Evo Morales, international norms, and equality among states

The withdrawal of permission, after it had been granted, for the presidential plane carrying Bolivian leader Evo Morales to cross airspace, by several European countries, while he transited home from Moscow, represented a grave infringement of the immunities and rights recognised for Heads of State, and endangered the lives of all those on board the aircraft.

These developments demonstrate, on the one hand, the fragility of recognised and long-established international norms, and on the other hand, the vulnerability of international actors, such as leaders of sovereign states, vis-à-vis other powers in the international political system.

We therefore share the sentiments of the protest expressed by a number of governments on the behaviour of the authorities that took the decisions that affected President Evo Morales, and the solidarity expressed with the Head of State of Bolivia and its people.

We firmly draw attention to the responsibility of all states and governments to act in accordance with the established international norms without any exception. Furthermore, any violation of international law by major powers against smaller states is not only a serious offence but a moral wrongdoing.

The task remains to secure the fundamental principle that all states are equal as the basis of a proper multilateral system in international relations and where no one state has overarching power over another state.

Measures must be taken to ensure that what President Morales has suffered will never be repeated.