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Conflict prevention and resolution are two of the most important elements in protecting human rights, the head of the U.N. Human Rights Commission said Friday at a symposium in Tokyo.

Shambhu Simkhada, commission president and Nepalese ambassador to the United Nations, said preventing conflicts and resolving hostilities are important because “some of the most serious violations of human rights take place in situations of conflict and violence.”

Simkhada said the international community is facing new challenges to human rights as globalization is creating bigger gaps in income, technology and knowhow.

“The situation of extreme poverty and deprivation, in this age of unprecedented prosperity, is a paradox,” he said. A global consensus is emerging that extreme poverty is the most serious denial of human rights, and the international community must take action to eradicate poverty, he said.

The U.N. Development Program organized the symposium, titled “Human Rights and Human Development,” to launch its Human Development Report 2000.

The report ranks U.N. member countries in terms of life expectancy, education and income.