Governments of countries emerging from years or even decades long violence cannot afford to ignore the diversity of views and experiences in their own populations if they want to build stable and functional nations warned UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday.
"For countries emerging from the horrors of conflict and looking to a better future -- indeed for all countries -- diversity must not be seen as a threat. It is a source of strength," he told an open debate of the Security Council on diversity, state-building and the search for peace.
Including the voices of women, minorities in governance was essential for addressing longstanding divisions, inequalities, resentments and issues that would otherwise go ignored. This was necessary even if it required 'devolving' some areas of authority he said.
Terming diversity as the 'anchor' of peace and stability that kept a country together, Guterres underscored the fact that nations would have to work for all their people across class, caste, creed, gender, sexual orientation and identity. Policies to protect vulnerable groups from exploitation and discrimination should also be enacted for the good of all society.
Without this then old resentments could flare up and fracture what progress such countries made, Guterres said. Governments must find ways to move people forward together, as one, through constant dialogue while recognizing and respecting differences.