Opening remarks by H.E. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations at Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace during the 8668th meeting of the Security Council.
UN chief António Guterres told the Security Council, “reconciliation helps to repair fractures caused by an absence of trust between state and people,” adding that “it is a process through which societies can move from a divided past to a shared future.”
Speaking to Security Council 19 Nov at an open debate on the role of reconciliation processes in the maintenance of peace and security, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterated the vital importance of reconciliation, noting that today’s conflicts are complex which requires the reconciliation processes to be broader, deeper and more inclusive than ever before.
Guterress said, successful reconciliation processes address the pain and suffering of victims; understand the motivation of offenders; render justice; provide remedy; and ensure truth. There is no reconciliation without justice, and there is no justice without truth.”
He noted that transitional justice mechanisms, including truth and reconciliation commissions, can be an effective way to achieve these goals. However, “reconciliation cannot be a substitute for accountability or pave the way for amnesties for serious crimes under international law.”
The UN chief continued, “this Council has rightly emphasized the importance of accountability for gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law.”
Throughout the world, the United Nations supports national transitional justice processes that focus on victims.
Guterres said, “we will continue to encourage governments to mobilize their national capacities, while ensuring that international standards are met. Our support for national political dialogues, consultations and processes, including elections and the drafting of constitutions, is another essential step in promoting inclusive and people-centred institutions.”
The UN chief also noted that the world is currently witnessing a wave of protests around the world. He said, “while each is unique, they share some common features: a deficit in trust between people and political institutions; and the negative impacts of globalization and technological change which are deepening inequalities.”
Guterres continued, “I urge governments to respond to these protests with respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and to address people’s grievances through dialogue and reconciliation to counter deep polarization.”
Remarks [as delivered]: https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2019-11-19/secretary-generals-remarks-the-security-council-the-role-of-reconciliation-processes-delivered