UN "working hard to draw on lessons" of failures to prevent genocide

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Secretary-General visits Rwanda Genocide Memorial Museum (2008) UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The UN has been working hard to draw on the lessons of its failures in Rwanda and Srebernica.

That's what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his address to the International Conference on Genocide Prevention taking place in Brussels.

In the face of violence in Rwanda, the Security Council withdrew the UN peacekeeping operation, taking away the much needed "eyes and ears" on the ground, Mr. Ban said.

The organization was also deeply tarnished by its actions and inactions in Srebernica, he added.

The Rights Up Front initiative is the UN's latest strategy to prevent atrocities before they happen.

 "It obliges those within the Organization to be frank in telling Member States what they need to hear, rather than what they might want to hear, about serious violations and emerging crisis situations. The Rights up Front approach has been on display in recent months in South Sudan, where the United Nations opened the gates of its peacekeeping installations, offering shelter to people fleeing violence. Twenty years ago, such steps would have been unthinkable. Today, it was done as a deliberate matter of policy – a lesson of Rwanda made real."  (43″)

These acts of protection could prove unsustainable, the UN Chief warns.

But there is a need for more protection, a greater responsibility to act and ultimately, earlier action before situations spin out of control, he noted.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’39″


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