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Minister Jacek Czaputowicz chaired a high-level UNSC briefing on international humanitarian law

“Since the beginning of our membership of the Council, it has been our priority to strengthen international law. It has always been of particular importance for Poland due to its difficult history,” said Minister Czaputowicz during a UN Security Council briefing on international humanitarian law.

The discussion was held in connection with the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, which falls on 12 August. “The Conventions were ratified and adopted by almost all countries in the world. Their legal standards and rules are recognized as customary international humanitarian law and are applied universally,” said Minister Czaputowicz in his speech.

The UN Security Council meeting aimed to draw the international community’s attention to the need of adjusting international humanitarian law to evolving conditions in which armed conflicts happen. “New challenges are complex, which means that it is difficult to classify conflicts and define which legal rules should apply to them,” said Minister Czaputowicz.

In his speech, Minister Czaputowicz stressed the critical role that international law plays in maintaining global security. He also pointed to the issues connected with respecting of international humanitarian law in the context of increased number of conflicts involving non-state actors and the evolution of the means and technique used in warfare. He mentioned the problem of a lack or insufficiency of liability for violating humanitarian law and went on to express his conviction that the international community’s role is to eradicate impunity. “I hope that the present and future members of the Security Council will continue their efforts to find solutions to problems that international law struggles with today,” added the minister.

The humanitarian law briefing was one of major events organised by Poland during its August presidency of the UN Security Council. The discussion at the forum of the Council was attended by Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Miguel de Serpa Soares, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Mauer, Dr Annyssa Bellal of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, representing civil society, and German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas. In his address at the forum of the Council, Minister Maas referred to his recent visit to Poland and his participation in the events to mark the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. In his speech, the minister emphasised that the Geneva Conventions, the cornerstone of the international humanitarian law, were adopted over 70 years ago as a response to the crimes committed during the Second World War, such as the massacre of the civilian population during the uprising and the destruction of Poland’s capital by Germans.

On the sidelines of the briefing, Minister Czaputowicz held bilateral talks with his German counterpart. It was the second time this month, and the fourth time this year, the ministers met for a bilateral meeting. During the talks, the top diplomats summarised the visit of Minister Maas in Warsaw on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. Minister Jacek Czaputowicz thanked his German counterpart for his sensitivity and understanding of the importance of historical issues in Polish-German relations. The officials also discussed the programme of Polish presidency of the UN Security Council, the situation in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, as well as the preparations for the anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.

MFA Press Office    

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