Speaking on behalf of the five Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway, I would like to express our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his report on effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular mission and representatives, as contained in document A/61/119.
The present item was introduced into the Agenda of the General Assembly by the Nordic countries twenty-six years ago.
The subject-matter still gives rise to great concern illustrated by the fact that the General Assembly has continued to consider this item on a regular basis and to express its strong condemnation of acts of violence against diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.
The protection of foreign emissaries was among the first principles and rules deemed essential for the conduct of foreign relations and the promotion of interests common to the international community as a whole.
Such rules seem to have appeared in all cultures and their legal systems. The very system of international co-operation depends upon the protection of representatives of States.
According to universally accepted principles and rules of international law, as reflected in the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, there is no doubt that receiving States are obliged to ensure the protection of diplomatic and consular representatives and their premises as well as missions and representatives to international organisations.
Respect for the principles and rules of international law governing diplomatic and consular relations is a basic prerequisite for the normal conduct of relations among States and for the fulfilment of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
The fundamental reason for the principles of protection of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives is not to protect particular individuals.
Rather it is to protect the channels of communications between States. In this context, it should be stressed that, while the sending States are entitled to the best possible protection of their representatives, the duty of those representatives to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving States must be strictly observed, as stated in the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.
The Nordic countries support the strong condemnation of acts of violence against diplomatic and consular representatives, as well as against representatives of international intergovernmental organisations and officials of such organisations. Such acts can never be justified.
We are particularly concerned and affected about recent incidents that have seriously impeded the work of representatives and officials.
It is also alarming that in recent years innocent lives have been endangered or lost in a disturbing number of incidents. We would like to emphasise the need for close co-operation between the sending and receiving States in order to prevent violations of the security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.
Moreover, we would once again like to stress the particular duty of the receiving States to ensure appropriate protection of diplomatic and consular missions, including to strengthen the protection if the situation so requires due to the political situation at a certain moment or due to other reasons.
Should the receiving State fail to offer the required protection in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Conventions, the injured State is entitled to claim prompt compensation for losses or injuries suffered as a result of the failure to protect its diplomatic or consular missions.
We continue to appeal to all states that have not yet done so to become parties to the international legal instruments relevant in this field. In this context we refer to the Secretary-General’s report section IV, which contains information on signatures, ratifications, accessions and successions relating to these instruments. In this regard, we welcome that several additional States have become participants to the latter also since the previous report on the topic.
The Nordic countries would like once more to draw the attention of delegations to the reporting procedures on violations of the protection of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel.
Guidelines to this effect have been laid out in the resolutions under this item covering both the facts of the violations as well as remedies taken to redress the situation. It is our view that the reporting procedures are important in raising awareness in the world community about these violations and promoting efforts to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.
We appeal to all States to comply with these procedures when violations against diplomatic and consular missions have occurred. We would also like to thank the Secretariat for its efforts towards securing an effective implementation of those resolutions.
Thank You, Mr. Chairman