Countries need to uphold the "responsibility to protect"

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

The United Nations is ready to help countries uphold their fundamental responsibility to protect.

That's according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, addressing members of the Security Council on Monday during an open debate on the United Nations Charter.

The Charter clearly establishes that the primary responsibility for preventing conflict and human rights lies with Member States.

Jocelyne Sambira has more.

Human rights abuses are, in effect, early warning signs of the instability that often escalates into atrocity crimes, the Secretary-General has underscored. 

In some situations, Mr Ban Ki-moon says, countries may lack the capacity to fulfil their obligations to deal with abusers.

But in others, he adds, it's the Member States themselves who are the main violators of human rights.

"I know that at times Member States feel that such efforts are a form of interference that undermines national sovereignty. But it is violence and conflict – and not our attempt to help Member States prevent it – that threaten to State sovereignty. It is violations of human rights by the State that erode the legitimacy of the State. In its engagements, the United Nations seeks to reinforce sovereignty, not challenge or undermine it."

Mr. Ban added that unity of the Security Council was a "crucial factor" in overseeing the peaceful resolution of disputes before they got worse.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’07″

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