Namibia’s vote against including the item on “The Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” on the Agenda of the 72nd Session of GA

TUESDAY, 19 September 2017

  1. The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation has noticed misinformation and misrepresentation in the media, on Namibia’s procedural vote in the General Committee meeting that took place on Friday, 15 September 2017.
  2. Subsequently, and as a matter of clarity, the Ministry wishes to inform that procedurally, every item on the agenda of the General Assembly is first considered in the General Committee, which is composed of member states based on equitable geographic representation. The issue was discussed in the General Committee and due to disagreement was put to a vote. If and when the Committee cannot agree on whether or not to include the item on the Agenda of the General Assembly, the matter is then taken to the General Assembly to be resolved. The vote on whether or not to include the Item on the Agenda of the General Assembly was taken on Friday, 15 September 2017, and Namibia voted against the procedure.
  3. Namibia, like many other member states, is concerned that this concept could be used to apply intervention by circumventing the UN Security Council, which has the mandate as per the UN Charter to ‘maintain international peace and security.’ Furthermore, to date, there is no legal instrument in place to back R2P. The United Nations relies on Human Rights Council and other international mechanisms to deal with issues of gross human rights abuses, war crimes and genocide.
  4. What took place on Friday was a vote to include or exclude the concept on “The responsibility to protect and the prevention of genocide, war crime, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” in the Agenda of the 72nd General Assembly Session. It was not a vote against the essence of the concept as such. It was a procedural vote. Subsequently, the item will now be discussed during the 72nd Session and a substantive resolution might be introduced. Namibia will express her views and position on this issue, during that debate, and will then decide on how to vote depending on the content of the resolution.
  5. Namibia remains committed to defend human rights and to end human suffering, but through globally supported and internationally recognized multilateral bodies and institutions. We support the premise of the Responsibility to Protect, but through the UN Security Council.

Issued by Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, MP
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister