wall or Shield’, Secretary-General Tells Security Council in Ministerial Debate

SC/11793
23 February 2015
7389th Meeting (AM)

Prospects for Protecting People Improve When Sovereignty Not Viewed as ‘Wall or Shield’, Secretary-General Tells Security Council in Ministerial Debate

Nearly 80 Speakers Consider Charter’s Role in Peace, Security Maintenance

As the United Nations approached its seventieth anniversary, the Charter tenet of national sovereignty remained valid, but a State’s responsibility for its people and its participation in global cooperation were also increasingly vital, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed as he opened a day-long Security Council debate this morning. 

“Sovereignty remains a bedrock of international order.  But in today’s world, the less sovereignty is viewed as a wall or a shield, the better our prospects will be for protecting people and solving our shared problems,” Mr. Ban said, noting the transnational nature of many current threats, from climate change to terrorism, ahead of a meeting on the importance of respecting the United Nations Charter in the maintenance of international peace and security, presided over by the Foreign Minister of China, Council President for February.

According to the concept paper prepared by the Chinese presidency (document S/2015/87), the meeting was an opportunity for Member States to reaffirm their commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter and launch the commemoration of the Organization’s seventieth anniversary and “the victory won in the war against fascism”.  The paper underlined the importance of the sovereign equality of States, non-interference with internal affairs, and peaceful, cooperative settlement of disputes. 

In the debate that followed, the nearly 80 speakers did affirm their ongoing commitment to the Charter’s principles, particularly in support of collective efforts for the maintenance of international peace and security and the primary role of the Security Council in that regard, as well as the need for early action to ensure the prevention and peaceful settlement of conflicts.

There were differences in emphasis, however, with the Chinese Foreign Minister, speaking in his national capacity, stressing the primary importance of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and the need to avoid international intervention and forceful measures whenever possible, with a renewed emphasis on conflict prevention through dialogue.  Many speakers, similarly, spoke forcibly against external intervention in the affairs of States.

Also underlining those principles, the Russian Federation’s Foreign Minister criticized what he called efforts to dominate the international arena by certain States through pressures that included the threat of regime change and the introduction of items in the Security Council that went beyond the prescribed field of maintenance of international peace and security.

Agreeing on the Council’s Charter-based priority of peace and security, the United States’ representative said that the Council must play its role robustly and act when necessary.  Citing the situation in Syria, she said divisions in the 15-member body had prevented it from acting to mitigate the suffering.  Combatting terrorism was vital, she said, but equally so was protecting human rights as abuses often led to wider conflict.   

That representative, along with the Foreign Ministers of Lithuania and Ukraine itself, were among the first of a number of speakers that maintained that Russian support for separatists in Ukraine was violating the Charter principle of national sovereignty and threatening the security of smaller States.  

Many speakers called for greater democratization of international institutions, including the Security Council.  France’s representative said that his country’s proposal to limit the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities underscored that permanent membership was a solemn responsibility and not a symbol of status.  His statement was echoed by several others.

India’s representative said, however, that the permanent Members’ invocation of Charter principles appeared selective, suiting the national interests of those powerful States.  Such perspectives even influenced the response to terrorism, with dangerous results, he added.  Along with many other speakers, he called for greater priority on peaceful settlement of disputes as part of urgent action to reform the Council, which, he maintained, preserved “the privileges of a few, forged by a wartime alliance that no longer exists”.

In addition, the head of the delegation of the European Union, the Permanent Observer of the African Union and the representative of the United Arab Emirates, welcoming joint work on Yemen between the Council and the Gulf Cooperation Council, called for enhanced use of Chapter VIII provisions of the Charter to further increase cooperation between the Council and regional organizations.

Also represented today at the ministerial and diplomatic level were Venezuela, New Zealand, Malaysia, Nigeria, Spain, Angola, United Kingdom, Jordan, Chad, Chile, Serbia, Sweden (on behalf of the Nordic Countries), Brazil, Pakistan, Germany, Cuba, Colombia, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Liechtenstein, Australia, Guatemala, Belgium, Austria, Algeria, Israel, Japan, Estonia, Syria, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Italy, Iran, Zimbabwe, Poland, Slovenia, Canada, Ethiopia, Ireland, Albania, Turkey, Maldives (on behalf of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group), Cyprus, Romania, Indonesia, Thailand, Burundi, Netherlands, Uruguay, Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, Philippines, Hungary, Egypt, Costa Rica, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Tunisia, Nicaragua, Viet Nam, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Azerbaijan, Latvia, Armenia, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, Kuwait, Botswana, Kenya, Switzerland and Morocco.

The representatives of Iran, Syria, Turkey and Israel took the floor a second time.

The meeting started at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 8:05 p.m.

Opening Address

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that much had changed since the 1945 adoption of the Organization’s Charter, but it was a living document that could adapt.  At its heart was the peaceful settlement of disputes and the protection of human rights as well as the respect for the sovereign equality of all Member States.  Noting that the Charter was very clear that the primary responsibility for preventing conflict lay with Member States, he said early action for that purpose and to protect human rights helped to strengthen sovereignty.  “In reality,” he maintained, “it is serious violations of human rights that weaken sovereignty.”  He stressed that action must be taken before situations deteriorated.

Sovereignty also brought with it important responsibilities such as accountability to the people, assurance of the rule of law and inclusive governance, he said.  “Governing responsibly is not just a domestic challenge; it means recognizing our interconnectedness and being a good regional and global citizen,” he added.  On many issues the distinctions between the national and the international were falling away.  Terrorism and extremism, in particular, had emerged as serious transnational threats.  “Sovereignty remains a bedrock of international order.  But in today’s world, the less sovereignty is viewed as a wall or a shield, the better our prospects will be for protecting people and solving our shared problems,” he concluded.

Statements

WANG YI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China and Council President for the month, speaking in his national capacity, said that the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations was an important opportunity to draw lessons from history and chart a course for the future, which meant reaffirming commitment to the Charter and renewing good neighbourliness.  He paid tribute to all those who sacrificed to fight fascism, noting that China was an important force in that context.  The Charter had been an inspiration for world peace since that period, he added, also stressing its tenets of sovereign equality and peaceful settlement of disputes and collective maintenance of peace.

The vision of the Charter had yet to be fully realized, he said, noting frequent war and inequality in international relations, with laws in that field often ignored.  The Charter remained as relevant as ever before, however.  Any unilateral moves that bypassed the Security Council, in that context, should be avoided and challenges should be met together, with the mind-set of confrontation discarded.  Justice, not hegemony, must reign; no country was entitled to violate the sovereignty of others.  He called on all countries to come together to build a new world in which national and international interests could all be safeguarded.  “May the light of the Charter shine upon the world,” he concluded.

SERGEY LAVROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, agreed with the importance of the principles of the Charter, although he acknowledged that it was not perfect while stressing that it contained the essential elements of multinationalism.  Unfortunately, numerous violations of equal sovereignty of States and other attempts to dominate had arisen on the order of the invasion of Iraq.  For those not willing to play ball with the dominant powers in that context, there was pressure and threats of regime change.  There was also an attempt to move the Security Council away from its area of exclusive provenance, the maintenance of international peace and security through collective means.

The question must be therefore asked whether the Security Council was to be kept relevant, he said.  For that purpose, double standards must be removed and the organ must be renewed as a forum for collective decisions, one that respected the right of peoples to make their own national decisions.  Reconsideration was needed on direction in a number of areas, including how joint challenges would be faced.  It was on a collective basis that the challenges of chemical weapons in Syria and the threat of foreign terrorist fighters had been faced.  At the top of collective threats was international terrorism and actions to face it should be kept within the proper international context, with the Council playing its exclusive role.

DELCY ELOÍNA RODRÍGUEZ GÓMEZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, said the issue being discussed was relevant as the abiding principles of the Charter, including non-intervention in internal affairs of States and sovereign equality, were being violated through unilateral military, media and financial warfare.  It was with much gloom and concern that the world witnessed how the fight against terrorism had brought more terrorism.  Instead of peaceful settlement of conflicts in accordance with the principles of the Charter, military expenditures around the world in 2013 reached over $1.7 trillion, 37 per cent of which was in just one country alone.

She said Venezuela had mechanisms based on sovereignty and respect for self-determination, which helped the region attain the lowest level of military spending.  Reaffirming the legitimate right of Palestine to become a full-fledged member of the United Nations, she said democratization of the Organization should also mean that all developing countries had a voice in devising ways of bolstering international peace and security.

MURRAY MCCULLY, Minister for Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, said the anniversary year was the right time for the Council to review areas where it was doing well and where it could do better.  The Council had a completely inadequate focus on conflict prevention and a huge focus on peacekeeping.  Peacekeepers were hampered and sometimes endangered by poor mandates and inadequate resourcing.  Those challenges were longstanding and complex but within the Council’s reach to make real progress.  The use or threat of use of the veto was the single largest cause of the Council’s impotency in the face of too many serious international conflicts.

Congratulating France on its initiative on the voluntary retirement of the veto in cases of mass atrocities, he urged permanent members to find a way to make progress.  He faulted the Council for its lack of preventive action under the Charter’s Chapter VI, and said there was something wrong when $8 billion was spent on peacekeeping but virtually nothing on the responsibility to prevent situations from escalating into intractable conflict.  At the same time, peacekeepers must not be sent into dangerous environments without adequate mandates and resources, he said, adding that the operations’ review would set the stage for the Council to address that issue.

DATO SRI ANIFAH AMAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, said today’s reflection was both necessary and urgent, given the increasingly complex and multidimensional nature of new and emerging threats to international peace and security.  The Council had a mixed record in terms of discharging its Charter-mandated responsibilities.  During the cold war, it appeared to be paralyzed while numerous ideologically-driven conflicts were fought around the world.  The exuberance demonstrated after the collapse of the Soviet bloc nurtured hopes of a new multipolar system.  However, the continuing military and economic preponderance of certain States continued to dominate and shape internal discourse and policy.

Stressing that globalization had a multiplier effect and brought positive developments, he said there were those who would pervert and misuse advances in the service of a destructive agenda.  Whereas in the past terrorism was employed in pursuit of political or ideological aims, the new breed of terrorists sought to control territory and populations, against the purposes and principles laid down in the Charter.  Recent efforts to address the threat merited the international community’s full support.

LINAS ANTANAS LINKEVIČIUS, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lithuania, said next month the country would celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the restoration of independence — the longest span of freedom for the nation in modern times.  The anniversary was even more precious in the context of the Russian Federation’s attempts to rewrite history and reverse the transition of the 1990s.  In Europe today, the Russian Federation was using its military might in violation of State sovereignty and in pursuit of neo-imperial ambition that had no place in the twenty-first century.  To small countries in particular, respect for provisions of the Charter and international legal norms was paramount and, in the absence of tanks, tornados and the type of heavy weaponry ravaging eastern Ukraine, the first line of defence.  It was particularly disturbing, therefore, to see the norms and principles of the Charter being violated by a permanent Council member.  “The exclusive status of the P5 was granted so that they could act as the custodians of the higher interest of peace, that common interest of which the Charter speaks so clearly.  Not for Russia to pressure or wage wars against its neighbours,” he said.

Seventy years after the end of the Second World War, the Russian Federation, which had suffered tremendously, should know better than to risk international peace and security for the sake of redrawing Europe’s borders by violence and force, he said.  A pattern existed of Russian interference in the sovereign affairs of neighbouring States.  A year ago, as Crimea was being annexed by force and falsehood, Lithuania had called for the first Council meeting on Ukraine.  The body had since held 30 meetings on the matter but nothing had changed on the ground.  Russian proxies continued to rubbish the latest ceasefire agreement.  The Kremlin’s anti-Ukrainian rhetoric could not be more toxic.  “Let us be clear.  The desire of a nation to decide its own future is not fascism,” he said, adding that the “Kremlin’s propagandist manipulation of the fascist card is reckless, irresponsible and dangerous.”  As the United Nations seventieth anniversary approached, all States without exception must recommit, unequivocally and clearly, to the values of the Charter and the principles of international law.

AMINU WALI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said he could not envisage a world without the United Nations, the Charter of which still stood as the pre-eminent world treaty.  However, it was often ignored in favoured of national interests.  Agreeing that State sovereignty was a basic tenet, he maintained that it must be respected without the threat of external interference.  Where disputes arose, it was critical for States to use peaceful means exclusively to resolve them.  The Council must consider all strategies to ensure pacific settlement of disputes and cooperate with regional organizations for that purpose.

States must act at all times within international law, he said, stressing the need for international cooperation in an ever more integrated world.  In addition, all countries must be afforded a fair chance to develop in a world where huge inequalities existed.  That was also provided for in the Charter, he said, stressing that more needed to be done to promote development in the global South.  He expressed his country’s hope that the United Nations would gain an enhanced ability to ensure international peace and stability.

SAMANTHA POWER (United States) said it was important to reaffirm principles that upheld rights of peoples as well as States.  The Council must play its role in maintaining peace robustly and act when necessary, she stressed, citing the situation in Syria, where she said divisions in the Council had prevented action to mitigate the suffering of the people.  Arms embargoes in conflicts and sanctions that prevented resources from funding terrorism were important, but equally important was robust action to protect human rights and national cooperation with such action.

Given the agreed need to respect State sovereignty, she said, the Russian Federation was violating core principles in Ukraine.  The United Nations had to devise more effective strategies to deal with such malfeasance, she stressed, citing actions following a devastating report on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Widespread human rights violations could themselves threaten international peace and security, she emphasized, noting the effects of massive displacement from Syria.  Respecting human rights, therefore, was the foundation for peace and prosperity.  Comments to the contrary were a manipulation of Charter principles, which must be seen as a blueprint for collective action, and not as factors that divided States and prevented actions.  Keeping people at the heart of collective efforts, as the founders intended, would only strengthen the document, she concluded. 

IGNACIO YBANEZ, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Spain, associating with the European Union, lauded the purpose of the day, that is, recommitment to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.  His country certainly reaffirmed its commitment.  He emphasized the importance of the preamble, as it set the moral context of the document.  The United Nations had evolved with a changing world, but it was up to Member States to keep strengthening the Organization’s capabilities.  Far too often, conflicts were not resolved peacefully, so performance in conflict prevention must be strengthened, through global dialogue and mediation, he added, citing initiatives in that vein in which Spain was involved.

Relations must be based on legal obligations, he said; there was no peace without the rule of law that fully respected the equality of States, which, in turn, were answerable to their people.  Human rights must be seen as a crucial element that strengthened sovereignty.  Surveying international tools that had been developed in that regard, he added that more improvements should be made.  In particular, maintaining that the use of the veto often hampered solutions to crises, and he supported the French proposal for refraining from its use in cases of massive human rights violations.  Responsibility and courage were needed to renew commitment to the Charter to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, along with a stronger commitment to democracy and human rights under enhanced international law, he concluded.

MANUEL AUGUSTO, Secretary of State for External Relations of Angola, regretted that in its 70 years of existence, the United Nations had not been able to live up to its purpose of saving future generations from the scourge of war.  Violent conflict remained a part of the daily lives of millions of people.  The principles of respect for State sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes and non-interference in other country’s internal affairs, as enshrined in the Charter, were violated time and again, thus threatening international peace and security.  The practice of tolerance and living together in peace with one another as good neighbours was “one of the most failed of the proclamations contained in the Charter’s declaration”.  Intolerance had become a deadly threat to peace, even in affluent, democratic and participative societies that had difficulty integrating and tolerating communities of different origins.

“The present form of terrorism, the most egregious feature of intolerance, and the phenomenon of foreign fighters should be a wake-up call to us all, in the way we manage the integration of communities of foreign origin,” he said.  Council decisions must not be based on partisan or private interests.  They should correspond to the aim of attaining peace, based on international consensus and consent.  As the Council was accountable to the entire United Nations membership, it should be reformed to make its working methods more democratic and representative of its membership.  The use of the veto should be reformed.  As a peace-loving country, Angola greatly valued the United Nations actions and its decisive role in condemning and isolating the apartheid regime in South Africa.

MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said the three pillars of peace and security, human rights and development had provided an enduring framework for the Council.  While inter-State conflict continued to pose threats, non-State actors and Governments which violated the rights of their citizens challenged the world order.  If left unaddressed, legitimate grievances could lead to great disorder.  The world must utilize all tools such as peacekeeping, which was a solid example of the Council’s flexibility.  Today 120,000 personnel served in four continents in an endeavour that had no mention in the Charter.  The ongoing high-level peace operations review would provide new ways of strengthening that instrument.  Respect for human rights was increasingly central to maintaining international peace and security and failure to act based on one pretext or the other would pose additional threats.  There was a historic opportunity to tackle poverty through the post-2015 agenda, and the United Kingdom, which had underscored its commitment by becoming the only Group of 20 (G20) country to provide 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in official development assistance (ODA), would shoulder its responsibilities.

DINA KAWAR (Jordan) said the United Nations had played a major role in shaping results in various aspects of inter-State relations and on major human development-related issues.  Despite numerous challenges, the Organization had succeeded in living up to Charter principles and purpose.  While the world was still plagued by the scourge of war, underdevelopment and displacement, new forms of threats such as terrorism had emerged.  Mass atrocities and grave violations of international human and humanitarian law were being inflicted.  He cautioned strongly against deviating from the Charter’s core principles in addressing those new challenges.  While sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference should be upheld, the rights of States and peoples should not be mutually exclusive.  In other words, sovereignty must not be allowed to prevent international action to save people from abuses.  The Council had failed to act in Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Syria and Palestine, and if it continued its methods of dealing with crisis, especially those that involved mass atrocities, it risked losing its leading role in the maintenance of international peace and security.  An effective response meant a process where all stakeholders were involved before measures, including under Chapter VII, were taken.  The Council should highlight that any action it took was based on international law, not just its determination that a situation might endanger or threaten peace and security.

MAHAMAT ZENE CHERIF (Chad) said the hopes of the Organization’s founders remained relevant amid the new realities that had emerged in the intervening decades.  The implementation of the Charter in certain aspects was lacking but not irreversible.  The veto was responsible for much inaction, he said, adding that all members could pool their strengths in keeping with the purposes and principles of the Charter.  Despite the trend of States to interfere in others, the use of force was no longer the chosen path of settling disputes.  No State today questioned the legitimacy of the purposes and principles of the United Nations, he added.

CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile) said the Charter represented the “spinal column” of the legal and political values of the international system.  There was no room for selectivity in the observance of its foundational principles, even when confronting new realities.  In cases of systematic violations of human rights and mass atrocities, the principle of non-intervention should not prevent concerted global action.  The responsibility to protect concept had assumed international legal validity and the Council must put into place elements necessary for effective and timely action.  As the world moved from coexistence to cooperation, there was a need to build a normative international structure in accordance with the enduring core principles of the Charter.

FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said that the Charter’s preamble had arisen from the horrors of war, and committed the world to the rule of law, promotion of friendly relations of peoples, and the dignity of human beings.  Those enduring principles allowed the United Nations to address existing and new challenges through tools such as peacekeeping, which the Charter had not envisaged.  The maintenance of international peace and security had become a major issue at a time when globalization allowed terrorists to produce more victims and inflict more suffering.  France’s proposal to regulate the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities underscored that permanent membership was a solemn responsibility and not a symbol of status.  Considerable progress had been made in education, health and protecting the planet, which underscored the enduring relevance of the Organization’s founding text.

IVICA DAČIĆ, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, said that the realization of the basic functions of the United Nations could only be efficient if carried out to the benefit and on behalf of all Member States.  It would only be effective if decisions were harmonized with the Charter principles, especially those of territorial integrity and non-interference in the domain of substantive internal competencies of States.  Noting Serbia’s position as current Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), he said that tolerance, especially religious tolerance, was the key to overcoming the world’s problems.  “A sovereign State cannot emerge through cancelling the existence and sovereignty of another,” he said.  Expressing support for the United Nations work under the Charter’s Chapter VI, he added that coercive measures should be used only as a last resort.  The present dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina with the facilitation of the European Union best demonstrated Serbia’s full resolve to normalization of relations and a lasting and sustainable political solution for Kosovo and Metohija.

PAVLO KLIMKIN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, associating himself with the European Union, said that the principles of the United Nations Charter were under a major attack.  He accused the Russian Federation of blatantly violating the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of his country.  It was horrifying, he added, that such violations had been committed by a permanent Council member that bore a special responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.

He said it was critical to elaborate, in that context, mechanisms to ensure verification of compliance with Charter principles with clear benchmarks, especially when such principles were “masterfully misinterpreted, concealed or merely denied”.  States that violated the principles must be brought to justice, with clear consequences.  As the situation in eastern Ukraine required an immediate response, he added, everything possible must be done to curtail what he called growing Russian militarism and expansionism, particularly as the Minsk agreements were being ignored.  For that reason, his country was considering requesting the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Ukraine to implement the agreements.

ANWAR GARGASH, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, said that to bring about a more effective United Nations at this crucial time, it was vital that the Security Council consult and coordinate with States affected by its actions, even when dealing with fast-moving, complex situations.  In peacefully resolving conflicts, regional organizations must be further utilized and supported.  Greater consideration must be taken of the human cost of inaction, he added, citing suffering of the Syrian and Palestinian populations.

In Syria, Iraq and Yemen, he said, current challenges had highlighted the need for legitimate international engagement.  In that context, he praised efforts to consult with the Gulf Cooperation Council on resolution 2201 (2015) on Yemen, for which he pledged his country’s commitment in implementation.  He reaffirmed support to the Government headed by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and urged a return to the political transition process.  On Libya, the arms embargo should be lifted to allow legitimate authorities to better fight extremism.  Welcoming international initiatives to tackle such extremism, he called for cooperation to eliminate its root causes, pointing to his country’s efforts to build moderation, tolerance and unity as a model.  State-led initiatives at the social, economic and political levels must be supported.

ASOKE KUMAR MUKERJI (India) expressed concern that the Council’s invocation of Charter principles appeared selective, suiting the national interests of powerful States that were permanent Council members.  As such, the Council’s decisions on issues not directly linked with maintaining international peace and security should not encroach upon the jurisdiction of the General Assembly, where all States were equally represented.  National interests of powerful States were often exercised even in relation to terrorism, with dangerous consequences.  He regretted, in addition, that Article 44 of the Charter, which required invitations to troop-contributing countries to participate in relevant decisions, had been repeatedly violated.  He called for greater priority on peaceful settlement of disputes as part of urgent action to reform the Council, which, he maintained, preserved “the privileges of a few, forged by a wartime alliance that no longer exists.”

PER THÖRESSON (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, said that now more than ever collective threats must be dealt with collectively, through prevention, mediation, regional cooperation and, as a last resort, by force.  To be effective, those efforts required women’s active engagement.  Individual Council members must always act in the spirit of the Charter, never give way to any threat and never abuse the trust vested in them by using their Council seats to pursue national interests.  Having faith in that spirit was what motivated Nordic countries’ unwavering support for the many peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities mandated by the Council, and guided those countries’ actions at the Council table.  The United Nations founders never intended the principle of sovereign equality of all Member States, particularly bearing in mind the security and territorial integrity of small and medium-sized States, to be an excuse for the international community to avert its eyes from flagrant atrocity crimes.  The principle of sovereignty must have a human security dimension.

ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) said new challenges had materialized in the world today which could not feasibly be solved by any single country.  The international community could succeed in addressing the challenges of terrorism and climate change only through inclusive processes that abided by universally applicable laws.  Upholding multilateralism was not just desirable; it was the only responsible course of action.  The existing order was being corroded by disrespect for the Charter, flawed strategies that stressed the use of force, old-fashioned notions of spheres of influence and misplaced concepts of morality.  There was hope, however, in the multilateral frameworks for cooperation such as the G20, Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.  On peace and security, the world had to update its structure of governance and it was urgent to ponder the high price of inaction, reflect on history and reaffirm a strong commitment to the Charter.

SAHEBZADA AHMED KHAN (Pakistan) said that, while the world’s quest for absolute peace was yet to be fulfilled, it never had the kind of relative peace, prosperity and development it had enjoyed since the adoption of the Charter.  The anniversary year was a time to remember the values that strengthened the Charter.  On the basis of the core principles of the Organization, Pakistan continued to uphold its commitment to global peace and security.  The Council should make frequent recourse to the tools available to it under Chapter VI and employ Chapter VII measures only as a last resort.  The organ, through uniform actions, must lead by example and exude credibility.  Its use of force should be consistent with the Charter’s principle of collective security.  All members, irrespective of size and population, had an equal stake in creating the international order and their participation should be on an equal footing.

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union Delegation, said preventing future wars was not the only pledge the signatories of the founding act of the United Nations made to humankind.  They also stressed their determination to reaffirm their faith in fundamental human rights, establish conditions to achieve justice and promote social progress.  While the Security Council had a very specific role in the maintenance of international peace and security, it also had its own responsibilities to the other two pillars.

On human rights protection, he said the Council could make its own key contribution, in particular through its important power of referring situations of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes to the International Criminal Court as well as by imposing targeted sanctions.  Abiding by the rule of law was essential for the peaceful settlement of international disputes, he said, emphasizing the role of judicial mechanisms.  Cooperation with regional organizations could substantially enrich the United Nations in its collective efforts to reaffirm, defend and realize the Charter’s purposes and principles.

HARALD BRAUN (Germany), associating himself with the European Union, said the United Nations had been created to “replace the law of force with the force of law”.  For Germany, joining the Organization had had been a milestone in rejoining the international community.  “In an increasingly interconnected world, one can only gain by also giving,” he said.  Having learned the lessons of the past, Germany was ready to take on more responsibility at the international level under the pillars of peace, human rights and development.  The world had changed, and the United Nations had demonstrated its ability to adapt.  There was a growing understanding that human rights should know no borders, and that global sustainable development was a responsibility for all.  The structures and institutions of the United Nations must be able to live up to the task.  It was time to consider whether the Council’s structure allowed it to effectively address the challenges of today’s world.  Today, there were threats to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, which deeply concerned Germany.  Radical extremists perverted the teachings of Islam.  Climate change might threaten the very existence of mankind.  In that context, he stressed, the way forward could not be to pursue national interests only, or simply to “close our eyes”.

RODOLFO REYES RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba) said that “we must eradicate the threats that are conspiring against our common desires as Members of the United Nations.”  All Member States needed to adhere to the principles of the Organization.  He expressed concern about wars for natural resources, neo-colonialist foreign policies, and “egotism” derived from neoliberalism, all of which could not be tolerated.  States that resorted to or threatened to use force violated the principles of the United Nations.  Peace and stability would not be achieved if people around the world were condemned to live in hunger and desperation.  For its part, the Security Council should fulfil its fundamental purpose and be the first to find peaceful solutions.  It should never champion any regime change and should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States.  Those principles, along with that of the non-interference, were “cornerstones” of the United Nations.  He reminded the Council that the international community should never tolerate any measures, including economic ones, which violated those principles.  The United Nations needed to be strengthened and the Council needed to become more democratic.  Meanwhile, the General Assembly should be revitalized and should underpin the rights of all people around the world.

MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ (Colombia) said crises today showed the evolution of threats to international peace and security.  The fundamental pillars that sustained the Organization remained as relevant as ever.  Respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and peaceful settlement of international dispute remained the basis for international relations.  It was necessary to avoid overly general and malleable interpretations of the Charter.  A system that promoted the survival of the strongest could not prevail; equal, democratic participation must be upheld.  There was no one-size-fits-all approach to maintain international peace and security.  Since the Charter was negotiated, Colombia had promoted cooperation with regional organizations, with particular emphasis on Chapters VI and VIII.  The Charter recognized those organizations as key forums to resolve disputes and strategic partners in Council-related activities.  It was vital to develop means to give priority to peaceful dispute mechanisms in an impartial and depoliticized manner.

OH JOON (Republic of Korea) said the Charter principles should underpin the international community’s efforts in the face of diverse challenges involving security issues related to non-State actors, intra-State conflicts, transnational violent extremism and cybersecurity threats, among others.  The international community must also be wary of attempts to disregard lessons of history.  Peacekeeping operations were a case in point.  While respecting the principle of national sovereignty, the role of peacekeeping was evolving to bring peace and protect civilians.  The Secretary-General’s comprehensive review would be a milestone in that regard.  The Rights-Up Front Initiative and the Open Gate Policy demonstrated the growing nexus between security and human rights.  Joint cooperation was necessary for Council reform, which should focus on the future rather than expanding the exceptional status given to certain States to settle the Second World War.

RICARDO ALDAY GONZÁLEZ (Mexico) said that much more remained to be done if the Council was to fulfil the mandate it took on 70 years ago.  Maintaining international peace and security required the work of all, not just some, Member States.  Today, non-State actors were committing atrocious acts which undermined the basic norms of international law.  “There can be no peace without justice,” he said, noting the need to strengthen respect for the rule of law.  Development and the rule of law were two side of the same coin.  Mexico believed that any effort to maintain international peace and security and the responsibility to protect civilians required stronger preventive mechanisms, as well as more assistance to Governments.  It was critical to reach a consensus on reforms that reflected the lessons learned over the last 70 years.  Mexico, as part of the group known as United for Consensus, promoted realistic solutions and the strengthening of democracy, transparency and accountability in the Council.  Accordingly, his country had joined France in creating a code of conduct restricting the use of the veto in cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity, which he called a “good start”.  The election of the next Secretary-General was a unique opportunity to enhance transparency and accountability.  Mexico was involved in discussions on how that process could be improved.

STEFAN BARRIGA (Liechtenstein) said that the Security Council had today heard a worrying trend:  many States considered the Council a “playground of the powerful”.  Indeed, for many small States, respect for the Charter by the Security Council was a matter of survival.  Council members must make greater efforts to overcome their differences and seek practical solutions in concrete situations.  In addition, there was an increased responsibility on part of the Council’s elected members to lead the way towards compromise.  The use of the veto remained the greatest obstacle when permanent members could not reach agreement; indeed, the threat of that obstacle was “unacceptably high”.  He therefore reiterated his country’s call for the Council’s permanent members to put in writing their agreement not to use the veto in situations of mass atrocities.

GILLIAN BIRD (Australia) expressed her firm commitment to a rules-based global order that respected international law and the Charter.  The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham’s (ISIL/ISIS) brutality and claims to territory were an urgent security challenge that must be confronted.  The United Nations must respond nimbly and effectively to such crises with the full range of instruments at its disposal, and take concrete steps to prevent new conflicts from emerging.  The Council must use the full weight of its political authority and other preventive tools — among them the effective use of sanctions to disrupt destabilizing actors and stem the flow of funds, weapons and fighters that fuelled conflict — to address warning signs of conflict.  He reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to the responsibility to protect.  He welcomed France’s initiative on the use of the veto in situations of mass atrocity and encouraged further progress on it.  Every State had a duty to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes, and the International Criminal Court deserved the international community’s full support.

MÓNICA BOLAÑOS PÉREZ (Guatemala) attached great importance to the Charter’s principles and how they were used to interpret other underpinnings of the Organization and the political actions of Member States.  To achieve international peace and security, steps were needed to maximize cooperation and unity among States.  The road to peace in the twenty-first century would not be found in principles of non-intervention and absolute sovereignty.  The concept note presented two opposing ideas — intervening only when peace and security were threatened, and not interfering in internal affairs.  On one hand, Guatemala respected the principle of non-interference.  On the other, it had experienced a 36-year internal conflict during which mass atrocities were committed.  For that reason, the concept of “Never again” had particular resonance for Guatemala.  State sovereignty and non-intervention must not be an excuse for not complying with international obligations.  Governments had the responsibility to protect their own people.  The international community needed and had the right to an effective, efficient Council.  Through its inaction on Syria and the question of Palestine the Council had diminished the purposes and principles of the Charter.  She supported France’s proposal to limit the use of the veto.  Balance was essential and must prevail.

BÉNÉDICTE FRANKINET (Belgium) said the Charter principles of respect for State sovereignty, non-interference of States, and territorial integrity were being honoured piecemeal today.  That was evident in Ukraine.  There had been true progress in early warning.  She welcomed the Rights Up Front Initiative and the creation of an analysis framework to prevent atrocity crimes.  But those mechanisms would continue to be irrelevant without the political will to implement 1945 and 2005 commitments.  The responsibility to protect was anchored on the fundamental principles of the Charter.  Governments must create an enabling environment for mutual respect and fight hate speech.  Belgium, as President of the Committee of the Council of Europe, would host a European Union seminar on tolerance and hatred.  When a State did not protect its population, the international community must take action.  The use of veto to block adoption of resolutions on Syria was an illustration of failures in the system.  In that regard, Belgium fully supported France’s initiative and called on others to do the same.

MARTIN SAJDIK (Austria), speaking on behalf of the participants of the Group of Friends of the Rule of Law, reaffirmed that States should uphold in good faith the entirety of their obligations arising from the Charter, including under Chapter VII.  He also reiterated the call on States to ratify and implement multilateral treaties, to settle their disputes peacefully including through the International Court of Justice and to cooperate fully with other international justice mechanisms, including the International Criminal Court, to end impunity.  The world was facing new and more complex threats, new levels of atrocities, brutality and suffering.  “We emphasize that our collective response [to those threats] must be guided by the rule of law both at the national and international levels,” he said, adding that those were inherently linked.  As a participant in the Group of Friends, Austria would continue to advocate for the strengthening of the rule of law as it was the foundation of friendly and equitable relations between States and the basis on which fair and just societies were built.

SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that, while the world had undergone a “metamorphosis” in the last 70 years, the United Nations had barely evolved.  “Challenges of a different nature are piling up their load on an already overburdened agenda of the Security Council,” he said.  In that respect, the rule of law, openness, democracy, dialogue and the very principles enshrined in the first article of the United Nations Charter were a “guiding rod”.  The Council itself had not adapted, neither in its constituency nor its working methods.  It needed more transparency, and the use of the veto power was not compatible with open societies.  “We should reflect on ideas and methods, not only react to conflicts, but certainly to prevent and forestall new ones,” he said.  Conflict prevention and peacebuilding should be equally important as peacekeeping.  The Council could, and should, create organs that might help in fulfilling necessary tasks such as enquiries, fact-finding missions or information that could help its performance.  Finally, the responsibility of the General Assembly should not be forgotten, he said.

RON PROSOR (Israel) said the greatest threat to global security was posed by radical Islamist groups like Hamas, Hizbullah, Al-Qaida, ISIS and Boko Haram.  Extremism was spreading and destabilizing communities and nations, yet the Council had been reluctant to take decisive action.  On 28 January, Hizbullah terrorists fired anti-tank missiles at an Israeli Defense Force vehicle in northern Israel, killing two Israeli soldiers and injuring seven others.  Yet it took the Council a week to release a statement on the matter, which failed to mention the terrorist group.  Not enough had been done to defend basic freedoms.  He noted ISIS’ execution last week of Coptic Christian Egyptians and said all minority groups were at risk.  The Organization would never live up to the principles of the Charter so long as it persistently and consistently focused on Israel.  In 2014, the General Assembly adopted 20 resolutions singling out Israel for condemnation and only three texts to protest the actions of other nations.  Since 2006, more than half of the Human Rights Council’s resolutions that criticized a particular country were directed at Israel.  That was prejudice.  When placed against the yardstick of its Charter, the actions of the United Nations did not measure up.  It was time to return to the central values of the Charter.

MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) said the Charter’s principles and aims carried equal importance and weight.  Since joining the United Nations, Japan had made assiduous efforts to contribute to global peace and prosperity, through activities related to security, development, humanitarian aid, human rights protection, and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.  He supported Austria’s statement on behalf of the Group of Friends on the Rule of Law.  Japan had made great efforts to fully comply with international law.  Japan supported every international tribunal and had made significant, constructive contributions towards those instruments’ better use and universalization.  Efforts were needed to consistently reform and strengthen the Council.  He reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to peacebuilding, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, respect for human rights, women’s empowerment and combating terrorism.

MARGUS KOLGA (Estonia), associating himself with the European Union and ACT, said that protection of human life was the foremost priority of the international community.  Permanent members of the Security Council were given great responsibility to maintain peace and security, but they had not always lived up to their tasks.  Several resolutions had been blocked by permanent members, paralysing the Council in situations where it was most needed.  The saddest example was the four-year-long humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.  Estonia supported the French proposal on voluntary restraint on the use of the veto.  The Council should protect fundamental human rights by its power of referring situations to the International Criminal Court.  The conflict in Ukraine had shown that one of the basic principles of international law — the respect of a country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of its borders — could be breached, which should not be tolerated by the United Nations.

BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said that the strict compliance with the principles of the Charter — especially those regarding sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference — was the sole point on which international law could be anchored.  Over the last seven decades, the United Nations had been forced to deal with the actions of certain influential States trying to impose their hegemony on the Organization.  Even today, the United Nations continued to be paralysed by those States and could not implement important resolutions, including those calling for an end to Israel’s “aggressive” and “racist” crimes.  States had invoked new principles and concepts in order to subvert the Charter.  For example, the principle of the responsibility to protect was being used to justify bloody interventions in some States, and to impose unilateral measures, including in Syria.  Some countries made use of terrorism a tool for shaping international policy, and those same countries had worked to spread lies and demonize the Syrian Government and to bring about a change in the Government through force and terrorism.  They made excuses for a military intervention, as had been seen in Libya, which had been devastated without the slightest word of apology.  Certain influential countries in the Council had guided “satellite” States in the region who supported mercenaries and brought them into Syria.  The Turkish regime, in particular, had carried out an aggression against Syria just yesterday.  He questioned why the Security Council was unable to condemn such practices.

MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa), associating with the African Union and the Southern African Development Community, said the Charter’s provisions of sovereign equality of Member States and the prohibition of use of force against another State except in limited circumstances had become part of customary international law.  He reaffirmed the importance of prioritizing the attainment of the African Union Peace and Security Architecture in all parts of the continent through deepened relations with the Security Council.  The Union had adapted and reformed according to changing circumstances and realities and the Council should do the same.  While protection of civilians remained the primary responsibility of States, failure at the national level entrusted the international community with the collective responsibility to act on the basis of the Charter.  He called for the expansion of the Council from 15 to 26 seats, with Africa getting no fewer than two permanent and five non-permanent seats.

KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan) said being a responsible, supportive and highly engaged Member State had been among his country’s highest foreign policy priorities.  The Charter principles of State sovereign equality and territorial integrity, the rule of law in international relations, non-interference in internal affairs, and the peaceful settlement of disputes were more relevant than ever.  All States needed protection and should have their voices heard in the Council and other United Nations bodies focused on international peace and security.  Protection of civilians and a halt to all forms of gender violence and impunity was essential.  In line with the “preventing succeeding generations from the scourge of war” principle, in 1991 Kazakhstan closed down its nuclear test site and renounced its nuclear arsenal.  A member of the Central Asia Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone, it was working on a Universal Declaration for the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World.  It had practiced tolerance and living together in peace with its neighbours and in June would host the fifth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

INIGO LAMBERTINI (Italy) said the old and new challenges to the United Nations demanded from its members a renewed and strengthened multilateral partnership.  There might be divergent views on the nature of today’s threats and how best to address them, but all could agree that the present challenges to peace and security were complex and knew no bounds.  From terrorism to climate change, from the need to protect public global goods to poverty eradication, from fighting Ebola to tackling major international crises — the Organization was called upon to act.  Given the growing complexity and costs of crisis management, greater efforts should be expended to conflict prevention and mediation.  The latter was not only a moral imperative but a strategic investment.  “We need to shift from reaction to action, from fixing to preventing,” he said.  Peace could not be kept by force; only by understanding, he said, recalling the words of Albert Einstein.

GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran), speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, said global peace remained elusive as a result of increasing unilateralism, arbitrariness and imposed measures, the use of double standards in international relations, and the failure and unwillingness of developed countries to fulfil their commitments, among others.  A wide range of actions should be taken, including identifying measures that would contribute to a just and equitable world order based on the Charter and international law; conducting external relations based on the ideals, principles and purposes of the Movement, the Charter and international law as well as relevant General Assembly declarations; and opposing the categorization of countries as “good” or “evil” based on unilateral and unjustified criteria.  The Charter contained sufficient provisions regarding the use of force to maintain and preserve international peace and security, and the Council’s achievement of that goal should be in line with the relevant Charter provisions.  Resorting to Chapter VII for addressing issues that did not pose a threat to international peace and security must be avoided.  The Council should fully utilize the relevant Charter provisions, including Chapters VI and VIII.

FREDERICK MUSIIWA MAKAMURE SHAVA (Zimbabwe), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that the world had undergone profound changes over the past decade.  However, the Charter should continue to guide the maintenance of international peace and security and the common good of all nations.  “Member States should respect each other’s cultures and values and commit to peaceful co-existence,” he said, stressing the importance of sovereign equality of States, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes and non-intervention in the internal affairs of States.  “We should continue to address our shortcomings and challenges,” he said, emphasizing that a more democratic and representative Security Council would enhance the legitimacy of its decisions.  It was important that the Council acted in an even-handed manner, as double standards and selective application of rules and concepts only undermined confidence in it.  The Community also noted with concern the growing inequalities among nations in terms of their adherence to the rule of law at the international level.  It was regrettable that in practice, international law was applied only against smaller and weaker States while bigger Powers had “unmerited but unassailable immunity”.

BOGUSŁAW WINID (Poland), expressing full commitment to the Charter, said that despite the hoped-for peace, numerous military conflicts prevailed on many continents 70 years after the end of the Second World War.  That showed the Organization’s enduring validity.  Firm and consistent actions by Member States had, in many situations, helped to prevent threats to peace, contributed to conflict resolution and restored stability.  It was equally important to learn from the failures.  Too often, the Charter’s rules were not observed.  A case in point, he said, was the situation in Ukraine, which faced “external military aggression”.  Respect for democracy and rule of law in international relations was as important on a national level.  Members of the United Nations “cannot shy away” from using all tools at their disposal, including sanctions, when dealing with clear violations of international norms.  Existential threats to security also emanated from sources such as global warming, and the United Nations should address such developments.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia) said that the United Nations had so far been unable to entirely adapt to the changing world.  There was no doubt that the purposes and principles of the Organization were still very much valid; however, to remain credible, it would have to do better in fulfilling them.  That meant doing more for the promotion and protection of human rights and addressing growing inequalities.  Slovenia believed that each and every country had the responsibility to protect its population.  “There should be no excuses,” he said, adding:  “The principle of the responsibility to protect does not undermine sovereignty; with its implementation one can only strengthen it.”  A political division among members of the Council and its inaction when lives were at stake was unacceptable.  The organ needed to adapt it’s working methods and to regulate the use of the veto in actions aimed at preventing or ending most heinous acts such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  In that respect, Slovenia aligned itself with the statement made by the representative of the Maldives on behalf of ACT.

GUILLERMO RISHCHYNSKI (Canada) said perpetrators of serious human rights violations must be held to account.  Council members must respect the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of other Member States.  Sadly, that had not occurred in Ukraine.  The horrific events in ISIL-affected areas of Iraq and Syria added impetus to the need for the Council to show real leadership in support of women and girls.  ISIL’s rampant sexual violence and abuse against them was an assault on everyone’s values.  Freedom of religion was a litmus test to the degree to which other fundamental freedoms could be enjoyed.  In Darfur, mass rapes had occurred and the Sudanese Government had covered them up.  Without further delay, the United Nations must properly investigate the abuses and the Sudanese Government must be held to account for its complicity.  All too often implementation fell short of translating Council decisions into concrete action.  The Council must act to overcome those failures and be willing to exercise the full range of options at its disposal to prevent and stop violence against the most vulnerable.  In addressing violent extremism, the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, the targeting of civilians, protracted humanitarian crises and public health emergencies that threatened development gains, the Council must act decisively in areas where it continued to fall short.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia) said 2015 offered a unique opportunity to reaffirm commitment to multilateralism by summoning the political will and leadership needed to implement the post-2015 development agenda.  That required the full cooperation of all countries.  Failing to do so would have serious repercussions for global peace and prosperity.  Terrorism and violent extremism was not just a matter of concern for a few Member States directly affected by that threat to the peaceful coexistence of mankind.  That was why it was necessary to fight in the spirit of Council resolution 2178 (2014).  It was incumbent upon the international community to address the root causes and manifestations of terrorism.  Ending poverty was not just a socioeconomic issue; it was in everyone’s self-interest to achieve the post-2015 development goals and make the necessary compromises to agree on the means to do so during the upcoming Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa.

TIM MAWE (Ireland), associating himself with the European Union, said the past 70 years had not been marked purely by peace and development.  At the same time, the world had witnessed an unprecedented rise in development.  But that, too, had not occurred evenly.  The end of the cold war led to the emergence of a complex multipolar world where even the largest and best-resourced nations struggled to deal with threats from much smaller and dispersed enemies.  If the Council were to uphold its responsibilities for the maintenance of peace and security, it must be fit for purpose, with greater transparency and accountability.  Reforming the composition of the Council in line with the realities of today’s world was long overdue.  As the United Nations continued to reflect on how to best serve its members and meet its objectives, Ireland reaffirmed its commitment to the process.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania), associating himself with the European Union, said there had been immense progress since the inception of the United Nations.  But disappointment and failure had also been present.  Millions of people across the world had had no other choice than to water down their illusions when faced with wars and atrocities.  Expressing concern over the catastrophic developments in Ukraine, he called for a serious and sincere engagement of the Council for a durable peaceful solution there.  The world knew only too well what happened when the Council railed to live up with its responsibilities.  The use of the veto in many important instances betrayed the trust of millions of people for whom the United Nations was the only hope.  Albania reiterated its strong support for the French proposal and the efforts of ACT for a code of conduct on refraining from the use of veto in situations of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

Y. HALIT ÇEVIK (Turkey) said that failure by the United Nations to react to critical issues that threatened international peace and security undermined the credibility of the Organization.  As such, a rethinking on how to enable a more effective United Nations response to emerging threats was critical.  The Charter must be the guiding light but responses should be adapted to present-day realities.  The quest for a more democratic, representative, transparent, effective and accountable Council must be a priority.  The interconnectedness of the different aspects of the reform agenda required a holistic and comprehensive attitude.  The review processes on peace operations, peacebuilding and gender, when combined, aimed to provide comprehensive answers on United Nations response.  They should also address the increasing complexity of peacekeeping environments.  The effective use of Chapter VI tools to promote conflict prevention should be prioritized, as should the nexus between security, development and human rights.  The principle of local ownership should be at the core of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.  In addition, he emphasized the need for a serious international debate to narrow the gaps on issues like stigmatization, stereotyping, intolerance, racism, discrimination, freedom of expression, religion and belief.

AHMED SAREER (Maldives), speaking for the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT) Group, said the world would have been in a far worse state without the United Nations.  Yet, the numerous crises around the world and their dreadful impact on civilians left no doubt that the Organization had not come close to fulfilling its mission.  The anniversary year was the time to take steps to enhance the efficiency of the Council’s working methods and ensure that the international community’s commitments were effectively implemented.  Greater inclusiveness and accountability would contribute to a more efficient and effective Council.  Implementation of measures adopted by the Council had proven to be unsatisfactory or inconsistent, he said, calling for a discussion on how to improve the process of appointing the new Secretary-General.  All Council members should voluntarily commit to refraining from voting against action aimed at preventing or ending genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

TÉTE ANTÓNIO, Permanent Observer of the African Union, affirmed that the Charter remained fully relevant after 70 years.  However, there was a problem to reconcile its principles with results on the ground.  For that purpose, strategic partnerships must be enhanced, particularly in peacekeeping.  In that context, the efforts of the African Union on its continent were fully complementary with those of the Security Council.  Union missions had often paved the way for United Nations missions.  A more innovative interpretation of the relevant Chapter VIII provisions, however, would allow an enhanced partnership through further mutual consultation and greater support for Union operations.  In addition, he appealed to the international community to rectify the lack of permanent African representation on the United Nations Security Council.

NICHOLAS EMILIOU (Cyprus), recounting the decolonization of the island under Charter principles in 1960 and welcoming advances on human rights and other principles since then, said that such principles were violated by ongoing Turkish occupation of Cyprus, which gave the impression that “might is right”.  Respect for legality and the rule of law must be a priority on the international stage.

SIMONA MIRELA MICULESCU (Romania), associating with the European Union and Austria, said the myriad conflicts today and the spread of radicalization and terrorism required the United Nations and the international community to remain vigilant and tirelessly strive to provide relief through common action.  While the security landscape had fundamentally changed, the ban on the use of force in international relations remained valid, as did the importance of resolving conflicts based on respect for the Charter.  Promoting the rule of law was a cornerstone of Romanian foreign policy.  On 5 February, the Romanian Senate unanimously adopted a law accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court.  It would soon come into force.  Regional actors were essential for a well-functioning, efficient and legitimate collective security system.  Their continued, active engagement with the Council was mutually beneficial.  Strong, flexible partnerships between them and the Council would help the latter carry out its increasingly diversified duties efficiently and legitimately.

DESRA PERCAYA (Indonesia) said his country’s Constitution reflected the spirit that motivated the creation of the United Nations and mandated it to contribute to a peaceful and stable world order.  Despite the Charter and the United Nations system’s growing normative and operational frameworks in peace, human rights and security, the greatest challenge remained in the maintenance of peace and security.  The Organization had fallen short to ensure the Palestinian people in the exercise of their inalienable rights, and to be independent from the foreign occupying Power.  The United Nations needed to continue to adjust to the changing challenges and strategic environment through persistent reform.  Some reforms had worked well while others had stalled.  The Organization could do better, and in some areas, as in conflict resolution and nuclear disarmament, it must fight for greater relevance.  Indonesia wished to see a Security Council that could demonstrate clearly that it was representative, democratic, transparent, accountable and efficient, serving the interests and responsive to the concerns of the entire international community, and not a select few.

CHAYAPAN BAMRUNGPHONG (Thailand) said the United Nations had experienced both successes and failures in achieving its original objectives.  While considerable progress had been made on the development front, there were serious challenges in the maintenance of peace and security in many parts of the world and in promotion and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Massacres in some countries could have been prevented if the United Nations had transcended its political divide to undertake swift response or had adequate resources to fulfil its mandates.  Others could have been prevented if Member States had adhered to the principles of the Charter, which remained universally applicable and relevant.  New working methods, approaches and measures were required to deal with pressing issues effectively.

ALBERT SHINGIRO (Burundi) welcomed his country’s re-entry into international cooperation following several years of crisis and war.  Troop contributions were a way for his country to say “thank you” for assistance and to help consolidate security in his region.  Stressing that disarmament and reintegration programmes were an essential part of such peace consolidation, he offered to share Burundi’s experience with such programmes through three-way partnerships with the countries concerned and the United Nations.  In addition, there was a need for consultation and consent from countries affected by crisis situations, with non-intervention remaining a strong principle.  The priority should be conflict prevention and peaceful, non-coercive conflict resolution.  Adequate support must be provided to troop-contributing countries and that cooperation with the African Union should be strengthened, he concluded.

KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands) said that the Security Council had been bestowed the responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and should avail itself as much as possible of the tools in Chapter VI of the Charter to prevent conflicts.  Early action in response to early warnings was another crucial tool of prevention, especially when it appeared that large-scale human rights violations or mass atrocities were about to occur.  Close communications with local communities and civil society were also necessary in that regard.  However, in situations where mass atrocities had occurred, the “contentious” use of the veto by permanent Council members should be limited.  “At the respectable age of 70, it is time for the veto to, at least partially, retire,” he said, adding his support for the French initiative for a voluntary code of conduct for the P5 to abstain in such situations.

GONZALO KONCKE (Uruguay), endorsing the statement of Maldives on behalf of ACT, said that the Charter remained fundamental for international relations, particularly the principles of sovereign equality and non-interference.  However, the goals of peace and security described in the Charter had not been achieved, and violations of its principles were rife.  It was the primary responsibility of the State to protect its population, but when that country could not, the international community should assist.  Uruguay was an early and active contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations, he noted, adding that the underlying causes of conflict must be addressed for prevention and resolution of crises.  In particular, preventive diplomacy was a critical tool for maintaining international peace.

ROBERT G. AISI (Papua New Guinea), noting that the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations would coincide with the fortieth anniversary of his country’s independence, reaffirmed its commitment to the principles of the Charter.  In addition, he supported the proposal by France for restraint on the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities, adding that it should be discussed by the General Assembly to ensure consideration by all Member States.  Supporting equality between States in general, he stressed that consideration of the views of all States would enhance the concept of “win-win cooperation”.  Such cooperation would also result from the adoption of a post-2015 agenda that reduced inequalities and seriously addressed climate change, which had been recognized as a multiplier of threats to international peace.

XAVIER LASSO MENDOZA (Ecuador) said the United Nations was created as a response to the horrors of war which covered almost two thirds of the territory of the world.  The peoples of the world created the Organization with different organs that had clearly delineated mandates.  Effective action by the Security Council required that they be in compliance with the Charter.  That was the yardstick by which the Council should be judged.  The maintenance of international peace and security and peaceful settlement of disputes should be seen in conjunction with the principles of sovereign equality of Member States and non-intervention in their internal affairs.  Efforts to dictate particular political and social systems and policies should be strongly discouraged, as they had often led to greater disorder.  Although the Charter had envisioned various measures to ensure world peace and stability, there was an increasing tendency to resort to Chapter VII.  He urged greater priority on the use of Chapters VI and VIII.

IRENE SUSAN BARREIRO NATIVIDAD (Philippines), associating with the Non-aligned Movement and the Group of Friends of the Rule of Law, said the United Nations could only be as effective and useful as its Member States made it to be.  It was incumbent upon each Member to keep the letter and spirit of the Charter alive amid new and persistent challenges.  The Philippines started a long journey towards achieving lasting peace in the south and was grateful to the international community for its strong support.  While settling outstanding issues concerning the Mindanao peace process, the country was facing an equally challenging task of resolving tensions in the regional seas.  It had called for a stop to all reclamation activities in the disputed areas and the acceleration of talks on a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea.  Massive reclamation was a direct threat to the Philippines and other claimant States and should be considered a great concern for all States, as it threatened security and overall peace and stability in the region.

KATALIN ANNAMÁRIA BOGYAY (Hungary), associating with the European Union and the ACT, said that the United Nations had been created for dialogue and must act on the highest possible level.  The Organization had stabilized the security situation during a “bipolar world” and, in many cases, served as the most important, sometimes last hope in the international platform of Member States to overcome differences.  The world, which was in need of “new enlightenment”, was in turmoil.  Yet the Security Council and the international community seemed paralyzed.  History showed that failure to act only prolonged human suffering and invited further atrocities.  A high price, in the form of lost lives, lost generations, lost hopes and lost futures, would be paid for such inaction.  The world was seeing the United Nations as more and more distant and detached from reality; it must then be open to new ideas in order to effectively implement the principles of the Charter.

OSAMA ABDELKHALEK MAHMOUD (Egypt), emphasizing the effect on his country of the Second World War, said that the seventieth anniversary was an opportunity to review success in maintaining peace and security.  In that effort, the Council must become more inclusive and transparent, in order to affirm the equality of sovereignty of States and other essential principles.  Partnership between regional organizations and the Council must also be enhanced, and preventive diplomacy must be strengthened.  Better efforts to fight terrorism must be developed without attacking any one religion and without exploiting the scourge to pursue national agendas.  He called finally for a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East that included the creation of a Palestinian State. 

ADRIANA MURILLO (Costa Rica) said that the Council preference for using forceful Chapter VII measures rather than peaceful Chapter VI ones must be reversed.  In addition, she said that sovereignty must be seen as responsible sovereignty, with the protection of civilians a priority.  Resources for armaments should be diverted and increased for development.  To achieve progress in those areas, the Council’s working methods should become more inclusive and transparent, and the French proposal to limit the use of the veto should be formally put in place.  She finally urged a more transparent and democratic process for the election of the United Nations Secretary-General.

AN MYONG HUN (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), affirming the continued relevance of the Charter, said, however, that the principles of equal rights and status of sovereign States and respect for their political and social systems were being trampled under the pretext of democracy, anti-terrorism, human rights protection, freedom of expression, and non-proliferation, among others.  One permanent member, in particular, attempted to dominate others, conducting military exercises and imposing sanctions on his country, while that country also launched its own missiles, tortured people and encouraged infringement of Palestinian rights.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had made proposals for reunification of the Korean peninsula, but the United States responded by announcing intentions to “topple” his country, completely destroying all basis for dialogue, speaking of nuclear facilities and cyber attacks only to obliterate the ideology and system of his country.  A false report on human rights was also promoted in the Council.  His country would continue to support maintenance of peace and security through respect for the Charter and stand against any move to abuse the United Nations for the pursuit of individual purposes and interests.

MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia) said that despite the lack of any reference to terrorism in the Charter, the vast array of normative work in multilateral and anti-terrorism conventions demonstrated that the Charter had paved the way for a broad, concerted interpretation among States.  The Organization had played a significant role in promoting new norms and ensuring the progressive development of international law in order to address global challenges.  But long unresolved matters such as the Palestinian issue demonstrated that the road to peace and justice required condemnation of and an end to aggression, the usurpation of land and colonial rule.  The United Nations had adapted to the new realities on the ground by broadening the scope of its actions to promote human security, sustainable peace and development.  Addressing those interconnected challenges required joint collective action as no country could resolve them alone.  Tunisia had shaped its foreign policy on the respect for international law and it had always called for the peaceful settlement of disputes between nations.

MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO (Nicaragua) said that a thorough reform of the Organization was imperative.  The 33 countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) had proclaimed their region a peace zone.  However, subversive, aggressive and attempted coups policies against certain countries, such as Venezuela, did not contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security.  She welcomed the start of talks between Cuba and the United States towards restoring diplomatic relations.  The fight to eradicate colonialism in the Caribbean, including in Puerto Rico, and ending the occupation of the Islas Malvinas would continue.  Seventy years since the founding of the United Nations, the world was on the brink of another major catastrophe.  It was, therefore, the responsibility of the hegemonic Powers that did not respect international law or the Charter to leave their imperial practices aside and contribute to a world where the right to international peace and security prevailed.

NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam) said that the United Nations and its Member States had worked relentlessly to rein in wars and conflict, and had succeeded in preventing the recurrence of another World War.  Yet, today’s challenges were daunting.  Wars still raged in many regions, while the risks of armed conflict were threatening others.  The threat or use of force and the wishful thinking of power politics continued to endanger international and regional peace and security.  “Many lessons of history, unfortunately, have not been learnt,” he said.  It was therefore critical to materialize the strong commitment to the principles and purposes of the Charter, including those of sovereign equality, national sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference and peaceful settlement of disputes.  “We must also redouble our efforts to address issues such as poverty, hunger, and inequality, which are among the root causes of insecurity and instability,” he said.

KAHA IMNADZE (Georgia), associating himself with the European Union, warned of “unprecedented security challenges” in many parts of the world, including violent developments in the Middle East, and “ongoing military aggression” by the Russian Federation against Ukraine.  The Russian Federation had also been acting with aggression towards Georgia since the early 1990s, and the situation had deepened in 2008 when the Russian Federation carried out an open military operation against Georgia and occupied two of its regions, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali.  Since then, following the “so-called independence” of both of those regions, the Russian Federation’s policy had been a creeping annexation.  Such actions contradicted the fundamental principles of international law.  Georgia had been directly affected by the inability of the United Nations to take decisive actions, when in the course and aftermath of the August 2008 war, all efforts of the Security Council to find a constructive solution “fell by the wayside” in the face of the Council’s structural deficiencies.  Those shortcomings were namely allowing one permanent member of the Council and a party to the conflict to preclude all meaningful measures.  The mandate of the then-existing United Nations Observer Mission to Georgia was terminated by a veto, creating a vacuum of international security presence.  The Syrian and Ukrainian crises were two other notorious examples of such a situation.

MIRSADA ČOLAKOVIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) noted that 2015 marked the twentieth anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica.  The challenge facing the Council to balance an early response to prevent threats to peace and security with respect for national authorities’ strategies to resolve internal matters had not been found.  The solution could be a better use of the United Nations system and the tools provided by the Charter.  She supported France’s “code of conduct” initiative for the use of the veto in the Council concerning genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Such a proposal did not limit the Council’s authority.  Rather it attempted to overcome the current paralysis and prevent future deadlocks, and to reclaim the Council’s ability to make decisions that upheld its responsibility to maintain international peace and security.  It was important that the Council exchange views with States that had first-hand experience in conflicts and peacebuilding processes as that could help optimize the Organization’s mechanisms and enhance a common understanding of existing problems.  The Council must draw conclusions from its understanding of a war and determine the means needed to achieve a permanent peace.

IVANA PAJEVIĆ (Montenegro), associating with the European Union, said the United Nations had strengthened its role in rapidly responding to outbreaks of violence and political crises by providing expertise, logistical support and resources to countries in need.  The numerous threats to international peace and security demonstrated that the world needed a stronger and more effective Organization through a responsible approach to reform.  Those security challenges could be successfully tackled only by the active engagement of the international community within the reformed multilateral framework.  While all States must abide by the basic principles of international law and cooperation, they should tackle the root causes of conflict and create a culture of peace.  She stressed the significance of the Organization’s early detection and warning mechanisms as well as establishment of mediation as a core function.

YASHAR T. ALIYEV (Azerbaijan) said the important principles established by the Charter constituted the foundation of contemporary international law and international relations.  Sovereignty was the fundamental symbol of a country’s independence and must not be infringed upon.  The ongoing armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan continued to pose a serious threat to international and regional peace and security, he said, adding that it could only be resolved on the basis of full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders.  Nothing in the Charter could be construed as authorizing or encouraging the partial or total disruption of the territorial integrity of sovereign and independent States.

JĀNIS MAŽEIKS (Latvia), associating with the European Union and the Group of Friends of the Rule of Law, said all Member States were guardians of the international system and of the Charter.  Members of the Security Council had a particular responsibility in that regard.  Unfortunately, they had not lived up to that responsibility in the case of Syria and Ukraine, which allowed innocent civilians to become victims of the crimes from which the United Nations had committed to protect them.  The international community could not afford more failures, and Latvia supported the French initiative of a voluntary code of conduct regulating the use of the veto when genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity were committed.  In order to effectively fulfil its primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security, the Council should develop early warning and preventive measures.

ZOHRAB MNATSAKANYAN (Armenia) said the Charter insisted that there were no first- and economy-class tickets to the journey to world peace and security, as all nations, big or small, rich or poor, were equal members.  If the world was serious about its collective responsibility towards each other, or about its determination against atrocity, it should not allow the suppression of freedom in the name of territorial integrity.  The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was one such example that awaited resolution.  He reiterated Armenia’s full conviction that there could be no alternative to the strictly peaceful and negotiated settlement of the conflict.  The harrowing experience of extermination and suffering of Armenians in 1915 had prompted a prominent Polish lawyer of Jewish origin to coin the term genocide.  Today, Armenia could hardly claim victory over the perpetrators.  While paying tribute to its victims, Armenia would also celebrate life, revival and confidence as millions of Armenians around the world had been doing through hard work.

ABDALLAH Y. AL-MOUALLIMI (Saudi Arabia) said the world order founded in the aftermath of Second World War and represented in the United Nations had succeeded in avoiding a third world war.  However, the wars witnessed over the past seventy years exceeded in their ferocity, effects, and losses what could amount to a world war.  During that period, the Middle East had witnessed no fewer than 15 wars, most of which were associated in one way or another with the Palestinian question.  The international community, represented in the Security Council, had failed to prevent and terminate the occupation and had failed to protect peoples from massacres committed by authorities who had lost legitimacy.  The international community also failed to address dangers that took new forms, such as the threat of international terrorism, and had not been able to lay the foundations and rules to help countries overcome post-war turmoil.  The high cost resulting from those situations continued to pose a huge burden to humanity.  It was strange to hear the representative of Israel talk about human rights, democracy and justice while his country violated all those concepts on a daily basis.  The ability of the United Nations to carry out its functions was mainly related to its Members’ political will to make the principal organs more representative of today’s world.  Before congratulating one another on the seventieth anniversary of the Organization, the international community must exercise humility and objective self-criticism to recognize that this system in its current form continued to fall short of achieving hopes and aspirations.

OLIVIER NDUHUNGIREHE (Rwanda) said that although a third world war had been prevented since the founding of the United Nations, there had been hundreds of intra- and inter-State conflicts.  Early warning and better response was needed to prevent such violence.  His country believed in the equal sovereignty of States.  At the same time, it embraced the principle of the responsibility to protect.  In that context, he maintained that peacekeeping should be adapted to today’s realities, with protection at its heart.  In addition, he underlined the need for structural reform of the Security Council in recognition of an expanded United Nations membership and the need to respond to current complex crises.  Mechanisms were also needed to better address root causes of threats and make better use of complementarities with regional organizations.

MANSOUR AYYAD SH A ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) affirmed the continued relevance of Charter principles such as non-interference and peaceful settlement of disputes, through which the international community responded to the aggression against his country.  However, the principles were not always used for such effective purposes, allowing many crises to arise and fester.  The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land was such a situation as was the situation in Syria.  He asked when the Security Council would take action on the latter and activate a political solution to the Syrian crisis.  Noting that the Charter allowed for its own amendment, he maintained that changes in United Nations membership and other factors had warranted reform of the Council, including an expansion of permanent membership that allowed a seat for the Arab Group.

NKOLOI NKOLOI (Botswana), associating himself with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), expressed his country’s commitment to the Organization and remained hopeful that one day Council members would defy their selfish national interests, and become one voice and act according to the United Nations aim of safeguarding humanity.  For his country’s part in working to maintain international peace and security, it had remained steadfast in its support for strengthening institutions of accountability nationally and internationally.  Collaboration and synergy were vital to fight threats to peace and security.  Africa should be represented in the Council’s affairs in both the permanent and non-permanent categories.  The Organization should recognize Africa’s role in maintaining international peace and security.  The emergence of ruthless terrorist groups was a huge challenge to national, regional and international peace and security, and it required concerted efforts to combat.  Botswana remained concerned by the rising scourge of violent extremism and acts of terror committed by the so-called Islamic State, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, and pledged to cooperate with the international community to fight terrorism in all its forms.

KOKI MULI GRIGNON (Kenya) noted that various attempts and initiatives had been started to refashion and renew the United Nations to rise up to new realities.  However, most of the attempts were yet to be completed because of intransigence and lack of flexibility by a few Member States that continued to benefit from the status quo.  A new approach to achieve the noble purposes and principles of the Charter to fit the evolving global dynamics, challenges and contexts was needed.  He called for a more preventive approach to respond to emerging challenges and use reactionary tools only as a last resort.  A more peaceful, secure world was only possible if least developed countries were given a real chance to develop.  Once collective security was established through stronger partnership with regional and subregional organizations, a meaningful foundation for sustainable development and peace would be established.  Economic and social inclusion would be greatly advanced by strengthening institutions of governance and justice through the fair and impartial application of international law.

OLIVIER MARC ZEHNDER (Switzerland) said the Charter stood as a testament to the world’s common commitment to peace.  United Nations membership implied the duty of States to protect their people from genocide and crimes against humanity.  Switzerland supported France’s proposal on voluntarily refraining from voting against resolutions pertaining to such crimes.  The rule of law and respect for human rights were crucial to international peace and security, and there could be no sustainable peace without a political solution in Syria and Ukraine.  Today’s challenges such as the Ebola epidemic and the growing terrorism threat were too big to be addressed by a single State.  It was the responsibility of Member States to ensure that the Council acted in accordance with its mandate.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said the founders of the United Nations saw the future and drafted the Charter with the purpose of maintaining international peace and security, guaranteeing development and promoting human rights.  That should be done through a cross-cutting approach based on the core principles of the Charter.  Morocco remained an active member of the international community and readily participated in mediation efforts to stem crises on the continent.  During its three terms on the Council, Morocco promoted human and social development.  The seventieth anniversary of the Organization provided an opportunity to review ways of tackling new challenges including globalization, climate change and terrorism.  No country was safe from terrorism and required a pooling of efforts to combat the scourge.  That response should also be linked to people’s aspirations of a better life.

JAVAD SAFAEI (Iran), taking the floor to make a further statement, said the Israeli representative’s continuing attacks on his Government were an attempt to deflect attention from Israel’s own atrocities against the Palestinians.  A regime that stockpiled all forms of weapons of mass destruction was not in a position to make baseless accusations against others.  Since the Israeli regime had an unparalleled record of using terrorism, it had no standing to make similarly baseless accusations against Iran.  His country had always tried to strengthen peace and stability in the region, while Israel always embarked on a destructive approach, its stand on the talks between Iran and P5+2 being a case in point.

KOUSSAY ABDULJABBAR ALDAHHAK (Syria), taking the floor a second time to reply to the statement of the Turkish representative, said that the latter country had supported terrorism against his country for the past several years, using the matter of shrines as a pretext.  Those were blatant acts of aggression and a violation of the United Nations Charter, and he called for the Security Council to condemn them.  Replying to Saudi Arabia and Israel as well, he said both were constantly violating Charter principles.

İPEK ZEYTINOĞLU ÖZKAN (Turkey), replying to Armenia’s statement, said that the events of the First World War must be faced in their entirety; genocide was a technical term that fit a specific description.  What was needed was a shared effort to sort out the events of the period through developing a relationship of friendship and peace.  Responding to the statement of Cyprus, she said that what was needed was support for the Secretary-General’s good offices to resolve the situation.  She also categorically rejected the statement of Syria.

AMIT HEUMANN (Israel), responding to the statements of Iran and Saudi Arabia, said that a march of follies of tyrannies lecturing on democracy had just been seen at the Council, citing those countries’ sponsorship of terrorism and brutal repression of their own citizens.

For information media. Not an official record.