UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday stressed that the UN Charter remains the world's shared framework of international cooperation amid current global divisions and turmoil.
Speaking at a Security Council meeting on upholding the UN Charter, Guterres lamented that this year began with fresh turmoil and long-standing suffering and geopolitical tensions reached "dangerous levels," most recently in the Gulf. He said the Security Council under the UN Charter has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, and that the UN Charter remains the world's shared framework of international cooperation for the common good. "In an era of spreading hatred and impunity, the charter reminds us of the primacy of the rule of law and human dignity," he said. Recalling the content of the charter, the secretary-general called for peaceful settlement of disputes, equal rights of men and women, non-intervention, self-determination and the sovereign equality of member states. Guterres also pointed to the clear rules governing the use of force as set out in the charter. "These principles are not favors or concessions. They are the foundation of international relations and they are core to peace and international law," he stressed. Moreover, Guterres said, "while the charter and its purposes and principles remain as relevant as ever, our tools must adapt to new realities. And we must use them with greater determination and creativity." In this regard, he highlighted prevention of conflict and outlined many available tools in the charter, including negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and judicial settlement. The secretary-general further called on the Security Council to utilize the powers granted by the charter, including investigation of disputes and the referral of legal questions to the International Court of Justice for advisory opinions. As the United Nations commemorates its 75th anniversary, the UN chief reminded the council members that "the privilege of membership carries vital responsibilities to uphold the charter's tenets and values, particularly in preventing and addressing conflict." "At this time when global fault-lines risk exploding, we must return to fundamental principles; we must return to the framework that has kept us together; we must come home to the UN Charter," he said.