NEW YORK, 18 DECEMBER 1998
STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TADEU SOARES, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 3957th MEETING (The situation in Sierra Leone)
My delegation also is very happy with the format of this meeting, and I praise you, Mr. President, for organizing it. Naturally I would recall that this is one of the guidelines that we have already adopted in the Council, and I believe that this practice will continue in future. The fact that other States Members of the Organization are participating here or listening to us constitutes an incentive to go ahead with this decision already taken by the Security Council.
I am pleased also to see Under-Secretary-General Miyet at this meeting. As he told us in the beginning of his intervention, he also is pleased to be here, and we welcome his presence at this open briefing. The Council has benefited a lot from the briefings of Mr. Miyet, and this is a good opportunity for other States to listen to him.
Ambassador Dahlgren is also creating a precedent here, as was already underlined by my colleagues. I would like to underline it as well. It is very important that we are having this open meeting because it underlines the more active role we want the sanctions committees and their Chairpersons to play.
We are debating these proposals in the Security Council, and I very much hope we will take decisions by the end of this month we are in your hands, Mr. President, until the end of this month to adopt some guidelines on the questions relating to the debate on sanctions referred to by Ambassador Amorim. The most important point is the role of the Chairpersons of the sanctions committees.
As Ambassador Dahlgren said here, it is not only important that the Chairpersons can get better information during their visits to the region or countries targeted, by the sanctions; it is not only gathering better information that is important, and afterwards coming here and sharing this information as Ambassador Dahlgren did with us this morning the other point that he made regarding the implementation of sanctions is also very important. This is absolutely essential. We are going on and on, and it is clear that we have to address this question of arms embargoes in a different way. Because if not, they are ineffective, and the Council sometimes seems to be collaborating passively with situations that are totally unacceptable.
We can do this only in an open way. We can do this only with the participation of all the Member States of the Organization. It is not only the Security Council that can do this. This is a responsibility of the whole Organization. For the Organization to be responsible, naturally it is important for the Security Council to provide information and to share these elements and this work with the general membership. It is important to reveal to the general membership more of the work of the sanctions committees and the work we do in these committees.
Regarding the situation in Sierra Leone, I would like very much again to address and thank Ambassador Dahlgren for the very good briefing, in addition to the excellent report that we have from the Secretary-General. Given the time limits, I would just underline two points regarding the information that was shared with us. First of all, Ambassador Dahlgren provides a very vivid picture of how appalling the human rights situation in Sierra Leone is. One point he made is very important. It is important that it be clear that those who are committing these crimes will not be able to do so with impunity. That is why it so important that the International Criminal Court was created this year in Rome. This is very important, because it is absolutely essential to avoid impunity in future situations, as well as in the ones we are facing now.
At the same, this calls our attention to another point. In many of these conflicts there can be no military solutions. We have to have, in the end, dialogue and national reconciliation. National reconciliation is an important factor in which, again, human rights play an important role the guarantee of individuals' rights. That is why the appeal of the Secretary-General to President Kabbah on the questions of executions and the death penalty is, in my opinion, so important.
Naturally, I would like to praise again what Ambassador Dahlgren said about the situation of children. This is an important aspect, and this is why, too, it is so important for the whole Organization to support the role of Ambassador Olara Otunnu. Olara Otunnu is now dealing with the situation of children in armed conflicts, and we have to give him all possible support, and we have to praise the Secretary-General for creating this important function at the United Nations.
Once again I would like to praise the work of Ambassador Dahlgren and the initiative that he himself took, not only this second time. He visited the region twice: the first time in his national capacity, and this time as Chairman of the sanctions Committee. I would like very much to praise him for this.