Speakers today called for the United Nations to strike a balance between the fundamental principle of State sovereignty and the need to protect human rights, as the Security Council held a day-long debate on the tenets of the Organization’s Charter.
Many of the nearly 70 speakers differed, however, on their interpretations of that founding document, with some underscoring the primacy of non-interference in domestic affairs and others expressing the need for action in cases where States were unable to protect their people — or were themselves the perpetrators of human rights violations.
“For the millions living amidst war and extreme poverty, and for the countless others whose rights are violated or neglected in other ways, the ideals and values of the [United Nations] Charter remain elusive,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as he addressed the 15-member body. Bringing the promise of the Charter to the most vulnerable must continue to be the main goal, he added.
While the primary responsibility for preventing conflict and protecting human rights lay with Member States, the United Nations could help countries meet their national challenges and uphold their responsibility to protect. Among other things, the Organization offered assistance in building up national capacity to identify and address the precursors of genocide and other grave crimes, he said.
It was violence and conflict — not the United Nations attempt to help Member States prevent it — that threatened State sovereignty, he continued. When considering items on the Council’s agenda, he hoped that States would be driven by the principles enshrined in the Charter and not by geo-political rivalries and other external dynamics.
A number of speakers underscored the changing nature of the threats facing international peace and security — which now ranged from terrorist acts to pandemic diseases and unprecedented migration flows — with some stressing that interpretations of the Charter’s core principles must also evolve. In that regard, the representative of the United Kingdom cautioned against the use of “outdated” interpretations to excuse inaction on the part of the international community. Indeed, he said, the concept of sovereignty itself had changed; today, it should amount to a contract between the Government and the governed.
The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Argentina agreed that there existed in the Charter a “dynamic equilibrium” between non-interference in internal affairs and the promotion of human rights. States could not hide human rights violations behind the principle of sovereignty. While it was difficult to strike an accurate balance, it was preferable to make errors while defending human rights than to show “excessive zeal” in respecting, to the letter, the principle of non-interference.
Other speakers, however, emphasized that the principles of sovereignty and non-interference must be respected at all times. In that regard, the representative of Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said global peace had become elusive due in part to a tendency to resort to unilateralism. States should refrain from implementing extraterritorial or coercive measures and condemn the categorization of countries as “good” or “evil” based on unjustified criteria, he said, warning against resorting to the Charter’s Chapter VII to address issues that did not threaten international peace.
Several delegations, including that of Ukraine, pointed to the Russian Federation’s actions in Crimea as an act of aggression that ran counter to international law and disrespected the Charter. The country had amassed troops and equipment at its borders and on Ukraine’s soil, he said, adding that it had supported terrorists. There had been a significant deterioration of human rights in Crimea, he said, urging the Council and other international bodies to explore every opportunity to restore respect for the Charter.
Responding to those allegations, the representative of the Russian Federation said an intervention had taken place in 2014 — with support from the outside — in favour of an anti-constitutional coup. While some blamed the Russian Federation for Charter violations, he cited several such violations by other States, stressing that some presumed themselves to be above the Charter.
The representatives of Japan and the Republic of Korea took aim at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for conducting four nuclear tests over the past decade, in what they said was not only a flagrant violation of Council resolutions, but also a direct challenge to the Charter. They pressed the Council to condemn those violations and adopt tough sanctions to show it would not tolerate such behaviour.
A number of speakers cited the “vicious” conflict engulfing Syria as an example of a situation where the human rights of civilians had not been properly defended by the international community due to obstructions in the Council. Others, however, said the conflict had been worsened by interference by forces outside of Syria. In that connection, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela stressed that terrorism was being used to disintegrate Syria, as was interference in the State’s internal affairs by Governments that violated the Charter principle forbidding such behaviour.
The Council itself should be more agile and better able to respond to rights violations, some said, noting that the use of the veto power in the Security Council was anachronistic and had, in some cases, paralysed the body to the point of inaction. In that regard, the representatives of Spain and Lichtenstein - both signatories of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group’s proposed “Code of Conduct regarding Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” - urged other States to follow suit in order to restrict the use of the veto in such serious cases.
Also speaking today were senior officials and representatives of Angola, Egypt, France, Malaysia, Senegal, New Zealand, Uruguay, China, United States, El Salvador, Brazil, Chile, India, Viet Nam, Sweden, Syria, Hungary, Nicaragua, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Colombia, Israel, Italy, Eritrea, Kuwait (on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation), Algeria, Pakistan, Georgia, South Africa, Morocco, Panama, Ecuador, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Thailand, Poland, Maldives, Nigeria, Cyprus, Tunisia, Latvia, Peru, Armenia, Guyana, Costa Rica, Turkey, Albania, Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Guatemala and the Netherlands.
Representatives of the African Union, European Union, League of Arab States, Holy See and Organization of American States also participated.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 6:52 p.m.
BAN KI-MOON, United Nations Secretary-General, said that, despite a number of major achievements by the international community, 2015 had been one of the most troubled and turbulent years in recent history. “For the millions living amidst war and extreme poverty, and for the countless others whose rights are violated or neglected in other ways, the ideals and values of the [United Nations] Charter remain elusive,” he said, stressing that bringing the promise of that document to the most vulnerable must continue to be the main goal. While the primary responsibility for preventing conflict and protecting human rights lay with Member States, there were some situations where States might lack the capacity to fulfil their obligations. In other situations, it was Member States themselves that were the main violators of human rights. The United Nations could help them meet national challenges and uphold their responsibility to protect. Indeed, the Organization continued to offer assistance in building up national capacity to identify and address the precursors of genocide and other grave crimes, and it was placing a growing focus on prevention, both through early warning and early action.
“Our engagement with Member States will continue to be based on cooperation, transparency and respect for sovereignty,” he said. It was violence and conflict — not the United Nations attempt to help Member States prevent it — that threatened State sovereignty. Article 99 of the Charter empowered the Secretary-General to “bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security”. When considering which items reached the Council’s agenda, he hoped that the international community would be driven by the Charter, and not by geo-political rivalries or other external dynamics. Indeed, when a Member State used an overly broad definition of terrorism to monopolize power at the risk of long-term stability, or when massive loss of life and cross-border flows of people were seen, those situations would merit the Council’s attention. “We must not avert our eyes from these or other situations, no matter how complex or contentious they might be to discuss,” he stressed. Ultimately, the unity of the Council was a crucial factor. “We have seen what heights are possible when unity is visible, and we have seen the depths that are inevitable when unity has vanished,” he said in that regard.
DELCY RODRÍGUEZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, Council President, spoke in her national capacity, stressing the importance of respecting the rule of law and non-interference in State affairs. Sovereign equality, national independence, unity, territorial integrity, non-interference, non-aggression, peaceful dispute settlement, cooperation and the right to self-determination, among other principles, were essential to world peace. The Charter outlined the conditions under which justice and respect for treaty obligations could be maintained. Today’s world required updating structures and legal frameworks to respond to extreme violence. In the Middle East, the consequences of mistaken approaches could be seen. Supporting the liberation of Palestinians, she said terrorism, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and colonial situations had resulted from approaches that contravened the Charter. Terrorism was being used to disintegrate Syria, as was interference in internal affairs by Governments that violated the Charter principle forbidding such behaviour. Further, antagonistic economic models were being wielded by imperial Powers interested in seizing natural resources. She urged a focus instead on the threats that gave rise to “negative values”. States must show greater commitment to the Charter, especially the multilateral framework, as well as preserve the rule of law, and avoid double standards and the application of unilateral coercive measures. The Council should not consider issues that fell under State jurisdiction, in line with the Charter’s Article 2.7.
MANUEL DOMINGOS AUGUSTO, Secretary of State for External Relations of Angola, recalled that the first purpose inscribed in the Charter was to maintain international peace and security. The Council determined whether a situation constituted a threat, made recommendations, decided on measures, mobilized forces and planned for the application of armed force. In such duties, it was bound to the Charter. Developing friendly relations among nations was the Charter’s second purpose. While respect for equal rights and the right to self-determination were common knowledge in international relations, those principles were regularly violated, while interference in internal affairs and violations of sovereignty were “quite common”. International cooperation, the Charter’s third purpose, had been the United Nations most successful contribution to world peace and security. Reaffirming commitment to the Charter, he called on States to accept and apply it as recognition of the primacy of law in international relations.
IGNACIO YBAÑEZ, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, associating with the European Union, underscored the Charter’s validity after 70 years, noting that local conflicts were on the rise, which, in turn, had created new challenges for the maintenance of international peace and security. Instruments that guaranteed the Charter’s rights must be created. As differences had emerged in States’ adherence to the Charter, he urged maximizing synergies among various concepts, stressing that human rights must be given more weight in the Council, as must the focus on women, peace and security. In addition, the international legal architecture must be respected. To preserve sovereignty, human rights must be respected, while the United Nations must focus more on emerging crises and their root causes. Indeed, sovereignty brought responsibility to protect populations from human rights abuses and mass atrocity. The responsibility to protect should be promoted while respecting the Charter, and he urged that consensus be built around the fulfilment of that duty. The Council should refrain from using the veto in mass atrocity cases, he said, noting that Spain had signed the code of conduct proposed by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group and Liechtenstein.
AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA (Egypt) said the world was still witnessing conflicts, cases of occupation, the spreading of terrorism, the use of weapons of mass destruction and illegal migration movements, many of which were the result of “double standards” and the fact that some had tried to render the Charter’s principles void. The United Nations must take its responsibilities seriously; otherwise, the Organization would be looked upon as one without credibility. The Council must remain objective and it must adopt the “natural path” to address issues according to the Charter, giving priority to peaceful means of conflict resolution and respecting the sovereignty of States. The Secretary-General should engage in good offices and mediation efforts, and the Council must be promptly and steadily informed about cases of conflict or relevant warning signs. Every effort should be made to settle disputes, especially protracted ones, such as the question of Palestine, and the collapse of States — which could make room for terrorism — must be avoided. Noting that a review of the use of the veto was needed, he went on to say the United Nations should further develop its peacebuilding and peace maintenance activities. In addition, the promotion of social and economic aspects in the work of the Organization was crucial. Finally, on the question of counterterrorism, the United Nations needed to prove that it could take “serious action” beyond drafting resolutions.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) said the Charter remained as relevant as ever. The United Nations had seen successes in the maintenance of international peace and security due largely to its peacekeeping operations. The Council must remain seized of situations that threatened international peace and security, but it must withdraw when those threats ended. The drafters of the Charter had stressed respect for human rights. Today, the world was faced with major humanitarian disasters, beginning with the Syrian tragedy that was becoming a “black hole” for international values. In Syria and Yemen, as well as in other conflicts, it was essential to uphold international humanitarian law. He noted, in that regard, that the International Court of Justice, whose statute was part and parcel of the Charter, would soon be marking its seventieth anniversary. The best protection against conflict was harmonious development. The recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the legally binding Paris climate agreement showed that the international community could still set collective goals. Indeed, multilateralism was still alive in overcoming challenges in our time. Importantly, France had set forth a proposal — supported by more than 90 countries — to the effect that States should voluntarily and collectively abstain from the use of the veto in cases if mass atrocities.
RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said commitment to the Charter was especially crucial in light of new and emerging challenges to international peace and security. The evolving nature of threats and non-traditional security challenges threatened to undermine gains previously achieved. The risks posed by the Ebola and Zika viruses, large-scale migration and terrorism were among new challenges, while nuclear tests and missile launches by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued to shock the international community. With regard to the Palestinian question, he warned against “selective inaction” in implementing the purposes and principles of the Charter; as long as that conflict continued, the Council would be seen as lacking the necessary political will to end it. In addition, failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fuelled radicalism. Meanwhile, the conflict in Syria threatened to “consume itself” and its neighbouring countries. In that regard, he called on all States to respect the ceasefire and to allow for humanitarian access throughout the country. “The Charter is a living document”, into which States continued to breathe life.
FODÉ SECK (Senegal), associating with the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), underlined his country’s commitment to the Charter, urging greater awareness of the need to uphold it as a “global constitution”, and greater focus on Chapter VI, on peaceful dispute settlement, rather than Chapter VII, which was a more “taxing” chapter. Underlining the importance of preventative diplomacy, he said Senegal prioritized peacekeeping and called for renewed commitment to the Charter principles of sovereign equality, non-interference, peaceful dispute settlement, recourse against the threat of or use of force against territorial integrity, or political independence of a State. Regional organizations must be main players in peacekeeping operations. Given the key role of neighbouring States in any peace process, the Council should enhance its cooperation with regional and subregional organizations. Enhancing cooperation with the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) could help develop rapid-reaction capacity.
VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said the Russian Federation’s occupation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine had shown that violation of international law by a permanent Council member was a serious threat to peace and security. Such reckless militaristic adventurism had created the worst security crisis in Europe since the end of the Second World War. The Russian Federation had shown it had not respected the Charter, and in abusing its veto right, neglected its obligation to maintain peace and security. In Ukraine’s Donbass region, the aggressor had amassed troops and military equipment at borders and on Ukraine’s soil. The Russian Federation had sponsored terrorism in eastern Ukraine, as well as provided financial, material, military and technical support to separatists. The Charter’s Article 33 outlined an obligation to settle disputes peacefully and Ukraine was working to achieve that goal. Citing “intense” activities of Russian occupation authorities, he said there had been a “significant” deterioration of human rights in Crimea and a new wave of repressions and intimidations. He urged the General Assembly, the Council and world leaders to explore every opportunity to restore respect for the Charter.
GERARD VAN BOHEMEN (New Zealand) said the international community faced more concurrent crises than at any time since the creation of the United Nations. While the Council had successfully responded to those dynamic and evolving threats, in terms of conflicts resolved and lives saved, it must continue to develop and evolve its approach to effectively fulfil its mandate. On conflict prevention, he noted that the 15-member body found it difficult to respond quickly and effectively to emerging crises. Describing Syria as an example of such failure, he said that the Council had remained almost completely passive in the face of the deepening conflict, paralysed by disagreements amongst its permanent members. Among other things, he underscored the need to sharpen the effectiveness of the tools available to the Council and to encourage a greater culture of collective decision-making, as well as to be more consistent in supporting compliance with international rules.
MATTHEW RYCROFT (United Kingdom) said the Council was at the centre of the rules-based international system. Its responsibility empowered it to take a range of measures, including force, when faced with threats to international peace and security. In that regard, outdated interpretations of the Charter should not be used to excuse inaction. Some Council members claimed the primacy of sovereignty above all else, or disregarded efforts to restrain the use of the veto, as had been put forth by the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group. Pointing to the illegal annexation of Crimea, which had been perpetrated by a Permanent Member of the Council, he expressed his delegation’s full support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. True sovereignty could not be achieved without respect for human rights, he said, stressing that it was violations of human rights by States that eroded the legitimacy of the State. Indeed, the concept of sovereignty had evolved; today, it should amount to a contract between the Government and the governed. When basic freedoms were ignored, sovereignty was put at risk, as had been seen when the Council visited Burundi last month and in Syria for nearly six years. Addressing the latter, he asked: “Has such a heavy price ever been paid for such a myopic interpretation of the United Nations Charter?”
ELBIO ROSSELLI (Uruguay) said the purposes and principles of the United Nations were fully valid today and constituted the bedrock of the international system. In that context, compliance with international obligations, non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and the non-use of force were incumbent upon all Member States. Uruguay rejected the threat and use of force and called for the peaceful settlement of conflicts. Respect for international law and the rule of law were crucial, and their benefits must reach individuals. The Council was called upon to place human rights and dignity at the core of its actions, he said, adding that violations of those civil liberties undermined compliance with the Charter’s purposes and principles. International realities, as well as the United Nations itself, had evolved, and it would be a mistake to believe that broad interpretations of the principle of State sovereignty could be used to justify all actions of a State. For example, the principle of non-intervention could not be used to excuse a State from the commissions of mass atrocities or other violations of human rights, and sovereignty could not be interpreted “to the extreme” as to excuse impunity. When States did not protect their populations, non-involvement must give way to the action of the international community.
MOTOHIDE YOSHIKAWA (Japan) recalled that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had recently conducted its fourth nuclear test and had launched a ballistic missile in clear and flagrant violation of relevant Council resolutions. With the principle to fulfil obligations under the Charter in mind, that was not just a violation of Council resolutions, but also an unacceptable challenge to the Charter itself. It was critical that the Council take concrete actions to condemn those violations in order to maintain the authority and credibility of the United Nations. It was also crucial to settle disputes through peaceful means and based on international law, not by force or coercion. In that regard, he underscored the importance of the International Court of Justice. The rule of law should also be respected in oceans and seas, he said, stressing that the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea could be an effective legal mechanism to that end. Finally, the International Criminal Court was among the most effective tools available to the Council to end impunity and thereby contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security; the Council could do more to enhance cooperation and communication with that Court.
LIU JIEYI (China), recalling that the Charter had arisen from the Second World War, said respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, peaceful dispute-settlement and non-interference were the cornerstone principles of international relations. “Our only option is to reinforce them”, adhere to them and respect each country’s development choices, he said. Further, the principle of sovereign equality must be upheld, as must international justice, with uniform rules applied to distinguish between right and wrong. Also, international cooperation should be promoted, Cold War mentalities for zero-sum games abolished, and cooperation woven into all aspects of political, economic, security and cultural domains. States should treat each other as equals. Tolerance, mutual learning and common development must be promoted, while tolerance should be upheld through cross-exchange and mutual benchmarking. China was the first to sign the Charter, and over the decades, it had defended its purposes and principles.
DAVID PRESSMAN (United States) said that Harry Truman had, in 1945, called the Charter “a declaration of great faith by the great nations of this Earth” — a new international order rooted in peaceful cooperation and respect for human rights was an unparalleled feat to imagine. Yet, that faith had not translated into a world without strife and poverty. Some had suggested the solution was one of retrenchment, in which States took a “hands off” approach to the drivers of conflict. The Charter impelled States to do the opposite. It recognized the nexus between human rights and the maintenance of international peace and security — and that the Council must not retreat from such principles. As such, it must demand that the Russian Federation stop its illegal occupation of Crimea and recognize that international peace and security included promoting respect for human rights. Citing “North Korea’s” torture of people for the “crime” of owning foreign films, and the Syrian regime’s attacks on civilians, he advocated support for strong democratic institutions. Indeed, the world today offered “contagious” examples of Governments shutting down space for civil society and passing legislation designed to keep people “scared and silent” against abuses of power. “We cannot and should not wait to speak out,” he said, recalling that many items on the Council’s agenda stemmed from a time when Governments had started to erode the enjoyment of their people’s rights. The 15-member body could not become so afraid of encroaching on State prerogatives so as to fail to act on world threats. He urged updating its understanding of threats, and when it determined the existence of such, to use the tools available to act decisively.
PETR ILIICHEV (Russian Federation) said the principles of independence, sovereign equality, non-intervention in State affairs, peaceful dispute settlement and the right to self-determination outlined the “basic code of conduct” for States. No one would call their immutable nature into question. While many reiterated their commitment to the Charter, they did not always uphold it. Social upheavals in Libya, and the alleged “selfless help” of others, had destroyed a State. That illegitimate intervention had led to extremism and radicalism, which in turn, fortified Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh). He expressed concern at Turkey’s aggressive actions, shelling in Syria’s border area and the possible flow of mercenaries into Syria to join terrorist groups. Agreement must be reached, on the on basis of the Charter, on how joint risk management would be carried out. Positive results were possible when the Council united to find consolidated approaches in line with the Charter. On the Ukrainian crisis, intervention had taken place in 2014, with support from outside, for an anti-constitutional coup, recalling American officials who were sponsors of Kyiv and helped to degrade Ukraine’s statehood. “What happened in Crimea is what is planned for in international law,” he said, recalling that a number of countries questioning Crimea’s secession had stated the opposite on Kosovo. Kyiv must find common ground with all forces in the country and comply with the Minsk agreements. A shared commitment to the Charter would help leave behind attempts to pressure States by implementing one’s own standards. While some had blamed the Russian Federation for Charter violations, he cited several such violations by other States dating from 1964, including the United States in 1984 in the Falkland Islands, stressing that presumed “untouchableness” had allowed some to place themselves above the Charter.
CARLOS FORADORI, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Argentina, said maintaining international peace and security could only be achieved by suppressing acts of aggression and resolving conflicts by peaceful means. Sovereign equality, refraining from the threat or use of force and non-intervention in the internal affairs of States were guiding principles enshrined in the Charter. That document was the result of sacrifice and effort, he said, adding that the “dynamic equilibrium” between non-interference in internal affairs and the promotion of human rights was also enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. States could not hide lack of respect for human rights behind the principle of sovereignty. Argentina was actively cooperating to mitigate threats to the rights of people around the world through its participation in the White Helmets. While it was difficult to strike an accurate balance, it was preferable to make errors while defending human rights than to show “excessive zeal” in respecting, to the letter, the principle of non-interference. Noting that the Charter underscored the need to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, he stressed that compliance with those principles was “not optional”.
CARLOS CASTANEDA, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Integration and Economic Development of El Salvador, said that his country believed that lasting peace could only be achieved through dialogue and respect for human rights. The key instruments of the United Nations in that regard were its peacekeeping operations. Expressing concern at attacks that had been occurring against peacekeepers, he welcomed the creation of a new risk and security policy, but also expressed concern that it had been prepared without the requisite consultations. Calling for transparency and open, periodic dialogue between the Council and troop-contributing countries, he asked the 15-meber body to provide for predeployment training and for equipment in a timely manner. In that regard, he supported the proposal to establish rapid deployment units at the disposition of the Council. Further, he supported the creation of an independent panel on claims of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic, as well as the increased involvement of women in peacekeeping operations.
GHOLAMALI KHOSHROO (Iran), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the principles of sovereignty, State equality, non–interference, peaceful dispute settlement and refrain from the use or threat of use of force against territorial integrity or political independence must always be respected. The Movement had been consistent in its calls to uphold the Charter. Global peace had been elusive due to a tendency to resort to unilateralism and non-fulfilment of commitments and obligations under international and legally binding instruments, notably on weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and human rights. Such situations must be redressed in line with the Charter. It was vital to pursue measures that fostered the achievement of a peaceful, just and equitable world order, as well as to respect countries’ right to decide their political economic and social systems. States should refrain from implementing extraterritorial or coercive measures and condemn the categorization of countries as “good” or “evil” based on unjustified criteria. Resorting to the Charter’s Chapter VII to address issues that did not threaten international peace must be avoided.
ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) said despite considerable obstacles and shortcomings, the United Nations had over the past 70 years been able to foster dialogue and cooperation among nations. In setting the maintenance of international peace and security as a fundamental purpose, the Charter had banned the use of war as an instrument of State policy, and affirmed the primacy of prevention and peaceful settlement of disputes. Throughout the years, however, that basic premise had been repeatedly challenged, and countering that trend demanded a genuine collective recommitment to the principles and purposes of that document. It was also necessary to re-establish an international pact on the inadmissibility of the use of force outside the Charter provisions and without proper authorization by the Council.
CARLOS OLGUÍN CIGARROA (Chile) said universality was an essential and integral element of the Charter and international human rights. On maintaining peace and security, he highlighted the key role of the Council and regional organizations in preventing and resolving conflicts. The Charter encouraged the peaceful settlement of disputes by regional arrangements before referring them to the Council.
SYED AKBARUDDIN (India) said the Council’s actions had not always been in the spirit of the Charter. Efforts to combat terrorism left much to be desired, with the requirement for consensus resulting in the 1267 ISIL-Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee often being held hostage to the whims and fancies of one Member State or another. Despite Article 44, there had been a lack of consultation between the Council and Member States contributing troops to peacekeeping missions. The current structure and working methods of the 15-member body were divorced from reality and represented a bygone era, and it was hoped that a cataclysmic crisis would not be needed to foster such fundamental change.
NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the severity and complexity of the challenges currently facing the international community required a determined approach from the United Nations in upholding the purposes and principles of the Charter. The peaceful settlement of disputes and the prevention of conflicts must remain key aspects of the work of the Organization. The Council should prioritize the peaceful means stipulated in Article 33 of the Charter and deepen its relationship with regional and subregional organizations. It was also critical to mobilize resources and develop capabilities for United Nations peacekeeping operations to ensure their readiness, efficiency and effectiveness. Viet Nam, as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), had worked to address regional security challenges through political and security advancements. It was also working with partners to develop tools for conflict prevention and the peaceful settlement of disputes. Those actions were critical given the ongoing illegal large-scale land reclamation and construction activities in the South China Sea, she said, stressing that it was vital to put an immediate end to all actions that changed the status quo, militarize or further complicate the situation in East Asia.
PER THÖRESSON (Sweden), also speaking on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, said that, more than 70 years after the adoption of the United Nations Charter, that document stood as an enduring sign of multilateral cooperation, based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. In the area of peace and security, the international community needed to do much more to live up to the standards set by the Charter. Lasting peace was not possible through military engagement, but through political solutions and responsible governance based on the rule of law. In that regard, early warning and prevention of armed conflicts were among the international community’s greatest responsibilities. Drawing attention to the role of regional organizations in the prevention and resolution of conflict, he called upon the United Nations to work alongside with them.
BASHAR JA’AFARI (Syria) said it would be “a step backwards” if new concepts and terms were imposed without consensus at the expense of the Charter’s provisions. Extremely worrying declarations had been heard from permanent members of the Council who were supposed to be the guardians of the Charter’s principles and purposes. Any efforts to combat terrorism would fail if they ran counter to the Charter and international law, and if they did not incorporate coordination with the concerned State. The unfortunate state of the United Nation was highlighted by the situation in Syria, where a silent Council had been helpless to halt attacks and aggressions. Hundreds were being killed in Syria every day while the United Nations was unable to hold terrorists accountable. Huge gaps needed to be filled in order for the Organization to undertake its responsibilities to Member States in accordance with the Charter.
KATALIN ANNAMÁRIA BOGYAY (Hungary), associating herself with the European Union, cited the Council’s special responsibility with regard to conflict prevention. It was time for the international community to renew and enhance its commitment to the responsibility to protect. Ensuring accountability for atrocities was among the best ways to prevent the recurrence of such crimes. Member States that had not yet signed up to the “Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” were encouraged to do so, as it represented a unique opportunity to improve the ability of the 15-member body to prevent and respond to atrocities.
TÉTÉ ANTÓNIO, Permanent Observer of the African Union, said Africa contributed more than 45 per cent of the personnel to maintain international peace and since 2003 had deployed 70,000 uniformed personnel and nearly 1,500 civilian personnel. One of the biggest obstacles in such work was the lack of flexible, sustainable and predictable financing, and he urged finding an appropriate solution while also taking into account that peace efforts deployed at the regional level contributed to the maintenance of international peace and security, in line with Chapter VIII of the Charter. Noting that this year marked the tenth anniversary of the annual consultations between the Council and the Union’s Peace and Security Council, he said the strategic partnership had been an advantage for both organizations. Steps to reinforce the efficiency of those consultations were needed.
IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union, remained strongly committed to United Nations principles, including upholding the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Today, the Charter was being tested severely in Syria, with broad human rights violations occurring. Calling on all parties to cease attacks on civilians, he said the Council must take decisive action where that responsibility remained unfulfilled. Expressing support for the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, he said the recent London Conference had raised more than $10 billion for the Syrian people. The fight against radicalization, extremism and terrorism continued to be of paramount importance, as the deplorable attacks in Istanbul, Paris, Beirut and Garissa had served as grievous reminders of the unacceptable costs of the collective failure to act swiftly and effectively. The United Nations must ensure the coherence and coordination of its actions supporting Member States to fight violent extremism, he said, adding that the European Union would continue to step up efforts in that regard.
AHMED FATHALLA, Permanent Observer for the League of Arab States, said peace was needed more than ever in the Middle East, where conflicts had festered, leading to death, destruction and suffering. The Security Council, particularly its permanent members, should take the lead, put selfish interests aside and work together to realize common purposes. Fighting in the vicinity of Aleppo, Syria, carried the danger of becoming a world war. It was time for the Council to reconsider the way it dealt with conflicts, including a review of its working methods, including the right of veto. It was hoped that the 15-member body would be able to put an end to conflicts, in accordance with the Charter, instead of just managing them.
MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO (Nicaragua) said decisions made by the most important bodies of the United Nations should respect the principles and purposes of the Charter. It was unfortunate that, in the recent years, the Council had been unable to act on several occasions when there was a crisis, one being the State of Palestine. As one of the first countries to ratify the Charter, Nicaragua believed in collective action, which took into account the sovereign equality and self-determination of its members. In that regard, the recognition of the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the withdrawal of reservations was more imperative than ever.
KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan), reaffirming his country’s commitment to uphold the Charter, said the principles of sovereignty, settlement of disputes by peaceful means, and refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity of a Member States, should be respected by all Member States. The security challenges that the international community was facing were complex, multifaceted and increasingly transnational. Kazakhstan, therefore, had given utmost importance to the security of civilians in conflict situations, and contributed to the Organization’s peacekeeping operations in Western Sahara and Côte d'Ivoire.
RODOLFO REYES RODRÍGUEZ (Cuba) said the Charter called upon States to maintain international peace and security and to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. To achieve that, Member States needed to eliminate threats such as intervention in the internal affairs of States, acts of aggression and unconventional warfare. As sustainable development was not possible without peace and stability, conflict prevention required solidarity, cooperation of relevant stakeholders and international assistance, as well as joint actions to eradicate poverty and hunger.
CARLOS ARTURO MORALES LÓPEZ (Colombia) said the Charter was not a mere listing of values, but the very cement that held the United Nations together. Seven decades on, it was necessary to be flexible and adaptable. The tools incorporated in Chapter VI needed to be used more frequently. In diplomacy as in health, an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure, and high-level panels that reviewed peacekeeping operations all agreed on the importance of responding to conflicts in their early stages. Peace had to emanate from those involved. Colombia, having suffered from 50 years of havoc, had set itself the goal of achieving peace.
DAVID ROET (Israel) said violence and brutality in failing and failed States was the primary challenge to the founding vision of the Charter. Nowhere was that more evident than in the Middle East. Yet, the United Nations had failed to draw a clear line in the sand in defence of the Charter’s principles. With regard to actions undertaken by Hizbullah and Hamas, the Council had been silent. Wilful disregard for Israelis’ peace and security had undermined the institution’s credibility and cast doubt on its fidelity to the principles of the Charter. It was time to stop singling out Israel and for the Council to condemn, by name, those that carry out terror, whether the perpetrators were ISIL or Hamas. The Council’s commitment to the Charter would be measured by how it responded to threats, and whether it responded to all such threats.
ANDREA BIAGINI (Italy), associating himself with the European Union, said it was important to recognize that today’s security challenges differed from those in the past. Thus, greater attention should be paid to broader security issues, and closer cooperation between the Assembly and the Council sought. There was also a need to foster an integrated approach, addressing the root causes of instability, and to revitalize the Council’s preventive diplomacy tools, including financially. A renewed focus on peaceful dispute settlement and on partnerships with regional and subregional organizations should be pursued.
GIRMA ASMEROM TESFAY (Eritrea) said the world had changed “almost beyond recognition” since 1945. And yet, the United Nations, which supposedly represented the community of nations, remained dominated by the few and had marginalized the overwhelming majority. The international community must choose whether the Organization would be an effective multilateral instrument, or one where powerful countries misused its platforms to justify hegemonic policies. It was vital that all nations, peoples, and political and social forces that stood for peace, independence, international law, justice, equality and sustainable development forge a “common front” to defend the principles of equal sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful coexistence. Eritrea had been victim of the United Nations’ hypocritical working methods, subjected to illegitimate Council sanctions on the basis of “fabricated” allegations. The United Nations must be reformed.
MANSOUR AYYAD AL-OTAIBI (Kuwait), on behalf of the OIC, recalling the “lofty” principles enshrined in the Charter, said that instrument had not been respected over the years. That had led to conflict and human suffering, he said, citing the Council’s record in addressing the Palestinian issue. He condemned Israel’s illegal policies in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and called for urgent measures to bring them to an end. The Council’s paralysis was seen in the Syrian crisis, and he urged parties to implement resolution 2254 (2015) and other resolutions calling for safe and unhindered humanitarian access. Underscoring the importance of cooperation with regional and subregional organizations, he said OIC was ready to cooperate with the United Nations in conflict prevention and resolution, mediation, peacekeeping, promotion of good governance and combating terrorism, among other areas.
SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria) said that, under the Charter, the Council had primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. However, it empowered the Assembly and the Secretary-General to bring to the attention of the Council any matter which might threaten peace. The partnership between the United Nations and regional organizations, including the African Union, must support regional efforts on the issue. On the peaceful settlement of disputes, he said that all non-violent options must be exhausted before the use of force could be justified. Among other things, he underscored the need to reform the Council, including its structure and working methods.
MALEEHA LODHI (Pakistan) said the Charter’s greatest success was that there had not been a general conflagration for more than 70 years. Yet, the world was hardly at peace, amid conflict, rampant human rights abuses and the flouting of humanitarian law. Unilateralism in “consequential” decisions of war and peace and “unwarranted” foreign adventures had had devastating consequences. Associating with the Non-Aligned Movement, she said the management of peace and security must be carried out by consensus, forged on the basis of Charter principles, rather than power politics. She advocated a renewed focus on peaceful means to address international disputes, preventing violations of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and upholding the principle of sovereign equality. It was counterintuitive to expect friendly relations among nations if the United Nations could not guarantee the right to self-determination.
KAHA IMNADZE (Georgia), associating himself with the European Union, said that, contrary to expectations in the early 1990s, Europe was neither free from confrontation nor was it at peace. Regional security was being challenged by Russia’s aggression against Georgia. Despite his country’s constructive approach, the Russian Federation had concluded agreements with occupation regimes that provided a pretext for an illegal military presence, and laws had been adopted that restricted the rights and freedoms of ethnic Georgians in occupied regions. His Sate was a strong advocate of the principles of international law enshrined in the Charter, and more tangible and resolute steps were needed to achieve world peace and strengthen international security.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said the Council must do a better job at upholding its responsibility to place people at the centre of its actions. Today’s conflicts were marked with widespread human rights violations, including the vicious cycle of death and destruction in Syria. Human suffering served as a catalyst for greater threats to international peace and security, fostering radicalization and paving the way for Da’esh and other terrorist groups to spread violence beyond Syria’s borders. Member States must sign the Code of Conduct on Security Council Action against Genocide, Crimes against Humanity or War Crimes and elected Council members must take greater ownership of its work. When the International Criminal Court jurisdiction over the crime of aggression was activated next year, Member States must ratify the Kampala Agreements to the Rome Statute on those crimes, as those measures complemented the prohibition of the illegal use of force, one of the key Charter principles.
MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa) said the United Nations had demonstrated that it could be adaptable to new global realities if there was the necessary political will. The Organization currently stood at a crossroads, requiring the renewed commitment of Member States to guide it into a new phase of its rich history. One example was the long-standing reform of the Council, which remained unrepresentative, he said, stressing that the status quo was discomforting as the 15-member body was the principle organ tasked with the management of the United Nation’s core mandates, including maintaining peace and security. Turning to the Council’s cooperation with regional organizations, he noted that it was essential to allow the African Union to respond to conflicts in a proactive and rapid manner, especially in cases where United Nations processes took a long time to respond.
SIMON KASSAS, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See, said when the Charter was respected and applied with transparency and sincerity as an obligatory reference point of justice, peaceful results would be obtained. On the responsibility to protect and respect for international law, he noted that the application of Article II established the principle of non-intervention and demanded full respect for lawfully constituted and recognized Governments. However, Article II could not be used as an alibi to excuse grave violations of human rights
GONZALO KONCKE, Permanent Observer of the Organization of American States (OAS), said every failed attempt to mitigate a humanitarian crisis or prevent a conflict resulted in human suffering. The principles of sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs were important and should be respected. States should work to resolve the apparent tensions between the various principles of the Charter, he said, underscoring the crucial role of regional organizations in preventing and resolving conflict. OAS was guided by the principles of democracy, human rights, comprehensive development and multidimensional security, he said, citing the group’s recent efforts in Haiti, Colombia, Honduras and elsewhere. Today’s debate demonstrated the magnitude of the challenges that lay ahead.
OMAR HILALE (Morocco), condemning terrorism in all its forms, said the United Nations had been carefully crafted to enshrine the principle of equality between all Member States. Each of the three pillars of the United Nations had developed and evolved to meet the world’s evolving challenges. The Organization had equipped itself with a solid legal arsenal on human rights, and had put in place a comprehensive system for protecting those rights. Peace and security was another area where there had been significant evolutions and changes, he said, noting that the United Nations was now investing more in conflict prevention and technical assistance. Morocco supported the principles of the Charter and the role played by the Organization in resolving issues relating to peace and security. Describing his country’s contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations, he called for a “multidimensional and global approach” to international peace and security that went hand in hand with the protection of human rights and respect for the rule of law. Domestic law must be respected, but it must not take precedence over international law. Finally, he said, the field of human rights field should be “depoliticized”.
LAURA HELENA FLORES HERRERA (Panama) said progress in development would only be possible if international peace and security was ensured. The obligation to generate the conditions for lasting peace was an “absolute must”, she said, adding that the current global situation demanded effective preventive action. Collective measures to address threats to peace were an obligation of the Council, which must be guided by the principles of the Charter. As a member of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect, Panama supported increased transparency within the work of the Council and the greater democratization of its decision-making process. “We are obliged to observe the United Nations Charter”, as it placed the human being at its centre, she said. The issue of sovereignty was intrinsically linked to the equality of all States and respect for human rights was in line with international law. No State could hide behind the principle of non-intervention to violate human rights.
DIEGO MOREJÓN PAZMIÑO (Ecuador) supported the proposal that statements made by delegations today be compiled and circulated as a document of the Council and the Assembly. The correct application of the Charter was the only way to secure peace and security, with States ensuring respect for sovereign equality, avoiding the use or threat of use of force, non-interference and peaceful dispute settlement. The Council could not violate or ignore such principles, which included the need to take measures to eliminate threats to peace. Some Council members had drawn attention to issues that constituted “mandate creep”, which was undemocratic, as that would be to the detriment of other Charter purposes. A “G-15” could not overrule a “G-193”, he said, urging that the democrat deficit be corrected so that the United Nations could respond to the purposes that had helped to found it.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) said that in the Middle East, the emergence of ISIL stemmed from the United Nations failure to effectively address non-State actors and their backers within the international legal framework. Council instruments had not adapted to the threat. Another cause of instability was the use of force against the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of States and she advocated a more robust response to State drivers of instability. Iranian forces continued to occupy three islands in the Arabian Gulf that were part of her country, contravening the Charter. Calls for Iran to resume bilateral talks, refer the matter to the International Court of Justice or submit to international arbitration, had gone unheeded. Also, Iran’s proxy militias had gone unchallenged. Iran must stop arming, funding and enabling such extremist entities. She recommended better implementation of obligations under Council resolutions. The United Nations must spend more resources on prevention, mediation, arbitration and judicial settlement, while the Council should coordinate with regional organizations and affected States earlier through Chapter VIII. She hoped it would consider views of the entire membership in deciding upon the next Secretary-General.
MUHAMMAD ANSHOR (Indonesia) said it was imperative to modernize the United Nations to reflect today’s reality and plurality. Reforming the Council was essential in that regard, while observance of democratic principles and others, such as inclusiveness and transparency, was important for improving its legitimacy and effectiveness. Responsibility should be shared by giving emerging Powers responsibilities commensurate to their respective capacity and competence to contribute to regional and global peace. He supported the intergovernmental negotiation process from a belief that “incremental” reform should be pursued. The Council must be “bold and innovative” in addressing protracted conflicts, notably through a mechanism to address problems stemming from a lack of unity among Council members. Further, the Council should work productively with the Assembly and other main organs, while more resources should be invested in conflict prevention.
VIRACHAI PLASAI (Thailand) said that, even though more than 70 years had passed since the establishment of the United Nations, the international community was still witnessing conflicts around the globe where the sovereign and territorial integrity of States was being undermined and violated. Peace and security were best maintained through conflict prevention and preventive diplomacy. Further, the principle of refraining from the threat or use of force against other States’ territorial integrity or political independence was more relevant than ever. Drawing attention to the non-interference principle, he urged the United Nations to enhance cooperation with regional organizations in order to effectively maintain international peace and security in a sustained and inclusive manner.
PAWEŁ RADOMSKI (Poland) said the principles established by the Charter, including sovereignty, territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes and non-interference in internal affairs should be fully respected by all States. He then called upon the Council to support efforts to resolve disputes through dialogue, negotiations, reconciliation, good offices and other peaceful means. Further, he stressed the key role played by regional organizations and local actors in maintaining peace and security given that multifaceted nature of conflicts and limited resources of the United Nations.
AHMED SAREER (Maldives) said that, 70 years into the history of the United Nations, nations still collectively failed to meet the promises of the Organization’s Charter. That document was meant to guarantee sovereignty, the equality of States, non-interference, the peaceful settlement of disputes and fundamental respect between and among nations. Despite the Organization’s achievements, the key purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter were not always adhered to by Member States. He cited a number of examples, including five years of inaction in Syria and half a century of failure in Palestine, as well as the “collective shame” of the crisis in Syria. The world’s collective late-awakening to the dangers posed by climate change and the need to protect the earth and its resources had not come too late; the international community had taken a bold step forward in that regard by adopting the Paris Agreement. However, threats to food and water security and, ultimately, territory and sovereignty, required greater and more serious attention.
KAYODE LARO (Nigeria) said the United Nations had always served as a platform to collectively address threats to international peace and security. Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter recognized the key role played by regional organizations in maintaining peace at the regional level. Organizations such as ECOWAS, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) had been effective in resolving conflicts, minimizing escalation and maintaining peace in Africa. To avoid friction, it was essential for States to conduct their international affairs in a manner that was consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
MENELAOS MENELAOU (Cyprus), associating himself with the European Union, considered the Charter as the cornerstone of international law and agreed that the United Nations had failed live up to its ideals, as there had been violations of that document. Cyprus supported the United Nations, despite having seen various Charter violations regarding its sovereignty and non-use of force. Several Council and Assembly resolutions had validated those violations. Despite efforts to resolve the Cyprus question, 37 per cent of the island’s territory was under occupation by Turkey. “We acknowledge the need to look to the future,” he said, cautiously optimistic that processes under way would lead to a successful outcome on the basis of relevant Council resolutions and aligned with Union principles. For that to happen, all parties involved must assume their responsibilities and refrain from actions that constituted Charter violations. Colonial attitudes had no place in today’s world.
MOHAMED KHALED KHIARI (Tunisia) said the principles and objectives enshrined in the Charter remained unchanged. However, enhanced international cooperation was needed. Tunisia strongly supported the Council making use of the tools available to it under Chapter VI, with coercive measures under Chapter VII being employed only as a last resort. Efforts to settle the Libyan conflict through national political dialogue were commended, but it was regrettable the Palestinian issue was still unresolved due to a lack of will and paralysis on the part of the Council. Reforming the Council would strengthen international law as a prerequisite for peace, security and development, and also consolidate its position as a central component of effective global governance. Support for the African Union should be strengthened, given the greater role it was playing in resolving crises in Africa.
JĀNIS MAŽEIKS (Latvia) said the Council as the main guarantor of international peace and security had the responsibility to prevent and stop mass atrocities. However, in the case of Syria, the 15-member body had not been able to stop the Government from committing crimes against its own population. Latvia hoped that the Council would soon reach a political solution and gain tangible results. On the use of force against the territorial integrity of a State, he deplored the breach of the international rules by annexing, and expressed support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and political independence.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said that, thanks to the work of the United Nations, the world had averted a third global war. However, the Organization, and the Council in particular, needed reform; it had not been able to fulfil to the letter its obligation to protect. In particular, the unfettered use of the veto by some permanent Council members meant that the 15-member body had not acted in some cases of mass atrocities. Peru endorsed the code of conduct of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, of which it was a member. Calling for a shift towards proactive action, he went on to express support for the peaceful resolution of disputes. In that regard, the International Court of Justice was able to uphold international law, and should be better respected. The Council should also make better use of Chapter VIII of the Charter, he added, warning against overreliance on Chapter VII, which should not be used as a first resort. Finally, he said, a key contribution to peace and security going forward would be the 2030 Agenda, which promoted a society based on mutual respect.
ZOHRAB MNATSAKANYAN (Armenia) said the Charter did not, in any way, limit the privilege of freedom to any nation. However, there had been an erosion of trust in the world order, given the proliferation and intensity of conflicts. Negotiations of peace agreements often confronted fundamental difficulties, not least because the voice of the affected people was drowned in the justification and abuse of the principles of sovereignty, non-interference and territorial integrity. Therefore, when sovereignty harboured a political culture of repression, systematic violations of human rights and a disregard for the rule of law, it effectively cultivated conflict. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh had effectively won their right to self-determination and freedom out of a struggle against decades of discrimination and socioeconomic and political injustice. The entrenched culture of systematic violations of human rights in Azerbaijan and the continued war-mongering and refusal to achieve a swift and negotiated peace agreement represented an actual physical threat to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. He went on to say that the broad concept of prevention had been gradually taking centre stage in the maintenance of international peace and security; in that regard, the affected people, whose actual security was at risk, should be the ultimate voice in analysing situations.
GEORGE WILFRED TALBOT (Guyana) said the Charter’s principles pointed to a need for multilateral action in maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations, carrying out cooperation and harmonizing actions to those ends. It offered the prospect of protecting the vulnerable amid an array of threats, such as climate change, transnational criminal networks, the spread of small arms and light weapons, disease and terrorism. Adherence to the Charter was essential to promoting peace and security, development and human rights. The Council was obliged to be exemplary in such adherence. The Council, and all States, should be held accountable for compliance with the Charter. The Assembly, the Security Council and Economic and Social Council must cooperate, as should States, with the Secretary-General’s role in upholding respect for United Nations values seen through the exercise of his good offices. The International Court of Justice had a significant role in promoting respect for the Charter. He drew attention for sanctity of treaties, without which “the world falls apart”.
ROLANDO CASTRO CÓRDOBA (Costa Rica) advocated redesign of the institutional architecture to meet new challenges, noting that his country, which did not have a military, had placed its security in the hands of the international system, upholding the principle of non-intervention. Sovereignty inferred responsibility, which was why it also upheld the responsibility to protect in situations of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. Human dignity did not depend solely on States, but rather, a universal concern that obliged the international community to act. The United Nations should help States in that regard. In addition, the Charter’s Article 99 authorized the Secretary-General to draw the Council’s attention to situations that could jeopardize international peace and security. Yet, it had been used only on an exceptional basis in the last 70 years. It was a vital conflict prevention tool.
HALIT ÇEVIK (Turkey) said the Council had failed to find timely and lasting solutions to the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the tragedy in Syria. Also, there was no accountability mechanism for the Council’s inaction, which stemmed mainly from the threat or use of the veto. Council reform was urgently needed and he called for intensified efforts to prevent conflicts, stressing that only policies that addressed root causes would have sustainable results. Priority should be given to the use of Chapter VI tools, he said, condemning the use of starvation as a war tactic. The regime in Syria was not in a position to lecture on adherence to the Charter. Also, airstrikes by the Russian Federation had targeted facilities, including a hospital, and had caused massive displacement, especially in the north and north-west of Syria. That perpetrator of abhorrent violations was not in a position to lecture. The responsibility to protect should not be limited to those facing trouble in turbulent countries. Its scope should cover the needs of those in neighbouring countries who were escaping such crimes.
OH JOON (Republic of Korea) said his country had been a strong advocate of the Charter over the last 25 years. However, during the last 10 years, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had conducted four nuclear tests and six long-range missile tests, all in violation of its international obligations, he said, citing a 6 January nuclear test and 7 February long-range ballistic missile launch, which were a “blatant challenge” to the international community. He pressed the Council to adopt a “robust and comprehensive” resolution preventing that country from making a mockery of it through continued development of nuclear weapons. Through tough sanctions, the Council must clarify it would not tolerate such actions.
ERVIN NINA (Albania) said the international community had entered an era in which armed conflicts were greater in complexity and number of actors, and broader in tactics and weapons used. The 2005 World Summit, held at United Nations Headquarters, had provided an opportunity to take bold decisions in the areas of development, security, human rights and reform of the Organization. During the last 10 years, progress had been made in building a global political consensus around the responsibility to protect, an effective framework to prevent mass atrocity crimes. However, developing the norm alone did not guarantee the prevention of conflicts or protection of civilians. In that respect, he supported the French proposal on limiting the use of the veto in cases, including genocide, of war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), noting how the United Nations was still indispensable, said the issue was how to apply the Charter’s principles and purposes in a manner that was consistent with today’s realities in order to meet the needs and aspirations of tomorrow’s generations. Full advantage had yet to be taken of what the Organization could offer. It was critical to be faithful to the principle of the sovereign equality of nations, without allowing that principle to be used as a shield to prevent addressing gross human rights violations. It was not only big States that had responsibility to address challenges through dialogue and negotiation; countries such as Eritrea had to do so, as well. Courage was needed to admit shortcomings and to redress them.
HUSNIYYA MAMMADOVA (Azerbaijan), associating herself with the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC, said that the Charter should continue to be a guiding document in the face of increasingly diverse and complex challenges to international peace and security. There was a need to eliminate double standards in the application of the Charter principles, she stressed, adding that the Council needed to work more consistently in enforcing its own resolutions. The ongoing armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan continued to pose a threat to international peace and security. For decades, Armenia had occupied about one fifth of the territory of Azerbaijan, and had carried out ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijanis. Indeed, the continued occupation was the main obstacle in the settlement of the conflict. It was, therefore, ironic that the representative of Armenia had lectured Member States about peace, security and human rights. The entity which Armenia was trying to present as independent, Nagorno-Karabakh, was nothing more than an occupied territory with puppet leaders. The conflict could be resolved only on the basis of the full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, she said.
JOSÉ ALBERTO ANTONIO SANDOVAL COJULÚN (Guatemala), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Council should continue to craft its peacekeeping mandates on a tailor-made basis. While the international community could play a crucial role, peace could only be maintained or restored by the parties to the conflict. Given the current critical situation of some conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, the Council should engage in a process of self-scrutiny. Inaction by the Council had had a devastating effect on the civilians in Syria and the use of the veto had obstructed and distorted the common interest, sewing discord between the members of the Council. He hailed the resolution adopted by the Council on 25 January, which had established a special political mission in Colombia. Despite some exceptional circumstances, the United Nations continued to be the best option for the international community in facing and resolving conflicts.
KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands), on peaceful dispute settlement, said his country hosted the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, bodies that played a crucial role in realizing the ambitions of the Charter’s Article 33 on pacific conflict settlement. Underscoring the need for cooperation in encouraging respect for human rights, he said sovereignty should never be used as a “shield” by States to prevent addressing mass atrocities. He urged permanent Council members to refrain from using the veto in such cases and to use “all means” at their disposal to increase interaction with human rights actors. Noting that the Netherlands contributed to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), he called on all United Nations members to contribute to peacekeeping missions with rapid deployment and high-quality capabilities.
Several delegates then took the floor a second time.
KOUSSAY ABDULJABBAR ALDAHHAK (Syria) said he wanted to stress the role of the Turkish regime in supporting terrorism and threatening peace and security. It was something that everyone was aware of. The presence of 30,000 foreign terrorist fighters in Syria would not have happened without the support of the Turkish regime, which had pursued illegal relations with Da’esh with regard to oil trading and the pillaging of antiquities. The Council was asked to repudiate such acts of aggression and to halt Turkey’s violation of Charter principles.
TIGRAN SAMVELIAN (Armenia) said there was nothing new in the statement delivered by his counterpart from Azerbaijan. Referring to Council resolutions, he said Azerbaijan had been violating a ceasefire on a daily basis. For almost half a century, that country had been led by one family, although it was not a monarchy.
Ms. MAMMADOVA (Azerbaijan) said Armenia had engaged in a futile attempt to whitewash its aggression against her country. It had sought to justify its illegal military presence and to camouflage the fact that the front line extended far beyond Nagorno-Karabakh. With regard to the role of the President of Armenia in massacres, she quoted him as saying that he had no regrets.
LI YONGSHENG (China) said that, this morning, one country had mentioned “change status quo” and “land reclamation”. The Charter spoke clearly to that question. If a country engaged in such practices while illegally occupying another country’s territory, those actions would be considered invalid. However, if a country engaged in construction on its own islands, such action lay within the sovereign rights of that country and was, therefore, in line with the Charter. The Nansha islands were Chinese territory, he said, adding that China’s actions were, therefore, legitimate, just, reasonable and “beyond reproach”. Indeed, his country had every right to maintain its interests. China would never create chaos in the South China Sea; it would continue to adhere to the use of negotiations as the way to resolve the conflict.