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Inclusion of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in the Agenda of 73th Session of the General assembly

Statement by

Ali Nasimfar , Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Inclusion of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in the Agenda of 73th Session of the General assembly

Friday, 21 September 2018

بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم


Thank you, Madam. President.


The Islamic Republic of Iran shall vote against the inclusion of the R2P in the Agenda of the 73rd Session of the General Assembly not because we are opposing the basic ideas contained in the concept but to draw the attention of the Member States to the serious risk of a biased interpretation and application of the R2P.

We would like to reaffirm Iran’s unwavering commitments to the noble goal of the protection of civilians. Needless to say that every State shall embrace this responsibility vis-a-vis its population. This, by no means whatsoever, may imply a permit to use force against other States under any pretext, such as humanitarian or pre-emptive intervention.

Actually, the actions and inactions of the proponents of the R2P in the past, have not been consistent with the alleged objectives and purposes of this initiative. In theory, it seems that the protection of populations should be at the center of the R2P. however, we are witnessing that in practice, the R2P is guided by the politicized interests of states rather than human dignity and human rights and therefore has been applied in a selective manner. Its selective application has put into question its legitimacy and validity as a principle of international law.

On the other hand, the abuse of the R2P on political grounds in the past has brought disastrous results and therefore has diminished this initiative to a tool at the service of certain powers. As such this abuse has increased doubts regarding its future applicability and success.

It is obvious that the inaction of international community toward humanitarian tragedies should not be attributed to the absence of normative framework or lack of the R2P implementation. The horrible genocide in Rwanda serves as a clear example of such inaction by the Security Council due to a lack of political will among some of its Permanent Members.

With that in mind, the question arises as to how some R2P proponents, who recognize the R2P as a legal principle, are going to fulfill their obligations pertaining to the protection of the population while simultaneously selling their arms having prior knowledge or experience being almost certain that those arms will eventually end up being used to target civilians and civilian objects and will ultimately lead to war crimes and crimes against humanity killing innocent civilians. Tens of thousands of civilian populations have been victimized by those so-called “beautiful arms” in recent years, either in their homes or in public ceremonies, such as funerals or weddings and even schools, school buses and hospitals. The conduct of the arms exporter R2P proponents raises profound skepticism on their seriousness and honesty concerning the noble objective of protection of civilians.

 One thing is abundantly clear: "favorable ones" have always been granted impunity and their atrocities have always been overlooked, no matter how serious and grave they are. Particularly, it becomes a matter of grave concern when disastrous atrocities committed against civilians, by a friendly country are covered up in a systematic manner, in order to avoid attracting the attention of the world public opinion. Sadly, the R2P proponents prefer to keep silent and avoid confronting the world worst humanitarian disasters to appease their allies.

Madam President,

Last year the proponents of the inclusion of the R2P in the agenda of 72 session, aware of the profound differences among Member States, told us in this hall that this request would be a one-time opportunity. We are witnessing quite the opposite.  

Notwithstanding the formal discussion took place in the General Assembly, we are still far from a consensual understanding of the R2P implementation. The formal discussion in the General Assembly is not an appropriate format to address existing conceptual differences among Member States. We reiterate our call that prior to the implementation of the R2P, it is crucial to define its normative contents as well as its scope of applications through holding informal interactive dialogue as agreed in 2009.  

Finally, the only way to restore the R2P and its legitimacy is to abolish the selectivity in a way that genuinely addresses the plight of mankind, whenever they face atrocity crimes, in full conformity with the principles and objectives of the UN Charter. Addressing the misery of people under foreign occupation is  the most immediate litmus tests for the R2P.

I thank you, Madam  President.


18:52 - 23/09/2018    /    Number : 536250    /    Show Count : 176


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