Security Council: Exercise of sovereignty in maintenance of peace, security over last 70 years

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi  on 23 February at the Security Council’s open debate on international peace and security. The debate commemorated the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. It provided an opportunity for Member States to reaffirm their commitments to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and to discuss ways to more effectively maintain peace and security. Seated behind and to the right of Mr. Ban is Taye-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz


The Secretary-General opened the debate in which more than 80 Member States made statements. He noted that while today’s world is starkly different than when the Charter’s drafters gathered in 1945, that founding document’s opening phrase, “We the peoples”, remains “just as valid, valuable and vital.” UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz


“At the heart of the Charter is a commitment to the prevention of armed conflict through the peaceful settlement of disputes and the protection of human rights,” Mr. Ban said. “Collective security is the core purpose of the Organization. Unlike in 1945, however, we no longer have a full meeting of minds on what that means. We need to reflect on what has changed — and fortify our sense of unity.” UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz


The UN Charter recognizes consent and respect for the sovereign equality of all Member States, but he noted that “a major obstacle to United Nations human rights action has been a concern among Member States that such action may harm national sovereignty. In reality, it is serious violations of human rights that weaken sovereignty.” UN Photo/Loey Felipe


“The less sovereignty is viewed as a wall or a shield, the better our prospects will be for protecting people and solving our shared problems,” Mr. Ban said, underscoring that the exercise of sovereignty brings with it important responsibilities. 

The UN chief closed his speech with a call on Member States to use this year’s observance of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations to seriously reflect on common goals – such as peace operations, peace building and women’s empowerment – and to “reaffirm our commitment to each other in the great cause of living together with dignity and peace for all.”
UN Photo/Loey Felipe


Minister Wang (right), with Ambassador Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, presided over the open debate. China held the Security Council’s rotating presidency for February. France will assume that responsibility on Sunday, 1 March. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

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