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UNSC Meeting on Ukraine

UNSC 5/29

The Situation in Ukraine

By: Patrick Liu

Background: http://www.whatsinblue.org/2018/05/ukraine-briefing.php

 

  • Intro

     1.Briefing from Under-SG for Political Affairs - Rosemary A. DiCarlo

 

DiCarlo briefed the UNSC on the situation in Ukraine, focusing on the large portion of the Minsk provisions that remain unimplemented. DiCarlo underscored the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and specified that 3.4 million people are in need of humanitarian aid. Finally, due to the continuous quagmire, DiCarlo encouraged member states to alleviate this situation while also ensuring that the Ukrainian’ international humanitarian rights are respected.

    2. Briefing from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Chief to Ukraine - Amb. Ertugrul Apakan

The OSCE SMM Chief updated the UNSC on challenges to the Minsk Agreements, a deal signed by Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany in 2014 to alleviate the war in the Donbass region of Ukraine. This including difficulties on impact to civilians and longer-term consequences. Apakan urged the need for the parties to “agree on additional measures to make a ceasefire sustainable and irreversible.” Apkan further noted all the weapons violations that have happened ever since certain states reneged on the Minsk agreements. In the face of increased violence in the area, the SSM hopes to facilitate productive and cooperative dialogue on the ground

    3. Briefing from ASG Humanitarian Affairs - Ursula Mueller

The UNOCHA ASG, Ursula Mueller, insisted on the enhanced protection of civilians in the Ukrainian conflict and demanded that international rules and laws be respected by all parties in Ukraine. Mueller reminds the UNSC and the parties involved that “wars have limits,” especially when they affect civilians. In essence, she urged the relevant states to respect the tenets of international humanitarian law (also known as the law of armed conflict).  

Mueller lamented that, despite the greater humanitarian access available, the slow pace of funding to the humanitarian effort has forced many Ukrainians to reach the breaking point which could potentially increase tensions between the relevant parties.  

    4. Briefing from Poland Minister of Foreign Affairs - Jacek Krysztof Czaputowicz

The FM of Poland stood adamantly beside Ukraine, citing the “foolishness of those who underestimate the resiliency” of the Ukrainian people. The FM acknowledged that despite the Ukrainian Minister’s tremendous efforts, the UNSC members, with primary responsibilities to maintain peace and security, must continue to help resolve this conflict. The Poland FM emphasized this responsibility for both elected and permanent members. On the humanitarian front, the FM cited that the highest price in Ukraine “is to the civilians”. The FM uged Russia to allow greater international humanitarian aid into the affected regions, to restore freedoms, and to cease human rights violations.

The FM addressed Russia’s “illegal annexation of Crimea”, and stressed that it broke basic principles of international law, referencing the recent international law open debate. The FM urged Russia to admit to these blatant violations. The FM noted the continued intense military situation in Eastern Ukraine, and the violations to the Minsk agreement with regards to regular use of heavy weapons. The FM denounced Russia’s actions that undermine peace efforts, including the Malaysia Airlines plane that Russia shot down in 2014, and demanded that Russia utilize its influence to secure a sustainable cease fire.

The FM urged the UNSC to establish a peacekeeping mission, select a “special envoy to access the situation”, and dedicate efforts to easing tensions and restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

 

  • Statements from the P-5 members

 

    1. United States

The United States referenced the international law open debate. As a direct violation of sovereignty of the UN Charter of one state by another, the UNSC was designed to address this flagrant conduct. The US stated that “Russia insults our intelligence by saying [the Ukrainian conflict] is a homegrown conflict.” Instead, the US asserted the culpability of Russia as the driving force of the Ukrainian conflict, as well as its role in the downing of MH17. Russia is in Ukraine to control the country for its own benefit, not to protect the civilians. Because of Russia’s flagrant behavior in the Ukrainian crisis, the U.S. imposed sanctions against Russia. Consequently, during the debate, the U.S. belabored upon its sanctions against Russia.

2.United Kingdom

Due to of the increasingly volatile and dangerous situation in Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian situation and environmental damage mandate, the UK requested the UNSC to place the situation onto the UNSC’s agenda. Additionally,The UK called for all parties to respect the laws of war (law of armed conflict), and urged all parties to recommit to the ceasefire. The UK also demanded that Russia should adhere fundamental international rules, especially with reference to  its illegal annexation of Crimea.

Concerning the downing of MH17, the UK stressed that Russia is undoubtedly responsible and must accept responsibility. If Russia really cares about the people in Donbass, “[it] should stop the conflict that [it] started.”

3. Joint Statement France and Germany-will continue in the am

On behalf of both France and Germany, France emphasized that the Ukrainian situation is “not a frozen conflict” and parties must implement commitments undertook by the Minsk agreements. In regards to the security situation, France condemned the violations of ceasefire, particularly Russia’s violations, and hoped for an independent working team to investigate these violations. France insisted that the international community provide greater facilitation of humanitarian access and the accessibility of basic living necessities such as food, water, and shelter. France noted that a long-term resolution will depend on political and economic outcomes, not military. France restated their continued support for Ukraine, and hoped for a lasting peace throughout the European Continent.

            4.Russian Federation - (see below)

            5. China

China called on the ceasefire from all parties in order to stay on course for a political settlement in E. Ukraine. Because of the legitimate interests of diverse regional populations as well as the “complexities” of the conflict parties, China iterated that the Minsk agreement is the only path forward. In implementing the resolutions of the Minsk Agreement, China hoped for a comprehensive lasting peace and harmony through dialogue.

 

  • Statements from the Non P-5 members

 

    1. Europe: Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs - Stef Blok

The FM of the Netherlands emphasized the toll of the conflict on young Ukrainians and civilians, noting that the conflict has also put the “international rule book in jeopardy”. Furthermore, the FM focused on the escalation of the conflict leading to the downing of MH17 that killed 193 Dutch citizens as well as citizens from across the world. The Netherlands stressed that they will not rest “until justice is achieved” and Russia is held accountable for the downing. In order to establish truths and accountability, “no state has the right to remain silent”. With broad support from NATO, Australia, and European partners, the Netherlands demanded that Russia accept responsibility and work to ending the Ukrainian conflict.

           2.Latin America

Bolivia called on the parties involved to abide by the principles of the UN and international humanitarian law. Specifically, Bolivia demanded the protection of civilians in the increasingly dangerous conflict zones.Bolivia lamented the impact on “regional stability” from the ongoing conflict in E. Ukraine. Bolivia and Peru both condemned the use of antipersonnel mines and the downing of MH17.

            3. Central Asia

Kazakhstan urged for the overall disengagement of parties in the conflict of Ukraine. Moreover, Kazakhstan called for safe, unhindered access for monitors, as well as free access of humanitarian assistance to the conflict zones.

           4. Middle East

Kuwait expressed its concerns about the renewed fighting in Eastern Ukraine and urged states to implement the Minsk agreements. Kuwait further underlined the humanitarian aspects of the situation and condemned the illegal shelling that risks many civilians’ lives. Kuwait hoped that the parties will find a peaceful solution in line with the UNSC resolutions and the Minsk agreements.

            5. Africa

Equatorial Guinea emphasized the need for the parties involved to cooperate with the OSCE in order to make progress. In upholding the Minsk agreements, Equatorial Guinea urged parties to have an immediate ceasefire, facilitate safe access of humanitarian aid, and work to improve living conditions of civilians.

Ethiopia and Côte d’Ivoire similarly shared these concerns. Ethiopia addressed the downing of MH17 and urged the cooperation of all states and actors to investigate this “worst crime”. Côte d’Ivoire also stressed the devastation to civilian life and infrastructure in the absence of progress of implementation of the Minsk agreement.

 

  • Statement from Parties Involved

 

    1. Russian Federation

The Russian Federation took its time to respond to the points articulated by the rest of the UNSC: “I listened very carefully to my colleagues and so now you listen to me.” Russia described the conflict in Ukraine as not a “revolution of dignity”, but a revolution to overthrow power and take control. Russia defined the rhetoric as “pathetic expressions” from “people who are selling hot air”. Russia called out other UNSC members for falling into the trap of believing the propaganda from the “peace-loving” Ukraine. Russia reiterated that it is impossible to define an aggressor as Russia is not in a state of war with anyone, citing the movement of people across borders, the activity of business, and the absence of hostilities.

Russia proceeded to ask the UNSC if “Ukrainians are better off today after the revolution?”, despite the UNSC’s “self-imposed isolation from what is happening in Ukraine”. Russia described the hostilities being poured by authorities in Kiev, and the propaganda being spread by Ukrainian mass media that the UNSC are “unaware of”. Russia reported the recent killing of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko as yet another piece of evidence of hostility in Ukraine. Furthermore, Russia continued to mention sources of Ukrainian lawlessness, accusing the UN of “closing their eyes from it”. Russia emphasized this double standard of Ukrainian violence and lies presented as Russian slander and aggression.

Concerning the situation in Crimea, Russia highlighted that the people in Crimea have autonomy to move away from the “chaotic” Ukraine and honor their own heros instead of the ones honored by Kiev. Russia adamantly asserted that there have been no human rights violations in Crimea and no demand from the region to return to Kiev authority.

Afterwards, Russia went on a diatribe and accused UNSC members of purposefully encouraging instability along Russia’s borders. Russia asked the UNSC members if they truly understood the contents of the Minsk agreements or how to implement their articles. Russia urged the UNSC to refrain from rhetoric that impedes resolution of the crisis.

Russia shifted the blame onto Ukraine for shirking its responsibilities, and emphasized that the sequentiality of the agreements meant that ceasefire was only achievable after Ukraine implemented its portion of the Minsk agreements.

Turning toward the issue of MH17, Russia mourned the event but stressed that it was not planning on discussing the issue “because it not being relevant to the topic at hand today”. Russia accused the joint-investigation team of rushing the process, and noted that “some delegations who did not read it carefully decided to use it as anti-Russian sentiment”. Russia reasserted its role in demanding an investigation after the downing of MH17 and cooperating with the investigation by providing radio data. However, Russia expressed its frustration with the failure to account for the possibility of the missile originating from other territories, and insisted on a credible, true investigation in which Russia would be a fully fledged participant.

             Request of Netherlands

The FM of the Netherlands requested to interject after the statement from the Russian Federation. The FM expressed his disappointment of Russia’s continued efforts to discredit the results of the joint investigation team, and to spread impossible alternative theories to the downing of MH17. The FM accused Russia of denying irrefutable evidence, and failing to seriously try to achieve justice. The FM noted the veto exercised by Russia against the establishment of a tribunal for this case. The FM of the Netherlands stated the need for Russia to enter bilateral talks with Netherlands to determine their responsibility of the downing of MH17.

            2. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine - Pavlo Klimkin

Responding to Russia’s allegations against Ukraine, the FM of Ukraine illustrated the situation that led to Russia’s invasion, and the culpability of Russia in the downing of MH17. The FM of Ukraine alluded to Russia’s denial of conflict and urged the international community to reject Russia’s false view. The FM reaffirmed Ukraine’s commitment to the Minsk agreements and urged Russia to do the same. The FM cited the violations of international humanitarian law in the occupation of Crimea, and noted that “Russia’s list of violations is practically endless”. The FM of Ukraine urged Russia to stop this illegal occupation.

Moreover, the FM stressed Ukraine’s gratefulness for the international humanitarian assistance that it has been receiving, and hoped for a fully funded effort to continue to make a difference.

The FM highlighted its gratitude for the messages of solidarity from many members of the UNSC. The FM also expressed his condolences for the Russian reporter that was killed, but noted that he left Russia after threats to his family. Babchenko was considered an enemy to Moscow, and the FM commented on the history of political assassinations by Moscow.

            3. Russian Federation

In response to Ukraine’s statement, the Russian Federation sarcastically stated that it was “touched by Ukraine’s concern for Crimea”. However, Russia ensured Ukraine not to worry as the Crimean people are quite happy in their current situation. Russia again mentioned the purpose of the meeting to discuss Ukraine, and not Crimea as Crimea is a part of Russia.    

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Women and the Origins of the UN

Women and the Origins of the UN: A Southern Legacy

By

Lizzie McGowan

Opening Remarks

Moderators Monica Grayley, Chief-Editor of the UN News Multimedia  and Mauro Vieira, Permanent Representative of Brazil praised the profound work of Southern women during the early years of the UN. These women defied gender norms in their respective cultures paved the way for female visibility within affairs. The declaration of human rights and UN charters were revolutionary to the foundations of international law, and if it had not been for the contributions of women, these mandates might not be as inclusive in terms of gender equality. Unfortunately, men are credited with founding of the UN and little is known or celebrated about the roles of women.

Contrary to popular belief, many women contributed to the development of the UN, but only four were able to sign the charter. These four women were: Zoologist Dr. Bertha Lutz of Brazil, diplomat, Minerva Bernardino of the Dominican Republic, activist Wu yi Fang of China, and activist Virginia Gildersleeve of the United States. The legacy of these women illustrates how important it is to have women in leadership roles, international relations, and how their input has been crucial to the sustainability and inclusivity of the UN.

Part 1: Reassessing the Historical Contributions of Women at the Un Charter

Ms. Elise Deitrickson, a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)’s  Center of International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD)  said the “UN charter represents us all” and is considered the constitution of the world. More importantly, it was the first international agreement to recognize women’s rights as a fundamental part of human rights. Throughout the development of the UN Charter, women from the Global South, in addition to women from the Global North were considered extreme by their male counterparts for strongly advocating for the inclusion of women. These women were not afraid to go against the grain and understood the urgency of having an internationally binding document that provided equality for men and women.

If it had not been for the presence of these women “demanding a seat at the table” in the drafting process, the charter would contain no language defending women's rights. A hallmark achievement in the charter is Article 8, which states that women must have equal participation in the UN. The existence of this article would not have been possiblem if it had not been for Latin American female delegates.

Fatima Sator, another research associate at SOAS’ CISD, said Latin American women played a crucial role in international women’s rights. She cited that her passion for gender equality in conjunction with her interest in international studies prompted her to research the role women played in founding the UN. Her research indicated the importance of  remarkable women from particular Latin American. She concluded that, “If it had not been for Latin American women, we can question where gender inequality would be today.” Therefore, Latin American female delegates helped the UN Charter to provide a foundation for international gender equality norms.

Sator further remarked that even though these women were ridiculed, they knew the importance of setting a powerful precedent in international law. Albeit, much progress has been made, there is still work to do. Currently, no country can claim full gender equality. To build on the work of the women of the south, we should challenge ourselves to learn about the work of feminist throughout the world and emulate their fortitude to be change agents.

Dr. Rebecca Adami, a senior lecturer at Stockholm University, explained how Latin women in the UN formed a separatists commission focused on implementing women’s rights into the charter. Since they were in a male dominated environment, their group experienced gender discrimination to impede their progress. For example, they were intentional delays in having their documents translated into their language. Nevertheless, they continued to press their agenda of legal and social improvements for women in the charter even though they were outnumbered by men.

Interestingly enough, Eleanor Roosevelt declined to participate in their committee and did not support their efforts to have language in the charter specifically stating “women” being equal to men. Instead, she sided with many of the male delegates by wanting to only use “men.”  Though they faced a daunting battle, they successfully implemented these changes.

Part II: The Global South as a Gender Trailblazer

Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan mentioned that Pakistani women worked tirelessly to become the custodians of human rights. These women persevered through cultural adversity in the Islamic world to ensure women were included in the discourse on social and legal inclusion. Advocating for women’s rights in a male dominated society in conjunction with the influence of religious rules meant the few women leadership were faced with obstacles that were deeply woven into their society. However, in making significant strides in achieving gender equality, they were able to be trailblazers and create new societal norms. In breaking the glass ceiling, they demonstrated the value of women in leadership roles. However, today the work of these women is under threat from extreme nationalism, far right politics, and racism. It is just as important today as it was during the drafting of the UN charter to stop the erasure of gender equality and uphold Article 8.

Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, the Permanent Representative of India to the UN mentioned  women from India, who made large contributions to the UN foundational documents who played active roles in decolonizing the country. Not only did indian women changed the narrative on the right to development, economic, social, and cultural rights within their country, they also made a significant impact internationally on these issues. The current narrative of gender equality is focused on the contribution from women of the global north and does not mention the pivotal role of women in developing countries.

An example of a pioneering woman from the south was Viyjaya Lakshimi Pandit of India. She was the first female president of the UN general assembly in 1953. This groundbreaking achievement was the beginning of a strong legacy of southern leadership within the UN. To date, there have been 3 female general assembly presidents, all from the global south.

Ambassador Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, the Permanent Representative of Ghana explained that  prominent women from Ghana, defied the odds of colonialism and patriarchy immensely, contributed to international women's rights issues. She cited the work of justice Annie Ruth Jiaggie, a Ghanaian lawyer, judge, and women’s rights activist.  Justice Jiaggie’s work within the UN from 1962-1996 provided a voice for African women in the UN. From 1962- 1972, she served on the UN commission of the status of women and was a “driving force” in shaping its programs. The contributions of African women should inspire younger generation to continue to push for gender equality regardless of the circumstances they face.

Ambassador Maria Emma Mejia Velez, the Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN argued that women were always present in the most important moments at the UN and continues to make significant efforts to end gender equality. There was a cultural fight that took place to have recognition among the vast majority of male delegates. Women were expected to get coffee and perform menial tasks, while the men were the primary decision makers. Though they faced these obstacles, they proved themselves to be competent decision makers by successfully implementing the inclusion of women in the charter. Their influence made way for women in the future gain critical leadership roles within the UN. As a result, they helped to diminish the pervasive patriarchal culture in international relations.  

Ambassador Maria Emma Mejia Velez noted that to continue pushing for women's empowerment, there must be emphasis on achieving sustainable development goal (SDG) five. This goal aims to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls, will be a key factor in making that difference for global gender inequality.  With the current international climate, it is important that women in the UN ensure that the progress gained in the achievements of the southern women are not lost.

Zandidi Bingu spoke on behalf of Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila, the Permanent Representative of South Africa and said the women from the south have held important positions at the UN. In this capacity, they have made tremendous contributions to ending the aids epidemic. Additionally, they have worked to domesticized the norms of gender equality and symbiotically work with the UN.

Part III: Importance of Women from the South

Koki Gignon (Kenya), Vice Chair of the CSW’s Commission  Bureau said Kenya was a pioneer in sending female diplomats to the UN in the 1960s. When women's narratives are shared with young female students from the south, it will be a great source of inspiration.

Anita Nayer, the Director of “Regions Refocus”, underscored that it is important that we learn from our past to be prepared for our future. To implement this approach, she recommended three items: 1. reclaim the agency and analysis of south feminists by looking at how their contributions shaped the legacy of gender rights, 2. recognize the value of south feminists analysis to ongoing issues affecting gender equality, and 3. integrate governmental and feminists positions with integrity and with agency. The amalgam of these recommendations will ensure the involvement of women in geopolitical sphere and demonstrate the value of the feminists perspective in policy development.

Closing Remarks

Ms. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the  Chef de Cabinet to the UN Secretary-General, closed by highlighting the important role southern women have played in the development and implementation of pioneering resolutions throughout the history of the UN.

She further remarked that “we must also remember our history.” These groundbreaking resolutions were aimed at gender equality and establishing mechanisms to facilitate peace. The contributions of southern feminists to the gender equality struggle serve as a blueprint for feminists to move forward in protecting their accomplishments and continuing work as activists.

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Side Event: Protecting Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas

Side Event: Protecting Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas

Following the UNSC debate on the protection of civilians, the International Network on Explosive Weapons,Permanent Missions of Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Mozambique hosted a panel discussion on protecting civilians from the effects of explosive weapons. Ambassador Jan Kickert provided the introductory remarks. Ms. Anna de Courcy Wheeler of Article 36; Ms. Veronique Christory of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Ambassador Antonia Fumende of Mozambique, and Ms. Sahr Muhammedally, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) were the panelists.

Ambassador Kickert of Austria briefed the audience on the severity of civilians being massacred by explosive weapons in urban areas. The indiscriminate nature of the bombing has created a startling humanitarian crisis that must urgently be addressed if there is to be an end to the senseless killings. International law is not implemented in this regard and as a result, innocent lives are lost and no accountability is taken. To stop the targeting of civilians, there must be change in military policy and practice. Implementing these new guidelines will help ensure that urban areas are not targeted and normalize protecting civilians.

Ms. Anna de Courcy Wheeler underscored that the 92% of war casualties being civilians. Unfortunately, this number is expected to worsen if change is not made in how the international community approaches this subject. She further cited that between 60-70 countries experience violence via explosives. For instance, in Mosul, Iraq, 40,000 civilians have been killed as a result of explosives.

Drawing upon her example, one could extrapolate that military culture must change because most harm occurs when militaries choose a target in a heavily populated area. The use of aircraft bombs, IED’s, and rocket propelled grenades are all examples of the bombs used to kill people in urban areas. For those not directly hit by bombs, shrapnel and getting hit with large objects also contribute to the death toll. Under these circumstances, the conditions are ripe for civilians to develop PTSD. As the situation continues to deteriorate, it more important than ever to provide aid and rehabilitation to survivors of the bombings and ensure that aid workers are able to remain in affected areas without fear of indiscriminate targeting.

Ms Veronique Christory of the ICRC gave a vivid description of the environmental and infrastructure damage of urban bombing. She highlighted that this trend is rapidly growing in areas of conflict and has become the new normal in war. The direct effect of indiscriminate bombing is immediate loss of life and infrastructure. However, very little is mentioned about the indirect effects of explosive devices. The indirect effect of bombs are the contaminated water and food, damage to access of vital services, and denial of access to humanitarian aid. Tainted food and water contributes to the spread of serious illnesses  and malnutrition. The increased numbers of sick people is made worse by the lack of infrastructure and medical workers to treat them. These examples of indirect effects illustrate that bombings adversely affect civilians both immediately following the bombing and in the long term as well.

Ambassador Antonia Fumende of Mozambique, made it very clear that his country is very concerned about explosive weapons and referenced the issues they have faced in managing  them. Since most most people live in urban areas, it is of utmost importance that military activities do not take place there. He cited an incident in his country where the improper management of stored weapons resulted in many innocent lives being lost. Unfortunately the bombs at the facility accidentally exploded killed civilians. This cautionary tale proves that explosive devices are serious weapons that must be regulated.

Ms. Sahr Muhammedally of CIVIC offered a solution as to what can be done to fix indiscriminate targeting of civilians. She suggested that civilian and military leadership can help this problem in conjunction with policies, tools, and training. For tools, there should be assessments of civilian harm and a blueprint as to how the info will be analyzed to change policies. Proper training will empower forces to react in different situations, equip them to use appropriate weapons, and know how to react when indirect fire is used. All things considered, weapons manufacturers should be pressed by governments to make better weapons suitable for use in urban areas. Preferably war should occur in non-populated areas because the current explosive devices are designed to for those environments. But since the urbanization of war is growing, policy decisions on explosives must be made to address this trend.

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UNSC Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict

By: Patrick Liu and Lizzie Mcgowan

Concept Note: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2018/444

 

1. Intro 

A. Briefing by Secretary-General representative, Antonio Guterres

 

The SG briefed the UNSC on the current situation of civilians in conflict, noting the endless “displacement, disappearances, and destruction of civilian infrastructure.” He urged states to enforce respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law. He further outlined an implementation plan for national policy frameworks to protect civilians in conflict. The SG also mentioned “codes of conduct for state and non-state actors” and other mechanisms to end impunity on violations to civilians in conflict. In closing, the SG connected the protection of civilians to the prospect of lasting profound peace.

B. Briefing from Director General of ICRC, Yves Daccord

Yves Daccord briefed the council on the issue from a lens of international humanitarian law. He expressed his concern for the lack of protection of civilians despite the “rhetoric” on the issue. Furthermore, the respect for the principle of humanity falls on the “shoulders of states.” Daccord advised a banning of certain heavily destructive and “indiscriminately affecting” weapons and a review of military doctrines to ensure that medical facilities and workers are protected in conflict zones. Daccord addressed the situation in detention centers, and the persistence of missing persons in conflict. Daccord concluded his brief by providing a view of optimism with respect to international humanitarian law. With a positive focus on IHL, Daccord emphasized the responsibility for states to uphold IHL and ensure “partners and proxies” do so as well.

C. Briefing from Civil Society Representative, Hanaa Edwar

Hanaa Edwar, an Iraqi women’s advocate, noted the need for early warning mechanisms for violations of international humanitarian law. In addition to urging the protection of the “fellow human beings”, Edwar contended that “women’s rights to full participation must also be respected.”

D. Briefing by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Jacek Czaputowicz

The FM of Poland cited “a global protection crisis” as addressed in the SG’s report. In addressing this issue, the FM stressed an “inclusive peace process” focusing on prevention, protection, and accountability. Specifically, the FM focused on the legal frameworks for landmines and chemical weapons that must achieve universal support by states. In regards to accountability, the FM urged “more frequent” use of the ICC to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and put an end to impunity on the issue.

2. Statements from the P-5 members

A. United States

The US cited the UNSC’s responsibility and obligation to insist on respect for international humanitarian law. The UNSC should also be honest and clear and apply “meaningful pressure” against states that violate IHL standards. Moreover,The US urged the development of “credible national accountability mechanisms” to promote prosecutions of crimes against humanity at the national level.

B. United Kingdom

The UK addressed the “core mandate” of the UNSC in protecting civilians globally, referencing the “indiscriminate shelling” in and around Donetsk in Ukraine and the civilian threats in Syria and South Sudan. Focusing on peacekeeping operations, the UK supported the strengthening of its human rights components. Lastly, the UK emphasized the need to end the climate of impunity.

C. France

France reiterated the UNSC’s commitment to protect civilians against harm and danger. France especially emphasized the “operational aspects” of civilian protection. However in the face of eminent danger, France cited that if peacekeepers can’t protect themselves, then “they won’t likely be able to protect others.” France further urged states to protect medical staff, humanitarian personnel, journalists, and detainees.

D.Russian Federation

Russia cited “traditional spiritual and moral values” that should allow the UNSC to avoid difference of opinion on protection. However, Russia lambasted the  UNSC for “politicizing” core humanitarian obligations. Russia continued its argument by identifying the mis-steps taken by the UNSC through the “primitive judgments” that had assigned blame based on flawed information. Russia specifically underscored that the use of any means to protect civilians, “especially the use of force can only be possible with support of the UNSC.”

E. China

China centered its statement on the “root causes” of conflict as the best preventative strategy in protecting civilians. “Political solutions will spare civilians from harm” expressed China.

China further maintained that international protection efforts must not supersede the primary protection responsibilities and prerogatives of states. Turning to UN peace operations, China commended the work of humanitarian workers, but it insisted that they must “remain neutral” and respect the sovereignty of the affected state.

3. Statements from the Non P-5 members

A. European States (Netherlands, Sweden, Ukraine, Switzerland, Ireland and the Holy See)

In regards to the protection of civilians, the Netherlands focused its discussion focused on how food insecurity is an act of war. This association between food insecurity and acts of war is being incorporated into the Netherland’s International Crimes Act.  

The Netherlands explained 5.4 million people were without food in South Sudan. Food insecurity is a major source of conflict due to starvation being used as a war tactic. Consequently, this has created a legacy of starvation and malnutrition that has affected generations of people, which has in turn stifled development.

Since the Netherlands considers food insecurity to be an act of war, the Netherlands underscored that it  is of utmost importance for the UNSC to find a solution to this problem and must prosecute the actors who have committed these atrocities.  

Switzerland contended that protection of civilians is a key aspect of security. The frequency in attacks on medical facilities and schools was appalling and it is up to the UNSC to utilize its resources to stop it. There should also be more attention paid to the continuing trend of urbanization of conflicts and the utilization of starvation as a war tactic. To end starvation as a war tactic, Switzerland presented five key priorities: 1.enhance respect for international humanitarian law, 2.accountability for violation of international humanitarian law, 3. implementation of 2286 on the protection of healthcare workers, and 4.  dedicate special attention to protecting civilians, 5. Support peacekeeping missions by the UN and NGOs.

Sweden said that international human rights law is sufficient to aid civilians in armed conflict if implemented. There should also be more attention paid to women and children in relation to how to best serve their needs during conflicts. This can be done if the UNSC resolution 2286 is applied. In the same fashion, Ukraine called for more accountability and protection of innocent civilians in conflict. They noted they were still reeling from the effects of Russian aggression on civilians populations. If some member states, especially one on the permanent council, continued to “turn a blind eye” to the mandates of the ICJ, there would be no hope in reducing civilian casualties. Ireland said that the use of explosive weapons in civilian areas indiscriminately was a serious cause for concern. To end the use of explosives, there should be calls for more accountability and reverence for international humanitarian law. The Holy See said that attacks against health facilities and aid works were serious destabilizing factors affecting war torn regions. Since these are serious violations of International and humanitarian law, there should be more done to prevent war and find peaceful solutions to political disputes.

B. Latin America

Bolivia began their statements by highlighting the death toll of the “March of Return” and how it just one of many examples of civilians being slaughtered in war. They cited that over 50 million civilians have been targeted by armed conflict in urban areas. It is imperative the international community do everything within its power to protect civilians and health care workers on the front lines of these battles. Peru shared similar sentiments and asserted that rampant impunity was a major source of inaction in protecting civilians and aid workers. Since all states are supposed to uphold international law, there should be more accountability and preventative measures taken.

Panama, spoke on behalf of the Human security network and expressed similar sentiments with their Latin American counterparts. Their most important priority is the protection of civilians, in addition to working with the UNSC. In order to improve security for them in the line of fire, traditional security measures must be complimented with a comprehensive approach based on the needs of the people to prevent conflict. Enforcing the rule of law in conjunction with the UNSC’s support of NGOs and IGOs, can result in better protecting civilians.

C. Central Asia

Kazakhstan noted that 75% of all war victims were civilians. Therefore, the UNSC should have three protection priorities, compliance with the IHL, protection of civilians, and provide technical and financial support for NGO and IGOs on the ground. The role of peacekeeping operations is an important component in supporting protection priorities and Kazakhstan is willing to support these efforts politically. Member states must do more to  address the needs of vulnerable groups is most important, capacity build, and encourage respecting the rule of law.

D.Middle East (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Qatar)

Kuwait called upon the international community to improve its efforts in protecting civilians during conflict and noted a connection between conflict and displaced persons. For sustainable peace to thrive, the root causes of the conflict must be addressed. Highlighting the importance of of protecting humanitarian aid works, he mentioned the violence affecting civilians in Syria. Saudi Arabia expressed similar views and pointed to the humanitarian disaster on the Gaza strip as an example of innocent civilians being massacred. They also addressed the situation in Yemen and noted they, in conjunction with other partners, were planning on saving the Yemeni people.

Iraq cited their compliance with humanitarian law and its countries successful military efforts in regaining territories. Further, Iraq has made significant gains to efforts to protect their civilians and provide rehabilitation services to former child ISIS recruits. Qatar stressed that value of accountability and judicial instruments to improve prospects of justice in regards to the most serious crimes of war and against civilian infrastructure. They also reiterated the need to keep journalists safe because they an important role in accountability and investigating the events on the ground.

E. African States (Equatorial Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Ghana)

Equatorial Guinea mentioned the “growing vulnerability of civilians” as a factor in reducing positive benefits of resilience building efforts. Further, they called for an end to the strategic use of hunger as a war tactic. Attribution for these atrocities are the fiscal and climate crisis that are heightened by the chronic vulnerabilities of civilian various populations. With this in mind, there should never be politicization the protection of civilians. Cote d’Ivoire expressed similar views by reflected the the horrors of their post election conflict. From these experiences, they understand the importance of maintaining peace and the high value of protecting civilians. Therefore, it is important that all stakeholders emphasize international standards of protection.

Ethiopia harped on how the protection of civilians continues to be a problem for the global community and the UNSC. Since asymmetric warfare continues to be a problem the need for the implementation of internal law must become a priority. Comparatively, Rwanda  noted that peacekeeping and protection of civilians should remain a top priority for the UNSC. Unarmed peacekeepers have played an important role in keeping civilians safe. She then cited Rwanda’s tragic history as a reminder that the UN is charged with responsibility to protect the innocent and make effective contributions to peacekeeping efforts. Ghana made light of limited UN success in preventing mass casualties within civilian populations. To remedy these kinds of atrocities, there must be full compliance with international law and comprehensive investigations of abuse.

 

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UNSC Meeting on Libya

UNSC: United Nations Support Mission in Libya

5/21

By Patrick Liu

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) received a briefing on the situation in Libya from Ghassan Salamé, SRSG and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), and Amb. Olof Skool (Sweden), chair of 1970 Sanctions Committee. The briefing updated the UNSC on the implementation of the UN Action Plan for Libya and the recent activities of the UNSMIL. Additionally, the UNSC discussed the current status of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), an agreement designed to establish unified and legitimate institutions with the capacity to deliver basic services.

Concerning the security situation, Libya had recent developments around Derna in Northeast Libya as well as an increased fighting south of Libya. Libya is also currently in preparations for parliamentary and presidential elections despite the terrorist attack by ISIS on the High Commission for National Elections in Tripoli on May 2nd. Amongst the instability, migrants in Libya continue to suffer from human rights violations by state officials, armed groups, traffickers, and criminal gangs. It is evident that there is a negative impact of the prolonged military and political conflict on the economic and humanitarian situation in Libya.

http://www.whatsinblue.org/2018/05/libya-briefing-and-consultations-2.php

https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/sc13347.doc.htm

 

  • Intro

 

    1. Briefing on Libya from Special Representative of the Secretary-General: Mr. Ghassan Salamé

The Special Representative of the UNSG cited the “pockets of hope and concern” across Libya. For instance, while there have been positive developments with respect to democratization and peaceful elections, these positive developments have been overshadowed by border threats in southern Libya and violent actions in the major cities.  

In order to ameliorate the situation  in Libya, the Special Representative urged the unification of state institutions and the military. The special representative also hoped that the UNSC will focus on ensuring peaceful democratic elections in Libya.

On the humanitarian front, the special representative advocated for a renewed attention to tackling armed groups as well as traffickers of goods.” Lastly, the special representative lauded the dialogue in the UNSC, but hoped that the “aspirations of millions” will not be thwarted by the few. In closing, the special representative underscored that “when the UNSC speaks with a clear and unified voice, the Libyans listen.”

https://unsmil.unmissions.org/remarks-srsg-ghassan-salam%C3%A9-united-nations-security-council-situation-libya-21-may-2018

    1. Briefing on Sanctions Committee from Sweden

The Sanctions Committee briefing shared reports citing the possibility of new sanctions against 6 individuals, who have been accused of human trafficking and slavery.

 

  • Statements from the P-5 members

 

    1. United States

The US renewed its stance behind peace efforts in Libya, as “lawlessness in Libya concerns us all.” The US also restated its position to support sanctions in Libya against groups that continue to violate international law.

In terms of finding a political solution, the US backed the UN dialogue as the only mediation process capable of supporting Libya. The US also addressed the need for a constitutional basis for both the presidential and parliamentary elections to ensure its validity. The US condemned the cowardly attacks on the elections committee.

    1. United Kingdom

The UK welcomed the elections and congratulated the people on achieving 2.4 million citizens registered to vote. Yet despite this accomplishment, the UK reiterates that the millions must participate in a “credible” electoral process. To this extent, Libya must coordinate the electoral process with the UN in order to ensure that  election results will be fair and accepted.

    1. France

France focused its attentions to the high tensions related to terror threats. In response, France pressed for the unification of the national military, under civilian control, to restore peace in all Libya regions. In terms of Libya’s economy, France cited the need to safeguard” the banking and oil production sectors from those seeking to “pillage” the country.

    1. Russian Federation

Russia acknowledged the complexity of the Libyan situation Russia continued by stating that Libyans should ultimately decide their own future for themselves. With the UN taking a leading role, Russia warned against “neighborly influences” that could impose interventionist influences on Libya.

    1. China

China supported the international community focus to restore effective governance in Libya. Politically, China pressed an inclusive dialogue from national to local. In regards to security, China encouraged Libyan actors to practice trust-building measures to enable conditions for the UN action plan. Lastly, China supported sanctions and called on the Arab Union, African Union, and European Union to lead in assisting Libya through the political process.

 

  • Statements from the Non P-5 members

 

    1. European (Netherlands, Sweden, Poland)

The Netherlands discussed efforts to end the political crisis in LIbya through well-prepared elections.

In regards to the migrants issues involving violations and abuses of human rights, the Netherlands pushed the use of sanctions against such traffickers. The Netherlands also focused their efforts on the “economies of predation” present in Libya due to the criminalization of the economy and urged the UNSC to address the situation as well..

Finally, the Netherlands stated that the international community and the UNSC should stand-by, ready to help Libya at any moment.

Other European states, such as Sweden and Poland, echoed similar views. Sweden added that due to the critical security situation, states must refrain from jeopardizing the political process in Libya. Furthermore, Sweden emphasized the bottom-up approach used to encourage the elections and build trust in the political process. Similarly, Poland explained that free and fair elections could mark the end of the volatile transition process for Libya.

    1. Latin America (Bolivia, Peru)

Bolivia highlighted the roles of regional actors, such as the League of Arab States and the African Union in strengthening the Libyan political process. In lieu of increasing tensions and clashes among armed groups, Bolivia also urged states to lay down arms and stop “bellicose rhetoric” that might imperil the success so far. Bolivia also cited international humanitarian law and the ICC investigations to protect migrant persons. Lastly, Bolivia reaffirmed that the political “dialogue” is the only solution to the Libyan situation.

Peru shared many of these positions Moving forward, Peru also urged the EU and AU to fight against the impunity of trafficking groups, and recommended the use of fiscal policies to combat corruption in the Libyan economy.

    1. Central Asia (Kazakhstan)

Kazakhstan called on the stakeholders and the UNSC to create an inclusive dialogue to promote the permanent stability of LIbya. Kazakhstan further insisted that the international community create more “favorable conditions” for political dialogue.

    1. Middle East (Kuwait)

Kuwait addressed the political development of Libya, recommending adequate preparations for the general congress and for mechanisms to form a new executive authority. For the security challenges that Libya faces, Kuwait n recommended for the establishment of the rule of law and the unification of military forces under civilian leadership. Lastly, Kuwait noted the increased optimism of Libyan economy, due to the continued production of oil.

    1. African States (Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia)

Cote d’Ivoire emphasized that a resolution to the crisis in Libya is “important for Africa as a whole.” Cote d’Ivoire remarked about the progress made on local elections and the possibility for the ICC to expand investigations into migrant-related crimes. Ethiopia similarly addressed this issue by stating the need for a unified UNSC to address the “unacceptable” actions in Libya associated with human trafficking. To this end, Equatorial Guinea also focused on the need for the UN to hold Libyans, who have violated IHL, accountable. EG also noted the “spillover effect” that negative political and military actions have negative consequences for economic and social aspects of Libya.

 

  • Statement from Libya

 

Libya welcomed the international community to work alongside Libyans to create a modern and democratic state, free from meddling. Libya supported the UN plan of action and discussed the need for a unified approach instead of a fragmented effort. Libya concluded in expressing its hope in becoming a state “that can take on its own security and resolve crises related to weapons proliferation and organized crime.”

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UNSC Meeting on International Law

UNSC: Meeting on International Law

05/17

By Patrick Liu and Lizzie Mcgowan

This open debate was on the topic of “Maintenance of international peace and security: Upholding international law within the context of the maintenance of international peace and security”. Hosted by the President of Poland, this conference featured the SG, as well as other member nations invited to speak at the debate. Additional information can be found here.

I. Intro

A. Briefing from Secretary General Chef de Cabinet Ribeiro Viotti

On behalf of the Secretary General, Viotti urged debate to result in a clarity on the role of the SC in “peaceful settlement of disputes”. Viotti cited the UNSC-mandate tribunals that have contributed to the definition and implementation of international law and the positive law-related efforts by the Council in South Sudan and Central African Republic. Viotti concluded that the NSC has a role in reducing suffering and impunity by enforcing accountability mechanisms and investigating international law crimes, referencing ISIL in Iraq.

B. Briefing from Judge Owada

Judge Owada additionally praised the UNSC’s efforts to promote regular discussion and foster collaboration between the SC and the ICJ. Owada emphasizes justice and international law as essential to peace and security. In exercising its “executive functions”, the UNSC is bolstered through the ICJ judicial opinion, as compliance with ICJ rulings is in the best interest of the international community. Therefore the UNSC should be more proactive in recommending that member states take their disputes to the ICJ. Even further he emphasizes that the UNSC should play a stronger role in monitoring the proper implementation of ICJ decisions. Overall, Owada hopes that the UNSC will consult with the ICJ more on issues of international law.

C. Briefing from Judge Theodor Meron

Judge Meron, President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, highlighted the atrocities that are still committed in today's world. Meron mentioned the former Rwanda and Yugoslavia tribunals that had “profound change” on assumptions that those committing atrocities must face justice. However Meron also noted the “worrying concerns of contraction” as trust levels in the international community seem to be waning. Even more so he noted that national jurisdictions must take up “the lion’s share” of prosecutions to ensure peace and security internationally.

With regards to the UNSC, Meron urges more robust leadership in holding criminals accountable and in creating “more objective criteria” of implementation. Additionally, instead of the UNSC’s role as a political body, Meron suggested it should become a “representative political body” acting on behalf of the international community. Lastly, Meron presses the SC to abandon its “gate-keeping” proclivity; and instead, it should use other legal mechanisms to ensure accountability.

II. Statements from Permanent Members (and President of Poland)

A. Poland

The President of Poland addressed “certain rights of nations”, and notes that where “force is stronger than friendship,” states and peoples tend to be preoccupied only with their own interests. He continues and reminds the SC that “there is no peace without law”. He invited all to consider how international law can address “contemporary challenges to peace.” In order to resolve conflict, Poland mentioned the need to define the perpetrators of terrorism and violence preventing international peace.

Poland addressed active sanctions against state and non-state actors who ignore their international legal obligations that can be used in the “dark hour” for international humanitarian law. It exemplifies the “illegal occupation of Crimea” and laments other “frozen” regional conflicts. President Duma also supported an accountability mechanism with emphasis on chemical weapons crimes. Poland’s security policy also stresses the importance of weapons non-proliferation.

The President concluded that the “good faith” principle is indispensable to the fullness of international law. In closing, the law should never be at odds with justice, and Poland affirms the need to restore trust in international law.

B. U.S.

The US highlighted the UN Charter’s connection to the US constitution in the words “We the Peoples.” The Charter additionally mandated the respect of human rights, and the obligation of member states to abide by international humanitarian law. These steps hold an undeniable connection to maintaining international peace.

The US pointed out, however, the challenges faced in the “follow-through” of upholding these fundamental values. The US further claimed that the UN should intervene on behalf of international law, defending its right to do so against others claims of “sovereignty”. “The paralysis in the face of so much suffering is unacceptable” concluded the US.

C. U.K.

The United Kingdom maintained that international law is the foundation of peace and security under the UN. The UK further cited Crimea’s annexation as a major violation of international law that continues to claim lives. “There must be no impunity when international law is violated” emphasized the UK Minister of State.

The UK again mentioned the obligations of the international community to help states reach their responsibilities to maintain peace and security. The UK also offered its support to the Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court – stating that these deterrents will only work with the full cooperation of states.

D. France

France declared that the primacy of law is at the heart of the UN, and is the cornerstone of multilateral order. In maintaining international law and peace, the Security Council can and should act as the “strong arm” to insist on state compliance.

On the comment of “annexation”, France stressed that states are obligated not to recognize such gains through the use of force. In order to combat impunity, France also urged the UNSC to fulfill its mission to encourage states to cooperate with the ICC to bring to just and hold those accountable. Lastly, France advised for the unilateral suspension of the veto power for the members with such power, noting that such members have obligations to uphold the Charter values that it insists for other states.

E. China

China reflected on the rising number of regional conflicts and security threats. With these challenges to the UN, international law is constantly being contested. China recommends that states strictly adhere to international law, and that they should consider integrating international law into their state systems as their duty to uphold “legal and just” acts. Additionally, in these modern times, China urged the rejections of “zero-sum” and “cold war” thinking. Reminding the Council that “the life of the law is in its implementation”, China further explained that sanctions levied outside of the UNSC framework will impede the search for a just peace. Lastly, China asserted the right of people to choose their own methods of governance, but demanded that this choice cannot interfere or undermine global governance cooperation.

F. Russia

Russia noted the main principles of international relations built into the UN Charter. It specifically distinguished the ban of use of force without Security Council authority or in “self-defense.” Given this fundamental value, Russia expressed concerns of larger, more powerful states taking advantage of smaller states. Russia directed its comments at the US in Syria, while they “weren’t invited”, clearly violating international law. The US, as well as UK and France, as three permanent members of the UNSC, also violated international law when they carried out a bombing on April 14.

Lastly, Russia accused the US as the UN host country of abusing its powers and threatening Russian real estate holdings. It concluded by urging countries to continue “good faith”, non-abusive relationships and conflict resolution mechanisms.

III. Statements from non-permanent members

A. Europe

The European Union explained that respecting international and refugee law, \is important to stymying terror threats. In this vein, there should also be swift and severe punishment for violators of the ICC. The law of the sea or the “constitution of the oceans,” has major implications on conflicts and international cooperation. External action should be applied to the implementation of international law and the peaceful settlements of disputes. Moreover, there should be a collaborative effort within the international community to respond to crises, in addition to the SC having a systematic review of threats.

Several other European countries expressed similar views. Sweden emphasized that international institutions should “harness” war and that international law is a modern part of international relations. Selectively following rules and impunity from certain powerful countries should not be tolerated. The Netherlands affirmed UNSC’s role to take collective action to protect vulnerable people when their native country cannot. Ireland said that legal norms without enforcement are insufficient. Ireland and Spain view the court as an excellent tool to bring about peace and enforce international law. Spain said that they attach great importance to international law and the ICC as well.

B. Latin America ( Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, and Brazil)

Bolivia cited the evolving commitments to multilateralism and its legal framework, but also the increase in state actors violating these frameworks or fulfilling them only selectively, especially with regard to the “use of force”. These violations are a danger to maintaining justice and should be addressed. Accordingly, the UN Charter should have wider applications to resolve disputes. “International law mandates a positive duty to promote justice” emphasizes Bolivia. Bolivia also highlighted the “double standards” used regarding applications of international law, and stressed its rejection in resolving violations of such laws.

Many other Latin America states shared similar views as Bolivia. Peru additionally emphasized the role of the Council as the source of law itself. Brazil separately addressed the use of force, even when justified, creates great damage and has implications under international law.

C. Central Asia - Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan lauded the UNSC for the opportunity to reflect on international justice responsibilities as “the sign of a healthy institution.” Kazakhstan also points out the major threat to international law posed by nuclear weapons possession. However, Kazakhstan urge dthe UNSC to utilize its Article 33 tools referring to conflict dispute mechanisms such as referring conflicts to the ICJ. Moving forward, Kazakhstan advised that member-states should engage in an “ongoing dialogue” with “open minds” to find the best tools to promote justice and maintain peace.

D. East Asia (Japan, Pakistan)

Japan noted that the primary UNSC limitation is related to implementation of international law. Consequently, Japan contended that the UNSC cannot do everything itself, so it must make use of other bodies.

Pakistan reminded the UNSC that international law “ rejects the right” to do as a country pleases.  More importantly, the UNSC must be the “embodiment of collective aspirations.” However, they have failed to do so because of ignoring international law. To do this, the UNSC must end selectivity in its resolutions and what it deems as important. Solutions to peace and security cannot be a top-down approach.

E. Middle East and Arab States

Iran argued that unilateralism and disrespect for the international system constitutes major threats to international law. On the issue of use of force, the UN has achieved many milestones but there are some countries that continue to issue threats. They explicated that unilateral efforts on behalf of the U.S. to stymie their “right to development” undermines international law. Noting this, Iran segwayed into the United States’ “addiction to sanctions” and material breach of the JCPOA as additional violations of international law.

Kuwait mentioned that the rule of law and development are interconnected and are essential for economic growth. Implementing laws and following them are key to maintaining peace and ending impunity. Therefore, the UNSC must hold Israel accountable for its violations. In that vein, the relocating of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was a clear indication that the U.S. has a strong alliance with Israel and condones their violations of international law. Abuse of veto power by UNSC members is a roadblock to progress, accountability, and conducting investigations. Lastly, the UNSC and international community should remember that arbitration and negotiation are useful tools at their disposal to ensure that peace, justice, and stability are maintained.

Israel chose to focus its discussion on international law to recent escalations between Hamas and Israel. Israel alleged that Hamas’ acts were not “ not acts of peaceful protest;” rather, they were acts of aggression and violence. It further stated that “enemies without redlines” based “cynical calculations” are violations to international law. Therefore, Hamas is attempting to continue their agenda of violence and infiltration of Israel.

“Egypt said that more attention should be paid to the human rights violations and violence against the Palestinian people. He condemned states that place their national interests above the UN and its charter obligations. In this vein, there should be a quicker response to countries that face the threat of collapse. Finally, he warned that trust in international institutions and law will begin to wane if its guardians do not hold themselves accountable to violations and acts of aggression.

F. African States

The Ivory Coast said that they wanted more crisis prevent from the UNSC. They charged the UNSC with doing more to protect people who prone to experience violence and live in volatile  regions. In this vein, there seemed to be challenges to upholding “existing texts” within the council, which has resulted in inactivity. To ensure justice around the world, the there should should be an international push for all countries to join the ICC. A major shift in joining the ICC jurisdiction would affirm values of “collective security” and uphold charter values and protections.

Ethiopia said that the UNSc has failed miserably in upholding international law and responding to acts of violence and human rights violations. Since events that affect one part of the world consequently affect another, the UNSC must play an active role in ensuring that peace is maintained. Moreover, member states clearly lack the commitment to carry out the agenda of the council.

Equatorial Guinea said that the African continent is the main victim of violence and crime. With all of the atrocities that have affected Africa, there can be no peace without justice. To ensure that peace is sustainable, the victims must feel that justice was served. He later went on to address the bias of the UNSC in targeting countries and that one state should not dominate the council. More importantly, he chastised the UNSC and international media for engaging in a smear campaign against this state.





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PEAC Institute at the UN Security Council: Emergency Meeting on the Middle East Linked to Opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

UNSC: Middle East Emergency: Israel and Palestine 

5/15

By Patrick Liu and Lizzie Mcgowan

On May 14, the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Its actions violated international law, and has been cited as a cause for the ensuing escalated violence in Gaza.

Soon after the embassy opening, Palestinian demonstrators faced Israel’s lethal violence - over 60 Palestinians were killed in this skirmish. Subsequently, Kuwait, the only Arab state on the UN Security Council (UNSC), requested the UNSC to issue a press release;however, the United States blocked the UNSC from issuing it.

Due to the U.S’s ill-advised decision to move its embassy to Israel that precipitated the violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces Kuwait requested an emergency meet to discuss the security situation.

I. Intro

A. Briefing on Gaza Violence from Nickolay Mladenov, UN special coordinator

 

 

Mladenov briefed the UNSC on the Gaza “tragedy”, adding that “there is no justification for the killing.” Although Mladenov acknowledged that Israel can protect its borders, he asserted that they must respond proportionally to any demonstrations. He called on the UNSC to listen to the plight of those in Gaza. These Palestinians have endured so much. For example, they have been plagued by both intrastate turmoil amongst Palestinian leaders, as well as interstate conflicts between Palestine and Israel.  He further criticized arguments by various Israeli officials, who have suggested that the recent Palestinian protests were designed to instigate Israeli forces and spark a violent reaction.

II. Statement from Kuwait, the only Arab State on the UNSC

A. Statement from Kuwait

 

 

Kuwait began the statement session by stating Kuwait’s mission to find and hold those accountable to the recent escalation of events in the Middle East. Kuwait asserted its strong support to the plight of the  Palestinian people. Specifically, Kuwait expressed support for all legal Palestinian attempts to enhance sovereignty, by demanding Israel’s withdrawal from all Palestinian territory. Kuwait appealed to the UNSC on behalf of Palestinian goals of international security and peace.

III. Statements from the P-5

A. Statement from the United States

 

 

The United States, focused its comments’ on Iran’s “aggressive” actions against Israel and the double standard used in the Middle Eastern regional violence. Haley pointed out that Iran, as the primary instigator, has also launched missiles into Israel and Saudi Arabia. According to the US, Iran has been funding Hamas, its terrorist proxy agent and providing it with arms in order to destabilize Lebanon. The U.S. further alleged that Iran has been supporting proxy agents in Syria in order to destabilize the state.  Finally, the U.S. concluded that Iran’s hostile acts are the primary reason for instability in the region.

With regards to Israel’s use of force against the Palestinians, the U.S. emphasized  that Israel’s actions were justified because it was defending itself from terrorists. In essence, she explained that Israel used force in order to maintain order along its borders.

The U.S. additionally made distinctions between the recent actions of the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem, and the violence in the Gaza region. specified that violence in the area is not from the controversial opening of the US Embassy, but from Israel’s and Palestine’s long-standing history. She also reiterated the US’s sovereign right to choose the location of its embassy.

B. Statement from the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom called for “calm and restraint” in order to avoid the destruction of peace efforts in the region. Moreover, in order to quell the conflict and maintain regional security, the UK stressed the need for the UN to conduct an independent investigation to examine the recent violations of international law.

The UK also advised the Two-state system as a possible solution to ending conflicts and tensions of the region. Overall, the UK advocated for the international community to step up its efforts toward maintaining peace, and regional and international security.

C. Statement from France

France analyzed the reality of Gaza violence as a byproduct of decades of Israel’s blockade. In the absence of political prospects for progress, this situation escalated into violence. “This ongoing violence has neared the breach of no return”, according to the French Ambassador. Because of the violence, France has called for a detailed investigation into the recent violence. Furthermore, France advocated for peace on both sides - the exclusion of lethal light weapons, as well as the restraint of violence from protestors.

France urged the UNSC to take a stance and stop the violent escalation. “The silence of the council is incomprehensible” continued the French ambassador. In order to reach a solution, France suggested that the two parties considered the 2-state solution with a shared Jerusalem.

D. Statements from Russia and China

The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China held similar viewpoints with regards to the Middle East crisis and the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Both states strongly advocated for a “direct dialogue” between Palestine and Israel. The 2-state formula, creating two independent, separate, and sovereign states was also repeatedly offered as a solution for the escalation.

Despite this, the two states did have different perspectives on the issue. China focused more on maintaining peace in the area through increased international assistance and peaceful negotiations. Russia however, used the case of Palestine violence to make a statement of the misguided direction of the world. Despite some players “and their grandiose projects”, Russia asserted that the world is not becoming a safer and more secure place.

IV. Statements from Non-Permanent members

A. Sweden

 

 

Sweden emphasized that “every loss of life is a tragedy”. Yet given Israel’s right to protect itself, Sweden urged that Israel, as the occupying power, also has a “special responsibility” to protect the Palestinian civilians. Lethal force should only be used a last resort, with restraints of force on unarmed civilians and children. An investigation should be conducted to determine the roles of each party involved in the conflict.

Sweden also lamented the failure of the UNSC (and the US) to adopt the public statement from Kuwait regarding the violence. As a solution, Sweden insisted for a shared Jerusalem amongst the two states, regretting the decision by the US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital (fix sentence structure). Despite these failures, Sweden hopes to re-launch the peace process.

B. (Latin America (Bolivia, Peru)

Bolivia strongly aligned with Palestine, by repeatedly asking for forgiveness for the UNSC’s failure to protect the Palestinian people. Bolivia called out Israel’s illegal occupation of territory, and their lethal use of force. This illegal occupation by Israel is the “real problem”. Bolivia stresses that resolving this issue must take precedence to other. Separately, Bolivia alluded to the US, which supports Israel, as part of the problem.

Peru made similar appeals for an investigation to assess Israel’s use of lethal force. Peru cites “minimum standards of coexistence” that are being regularly violated in and around Gaza. Peru also reminded the UNSC that the final status of Jerusalem must be negotiated with Israel and Palestine.

C. African States (Ethiopia, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea)

Ethiopia stated the African Union’s position that they “believe it is a final status issue that must be resolved between the two parties”. Ethiopia urged that they must find a solution through the two-state formula to stop the escalation before the primary players reaches the point of no return.

Guinea and Cote d'Ivoire echoed similar views.

D. Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan supported the Palestinian peaceful demonstrations yet calls on both sides to exercise restraint on violent actions. Appealing to international law, Kazakhstan indicated that Israel violated international law through their “unilateral action in changing Jerusalem”.

E. Netherlands

The Netherlands stated that there is a need for an immediate structural solution in Gaza as violence escalates. Restraint on both sides, as well as an investigation into the violence are necessary.. Lastly, the Netherlands cited “incompatible actions and rhetoric” by both sides that must be rejected if de-escalation is to occur. As part of the peace process, the Netherlands believes that diffusing tensions, and a 2-state solution will lead to peace in the region. Poland further called on the UNSC and members of the quartet to take action to fix the problem.

F. Poland (president)

Poland shared the calls for an investigation into the Gaza violence states that it is “imperative to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law”. To ensure security, Poland recommended a 2-state system.

V. Statements from Israel and Palestine

A. Palestine

 

 

Palestine provided scathing remarks about the hypocrisy and false narratives of the United States and Israeli government. He asserted Israel’s use of force was excessive and unwarranted given that Palestinian protesters were not armed or dangerous. He then called on the assistance of the security council to provide protection to the Palestinian people to stop Israeli aggression. Additionally, he called for an investigation into the deaths of the 60 Palestinians, acknowledging that Palestine would accept the results of the investigation.

Following this, he chastised the UNSC for not taking the necessary precautions to protect the Palestinian people, despite his past warnings. Palestine further questioned the council about their paralysis in the face of clear violations of international law. By allowing one nation to block the Council’s investigation, Palestine asserted that they are “looking away” as the Israelis continue their illegal occupation.

Palestine emphatically accused the occupying power, Israel, for ignoring its obligation to protect the Palestinian people under international law. In addition to the deaths of the innocent Palestinians in the recent conflict, Israel has also cut off access to basic necessities such as food, medicine, and water to those wounded in the protests. Consequently, Palestine urged  the international community to take action against Israel’s blatant violations of international law.

To counter the U.S position that moving the embassy was not the source of violence, Palestine recognized that the United States has been ignoring what has been happening on the ground in Gaza. It is clear that the Palestinian people have always been diametrically opposed to the Israelis establishing Jerusalem as their capital and the relocation of the U.S.embassy. Furthermore, Palestine noted  that the U.S> decision is at variance with the international community.

Palestine concluded by imploring the UNSC to take action and respect Palestine’s requests and rights. In order to ensure accountability and justice, Palestine immediate steps must be taken (what are the immediate steps: spell them out). Palestine Left the UNSC Council as soon as Israel took the floor.

B.Israel

Israel defended its position to use force against the Palestinians by claiming that Hamas was the aggressor in the protests. Israel also underscored that the international community should trust Hamas because it is an internationally recognized terrorist organization,are committed to the infiltrating Israel, and implementing acts of violence against Israel.

Israel went on a diatribe about the manipulation techniques that the Palestinians used in the media, to depict the Israelis as guilty. Israel warned that the UNSC should not to be fooled by the images shown in the media during the violent skirmishes in the protests. Furthermore, Israel accused the Palestinians of lying and being a liason to the Hamas agenda of manipulating the world to sympathize with terrorists.

Israel also defended the Jewish people’s historical claim to Jerusalem. Therefore, it is their religious right to claim it as their capital. From Israel’s perspective, Hamas will never want peace as it will always be the aggressor against the peaceful Israeli’s. Lastly, the Israeli representative accused Palestine  of continuously choosing violence when given an option for peace. He recounted Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and the ensuing violence incited by the Palestinians. Israel urged the UNSC to neither give in to the fallacy of the Palestinian’s story nor contribute to the cycle of death.

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