H.E. Mr. Jānis Mažeiks
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia
the Open Debate of the Security Council on
“Respect to the Principles and Purposes of the Charter of the United Nations as the Key Element for the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”
15 February 2016
I would like to thank the Venezuelan presidency of the Security Council for organizing this open debate on the respect to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations. I also thank the UN Secretary-General for his statement.
Latvia aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.
At the 70th anniversary of the United Nations we have thoroughly reflected on the lessons learned and on the future of the organization. Today’s debate gives us an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of the UN’s foundational treaty – its Charter – and our respect for its purposes and principles.
The United Nations Charter was adopted as a firm response to suffering during the Second World War. By signing the Charter in San Francisco in 1945, the UN Member States committed to a better world for the succeeding generations. They committed first and foremost to maintain international peace and security by setting the core principles of the international system which were largely absent before.
The UN has not always been able to prevent conflicts or stop atrocities. Today we are again living in restless times, and ideals and principles of the UN Charter are threatened in so many ways around the globe. Ongoing conflicts and violence in many parts of the world have forced millions of people to flee their homes - more than at any time since the end of the Second World War. Violent extremism is on the rise, with terrorist groups like Daesh demonstrating new levels of brutality.
The continued subjection of populations to atrocity crimes is a stark reminder of the urgent need for the international community to prevent and respond. Conflict related human suffering must not become a new “normal”. Being the only truly universal organization, the UN has a responsibility to live up to its task to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
The Security Council as the main guarantor of international peace and security has a particular responsibility to prevent and stop mass atrocities. In the case of Syria, the Council has not been able to stop the State to commit crimes against its own population. Latvia hopes the renewed sense of responsibility in the Council to reach a political solution of the far-too-long conflict, as demonstrated by the Security Council resolution 2254, will gain tangible results. We express our support to the continuous efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Syria.
One of the most important principles of the UN Charter to refrain from use of force against the territorial integrity of a sovereign state has been breached by a permanent member of the Security Council in the 21st century while the global community keeps reiterating the need to restore international legality. Latvia deplores the breach of the international rules based system by using force and annexing part of another country. The principles of the UN Charter apply to all Member States of the United Nations because we all are the guardians of this international system and of the UN Charter. We strongly support Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence, and we support its chosen path of democratic reforms.
In conclusion, I would like to address the importance of conflict prevention and early action of the UN in situations of concern. Latvia strongly believes that respect of human rights, the rule of law and good governance are key to maintaining peace and security, therefore it is important to act early and effectively where serious human rights violations take place.
We are pleased to see growing support for the initiatives aimed at improving the Security Council’s response to mass atrocities. Latvia supports the ACT Group’s Code of Conduct for any member of the Security Council not to vote against any action designed to end and prevent mass atrocity crimes. We also support the French proposal to voluntarily restrain the use of the veto in situations involving such crimes. We urge the permanent members of the Security Council to use their special privilege – the veto power - in the interests of international peace and security.
We all have the obligation to overcome the grim challenges of the present times and make the world a better place. Even seventy years on the UN Charter remains valid and gives us a solid basis for the road ahead.
I thank you.