The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney T.D., today spoke at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Cyber Security.
Addressing the online meeting of the Council, the Minister noted the vital role of information and communications technologies, while highlighting the increased global vulnerability to malicious cyber activity:
“Digital and communications technologies continue to drive economic growth and transform how we live, communicate and work.
“Over the past year, the pandemic has highlighted our increasing reliance on Information and Communication Technologies – bringing people together at times when they had to be apart – while at the same time exposing our vulnerabilities.
“I speak from recent experience on this last point. Ireland’s public healthcare systems were subject to a damaging ransomware attack last month that impacted on critical medical services. An attack of this kind during a global pandemic is appalling. Unfortunately, Ireland’s experience is not isolated.”
The Minister expressed support for a multilateral and rules-based approach to Cyber Security:
“We cannot allow cyberspace to be unconstrained by rules or laws, where malicious actors operate at will.
“International disputes in cyberspace must be resolved by peaceful means.
“This Council must send a clear message of support for a peaceful and secure global cyberspace built on consensus and mutual trust.”
The Minister stressed the need to fully uphold human rights and international law in cyberspace:
“Ireland supports a safe, secure, and accessible cyberspace where human rights and fundamental freedoms apply, both on and offline.
“We strongly reaffirm the applicability of international human rights law to States’ actions in cyberspace.”
29 June 2021
Notes for Editors:
- The meeting is one of the signature events of Estonia’s Presidency of the Council in the month of June.
- The Prime Minister of Estonia, Ms. Kaja Kallas, chaired the meeting
- UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, briefed members of the Council.
- This was the first time that cyber security has been discussed as a standalone issue at a formal meeting of the Council, but issues related to cybersecurity have arisen in discussion on other topics at the Security Council and in informal meetings of members of the Security Council. There have also been some formal discussions in the UN General Assembly.