Statement on behalf of the Nordic countries by Ms Sari Mäkelä, Counsellor, Legal Adviser, Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN, New York, 22 October, 2012
.Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and reprensentatives
(Check against delivery)
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Finland. This item was first introduced into the agenda of the General Assembly by the Nordic countries in 1980 and we continue to pay particular attention to this topic. It is a matter of great concern for us that diplomatic and consular agents and premises keep falling victims of attacks in the receiving States despite the general recognition of the special duty to protect them.
I would like to express our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his report, contained in documents A/67/126 and its Addendum 1, as well as for his efforts in helping the Member States to respond to the reporting request in paragraph 10 of resolution 65/30 adopted for two years ago. We would also like to extend our thanks to the Member States that have provided information pursuant to the resolution. We were pleased to note that with regard to many incidents, the report includes both a summary on the protection, security and safety failures encountered by the sending States as well as a summary on the follow-up measures taken by the receiving States.
In our view, such reporting is important in raising awareness in the world community about these incidents and measures, and in promoting efforts to prevent such incidents. We also wish to note with great satisfaction the reported increase in the number of participants to the instruments relevant in this field and welcome the respective decisions by St. Kitts and Nevis, Spain, Nigeria, the Holy See and Lithuania. We continue to appeal to all States that have not done so to become parties to the international legal instruments relevant to the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives. Full implementation of such instruments by all States Parties is of equal importance.
As the Nordic countries have noted before, the obligation to protect foreign emissaries has existed in the legal systems of all cultures. It is one of the cornerstones of international relations and aimed at protecting the channels of communication between States. Universally accepted principles and rules of international law, as reflected in the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, place upon the receiving States the duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the diplomatic and consular premises and to prevent any attacks on the diplomatic and consular representatives. In a situation where the receiving State fails to offer the required protection in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Conventions, the injured State is entitled to claim prompt compensation for loss or injury suffered as a result of such failure.
As required by international law, the duty of the receiving State to protect and to prevent attacks extends also to foreign missions and representatives to international intergovernmental organizations and officials of such organizations. Effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of these missions, representatives and officials are crucial to enable them to fulfill their mandates.
Despite all the efforts undertaken, the Secretary-General’s report documents serious violations that have taken place and we have also learnt about other attacks with tragic consequences against diplomatic and consular missions and representatives, among those the attack on the United States of America’s mission and personnel in Libya.
We express our sincere condolences on the loss of life and injuries in this and other attacks and condemn all acts of violence in the strongest terms. In this context, we would also like to acknowledge statements made by Libyan authorities that they will bring those responsible to justice.
The Nordic countries wish to emphasize that such violations and attacks can never be justified and must not go unpunished. We also wish to underline the need for close cooperation and information sharing on security matters not only at the international level, but also at the national level between the missions and the competent local authorities, in order to prevent violations of the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.