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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Bui The Giang, Deputy Permanent Representative of Viet Nam, at the GA’s Plenary Meeting on Responsibility to Protect (R2P)
07-24-2009, 02:28 pm


by H.E. Ambassador Bui The Giang,

Deputy Permanent Representative of Viet Nam,

at the GA’s Plenary Meeting on Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

(24 July 2009)


Mr. President,

I would like to start by thanking the President of the General Assembly for his persistent efforts to solicit views from a broad range of sectors in preparation for this plenary meeting. I appreciate the Secretary-General for his report on R2P that has attested to his tireless endeavors to take into account a vast spectrum of diverse and even conflicting views on this topic.

My Delegation associates itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. President,

With the adoption of the Outcome Document in 2005, the international community at its highest level accepted for the first time a key instrument on R2P, a concept which has been an actual part of the life of humankind for a long time yet had not been officialized until then. With this adoption, we now do not have to discuss whether R2P is necessary. Also, as the Outcome Document determines in a clearcut manner the four crimes, i.e. genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and nothing else, that are subject to R2P, we do not have to struggle to define the scope of this concept. In this context, we share the view of other delegations that the report represents an excellent ground for discussions on how to render the Outcome Document operational today when conflicts continue to spread and escalate in many parts of the world, making R2P more imperative and urgent than ever before.

Mr. President,

We cannot agree more with the Secretary-General in his comment that “the responsibility to protect, first and foremost, is a matter of State responsibility”. This goes unambiguously in line with paragraph 138 of the Outcome Document which confirms that “each individual State has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”. We are grateful to the world’s top leaders for their wisdom when asserting in paragraph 138 that “the international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility”. The Secretary-General is absolutely right when in his report deliberating this encouragement and help into four forms of assistance. In other words, the international community and the United Nations system have a very critical role to play in helping countries concerned, including through political mediation, peacekeeping operations, and provision of assistance and capacity building. And recalling the “first and foremost responsibility of the State” in R2P, let me add that such international assistance can be most effective once it is based on engagement and cooperation with related States. Subsequently, given the diverse interpretations of paragraph 139 of the Outcome Document, we believe in the need to refrain from singling out one qualifier or two as more important than others. Rather, it is necessary to equally emphasize all the 5 qualifiers/components as we perceived them, i.e. the voluntary engagement of States, the application of timely and decisive collective action, the ‘case by case basis’, the conformity with the Charter, including Chapter VII, and the cooperation with relevant regional organizations as appropriate. In this context, this qualifier “timely and decisive collective action”, described as Pillar 3 in the Secretary-General’s report, requires clear and rational definition to avoid its possible confinement to coersive military force as the only alternative. Similarly, measures like economic sanctions and reference to the International Criminal Court should be carefuly considered on the case-by-case basis, free from politicization, selectivity and double standards, before a decision is made on their enforcement. And in all circumstances, impact of such actions on the population, particularly the most vulnerable segments, should be the top priority consideration.

Mr. President,

Motivated by a comprehensive approach, we have always maintained that the best way to protect the population is to prevent wars and conflicts and to address the root causes of conflicts and social tensions, which lie in poverty and economic underdevelopment. Cultural and religious tensions must also be adequately attended to and tacfully dealt with in order to avoid their potential of flaring into conflicts and wars, as has been the case more than once in history. In this connection, education and public awareness must be conducted intensively and regularly, particularly in remote and disadvantaged areas. We believe that the United Nations, being the world’s largest pool of experience and expertise, can and should contribute to this process. On our part, we commit to proactively and constructively working with other members of the international community to ensure success of this process.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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