The Elders welcome the first World Humanitarian Summit taking place in Istanbul this week as a moment to galvanise responses to human catastrophes, notably in the host country’s immediate region.

Video: "When the Security Council fails, the United Nations fails"

The Elders believe that the most important way to alleviate humanitarian crises is to prevent conflicts and mass atrocities in the first place. This requires timely action and the exercise of greater responsibility from the five veto-wielding Permanent Members of the UN Security Council.

They highlight that the UN Secretary-General’s own report to the summit calls on the permanent members to withhold their veto power on measures addressing mass atrocities.

Failure to exercise “veto restraint”, as has been called for by many UN member states and civil society, has resulted in paralysis in the international mechanisms designed to uphold peace and security.

To coincide with the Summit, The Elders have released a new video, featuring contributions from Amnesty International and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, which argues for urgent action on veto restraint.

In the video, Elders Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, Hina Jilani, Jimmy Carter and Martti Ahtisaari are joined by Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary-General and Simon Adams, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect to call for veto restraint and increased cooperation amongst the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council, to prevent mass atrocities.

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