During a “packed” month of June, the Security Council will focus on issues ranging from improving accountability for serious crimes to bolstering the United Nations relationship with regional organizations, its President for the month told a Headquarters press conference today.
Ferit Hoxha (Albania), who holds the 15-nation Council’s rotating Presidency for June, underlined his commitment to running the organ in an efficient and transparent manner. Noting that June is traditionally a busy month for the Council, he said the next 30 days will be no exception, with a programme of work that features three open debates, two country-specific debates, five mandate renewals and a range of meetings on additional topics. Albania’s priorities for the month include respect for international law, advancing the women, peace and security agenda, enhancing the relationship between the United Nations and regional organizations, bolstering the Council’s working methods and strengthening accountability.
On the latter, he said the Council will kick off the month on 2 June with a high-level open debate on the theme “Strengthening accountability and justice for serious violations of international law” — one of several signature events planned by the Albanian Presidency — to be chaired by Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama. Joan E. Donoghue, President of the International Court of Justice, is expected to brief, as is United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and a member of civil society. Noting that the Council has too often watched mass human rights abuses occur and struggled to hold perpetrators accountable, he declared: “There is an urgency to act now on behalf of countless victims of conflicts.”
Turning to the women, peace and security agenda, he said a second signature event will be held on 15 June under the theme “Keeping the promises: The role of regional organizations in implementing women, peace and security in the face of political turmoil and seizures of power by force”. Briefers from various regional organizations around the world have been invited to participate and Secretary-General António Guterres is expected to be present.
Outlining other important events, he said the Council will hold a 14 June debate on the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals — the body charged with finalizing the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda — and a meeting on the United Nations cooperation with the European Union, on 16 June. The latter will be chaired by Olta Xhaçka, Albania’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Later in the month, on 28 June, members will hold their annual debate on the Council’s working methods, he said, describing that event as timely given the challenging conditions and altered working methods necessitated in recent years by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Turning to other matters, he said the Council will also hold meetings on the situations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Haiti, as well as the Middle East peace process. The ongoing situation in Ukraine will also remain relevant throughout the month, he said, noting that on 6 June members will hold a meeting on the threat of sexual violence in the context of that conflict. “We will meet as often as the situation on the ground requires,” he added.
Mr. Hoxha also responded to several questions posed by media correspondents, both in-person and virtually.
One correspondent asked about the Council’s approach to addressing the situation of migrants in Libya, citing an accusation by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) that the European Union, in particular, is not doing enough to protect migrants. To that, he replied that the issue of migration is likely to be covered during the Council’s meeting on the situation in Libya, but many other United Nations bodies and offices also have a key role to play on that matter.
Asked whether the Council plans to take up a draft resolution aimed at resuming Ukrainian wheat exports in the Black Sea region, he said that no concrete text has yet been circulated. However, he noted that he is aware of efforts being made on that front by various parties and will share details with the media as soon as they become available.
Another correspondent asked whether a single meeting on the Middle East, including the Question of Palestine, is sufficient at a time when Israeli forces are posing fresh threats to holy sites located in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Responding, he said nothing prevents Council members from requesting additional meetings on any agenda item, if they deem it necessary.
To a question about how a divided Council can show the world that it still functions effectively, he voiced regret that the organ indeed finds itself incapable of coming together on a range of critical issues. The misuse of the veto power is one major challenge that needs to be discussed further, he said in that regard.
Asked about reports that the Russian Federation is planning to close the last remaining border crossing authorized for the import of humanitarian aid into Syria, Mr. Hoxha said that the renewal of the Syrian cross-border aid mechanism — which has been a source of contention between Council members in recent years — is not expected to be taken up until July.
He also responded to a number of questions in his national capacity.
For the full programme of work, please see: www.un.org/securitycouncil/events/calendar