Swaziland
 
 

26TH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS

GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON HIV/AIDS

BY

HIS MAJESTY KING MSWATI III
HEAD OF STATE
OF THE KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND

27TH JUNE 2001


 
 

MR PRESIDENT,
MR SECRETARY GENERAL,
YOUR EXCELLENCIES,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

SIX YEARS AGO, I STOOD HERE AT THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY SUMMIT OF THE UNITED
NATIONS, AND EXPRESSED THE EXPECTATIONS OF MY PEOPLE FOR A BETTER WORLD IN THE
NEXT FIFTY YEARS. I SPOKE THEN OF HIV/AIDS AS THE ENEMY ON THE HORIZON AND NOW, OUR
VERY WORST FEARS HAVE TURNED INTO TERRIBLE REALITY. TODAY, WE SPEAK NOT OF THE
HOPES FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS, BUT IN TERMS OF THEIR VERY SURVIVAL.

I SAY TO YOU, OUR FELLOW MEMBERS: MY PEOPLE ARE DYING. THEY ARE DYING BEFORE
THEIR TIME, LEAVING BEHIND THEIR CHILDREN AS ORPHANS, AND A NATION IN A CONTINUOUS
STATE OF MOURNING.

A QUARTER OF ALL SWAZIS ARE ALREADY INFECTED WITH THE VIRUS THAT CAUSES AIDS AND
WE CANNOT AVOID AN ESCALATING TRAGEDY OF TRULY FRIGHTENING PROPORTIONS.

WE ARE ALL AGREED THAT THIS SUMMIT ADDRESSES THE BIGGEST RISK TO GLOBAL SECURITY.

IT REQUIRES THE TOTAL COMMITMENT OF ALL NATIONS, BECAUSE NO COUNTRY WILL ESCAPE
THE EFFECTS OF THIS CATASTROPHE. I T IS NOT JUST THOSE OF US CLOSEST TO THE FIRE WHO
WILL GET BURNT: THE HEAT WILL SPREAD TO EVERY CORNER OF THE GLOBE.

WE LEADERS CANNOT AFFORD TO NEGLECT OUR RESPONSIBILITIES IN WHAT MUST BE A TRULY
GLOBAL EFFORT TO MEET THIS CHALLENGE. WE MUST NOT ALLOW THIS EFFORT TO BE
UNDERMINED BY POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS, NOR THROUGH A BELIEF THAT THE CRISIS IS
CONFINED ONLY TO CERTAIN AREAS OF THE WORLD.

THE KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND UNDERSTANDS HER RESPONSIBILITIES. EVERY RESOURCE IS
STRAINED TO THE LIMIT TO HELP OUR PEOPLE IN THE ELEMENTS OF PREVENTION, EDUCATION,
CARE, AND TREATMENT. WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR SUPPORT IN OUR EFFORTS FROM THE UNITED
NATIONS AGENCIES AND FROM OUR INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS. BUT OUR COMBINED
STRENGTH IS AS NOTHING IN THE FACE OF THE TIDAL WAVE THAT HAS BROKEN OVER US. WE
NEED MUCH, MUCH MORE.

HOWEVER, WE ARE NOT STANDING IDLE, WITH HANDS OUTSTRETCHED. WE ARE SEARCHING
FOR HOME GROWN SOLUTIONS TO THE DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF THE CRISIS.

THE TRADITION OF THE EXTENDED FAMILY AND OF COMMUNITY SPIRIT IS THE BASIS FOR OUR
APPROACH TO PROVIDING CARE AND SUPPORT FOR THE NEEDY. WE DEPEND INCREASINGLY ON
THE TRADITIONS AND CULTURE OF THE PAST FOR GUIDANCE - ESPECIALLY IN THE PROMOTION
OF ABSTINENCE. OUR TRADITIONAL HEALERS HAVE MUCH TO OFFER IN RESEARCH
PARTNERSERP WITH MODERN DAY TECHNIQUES AND EFFECTIVE MEDICINES. AND OUR
HEALTHY LOCAL FOODSTUFFS PROVIDE THE RIGHT NUTRITION TO THOSE IN NEED.

MEANWHILE, GIVEN THE LIMITATIONS OF FINANCES, WE ARE LOOKING TO RAISE FUNDS BY
EXPLORING BEYOND THE ROUTINE, TARGETING THE HUGE RESERVES OF GOOD WILL AND
COMPASSION AMONGST THE COMMUNITIES OF THE WORLD.

INSPIRED BY THE EXAMPLE OF THE GLOBAL RESPONSE TO THE LIVE AID EVENT "WE ARE THE
WORLD", WE ARE LAUNCHING LATER THIS YEAR AN ALBUM OF MUSIC BY INTERNATIONAL
ARTISTS, CALLED "SONGS FOR LIFE". ITS TITLE CARRIES THE MESSAGE OF HOPE, IN THE
GLOBAL LANGUAGE OF MUSIC, AND THE PROCEEDS WILL GO DIRECTLY TO HIV/AIDS
PROGRAMMES THROUGHOUT SOUTHERN AFRICA.

THIS IS THE FIRST IN A PROGRAMME OF PROJECTS UNDER THE BANNER OF THE ROYAL
INITIATIVE TO COMBAT AIDS, AND IT NEEDS AND DESERVES THE SUPPORT OF ALL WHO WOULD
HELP US IN THE STRUGGLE.

WE HAVE FOUND THAT THERE IS A READY RESPONSE FROM ALL WHO LEARN OF THE CRISIS IN
THE DEVELOPING WORLD. WEARE GRATEFUL TO THE UNITED NATIONS FOR ORGANISING THIS
SUM IIT: IT TOO WILL PLAY AN IMPORTANT PART IN RAISING AWARENESS, AND GATHERING
RESOURCES, FOR PROGAMMES THAT MUST MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THOSE WHO ARE
SUFFERING.

THIS AFTERNOON, WE WILL LEND OUR NAMES TO A DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST HIV/AIDS.
OUR PEOPLES MUST SEE CLEARLY THAT WE HAVE A STRONG, GLOBAL ALLIANCE THAT WILL
REMAIN UNITED UNTIL VICTORY IS WON. OUR WORDS MUST BE BACKED UP BY ACTION, AND
WE MUST ALL SHOW THAT WE ARE SERIOUS IN OUR COMMITMENTS OF SUPPORT, OF FUNDING
AND OF RESOURCES.

THE SUCCESS OF THIS SUMMIT, AND THE ONLY JUSTIFICATION FOR ITS SUBSTANTIAL EXPENSE
ON US ALL AS MEMBERS, WILL BE MEASURED IN TERMS OF A REVERSAL IN THE NUMBERS OF
THE DEAD AND THE DYING. OUR PEOPLE CAN ACCEPT NOTHING LESS THAN THAT.

THE SURVIVAL OF MY OWN NATION; AND OF MANY OTHERS FACING THE SAME FATE, HANGS IN
THE BALANCE. I CALL ON THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP TO RISE UP IN AN UNPRECEDENTED SPIRIT
OF CO-OPERATION, COMPASSION AND LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER, SO THAT, TOGETHER, WE CAN
MOBILISE THE FINANCES, MATERIALS AND SKILLS THAT WE NEED TO BRING RELIEF TO THE
SUFFERING, AND HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.

MAY ALMIGHTY GOD HAVE MERCY ON US ALL.
 

I THANK YOU.