The first ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends in Defense of the United Nations Charter was held in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Many of the members are targets of unilateral sanctions by the US and the European Union. Also below is the text of the group’s first official political declaration.
The Group of Friends in Defense of the United Nations Charter held its first ministerial meeting at Venezuela’s UN Mission in New York City on Thursday, September 23 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting. The 18-country group adopted a declaration which outlines a policy in favor of respecting the UN charter.
The statement says, “The UN Charter and its purposes and principles remain timeless, universal,” and that “all are indispensable, not only to preserve and promote international peace and security, the rule of law, the economic development and social progress, but also human rights and to achieve a more peaceful, prosperous, just and equitable world.”
The group’s members currently are Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Laos, Nicaragua, Palestine, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Syria.
While the group is made up of countries with diverse political and ideological orientations, they are united in their mission to respect the multilateral origins of the UN, outlined in its charter. Many of the countries are also currently suffering under the impacts of unilateralism. Most of the countries suffer from unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States and the European Union which are in violation of international law and the UN charter.
During the pandemic, many of these countries have had their payments blocked while trying to buy crucial supplies, protect their populations, and sustain their economies. In many countries, this has exacerbated the impact of the pandemic and cost lives. In June, Venezuela’s payment to the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative was blocked by the Union Bank of Switzerland.
In the declaration. member states reiterated their “serious concern about the growing tendency to resort to unilateralism, to the detriment of not only multilateralism, but also international cooperation and solidarity, which must be deepened more than ever in order to forge collective, inclusive solutions. and effective against the common challenges and threats of the 21st century, including the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The group invited other countries to join the Group of Friends and stated that they will be organizing further meetings throughout the year with other offices of the UN and agencies.
DECLARATION ON THE LAUNCH OF THE “GROUP OF FRIENDS IN DEFENSE OF THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS
- We, representatives of Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nicaragua, the State of Palestine, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria, and Venezuela to the United Nations, are pleased to announce the official launch and establishment of the “Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations”.
- We seize this opportunity to reaffirm that the Charter of the United Nations and its purposes and principles remain timeless, universal, and that they are all indispensable for preserving and promoting international peace and security, the rule of law, economic development and social progress, as well as all human rights for all. Similarly, upholding the Charter of the United Nations is fundamental for ensuring both the realization of the three pillars of the Organization and fulfillment of the yearnings of our peoples, which will ultimately benefit our common efforts to address the complex and emerging challenges and threats faced by humanity and to establish a peaceful and prosperous world and a just and equitable world order.
- We renew our commitment to the defense of the Charter of the United Nations, which constitutes not only a milestone and a true act of faith that still today fills us with hope on the best of humanity, bringing us together to ensure the common wellbeing of present and future generations, but also with that code of conduct that has ruled international relations between States for the past 75 years, on the basis of, among others, principles such as the sovereign equality of States – large and small –, the right to self-determination, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, and the respect for the territorial integrity and political independence of all nations.
- We reaffirm our determination to fulfill our promise with “We the Peoples of the United Nations”, as well as our pledge of leaving no one behind, while stressing the need to ensure the prevalence of legality over force. In this regard, we vow to spare no effort in preserving, promoting and defending at every relevant fora the prevalence and validity of the Charter of the United Nations, which, in the current international juncture, has a renewed and even more important value and relevance. We also underscore the need to avoid selective approaches and call for the full compliance with and strict adherence to both the letter and spirit of the tenets contained in the Charter of the United Nations, which are at the core of multilateralism and serve as the basis for modern day international law. We further stress that abiding in an effective manner by the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations fosters peaceful and friendly relations and cooperation amongst States and ultimately ensures international peace and security.
- We invite those members of the international community that are committed with an effective and inclusive multilateralism, with the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, and with the values of dialogue, tolerance and solidarity, to consider joining the Group of Friends at their earliest convenience, as we continue to work together in advancing our common agenda.
New York, July 6, 2021