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Saturday 9 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Sasko Lazarov/ President Michael D Higgins at the Concern conference today.
arms race

Higgins says UN members are fuelling current and future wars

He said institutions like the United Nations are “imperfect” but needed.

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has warned against a new arms race being embarked upon by permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Higgins said United Nations members are playing a role in an arms race where “the arms industry now exports weapons of death and destruction for use in Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Yemen”.

“The self-defeating rhetoric of the arms race, and the immorality of the arms trade, only serve to fuel current and future wars,” Higgins said.

He was speaking at Concern Worldwide’s 50th anniversary conference at Dublin Castle today.

Higgins said the ongoing conflict in Yemen, for example, is “actively sustained by the sale of arms and by the support of some members of the Security Council”.

“It is a stark example of the triumph of the diplomacy of transaction, and of narrow national interest, over the diplomacy of the common good embodied by the Charter of the United Nations.

“The United Nations needs global support. Imperfect as all institutions may be, it is our best space for alternatives to war and ecological destruction,” he added.


Higgins also acknowledged the role of agencies like Concern in tackling the fallout of such actions.

“Through 50 years of action and advocacy, Concern has stood for a different vision of the world, one in which power yields to justice, one which recognises that we are all part of a common humanity, owing to ourselves and to others, not only of compassion, but of solidarity,” he said. 

Former US President Bill Clinton is due to make a keynote speech about peace-building at the conference this afternoon.

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