Peacekeeping, Children in Armed Conflict Dominate June Agenda, as Security Council Wraps Up Month

30 June 2015
7479th Meeting (PM)

Peacekeeping, Children in Armed Conflict Dominate June Agenda, as Security Council Wraps Up Month

Peacekeeping, peacebuilding and children in armed conflict had been the centrepieces of the Security Council’s work over the past four weeks, said the Permanent Representative of Malaysia, President of the body for June, in a monthly wrap-up meeting this afternoon.

Providing an overview of the month, Ramlan Bin Ibrahim said that the Council had held a total of 26 meetings — including 22 public meetings — and three Arria-formula meetings on the human rights situation in Darfur, barrel-bombs in Syria and climate change.  It had adopted 22 texts, including 15 press statements, an alarming number of which were in relation to terrorist attacks.

Indeed, a new culture of terrorism continued to loom large over the Council’s agenda over the course of the month, he said.  The situations in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and other hotspots remained of concern, with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS), Al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram and other non-State armed groups posing a major threat.

The Council also faced a number of intractable challenges that remained before it, including the question of Palestine, on which he said the Council had been ineffective for far too long.

During its presidency, Malaysia had sought to further international protection norms for children in armed conflict, including by adding abduction to the list of triggers that could add a party to the Secretary-General’s list of grave human rights violators.  Resolution 2225 (2015) was adopted during an open debate where the Council heard from more than 80 speakers.

Mr. Ibrahim said that, since the start of 2015, the Council had engaged in a number of important norm-setting initiatives, including in the area of protection of journalists and women.  “The Council had proved its dynamism in rising to new challenges,” including by meeting on the issue of migrants who faced grave challenges when fleeing their homes, in particular by sea.

Migration, along with conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, were among the issues that lay ahead in the Council’s work, he continued.  In addition, there was a need to work closely with the General Assembly on the selection of the next Secretary-General.

When the floor was opened for debate, speakers said that June had been a productive but challenging month for the Council.  There had been increased threats to peace and security around the world.  Problems remained in Yemen, Libya and Syria, where the Council remained divided and unable to act.  The Arria meeting on barrel bombs had again reminded members of the plight of thousands of innocent people in Syria who remained under constant attack, some said.  Meanwhile, others urged the Council to ensure that the political vacuum in Yemen was not abused by terrorists, and called for the speedy declaration of humanitarian pauses in that country.

Some speakers noted that the month had been darkened by terrorist attacks that had struck many countries, including several members of the Council.  ISIL was taking hold in Iraq and laying roots in other countries throughout the region.  In that regard, there were a number of calls for all countries of the region — and across the world — to set aside their differences and work to combat the common enemy that was terrorism.

The situation in Burundi had preoccupied the Council throughout the month, many said, citing divisions among members on how best to assist the country as it faced conflict and violence associated with President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term.  In that regard, the representative of the United States said that Burundi had moved forward recklessly with its elections in an environment that was not free, fair or transparent, and that the Government was intimidating those who disagreed with it.  Many speakers supported the mediation efforts by the United Nations, the African Union and others and called for a speedy exit to the crisis.

Other conflicts in Africa had also remained on the Council’s agenda.  The situation in Darfur remained highly problematic, some said, with little or no progress made in its humanitarian or security situation.  Millions of displaced people still could not return to their homes, and the implementation of the Doha Declaration by some parties to the conflict had not progressed.  The Government of Sudan continued to restrict the activities of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), to the point where a peacekeeper had died after being denied flight clearance for medical evacuation.  While some stressed that UNAMID was needed now more than ever, others called for an agreement on the phased withdrawal of the Mission in a manner that was acceptable to all parties.

The situation in Mali was encouraging, many said, recalling that a full agreement on peace and reconciliation had been signed in Bamako on 20 June.  The full and good faith implementation of that agreement by the signatories was crucial.  The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) — which had been issued a new mandate by the Council this month — would be critical in monitoring the agreement’s implementation.

On peacekeeping and peacebuilding, a number of delegations welcomed the Council’s direct interaction with Force Commanders throughout the month.  In that regard, the delegate of France recalled that the Panel on Peace Operations chaired by José Ramos-Horta had submitted its report to the Secretary-General on 17 June.  That item, which included hundreds of recommendations, should now lead to a study conducted by the Secretary-General, who should propose an “implementation report” that would be drafted with Member States and presented at the Assembly’s next session.  Recommendations should be addressed both to the Security Council, troop- and police-contributing countries and all stakeholders in the maintenance of peace, he said.

A number of delegations congratulated Malaysia for its shepherding of resolution 2225 (2015) focusing on the recruitment and abduction of children.  However, the representative of Venezuela said that it remained a source of concern that Israel, which continued to perpetrate crimes against children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, had not been included on the Secretary-General’s list of those committing grave violations against children in armed conflict.

Many speakers also addressed the Council’s working methods, noting that it was holding more public meetings and working more transparently.  However, others expressed concern that the joint briefing of the three subsidiary bodies dealing with counter-terrorism on 16 June the Council had deviated from the existing practice, as non-Council members were not granted the right to participate in the discussions under rule 37 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure.

Some stressed that the working methods needed to be more engaging and interactive.  In that regard, the representative of the United Kingdom said that the high level of formality in the Council’s work could limit the benefit of its interactions with the experts that came before it.  A dialogue should be an exchange, not a broadcast of views, he said.  Others agreed, adding that the Council should better manage its time.

The representative of Spain proposed a new strategy regarding the penholder for the Council’s resolutions other products, suggesting that a policy of “co-penholders” — namely, one permanent and one non-permanent member of the Council — could be adopted.

On the election of the new Secretary-General in 2016, a number of speakers called for a clear timeline for appointment and a more transparent, inclusive selection process.  Some stressed that, all qualifications being equal, it was high time for a woman to lead the United Nations.  Meanwhile, other speakers rejected attempts to rewrite Article 97 of the United Nations Charter on the Secretary-General’s selection.

Finally, many delegations made reference to the review of resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, calling for high-level participation in the debate that would take place on that resolution in October.

The meeting began at 3:08 p.m. and ended at 4:55 p.m.

For information media. Not an official record.