CHINA Chinese envoy warns against undermining sovereignty by using humanitarianism as pretext

CHINA

Chinese envoy warns against undermining sovereignty by using humanitarianism as pretext

Xinhua

23:38, April 02, 2019

UNITED NATIONS, April 1 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy to the United Nations (U) on Monday warned against attempts to undermine the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of states by using humanitarianism as a pretext.

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Ma Zhaoxu (front), China's permanent representative to the United Nations, addresses a Security Council debate on international humanitarian law, at the UN headquarters in New York, April 1, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

At a Security Council debate on international humanitarian law, Ma Zhaoxu, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, asked states to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter as well as the guiding principles for UN humanitarian assistance.

"No country should undermine the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of others by using humanitarianism as a pretext," he said. "Humanitarian action should strictly abide by the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, highlight the humanitarian nature and professionalism of such efforts and avoid being drawn into the conflict or interfering in the domestic affairs of the countries concerned."

All humanitarian agencies should follow international humanitarian law and related principles and refrain from using the delivery of humanitarian assistance for political, military and other purposes, said Ma.

He asked for efforts to resolve disputes by peaceful means, thus tackling the issue of the protection of civilians by addressing the root causes.

The purpose of complying with international humanitarian law is to protect civilians. Effectively preventing armed conflict offers the best protection for civilians, said the Chinese ambassador.

The Security Council should encourage preventive diplomacy and political mediation to promote the use of peaceful means, such as dialogue and negotiations, in resolving differences and preventing escalation in order to protect civilians from the scourge of war, he said.

Ma also asked the international community to work together to promote and strengthen international humanitarian law.

Governments bear the primary responsibility for the protection of their own citizens, he said. The international community should provide constructive assistance only at the request of the countries concerned.

All parties to conflict should understand and abide by international humanitarian law, implement Security Council resolutions on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, fulfill their obligations to protect civilians, and ensure humanitarian access, said Ma.

UN peacekeeping operations, he said, should make great efforts to promote and publicize international humanitarian law and Security Council resolutions. The Security Council should work to prevent sanctions from negatively impacting and affecting humanitarian relief operations.

The Chinese ambassador stressed the importance of protecting the safety and security of medical personnel and medical facilities in conflict. The countries concerned should carry out investigations into threats and acts of violence against medical personnel and the destruction of medical facilities in armed conflict and bring perpetrators to justice. The international community should provide support and assistance on the basis of full consultations with the countries concerned.

China is an important participant and contributor to the international humanitarian law regime and stands ready to continue to play a constructive role in this field, said Ma.

Cover file photo: VCG

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