[JURIST] In his address to the Indian Council of World Affairs [official website] Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called on [statement] India to be a world leader in peace, human rights and sustainable development. He urged India to “renew its leadership in nuclear disarmament” and to facilitate cooperation in South Asia as the world’s largest democracy. Similarly, India fully backs the UN’s comprehensive Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy [official website], and Ban praised the support. Citing challenges to the UN’s global security efforts, the Secretary-General established a High-Level Independent Panel to review peace operations and appointed retired Indian Lieutenant General Abhijit Guha to serve on the panel. He also referenced gender and religious discrimination in India, calling for positive change:
I started a global campaign called “HeforShe” campaign to change mindsets and mobilize men for gender equality. I thank Prime Minister Modi for his support. No country can advance as long as its women are held back. I have been saying that while in our world we use lot of different resources, technologies, the least-utilized resource in our human lives is women. More than half the world’s population are women. Then it is only natural that if we cannot give more, then at least they should be given equal treatment, equal status.
Finally, he praised the efforts that India has made toward sustainable development, particularly the “Make in India” [official website] campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi [official profile]. This national effort gives priority to creating 100 “smart cities” to boost energy security, which the Secretary-General lauds as influential examples for international action on climate change.
This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the UN. The Secretary-General presented his report this week for the new year’s agenda and called [JURIST report] 2015 a “time for global action.” In the last month the UN has expressed criticism over conflicts around the world, including condemning [JURIST report] the attack against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo [corporate website]. The UN Assistance Mission in Iraq earlier this month reported [JURIST report] that casualty figures for the country have reached their highest point over the past five years. In December the Secretary-General condemned [JURIST report] a decision by the Sudanese government to remove two senior UN officials from the country. Also in December The UN Human Rights Office and the UN Support Mission in Libya released a joint report [JURIST report] describing civilian populations in Libya being subjected to shelling, abduction, torture, execution and deliberate destruction of property.