Peace, human rights precondition for development: UNGA chief

UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak
UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak

By Arul Louis,

United Nations : Peace and upholding of human rights are preconditions for development and, therefore, the UN has to put a priority on peacebuilding to prevent conflicts from arising, said General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak.

“We made it very clear that you cannot speak about peace in separation from development and from human rights,” he told reporters on Tuesday during the two-day high-level meeting he convened on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

This new approach to sustaining peace demands a comprehensive approach, he said.

He said: “Obviously you cannot talk and think about meeting the Sustainable Development Goals in a situation when a country or region is in conflict.

“Therefore, peace is a precondition and prerequisite for development and also for the respect of human rights.”

This approach was firmed up in resolutions adopted by both the Assembly and the Security Council in 2016 on peacebuilding and sustaining peace and the high-level meeting is a stocktaking exercise at the two-year mark “to see how much has been achieved, how much the work of the UN has improved, has changed for the better, what needs to be done for the future,” he added.

Earlier speaking at the opening of the meeting attended by two presidents, a king, two prime ministers and about 50 ministers and vice-ministers, Lajcak said that although the UN has prevented a world war, “we could have done more to respond to conflicts and more to prevent them from happening at all.”

Preventing conflicts must be given greater priority with more emphasis on mediation and diplomacy, he said.

“We need a drive for diplomacy and the UN must be the engine room,” he added.

He warned about the rising intolerance, hate speech and divisive rhetoric, and said that the international community should find ways to counteract them.

He said that making the decision-making processes more inclusive by having women in leadership positions was essential for peace and avoiding conflicts while noting that mostly men wielded power.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in)


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