|GENEVA, Feb. 27, 2018 -- U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday stressed that respect for human rights is the best strategy to prevent conflicts in today's world.
"An emphasis on human rights lies at the heart of conflict prevention, which must be our highest priority," he said in his speech at the opening of the 37th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, which kicked off here Monday.
The U.N. chief appealed to member states in all U.N. bodies to strengthen support for U.N. actions on human rights, saying that millions of lives would have been saved if greater attention was given to human rights globally over the past two decades.
Marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted in 1948 by the U.N. General Assembly, Guterres said that it was the disregard for human rights that led to acts of barbarity that were committed during the Second World War.
"It is only by respecting and promoting human rights that we can meet our 2030 Agenda goal of ensuring diverse, inclusive, peaceful and sustainable societies on a healthy planet," he added.
Calling it a powerful instrument to profoundly transform the world, Guterres said the Universal Declaration recognizes the equality and dignity of all human beings, and all governments have a duty to allow everyone to exercise their inalienable rights and freedom.
"In this regard, I want to make it clear that when we speak of human rights, we refer to all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, the universal character of which has been recognized in the Declaration," he stressed.