|In Larger Freedom Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All|
|Friday, 08 April 2005 00:00|
Statement by Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, on the Report of the Secretary-General "In Larger Freedom Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All".
My delegation is pleased that we are meeting in plenary of the General Assembly to discuss the report of the Secretary-General entitled “In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all”. It is our expectation that this meeting will engender series of meetings and consultations on this important issue. By nature of the issues involved, it is evident that this will be a painstaking process that requires broader and deeper consultations and indeed, reflection. My delegation wishes to congratulate you for convening this meeting soon after the presentation of the Secretary-General’s report. This, no doubt, will facilitate reaching agreement by the time we meet at Summit level in September.
My delegation would also like to associate itself with the statement made by Malaysia on behalf of the NAM and Jamaica, on behalf of G-77 and China.
As my President, H.E. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga stated at the last General Assembly, Sri Lanka recognizes the need for comprehensive reform of the UN to render it more responsive to the needs and aspirations of all its member States. In this regard she stated that we look forward for the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Changes, appointed by the Secretary-General. We are pleased to note that the report by the Secretary-General is not only a product of the process that was initiated at the Millennium Summit but, has also drawn inspiration from this sixteen Member High-Level Panel, as well as the expert contributions of the Millennium Project.
UN will reach another milestone of sixty years of existence this year, five years after the Millennium Summit. The world that existed at the infancy of the UN in 1945 has changed today beyond recognition. Such changes include major political realignments, unprecedented evolution in socio-economic relations, and exponential advancement in technological capacities. Consequently, new realities now encompass the globe, including both developed and developing countries. The UN therefore must reflect these current economic, social and political realities for its effective functioning. For this purpose, it is essential that the UN improves its working methods that will also enhance transparency and inclusiveness. UN must, once again, re-dedicate itself as a ‘peoples organization’ that is relevant to peoples of the world.
In this context, my delegation wishes to congratulate the Secretary-General for presenting this report for consideration by the member States of the UN. The recommendations contained in the report require careful consideration and bold decisions. Issues reflected are very important but complex and the title of the report describes it all. It is a laudable attempt at addressing set of issues like well-being and development, peace and security, dignity of person and human rights. These issues, for time immemorial, have inspired humankind to seek solutions since they relate to core matters of human existence. We are heartened by the way in which issues have been titled and delineated in the report. For instance, the concepts of “freedom from want”, “freedom from fear” and “freedom to live in dignity” have been enshrined in many religious philosophies as noble pursuits and emulating these age old concepts in our efforts could act as a catalyst. To facilitate the UN to help the humankind achieve these valuable goals, Secretary-General suggests several means under the title of “Strengthening the UN”.
However, it is essential that the reform process, first and foremost, should strengthen the UN’s ability to deal with the issues related to the development needs of developing countries. It is fundamentally important not to treat the development as secondary to security, human rights or rule of law. Our main tasks in September need to be the review of the progress of MDGs set in 2000 and creation of a development oriented trading and financial system.
It is therefore important that we focus on the issue under the heading “Freedom from Want” as a matter of priority, recognizing that the overwhelming number of people in the world still live in poverty and are in want of basic human needs for their existence. This freedom is most essential and fundamental for human beings to enjoy other freedoms like “Freedom from Fear” and "To live in Dignity".
Sri Lanka is pleased that already a recommendation made by Secretary-General in his report under the heading of "Preventing Catastrophic Terrorism" is now on the way to be adopted by the UN. I refer to the recent adoption of the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism by the Ad Hoc Committee established by GA resolution 51/210. Sri Lanka was privileged to chair the Ad Hoc Committee that finalised this Convention and it is our hope that member states will work with similar enthusiasm and dedication with a view to concluding a Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism before the end of the 60th Session of the General Assembly, as recommended by Secretary-General. My delegation also welcomes the approach outlined by the Secretary-General on the issue of combating terrorism. Access by non State actors to weapons and illegal trafficking of weapons, in our view, is now becoming a greater threat to security and peace. Setting up mechanisms to control illicit transfer of these weapons and means for its financing are urgent tasks for the UN family.
All proposals in this report require indepth study and response. We agree with the Secretary-General that the issues contained in the report should not be treated as a la carte menu. However, we also recognize that in a menu, there will be an entrée before the main course. Hence, there may be some issues that take precedence over the other in the process of implementing reforms, since
discussion and deliberation on such issues have been sustained over a long period and have matured enough for speedy decisions and perhaps implementation.
In this context and in recognition that the UN is primarily a political organization and that the Security Council is its leading organ for action, it may be possible to bring an immediate focus on the reform of that body since it has received our attention for a long period of time. We recognize that in its composition, the Security Council does not reflect the current geo-political realities. It is in this context that, at the last General Assembly, my President expressed her concern over the lack of progress on the question of equitable regional representation and the increase in the membership of the Security Council in both permanent and non-permanent categories. The President also expressed support for the candidatures of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan for permanent status in an expanded Security Council. She also stated that Sri Lanka would wish to see consensus emerging on the permanent representation of Africa in the Security Council, and that Africa must be included when a final determination is reached on the future composition of the Council. Sri Lanka views that the approach contained in Model ‘A’ of the Secretary-General’s report as the way forward in finding a solution for the expansion of the Security Council. We hope that the segment relevant to non-permanent member representation could be appropriately developed to represent the interests of large majority of UN member States.
It is a concern that the Secretary-General's comprehensive report does not have a substantive reference to the issues pertaining to migrants and in particular, migrant workers. Due to the ongoing globalization process, the 21st century is becoming a century of migration, as large number of people criss-cross boundaries of States seeking work and family reunion. Issues regarding their well-being and their human rights can no more be kept in the back burner. Secretary-General himself has taken up this issue and has encouraged discussions at high level. Nevertheless, in his report, issues pertaining to migrants are not reflected directly in the section on the "Freedom to Live in Dignity". This issue must therefore receive greater attention in our deliberations with a view to making recommendations at the September Summit.
May I compliment you Mr President, for your initiative to create four Clusters and appoint Facilitators for its work. It is our belief that the issues identified for the four Clusters are not exhaustive and will be supplemented as the discussions proceed. It is our desire to further discuss issues in detail with fresh and further inputs, when deliberations proceed.
We reckon that whatever measures we agree for implementation in the UN reform agenda, they must enjoy legitimacy and broad-based support to be effective and universally respected. Therefore, it is best that we work towards building consensus on all issues.
We are on the brink of a historic opportunity and therefore a challenge. We owe it to the international community at large that we rise to the occasion and make the 60th Anniversary Summit a harbinger for change that will provide socio-economic advancement and peace and security for all the peoples that the UN has been mandated to serve. In this endeavour we simply cannot fail.