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UN Security Council Open Debate on the UN Charter

Security Council Open Debate

Upholding the UN Charter

9 January 2020

Statement by Ireland


Thank you Mr. President,

Thank you for organising this timely debate.  Ireland congratulates Vietnam on its election to the Council, and for successfully meeting the challenge of chairing the Council during the first month of your Council term. I would also like to congratulate the other new members of the Council and wish them well.

Ireland expresses its gratitude to the Secretary General and Chair of the Elders for their valuable briefings yesterday.  We strongly echo their support for multilateral approaches to current challenges, and we in particular commend Mary Robinson’s highlighting of the dangers posed to international peace and security by climate change and nuclear proliferation.

Mr President, your Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh, who presided here yesterday, told the General Assembly last September that “Given today’s daunting challenges, it is critical that we all work together to revitalise multilateralism and strengthen the United Nations. We must all reaffirm the fundamental importance of international law and the UN Charter.”

In very similar terms, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, in his General Assembly address, said that we, the Member States, must ask ourselves, whether we are being true to the values and principles of the UN Charter.  He noted that the UN and its agencies are under attack, through underfunding, withdrawal of support, and the promotion of narrow self-interest.  Even more fundamentally, he observed, the very idea of a rules-based order is being called into question and undermined.

In such circumstances, President Higgins called on all of us to recognise our collective responsibilities, and to advocate for multilateralism.  He stated that partnership, cooperation, mutual trust and respect are at the heart of multilateralism.  They are embedded in the rule of law and in values which aim to protect all individuals on this planet, their rights, aspirations and dignity.

Indeed, at this current time of heightened global tension, Ireland urges all to heed the Secretary General’s call for de-escalation, and we reiterate the importance of the United Nations and the primary role of this Council in preventing and resolving conflict.


Mr. President,

The promise of the Charter of the United Nations, when it was agreed 75 years ago as the world emerged from the devastation of the Second World War, was precisely to save humanity from the scourge of war.  We have made significant progress in this regard, including due to the establishment of peacekeeping operations in 1948.  Ireland has been proud to participate in these operations for more than 60 years and we pay tribute here today to the more than 3,000 uniformed personnel from 120 countries, including Ireland, who have lost their lives in this service. 

The Security Council has also responded to the greater complexity of conflicts and crises by adapting its response – not only through the evolution of peacekeeping, but also through the development of peacebuilding mandates, the establishment of political missions, with humanitarian actions, and through the good offices of the Secretary General and his representatives. 

We have also seen the UN take important steps to uphold the values and advance the vision set out in the Charter.  The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change showed the capacity of the international community to put its faith in multilateralism and chart a course towards the common good.

It is clearer to us today than ever before that peace and security, development and human rights – the pillars of the UN – are intrinsically linked.  Mary Robinson has repeatedly pointed out how climate change affects security, as she did again so powerfully in this Chamber yesterday.  Hunger, access to natural resources, and denial of human rights are also major factors. 

The Security Council at present is, frankly, failing to meet its responsibilities.  It is divided on many issues, with some permanent members repeatedly vetoing resolutions.  The situation with regard to provision of cross-border humanitarian relief in Syria is just the latest example.  Ireland expresses its support in particular for the efforts of the elected members to overcome these divisions, and pledges to work towards this if we are elected to the Council for the 2021-22 term.


Mr. President,

Multilateralism is based on the principle of compromise, of shared vision, of finding the capacity to put ourselves in the language, thoughts, culture and concerns of each other.  It allows the large and small, the powerful and weak, to co-exist in shared concern and joint prospect for the betterment of a shared world.

We know that common challenges call for common responses so that the UN can best serve the peoples in the enduring spirit of the Charter. In this, the 75th year of the Charter, we should spare nothing in the quest to achieve these goals. 

Thank you.

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