Don’t use R2P as a political weapon

Sri Lanka says the “The Responsibility to Protect” system, or R2P, should not become a political weapon, or applied selectively to fulfill geo strategic interests.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dr. Palitha Kohona, in a statement at the UN, said that the R2P concept has raised considerable sensitivities because the circumstances when it could be employed are still to be determined to the satisfaction of most of the international community.

Dr. Kohona said that the application of R2P has implications to the principle of sovereignty, long a fundamental element of international relations.

“In an international political framework that is characterized by power asymmetrics, “sovereignty” places all states on an equal footing.  The United Nations Charter clearly acknowledges this.  Article 2 Paragraph 7 of the United Nations Charter prohibits the UN from intervening in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of states without prejudice to the application of chapter 7,” he said.

He also said that the frequent and indiscriminate use of R2P risks eroding its credibility, or worse, threaten international peace and security.

“We believe that the concept of R2P should not become a political weapon, or applied selectively to fulfill geo strategic interests.  The unilateral determination of the existence of situations justifying the application of R2P must be avoided.  We must develop satisfactory multilateral mechanisms for this purpose,” Dr. Kohona said.

He also said that the international community should assist states to protect their populations, including from terrorism, by building national competences and capacities.

“There are many instances where a state may not be able to do so, mainly due to the lack of resources. Having said this, assistance provided should be sensitive to the cultural and governance systems in the recipient states.  It should not be prescriptive and instead be guided by the priorities of the recipient state. Too often we have witnessed prescriptions being offered through megaphones,” he said.

Dr. Kohona says rhe application of R2P in certain situations in the recent past has given rise to concern that those relying on R2P approaches are guilty of double standards. (Colombo Gazette)