Madam Resident Coordinator, Her Excellency Mr. Khadija Musa;
Ministers of the Government and Members of the National Assembly;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Members of the United Nations agency and staff here in Georgetown;
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen:
I thought I had gotten over my 70th birthday celebrations two months ago, but I understand this evening I will be sticking the cake again.
This evening, I am happy and honoured to be here among you to celebrate the coming into force of the Charter of the United Nations on the 24th October, 1945. This is day that the Charter came into force.
The Second World War ended in Europe on the 8th May, 1945 with the unconditional surrender of the Axis Powers. The Charter was signed the very next month on the 26th June, 1945 in San Francisco, United States at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organisation. That was one of the greatest moments in world history.
The end of the war in Europe not only brought an end to global warfare, but it also brought about the collapse, eventually, of some of the huge European empires which dominated the south: the Belgian, the British, the Dutch, the French, the Italian, the Portuguese and the Spanish empires.
The collapse of these empires started a process of decolonization and eventually spawned the plethora of independent new states in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Guyana is one of those states; the beneficiary of the dividend of the United Nations at the end of the Second World War.
The Charter therefore, was timely. It has become an irreplaceable regime for regulating relations among scores of states. Today, therefore, is a special day not only for the United Nations organisation but for all the nations of the world and for all humanity.
Guyana is pleased, this evening, to be part of the worldwide celebrations taking place to commemorate this special event and it is good that we should do so. The United Nations at this very moment is preventing conflict somewhere; its mediators are bringing adversaries to talk to each other; it is defending people’s human rights; it is feeding the hungry; it is sheltering the homeless; it is vaccinating children against disease and its relief workers are delivering lifesaving assistance to hundreds of thousands.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reminded us also and I quote, “United Nations works for the entire family; the entire human family of seven billion people and cares for the Earth our one and only home and it is the diverse and talented staff of the United Nations who help to bring the Charter to life”.
The Co-operative Republic of Guyana, a small state, has seen foreign investors intimidated. It has seen foreign petroleum exploration terminated by gunboats from the east; gunboats from the west and even now, it is enduring the painful illegal occupation of its territory.
Guyana seeks the peace that only international organisation can promise. It seeks the collective security measures that only the United Nations can provide. Guyana is eternally grateful to the United Nations.
Guyana is confident and reiterates our complete commitment to the aims and purposes of the United Nations Charter, especially Article 1 which states inter alia and I quote:
To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: take effective, collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression, or other breaches of peace and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of peace…
The Charter again, at Article 2 further states as one of its principles, and I quote again:
All members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territory or the territorial integrity or political independence of any other state or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
The Charter therefore, is our refuge. The Charter, the birth of which we celebrate today is meant to provide the peace and security that the world needs. It is meant to provide the peace and security that Guyana needs if our citizens are to have a safe and good life.
We applaud the vision of the founders of the United Nations; we applaud particularly, their recognition that peace is linked with the respect for human rights and the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.
Guyana applauds the promulgation by the United Nations of three significant legal instruments which have expanded the scope of rights, namely:
• The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
• The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
• The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
These legal instruments have advanced the cause of humanity around the world.
Guyana is supportive of the level of international cooperation and collaboration achieved by the United Nations and its agencies in the promotion of sustainable development.
The adoption in 2000 of the Millennium Development Goals and the adoption last month of the Sustainable Development Goals are testimony to the importance that the United Nations has attached towards developing templates to advance the cause of Sustainable Development around the world.
Guyana is committed to achieving the targets adopted by the recent Sustainable Development Summit. These are all in conformity with our own national development objectives.
We express our appreciation for the tireless work of United Nations and its agencies in forging the international and national solutions to problems.
We are a small coastal state; we are highly susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change such as rising sea levels. The future of small states, hangs in the balance should a satisfactory binding global agreement not be achieved in Paris.
We look forward, in this regard, to the successful outcome of next month’s 2015 United Nations conference on climate change which is to be held in Paris.
Guyana salutes the efforts made by the United Nations over the past seven decades. The world would have been a less safe place were it not for the efforts of the UN and for the organisations advancing peace, security, economic and social progress and freedom across the planet.
Guyana joins in thanking the Resident Coordinator, Her Excellency Khadija Musa, for her tireless efforts and for the excellent work that she and her staff at the United Nations family here in Georgetown have been doing; bringing the Charter to life right here in Guyana.
Madam Resident Coordinator, please convey the gratitude and congratulations of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana to the Secretary-General of the United Nations – His Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to join me in a toast, to the health of the Secretary-General and the United Nations family and to the work of the United Nations.