Under-Secretary-General Adama Dieng delivered the 2018 Kofi Annan – Dag Hammarskjöld lecture on 3 October 2018 in Accra, Ghana on the topic of ‘Prevention and Mitigation of Armed Conflicts: Our Collective Responsibility’. This public event provided an opportunity for audience members, including those from the academic and diplomatic spheres as well as the public sector and private individuals, to learn about his experiences and insights. Mr Dieng shared his views on what is needed to better prevent atrocity crimes and violence as well as his reflections on the role of the UN in this work.
In his lecture, Mr Dieng spoke about Kofi Annan’s strong belief in the UN’s ability to advance lasting peace and tolerance between people, represent disadvantaged and minority voices and promote rule of law. He noted that while atrocity crimes are most likely to occur in situations of armed conflict, genocide and crimes against humanity have also occurred outside of conflict situations. This fact, Mr Dieng emphasised, underlines the importance of paying attention to, understanding, and reacting to the early warning signs of atrocity crimes. ‘Early warning can be successful only if it is linked to early action’, he underscored.
The lecture concluded with Mr Dieng urging that prevention of armed conflicts requires us individually and collectively – with partnerships between governments, regional and international organisations – to build resilient and cohesive societies.
Having just celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we thank Adama Dieng for his clear message that: ‘We cannot undertake meaningful prevention without respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms universally recognised and guaranteed.’