H.E. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed that the responsibility to protect is the first line of defense for civilians, adding that the State of Qatar supports all international efforts to protect civilians in countries facing armed conflict, in line with the State of Qatar's policies and its commitment to international law.
This came during His Excellency's statement at the high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect, which was organized by the group's joint presidency (the State of Qatar, Denmark, and Costa Rica) via videoconference. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres participated in the event along with a number of ranking officials.
His Excellency said that the State of Qatar was pleased to participate at the high-level meeting, which coincides with the international community's commemoration of the UN's 75th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of the international community's commitment to the principle of the responsibility to protect in the 2005 high-level UN World Summit meeting. His Excellency stressed that participating in this event sends a clear message that the international community is committed to protect civilians, end atrocity crimes and impunity, and hold those responsible for these crimes accountable.
His Excellency noted that the world is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that threaten everyone, and particularly the most vulnerable social classes. His Excellency added that as a result, facing these challenges and burdens must be shared. His Excellency also stressed on full compliance with international law and the UN Charter. His Excellency said that, in this context, the responsibility to protect becomes the first line of defense for civilians, particularly as the principle became entrenched in international law and in line with the UN Charter. His Excellency highlighted that the world needs the principle of the responsibility to protect more than any time before, due to the increasing number of crises, their nature, the number of civilian casualties, and the responsibility the international community has towards protecting them.
H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani expressed his great appreciation for the efforts of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. His Excellency also said that the State of Qatar was satisfied with the inclusion of the topic in the agenda of the General Assembly, noting the assembly's active role in protecting civilians.
His Excellency said that despite the successes in the field of the responsibility to protect legally, it was still unable to fully prevent atrocity crimes. His Excellency noted that the rate of atrocity crimes is increasing in terms of the number and geographic scope. His Excellency warned that this dangerous pattern could continue if the international community doesn't take stronger measures to satisfy its responsibility of protecting civilians.
H.E. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stated that, given that the issue of establishing collective security for mankind is a shared responsibility of all member states, however, the Security Council, by virtue of its mandate under the Charter, has a special responsibility to prevent atrocity crimes and refrain from using the veto power in cases involving egregious crimes, renewing the State of Qatar's support for the code of conduct on the actions taken by the Security Council against genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, as well as the initiative to restrict the use of the veto in the face of mass atrocities.
Addressing the root causes of crises, strengthening dialogue, reconciliation mechanisms, achieving transitional justice, committing to respect human rights and the rule of law, preventing hate speech, combating extremism, and achieving development can contribute to preventing these atrocities and protecting civilians, H.E. the Minister said. He stressed the important role of sustainable development and poverty eradication, development aid, capacity building, and institutional consolidation as the main factors for achieving societies based on justice and the rule of law.
Based on the policy of the State of Qatar and its commitment to international law, it has supported all international efforts to protect civilians in countries facing armed conflicts and put an end to serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, HE the Foreign Minister said. He added that Qatar has also provided all forms of support and relief to alleviate the suffering of civilians and protect them, in addition to its hard work and cooperation with partners at the regional and international levels to implement the responsibility to protect, believing that this is conducive to strengthening regional and international peace and security.
H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs pointed out that, given the important role of development aid and its positive impact in helping countries fulfill their responsibilities for protection, the State of Qatar has provided development support to many countries, to help them strengthen their national institutions and create an internal environment that promotes equality and social justice in society and advances the development process. He added that the state of Qatar has also worked to reach political solutions to the crises based on the rule of law and human rights, and has spared no effort to achieve the goals sought by the international community.
H.E. the Minister explained that, in the context of raising awareness of the importance of the responsibility to protect, Doha hosted in 2017 a meeting on the responsibility to protect to discuss accountability as a tool to prevent atrocities, and the role of the responsibility to protect in combating violent extremism, and in the same year it hosted the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Global Network of Responsibility to Protect Focal Points.
In line with the State of Qatar's commitment to partner with the international community to confront the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has provided medical aid to more than 88 countries, in addition to the support provided to the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the continued support and assistance to vulnerable groups of civilians to protect them from the pandemic.
He underlined that today there is a great responsibility to ensure the protection of the population exposed to atrocious crimes, which makes the implementation of the principle of the responsibility to protect a very important issue with no alternative, adding that the State of Qatar will continue its cooperation with partners to protect civilians and to enhance respect for international law and human rights.
Cover image source: MoFA.
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