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Miroslav Lajčák in New York: Strengthening peace and human rights must be in the focus of UN effort

Miroslav Lajčák in New York: Strengthening peace and human rights must be in the focus of UN effort

22.9.2016 | Aktivity ministra | Slovensko a OSN

New York (21 September) – The need to strengthen human rights and peacebuilding under the auspices of the United Nations was discussed by Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Miroslav Lajčák, in New York on Wednesday.
Minister Lajčák first spoke at the event on human rights and conflict prevention that was organized by Switzerland and Germany, with participation of foreign affairs ministers from several countries and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, on the sideline of the UN General Assembly.


Minister Lajčák emphasized that human rights are a universal value and must be protected at all costs: “Human rights violations often are the first indicator of instability. We cannot hope to establish sustainable peace unless we make sure that human rights are respected.”
Conflict prevention and human rights protection are inseparable, according to the minister. “The UN, as an organization responsible for peace maintenance, must also be the leading advocate in pursuing respect for human rights and leading the fight against intolerance, discrimination, marginalization and impunity. The obligation of the member states is to equip the UN to allow it to carry out this role consistently,” noted Minister Lajčák.


 He also reminded that Slovakia has been pursuing incorporation of the human rights agenda into the entire array of the UN activities, inter alia, by including support for the initiative to strengthen human rights (Human Rights Up Front) that puts emphasis specifically on prevention.
In that regard Minister Lajčák pointed out the importance of security sector reform, the agenda making Slovakia more visible within the United Nations, and accentuating post-conflict stabilization of forces and institutions of states with the rule of law as a fundamental prerequisite for sustaining peace and preventing relapse into conflict. “Slovakia can see space for enhancing security sector reform also through the human rights dimension and relevant instruments,” noted Minister Lajčák.


Specific aspects of peacebuilding with pledged donor contributions within the UN were discussed at the following ministerial-level pledging donor conference for the UN Peacebuilding Fund that was opened by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and attended by Minister Lajčák representing Slovakia. “Establishing and sustaining peace in post-conflict areas ranks among the key roles of the United Nations. Peacekeeping and conflict prevention simultaneously present one of the greatest challenges and call for appropriate effort, including financial resources from member states,” noted Minister Lajčák in his remarks.


The UN member states have adopted a resolution this year with a focus on enhancing the peacebuilding capacities of the organization that, inter alia, accentuate the need for fast and sustainable funding for peacebuilding activities. The instruments include the Peacebuilding Fund, to which donor countries pledged their specific contributions at the Wednesday UN Conference.


“Slovakia will provide €550,000 for this fund in the course of three years,” announced Minister Lajčák at the UN pledging donor conference.  Peace-related issues were also in the focus of yet another event that was attended by Minister Lajčák on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. The event was a closed-door ministerial meeting dedicated to the future of peacebuilding operations and was held in the International Peace Institute. The foreign affairs ministers of selected countries discussed how to improve the effectiveness of peacebuilding operations and a gradual transition from a reactive model to prevention.


 Minister Lajčák’s Wednesday program in New York also included a series of the following bilateral meetings: together with the Slovak President, Andrej Kiska, with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Foreign Affairs Minister Pavlo Klimkin; and separate bilateral meetings with the Foreign Affairs Minister of Mexico, Claudia Ruiz Massieu, and the Foreign Affairs Minister of Senegal, Mankeur Ndiaye.


Minister Lajčák and President Kiska also visited the former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and discussed his views of timely global developments on Wednesday in New York.