Make prevention a priority, UN chief tells Security Council

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Secretary-General António Guterres addresses the Security Council meeting on the maintenance of international peace and security: human rights and prevention of armed conflict. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Prevention must be "a top priority" if the international community is to tackle conflict and other crises, the UN Secretary-General said on Tuesday.

António Guterres was speaking during a Security Council discussion focussing on human rights and the prevention of armed conflict.

Dianne Penn reports.

The Secretary-General told ambassadors that human rights concerns are "intrinsic" to maintaining peace and security.

He mentioned how human rights initiatives by the Security Council or UN peacekeeping missions, for example, have helped to protect civilians or to prosecute alleged perpetrators of brutal crimes.

Mr Guterres stated that "protecting young generations from conflict-situations is one of the best investments we can make to achieving sustainable peace."

"Despite all these efforts, millions of people still need to be protected from crises. And far more time and resources continue to be spent responding to crises rather than preventing them. If we are to truly address today's challenges, we must make prevention our priority, tackle the root causes of conflict, help build and strengthen institutions, and react earlier and more effectively to address human rights concerns." 

The Secretary-General added that "ensuring improved, and less politicized, action on human rights" is critical to achieving progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 17 SDGs aim to eradicate extreme poverty and promote a better environment for all people, among other targets.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’17″

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