UNSG: ‘atrocity crimes’ preventable News
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UNSG: ‘atrocity crimes’ preventable

Addressing the UN General Assembly on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres [official profile] stated [Meeting summary] that no atrocity crimes, including genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, are inevitable and that all can be prevented.

General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák stated that “Prevention can save people from experiencing the horrors of atrocity crimes. And more pragmatically, it can save money.” Guterres and Mexico’s representative stated that money spent on prevention of crises resulted in significant cost reductions compared to costs of crisis management. Guterres cited a study by the World Bank and UN, which found that “Every $1 spent to prevent violence had saved $16 over the past two decades.” Mexico’s representative cited a United Nations-World Bank study which found generally that “For each $1 spent on prevention, the international community saved $7 on crisis management.”

Guterres stated that the primary responsibility to protect people belongs to the states and called upon 45 states who have not yet ratified the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment on the Crime of Genocide to do so. He also stated that the international community must support states’ efforts in domesticating international laws related to atrocity crimes.

The UN has frequently condemned human rights violations occurring in various portions of the world. In May the UN Human Rights Council passed [JURIST report] a resolution to investigate Israel for alleged human rights violations in the Gaza Strip. In March a UN official stated [JURIST report] that state actions in Myanmar amount to genocide. In March 2017 the Chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan had called [JURIST report] for the country to establish courts and bring prosecutions against those who committed human rights abuses.