The Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations was launched on 06 July 2021, in New York, and, to date, it is composed of 19 Member States: Algeria, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Mali, Nicaragua, the State of Palestine, the Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.
The Members of the Group of Friends agree that the Charter of the United Nations is both a milestone and a true act of faith that for the past 78 years has filled the entire international community with hope on the best of humanity and brings it together to ensure the common well-being of present and future generations. They consider that the purposes and principles enshrined therein are indispensable for preserving and promoting, among others, international peace and security, the rule of law, economic development and social progress, and all human rights for all, in an ever increasingly connected world.
The Group of Friends operates in New York, since its establishment in July 2021, and during the first quarter of 2023 initiated its activities also in Geneva. The Members of the Group of Friends have agreed to continue identifying other potential spaces for expanding the scope of action of the grouping, particularly to other cities that host United Nations Offices or other International Organizations.
Member States to the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations concur that one of the key elements for ensuring the realization of the three pillars of the Organization of the United Nations and of the yearnings of its peoples, as well as of a peaceful and prosperous world and a just and equitable world order, is ensuring, precisely, compliance with and strict adherence to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter, for it is the consolidation of friendly relations and cooperation among States what will ensure peace, security, stability and development to the international community as a whole.
In this context, however, they consider that multilateralism, which is at the core of the Charter, is currently under an unprecedented attack, which, in turn, threatens global peace and security. Nowadays, the world is seeing a growing resort to unilateralism, marked by isolationist and arbitrary actions, including the imposition of unilateral coercive measures or the withdrawal from landmark agreements and multilateral institutions, as well as by attempts to undermine critical efforts to tackle common and global challenges.
In addition, they believe that the international community is currently struggling with both the continued attempts to disown the diversity of our world and the very basic principles of international relations, and with the systematic violations to the norms of international law and the tenets of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular to the detriment of developing countries, by certain powers that seem to claim a non-existent “exceptionalism” that disregards, for instance, the principle of sovereign equality of States, in an attempt to establish a so-called "rules-based order" with norms that remain unknown and have not been necessarily agreed upon by States, as is the case with the set of norms and principles contained in the UN Charter, and which are the basis for modern-day international law.
1. The Group of Friends, as part of the common quest of its Member States for making further progress towards achieving full respect for international law, shall strive to preserve, promote and defend the prevalence and validity of the UN Charter, which, in the current international juncture, has a renewed and even more important value and relevance.
2. The Group of Friends shall strive to ensure full, permanent and effective – and not selectively or conveniently – fulfillment of obligations under the UN Charter and compliance with its letter and spirit, conscious of the fact that this is the legal instrument with the greatest scope and legitimacy in the world, which has prevented and shall continue to prevent humankind from suffering once again the horrors and untold sorrow of the scourge of war.
3. The Group of Friends shall serve as a platform for, among others, promoting the prevalence of legality over force and for discussing, articulating possible means and coordinating joint initiatives for fostering respect for the principles of sovereignty, equality of States, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, peaceful settlement of disputes, and refraining from the use or threat of use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, as enshrined in the UN Charter, as well as for the values of dialogue, tolerance and solidarity, mindful of the fact that these are all at the core of international relations and necessary for peaceful coexistence among nations.
The Group of Friends has an open-ended nature, and, accordingly, its composition shall be regularly updated, as Member States, Observers and United Nations entities indicate their willingness and interest in joining it. It meets regularly, at the ambassadorial-level, both in New York and Geneva, and at least once a year at the Ministerial and National Coordinators levels, respectively.