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  • 10 December 2018

    On 10 December 2018, on the initiative of Poland, the UN Security Council held an Arria-formula meeting on prevention of atrocity crimes.

    A day after we celebrated 70 years since the United Nations had adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which had been largely made possible by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer of Jewish descent, who coined the term 'genocide', and on the day marking 70 years since the UN General Assembly had adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Poland organized a meeting of the UN Security Council members on raising the effectiveness of preventing atrocity crimes (genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity).



    Poland undertook this initiative together with Belgium, Côte d'Ivoire, Germany, Kuwait and Peru, as well as in cooperation with the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and the UN Office of Legal Affairs. The meeting gathered together representatives of all current and incoming members of the Security Council and attracted significant interest among the UN membership (over 120 attendees). The discussion served to draw the participants’ attention to the current achievements of international law regarding atrocity crimes, including Poland’s contribution to those achievements. It also allowed for outlining legal and political responsibilities of states concerning the prevention and punishment of such crimes, as well as for presenting and discussing detailed proposals for actions aimed at preventing those crimes. Poland’s innovative initiative gained support from our partners representing all regional groups in the United Nations. This allowed for a thorough and comprehensive discussion on the sensitive issue of atrocity crimes prevention to be held for the first time from such a perspective.



    The meeting confirmed Poland’s commitment in the UN forum in 2018 as an advocate of respect for human rights and prevention of atrocity crimes. It constituted another step in the implementation of one of our main priorities for 2018–19 UN Security Council membership – strengthening of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law.


    The new initiative elaborates on the ideas touched upon during Poland’s presidency in the Council in May 2018. Then we organized two open debates: on the role of international law in the maintenance of international peace and security, chaired by President Andrzej Duda, and on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, presided over by Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz.


    The meeting organized today was also a reference to a discussion panel held during the 29th informal meeting of Legal Advisers of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of UN Member States. All the events organized by Poland attracted great interest and were generally appreciated among the UN member states. Moreover, they contributed to creating a positive image of Poland within the United Nations as a country that is effective and ready to put forward appropriately selected and well thought out solutions.


    The meeting on 10 December helped to further strengthen Poland’s reputation as one of the leading voices in the debates held in the United Nations on the most important international law issues. It was also another effort that contributed to consolidating Poland’s position in the United Nations, to implementing an important priority of our UN Security Council membership and to demonstrating our attachment to the values of solidarity, responsibility and  commitment.


    Permanent Mission of Poland to the UN in New York



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