Ramifications of Embassy Attacks

Amb. Jorge Heine

Ambassador Jorge Heine, Research Professor at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and Interim Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, recently penned an op-ed for The Statesmen, one of India’s leading newspapers, warning of the potential consequences that could arise from recent attacks on embassies in Iran and Mexico.

In the article, Heine discusses how drastically these attacks have disrupted diplomatic norms. As international law enshrines diplomatic missions’ rights to hold embassies in other states, outside of the sovereignty of the host state, embassies should be safe from host state police or military intervention. Heine argues that these attacks set a dangerous precedent for other countries to follow suit, saying:

“The comparatively relaxed international attitude to the embassy violations by Israel and Ecuador reflects, I believe, a failure to grasp the significance of eroding diplomatic immunity and norms. As global challenges increase, embassies and their representatives become more important, not less so. If the takeaway from the two latest embassy incidents is that the protection of diplomatic premises can be secondary to whatever is politically expedient on any given day, then it will be of great detriment to the management of international relations. Diplomacy will become much more difficult. And given the enormity of the challenges the world faces today, that is the last thing any country needs.”

The op-ed can be accessed in full here.

Ambassador Jorge Heine is a Research Professor at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. He has served as ambassador of Chile to China (2014-2017), to India (2003-2007), and to South Africa (1994-1999), and as a Cabinet Minister in the Chilean Government. Read more about Ambassador Heine on his Pardee School faculty profile.