H.E. Anders Fog Rasmussen
Prime Minister of Denmark on behalf of the European Union
FIFTY-SEVENTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
New York, 12 September 2002
Heads of State and Government,
Heads of Delegation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the European Union, I am honoured to address the 57th General
A year ago today the world woke up to a terrible new reality - but it was also
the wake-up call for us to join forces and present a solid front against the perpetrators
of terror, the enemies of freedom.
Not so far from here, at the heart of New York's pulsating business community,
the Twin Towers used to stand, representing the pride of all New Yorkers
in their city.
But now, they have been replaced by a gaping hole, a memento of that fateful
September day when terror reared its ugly head and, for a while, the very
pulse of this city seemed to stop.
For on that day terror came to America, leaving in its wake death and destruction
and thousand upon thousand of sorrowing mourners.
It was the moment which marked the division of our world into civilised
nations and those who use terror as their weapon.
But it was also the day which saw us take a stand against evil.
It was the day when we decided to stand shoulder to shoulder in a world-wide
coalition against these men of terror and their cowardly acts.
And, when the call for action came, it was here, within these walls at the
United Nations, that we met to give each other renewed hope and confidence.
It was as natural as it was necessary.
Because the attack was directed against the very foundation of this organisation.
Planned by cowards in their lairs conspiring against world peace and security.
Launched by fanatics violating every basic law of humanity. And supported
by tyranny, oppressing liberty and equality.
For make no mistake, these acts of terrorism have not weakened us, they
have only served to strengthen our resolve to actively seek security and
prosperity for all consistent with the United Nations Charter and international
And, from the outset, the United Nations has played a crucial role in the
fight against terrorism.
On our part, in the European Union, there could be no hesitation. Our way
was, and is, clear. We fully support the initiatives of the UN Counter Terrorist
Because we will never allow terror and fear to obscure freedom and democracy.
So the European Union intends actively to assist other nations in implementing
The EU remains committed to finalise and adopt the Comprehensive Convention
And we therefore strongly urge all member states to join and implement the
twelve UN conventions on terrorism.
The key role played by the United Nations in the fight against terrorism is a
reminder of the fact that the UN itself was born out of hope, founded on the ashes
of the Second World War. A war which defeated tyranny and terror.
With the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, the United Nations has
been given renewed impetus to deal globally with
- crisis management,
- humanitarian assistance,
- post-conflict rehabilitation and development, and
- disarmament and arms control.
And in the complicated area of peacemaking, the United Nations and the European
Union work tirelessly to find solutions in the Middle East through the efforts
of the Quartet and in finding a permanent settlement on Cyprus consistent
with the relevant Security Council resolutions. The EU is a major partner
in the rebuilding of a new Afghanistan freed from terror.
In the Middle East, Iraq remains a major source of concern with regard to
weapons of mass destruction. Iraq must grant unconditional and unimpeded
access for the weapon inspectors to Iraq and the required cooperation from
her authorities to the inspectors.
Iraq is in breach of several resolutions of the Security Council on her
disarmament obligations - these obligations must be complied with immediately.
The European Union is determined to support further efforts of the United
Nations to that end.
The European Union, conscious of her obligations, remains strongly engaged
in UN-mandated operations throughout the world. From holding in check the
civil war in Sierra Leone to building a secure, prosperous and democratic
We also strongly support the initiatives to strengthen the United Nations
future peacekeeping capacity. We owe it to our armed forces to ensure an
efficient and robust framework for future operations.
But ladies and gentlemen, we must not forget that at the heart of all these conflicts
are human beings. Sometimes struggling to achieve what we take for granted.
For human rights are fundamental for the life and dignity of all human beings.
The primary, fundamental and essential accomplishment of the UN will one
day be the full enjoyment of all human rights for everyone everywhere:
- The right of each individual to feel that life, body and property are
hers or his alone. To feel safe and secure.
- The right of each individual to face authorities without fear of injustice
- The right of each individual to learn that people can speak up for themselves
with confidence and without having to fear the consequences.
Human rights are also fundamental for human prosperity and development.
The European Union therefore strongly supports the efforts of the Secretary
General to integrate human rights into all United Nations activities.
Sadly, cruelty towards the defenseless, violence, maltreatment and torture
remain widespread. The European Union strongly supports the adoption of
the draft protocol of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and
Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The European Union also advocates the universal abolition of the death penalty.
No state should grant itself the right to take life. Where the death penalty
still exists, we call for its use to be progressively restricted. We would
like to see all nations introduce a moratorium on this form of punishment
and, eventually, to end it altogether, so that it becomes a thing of the
Until women are in possession of all human rights, able to take charge of
their lives and to achieve their full potential, sustainable development
will remain but a dream. The European Union remains committed to fighting
all forms of discrimination and violence against women, including murder
and mutilation through a misguided sense of honour.
By the same token, we vigorously pursue the global fight against racism,
discrimination and intolerance. These deplorable attitudes and actions are
regrettably still part of everyday life throughout the world. They do not
belong here at the doorstep of the new Millennium.
People do not, need revenge; they want justice. They do not wish for impunity;
they want accountability. This is what the International Criminal Court is about.
We now have a permanent international Court that can bring those accused of war
crimes and other perpetrators of the most serious crimes of international concern
The European Union supports the ICC as an important historic milestone.
It reflects a new level of international co-operation. We are confident
that the ICC will contribute to strengthening the respect for international
humanitarian law and human rights.
The European Union expresses its strong hope that countries that, at present,
have reservations about the Statute will join as soon as possible. We believe
that the court will prove to be an effective, competent and fair legal instrument.
Ridding the world of persistent poverty remains the greatest global challenge
of all. We have achieved significant results in the combat against poverty and
misery. But the world community still has far to go if we are to meet the goals
of the Millennium Declaration.
For many countries, the United Nations is first and foremost about combating
poverty. How to ensure everyone access to the essentials of life; the next
meal; the medicine and health care to survive; and access to basic education.
These are the promises contained in the Millennium Declaration. And we must
not let the world down.
Aid alone will not eliminate poverty. We know that. Developing countries
can take cue from the African leaders who have taken an impressive lead
with the NEPAD-initiative.
This year has seen many decisive steps taken within the field of fields
of trade and development, financing and sustainable development. In Doha,
Monterrey and Johannesburg we reached consensus on what needs to be done.
But knowing what has to be done is not enough - as world leaders we must
see that it is done.
The European Union played a key role in reaching this consensus and is,
therefore committed to this new agenda.
- As the most important trading partner for the developing countries,
- As the world's largest donor, providing almost half of all development
We have decided to further open our markets for exports from the least developed
countries. We hope that others will follow the same path.
Translating policies on poverty eradication into sustainable development
requires strong political will and true partnership in development. A major
challenge now will be to turn the Monterrey consensus and the outcome of
Johannesburg into reality. The European Union proposes that the UN system
monitors implementation of the Johannesburg targets and agenda.
These and other important UN policy issues are spelled out in the European
Union position paper.
On behalf of the European Union, I am happy to welcome the decisions of
Switzerland and East Timor to join the United Nations. Two nations - one
old and one new - one in the North and one in the South - they reflect the
multitude and diversity of the United Nations.
At the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children, young people
from all over the world illustrated their dream of a world of peace and
unity using all the colours of the flags of the United Nations.
But we should not content ourselves with a dream.
From the war against international terrorism, through the quest for justice,
to the relentless fight against poverty, we need a strong and efficient
United Nations. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
says that "Mankind owes to the child the best it has to give".
What better gift can we give them than unity between our nations?
Let us seize the moment and take another step towards true United Nations
- united in word and in deed!
Thank you for your attention, and thank you, Mr. President.