H.E. AMBASSADOR IRMA LOEMBAN TOBING -KLEIN
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE AND CHAIRPERSON
OF THE DELEGATION OF
THE REPUBLIC OF SURINAME
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, NY USA
20TH SEPTEMBER 2002
Values and principles
The creation on October 20, 1945 of the Family of Nations, the United Nations brought the Peoples of the World values, principles and goals to cherish and to realize.
The founders of our United Nations brought us hope;
They brought new belief in the Future of Humanity after two World Wars.
The founders have opened the eyes of the World Community, have opened our eyes for key issues as human dignity, equality, tolerance, peace, national and international security, social and economic progress, respect for human rights.
How do we deal with these precious gifts?
Do we, the Member Countries, large and small, powerful and less powerful, developed, less developed, developing, make optimal use of those tools to carry out the necessary responsibility and solidarity towards one another, towards our peoples, in particular towards the most vulnerable ones amongst us, towards our children, older persons, persons with disabilities, persons with HIV/AIDS, women and men, older and younger persons, who are suffering from extreme poverty, from hunger, deathly diseases, drought, war crimes ?
Peace and Love
In my presentation of today, on behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of Suriname, in which those fundamental issues should be addressed, I would first of all like to express feelings of Peace, Love to the entire United Nations Family; Peace and Love, brought to us in the Peace Messages of the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary General, and in the beautiful songs of the UN Choir during the Peace Bell Ceremony this morning, here at Headquarter UN, on the occasion of the International Day of Peace;
Peace and Love to you, Mr. President of the General Assembly, because of your unanimous election to this high office, your readiness to serve and the important contribution of your Country to the lofty goals of our Organization;
Peace and Love to your Predecessor, His Excellency Han Seung - Soo for his energetic guidance and leadership during the so remarkable 56th session of the General Assembly.
Peace and Love to our so dedicated and inspiring Secretary General and his
entire Secretariat, the active workers of every day, everywhere in the "UN
System", who in spite of their difficult tasks as amongst others Security
Personal, Interpreters, Conference Officers, Fieldworkers, Information and Communication
Technology Personal, Personal in the various UN Agencies and Programs, always
stand ready to serve humanity with a kind smile.
9/11 and Peace
Peace and love were enshrined in the recent 9/11 Message of President Runaldo Ronald Venetiaan of the Republic of Suriname to President George W. Bush of the United States of America and I quote:
"On this day our thoughts and feelings are with the families and friends of the victims of the cruel terrorist attack on September 11th 2001, as well as with the Government and People of the United States of America.
The People of Suriname pray that the whole of the American Nation will prosper in peace together with all the global family".
Swiss Confederation and East Timor
Peace and Love and special words of welcome to the newly admitted Member State, the Swiss Confederation, who as of the 10th of September 2002 has joined our Family as a full, 190th Member State after having served the United Nations so well as an Observer State especially in the respect of human rights promotion and the protection of humanitarian Law.
We express our special feelings of Love, Peace and Welcome to the Democratic Republic of East Timor who will be admitted as the 191 Member State of the UN on the 27th of September 2002, after a long process of preparation on the basis of Security Council Resolution 1272, and with the strong participation of its own well motivated people and with the guidance and support from the International Community.
We wish the Governments and Peoples of both Countries well in their future developments.
Dialogue among Civilizations
The United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations in 2001 came at a time when dialogue proved to be most essential in today's World.
Only through dialogue we can communicate peacefully with one another, discuss the problems in the world, and consequently look for and find lasting solutions.
Suriname is a fervent advocate of dialogue. We therefore prefer to choose the path of dialogue to solve our disputes. I am pleased to say that we live in peace and harmony with one another, the Surinamese Peoples, originated in all parts of the World, from Africa, Asia, America, Europe; we also cherish the peaceful, friendly relations with our neighboring Countries and many other Countries around the Globe.
To promote unity in our society, peace and respect for each other's cultures are issues incorporated in our education programs and taught at school from an early age. With regard to the "Education for All" initiative, we are currently working on a National Education Plan which will include all essential aspects of the "Education for All" program.
The Human Rights based approach to development, including the notion, that Human Rights Education is a key to development, should be embraced.
The National Education Plan of Suriname will -therefore also deal with Human Rights Education.
The awareness should be raised, that a life in poverty of our peoples is a serious violation of their human rights: every human being has the right to an adequate standard of living in regard to health, medical care and well-being, to education, to food, to housing and social services in general.
Suriname has ratified all major human rights instruments and is satisfied with the special attention of the Committee on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) during the consideration of amongst others the Surinamese initial periodic report last June, for the importance of human rights as a way to transform the society, as a birth right.
My delegation underscores the opinion, that no equality will be achieved, unless human rights becomes a way of life.
On behalf of my Government I would like to thank the former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson most heartily for the excellent manner in which she has carried out her duties; at the same time we wish to welcome the newly appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights, from a nation out of our Region, Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello from Brazil, to whom we extend our best wishes; we are convinced, that he will guide us in the promotion and protection of the effective enjoyment by all of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, including the right to development, in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 48/141.
Peace and Security
If we indeed want the UN to maintain international peace and security, we need to abide by and implement the various UN resolutions and decisions taken towards this goal. The commitments, declarations and action plans drafted at the various follow-up UN conferences, this year in Doha, Monterrey and Johannesburg will have to be implemented.
The difference in position of the various countries poses a threat to the international peace and security, especially with regard to the consequences of trade liberalization for developing countries.
Reaching the Millennium Development Goals must be our first priority and should not be jeopardized by an increase in defense expenditures.
We welcome Iraq's recently announced decision to allow the return of UN weapon inspectors - absent since 1998 - back into the country; we also applaud the recently agreed peace plan, which aims to achieve a final settlement by 2005 towards peaceful solutions to the conflicts in the Middle East.
If we want to guarantee international peace and security, we have to live up to the challenge of creating a "world fit for children", a world without child-soldiers, a "society for all ages", where people are no longer starving, dying of famine, drought or living in extreme poverty, where there is respect for human rights, the rule of law and international law, where there is fair trade, sustainable development, good governance and where each individual has the right to development, the ultimate goal to improve the quality of life of every human being, of children, women and men, older persons, persons with disabilities.
According to the 2002 Human Development Report many Countries are poorer than 10, 20 and in some cases even 30 years ago; real voice and space should be given to the most vulnerable people. Developing Countries can by no means meet the needs of their people on the basis of their own financial resources; Governments of the Developed World, International Financial Institutions, Donor Countries should increase their ODA, Official Development Assistance.
Poverty eradication should be a high priority in our countries. Our poverty eradication program (PRSP) is designed in such a way that it emphasizes not only on labor demanding growth, but especially on domestic capital demanding growth. Our government has confidence in a program focusing on technology and education of our people to alleviate our population to higher material and immaterial levels.
Education is an important vehicle to awareness on health problems (such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, vaccination against infant diseases, high blood pressure and heart diseases), human rights and democracy issues, criminality (including cross boundary crime, drug trafficking). Education leads to knowledge to set up micro industries and to strengthen organizations of civil society. Suriname has a long tradition and history with regard to the involvement of the Civil Society and other non-state actors in the development of the Country and attaches great importance to real partnership between Government, Civil Society and Non Governmental Organizations in the field of amongst others social affairs, education and health.
During our participation last Monday (16`h of September) in the High Level Session on New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) we express solidarity of the Government and People of Suriname with our Brothers and Sisters on the African Continent and our strong support for Africa's determination to emerge from poverty, hunger, famine, destructive deathly diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and to build a strong and lasting culture of peace and democracy on the basis of its precious natural and human resources, and its cultural wealth.
Information and Communication Technology
Information and Communication Technology must be considered as essential for the sustainable development of peoples and societies; the right based approach to development should include the right to Information and Communication Technology;
ICT has been recognized as an effective instrument in the field of economic growth, knowledge, education at all levels, eradication of poverty, empowerment of people, capacity building, decision making, promotion of sustainable development.
The Secretary General of the United Nations should be commended for the timely initiative within the UN System to create the UN Information and Communication Technology Task force, which plays a vital role in the preparatory Process for the World Summit on the Information Society in December 2003 in Geneva, and 2005 in Tunis.
Various ICT programs and projects (for amongst others children, students and older persons) are being carried out in Suriname by the Government, the University and the Civil Society,
My country will continue to support the work of the United Nations. We are committed to implementing the plans of action of the important follow-up UN conferences held this year, namely the Special Session on Children, the International Conference on Financing for Development, the World Assembly on Ageing, the World Food Summit and the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Some of the main goals set by my government are economic growth and poverty eradication. In this regard, we are of the opinion that good governance should be central in reaching these goals, and that macro economic stability and public sector reform are also essential.
The challenges that we face with regard to economic, social and environmental development are:
- halving poverty within the next ten years;
- bringing about changes regarding environmentally friendly and healthy products and consumer goods;
- protecting and managing the natural resource base of Suriname;
- improving the sustainable development of small island developing states;
- strengthening the management of sustainable development at national, regional and international level
Since Suriname is situated in the Caribbean region, a region with the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS infected people in the world, the issue of HIV/ADDS is of utmost importance. Besides HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculoses form grave threats to not only health in general, but also to the labor sector and the social and economic development of Suriname. We are therefore taking the necessary steps now to submit a request for funding collected through the UN Global Fund to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculoses.
We are faced with a vast amount of issues that need to be solved, agreements and programs that need to be implemented in order to improve the lives of our peoples. The UN still proves to be the best place to collectively discuss the problems of the world and look for lasting solutions. It is up to us to live up to our commitments as members of the United Nations and to create better living conditions for our people. We can only hope, that this would eventually lead to stability in and between our countries and ultimately to peace and security as envisioned by the founders of this great organization.
To quote Secretary General Kofi Annan and the President of the GA Jan Kavan in their inspiring Peace Messages at this mornings Peace Bell Ceremony:
"May the Message of global seize fire and non violence resound far and loud, tomorrow and every day";
"May the Message of Peace spread out tolerance, dignity, justice, understanding, solidarity and prosperity".
Let there be peace on earth.
Let peace begin with all of us, assembled in this beautiful, historical General Hall May the Almighty be with all of us.
Thank you, Mr. President.