Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Intervention Ambassador Karel Van Oosterom at Informal Dialogue R2P

Prevention is at the heart of R2P. Prevention is not a choice, it's an obligation and a responsibility. Dialogue, respect and perseverance are key to conflict prevention. Let us work on this together, taking to heart each other’s lessons learned, adapting and applying them where we can, so that we can say we have come a step further at next year’s Dialogue.

STATEMENT BY H.E. MR. KAREL J.G. VAN OOSTEROM

Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

to the United Nations

for

Informal and Interactive Dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect

NEW YORK, 11 September 2013

 

Mr. President,

Thank you. Please allow me to say as co-chair of the Group of Friends of R2P, that the Group of Friends is heartened by the fact that this valuable Dialogue is taking place. I thank the Secretary General for his annual report on State Responsibility and Prevention, and call upon him to ensure that the process of the next report begin immediately, and for the next Dialogue to take place in the early summer of 2014.

I salute the work of DPA, DPKO, UNDP and many other UN-agencies and departments in the field of prevention. I align myself with the statement made by the EU.

Many thanks to the distinguished panelists for their valuable insights. I would especially like to extend a warm welcome to Jennifer Welsh. Please be assured of our full support.

Prevention is at the heart of R2P. Prevention is not a choice, it's an obligation and a responsibility. Although one cannot prove a negative, I would like to use an example of effective prevention from the second pillar of R2P. Twenty years ago, Max van der Stoel took on the role of High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Known as the Silent Diplomat, bringing governments and minorities together to find peaceful solutions to potentially bloody conflicts and even mass atrocities. There is no denying that without his preventive diplomacy, the recent history of several states in Europe would have been a very different one.

We have an immense toolbox of prevention instruments to choose from, allowing for tailor-made approaches, as the Secretary General’s report shows. I would like to highlight five examples of preventive measures that the Netherlands has found to be effective:

First: forming institutions that help build a resilient, cohesive and transparent society is crucial, for example an independent national institute for human rights, an ombudsman, also for children, and a Commission on equal treatment.

Second: ratifying relevant international legal instruments such as human rights conventions or the Rome Statute of the ICC and introduce them into national law. They have a significant deterrent effect, thus contributing to prevention.

Third: implementing resolution 1325. Women are not just victims, but they are powerful agents of change and peacebuilders. Harness this power of prevention.

Fourth: ensuring there is space for an active, diverse and robust civil society to operate freely and openly. Recognizing their critical role, the Netherlands supports the work of organizations which work to prevent atrocities and advance R2P globally.

And fifth and final: appointing an R2P focal points to exchange best practices and lessons learned. This network can feed the UN, the General Assembly and the Security Council with a wealth of national and regional experiences.

Just a few points on Syria. I align myself with many of the previous speakers. The primary responsibility for recent events lies with the Syrian government, but the UNSC has not been able to fulfill its own responsibility. Therefore I welcome limiting the use of veto in the context of mass atrocities. I favor an enhanced role for the ICC, as accountability is a significant form of prevention.

In the spirit of Max van der Stoel, let me say this: Dialogue, respect and perseverance are key to conflict prevention. Let us work on this together, taking to heart each other’s lessons learned, adapting and applying them where we can, so that we can say we have come a step further at next year’s Dialogue.

 

Thank you for your attention.