Foreign Minister: UN Security Council should take an active approach to ensure accountability for violations of international law

18.05.2018. 11:02

On 17 May, the Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs participated in an open debate of the United Nations Security Council in New York, where he underscored the crucial importance of international law in maintaining peace and security, the Security Council’s responsibility in this regard, and upholding the accountability for violations of international law.

“The United Nations Security Council as the main guarantor of international peace and security has a particular responsibility, as its actions have implications with respect to international law. The Security Council has a special role in preventing conflicts, acts of aggression and mass atrocities, as well as seeking solutions to crises and conflicts. The Council has not always lived up to its responsibility. The special privilege of veto power of permanent members is also a special responsibility to use those rights in the interests of common peace and security and not only when mass crimes were being committed. Failure to implement its own resolutions is also an issue that needs more attention,” said Edgars Rinkēvičs in his statement. 

“In the case of Syria, failure of the Council to prevent or stop the conflict and end impunity has come at an enormous human cost. Polarisation of the Council, including the use of veto power to block any meaningful action, has delayed chances to reach a viable political solution in Syria. Latvia strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons, which is a flagrant violation of international law and Security Council resolutions. Such violations should be thoroughly investigated and approached proactively,” stressed the Latvian Foreign Minister.

“The principle of territorial integrity is the key element of the international legal order, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its covert and overt actions in eastern Ukraine violate that fundamental principle. We have witnessed similar acts by Russia in Georgia. We need a rules‑based system so that powerful countries do not annex parts of other countries or whole countries on false pretexts. Peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine that respects Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity must be a priority. The international community must continue seeking solutions to the protracted conflicts in Ukraine,” underscored the Minister in conclusion.

Any state which is a Member of the United Nations but not of the Security Council could also participate in the Open Debate of the UN Security Council on upholding international law within the context of the maintenance of international peace and security, which had been organised by Poland as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

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