Taking up Security Council’s Annual Report, General Assembly Speakers Call for More Substantive Content, Point to Impact of Veto on Global Peace
Delegations Adopt Fifth Committee Resolutions on Peacekeeping Missions’ Budgets
Prior to adopting 18 Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) draft texts, the General Assembly today took up the 2022 Security Council report, with some delegations appealing for a more substantive and analytical account of the 15-nation organ’s work, while others spotlighted the Council’s limitations due to the veto, which was preventing a timely response to threats to international peace and security.
On the recommendation of the Fifth Committee, the General Assembly adopted 18 draft resolutions, including 16 texts addressing the budgets for peacekeeping missions for the period from 1 July 2023 to 31 June 2024. Included in these adoptions was an amount in the budget not exceeding $590 million supporting the Security Council’s unanimous decision to terminate the mandate of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) by the end of the year. (For background information, please see Press Releases GA/AB/4423 and SC/15341.)
The General Assembly also considered the 2022 Security Council report in its annual debate on the matter.
Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates), President of the Security Council for June, introduced the “Report of the Security Council” (document A/77/2), stressing: “This exercise is more than a routine, mandated reporting requirement.” It also welcomed the chance to further strengthen the relationship between the General Assembly and the Council. Summarizing key aspects of the Security Council’s work in 2022 — with 292 formal meetings, 127 closed consultations and 5 informal interactive dialogues — she also highlighted the growing participation of women briefers.
Csaba Kőrösi (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, asserted that the 15-nation organ serves as the bedrock of the collective efforts to maintain peace. However, the Council’s ability to re-establish peace is being put to the test. “We must ask ourselves: Where are we succeeding? Where are we failing?”, he stressed, while also asking Member States whether the Council’s reports should be more analytical and dive deeper in the actions taken.
Portugal’s representative, speaking for the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, suggested that an open debate to assess the Council’s work — in preparation of the annual report — could be organized in January. Welcoming the inclusion of statistics on the Council’s unscheduled meetings and the number of occasions the veto was cast, she said the report could also include information on the implementation of the Council’s resolutions and decisions, indicating the reasons behind the lack of implementation.
The representative of Costa Rica, while welcoming the five open debates held on women, peace and security, asked how relevant they are if the diverse viewpoints and proposals from Member States are not included in the report. She also pointed out that, like its predecessors, the report does not mention the Council’s reluctance or inability to fulfil its current mandate, such as the one arising from Article 26 of the Charter, which is a “dead letter”, given that global military spending has soared to an all-time high of $2.24 trillion in 2022.
Singapore’s delegate, citing a number of procedural issues, including Member States not submitting assessment reports, observed that not all delegations of permanent Council members were present in the General Assembly Hall, calling such absences “a sign of deep disrespect”. The annual report should also provide deeper analysis of sanctions, as it by and large failed to note emerging patterns of abstentions on sanctions renewals, he added.
The speaker for Mexico was one among a few delegates who highlighted their experience serving as an elected Council member, noting that, in 2022, his country witnessed first hand the Council’s limitations due to the veto which prevented a timely response to threats to international peace and security. Spotlighting the France-Mexico initiative addressing the veto, he underlined the need to enforce Article 27(3) of the Charter to ensure that a party to a conflict abstains from voting.
Meanwhile, the representative of Myanmar, noting that the report offers an opportunity for the Council to hear suggestions and frustrations about its actions or inactions, called on the 15-nation organ to ensure the implementation of resolution 2669 (2022), which it adopted after the February 2021 military coup in his country. The resolution and statements by the Council have fallen on the deaf ears of the junta, which continues to wage war on its own people, he said, reporting that, thus far, the violence has killed 3,728 people and displaced 1.5 million.
The General Assembly also concluded its debate on the responsibility to protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, with speakers calling for efforts based on that principle to address increasing global violence and record-high displacement. (For background information, see Press Release GA/12513.)
The representative of Croatia said that, while it would be easy to frame the topic as “divisive”, amid the current alarming disregard for international law, “it is not our job to run away from difficult topics, from difficult questions”. She pointed out that voting in the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council has consistently shown support for the responsibility to protect.
To that, Hungary’s delegate called on Member States to join the Global Network of R2P Focal Points. She also emphasized the importance of protecting cultural heritage for achieving peace, reconciliation and sustainable development, while calling on Member States to criminalize offences against cultural heritage in domestic legal systems.
The Philippines’ delegate underlined the importance of reaching a shared understanding of the responsibility to protect, rather than assuming that it already exists. States’ first duty is the protection of their populations from harm and threats and accordingly, the responsibility would be best implemented by strengthening national institutions — and not misused for political purposes or to justify foreign intervention.
In an ideal world, Sri Lanka’s delegate noted, all States would take responsibility to protect their population. However, in reality, projecting this responsibility on an international scale remains problematic. The concept has challenged the natural order of the international system by providing a different understanding of States’ sovereignty. Still, it is an ambitious project that represents a vital opportunity for the international community to transform its understanding of humanitarian intervention, rather than a new license to intervene militarily.
In other business, the Assembly took note of the “Notification by the Secretary-General under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Charter of the United Nations”, that presents a list of matters relative to the maintenance of international peace and security, considered by the Security Council.
The representatives of India, Pakistan, Iran and the Russian Federation spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The General Assembly will meet again at a date and time to be confirmed in the Journal of the United Nations.
The General Assembly took note of the “Notification by the Secretary-General under Article 12, paragraph 2, of the Charter of the United Nations” (document A/77/300), that presents a list of matters relative to the maintenance of international peace and security, considered by the Security Council. Items, which the Council has ceased to deal since the notification of the Assembly at its seventy-sixth session (document A/76/300) have been deleted. The respective deletions are recorded in document S/2022/10/Add.10*.
Report of Security Council
CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, underscored that the Security Council and the General Assembly are complementary bodies meant to work together. “We must ask ourselves: Where are we succeeding? Where are we failing?”, he noted, pointing out that the report depicts a year fraught with crises, conflict and war. As well, the Council’s ability to re-establish peace is being put to the test. Recognizing that the 15-nation organ serves as the bedrock of the collective efforts to maintain peace, he highlighted the renewal of all peacekeeping and special political mission mandates. “On behalf of all those who rely on the United Nations provision of international peace and security, I thank you,” he said. Moreover, the Council has established a humanitarian carve-out to sanctions regimes, adopted the first Council resolution on Myanmar and saw many more women briefers than in previous years. “To all Member States: Please continue this positive trend,” he emphasized.
However, 491 days after the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, the Council has not adopted a single resolution about the violation of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, he continued. In this context, he asked: “Do you believe that the main problems which we confronted are well reflected in the Council report? Should such reports be more analytical and dive deeper in the actions taken?” Reiterating that the Council and the Assembly are two parts of one whole, he said that the report submission is the only explicit obligation of one organ to the other, adding: “But making the report and having the debate should not be pro forma, box-checking exercises. They should serve a purpose.”
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates), President of the Security Council for the month of June, introduced the “Report of the Security Council” (document A/77/2) covering the period 1 January to 31 December 2022, and adopted on 30 May 2023. “This exercise is more than a routine, mandated reporting requirement,” she said; it is a welcomed opportunity to further strengthen the relationship between the General Assembly and the Council and a tool for transparency that demonstrates the accountability of the that body to the wider United Nations membership. As another important example of the relationship between these two main organs, she cited the holding of Council elections in the Assembly, as occurred earlier in June.
Summarizing key aspects of the Security Council’s work, she noted that 2022 marked a return to pre-pandemic working methods, with 292 formal meetings, 276 of which were public and 16 that were private, 127 closed consultations and 5 informal interactive dialogues. There was also an increase in unscheduled meetings from 34 in 2021 to 85 in 2022 — a 150 per cent increase. Also in 2022, the Council adopted 54 resolutions and 7 presidential statements, and members issued 67 statements to the press. She recalled the adoption of resolution 76/262, which decided that the President of the Assembly shall convene a formal meeting within 10 working days of the casting of a veto by one or more permanent members of the Council, to hold a debate on the relevant situation. Under this new process, the Council submitted three special reports on relevant occasions to the General Assembly as requested by that resolution.
She also noted that, by a procedural vote of 11 in favour to 1 against (Russian Federation) and 3 abstentions (China, India, and United Arab Emirates), the Council adopted a resolution calling for the eleventh Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly on the conflict in Ukraine. The trend of increased participation of women briefers in meetings continued, with 46 per cent of briefings delivered by women in 2022, while in 2021 and 2020, they represented 44 per cent and 34 per cent respectively. Further, of the 88 civil society representatives invited to brief the Council last year, 63 were women. She recalled that thematic and cross-cutting issues remained high on the agenda, including: women, peace and security; climate, peace and security; technology and security; the nexus between conflict and food insecurity; mental health and psychosocial support of United Nations peace operations personnel; general issues relating to sanctions; and children and armed conflict.
GERARDO PENALVER PORTAL (Cuba) reiterated that the Security Council report must cease to be descriptive and formal, and lacking criticism. In its current form, it presents a list of meetings, activities and resolutions, despite multiple long-standing requests for a document that is more exhaustive and analytical, which explains decisions taken by the 15-nation organ. Further, he voiced his regret regarding the omission of violations by Israel of Council resolutions, notably Council resolution 2334 (2016), amid that country’s expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its threats of annexation of the Jordan Valley area and East Jerusalem. He called for a comprehensive reform of the Council, including its working methods, and for the rules of procedure to be adopted to end the provisional nature of those rules. As well, he called for a level of transparency to be guaranteed in informal consultations, expressing regret over the trend of working in closed format. The Council must represent all Member States' interests to promote multilateralism and its credibility, he stressed.
ANA PAULA ZACARIAS (Portugal), speaking for the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, suggested that an open debate to assess the Council’s work — in preparation of the annual report — could be organized in January, ahead of the drafting of the introduction to the report. She, thus, called for setting a fixed timeline for the General Assembly’s discussion to enhance transparency and predictability. Welcoming the inclusion of statistics on unscheduled meetings held at the request of the Council members, disaggregated data on women’s participation and the number of occasions the veto was cast, she suggested including information on instances where the Council was unable to act despite a need and a mandate. She also called on the Council to provide details on the draft resolutions that failed to be adopted — brief resolution descriptions, their purposes, main provisions and the rejection grounds — while also including a chapter on the veto, containing the explanation of Member States, which exercised the right, and statistics on the number of times it has been exercised.
Further, she said the report could include information on the implementation of the Council’s resolutions and decisions, indicating the reasons behind the lack of implementation. Encouraging the timely compilation of the Council presidencies’ monthly assessments, she welcomed wrap-in and wrap-up sessions, contributing to transparency. She spotlighted the importance of the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council and encouraged Member States to provide contributions to ensure institutional memory preservation. In addition, she suggested the annual report should highlight information on the Council’s closed consultations to promote further transparency, while encouraging the President of the General Assembly to resume the practice of preparing and transmitting a summary of the Member States’ recommendations to the Security Council President for their subsequent consideration at the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions.
Speaking in her national capacity, she said that the annual report should be informative, substantive, comprehensive and thorough. Since 2022, eight more Member States joined the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group’s Code of Conduct, she reported, reiterating the Group’s call for more detailed references on the use of the veto. While welcoming the inclusion of paragraphs on climate and security, she expressed a wish for a more comprehensive review of the Council’s discussions on the consequences of these phenomena.
MONA JUUL (Norway), also speaking for Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, called on the Council together with the President of the General Assembly to explore ways to strengthen the important process of allowing for a more substantive interaction between the two bodies. She underscored the importance of the Council, in the future, to meet all the timelines it has set for itself in the production of the report. This would ensure that the General Assembly is able to have a more predictable discussion on the report in June, if not before. “We would also echo the well-worn calls from this Assembly for the Council to submit a more complete, substantive, and analytical account of its work,” she said. Monthly assessments, completed by each presidency, are a valuable way to provide a more analytical look at the Council’s work, and an opportunity to mark important procedural aspects throughout the year, she added.
Underscoring that monthly assessments do not have to be agreed upon by consensus, she said that greater recognition of this fact may help assessments to be completed sooner. A significant shift in the practice of the Council took place following the adoption of resolution 76/262. In response, the Council produced a special report for the General Assembly each time a veto was cast. “Yet, even though special reports are equally mandated in Article 24 (3) of the Charter, we regret that they are not reflected in a stand-alone, easy to reference, section within the annual report,” she emphasized. The inclusion of the first annual report of the Informal Working Group on Documentation and Other Procedural Questions in the Council’s annual report is an important step forward towards the accountability and transparency, she said.
MARITZA CHAN VALVERDE (Costa Rica), aligning herself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, acknowledged the authorization of missions in the Central African Republic and South Sudan, the resolutions against the Taliban in Afghanistan and the increased support for reforms in Iraq. However, while welcoming the five open debates held on women, peace, and security, she asked how relevant they are if the diverse viewpoints and proposals from Member States are not included in the report. The response to military coups has been inconsistent, selective and largely ineffective, dealing with less than a quarter of the cases since the end of the cold war. Like its predecessors, the report holds no mention of the Council’s reluctance or inability to fulfill its current mandate, such as the one arising from Article 26 of the Charter, which “has been a dead letter”, she observed. Specifically, the Council has not exercised its responsibilities in arms reduction, she said, reporting that global military spending has risen for the eighth consecutive year to an all-time high of $2.24 trillion in 2022. As the Council focuses on superficial results and symbolic actions, resulting in “diplomatic posturing” and “quibbling over language” instead of substantial actions, the essence of its purpose is diluted, she stated.
HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador), aligning himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, recalled his attendance at the same meeting two years ago, when his country announced its candidacy as an elected member of the Council, and its commitment to strengthening the relationship between the General Assembly and the Council in addressing challenges to peace and security. He outlined his country’s efforts to this end, including its organizing, with Portugal, the first workshop on the subject. That working group’s report is set to be adopted next week and will include a digital repository of the most relevant recommendations of the General Assembly in the area of peace and security. He took note of improvements in the report, including its references to food insecurity, the sanctions committee for Haiti, and the use of the veto. However, he joined other speakers in calling for a more substantial and analytical document on the Security Council’s work.
REIN TAMMSAAR (Estonia), associating himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, said that a lot of work of the Council takes place behind closed doors. “This lack of transparency is problematic as the wider UN membership is the constituent of the Council members,” he emphasized. However, during Estonia’s time in the Security Council, its efforts to move towards further transparency, either through proposing to publish the valuable reports by expert panels or drafting monthly assessments, were met with resistance. It is crucial to include information in the annual report on instances where the Council has been unable to act despite a clear mandate. Moreso, in 2022, a permanent member of the Council initiated a war of aggression against its peaceful neighbour. A lack of progress on that issue proves that one permanent member was able to “effectively paralyse” the work of the Council. In cases of mass atrocities, the veto should not be used at all, he stressed.
VATHAYUDH VICHANKAIYAKIJ (Thailand) said a more substantive and analytical report of the Council would allow all Member States to be kept abreast of its work. The report should not only keep track of the Council’s actions, but should also reflect cases where the Council has been unable to act. This is because inaction can oftentimes have a debilitating effect on international peace and security. The report exhibits a worrying trend: out of 54 resolutions adopted last year, only two thirds were adopted unanimously, representing a drastic decrease from 84 per cent of resolutions adopted by unanimity in 2021. “It suggests that the Council is becoming more and more divided, at a time when the international community needs to be more and more united,” he pointed out. Further, the Council must recognize that, for peace to be sustainable, sustainable development and human security need to be promoted across the peace continuum.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico) said that, as an elected Council member in 2022, his country witnessed first hand the Council’s limitations caused by the veto. Noting that each veto prevents a timely response to international peace and security threats, he said this right should be limited in the spirit of solidarity. Recalling the France-Mexico initiative — signed by 106 States — he encouraged Member States to join it, while reiterating the need of enforcing Article 27(3) of the Charter to ensure that a party to a conflict abstains from voting. In addition, he suggested that at the end of the year, the General Assembly President convenes a midterm dialogue — in addition to the annual debate on the report — to analyse the Council’s activities and resolutions. “The General Assembly and the Security Council require more frequent, more transparent and more efficient channels of communication,” he stressed.
BURHAN GAFOOR (Singapore) said that, while the Council has met its commitment to adopt its report by 30 May in time for consideration by the Assembly, “we are stretching the timeline to the eleventh hour”. Citing a number of procedural issues, including Member States not submitting assessment reports, he noted that not all delegations of permanent Council members were present in the General Assembly Hall, he observed, calling such absences “a sign of deep disrespect”. He further noted growing Council disunity, including on the issues of Ukraine, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Syria and Myanmar. As well, in 2021, one veto was cast, while in 2022, the Council had four draft resolutions vetoed. In many areas of critical importance, “the Council failed the international community in providing direction and solutions”, he said. He further addressed his delegation’s proposal for the selection of the Secretary-General — not surprisingly, blocked by the five permanent members. The annual report should also provide deeper analysis of sanctions, as it by and large failed to note emerging patterns of abstentions on sanctions renewals, he added.
MOHAMMAD AAMIR KHAN (Pakistan) voiced regret that the report is an unedifying enumeration of meetings, with no substantive content. He called for a report that highlights emerging threats to international peace and security and outlines the Council’s efforts to settle disputes and prevent conflict. He also called for reform of the Council’s working methods, including its adoption of the rules of procedure and its convening of closed-door meetings as the exception, not the rule, including its subsidiary bodies. On that point, he said that the Counter-Terrorism Committee should address new and emerging threats, including right-wing fascist Hindutva terrorism, rather than focusing solely on Muslim groups. As well, it must also distinguish terrorism from self-determination struggles. Despite the Council’s resolutions calling for a United Nations-supervised plebiscite on Jammu and Kashmir, India continues its occupation of the state through a “reign of terror” by an occupying army composed of 900,000 troops, he said, adding that the leaders responsible for this near-genocide are entertained in the halls of champions of human rights. India must be held responsible for its war crimes and crimes against humanity in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, he declared.
MARISKA DHANUTIRTO (Indonesia) said that, as one of the major troop- and police-contributing countries, Indonesia has benefited from the regular Council’s meetings relating to peacekeeping operations. Welcoming the increased representation of female briefers, she spotlighted the importance of women’s perspectives for finding durable conflict solutions. The annual report should not be a compilation of institutional memory, but rather include an analytical component and track Council’s work progress, she stressed, while suggesting a compilation of a midterm report or informal dialogue sessions beyond a routine annual discussion to ensure accountability. To this end, she pointed out that the Assembly’s resolution on the veto initiative could serve as a tool, adding: “The Security Council must show to its constituents that it is acting consistently in all issues, and not practising double standards.” She also underscored the importance of the Council’s engagement with regional and subregional organizations.
RENÉ ALFONSO RUIDÍAZ PÉREZ (Chile), aligning himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, noted that, given major events in international peace and security in 2022, “the eyes of the world” turned to the reaction of the Council — as evidenced by the strong increase in unscheduled meetings, from 85 last year, compared to 34 in 2021. However, he expressed surprise that the unanimous adoption of draft resolutions decreased from 81.4 per cent in 2021 to 66 per cent in 2022, with only 7 presidential statements made last year, compared to 24 in 2021. He drew attention to the situation in Haiti — a country in his region — stressing that, despite the urgency therein and aside from one new sanctions regime, the Council was unable to take further action. He further expressed concern and disappointment that the veto was used on four occasions, by one or more permanent members, preventing the adoption of a resolution.
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein) said that to see the “prompt and effective action” envisaged by Article 24 of the Charter, greater Council cohesion is urgently needed, citing, among others, its action on Sudan that is barely commensurate with the scale of the catastrophe on the ground. He encouraged the Council to organize the texts of its special reports as a separate annex to future annual reports, as was done to other special reports in the past. Pointing to the need for a dynamic role for the General Assembly on matters of maintenance of peace and security, he encouraged Member States to consider when and how products it adopts can enhance the maintenance of peace and security, including through stimulating Council action. Other initiatives are needed to reduce the towering presence of the veto in the work of the United Nations, amongst them the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group Code of Conduct, he added.
AHMAD FAISAL MUHAMAD (Malaysia) noted that the submission of the Council’s annual report over the years has become a ritual exercise of providing a mere calendar of events and compilations of its activities throughout the year. This year’s report, as in the past, does not offer any critical assessment or incisive analysis on important issues of peace and security. Also, despite being deliberated at the Council monthly, the question of Palestine remains in a deadlock with no concrete Council action, he pointed out, stressing that such a failure to act needs to be incorporated in the annual report, with clear explanations of positions. Noting that only 9 of the 12 presidencies submitted their assessments for 2022, he called on all Council members to make their monthly assessments available to the broader United Nations membership in a timely manner and encouraged them to pursue innovative approaches in presenting their presidency assessments.
RAPHAEL RUPPACHER (Austria), aligning himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, welcomed the timely adoption of the report and the debate. Noting that his country is Co-Chair of the current intergovernmental negotiations, he highlighted the report’s importance for transparency and accountability, while underlining the need for an improved document providing a more substantive and analytical account of the Council’s work, including details on draft resolutions it failed to adopt. He also said it was deplorable that the Council cannot react to some crises with necessary clarity or fails to act, as is the case with Ukraine, due to politicized debates or the misuse of the veto. “This stalemate is unacceptable,” he stressed. In that context, he welcomed that the report states that four draft resolutions related to the act of aggression by the Russian Federation were not adopted by the Council and reiterated his call for the implementation of Article 27(3) of the United Nations Charter.
SAŠA JUREČKO (Slovenia), associating herself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, suggested that to tackle the drivers of conflict in a broader sense, the Council could focus its discussions on horizontal topics, such as the link between climate change and food security, or mainstream such issues across individual country situations. Underscoring the importance of greater transparency, she spotlighted the possible online tools, including an interactive and regularly updated — or live — programme of work. While pointing to the decrease of consensual adoptions of resolution, she noted that almost 90 per cent of votes on resolutions concluded positively in 2022. Slovenia will be joining the Council in January 2024 as a non-permanent member, she reported, emphasizing: “We are committed to do our part in the efforts towards improving the Council’s working methods, in close collaboration with other delegations.”
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland), aligning herself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, said the 200 pages of the annual report imperfectly convey the impact of major political upheavals. That included the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine and the escalation of violence in a large number of countries, resulting in a two-fold increase in the number of meetings convened. She condemned the use of the veto on four occasions in 2022 and the ensuing deadlock in the cases of Ukraine and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. However, each time, the General Assembly sprang into action, including in an emergency special session where it adopted its own resolution for Ukraine. She cited some progress, with resolution 2653 (2022) that, targeting criminal gangs in Haiti, creating the first new sanctions regime in five years, and “the pioneering resolution 2664 (2022)”, which created a permanent humanitarian exemption to the application of sanctions regimes.
MATEUSZ SAKOWICZ (Poland) called for a reinforcement of the United Nations system to counter the Council’s inability to fulfil its mandate of maintaining global peace and security, which was especially visible since 24 February 2022, when a permanent member of the Council, the Russian Federation, violated the United Nations Charter and invaded Ukraine. Spotlighting the General Assembly’s adoption of six resolutions on the topic, he voiced regret over the abuse of the veto by permanent members and called for the veto initiative in the report. On the functioning of the Council, he said that all members, including elected ones, should have the opportunity to be engaged in the drafting process, and called for a more equitable distribution of penholder responsibilities. The regular attempts by the Russian Federation to use the Council as a platform for disinformation and propaganda on the aggression against Ukraine is regrettable, he added.
YASEEN LAGARDIEN (South Africa), pointing out that the current Council’s report rather serves as a record of its activities, requested a more analytical report. He expressed concern over the declining trend of resolutions being adopted unanimously, while observing that, during the reporting period, the 15-nation organ was unable to make progress on important issues, such as the question of Palestine. The United Nations must reflect contemporary realities, he stressed, calling for the commencement of the text-based negotiations on Security Council reform. Emphasizing that the elected Council members can have a more vital role to play, he also pointed out that Africa accounts for the largest share of all Council country-specific meetings. In this regard, he encouraged the organ to enhance its cooperation with the African Union, while also urging Member States to promote more immediate action and make the Council reform a priority.
FABIÁN ODDONE (Argentina) voiced regret that, on several occasions, the Council was divided and unable to provide answers to crises and conflicts, with devastating consequences, untold human suffering and armed conflicts increasing by 96 per cent. He called for the report to analyse the status of each conflict and the impact of Council action, as well as assess the implementation of Council resolutions and compliance with them. He further expressed surprise at the increase in consideration of issues that are not always related to maintenance of international peace and security. For millions of people, the Council is the face and personification of the United Nations. Thus, it is crucial that efforts are efficient and effective, with transparency being one of the central principles. He highlighted that, during 2022, briefing sessions were held for the entire membership at the beginning and at the end of the mandate.
MICHAEL ALEXANDER GEISLER (Germany) underscored the importance of all Security Council members being accountable towards the General Assembly, as enshrined in Article 24(3) of the United Nations Charter. The report reflects a new sanctions regime on Haiti and the first-ever resolution on Myanmar, which shows that the Council has retained a “basic ability to act”, although it is divided and has lost much trust and credibility due to the misuse of the veto by the Russian Federation, a permanent member. Moreover, decisive pieces of information are missing from the report, including on the use of the veto and voting behaviour, while the lack of infographics and tables make it less palatable. He welcomed that civil society is able to view its activities through the webcast, as well as improved access to documents, while calling for the Council’s transparency to be further enhanced to revitalize the work of the United Nations.
NGOC THUY DO (Viet Nam) said that, with 54 resolutions, 7 presidential statement and 64 press statements in 2022, the Council succeeded in reaching agreement on important matters. Emphasizing the contribution of non-permanent members, he said they add diversity by bringing regional perspectives and insights in the decision-making process and serve as a bridge between the permanent members and the wider membership. However, the Council did not find agreement on various long-standing issues and the emerging conflicts, he noted, adding that its agenda suffered setbacks in 2022. Calling for greater solidarity and unity among the Council members, he urged the organ to pay more attention to non-traditional security challenges, including the impact of climate change on peace and security. Further, he underscored the importance of a more inclusive approach in the Council’s working methods, urging it to strengthen consultations with relevant organizations and countries, particularly those contributing military and police personnel to peacekeeping missions.
SOPHIA EAT (Cambodia) called for the annual report to be more analytical and substantive, highlighting achievements, challenges, recommendations, solutions and a way forward on important issues. Given the intensifying threats to international peace and security, it is crucial for the Council to explore ways to further enhance its mandates, accountability and transparency. Appealing to Member States to work together in good faith to avoid the dead-end situation of a veto, she called for the Council to consider increasing the number of open meetings “which allows more opportunities to all Member States to share their views and propose solutions to the complex issues that affect us all”, she said. It is the duty of all United Nations Member States to ensure that United Nations organs, in particular the Council, are serving the global common good.
ANDREAS HADJICHRYSANTHOU (Cyprus) said the report could be more substantive and analytical, providing a number of additional details, including a substantive depiction of where the consideration of each agenda item stands; an analysis of the state of each conflict dealt with by the Council, including the impact that the Council action has had on the conflict; a forward-looking evaluation as to how the Council will ensure the peaceful settlement of each dispute before it; and strategic insights concerning overall conflict trends, among others. He welcomed the adoption of two resolutions on Cyprus, which deals with a conflict that remains unsolved due to numerous violations of Council resolutions. In this context, he called on the Council to hold those in breach accountable. Allowing the effects of the unlawful use of force against Cyprus not only encourages more faits accompli on the ground, but challenges the Council’s credibility, he stressed.
TAREQ M. A. M. ALAJMI (Kuwait) said that the obstacle to the Council living up to its main responsibilities triggered Kuwait’s support for the improving of the organ’s working methods by reinforcing the intergovernmental negotiations. In that regard, his country has supported a number of innovative initiatives, including the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group’s Code of Conduct, while also aligning with Mexico on the non-use of the veto in cases of crimes against humanity. Recalling that, together with the core group and under leadership of Liechtenstein, Kuwait has proposed the “veto initiative” resolution — adopted by consensus — he said this historic document can promote the General Assembly’s work and reinforce transparency and accountability in its relations with the Council. Turning to the intergovernmental negotiations, he spotlighted positive progress, adding: “Tangible and effective change in the work of the Security Council can be achieved through cooperation and real will of all members.”
BASSAM SABBAGH (Syria) noted that the majority of Member States have requested the content in the annual report be improved, notably on the details of Council work and descriptive narratives. He underlined the need to end provisional regulations and adopt definitive ones so that the Council’s working methods are not used in a selective manner to the detriment of some States that, in turn, hamper the Council’s ability to settle conflicts. The Council must respect its mandate for maintaining international peace and security, as well as addressing existential matters like the Palestinian question, and the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights and southern Lebanon. He underscored the importance of reform, with equitable geographical representation, including developing countries and Arab States. It is essential to engage in constructive dialogue with States of concern when drafting resolutions and limiting the use of sanctions while considering the humanitarian fallout.
FERGAL MYTHEN (Ireland), associating himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, underscored the importance of the relationship between the General Assembly and Security Council. The very importance of this relationship was demonstrated last year when the Council failed to act in the face of the Russian Federation’s illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine. “This Assembly stepped up where the Council failed — to uphold the principles of the UN Charter, to condemn aggression and to support a return to the path of diplomacy,” he said. The report lacks the kind of self-critical analysis that would provide a basis for improving how the Council operates. The introductory narrative section should be expanded and should aim to assess the effectiveness of the Council in carrying out its tasks. The views of departing members could be specifically cited without a need for unanimity on their contributions, he added.
KYAW MOE TUN (Myanmar), pointing out that the annual report provides an opportunity for the Council to hear suggestions and frustrations about its actions or inactions, added that its inability to act impacts millions of people in his country. Outlining action taken by the Council since the illegal military coup took place in Myanmar in February 2021, including the historic first-ever resolution on the country in December 2022, he stressed that the Council’s response to the deteriorating situation is nonetheless discouraging to Myanmar’s people, who are under relentless violent assault from the military junta. The Council’s statements and resolution 2669 (2022) have fallen on deaf ears of the junta, which continues to wage war on its own people, he said, reporting that, thus far, the violence has killed 3,728 people and displaced 1.5 million. Therefore, he called on the Council to follow up on the implementation of resolution 2669 (2022) to save the lives of people in Myanmar.
ARIEL RODELAS PEÑARANDA (Philippines) said: “We may need more open debates to hear the views and suggestions of the United Nations membership,” recognizing that there is much to be done to ensure that Member States’ inputs on the Council’s report are duly considered. Regarding the veto initiative, he stressed that the General Assembly becomes a forum to air sentiments, but no concrete outcomes are achieved. In this regard, he underlined that such outcomes and actions are important. The Council resolution on renewing the cross-border humanitarian assistance for Syria and the first-ever resolution on Myanmar could provide insights on how to respond to ongoing conflicts and emerging threats. More so, the Security Council report can also serve as a platform for dialogue, he continued, pointing out that the report’s presentation allows Member States to raise questions, seek clarification and propose solutions on international peace and security matters.
EDER ROJAS (Peru), aligning himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, welcomed that, during 2022, 46 per cent of briefings were given by women, compared to 44 per cent in 2021 and 34 per cent in 2020. He further highlighted that, for the first time, the word “veto” was used in the introduction, and relevant information was provided on the number of occasions on which that mechanism was used, since often its inappropriate use hampers the Council’s ability to deal with pressing needs. In the future, a section on the veto might detail the cases in which it was used and offer statistics, which will allow a better understanding of the obstacles that arise for decision-making. It would also present a first step in efforts to overcome divisions and promote cooperation in the Council.
MOHAMMAD GHORBANPOUR NAJAFABADI (Iran) said that it is absolutely vital for the credibility of the Security Council to reject the intentions to turn it into a tool to pursue national political interests and agendas. Turning to the Middle East, he said that the Israeli apartheid regime continues its oppressive and expansionist policies. Israel continues to occupy the Syrian Golan and repeatedly violates Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity. All these atrocities against nations in the region and the Palestinian people have not received any concrete reaction from the Security Council. This regime has refused to adhere to any weapons of mass destruction, disarmament or control regimes. Meanwhile, the Council has been unable to adequately address these significant concerns. Moreover, despite the numerous calls by the international community, the United States continues to ignore its commitments and even rejects previous agreements in discussions for a possible return to the full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
MATÍAS ANDRÉS EUSTATHIOU DE LOS SANTOS (Uruguay), aligning himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, called for an earlier adoption of the report in January 2024, to ensure an earlier debate, thus enhancing vital dialogue on international peace and security. He welcomed positive trends reflected in the report, including on the participation of women in peace and security operations, and its treatment of substantial questions, such as the Sanctions Committee established in regard to Haiti and the links between conflict and food security. On the grave situation in Haiti, where all the scourges of current conflict can be seen, he called on the international community to help the country re-establish the rule of law. He also took note of the mention of the veto in the report. The Council’s failure to act in the peaceful settlement of disputes and put forth concrete measures to that end is due to rigidity and lack of dialogue, he said, urging members to focus on an analytical and descriptive report.
Right of Reply
The representative of India, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said he would not dignify Pakistan’s “venomous comments” on his country with a reply. Regarding the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, he said it is well-known that it is an inalienable part of India, including the part of Jammu and Kashmir currently under the illegal occupation by Pakistan. He also pointed out that his country has completed its two-year tenure at the Security Council, while the only achievement Pakistan can show is its “stellar regard as a world’s biggest exporter of terrorism”. He said that Pakistan’s remarks deserve “collective contempt, and perhaps, sympathy for the mindset that utters falsehoods repeatedly”.
The representative of Pakistan, responding to India’s comments about Jammu and Kashmir, said: “Repeating the wrong position will not make it acceptable at any point at this forum.” Recalling the Council resolutions, awaiting implementation for over seven decades, he called on the 15-nation organ to take cognizance of India’s intransigence and carry out a concerted effort to implement its resolutions.
Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) Reports
The General Assembly took up the reports of the Fifth Committee. (For background information, please see Press Release GA/AB/4423.)
The General Assembly then resumed its consideration of subitem (a) of agenda item 118, “Appointment of members of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions” (document A/77/567/Add.1) and decided to appoint Mihyong Yi as a member of the respective Advisory Committee for a term of office beginning on 31 July 2023 and ending on 31 December 2025.
The Assembly then turned to the report “Financial report and audited financial statements and reports of the Board of Auditors” (document A/77/658/Add.1), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.41. It then adopted “L.41” without a vote.
Further, the Assembly took up the Committee’s report, “Administrative and budgetary aspects of the financing of the United Nations peacekeeping operations” (document A/77/924) and the four resolutions contained within.
The Assembly then adopted without a vote all four texts, including draft resolution I, “Triennial review of the rates and standards for reimbursement to Member States for contingent-owned equipment” (document A/C.5/77/L.40); draft resolution II, “Support for peacekeeping operations” (document A/C,5/77/L.42); draft resolution III, “Financing of the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy” (document A/C.5/77/L.43); and draft resolution IV, “Financing of the Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda” (document A/C.5/77/L.44).
The Assembly then took up the report “Financing of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei” (document A/77/890/Add.1), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.45, as orally amended in the Committee. It then adopted “L.45” without a vote.
Next, the Assembly considered the report “Financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic” (document A/77/930), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.52 and adopting it without a vote.
The Assembly then considered the report titled “Financing of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus” (document A/77/925), taking up a draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.46 and adopting it without a vote.
The Assembly then turned to the report of the Committee titled “Financing of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”, (document A/77/926), taking up the orally amended draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.47. It adopted “L.47” without a vote.
The Assembly proceeded to the report of the Committee on “Financing of the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti”, (document A/77/923), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.39, which it adopted without a vote.
The Assembly then took up the Committee’s report titled “Financing of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo” (document A/77/927), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.48, which it adopted without a vote.
The Assembly then turned to the report "Financing of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali" (document A/77/931), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.53 and adopting it without a vote.
Next, the Assembly turned to the report "United Nations Disengagement Observer Force" (document A/77/891/Add.1), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.54 and adopting it without a vote.
The Assembly then turned to the report "United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon" (document A/77/932), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.38, as orally revised and technically updated in the Committee.
Mr. KŐRÖSI then read operative paragraph 16, resulting from the technical update. (For background information, please see Press Release GA/AB/4423.)
The representative of Israel said that her country has and continues to maintain excellent relations with all peacekeeping forces in the region, including the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Preambular paragraph 4 and operative paragraphs 4, 5 and 13 that introduce “L.38” are nothing more than an attempt to insert a political agenda into an otherwise non-political discussion on the peacekeeping mission budget. She requested that above-mentioned paragraphs be deleted.
The General Assembly then took a recorded vote on the oral amendment to the draft resolution as proposed by the representative of Israel, with 67 votes against to 3 in favour (Canada, Israel, United States), with 49 abstentions. The oral amendment as proposed by the representative of Israel was not adopted.
The Assembly then took up the draft resolution, as recommended in the report, and adopted “L.38” with a recorded vote of 120 in favour to 3 against (Canada, United States, Israel), with 1 abstention (Democratic Republic of the Congo).
The Assembly then took up the report of the Committee on “Financing of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan: report of the Fifth Committee” (document A/77/892/Add.1), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.49, as orally amended in the Committee. The Assembly adopted “L.49” without a vote.
The Assembly then turned to the report “Financing of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara” (document A/77/928), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.50 and adopting it without a vote.
The Assembly next took up the report “Financing of the activities arising from Security Council resolution 1863 (2009)” (document A/77/929), taking up the draft resolution contained within document A/C.5/77/L.51 as orally amended in the Committee and adopting it without a vote.
Next, the Assembly considered the report “Review of the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations” (document A/77/673/Add.2), taking up the draft decision “Questions deferred for future consideration” document A/C.5/77/L.55. It then adopted “L.55” without a vote.
Responsibility to Protect
The General Assembly then resumed its debate annual debate on the responsibility to protect and the prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. (For background information, please see Press Release GA/12513.)
MELINDA VITTAY (Hungary), associating herself with the European Union, pointed to the important role of the Peacebuilding Commission in supporting States in the transition from conflict and atrocity crimes to sustainable peace. To this end, she encouraged Member States to explore the Commission’s greater engagement in helping them fulfil their obligations and suggested they appoint a national focal point on the responsibility to protect. She also called on them to join the Global Network of R2P Focal Points. While noting that the New Agenda for Peace should be focused on strengthening prevention and addressing all forms of violence, she underscored the need for establishing early warning mechanisms and risk factors associated with atrocity crimes. She also emphasized the importance of protecting cultural heritage for achieving peace, reconciliation and sustainable development, while calling on Member States to criminalize offences against cultural heritage in domestic legal systems.
Mr. TUN (Myanmar), recalling that Myanmar’s people have been subjected to atrocious crimes by the illegal military junta, said Sustainable Development Goal 16 — the goal of which is to prevent structural risks that could lead to atrocities — is being demolished since the coup. The elected civilian Government’s efforts to build inclusive institutions has been eliminated, he reported, adding that the junta has created a culture of impunity that encourages the use of violence against those sympathetic to anti-coup resistance forces. The junta has brutally killed almost 3,700 individuals, but he stressed that Myanmar’s people are determined to end the junta and rebuild their country. “Myanmar is in a situation where the military institution, which is supposed to protect its own people, has been attacking the people who refuse to submit to their illegal and illegitimate rule,” he said, pointing to escalating attacks over the past six months. “Help us end military impunity in Myanmar,” he urged.
DAVID ABESADZE (Georgia) said that, despite the international community’s unanimous agreement on the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, the international community is witnessing increased levels of violence and record-high displacement. Recalling that the Russian Federation illegally occupied Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, he also spotlighted the wide range of documented war crimes committed by Moscow in Ukraine. For its part, the Georgian Government has offered political support for incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals into national priorities, while also adopting a nationwide development policy document in September 2022. Further, to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals in local governance, Georgia has developed a localization plan. “The goal is to localize the Sustainable Development Goals in all municipalities by 2025, which should contribute to achieving the set targets for 2030,” he emphasized.
Mr. GEISLER (Germany), aligning himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect, said his delegation reaffirms its commitment to the responsibility to protect as a holistic concept, resting on three pillars. Germany believes that investing in preventive measures, early warning systems and robust institutions is not only morally imperative, but also cost-effective in the long run. By strategically allocating resources towards conflict prevention and sustainable development, the international community can mitigate the human and economic costs associated with crisis response. As early warnings are key to prevention, he strongly encouraged the Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect to issue statements on specific country situations and to provide thematic briefings and country analysis at appropriate meetings. The systematic sharing of information and analysis with the Security Council, General Assembly and Human Rights Council can contribute significantly to meaningful prevention, he added.
YOUSSOUF ADEN MOUSSA (Djibouti) noted that the Secretary-General’s report recognizes that development can build the conditions for sustainable peace, equitable growth and accountable governance. Further, it is one of the building blocks for realizing the purpose of the responsibility to protect — namely, the prevention of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. It is axiomatic that development deficits can trigger or escalate the risk of atrocity crimes. He stressed that, 18 years after the adoption of the responsibility-to-protect doctrine, the imperative for concrete action to protect populations from such crimes remains more urgent than ever. It constitutes “the raison d’être of the State”, he underscored, as one of the fundamental objectives of a sovereign entity is to protect its population. “Sovereignty equals responsibility,” he stated, adding that implementation of that responsibility requires a wide-ranging partnership between States on the one hand, and bilateral, regional and multilateral actors on the other.
KHRYSTYNA HAYOVYSHYN (Ukraine), associating herself with the European Union, said that the Russian Federation has launched a full-scale invasion of her country. “The scorched-earth tactic employed by Russia is emblematic of its dictatorial nature,” she said, adding: “Throughout history, they have repeatedly used this tactic and continue to do so today, resembling a medieval monster.” To prevent Ukraine’s counteroffensive across the Dnipro River, the occupiers deliberately destroyed the Kakhovka Dam. According to Ukrainian intelligence, Moscow has prepared to destroy the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. “While we speak, Russia is actively pursuing the genocide of the Ukrainian people,” she said. At the onset of the invasion, the Russian Federation misused its veto power to obstruct the Security Council from fulfilling its primary responsibility. As a result, the General Assembly assumed that responsibility by adopting six resolutions during its eleventh Emergency Special Session. The General Assembly must assume this role again by establishing a special tribunal to hold accountable those responsible for the crime of aggression against Ukraine, she said.
JIANG HUA (China), aligning with the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations, highlighted the links drawn in the Secretary-‑General’s report between the development deficit and conflict prevention, noting that a lack of development could exacerbate social unrest and even risk leading to ethnic cleansing and genocide. Therefore, China advocates for focusing on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, development for peace and poverty eradication to eliminate the root causes of conflict. States bear the primary responsibility to protect civilians, she said, calling on the international community to adhere to the Charter and to respect States’ sovereignty. Developmental assistance must support the implementation of countries’ development strategies and needs, and those providing such assistance must not make decisions for States, she added.
PETER MOHAN MAITHRI PIERIS (Sri Lanka) said that, in an ideal world, all States would take responsibility to protect their population. However, in reality, projecting this responsibility on an international scale remains problematic, as there will always be an issue of “who should act, when and how”. Noting that it is the duty of States to prevent violations not only of civil or political rights, but also of economic, social, cultural and environmental ones, he said the concept of the responsibility to protect has challenged the natural order of the international system by providing a different understanding of States’ sovereignty. While the responsibility to protect doctrine is written with too many contradictions, he pointed out that it is an ambitious project that represents a vital opportunity for the international community to transform its understanding of humanitarian intervention, rather than a new license to intervene militarily.
PABLO JOSÉ GOMEZ (Ireland), associating himself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect, said that the need to protect populations at risk of mass atrocity crimes is as important now as it has ever been. “The promises we make here in this Hall are meaningless if they are not backed by decisive action,” he said. It is the responsibility of Member States to tackle these challenges head-on and to prioritize the well-being and protection of vulnerable populations. The role of women is also key to prevention. “We know from our own experience of conflict on the island of Ireland that women have a transformative role to play in the prevention of violence, in mediation and in peacebuilding,” he added. Much like the 2030 Agenda, commitment to the responsibility to protect is far off track but there is still a chance to change course.
LAMIN BABA DIBBA (Gambia) spotlighted the undisputed recognition of peace and development interlinkages in Africa, with studies confirming that armed conflict and atrocity crimes remain major obstacles to development on the continent. “The challenge of addressing the root causes of conflicts and insecurity requires greater global solidarity and United Nations leadership,” he stressed, urging Member States to intensity their collective efforts to achieve the African Union’s Agenda 2063 while strengthening their partnership with the Union. Recognizing the geopolitical competition for influence by regional and global Powers, he said that his Government champions human rights protection in its domestic and foreign policies. The latter continue to be guided by the country’s difficult history “to usher in democracy”, as the Gambia continues to seek national reconciliation, entrench its democracy and consolidate the rule of law. In this context, the Government is committed to accountability for atrocity crimes against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, he said.
AZELA GUERRERO ARUMPAC-MARTE (Philippines) underlined the importance of reaching a shared understanding of the responsibility to protect, rather than assuming that it already exists. Highlighting the interrelationship between sustainable development and the responsibility to protect, she pointed to the Philippines’ AmBisyon Natin 2040 vision, which lays the foundation for inclusive growth, a resilient society and a globally competitive knowledge economy. States’ first duty is the protection of their populations from harm and threats to their safety and well-being. In 2009, her Government enacted legislation concerning crimes against international humanitarian law, genocide and other crimes against humanity, which proceeds on the principle that the most-serious crimes must not go unpunished. Accordingly, the responsibility to protect would be best implemented by strengthening national institutions. She underscored, however, that it should not be misused for political purposes or to justify foreign intervention.
KATARINA ANDRIĆ (Croatia), aligning herself with the European Union and the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect, said it would be easy to frame the topic as “divisive”. However, she said that, in today’s world — amid the alarming disregard for international law — “it is not our job to run away from difficult topics, from difficult questions and abandon any topic that cannot achieve full consensus”. Pointing out that voting in the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council has consistently shown support for the responsibility to protect, she recalled that Member States did not shy away from the concept in 2005 after signs of impending bloodshed. It should be clear what Member States want, she stated, joining the call to encourage the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives for the Prevention of Genocide and for the Responsibility to Protect to use their leadership roles to advance atrocity prevention and highlight risks in ongoing and emerging crises.
PAUL BERESFORD-HILL, Permanent Observer for the Sovereign Order of Malta, said the principle of the responsibility to protect — born out of humanity's collective aversion to the horrors of history — is built upon three pillars: the pursuit of peace, justice and the prevention of mass atrocities. It highlights the responsibility of sovereign States to protect their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Further, it underscores the responsibility of the international community to assist States in fulfilling their protective obligations. It also recognizes the necessity of collective action in promoting preventative measures in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations. “Through respectful dialogue and the exchange of diverse perspectives, we can pave the way for an enlightened future, one where the responsibility to protect is upheld, and the spectre of mass atrocities remains forever banished,” he said.
Right of Reply
The representative of Iran, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, categorically rejected the accusations related to the involvement of the Iranian-made weaponry systems in the Ukraine conflict, stressing that such allegations are based on fabricated assumptions and are “nothing more than propaganda”. In this regard, his Government stands ready to join technical and expert cooperation with Ukraine to clarity the unfounded accusations, he said, adding that all of its arms exports have been carried out in full compliance with international law.
The representative of the Russian Federation noted that several States used the high rostrum of the General Assembly forum to artificially link the issue of the responsibility to protect with what is happening in Ukraine. They also made accusations in this regard against the Russian Federation. The foundation for carrying out its special military operation is “Russia's availing itself of the right to self-defence enshrined in Article 51 of the Charter”, he said, adding that his country sent a letter notifying the Security Council of that on 24 February 2022. “Anyone who wants to can acquaint themselves with that letter,” he added.