The United Nations was founded in response to the horrors of the Second World War, and the unparalleled inhumanity of the Holocaust. Tragically, in the 21st century, the responsibility to protect is as relevant as it was in the last century.
Ambassador Ron Prosor spoke at the UN’s Interactive Dialogue on the Responsibility to Protect and said that all the nations must resolve to unite in our responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves:
Israel welcomes the opportunity to participate in this crucial dialogue. As we look forward to celebrating the 70th anniversary of the UN Charter, there is no better time to address the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect, which embodies the Charter’s most fundamental values.
The responsibility to protect means that the international community must take responsibility for preventing atrocities when no one else does. We must protect the victims of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, when no one else will.
The United Nations was founded in response to the horrors of the Second World War, and the unparalleled inhumanity of the Holocaust. The UN represented the hope that the world had entered a new era, and the promise that this family of nations would never again stand idly by in the face of mass atrocities.
Tragically, in the 21st century, the responsibility to protect is as relevant as it was in the last century.
States are responsible for the protection and well-being of their own populations. Yet, hardly a day goes by without news of another atrocity being committed against the people of Syria, against those living under the thumb of ISIS, or those under the oppressive rule of Boko Haram. Israel supports R2P’s prescription that when states manifestly fail to live up to their responsibilities, the international community may take timely and decisive action.
Yet, we in this chamber must ask ourselves: Why are states failing in the first place?
One need not be a rocket scientist to recognize that the formula is really simple:
- When a nation substitutes indoctrination for education, it leads to fundamentalism.
- When a society lacks democracy, and endures tyranny, it leads to desperation.
- When a state violates human rights, and instills fear, it leads to oppression
These are the elements which enable the very crimes R2P was created to stop. If protection really is our goal, then the best form of intervention is prevention. The international community must promote free and open societies today, to preempt the brutalities of tomorrow.
Israel stands squarely behind the three pillars of R2P, which were reaffirmed last month by the Secretary General in his report. Israel wishes to stress that it regards each of the three pillars as equally important. Yet, while the use of force is a part of the toolbox, it should be regarded as a measure of last resort.
The responsibility to take a stand against atrocities is clear. Unfortunately, some UN Member States have a history of exploiting the ideals of this institution to further their own agenda. The international community must be vigilant to guard against the abuse of this important principle.
Next week, we will celebrate the holiday of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashana is a day of reflection, a time to resolve to create a better world.
Let us resolve to fight the hatred and intolerance that leads to atrocities. Let us resolve to foster an environment of respect for all people, which embraces minority rights and welcomes tolerance and pluralism. And, finally, let us resolve to unite in our responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves – and be on the right side of history.
Thank you, Mr. Moderator.