Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Kuwait to seek UN resolution on missing persons in armed conflict

Arab state pledges to be 'honest broker and bridge builder' during presidency of Security Council in June

Kuwait's ambassador Mansour Al Otaibi will preside at the Security Council for the month of June 2019. AP
Kuwait's ambassador Mansour Al Otaibi will preside at the Security Council for the month of June 2019. AP

Kuwait on Monday began its presidency of the Security Council for the month of June and said it aimed to pass a UN resolution to find missing people and protect civilians in armed conflict.

The 15 members of the council have discussed the proposals twice and a draft of the resolution is expected this week.

If passed at a meeting scheduled for June 11 the measure would compel all 193 members of the UN to co-operate and follow legally binding procedures to find those missing in war, possibly in co-ordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Kuwait has long championed the issue and in February asked the council to do more to find 369 citizens and third-country nationals whose remains have never been found after their abduction or torture by Saddam Hussein's forces in the 1990-91 Gulf War.

“Missing persons are usually dealt with at the end of a conflict, not during a conflict,” said ambassador Mansour Al Otaibi, Kuwait's permanent representative to the UN.

Mr Al Otaibi will chair the council and pledged that the country would be "an honest broker and bridge builder".

New measures would probably include greater urgency and specific reporting requirements.

“We want to focus on that, mainly to increase awareness and to make sure that countries or member states comply with their obligations under international law, humanitarian law and human rights law,” Mr Al Otaibi said.

The continuing war in Syria has underlined weaknesses and flouting of existing regulations, with families unsure if relatives have been killed or detained by the regime's military or judicial authorities.

Kuwait is in the second and final year of holding the non-permanent Arab seat on the council and will use the presidency to highlight several regional issues.

The League of Arab States will brief the council at a session on June 13.

“We would like to see this become an annual practice,” Mr Al Otaibi said.

Nine matters involving Arab affairs fall under the Security Council’s responsibility. Issues that will be discussed in the next four weeks include Libya, Syria (three times), Yemen and the process of Middle East peace between the Palestinians and Israel.

Updated: June 4, 2019 09:35 AM

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