Jordan suggests UN advisory body to end conflicts permanently

[30-01-2014 11:11 AM]

Ammon News - NEW YORK, (KUNA) - Jordan called for the creation of a UN historical advisory body to help member states preserve their official memory, relieve tensions, and consequently end conflicts permanently.

"Ultimately, the Jordanian delegation believes the UN, as an organization, should have a sizeable historical advisory service ... which will help its member states ... in resolving the many divergent narratives, both between states as well as within them," Jordanian Ambassador Prince Zeid Ra'ad Aeid Al-Hussein told the Security Council, late on Wednesday.

The Council was debating Jordan's proposed thematic debate this month on "War, its Lessons, and the Search for a Permanent Peace." "We have long had, after all, judicial mechanisms for the resolution of border disputes. What we need now is a historical mechanism to help us file down the sharpest differences in historical interpretation ... with the aim of inspiring a genuine reckoning," he said.

"Extreme nationalism, and sectarianism, in particular, must be handled this way, if we are ever to rid ourselves of their pernicious effects," he suggested.

"In most cases, the absence of the truth, acceptance, and most importantly the creation of a shared historical narrative, will puncture time and again our collective endeavor to save the succeeding generations from the scourge of war. This is the truth," he asserted.
He also complained that there was "little attempt" to address the deeper psychological issues before or after conflicts erupt.

"Rebuild, train, develop the economy said the operating manual, and the rest: the trauma; the deep grievances; the emotional pain; the burning anger, they were best left to time and the fading of memory," he noted, adding that "unfortunately, human memory has never been that accommodating and meek." He suggested that "unless settled by a genuine agreement, built on some deep soul-searching, divergent memories can often lie in wait, like dry gunpowder, for a long time, passed down in many communities from parents to children, ready only for a charismatic opportunist who would stir them abruptly, and menacingly, to violent effect."

For this reason, he explained, "fragile peace, even superficial peace have remained persistently on the agenda of the Security Council ... because, for the most part, the work of the Council has not dug deep enough into why many of these sorts of conflicts took place in the first place." He also suggested that the Council grapple with the "psychological components of war" in order to end a conflict permanently, particularly ethnic conflict or conflict sprung from extreme nationalisms or ideologies.

Addressing the Council, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman also admitted that in ending conflicts between states or inside them, "distortions of history and identity can be contributing factors." The UN has a long history of helping to establish the means to resolve territorial disputes, he said, "but reconciling competing visions of history and identity is far less of a developed science."

He noted that although youth are said to be the hope for overcoming past hatred, "reality shows that youth brought up just after war tends to be more extreme than their parents." In Iraq, he said, communities have "sharply differing historical and political narratives that inhibit the country's ability to achieve common goals, including the urgent fight against terrorism." "Healing the Sunni-Shia rift will become easier when fighting in Syria ends, as the horrors in Syria exacerbates that divide," he predicted.

On reconciliation, he said that without it, fighting "can, and often does, resume." In Syria, for instance, the end to war will not produce lasting peace and security. Clearing the rubble and reconstruction "are not sufficient to erase the grievances and hatreds and instincts for vengeance," he said.

Many countries took the floor and said this is a "sensitive" issue.

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