It is my honour to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country, Norway. I would first of all 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 missions and representatives, as contained in document A/63/121.
The obligation to protect foreign emissaries has existed in the legal systems of all cultures. The very system of international co-operation depends upon the protection of representatives of States.
This item was introduced into the Agenda of the General Assembly by the Nordic countries almost thirty years ago. The subject-matter still gives rise to great concern.
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 of international organisations. The 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 also be stressed that laws and regulations of the receiving States must be observed by the diplomatic and consular representatives.
The Nordic countries condemn acts of violence against diplomatic and consular representatives and missions, as well as against representatives of international intergovernmental organisations and officials of such organisations. Such acts can never be justified and should not go unpunished. We would like to emphasise the need for close co-operation and information sharing in order to prevent violations of the security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.
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 and we welcome the nineteen new States parties to instruments relevant to the protection of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.
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. It is our view that the reporting procedures are important in raising awareness in the world community about these violations, and in promoting efforts to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives. We therefore urge all states to continue to report to the Secretary General information relevant to the violation of the safety and security of diplomatic and consular representatives and missions.