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‘2015 can and must be time for global action,’ Ban declares, briefing UN Assembly on year’s priorities
January 09,2015   By:un.org

Welcoming the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, he said peace and security is not achievable in a world where nuclear weapons were available. He urged States to fulfil their responsibilities under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

“The nuclear powers continue to waste huge sums to upgrade their arsenals rather than eliminate [them],” he said. “The Treaty Review Conference, which will begin in April, will be an opportunity to renew our commitment not only to non-proliferation but also disarmament.”

On the third pillar of UN work – human rights and the rule of law – he pointed to the “deliberate and diabolical slaughter” of schoolchildren in Pakistan and to the frequent targeting of hospitals, schools and other civilian facilities.

“Both Governments and non-State actors are exhibiting a callous disregard for the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian and human rights law,” he said, calling for strengthened protection and greater accountability.

Despite having endorsed the principle of “responsibility to protect” – or “R2P” – 10 years ago, the international community still failed to act on early warning signs in too many crises. He urged reclamation of the people-centred focus that made endorsement of the principle possible in the first place and said his next report would explore how better to operationalize ‘R2P.’

As well as hoping to see moves towards abolition of the death penalty, he hoped for efforts to counter intolerance faced by migrants, refugees, minorities and other marginalized groups and noted that 2015 is the beginning of the International Decade for People of African Descent.

“Over the years, the world has failed to fully recognize the legacy of colonialism and the slave trade, and the discrimination still faced by people of African descent,” he said. “An important part of this observance will be the unveiling here at UN Headquarters of the Permanent Memorial to [honour the Victims of Slavery and] the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.”

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