The role of UN Peace Operations has evolved from restoring peace after conflicts to working to prevent the outbreak of violence, according to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.
His assertion came November 1, 2018, at the Seventy-third Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Fourth Committee Agenda Item 56: Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects at the United Nations in New York.
The Archbishop’s full statement:
Peace operations are constantly evolving. They are now multidimensional, multifaceted and multifunctional. They are no longer solely instruments for restoring peace after conflicts have erupted, but are considered more and more, and rightly so, as preventive measures to keep tense situations from erupting into full-blown conflicts and as an important element in post-conflict peacebuilding. As noted in the Report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, conflict prevention and mediation must be brought to the fore.
Pope Francis addressed the importance of mediation in his address to the General Assembly in 2015. “War,” he said, “is the negation of all rights…. If we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war between nations and between peoples. To this end, there is a need to ensure the uncontested rule of law and tireless recourse to negotiation, mediation, and arbitration, as proposed by the Charter of the United Nations, which constitutes truly a fundamental juridical norm.” Conflict prevention, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding processes and efforts must involve all sectors of society. Broad consultations and participative mechanisms that exclude no group or segment of society consolidate the legitimacy of the State and foster trust among all its citizens. By supporting the establishment of inclusive partnerships at all levels, conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding become community efforts. The participation of all citizens in various capacities helps to lead to a successful implementation of peace agreements and thus contribute to lasting peace and stability.
The importance of women’s full participation as active agents in peace and security and the contributions of women in UN peacekeeping missions cannot be overemphasized. While not so many women may be visible at negotiating tables, they have always played an important part in the prevention of conflicts and in the implementation of peace accords. They are change agents on the ground, the best teachers of empathy in the sufferings of others and attention to the points of view of others, with a particular capacity to forgive and to take the first steps in the process of healing and reconciliation.
My Delegation would like to underline the importance of addressing the root causes of conflicts in a meaningful and objective way. Development, security and human rights are closely interrelated. Development is not possible without peace and peace is not possible without development. Insecurity and injustices like inequality, corruption, poor governance and illicit financial and arms flows, all give rise to violence in societies. No society can thrive if it is torn by conflict and strife. Citizens cannot realize their potential if they are engulfed by instability and insecurity. On the contrary, inclusive and sustainable development is not only an end in itself but is also the best defense against the risks of violent conflicts.
The Holy See is deeply concerned with the practice of forced displacement as a military tactic by States and non-State actors. This has particularly disastrous consequences for minority populations, including religious minorities. In the face of millions of refugees and peoples forcibly displaced by conflicts and persecutions, the values expressed in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the respect for fundamental human rights and the dignity and worth of the human person, must be at the heart of our response to their plight. On various occasions, Pope Francis has urged everyone, in the spirit of compassion and solidarity, to welcome, protect, promote and integrate them.
In conclusion, my Delegation commends the activities of the UN Peacekeeping Missions and the sacrifices undertaken by the peacekeepers who in many instances have made the ultimate self-offering in the interest of peace, and reiterates the commitment of the Holy See to collaborate in the work of conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict stabilization and peace consolidation.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
1. Pope Francis, Address to the United Nations General Assembly, 25 September 2015.
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