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International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect
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Secretary-General's address at Hungarian Academy of Sciences organized by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the UN Association of Hungary
18 April 2011
(…)We have spoken of the most immediate challenges facing the United Nations. Let me now touch on two other important challenges of our new era and suggest how Hungary can contribute.
First, the protection of civilians: what we are seeing in Libya and elsewhere is more than a conflict rooted in the aspirations of a long-repressed people seeking a better future. We are also seeing the international community acting quickly, with resolve, to protect people facing violence at the hands of their own Government. This is the evolving doctrine of the responsibility to protect, a sign that the international community continues to move away from an era of impunity and towards an age of sovereignty as responsibility, where grave crimes and violations of human rights cannot go unaccounted for.
More generally, the Security Council has increasingly placed civilian protection at the centre of the United Nations peace and security agenda. Peacekeepers have been entrusted with growing responsibilities, not only to keep armies at bay, but to protect civilians who are prey to militias and other combatants. Hungary has been there with us for nearly a quarter century. Many hundreds of your personnel serve United Nations missions in Cyprus, Lebanon and Western Sahara, to mention only a few.
Protection of civilians is also part of a wider agenda of human rights culture that encompasses fair treatment of migrant workers and human rights for all minorities. The Roma, here in Hungary and elsewhere, are among the continent’s most marginalized people. Extremists march through their communities. They are threatened. They continue to be treated as pariahs in their own countries. This is not right. This is not just. We must do more to free them from stigma, discrimination and poverty. (…)
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