NB8 statement at UNGA debate on responsibility to protect


Meeting on Responsibility to Protect and the Prevention of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

Statement delivered by H.E. Sanita Pavļuta-Deslandes, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia on behalf of the NB8 countries

1 July 2024, New York

Mr. President,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the eight Nordic-Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Latvia.

We would like to thank the Secretary-General for the 16th thematic report entitled “The Commitment to prevent and protect populations from atrocity crimes”.

Today’s opportunity to discuss the new R2P report and the state of atrocity prevention with the newly appointed UN Special Adviser on R2P is appreciated. We underscore the importance of the Special Adviser on R2P’s regular presence in New York to help advance the implementation of R2P together with both UN member states and the UN secretariat.

Despite our shared commitment rooted in the UN Charter to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors, Secretary-General’s report is another stark reminder that the world is facing highest number of violent conflicts since the Second World War, states and non-state actors commit atrocities against civilians, sexual and gender-based violence has increased and deadlocks within the Security Council have kept it from effectively carrying out its duty to maintain international peace and prevent atrocity crimes.

In times like these, R2P demands our active contributions and our unwavering resolve. All UN member states have a shared responsibility to prevent and respond to atrocity crimes, and the Secretary-General’s report would, therefore, have benefited from recommendations for the full implementation of the R2P.

We continue to call on the Secretary-General’s two Special Advisers on R2P and Genocide Prevention and their Office to jointly develop and share practical recommendations on atrocity prevention. They should provide Member States and the wider UN system with concrete, timely and practical advice on how to better implement the R2P and genocide prevention when atrocity risks emerge, or atrocity crimes are committed in specific countries.

We also call on the Office to develop and share regular updates about the root causes and warning signs of new atrocity crimes.  Practical examples will help increase our understanding on how to more effectively translate the R2P principle into concrete action and to prevent them in the first place.

Moreover, we agree with the report that we must recognize the vital role of regional organizations in implementing the three pillars of the responsibility to protect. In our view, sincere regional cooperation can contribute to effective early warning, rapid response, and long-term stabilization efforts to help prevent new atrocities. Member States must work hand in hand with regional bodies to address the recommendations contained in the report before us.

Accountability is an essential part of how we build resilient societies. We reiterate the importance of the fight against impunity and ensuring victims’ rights, as well as accountability for international crimes and for violations of international law, irrespective of where or in which context they occur. We support the establishment of a special tribunal for the crime of aggression to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which has led to numerous atrocity crimes we seek to prevent under R2P. If there are no consequences for violations, impunity festers and violations recur.

Finally, we take this opportunity to reiterate the importance of a forward-looking assessment of the state of R2P and its implementation both at the national, regional and global level as we prepare for the 20th anniversary of the World Summit Outcome Document next year. We invite the Special Adviser to share her ideas for such assessment with Member States.

I thank you!