NEW YORK, APRIL 18 – “The unity of the Security Council is the crucial factor to achieve its core objective: the protection of civilians”, the Italian Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Inigo Lambertini said addressing an historic first open meeting of its fifteen members on human rights and the protection of peace and security. The debate, chaired by US Ambassador Nikki Haley, marked the first time the Security Council held a meeting dedicated exclusively to human rights and its link to international peace and security, giving Security Council members the opportunity to reflect on the way the Council directly addresses human rights issues in its work.
“Today’s meeting fits perfectly with our holistic vision of “security” in which peace, sustainable development and the respect of human rights reinforce each other. It is also consistent with the continuous growing attention the Security Council has progressively devoted to human rights, in acknowledgment of their relevance to the maintenance of international peace and security”, Lambertini said. Pointing out to the role of human rights for conflict management, the Ambassador observed that “today we should look into trafficking of human beings as well as trafficking in and destruction of cultural heritage as ways to undermine the fundamental rights of individuals and communities and as the outcome and a precursor for long term conflict and instability”.
Some operational suggestions along the above-mentioned lines: “Prevention needs information: the Security Council should devise, together with the Human Rights Council and other involved actors, a more systematic use of human rights information as an early warning mechanism, and as a crucial element of sustainable and long term armed conflict prevention efforts”. Visiting missions and Arria formulas are also important tools at the Council disposal, Lambertini said.
The Un Secretary General Antonio Guterres opened the meeting underscoring the importance of unity within the Security Council and calling on its members to “spare no effort to put an end to the intolerable suffering of the Syrian people”. “The failure to do so is a tragedy that shames us all.” Speaking on initiatives already taken by the Security Council, such as incorporating a human rights component in the mandate of UN peace missions, the UN chief noted that the systematic monitoring and reporting of human rights violations not only gave “a voice” to victims but also helped the fight against impunity. That work also contributed to the protection of civilians under threat, helped build capacities and, in some circumstances, preserved democratic space.
To read Ambassador Lambertini speech in full, click here.