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At UN, Pakistan calls for timely international response to stop atrocities, protect civilians.

Pakistan has underscored the need for timely response by the international community to stem atrocity crimes and protect civilians, as the U.N. General Assembly met to discuss the doctrine of "responsibility to protect", sometimes known as 'R2P', which was adopted nearly 10 years ago by world leaders.

"Inordinate delays complicate situations and make an 'R2P' response costlier and less efficient," Ambassador Masood Khan, Pakistan's permanent representative to the U.N., told the 193-member Assembly on Monday.

At the same time, the Pakistani envoy said no exceptions should be made in pursuit of protecting civilians, as he cited the case of Palestine where civilians were left to suffer amid raging Israel-Hamas conflict.

"The heinous acts of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity are unconscionable and must be prevented before they occur. The international community cannot allow recurrence of the tragedies of Rwanda or Srebrenica," the Pakistan envoy said in the debate on R2P in which he emphasized that all actions should conform to international law.

Agreed at a summit of world leaders in 2005, the concept of 'responsibility to protect' holds States responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and related crimes against humanity and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.

In his intervention, Masood Khan said 'responsibility to protect' is designed to strengthen, not weaken, sovereignty and sovereign equality of states, as enshrined in the Charter. "No outside actor should arrogate to itself the responsibility to judge the fragility or instability within a state to justify intervention. All actions must have the weight of international law behind them," he said.

Any action in regard to 'R2P' should be taken by the Security Council by adopting resolutions, the General Assembly by invoking the Uniting for Peace procedure, and regional organizations by acting in accordance with UN Charter provisions.

'R2P' response, he said, should not be activated only after eruption of or a full-blown armed conflict. Warning against inordinate delays, the ambassador said, "Timely action obviates the need for a possible intervention under Chapter VII (enforcement clause) using military means and punitive sanctions".

He said, he agreed with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's view contained in his report that the best guarantees to contain volatility were inclusive governance, impartial bodies to oversee smooth political transitions, strong and functioning security sector, independent judicial and human rights institutions, and impartial media.

"Investment in capacity-building in these areas is critical to save conflict prone societies from mass atrocities," the Pakistani envoy said.

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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Sep 10, 2014
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