UNSC adopts conflict prevention resolution

NEW YORK (CIHAN)- The Security Council unanimously adopted on Thursday (21 Aug) a resolution containing a number of core conflict prevention themes to reinforce the Council’s role in this matter.

In the document, there is recognition of the importance of early warning mechanisms and a commitment to taking preventive action, and there is also a commitment to the settlement of conflict through peaceful means and an acknowledgement that Chapter VI has not been fully utilised thus far.

Speaking to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined that one of his core priorities is improving the Organization’s ability to act early and act preventively.

He said that events around the world today clearly demonstrate the changing nature and complexity of contemporary conflict.

The Secretary-General said that the Security Council, which bears the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, has a unique responsibility.

He noted that over the past quarter century wars between states have become rare.
However, he added, we cannot speak of positive trends “when we look at Syria, Iraq, Gaza, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Ukraine and elsewhere. Conflicts continue to exact an unacceptable toll.”

He added “events around the world today clearly demonstrate the changing nature and complexity of contemporary conflict. Many countries face repeated cycles of turmoil. Civil wars are no longer contained by national borders.”

The Secretary-General also paid tribute to Navi Pillay, the UN High Commisioner for Human Rights, saying that she tells it like she sees it and that she has spoken forthrightly on issues some have wished to avoid.

He also said “when people face discrimination and abuse of human rights they know that Navi Pillay is their aocate. While others may wish to avoid certain issues, Navi Pillay speaks forthrightly without fear.”

Navi Pillay, in her last briefing to the Council as the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said “the conflict in Syria is metastasing outwards in an uncontrollable process whose eventual limits we cannot predict. Other complex and potentially highly eruptive conflicts are underway in Afghanistan, Central Africa Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Libya, Mali, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Ukraine.”

She added “these crisis hammer home the full cost of the international community’s failure to prevent conflict. They combine massive bloodshed and devastation of infrastructure with acutely destabilising transnational phenomena, including terrorism, the proliferation of prohibited weaponry, organised crime, and spoliation of natural resources.”

The resolution adopted today also contains language regarding violations of human rights and humanitarian law as indicators of conflict onset and escalation as well as the role of certain actors in the UN system to raise awareness.

US representative Christopher Klein told the Security Council that “this year’s headlines also remind us that serious human rights abuses, including sexual violence, can be an early indication of imminent conflict, as well as a consequence of it.”

He added “the horrible accounts of abduction, detention, rape, murder, and other acts of violence against women in Iraq at the hands of ISIL militants and in Nigeria by Boko Haram appall and concern us greatly.”

Also speaking to the Security Council, Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin said “in Ukraine, we see some countries are openly prodding Kiev to continue with its bloodletting, to reject proposals that offer peaceful settlement. The agreements of the 21 February in Geneva have been forgotten, the road map proposed by the acting chairman of the OSCE has been disregarded. And yet, all these docs had real potential of resolving the crisis before it morphed into armed conflict.”

The resolution also notes the significance of accountability as a preventative measure is emphasised, including through the work of ad hoc and mixed tribunals and the International Criminal Court.

In the document efforts toward cooperation with regional and sub-regional organisations on conflict prevention in accordance with Chapter VIII are highlighted, including the need to pursue these initiatives further at a working level.