Indian Ambassador: UN's "R2P" Used Selectively for Regime Change
February 25, 2012 • 9:30AM

During an informal meeting at the UN on Feb. 22, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri, citing the use of the R2P by "over-enthusiastic members" of the international community in the case of Libya and Syria, said the UN principle of responsibility to protect, or "R2P,", has been invoked selectively. He said as developments in Libya and Syria have shown, the principle of R2P is being used for regime change.

In Libya's case, UN Resolution 1973 was aimed at a ceasefire with the mediation of the African Union (AU); use of all necessary means to protect civilians; a no-fly zone; arms embargo, and targetted sanctions, Puri noted. However, he said, as soon as the resolution was adopted, the "over-enthusiastic members" of the international community stopped talking of the AU's and the bloc's efforts to bring about a ceasefire, and completely ignored them.

"The only aspect of the resolution of interest to them [the international community] was the use of all necessary means to bomb the hell out of Libya," he said.

Then, in Syria's case, Puri said, instead of a simple step to hold the Syrian government to a timetable for political reforms, a resolution was proposed to impose sanctions. "President Bashar Assad was declared to have lost legitimacy. The opposition was discouraged from engaging with the government, and the armed groups started receiving support, ostensibly to defend themselves," he said.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly on July 24, 2009 in a discussion on R2P, Hardeep Singh Puri had then said: "Sovereignty as a responsibility has, however, always been a defining attribute for nation states, where safeguards for protection of fundamental rights of citizens are constitutionally provided. These measures [R2P], Mr. President, not only have to be used as a last resort, but have to be in conformity with the provisions of the UN Charter. Responsibility to protect should in no way provide a pretext for humanitarian intervention or unilateral action...."