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Qatar supports all efforts to protect civilians, says FM

Qatar supports all efforts to protect civilians, says FM

Responsibility to protect is the first line of defence for civilians QNA Doha Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has stressed that the responsibility to protect is the first line of defence for civilians. “Qatar supports all international efforts to protect civilians in countries facing armed conflict, in line with Doha’s policies and its commitment to international law,” the FM said during a high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect. The meeting was organised by the group''s joint presidency (Qatar, Denmark, and Costa Rica) via videoconference. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres participated in the event along with a number of ranking officials. The FM said Qatar was pleased to participate at the high-level meeting, which coincides with the international community''s commemoration of the UN''s 75th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of the international community''s commitment to the principle of the responsibility to protect in the 2005 high-level UN World Summit meeting. He stressed that participating in this event sends a clear message that the international community is committed to protect civilians, end atrocities and impunity, and hold those responsible for these crimes accountable. The FM noted that the world is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that threaten everyone, and particularly the most vulnerable social classes. As a result, he added, facing these challenges and burdens must be shared. Sheikh Mohammed also stressed on full compliance with international law and the UN Charter. In this context, he said, the responsibility to protect becomes the first line of defence for civilians, particularly as the principle became entrenched in international law and in line with the UN Charter. The world needs the principle of the responsibility to protect more than any time before, due to the increasing number of crises, their nature, the number of civilian casualties, and the responsibility the international community has towards protecting them, he added. Sheikh Mohammed appreciated the efforts of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. He said Qatar was satisfied with the inclusion of the topic in the agenda of the General Assembly, noting the assembly''s active role in protecting civilians. He said despite the successes in the field of the responsibility to protect legally, it was still unable to fully prevent atrocity against civilians. The rate of atrocity crimes is increasing in terms of the number and geographic scope. He warned that this dangerous pattern could continue if the international community doesn''t take stronger measures to satisfy its responsibility of protecting civilians. Sheikh Mohammed said given that the issue of establishing collective security for mankind is a shared responsibility of all member states, however, the Security Council, by virtue of its mandate under the Charter, has a special responsibility to prevent atrocity crimes and refrain from using the veto power in cases involving egregious crimes. 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 the veto in the face of mass atrocities. Addressing the root causes of crises, 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 these atrocities and protecting civilians, he added. The FM stressed the important role of sustainable development and poverty eradication, development aid, capacity building, and institutional consolidation as the main factors for achieving societies based on justice and the rule of law. Based on its policy, 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, he said. Qatar has also provided all forms of support and relief to alleviate the suffering of civilians and protect them, he noted. The FM said Qatar has provided development support to many countries to help them strengthen their national institutions and create an internal environment that promotes equality and social justice in society and advances the development process. Qatar has also worked to reach political solutions to the crises based on the rule of law and human rights, and has spared no effort to achieve the goals sought by the international community, he added. In line with Qatar''s commitment to partner with the international community to confront the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Doha has provided medical aid to more than 88 countries, in addition to the support provided to the World Health Organization (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. The FM underlined that there is a great responsibility to ensure the protection of the population exposed to atrocious crimes, which makes the implementation of the principle of the responsibility to protect a very important issue with no alternative. Qatar will continue its cooperation with partners to protect civilians and to enhance respect for international law and human rights, he added.