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/65/112.
The obligation to protect foreign emissaries has existed in the legal systems of all cultures and the very system of international co-operation depends upon the protection of representatives of States.
This item was first introduced into the agenda of the General Assembly by the Nordic countries precisely thirty years ago, at the thirty-fifth session of the General Assembly in 1980. 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, the duty of the receiving States to ensure the protection of diplomatic and consular representatives and their premises is one of the cornerstones of international relations. This duty to ensure protection also extends to representatives of international intergovernmental organisations. The protection of representatives of such organisations might have another legal basis and other reasons. However, effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of these representatives are crucial to enable them to fulfil their mandates.
The principles of protection of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives are primarily aimed at protecting the channels of communication between States rather than particular individuals. The principles in no way detract from the obligation for diplomatic and consular representatives to observe the laws and regulations of the receiving States.
We 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. The Nordic countries would furthermore like to underline 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.
In a situation where the receiving State fails to offer the required protection in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Conventions, the injured State is entitled to claim prompt compensation for loss or injury suffered as a result of the failure to protect its diplomatic or consular missions.
Since the previous report four additional States have become participants to the instruments relevant to the protection of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives. We would like to welcome these States. Furthermore, 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.
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 reporting is 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.
Therefore, we urge all states to comply with the General Assembly’s request to report to the Secretary-General as promptly as possible information relevant to the violation of the safety and security of diplomatic and consular representatives and missions. Moreover, we encourage the state in which the violation took place, as well as the state where the alleged offender is present, to report on measures taken to bring the offender to justice and to report on the final outcome of the proceedings against the offender and to communicate on measures adopted regarding the prevention of a repetition of such violations.