December 16, 2017

Statement by Ambassador Nicholas Emiliou

Security Council Open Debate: Maintaining International Peace and Security:  Reflect on History, Reaffirm the Strong Commitment to the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations

United Nations, February 23, 2015

Mr. Chairman,

The Republic of Cyprus aligns itself with the statement delivered by the European Union and would like to make some additional remarks in its national capacity.  

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations – one of the most valuable achievements of the international community, built upon the ruins of a devastating war. For States like the Republic of Cyprus, the foundation of the UN had been a source of inspiration in our endeavor for national independence, within the wider context of the anti-colonialism movement of the 1950s and 60s.

Cyprus’ independence in 1960 followed long struggles of our people, including their contribution in the victory against Nazism during World War II. Albeit a small country under colonial rule at the time, ten per cent of its male population volunteered to serve in the British regiment as well as in other allied armies. Greek and Turkish Cypriots fought and sacrificed together under the flag of ecumenical values such as democracy and humanism.

The principles enshrined in the UN Charter have been further developed and enriched by subsequent landmark Conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention Against Torture, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Additionally, the Rome Statute and corresponding Kampala Amendments, which Cyprus fully supports, have strengthened justice and accountability in regards to atrocities and war crimes.

The UN Charter has also been complemented  in areas such as  maritime jurisdiction via the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Protection of the Environment and Social and Economic Development This has, in turn, led to the advancement of the rule of law and the further development of customary international law.

Mr. Chairman,

Regrettably, Cyprus constitutes a case in which the principles of the UN Charter are still violated as a result of the continuing Turkish occupation, which begs the question to this august body and to the whole of the international community, whether these principles are adhered to unreservedly and universally or they are being  diluted by mere declarations of good intentions and selective application, only for the world to eventually return to an era of anarchy, double standards and the perception that might is right.

Cyprus does not ask anyone to intervene in her favour, Cyprus simply invokes international law and legality, because she believes that a key element of our civilisation is not primarily the pursuance of our self-interest but the support of legality.  It would be more appropriate, if one said that our true collective interest is to support legality and the rule of law on the international stage.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman