Preventing Violations And Strengthening Protection Of Human Rights, Including In Situations Of Conflict And Insecurity

Children in Yemen survey the results of an airstrike which killed at least nine people in Sana’a, March 2018. (Photo by ©EPA-EFE/YAHYA ARHAB) 

The maintenance of international peace and security is one of the purposes of the United Nations Charter. Violence and conflict undermine sustainable development. Human rights violations are at the root causes of conflict and insecurity which, in turn, invariably result in further violations of human rights.

As such, action to protect and promote human rights has inherent preventive power while rights-based approaches to peace and security bring this power to efforts for sustainable peace. The human rights normative framework also provides a sound basis for addressing issues of serious concern within or between countries that, if left unaddressed, may lead to conflict. Human rights information and analysis is a tool for early warning and early targeted action that has not yet been used to its full potential.

Failure to adhere to international human rights standards and protect human rights weakens peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts. Global efforts to counter terrorism and prevent the spread of violent extremism suffer from this failure.

The UN’s renewed focus on prevention and sustaining peace is key to both this and the previous pillar on advancing sustainable development. We can help to sustain both peace and development by showing how applying human rights norms can address grievances, reduce inequality and build resilience. This pillar also addresses potential threats posed by new technologies in a security context.