Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the Security Council Open Debate on ‘upholding international law within the context of the maintenance of international peace and security’ (17 May 2018)

Madam President,

My delegation thanks the Polish Presidency for convening this debate and H.E Mr. Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland, for presiding over it.

We also thank all the briefers for their insightful briefings.

Madam President,

Emerging from the ashes of the Second World War, the United Nations was built on the high ideal to save our succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

As members of the United Nations, we resolved that ‘no matter how great our strength, we must deny ourselves the license to do as we please’.

This sense of idealism has however been eroded by a series of recent developments. While it is true that we have not seen any major conflagration during the last 70 years, the world today is hardly at peace. Conflicts abound, longstanding disputes fester, and the legitimate rights of people continue to be denied to them.

While Article 24 of the Charter makes the Security Council an embodiment of the memberships’ collective aspiration for international peace and security, yet, action by the Council has often faltered at the altar of political expediency.

Nothing diminishes the standing and credibility of the Council more than when it watches in silence while norms of international law and its own resolutions and decisions are trampled by member states or remain unimplemented due to the narrow interests invoked in big power politics.

Every time that the Council fails to address these omissions and breaches, it compromises the ‘moral’ authority of its decisions that are otherwise, ‘legally’ binding.

Madam President,

The UN Charter represents the single most important source of international law that all member states have a responsibility to uphold.

More so, at this critical inflection point, when fundamental tenets of multilateralism are increasingly under threat. Strict adherence to the purposes and principles of the Charter is therefore, imperative, not only to ensure the credibility and legitimacy of the UN system, but also to preserve the centrality of a rules-based international order.

‘Promoting peace’ has been the principal obligation and goal of the UN. It is time we fully commit ourselves to the principle of seeking solutions to today’s challenges through the art of diplomacy, and not on the frontlines of conflict. After all, coercive actions are a blunt instrument and do not create incentives for consensual solutions.

My delegation wishes to offer five key suggestions to move this process forward.

Madam President,

The UN is a reflection of its membership. It will be as strong or as weak as the member states wish it to be.

For the UN to become ‘fit for purpose’, it must reflect the contemporary spirit of our age – an organization that is more democratic, representative, accountable, transparent and efficient.

We wish no less for the Security Council for it to be able to effectively address the global challenges of our times.

I thank you.