Chinese UN envoy urges countries to fulfill obligations under int'l humanitarian law

2019-08-14 03:36:27 GMT2019-08-14 11:36:27(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Tuesday called on the governments concerned and parties to conflict to earnestly fulfill their obligations under the international humanitarian law (IHL).

At a UN Security Council meeting on the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security, Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations Zhang Jun said that the Geneva Conventions and additional protocols are "shining principles of humanity" which received universal support from all countries.

At present, the international security situation remains grave and fraught with new dynamics, and traditional and non-traditional security threats are intertwined, said Zhang. "Armed conflicts in some regions have protracted or even escalated, causing serious concerns to the international community."

"Promoting peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue, approaching IHL and carrying forward the international humanitarian spirit are of great significance," he said.

Governments in all circumstances bear the primary responsibility to comply with IHL and this role is irreplaceable, said Zhang, adding that in situations where conflicts are inevitable, the principles of IHL should be upheld to prevent the indiscriminate use of force or acts that disregard humanitarian consequences.

Any violation of IHL should be investigated and punished according to law, he added.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, which regulate the conduct of armed conflict and are considered the cornerstone of international humanitarian law.

The international community should play a constructive role in helping the relevant parties to strengthen capacity building in implementing their obligations under IHL, Zhang said.

Humanitarian agencies, on the basis of full respect for sovereignty of the countries concerned, should engage in training, legal consultancy, technical support, and experience sharing to ensure the effective implementation of the principles of IHL, he added.

Zhang said the implementation of IHL should be strengthened with the focus on enhancing the effectiveness of the existing mechanisms.

According to the Chinese envoy, the continuous development of cyber technologies, AI and high-tech weapons, frequent occurrences of non-international armed conflicts and terrorist attacks pose challenges to the implementation of IHL.

The international community should proceed from the practical needs of applying and complying with IHL, build on the consensus of countries, and reach a broad agreement on addressing current challenges and strengthening the implementation of IHL, the Chinese ambassador said.

Zhang also urged the Security Council to "attach great importance to tackling the underlying causes of conflicts by addressing both the symptoms and the root causes."

"Conflict prevention, reduction, and resolution, and peaceful settlement of disputes are best approaches to upholding the spirit of IHL centering on protection," he said.

As the core of the collective security mechanism, the Security Council should earnestly fulfill its primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, and encourage parties to a dispute to fulfill their obligations to implement council resolutions and resolve conflicts, through dialogue, consultation and political negotiations, he added.

The international community should establish a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept, build partnerships by ways of choosing dialogue over confrontation and partnerships over alliances, and create a world of lasting peace and universal security, the Chinese envoy said.

"We should build a community of shared future for mankind, advocate a global governance concept of extensive consultations, joint contributions, and shared benefits, and strive to create a peaceful and stable international environment," Zhang said.

China was among the first countries to accede to the general Geneva Conventions and their additional protocols.

According to Zhang, over the years, the Chinese government has been taking useful and practical measures to implement, study and disseminate IHL, including strengthening relevant domestic legislation, conducting training and advising in the army and carrying out IHL education and publicity activities throughout the society.

China established the National Committee of International Humanitarian Law in 2007 to promote the dissemination and implementation of IHL in the country, Zhang said.

"China stands ready to continue to work with all parties to make greater contributions to the development and implementation of international humanitarian law," he said. Enditem

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