Last week at the United Nations General Assembly, Mary Robinson, representing the voice of The Elders, joined a discussion urging the implementation of the new initiatives to prevent further global mass atrocities.

Mary joined with the governments of Liechtenstein, France and Mexico, and Salil Shetty, for the important discussion.

“Ladies and gentlemen, over the past two and a half years, The Elders have given consistent support to initiatives designed to encourage the Security Council to take its responsibilities to prevent armed conflict more seriously – especially when there is a risk of mass atrocities. We strongly support the two Code of Conduct initiatives spearheaded respectively by the ACT group and the French and Mexican governments. It is heartening to see that nearly two-thirds of the UN membership have signed up to these initiatives,” said Mary.

Virgin Unite, The Elders, Mary Robinson

Virgin Unite, The Elders, Mary Robinson

The Elders have long advocated that efforts to prevent mass atrocity crimes must focus on encouraging a more collaborative and constructive relationship amongst the P5 countries. According to The Elders, “At a minimum, no P5 country should cast a veto without publicly explaining their decision and proposing a credible alternative; and the remaining Council members must not give up when a veto is cast, but must redouble their efforts to find a workable solution.”

Effective implementation of the initiatives ultimately depends on persuading the permanent members of the Security Council to live up to their responsibilities. 

When the Security Council does find common ground, it can be a very positive force.

Mary, on behalf of The Elders, called on the Security Council to work constructively with the Government of Myanmar and its armed forces to end the ongoing violence in Rakhine State immediately. “At the same time, I must call on the Rohingya armed group which claimed responsibility for attacks on police stations in northern Rakhine State last month to desist forthwith from all acts of violence. To help build the foundations of a lasting and inclusive peace, The Elders recommend that the Myanmar government take steps to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, chaired by Kofi Annan, my fellow Elder.”

Read more about the initiatives here and watch Mary’s full presentation on UN live TV.

The Elders are independent global leaders – originally brought together by Nelson Mandela – who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering, and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Working both publicly and through private diplomacy, The Elders engage with global leaders and civil society to help resolve conflict and address its root causes. They challenge injustice, promote good governance, and inspire ethical leadership.


The Elders are celebrating their 10th anniversary with the #WalkTogether campaign. Follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook with the #WalkTogether hashtag 

Comment