GA: Responsibility to Protect

Joint statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway at the General Assembly informal interactive dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect by Ambassador Tore Hattrem, 6 September 2017.

| General Assembly

Mr President,

I have the honour of speaking on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway.

We would like to express our gratitude to you Mr President for convening this informal interactive dialogue. We thank the Secretary General for preparing the ninth report on Responsibility to Protect, and the panellists for their efforts to put atrocity prevention into practice. The implementation of R2P requires a cross cutting approach.

The Nordic countries welcome this year’s focus on accountability for prevention. We especially welcome the intention of the Secretary General to put R2P at the heart of his prevention agenda, and invite him to report to us next year on the implementation of the recommendations contained in this year’s report.

Mr President, the Nordic countries are committed to the principles of World Summit Outcome Document on Responsibility to Protect and the implementation of its three pillars as outlined in the paragraphs 138 and 139.

At the outset of this year’s debate, we are deeply concerned by the current increase of atrocity crimes.

As highlighted in the Secretary General’s report, implementation of the Responsibility to Protect requires an investment in prevention and accountability of those responsible for its implementation.

Let me emphasize six points of particular importance.

First, we must work to ensure full respect for international law, especially the UN Charter as well as humanitarian law and human rights law.

Second, we must hold those who commit atrocity crimes accountable in order to prevent future violations. All states have a responsibility to prosecute individuals who perpetrate atrocity crimes. Situations where states are unable or unwilling to prosecute should be referred to the International Criminal Court.

Third, we must strengthen the role of the Security Council in preventing atrocity crimes as the guardian of international peace and security. The inability of the Security Council to protect civilians has impaired its credibility. We urge all governments to join the "Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against atrocities", and we also emphasize the importance of the French and Mexican Political Declaration on Veto restraint.

Fourth, we must pay careful attention to the gender perspective, ensuring adequate training and responding to systematic sexual and gender-based violence, and recognizing that gender equality and women’s participation is critical to successful implementation of R2P.

Fifth, we must further integrate the prevention of atrocity crimes into our efforts to ensure human rights and international humanitarian law. We welcome the report’s suggestion to apply the Framework of Analysis in the national context and in the Universal Periodic Review. We also welcome the Secretary General’s continued support to the continuation of the Human Rights Up Front Initiative, improving the secretariat’s capacity to respond to serious violations and prevent mass atrocities.

Sixth, in order to prevent atrocity crimes we must address the root causes of conflict and violent extremism conducive to terrorism, by ensuring respect for human rights and rule of law, and working toward effective sustainable development without discrimination of any groups.

The responsibility to protect means that we all need to do what we can to close the gap between aspiration and implementation. The Nordic countries are committed to doing their part.   

Thank you.