Oral Answer by Minister for Law K Shanmugam to PQ on the Concept of Indivisible Security
08 May 2023 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Vikram Nair (Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC)
To ask the Minister for Law whether he can elaborate on the concept of “indivisible security” as referenced in his speech entitled “The Russia-Ukraine War and Southeast Asia One Year On: Implications and Outlook” that was delivered on 8 March 2023 at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute workshop.
1. I will first start with the point of Sovereignty.
2. Self-determination, sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the non-recourse to use of force are fundamental principles of international law.
3. These principles are enshrined in the UN Charter.
4. 193 States are party to the Charter, including Singapore.
a. Article 1(2) of the UN Charter states that one of the UN’s purposes is “[t]o develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace”.
b. Article 2(1) provides that the UN is “based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members”.
c. Article 2(4) provides that all Members “shall refrain in their international relations – from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state …”.
d. Article 2(7) provides that “[n]othing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the [UN] to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state”.
5. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine violates these basic principles of international law – including self-determination, sovereignty, territorial integrity and the non-recourse to use of force.
6. In my speech that Mr Vikram Nair referred to, I think I said 4 times that the Russian invasion cannot be justified.
7. Russia has invoked Indivisible Security as among the reasons for the invasion of Ukraine. And as I have said, Indivisible Security cannot give grounds for the Russian invasion.
8. Indivisible Security is not of the same status as self-determination, sovereignty, or territorial integrity and the non-recourse to use of force.
9. Indivisible Security is, I think, best characterised as a concept that is invoked in international relations.
10. And I pointed out that the concept of Indivisible Security, in some form, has been invoked by both Russia and the United States.
11. But that does not make it a principle of international law. And it is not set out in the UN Charter.
12. In addition, in my speech, I shared diverse views on how the situation in Ukraine unfolded, and the roles of the West, NATO, and the Russian Federation.
13. The result is that Ukraine is the unfortunate victim, and its people are paying a terrible price.
Last updated on 08 May 2023