4th Media: UN to Debate Truth & Reconciliation in Extraordinary Open Debate Planned for 29 JAN 2014

Civil Society, Ethics

4th media croppedTruth and Reconciliation to be Debated at United Nations

Ronda Hauben, 8 January 2014

The press conference held by Jordan’s Ambassador to the UN to introduce Jordan’s presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of January 2014 included a surprise proposal that distinguished it from the usual tradition of announcing the program of work for the Security Council for the month.(1)

The surprise was the announcement of an Open Debate planned for the Council meeting on January 29.

Though it is common to propose an Open Debate as part of a monthly Security Council program, this Open Debate, as proposed, is in the context of a profound issue — the UN’s role as an advocate for peace in the international community.

The description in the Security Council program for January includes the plan for this Open Debate on the topic of the,“Maintenance of International Peace and Security: War, its lessons, and the search for a permanent peace.”

In response to a question for more background on the planned meeting to discuss the broad issues of war and peace, Prince Zeid Ra-ad Zeid al Hussein (Zeid Ra’ad), Jordan’s UN Ambassador, explained that 10 years ago, on January 26, 2004 the Security Council held a discussion on, “National Reconciliation and the Role of the UN.”(2) He said that this had been, “a one of a kind debate, a very good debate. But in the last 10 years we haven’t taken the discussion forward,” he observed.

It is, he explained, “remarkable in one way how we haven’t dealt with it properly in the last almost 70 years of UN practice.”

Responding to a question about the relevance of the South African experience of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to what he was proposing, Prince Zeid remarked that it represented, “a foundational moment, a very important truth and reconciliation commission.”

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