Remarks by Ambassador Dai Bing at Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Humanitarian Space
16 July 2021
Thank you, Mr. President,
I thank France for initiating this meeting. I thank Foreign Minister Le Drian for presiding over the meeting. My thanks also go to Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, Director-General Robert Mardini and Madam Grosjean for their briefings.
As we speak, COVID-19 is still ravaging the world. Food security in some developing countries is deteriorating. In particular, conflict areas and countries are facing new difficulties in their economic and social development with mounting humanitarian needs. Meanwhile, violence against humanitarian workers continues unabated, humanitarian issues are increasingly politicized, and negative humanitarian impact of unilateral sanctions keeps emerging. These convoluted factors have contributed to the worsening of global humanitarian situation and seriously compromised the effectiveness of humanitarian operations. The international community must uphold and practice true multilateralism, increased humanitarian input, strengthen solidarity and collaboration and maintain safe, unhindered humanitarian space.
To preserve humanitarian space, the key is to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers. According to the Secretary-General’s report, in 2020, across 19 countries affected by armed conflict, 99 humanitarian workers were killed. Humanitarian workers provide relief and help to those in need, yet their own life and safety are under constant threat. This situation should not continue. We must urge all parties to conflict to earnestly abide by international humanitarian law, and avoid any violence against humanitarian workers. The recipient government must assume the primary responsibility of preserving humanitarian space. The UN and other international organizations should step up coordination and cooperation, help relevant countries improve their institutional framework and capacity building for the protection of humanitarian space.
To preserve humanitarian space, we must stem the politicization of humanitarian issues. Humanitarian aid should follow the principles of impartiality, neutrality, objectivity and independence. It should remain humanitarian in nature, and must never become a tool for geopolitical rivalry and manipulation. Humanitarian operations should adhere to the UN Charter, GA Resolution 46/182 and international humanitarian law, respect the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and the national unity of receiving countries, abide by their local laws and social norms, and refrain from interfering in their internal affairs. Only in so doing, can we garner the support and cooperation from recipient countries, and so can humanitarian space be more effectively preserved.
To protect humanitarian space, unilateral sanctions should be lifted without delay. Illegal, unilateral sanctions prevent the countries concerned from accessing requisite humanitarian supplies, disrupt their economic and social order, hinder humanitarian workers from performing their duties, and interfere with their operations. The so-called humanitarian exemptions are hard to make much difference on the ground. The international community should collectively urge countries concerned to immediately lift unilateral sanctions, dispel negative effects, and create conditions conducive to international humanitarian operations.
The violation of humanitarian space is essentially a regrettable byproduct of armed conflict, and the solution must aim at the root causes of conflict and adopt a systematic approach. Experience has proved that sustainable development is the right way forward to break the vicious circle of extreme poverty, inter-communal tensions and violent conflict, and is the key to achieving long-term stability and lasting peace. Countries must take the long view, more effectively implemented the 2030 Agenda, and prioritize poverty eradication. The international community should persevere in political dialogue, mediation and negotiation, among others, for the prevention and the peaceful settlement of conflict, while increasing development assistance to countries in conflict, so as to help them achieve more inclusive and sustainable development as soon as possible.
Thank you, Mr. President.