Statement by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN at the Security Council Open Debate on ‘Mediation and the Settlement of Disputes’
(August 29, 2018)

Mr. President,

My delegation thanks the UK Presidency for holding this important debate.

We also thank the distinguished briefers Archbishop Canterbury and Musarrat Qadeem for their insightful briefings.

Mr. President,

The notion and instrument of mediation is as old as mankind. Much as wars and conquests have filled the annals of human history, humanity has also sought to find ways to reconcile divergent interests, resolve disputes and seek common ground.

More recently, our collective faith in the power of dialogue has been reinforced by the successful mediation efforts in Colombia and between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Yet, large parts of the world, in desperate need of peace and conciliation, are denuded of this.

We live, in fact, in more uncertain times than ever. Tensions and turbulence have re-emerged with greater intensity in various parts of the world.

The world seems to be afflicted by greater turmoil and persisting conflicts instead of living up to the UN Charter principles of peace and justice.

In the face of these challenges we need to evolve a comprehensive approach to address volatile situations before they erupt, prevent disputes from escalating into conflict and to contain and resolve conflicts when they occur, or indeed fester.

The Secretary General’s call for a ‘surge in diplomacy’ for peace is both urgent and important, for it costs far more to pick up the pieces after a conflict than it does to prevent one.

The Security Council, with its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, has a critical role in this prevention-centric agenda. It must operationalize the full repository of measures, set out in Chapter VI of the Charter, as the centerpiece of the global peace and security architecture.

All the more so, as in recent years there has been growing criticism of the Council’s tendency to resort to enforcement measures under Chapter VII of the Charter. While Chapter VII is the ultimate instrument for the implementation of UN resolutions, its latent efficacy can be considerably enhanced through a timely and judicious application of Chapter VI.

This complementarity between Chapters VI and VII must be clearly held.

The Security Council should authorize the Secretary-General to make more frequent use of his good offices and other possibilities for mediation and conciliation. We are happy to note that the Secretary General is working to expand the pool of high-level envoys and senior mediators with special emphasis on women. Much as establishment of the Secretary General’s High Level Advisory Board on Mediation is a welcome step in the right direction, so is gender-parity in the composition of the Board.

Despite clear evidence to suggest that active participation of women during peace processes significantly enhances the prospects for success, women continue to remain on the sidelines of the peace continuum. This anachronism must end.

While the Council could refer disputes to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion if not a legal decision or adjudication, it should also utilize its mandatory enforcement authority under Chapter VII of the Charter to refer a dispute to the ICJ, whose determination would thereafter be binding on the parties, irrespective of whether or not they had accepted the jurisdiction of the Court.

Mr. President,

While the UN has had some success in mediating political settlements, this record is at best, checkered.

The Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains among the oldest issues on the agenda of the Council. It was also one of the earliest applications of Chapter VI of the Charter.

Through its various resolutions, the Security Council has provided that “the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations”.

The Security Council also instituted several mechanisms including the UN Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP), the deployment of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and the appointment of distinguished Representatives of the United Nations, who consulted the parties and submitted reports on how to resolve the dispute in accordance with provisions of the Security Council resolutions.

Sadly, these resolutions remain unimplemented to date. The international community cannot succeed in its efforts to strengthen conflict prevention and promote pacific dispute settlement if the Security Council’s own resolutions are held in abeyance, by some.

What is, at stake is both the Council’s credibility as well as the objective of durable peace in our region. We must not fail these tests.

Mr. President,

The UN, in the words of the former Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold, is a ‘venture in progress towards an international community living in peace under the laws of justice’.

This is still a distant objective, but a worthy one. An essential prerequisite towards it is the growing currency of pacific settlement of disputes.

Few ideals are more worthy or important for the future.

I thank you.