UN Deputy chief stresses the need to see individual fates in promoting peace

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UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson [UN Photo/Rick Bajornas]

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson has stressed the importance of speaking about individual fates in the promotion of the culture of peace.

He told the UN General Assembly's High Level Forum on the Culture of Peace that "the United Nations is founded on the principle of the dignity and weight of every single human being", yet too often there are "blatant, often systemic violations of this principle."

Mr. Eliasson said in Syria, a tragic civil war has killed more than 100,000 people, displaced one third of the country's population and inflamed sectarian and religious tensions inside and outside the country.

"To build a culture of peace, we must heed the lessons of these appalling numbers of people killed and displaced. But we must speak not only of numbers, but of individual fates. When we fail to see men, women and children, but instead see larger constructs such as cultures, faiths and nations,– there is nothing wrong with that—but we tend to lose sight of the afflicted human beings. When we do not see the person and find only the proverbial 'other', we are on a treacherous course toward polarization, dehumanization, and worse" (35")

Deputy Secretary-General Eliasson said the international community has been down this path before and it must stop any such descent from recurring.

Donn Bobb, United Nations

Duration: 1’18″

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