H.E. MR. BAILEY OLTER
THE FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
AT THE SPECIAL COMMEMORATIVE MEETING
OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ON THE OCCASION OF THE
FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNITED NATIONS
New York, 23 OCTOBER 1995
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Representatives,
I have the honor and privilege of bringing to this historic gathering the greetings and best wishes of all the people of the Federated States of Micronesia. The presence here of so many nations represented at the highest level is the greatest testament to the universality of this organization, and provides us with a strong political foundation on which to chart our organization’s role for the next 50 years. As other speakers have noted, this is not only a time for celebration but also for reflection and assessment. As a people who have placed special reliance on the United Nations throughout its existence, Micronesians living today have always felt we were a part of this Organization, even though we became a Member only a few years ago.
We will remain grateful to Members and staff of the Trusteeship Council and the United States as Trusteeship administering authority, for the roles they played in our progress toward self-determination and finally, independence. It is fitting that just prior to this anniversary the Trusteeship Council completed its work. Thus, the successful discharge of its heavy assignment under the Charter is one of the accomplishments we rightly celebrate here today.
It is also to be celebrated that during the past fifty years there has been a sharp decline in the practice of colonialism by the World’s major powers. But, unlike the experience with the Trusteeship system, the Charter has been less effective in bringing some nations to put aside their own self-interests and assign their colonial holdings to a rightful place in the history books. This unfortunate reality still affects the lives of millions of people throughout the region of the Pacific Islands.
Because our region lies distant from the homelands of the colonial powers it retains a certain usefulness to them for the disposal of their dangerous materials and for the conduct of tests and other practices too hazardous to carry out at home. Thus, on assertions of the sovereign rights of governments half a world away, we, along with the colonial inhabitants, are forced to endure the consequences of these actions consequences which will be felt for generations to come. Mr. President, this dampens our celebration today.
As we know, the Charter commits all members to take joint and separate action to promote universal respect for, and observance of human rights. This is closely related to broad obligations regarding non-self- governing territories. Sad to say, however, these goals of the Charter remain largely unrealized despite dedicated and persistent efforts on the part of U.N. members over many years. Indeed, brave people have laid down their lives in the service of the United Nations pursuing these goals, and we honor them here. Their sacrifices are not in vain.
It is our hope, Mr. President, that during the next fifty years strides can be made in achieving better harmony between the inevitable considerations of national self-interest and the legitimate rights and expectations of the less empowered people of the World. I fully realize that even today such a statement sounds altruistic, and that is the problem we face. Nevertheless, only in such a context can real life be breathed into sections of the Charter that have not been adequately addressed during the first fifty years.
The accomplishments of the United Nations up to now as a forum for the advancement of world peace and security cannot be minimized, and I salute those accomplishments while recognizing the work that remains. But this Organization has an even greater mission. As populations grow and make increasing demands on the limited resources of our planet, even the most richly endowed among us must come to understand the great, futuristic vision of the Charter. It wisely calls upon peoples and governments large, small, rich and poor, to incorporate in their policies and actions a true respect for the right of all, including the least privileged among us, to live in conditions of decency and equity.
This challenge is not for the developed World, but it applies equally for the developing nations. Its is not a simplistic call for more North/South assistance. Instead, it seeks a universal awakening to the single most important reality of our lives today. This reality is that all our interests become more closely linked with each passing generation. We all have responsibilities if we are to turn back the consequences of our past selfish behavior. The destruction of war, improper stewardship of our natural resources, the pollution of our living space, the diminishment of our biological diversity and the havoc we will wreak upon the very climate of our planet, all will combine to overwhelm the Earth’s population unless we find common ground.
That common ground exists. It exists here. It does not ask us to surrender our nationhood or our culture. It is the Charter of the United nations – a visionary document that has achieved much in its fifty years, and provides a format for our very survival. God grant that we will have the courage to build on it.
Thank you, Mr. President.