10 October 2016, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by Eric Chaboureau, First Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the Sixth Committee on Agenda item 82: Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives
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I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
We welcome the report of the Secretary General (A/71/130) on the consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.
Violent, including deadly, incidents and attacks involving diplomatic and consular personnel and premises continue to occur. As these violent incidents and attacks are a matter of great concern for us all, we would urge all States to ensure that the inviolability of diplomatic and consular missions and their representatives is respected.
We urge States to strictly observe, implement and enforce the provisions of international law governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which the EU Member States fully apply. Respect for these principles is essential. Close cooperation in security matters is needed, not only at the international level, but also nationally between the missions and the competent local authorities.
We strongly condemn the reported attacks against the official residence of the ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in February 2015 in Tripoli, Libya, and against the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates and the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Sana’a, Yemen, as well as other serious attacks against diplomatic and consular missions. We reiterate also that any kind of violent act against diplomatic and consular missions or their staff can never be justified, wherever they occur. In this regard, we recall that the physical safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives, which is a prerequisite for their smooth functioning, is in our common interest and must be secured. We call on all States concerned to bring perpetrators to justice.
Receiving States are also under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the diplomatic missions and consular premises under the two Vienna Conventions. In that context, particular attention must be paid to the threats posed by terrorists and other armed groups, which sometimes force States to shut down their embassies or consulates, as is happening in Libya and Yemen
The European Union and its Member States are prepared to participate in all efforts aimed at ensuring and strengthening the right of diplomatic and consular staff to protection and safety.
The numerous and significant breaches of international law relating to diplomatic and consular relations illustrated in the Secretary General’s report show that our efforts in this domain should continue, if not intensify. Everyone is aware of the eminent contribution made by diplomatic relations to the establishment of trust among nations and concord among people. Any acceptance of lessened protection would amount to endangering those objectives.
While commending the States that have become parties to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations since the last report of the Secretary General in July 2014 (A/69/185), we call again upon all States that have not yet done so to consider becoming parties to these instruments, as well as to all other relevant instruments.
I thank you.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
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