Protecting civilians a shared duty, says Qatar
September 24 2020 11:33 PM
File Photo.
File Photo.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said on Thursday Qatar supports all international efforts to protect civilians in countries facing armed conflicts.

He said the responsibility to protect is the first line of defence for civilians.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister was speaking at a virtual conference of the high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect, organised by the group's joint presidency which includes Qatar, Denmark and Costa Rica.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres participated in the event along with a number of senior officials.

He said the conference sends a clear message that the international community is committed to protecting civilians, end atrocities and hold those responsible for these crimes accountable.

The world is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that threatens everyone, and particularly the most vulnerable social classes, he said, adding tackling these must be a shared responsibility.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister also stressed on the need for full compliance with international law and the UN Charter.

He said the responsibility to protect is more vital now than ever before due to the increasing number of crises, their nature and the number of civilian casualties.

HE Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman despite the group's successes, it was still unable to fully prevent atrocities, adding such crimes were increasing.

He said this dangerous pattern could continue if the international community doesn't take stronger measures to satisfy its responsibility of protecting civilians.

The issue of collective security for mankind is a shared responsibility of all member states, he3 said.

However, the Security Council, by virtue of its mandate under the Charter, has a special responsibility to prevent atrocities and refrain from using the veto power in cases involving egregious crimes, he said.

He renewed Qatar's support for the code of conduct on the actions taken by the Security Council against genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, as well as the initiative to restrict the use of veto in the face of mass atrocities.

HE the Deputy Prime Minister said strengthening dialogue, reconciliation mechanisms, achieving transitional justice, committing to respect human rights and the rule of law, preventing hate speech, combating extremism, and achieving development can contribute to preventing atrocities and protecting civilians.

He stressed the important role of sustainable development and poverty eradication, development aid, capacity building, and institutional consolidation as the main factors for achieving progress based on justice and the rule of law.

Qatar has supported all international efforts to protect civilians in countries facing armed conflicts and put an end to serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, HE the Foreign Minister said.

He said Qatar has also provided all forms of support and relief to alleviate the suffering of civilians and protect them.

He said Doha hosted in 2017 a meeting to discuss accountability as a tool to prevent atrocities, and the need to combat violent extremism, and in the same year it hosted the Seventh Annual Meeting of the Global Network of Responsibility to Protect Focal Points.

In line with Qatar's commitment to partner with the international community to tackle the Covid-19, it has provided medical aid to more than 88 countries, in addition to the support provided to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Unicef and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the continued support and assistance to vulnerable groups of civilians to protect them from the pandemic.

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