International System Will Collapse If State’s Territorial Integrity Not Respected

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, on the anniversary of the country’s membership of the UN, underlined that Spanish legality is firmly entrenched in the international legal system. That is why, Rajoy added, “those who do not respect the Spanish Constitution must be aware that they are also attacking the same legal foundations of the international community”.

Rajoy made the comments in a speech at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter and the 60th anniversary of Spain’s membership of the UN, an event presided over by Their Majesties the King and Queen, together with the presence of the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon.

Rajoy recalled the fundamental pillars of the San Francisco Charter – the founding treaty of the UN – approved 70 years ago: sovereign equality among States, the peaceful resolution of conflicts and non-interference in internal affairs. Together with these three principles, he said, a fourth is worthy of mention, which is “the keystone of everything else”: the territorial integrity of States.

According to Rajoy, both the founding charter of the UN and the legal acquis of the international organisation “are very clear in this respect” and only admit certain exceptions, such as colonies, territories occupied by force and regions where human rights are not respected.

Rajoy said that if the territorial integrity of States is not respected, “the international system will fall apart”. He added that “the worst disasters of the 20th Century and the most destabilising conflicts of the 21st Century had and have their origin in the violation of this principle, or at least it featured as an aggravating factor”.

Rajoy was resolute in his statement, “Those who undermine or ignore the rules that govern coexistence in democratic States and the rule of law are also in breach of the basic principles enshrined in the charter and on which coexistence between nations is based”. Hence, “they cannot aspire to be admitted to an international community governed by the law”, since “it will not accept them”.

Spain, under the international legal system

Rajoy underlined that Spain, as stated in the Preamble to the 1978 Spanish Constitution, is a nation “firmly committed” to “the international legal system” and to the “strength of peaceful relations and effective cooperation between all the peoples on Earth”. That is why, “those who do not respect the Spanish Constitution must be aware that they are also attacking the same legal foundations of the international community,” he added.

Spain’s contribution to the UN

Spain joined the UN on December 14, 1955. Over the course of these six decades, “it has become a benchmark nation in terms of the three fundamental pillars of the UN: peace, human rights and development”, Rajoy asserted. Moreover, he added that Spain “aspires to humbly but decisively contribute to a freer, more prosperous and fairer world”.

Rajoy explained that “international society requires us to tackle the major challenges and threats of the 21st Century together”, because “the opposite means going against reason, the sense of history and in breach of the very United Nations Charter itself.”

On this point, Rajoy highlighted Spain’s contribution “in preventing conflicts and in peacekeeping”: 140,000 members of the armed forces and the State law enforcement agencies have taken part in more than 50 peacekeeping operations and humanitarian aid missions in all the regions of the world. The President of the Government spoke a few words in memory of the 167 Spaniards who have given their lives on these missions.

Rajoy also spoke about Spain’s commitment to the spirit of the United Nations. “We actively contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights. We are particularly active in promoting gender equality and wholeheartedly defend, among other issues, the abolition of the death penalty, the rights of persons with disabilities and the recognition of the victims of terrorism, whose voice was heard at last week’s Security Council.”

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