As delivered by Dr. Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. United Nations Headquarters, New York.
I thank the Foreign Minister of Germany and the Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan for hosting this important event, as well as the UN Deputy Secretary-General and this remarkable cast of panelists.
Human rights – especially with regard to protecting civilians from mass atrocity crimes – must be at the heart of the work of the Security Council. This is not only in keeping with the principles and purposes of the UN, it is essential to its legitimacy and credibility in the eyes of the world.
The reasons are clear. Although the UN was formed in the aftermath of the Holocaust and a devastating world war, we currently have the greatest number of civilians displaced by war and atrocities since 1945. This is precisely why we, and other members of civil society, emphasize that there is a direct link between protecting human rights, preventing atrocities and maintaining international peace and security.
As we mark the tenth anniversary of the global commitment to the Responsibility to Protect, we therefore welcome the Secretary-General’s Human Rights Up Front Action Plan, and commend the tireless work of the Deputy-Secretary-General to advance the initiative.
We encourage all Security Council members to make better use of horizon-scanning briefings, hold Arria Formula meetings and Informal Interactive Dialogues. We also encourage more regularized briefings by the UN Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect, as well as by High Commissioner Zeid, Special Representative Bangura, and other special advisers and representatives. We recognize the need to strengthen the link between Geneva and New York with regard to early warning and timely preventive action.
The Security Council must also provide greater support to the International Criminal Court.
Maintaining peace, protecting human rights and promoting justice are not incompatible objectives. They are essential to ensuring that the UN remains relevant in the twenty-first century.
Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies
The Graduate Center, CUNY
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