Sunday, February 28, 2021

Botswana criticizes UN position on Syria

Botswana has come down heavily on the United Nations Security Council, saying its attempt at addressing the crisis in Syria was too little too late.

In his statement delivered to the plenary of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday, Vice President Lt Gen Mompati Merafhe stopped short of asking the UN to kick out Syria saying it was “unacceptable” that countries like Syria should continue to belong to “a community of peace loving nations”.

The Vice President congratulated the Security Council for its “swift and resolute action on Libya, under resolution SC 1973, which authorized NATO to protect civilians in that country”. He added that, “we however remain concerned about the delay and procrastination on a similar situation in Syria. The Council’s condemnation of human rights violations and the military assault on civilians by Syria came rather too late. It failed to convey a clear and unequivocal message of revulsion to the Syrian authorities, and to urge them to respect international humanitarian law and human rights. Crimes against humanity have been committed in Syria and the leadership in that country should answer for such crimes through the ICC. It is important that the international community remains vigilant against any breach of international peace and security, and also responds in a decisive, consistent and timely manner to any such instances.” Prefacing his attack against Syria, Merafhe told the council that “my delegation is deeply concerned about States that continue to violate with impunity, their obligations under their constitutions and international law, of protecting their citizens from any armed conflict. This very Organisation is founded on the premise that Governments have the primary duty and responsibility to do all in their power to safeguard the legitimate aspirations of their people for a better life, including ensuring their safety and security. It is, therefore imperative that Governments provide a conducive environment to address legitimate concerns and grievances of their people through inclusive dialogue and mutual understanding.

Consequently, it is not acceptable, under any circumstances, for any State to use military force against its civilian population, the very citizens it has sworn to protect. I believe we all agree that this is a clear violation of human rights and international law and an infringement of our common value system enshrined in the UN Charter. Our view is that any leader who sanctions such use of force on his people forfeits the legitimate right to be recognized as representing the interests of his people. The international community should therefore spare no effort in applying all the necessary measures at its disposal, to protect civilians from such repressive governments, and to hold them accountable for their atrocities. In this regard, support for the ICC is crucial to realize the full implementation of the Rome Statute.”

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