Permanent Mission of Australia
to the United Nations
New York

230221 - UN Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization: CANZ Statement


21 February 2023

Statement on behalf of Australia, Canada and New Zealand, delivered by Ms Hayley Keen, Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations

Thank you Chair,

I have the honour of delivering this statement on behalf of Canada, New Zealand and my own country, Australia (CANZ).

This Committee was established almost 50 years ago with a view to enhancing the ability of the United Nations (UN) to achieve its purpose, and strengthening its role with regard to:

  • the maintenance and consolidation of international peace and security,
  • the development of cooperation among all nations, and
  • the promotion of the rules of international law in relations between States.

CANZ countries firmly support these worthy goals, at the very heart of which stands the UN Charter.

It is incumbent upon all States, in good faith, to fully respect and comply with the UN Charter, and cooperate with one another to support the same.

We must stand by the Charter, and protect the purposes and principles it sets out, as the very foundation of the international rules-based order upon which we all rely to prosper and thrive.

It is because of this deeply-held attachment to the UN and its Charter that CANZ countries feel compelled to deliver this joint statement today, the first time we have done so in this Committee.

Because as we convene over the next two weeks to discuss the maintenance of international peace and security and the peaceful settlement of disputes, we continue to face one of the greatest threats to these principles since this Committee’s inception.

Almost one year since Russia’s invasion on 24 February 2022, war continues to rage in Ukraine as it is forced to defend its sovereign equality, territorial integrity and political independence against Russia’s aggression.

CANZ condemns Russia's illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine, which has caused immense human suffering. The invasion is a gross violation of international law, including the UN Charter, in particular the obligation to refrain from using force against another State.

Russia’s war impacts upon all nations and all peoples.

CANZ cannot be indifferent to this affront to the UN and its Charter.

We remain steadfast supporters of all States’ sovereignty and territorial integrity. We call on Russia to comply with its obligations under the UN Charter and end its aggression against Ukraine.

We urge all Member States to remain vigilant and engaged, to prevent a precedent being set for more threats to the UN and its Charter in other parts of the world.

This flagrant violation of the UN Charter reinforces the need for this Committee to further reflect on how it delivers on its core mandate.

CANZ continues to welcome new proposals for consideration by this Committee that are practical, non-duplicative and appropriate for this Committee rather than other forums, in line with its 2006 decision on working methods, set out in paragraph 72 of report A/61/33.

We do not support proposals for new subjects that do not meet this threshold, including those resubmitted this year on unilateral coercive measures, the application of Article 51 of the UN Charter, and privileges and immunities.

Also consistent with that 2006 decision, we share the view that this Committee should consider streamlining and prioritising its work. This could include reducing the duration of annual sessions of the Committee, and biennialising or postponing consideration of proposals that have remained on the agenda and have been discussed at length for many years without meaningful progress or prospects of reaching consensus.

In this Committee, we have a real opportunity to contribute to the broader revitalisation of the General Assembly to ensure that scarce time and resources are used most efficiently and effectively.