United Nations General Assembly
Informal interactive dialogue on the
Report of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect: A vital and enduring commitment: Implementing the responsibility to protect
United Nations, 8 September 2015
I would like to thank you for convening this timely interactive dialogue. Cyprus aligns itself with the statement delivered earlier by the European Union.
The tenth anniversary of the 2005 World Summit gives us the opportunity to not only reaffirm our lasting commitment to protect individual States in need but also to assert our determination and willingness to move from theory to meaningful action.
Ten years ago, we collectively made a promise to take up the responsibility, in our capacity as sovereign states, to protect our populations and in case a State fails to do so, the international community to take the initiative to help such States meet their core protection responsibilities. Recent history has taught us the grave consequences of violent wars, and our present is not less immune to the atrocities of war, and crimes against humanity that we witness every day.
We are haunted by the news of people fleeing their countries to escape war and terrorism, forced to seek safety elsewhere. Crimes against humanity have increased exponentially and so has the number of humanitarian crises, with migration reaching new unprecedented levels. When we are faced with such challenges, we have the responsibility to act.
The three-pillar strategies, as well as the six core priorities outlined by the Secretary General in his report, serve as fundamental guidelines for the implementation of the responsibility to protect. It is a collective priority to fight genocide, war crimes, and other crimes against humanity, as recalled in the first pillar of the Secretary General’s report. In this regard, prevention is key; Timely and effective prevention of atrocities is the first step towards the implementation of the principle to protect. A country’s political, economic, and social instability could provide early warning signs and initiate a preventive strategy for their responsibility to protect.
Member States can assist and work together for the maintenance of international peace and security as set out in Articles 34, 42 and 49 of the UN Charter. Global and regional cooperation is essential, so that Member States can intervene through political dialogue, peaceful and humanitarian mechanisms, and bring an end to atrocities.
The Security Council, the International Criminal Court and the UN and its agencies, need to reaffirm their genuine commitment to help all Member States maintain internal peace and security, and combat decriminalization of atrocity crimes through impunity. Individual States also need to adhere to the Rome Statute and its provisions, as one of the core elements for the implementation of the responsibility to protect.
The need for vigilance and preparedness to act in a timely manner cannot be stressed enough. This is 2015, 70 years after the end of WWII and the establishment of the UN, but sadly we are still witnessing images of dehumanization and violation of basic human values such as safety and protection. We are now entering a new era, where we are all about to commit to ‘transform our world’: Let this be the time for effective change and action, for a world that would shun conflict and violence and prosper in peace and mutual respect.