17 February 2016
282nd Meeting (AM)

Speakers Urge Renewed Political Will towards Maintaining International Peace, Security, as Special Committee on Charter Concludes General Debate

Concluding the general debate for the session, speakers at the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization called for renewed political will to overcome divergent views and hammer out an agreement on how to move forward in several areas of maintaining international peace and security.

Speakers raised concerns about sanctions and their consequences, increased cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations and a strengthened conflict-prevention role for the Committee.

Elaborating on those points, the representative of Bangladesh said the Committee’s work had been “held hostage” by irreconcilable views and a lack of political will.  The potential for the Committee to deal with those issues remained “largely untapped”, he continued, emphasizing that the trend had to be reversed.  Investing in “firefighting” after conflicts must be revisited, as the Committee should discharge its functions in relation to the pacific settlement of disputes.

Many speakers agreed, underlining the importance of the Committee’s consideration of a related proposal.  Delegates also supported a proposal to request an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice as to the legal consequences of the resort to the use of force by States without prior authorization by the Security Council.

In that regard, speakers said the Court had a role in settling disputes and promoting the rule of law internationally and could issue advisory opinions at the request of authorized organs of the United Nations.  Many said the Committee should continue its consideration of the matter.

On the issue of sanctions, delegates largely agreed that those measures should be used only when peaceful efforts had been “exhausted”.  Iran’s representative said unilateral sanctions against developing countries remained a matter of serious concern.  There was a need to expand the Committee’s scope and address the legal consequences of unilateral sanctions in view of the obligations of States under the Charter.

Further to that point, Trinidad and Tobago’s representative gave merit to the notion of having the International Law Commission examine the question of the provision of possible payments of compensation to targeted and/or third States for damages caused by sanctions found to be unlawfully imposed.

More generally, he said “respect for the Charter must be viewed as sacred by all, as any breach of its provisions could result in grave consequences for the international community”.  He also called on United Nations organs to refrain from encroaching on each other’s mandate.

On that note, China’s representative said the General Assembly was the most universal and representative Charter body.  As such, the Assembly should step up communications efforts with other bodies to ensure the full discharge of its mandate.  As for the Charter, it would continue to steer the actions of Member States and the Committee had an important role in that regard.

In other business, the Special Committee elected Vasiliki Krasa (Cyprus) as Vice-Chair for the Asian-Pacific States Group.

At the outset of the meeting, a moment of silence commemorated the death of former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Also speaking today were representatives of India, Peru, Venezuela and the Russian Federation.

The Special Committee will continue its session through 24 February.

For information media. Not an official record.