Security Council Open Debate: “Upholding the United Nations Charter to Maintain International Peace and Security”
Statement by Mark Zellenrath
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations
NEW YORK, 9 January 2020
We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the Ukrainian airliner that crashed in Iran. We understand their loss and my Government expects that the crash will be fully investigated.
On behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, let me express my sincere thanks to Vietnam for convening this open debate.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union.
Seventy-five years ago, the Charter established the multilateral system based on international law, multilateral cooperation and the rule of law. Back then, few people could have held possible the many achievements this has brought to us all. We commend all the hard work of the men and women worldwide that have contributed to global peace and security, justice and economic and social development.
Despite these successes, the multilateral system is under pressure.
Like others, we are deeply concerned about recent events in the Middle East. It is of the utmost importance that we stop the use of weapons and give space to dialogue. It is the responsibility of all Member States to maintain and strengthen the multilateral system.
In that light, Mr president, allow me to focus on the two key areas where the Kingdom of the Netherlands is taking its responsibility to maintain and strengthen the current multilateral system.
- Preventing conflicts, and
- Ensuring accountability
1) Preventing conflict
The first area concerns conflict prevention.
As expressed by my Foreign Minister Stef Blok only days ago: “Democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law are crucial for any healthy resilient society.” In the most fragile regions of the world, we contribute to the establishment of a system of early warning/early action, and addressing the root causes of conflicts.
We do so by contributing to the establishment of peacebuilding programs, transitional justice mechanisms, capacity building of security and rule of law institutions, and monitoring mechanisms by civil society.
Especially the ability of women to participate in, and influence the outcome of, political, peace, and security processes, helps to address the root causes of conflict and results in more durable and stable peace. That is why we empower women to participate in those processes in various countries, for instance in Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan and Colombia and also why we support women’s participation in UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding missions.
2) Ensuring accountability
Upholding the Charter also means ensuring that those responsible for gross human rights violations and abuses are held accountable for their crimes: the second area where the Kingdom of the Netherlands is taking its responsibility.
The Hague is the proud host of the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, the OPCW and many other international organisations that play a key role in the international legal order. We support Investigative Mechanisms, such as IIIM and UNITAD.
And we support the adoption by the International Law Commission of the Draft articles on Crimes against Humanity, and the recommendation to elaborate a convention on the basis of the draft articles. Such a convention would fill an important gap in the current legal framework.
In addition, together with others we are leading efforts to conclude a convention on international cooperation in the investigation and prosecution of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes a.k.a. the MLA-initiative. The MLA Initiative aims to develop a modern operational framework for efficient inter-state cooperation regarding the investigation and prosecution of the crime of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. From 8-19 June this year, Slovenia will convene a diplomatic conference to negotiate the MLA-convention.
We urge those States that have not yet done so to join this important initiative.
When the multilateral system is under pressure, when upholding agreed international rules and norms is no longer a given, when multilateral institutions have difficulties to address contemporary challenges, all Member States bear the responsibility to address these weaknesses.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is committed to maintaining and strengthening the current multilateral system and we stand ready to engage with all Member States to achieve this in order to ensure that the UN is fit for purpose and ready for the next Seventy-five years.