SC: Open Debate on maintenance of international peace and security

| Security Council

Mr. President, I have the honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and my own country, Norway. Today, in Norway, we are celebrating more than 200 years of our Constitution adopted in 1814. That is why my colleagues and I are wearing our national costumes.

We welcome this timely initiative by Poland, as respect for and promotion of international law are crucial for preserving peace, human rights, sustainable development and lasting access to the global commons.

The illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and the continued conflict in eastern Ukraine underline the importance of today’s debate. So do the blatant violations of international humanitarian law and the widespread abuses of human rights law in some current armed conflicts, including the horrific use of chemical weapons in Syria. There can be no impunity for such acts.

Under the United Nations Charter, the Security Council has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. With this comes vast responsibilities.

First, the UN Charter sets out an obligation to solve disputes by peaceful means. The Security Council should use the full potential of Chapter VI, which contains rules regarding peaceful settlement of disputes. The early and swift Council response to the crisis in the Gambia last year contributed to preventing a potential outbreak of violence. The collective security system worked, and the rules-based international order was upheld.

Second, the Council should fully support mediation efforts and good offices in a united manner. We welcome the initiatives of the Secretary-General to strengthen conflict prevention and mediation. Moreover, we urge the Council to consistently implement the agenda on women, peace and security. This could potentially restore peace and security in conflicts and prevent violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

Third, this Council acts on behalf of all member states, and must do so in in accordance with the Charter. The use of the veto to protect narrow national interests in situations of mass atrocities is not in line with the spirit of the Charter. We urge all governments to join the ‘Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes’ and the ‘Political Declaration on Suspension of Veto Powers in Cases of Mass Atrocity’launched by France and Mexico.

Fourth, regional organisations have a key role to play in preventing conflict and settling disputes at a regional level. The Council should make full use of Chapter VIII of the Charter and encourage the settlement of disputes through regional arrangements. In this context, we welcome the regular meetings between the Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council.

Fifth, judicial bodies, such as international courts, help to resolve disputes and uphold International law. The International Court of Justice continues to play an important role as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

In addition, all states have a duty to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of atrocity crimes. Situations where states are unable or unwilling to prosecute should be referred to the International Criminal Court.

Finally, we welcome the Secretary-General’s commitment to the Human Rights up Front Initiative and to making use of the early warning tools at his disposal (in accordance with article 99 of the Charter), as he did with regard to Myanmar.

Thank you.