Antonio Guterres urges member states to uphold UN values, rule of law
United Nations : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on all member states to uphold the vision and the values of the UN Charter and the rule of law in particular.
“First and foremost, I urge all member states to uphold the vision and the values of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to abide by international law,” the UN chief on Thursday told a Security Council meeting on the promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security, Xinhua news agency reported.
Noting that the rule of law is “foundational to the United Nations, and to our mission of peace,” and that the cornerstone of the rule of law is that “all people, institutions, and entities, public and private, including the state itself, are accountable before the law,” the top UN official said the rule of law protects the vulnerable, and prevents discrimination, harassment and other abuses.
“It is our first line of defense against atrocity crimes, including genocide. It creates and bolsters trust in institutions. It supports fair, inclusive economies and societies. And it is the basis of international cooperation and multilateralism,” he said.
The debate on this topic at the Security Council, said Guterres, “sends a strong message that ensuring the rule of law is our priority, and that all countries must adhere to international standards.”
“We are at grave risk of the Rule of Lawlessness,” he warned. The rule of law is foundational to efforts by the United Nations to find peaceful solutions to all these conflicts, disasters and crises and more, and to support the most vulnerable people and communities around the world, said the UN chief.
“I count on member states to support our efforts to promote the rule of law across the board, including on this council,” he added. While the challenges are many, the primacy of the rule of law is essential to the maintenance of international peace and security and for peacebuilding efforts, he said.
“I urge member states to make full use of the rule of law as a preventive tool.” He also urged the international community to reinforce the rule of law as a key enabler to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, noting that “Goal 16 on access to justice for all and effective, inclusive and accountable institutions is a critical enabler for the other SDGs.”
Turning to his report on Our Common Agenda, Guterres said it calls for a new vision for the rule of law “that is an opportunity to reset and reinforce the centrality of the rule of law in all activities of our organization.”
The rule of law is key to addressing existing and future challenges, from nuclear disarmament to the climate crisis, the collapse of biodiversity, pandemics and dangerous diseases, he stressed, adding that the United Nations is uniquely positioned to lead in promoting innovation and progress in accordance with the rule of law.
“There is no other global organization with our legitimacy, convening power and normative impact,” he said.