Monday, 6/7/2020 | 5:57 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

U.S. Presidency of UN Security Council


In December the United States has had the privilege of holding the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council. At a time when security threats dominate the news, the Council pursued an ambitious agenda to try to address some of the world’s most vexing crises and the profound human suffering they cause. The Council‎ passed resolutions in support of UN efforts to bring political solutions to devastating civil conflicts in Syria and Libya, and signaled its support for UN-mediated talks aimed at ending the war in Yemen. The Council also pressed for improved aid to civilians in these conflict areas, where too many lives have been ravaged by violence and hunger. We pressed the parties to the conflict in Ukraine – whose sovereignty and territorial integrity continue to be undermined by its neighbor – to recommit themselves to the Minsk agreement. We adopted an important renewal of the mandate for‎ the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which must continue to protect civilians, help facilitate humanitarian assistance, monitor human rights, and support South Sudanese parties in more urgently implementing the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-facilitated peace agreement. In addition, we sought innovative ways to confront unconventional threats, as when the United States chaired the first-ever Council meeting of finance ministers in an effort to strengthen global cooperation in cutting off the finances that groups like ISIL use to f‎uel their terror. In December, the Council also took up for the first time the grave problem of human trafficking in conflict, challenging individual member states to do more to stop perpetrators from exploiting instability to enslave women, men, and children.‎

Across our efforts, we found ways to make visible to Council members, the UN, and the world the human consequences of contemporary challenges, and to reinforce the fact that all of us are less safe when basic human rights are trampled. At the meeting on human trafficking, Council members heard the gut-wrenching account of a young Yezidi woman who – along with countless other women and girls from her village – was captured by ISIL, repeatedly bought and sold, and subjected to sickening sexual violence. At the Council’s second meeting ever on the human rights crisis in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), two people who managed to escape the regime’s gulags sat in the Council – their presence a testimony not only to the regime’s systematic human rights violations, but also to the resilience and courage of individuals who dream every day of being free of such tyranny.

The real measure of the Council’s effectiveness is, of course, not the number of meetings it convenes or‎ resolutions it passes, but simply in its ability to find solutions to these crises and improve the day-to-day lives of people who are struggling to survive in these conflicts. By this crucial measure, all of us in the Council have a huge amount of work ahead of us in 2016. The United States will continue to engage with our partners in an effort to prevent conflict and promote our common humanity and common security in the year ahead.