Statement by Minister of State in Charge of Cooperation, Eugene-Richard Gasana, at the UN Security Council briefing on the evolution of UN sanctions

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank you for your initiative in convening this briefing on “The Evolution of Sanctions”. This is a trademark of your Presidency and Australia’s tenure in the Security Council, as well as a follow up to your close engagement in the recently concluded High Level Review of UN Sanctions which was sponsored by your country, along with Greece, Norway, Germany and Sweden.

The high number of participation from Member States, including my country, and other stakeholders in the High Level Review is a strong recognition of the important role UN sanctions can play in the maintenance of international peace and security. This Review also reminded us that improving the effectiveness of sanctions requires a constant dialogue with those affected and those in charge of their implementation.

We welcome the respective briefings from Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General of Political Affairs, who heads the Department that is the focal point in the UN system on sanctions issues, and from Dr. Jürgen Stock Secretary-General of Interpol, an important partner in the effective implementation of sanctions imposed by this Council.  I take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Stock on his appointment.

Mr. President,

Under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Security Council is empowered with sanctions, as one of the important set of tools that it can use to carry out its mandate. These have become more targeted and more sophisticated to better serve their remedial and preventive purposes. From 1966, when the Security Council first imposed sanctions on the Southern Rhodesia, to most recently in 2014, when targeted sanctions were imposed in Yemen against those obstructing its stability, sanctions have continuously evolved in order to respond to emerging threats to peace and security.

However, we all recognize that the first condition for the effectiveness of a sanctions regime is to ensure that they are fully and faithfully implemented by Member States. The increasing sophistication and complexity of the targeted sanctions measures that we enact require that we account for the practical challenges associated with implementation, which in our view, include the following:

First, we know that the legally binding nature of Council’s sanctions is not in itself sufficient to ensure its effective implementation. A commitment to compliance requires that sanctions are perceived as just and contributing to peace and stability. However, what is often the case on the ground is the lack of knowledge about sanctions and the perception that they are punitive rather than preventive as stated by some of my colleagues. We therefore see a need to put in place, from the imposition throughout the life of a sanctions regime, effective communication between Sanctions Committees and the affected countries and regions on the purpose of the sanctions. A regional consensus on the necessary and legitimacy of a sanctions regime can go a long way to ensure that it is effectively implemented.

Second, presently, the large majority of sanctions regimes are in Africa. Very often, the targeted states and their neighbors do not have the institutional capacity to implement the sanctions; and it is therefore a challenge to translate those measures into a national regulatory system. There is thus a need to renew efforts and focus towards ensuring that these crucial actors are better assisted in capacity building and accessing technical assistance.

Third, as we know, the range of actors involved in the implementation of sanctions is broad and continuously expand as the sanctions evolve. Therefore, this Council should encourage cooperation and coordination with neighboring states, regional and sub-regional organizations and international organizations. All those stakeholders must join efforts to first and foremost promote the basic principle that sanctions are intended to help Member States, not to undermine them.

Fourth, as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Rwanda would wish to contribute that the decision about the sanctions Committees to be chaired by newly elected members should be made at an early stage as this will allow the members to prepare adequately, as they do not have time to carry out appropriate handover with the outgoing Chairpersons of the subsidiary bodies and to chose their national experts to be included in their Security Council Teams.

There is also a need to avail also at an early stage comprehensive information on the sanctions regimes to incoming members. We are only provided with initial information by the Security Council Affaires Division (SCAD) in November or December, which is very helpful, and we basically learn on the job, while already assuming the chairmanship of the sanctions Committees. We therefore call on this Council to change this system to give more time for preparation of new members, who should be adequately informed on the sanctions implementation mechanisms, and given the means to keep track of the evolution of sanctions.

Mr. President,

My fifth and last point is on the Groups or Panels of Experts. We underscore their crucial support to the work of the Sanctions Committees, as they act as their eyes and ears on the ground. It is therefore important to have minimum standards for the selection and training process of these experts, which also need to reflect a balanced geographical distribution. It is also important that Experts execute their mandate in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

As we have stated in the past, Member States play a critical role in the implementation of sanctions. It is therefore essential that when they are mentioned in a report of the Group or Panel of Experts, they are provided with an opportunity to review the preliminary draft of the report and put forward relevant comments and responses they may have, with a view to enable the Group or Panel to adjust the conclusion by reflecting the positions of the said Member States in the report. This is a fundamental and indispensable step in legitimizing the procedural and substantive components of the reporting of the Groups or Panels of Experts.  We note that such a heightened standard can only serve to increase the credibility of those Groups or Panels, and to bolster the collaborative efforts of the Member States and the Sanctions Committees.

To conclude Mr. President, Rwanda reiterates its views that Security Council sanctions play a prominent role in the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security. We further believe that the Council can benefit from holding regular briefings on the general issues of sanctions, with the participation of national, regional and international actors, in order to take on the challenges impeding the effective use of sanctions.

I thank you.

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the briefing of the Chair for the 1540 Committee on Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Thank you Mr. President.

Let me start by thanking Ambassador Oh Joon of the Republic of Korea, Chair of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004), for the presentation of the progress-report on the implementation of the said resolution.

Rwanda commends the Committee and the Group of Experts for their continued efforts in ensuring that non-state actors do not develop, acquire, manufacture or use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. We appreciate the efforts made by the Committee, particularly in improving outreach programmes and its own visibility.

Recalling the Committee’s objective of achieving universal reporting, and as underscored by the Presidential Statement of 7 May 2014, we note with satisfaction the priority given by the Committee to encouraging states that have not yet submitted their first reports to do so. We welcome in this regard the holding of the three special meetings in Pretoria, Libreville and Lomé, as well as the visits to Member States by their invitations; and we hope that the remaining twenty (20) non-reporting States will soon submit their national implementation reports.

Rwanda is among Member States that have fulfilled their reporting obligations and we have done so, in 2011, thanks to the outreach of the Committee and the Group of Experts at that time. We will continue to ensure the implementation of the report within our borders and in our region; and we encourage all Member States to cooperate in identifying effective practices, experiences and lessons learned which will contribute to the development of a long-term vision and strategy for the effective implementation of resolution 1540.

Mr. President,

We are considerate of capacity gaps; technical, financial and legal frameworks within our States, in dealing with issues related to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Rwanda therefore welcomes the commitment of the 1540 Committee to ensure the effectiveness of the matchmaking role between assistance requests and offers. We also support the Committee’s commitment to the increase of the number of focal points of contacts of Member States and international organisations, currently at 79. We are of the view that both the matchmaking between assistance and requests and the increase of points of contacts will greatly contribute to the universal implementation of resolution 1540.

In this regard, I welcome the organization, by the African Union Commission, in collaboration with the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs/Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa, of a training workshop for national points of contact, held last week on 18 and 19 November in Addis Ababa. The objective of the training workshop was to impart practical information, skills and guidance on the obligations of Member States under resolution 1540, as well as the role and responsibilities of national points of contact. During the workshop, Member States also shared best practices on how to elaborate voluntary National Action Plans (NAP), develop and implement legislative and other control measures, and prepare national reports on implementation.

Mr. President,

Before I conclude, I will recall the strong link that exists between terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We therefore stress the need for a continued cooperation between the 1540 Committee, the Counterterrorism Committee, the 1267/1989 Committee on Al Qaida and associate individuals and entities, as well as the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), in order to put in place an integrated and comprehensive strategy against those two scourges, which constitute the most dangerous threat to international peace and security. In this regard, we reiterate our call to all Member States to commit for a universal denuclearisation.

Finally, Mr. President, as this is probably the last briefing of Ambassador Oh Joon in his capacity as Chair of the 1540 Committee, Rwanda commends his strong leadership, as well as that of his predecessor, Ambassador Kim Sook, on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction over the past two years. This was demonstrated by extensive outreach activities of the Committee, under the chairmanship of the Republic of Korea, as well as a successful high-level open debate in May this year, chaired by Foreign Affairs Minister Yun Byung-se, to mark the 10th anniversary of resolution 1540 and to give a new impetus to its implementations. I am convinced that with the legacy of the Republic of Korea, particularly the Presidential statement of 7 May 2014, the Committee is in a better position to conduct a well-informed strategy towards full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004), which would be incorporated in the Committee’s Comprehensive Review, to be submitted to the Security Council before December 2016.

I thank you.





Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, at the UN Security Council debate on Ebola

Mr. President,

I thank you for convening this debate on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). I also thank our briefers today; Tony Banbury, Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the UN Mission for the Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER); Dr. David Nabarro, Senior UN System Coordinator for Ebola; as well as Thomas Mauget, Head of the French Red Cross in Guinea, for their respective briefings.

We express our appreciation to our colleague, Ambassador Samantha Power of the United States for her visit to the affected countries, for her personal commitment for an international response and for her relentless advocacy for healthcare workers operating in the field, who should be treated as heroes, not pariahs. We also appreciate the words of condolences and sympathy from our colleagues, on the demise of Marcel Rudasingwa, Ebola Response Manager for Guinea. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Mr. President,

Over the past months, the world has witnessed an unbreakable human spirit – people from every corner of the world, willing to forego their comfort zones and put their lives in danger to assist populations affected by Ebola. We were informed about the sacrifice of entire communities that abandoned their traditional practices for the common good, as well as the strong leadership demonstrated by the Governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. And we have appreciated, during this period, of the unprecedented mobilization and effective coordination of the international response, through UNMEER.

Thanks to all those efforts, we are happy to hear that the transmission of the virus is on the decrease, which raises hope for the eradication of this epidemic in the near future. However, as warned by all our briefers today, this encouraging situation does not mean that we have sailed away from the danger of Ebola – far from it. Indeed, as informed by Tony Banburry and David Nabarro, the transmission of the virus is still intense, the response plan remains underfunded, isolation facilities are still needed, the cure is yet to be available, and the disease is expanding geographically, within the affected countries and beyond. In this regard, while expressing concerns about reported cases in Mali, we welcome the appropriate response of the Malian Government.

Mr. President,

We thank all countries that play a critical role in fighting against Ebola at its source, either by pledging money, sending healthcare workers and military personnel, establishing treatment units or providing training. On continental level, the recent decision by the African Union Commission to establish the “African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa” (ASEOWA) was an important move to support global efforts in the fight against the epidemic.

We fully support the proposed Concept of Operations of the AU mission, as we pledge our highest level of engagement and commitment for the AU mission’s success. We are particularly encouraged that one of the pillars of the AU strategy will consist in engaging with media, advocacy groups, local communities, civil society organizations, social networks and other relevant actors on the ground, to ensure proper public communication about Ebola. This communication strategy should especially target populations in rural and remote areas in the most affected countries, to ensure effective prevention and fight against stigmatization, which would delay the eradication of this virus.

Madam President,

Rwanda expresses concern over the socioeconomic and humanitarian cost of this crisis, including on education and businesses, on national economies and on the livelihood of the affected populations. We are nonetheless encouraged by the mobilization of financial institutions and other partners to address the devastating impact of the virus in the affected countries. In this regard, we believe that, while addressing the immediate emergency situation, we should look beyond this emergency phase and devise strategies on post-Ebola recovery, in coordination with the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC).

To conclude, Mr President, let me hope that the international community will keep the current momentum; increase its support and contributions; enhance coordination and information exchange as we strive for efficient use of available resources in the field. And we pledge our continued support to UNMEER in all its efforts to lead us through this crisis.

I thank you.


Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Olivier Nduhungirehe, on the Presentation of the Security Council Annual Report to the UN General Assembly

Mr. President,

I thank you for this opportunity offered to Rwanda to participate in this plenary debate of the General Assembly. I thank Ambassador Gary Quinlan, Permanent Representative of Australia and President of the Security Council, for his presentation of the Annual Report of the Council, contained in document A/69/2 and covering the period from 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2014.

This report, as recalled by Ambassador Quinlan, was prepared by Rwanda, in its capacity as President of the Council for the month of July 2014. I take this opportunity to reiterate our gratitude to all Council members, for their invaluable contribution to this report, and to the Security Council Affairs Division (SCAD), for its assistance. During the drafting process, Rwanda was guided by the need to ensure that the report is made available as soon as possible, to allow a timely adoption in the Council and a timely debate in the General Assembly. Consequently, this report is recorded as one of the substantive annual reports of Security Council agreed on in a shortest period.

This being said, as stated by the Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), we do hope that for the future, the Security Council will consider improving its annual reports by introducing a section dedicated to the assessment of its effectiveness in the reporting period, with concrete recommendations on how to act better and faster while maintaining international peace and security.

Mr. President,

In his presentation, the President of the Security Council highlighted the Council’s activities during the reporting period, including meetings and pronouncements, which have significantly increased compared to the Annual Report of last year. Nonetheless, during the same period, the world has witnessed an unprecedented outbreak or escalation of conflicts. In Africa, we witnessed conflicts in Mali, in Central African Republic (CAR), in South Sudan, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in Libya. In the Middle East, we deplored conflicts in Gaza, Yemen, Syria and Iraq, and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, a barbaric terrorist organization. In Europe, the crisis in Ukraine reminded us that 100 years after World War I, the continent is not immune from relapsing into regional conflict.

On most of those situations however, the Security Council took its responsibility to maintain international peace and security and adopted a number of resolutions to address those conflicts. Through those resolutions, the Council deployed important peacekeeping missions with a robust mandate, such as MINUSMA in Mali and MINUSCA in CAR, and reinforced other missions such as MONUSCO in the DRC and UNMISS in South Sudan. In Syria, the Council adopted three resolutions: resolution 2118 (2013), related to the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program; and resolutions 2139 (2014) and 2165 (2014) related to the humanitarian situation in the country. On ISIL, the Council was also active, with the holding of a summit in September on Foreign Terrorist Fighters, chaired by President Barack Obama of the United States, and the adoption of resolutions 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014).

However, Rwanda deplored that the Security Council, due to the deep division among the permanent members, continued to be gridlocked on important crises, such as the conflict in Syria, Ukraine and the Palestinian territories, which all have a high potential of regional escalation. We call on the P-5 to remember their unique responsibility, entrusted in them by the Charter; and ensure that their decisions are always guided by the quest for a sustainable solution to conflicts instead of their geo-strategic interests. In this respect, Rwanda reiterates its support to the French proposal of a code of conduct of the P-5, which would agree to restrain the use of the veto in case of mass atrocities.

Mr. President,

On 16 April this year, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2150, which was introduced by Rwanda on the occasion of the 20th commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsi. This first ever Council resolution on genocide prevention called upon States to recommit to prevent and fight against genocide and reaffirmed our collective responsibility to protect. In this context, it is regrettable that those who committed the unspeakable twenty years back in Rwanda are still active in eastern DRC, where they continued to commit mass atrocities, while MONUSCO, one of the biggest UN peacekeeping missions, is unable to neutralize them, in spite of a clearly worded resolution 2098 (2013). We hope that, as the deadline of 2nd January for voluntary disarmament of the-called Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) is fast approaching, MONUSCO and the DRC Government will take appropriate action to neutralize this genocidal organization, in accordance with resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2147 (2014).

Before concluding, Mr. President, let me recall the increasing complexity of peacekeeping, which is facing situations where there is no peace to keep. As one of the top troops contributing countries, and guided by our conviction that effective peacekeeping requires regional partnerships and sustainable funding, Rwanda introduced, on 28 July this year, a draft resolution on peacekeeping that was unanimously adopted as resolution 2167. Looking forward to the recommendations of the Panel on peace operations review, we stress the need for peacekeeping mission to improve their duty of protection of civilians, including against sexual and gender-based violence, in order to uphold our collective responsibility to protect against mass atrocities.

But most importantly, Rwanda always believed that the best protection of all is the prevention of conflicts, by addressing its root causes, by strengthening post-conflict peacebuilding and by promoting preventive diplomacy under Chapter VI of the Charter. Therefore, we urge the Security Council to move from a culture of daily management of crises to that of effective prevention of conflicts.

Let me conclude, Mr. President, by reiterating Rwanda’s position on the Security Council reform. As a member of both the African Group and the L-69 Group, and given our two-year experience in the Council; we believe, more than ever, that the Security Council should be expanded in both categories, with the same rights and privileges, including the veto right as long as it exists. In the meantime, it is critical for the Security Council to continue improving its working methods, with a focus on transparency, effectiveness and fairness. And Rwanda will continue to work towards that goal, in the Security Council and beyond.

I thank you.


Statement by Olivier Nduhungirehe, Deputy Permanent Representative, at the UN Security Council briefing on UN Policing

Madam President,

Thank you for convening this important briefing on the expanding role of policing in peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding. Your presence here today aptly gives this meeting the merit it warrants. I also thank Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and our Police Commissioners, Greg Hinds of UNMIL, Fred Yiga of UNMISS and Luis Miguel Carrilho of MINUSCA, for their informative presentations.

As the concept note prepared by the Australian presidency reminds us, the last twenty years have seen an unprecedented growth of police components in peacekeeping and special political missions. This is due to the changing nature of peacekeeping, which, for the past years, is increasingly facing situations where there is no peace to keep and where mass atrocities are committed. Therefore, the role of the Police has become more important and more complex, as it moved away from its traditional mission of observation to that of protection of civilians.

Police in peacekeeping missions is also called to provide operational policing support across the whole spectrum of policing duties; including protection of VIPs, security of key installations, escort duties, crowd control and humanitarian assistance. This is done in parallel to their crucial mandate of supporting host countries, both in conflict and post-conflict settings, in strengthening the rule of law, through rebuilding and reforming their policing and other law enforcement institutions. This has flowed from the recognition of the central role that host-State policing institutions can play in the restoration and maintenance of law and order, security and stability in post-conflict contexts, including in building trust between the government and population, with police officers often the main interface between the government and community on security issues.

Madam President,

As the seventh largest UN Police Contributing Country, Rwanda is well aware of these rapidly growing demands on the police component and this operational context has guided us in the ways we prepare our contingents. In recognition of the importance of the police component of peacekeeping operations, Rwanda supported resolution 2185 we just adopted, which outlines practical steps to improve the effectiveness of Police components in UN peacekeeping operations and special political missions, as the need for policing expands in peacekeeping and post-conflict peacebuilding environments.

We are very much aware of the importance of the Police contingent in peacekeeping operations; nonetheless, it is important that this Council take serious note of the letter sent by the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to the President of this Council, reminding that “UN policing is an integral part of the United Nations peacekeeping operations and that the Security Council should not act in any way to encroach the mandate of the General Assembly, especially the mandate of the Special Committee on peacekeeping operations (C34) of the UNGA 4th Committee.” As we know, a mission is best executed when using an integrated and coordinated approach. Therefore, all components of peacekeeping operations, mostly the military and police, are very much compatible and complimentary.

Madam President,

I just have a few comments and questions for the Heads of Police components that are here with us today.

On UNMIL, I would just thank Commissioner Greg Hinds and his entire team for their efforts in their support to the Government of Liberia’s response to Ebola. We would be grateful to hear you speak more on the progress in the implementation of UNMIL roadmap related to reforming and restructuring the Liberian Police Force and other law and order institutions, especially factoring in the Ebola Outbreak. Also please share with us your experience on the deployment of the Liberian Police Force throughout the territory.

On MINUSCA, the UN Police have a critical role to play in protecting civilians, reestablishing the rule of law, and assisting the transitional government in the fight against impunity. Question for Commissioner Carrilho: given the challenging operating environment, how can the Council ensure that Individual Police Officers and Formed Police Units are adequately equipped and appropriately trained to carry out their mandate? What do they need to perform their mandated tasks that they don’t already have? And do you think that deploying more Specialized Protection or Support Units will boost MINUSCA’s efforts to protect civilians, and if so, are there certain areas of expertise that you urgently need to fill?

I have also a question for Commissioner Fred Yiga: UNMISS mandate was reinforced to improve the protection civilians, the monitoring of human rights, and to support implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement. Are there best practices that UNMISS police could share with others in implementing out this mandate? We all know that the Government of South Sudan has the primary responsibility to protect its people, and if we foresee a time when UNMISS will handover these tasks to the South Sudanese authorities. It is therefore important that we find ways to build their capacities. We were told that you recently trained the South Sudanese Police; is there a framework that you put in place to monitor and couch your trainees in implementing their police duties?

For both Commissioners Carrilho and Yiga, I have an additional question: given the need to be able to rapidly respond to new violence in South Sudan and Central African Republic, how are you reinforcing coordination with the military component of the Mission? Is the division of labour and areas of responsibility between the military and police clearly or do you see some overlaps?

And on a final note, Madam President, allow me to share Rwanda’s experience as one of the highest contributors of female police officers to UN Missions. As the Rwandan Constitution requires the appointment of at least 30% of women in decision-making organs, a third of Rwandan police officers are women. Therefore, we have been able to deploy female police to UN Missions, who are fulfilling critical tasks as IPOs and FPU members, in policing communities, connecting with local women, and offering expertise in reporting and investigation in sexual and gender-based violence.

Unfortunately, not all countries have reached the point where they can draw from large pools of qualified female candidates ready for deployment to the field or to UN Headquarters for senior directorship posts. Perhaps relaxing some of the rigid recruitment requirements, like requiring fifteen years of relevant experience in some cases, would allow more member states who want to contribute females to step up and do so. It is of course necessary for Member States to create incentives for women to enter the police forces, but it also requires a little creativity and flexibility from the UN Secretariat, without compromising the quality of the candidates.

I thank you.