International Neutrality Day
December 12, 2020
Neutrality — defined as the legal status arising from the abstention of a state from all participation in a war between other states, the maintenance of an attitude of impartiality toward the belligerents, and the recognition by the belligerents of this abstention and impartiality — is critically important for the United Nations to gain and maintain the confidence and cooperation of all in order to operate independently and effectively, especially in situations that are politically charged.
As Article 2 of the UN Charter obligates member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means and to refrain from the threat, or the use of force in their relations, the General Assembly reaffirmed those obligations in its resolution 71/275.
The resolution also underlined that some states’ national policies of neutrality can contribute to the strengthening of international peace and security and play an important role in developing mutually beneficial relations among countries of the world.
Recognizing that such national policies of neutrality are aimed at promoting the use of preventive diplomacy, which is a core function of the United Nations and occupies a central place among the functions of the Secretary-General, the General Assembly decided to declare 12 December the International Day of Neutrality, and called for marking the day by holding events aimed at enhancing public awareness of the value of neutrality in international relations.
The United Nations is committed to moving from a culture of "reaction" to one of "prevention". The term "Preventive diplomacy" refers to diplomatic action taken to prevent disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of conflicts when they occur. While it is conducted in different forms and fora, both public and private, the most common expression of preventive diplomacy is found in the work of envoys dispatched to crisis areas to encourage dialogue, compromise and the peaceful resolution of tensions. Learn more.
Since its inception, the United Nations has played a crucial role in helping to mediate inter- and intra-State conflicts at all stages: before they escalate into armed conflict, after the outbreak of violence, and during implementation of peace agreements. Successful conflict mediation requires an adequate support system to provide envoys with the proper staff assistance and advice, and ensure that talks have the needed logistical and financial resources. Learn more.
UN peacemaking flourished in the decade following the end of the Cold War, as many longstanding armed conflicts were brought to an end through political negotiated settlements. The organization continues to play a preeminent role in peacemaking, working increasingly in partnership with regional organizations in order to bring ongoing conflicts to an end, and to prevent new crises from emerging or escalating. Learn more.