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

Open Debate of the Security Council on “Conflict prevention”

NEW YORK, 21 August 2014

STATEMENT BY Peter van der Vliet, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations, in the Open Debate of the Security Council on “Conflict prevention”.

Thank you Mr. President

The Netherlands aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Netherlands thanks the UK for organizing this important debate. We also appreciate the briefings by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights. We welcome and support the resolution adopted today.

The primary responsibility to prevent conflicts and to protect its civilians lies with the State. At the same time, the responsibility to prevent conflicts is ultimately a shared responsibility of the international community. The United Nations was founded for this purpose,  and is well placed to play a leading role in this regard. A UN system-wide approach to conflict prevention is required. Peace, the protection of human rights, justice and development need to be pursued in a comprehensive way.

I would like to focus here on three elements: the preventive toolbox of the Security Council, the peaceful settlement of disputes and the protection of human rights.

The Preventive Toolbox

The UN, in various past efforts, has through a combination of analysis, early warning, rapid response and partnerships, been able to help defuse tensions in crises and assist parties in resolving disputes peacefully. We commend the work of DPA in this regard, and would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our continued support to DPA’s work. 

In order to be successful in preventive action, there is a need also for the Security Council to respond quicker and more decisively to emerging threats to the peace.  In this regard, we would welcome the so-called horizon scannings or general briefings on emerging conflicts or possible volatile situations by the Secretary-General as a more regular and permanent feature on the Council’s agenda. 

Chapter VI of the UN Charter provides a clear mandate to investigate any situation that might endanger the maintenance of international peace and security and offers a range of tools to settle disputes peacefully before they escalate. It is important that this Council make full use of these tools, including the serious consideration of the idea of preventive missions.

Peacekeeping missions also have an important peacebuilding component that focuses on stabilisation and preventing the emergence of new conflict. The Netherlands commends the Rule of Law aspects in the context of such missions, including capacity building efforts and human rights protection, mass atrocities prevention, accountability mechanisms and the principle of Responsibility to Protect. All of this helps to prevent further escalation of conflict. In this regard, we welcome the Secretary-General’s commitment to a review of UN peacekeeping, and recommend this aspect receive ample attention.

The Netherlands reiterates the crucial role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. In this regard, we would like to commend the efforts of the UK to increase the participation of women in UN peacekeeping missions through the creation and support of a Senior Women Talent Pipeline.

Peaceful Settlement of Disputes

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is deeply committed to the peaceful settlement of disputes and proud host to i.a. the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. We strongly encourage the Council to take measures to expand the use of peaceful settlement of disputes, both in relation to state and non-state actors.

Under the combined articles 34 and 36 of the UN Charter, the Council can recommend that parties settle their dispute peacefully, through the various means of dispute resolution. The Council can also suggest the specific form it deems most suitable for the occasion and request to be briefed about the results. In case of established jurisdiction of the Court, the Council can also strongly urge the parties to take their dispute to the International Court of Justice. Furthermore, the Council could encourage parties to come to an agreement to accept the Court’s jurisdiction for their particular dispute when this is not yet established.

In this context, we particularly welcome the recent visit of the Security Council to The Hague and its historic meeting with the International Court of Justice. We are confident that this visit has contributed to increased mutual understanding and future cooperation between these two principal organs of the UN.

Human Rights

One of the most essential factors in preventing conflict and avoiding tensions within societies is ensuring and protecting basic human rights of all parts of the population, providing redress for grievances and ensuring accountability for mass atrocities.

In this regard, the Netherlands would like to take this opportunity to commend the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. We especially want to honor the High Commissioner, Ms. Navi Pillay, for the way in which she has fulfilled her important mandate over the past years.

Ms. Pillay, has been a cornerstone of the UN’s efforts in addressing human rights issues worldwide. Her tireless dedication, her clear and insightful viewpoints, and especially, her courage to say what is needed when it is needed, have been an example to us all. 

Thank you, Mr. President.