Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said Monday that the world is at a “turning point in history” and governments must choose policies of peace and human rights over war and human suffering.

Carter’s remarks opened a forum of human rights workers hosted by The Carter Center in Atlanta, attended by more than 60 global activists.

Carter, 91, said military actions, human rights violations and restrictions on freedom have inspired the spread of violent extremist groups. He said even the peace-focused mission of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights adopted by the UN in 1948 “have been abandoned by the world.”

“What is needed now, more than ever, is leadership that steers us away from fear and fosters greater confidence in the inherent goodness and ingenuity of humanity,” Carter said.

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