I’m not sure quite where to begin this post on the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations! The UN’s perennially globetrotting (and obviously oblivious to his <gasp> carbon footprint) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has been out and about delivering carefully scripted speeches to all who’ve been commandeered to listen. In case you missed it (I know I did!) …
26 June 2015 – On June 26th, 1945, the United Nations was born from the ashes and rubble of the Second World War as delegates from fifty nations came together to sign the UN Charter – the Organization’s founding document and the bedrock of global peace and development.
Seventy years later, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is returning to San Francisco where the Charter was first signed to celebrate the UN’s founding and call on the international community to renew their commitment towards the shaping of a better planetary future for all.
In an op-ed published today in The Huffington Post, Mr. Ban reiterated his hope that the human family would “come together with greater determination to work for a safer and more sustainable future for ‘we, the peoples,’ in whose name the Charter was drafted.” This appeal, he said, comes amid a growing list of global challenges plaguing Member States the world over.
New powers have emerged since the representatives of 50 nations gathered to draft the Charter, and membership in the Organization has grown to 193. Globalization, urbanization, migration, demographic shifts, technological advances and other seismic developments continue to remake our societies and transform international relations. Yet the Charter’s vision of a world of peace, and the values enshrined in the text – dignity, equal rights, tolerance and freedom – remain touchstones for people everywhere.
The 70th anniversary falls in a year of potentially momentous decisions on our common future. Countries are shaping what we hope will be an inspiring new sustainable development agenda and moving towards a meaningful agreement on climate change. Our goal is transformation: we are the first generation that can erase poverty from the earth – and the last that can act to avoid the worst impacts of a warming world.
As the distinctions between the national and the international continue to fall away, challenges faced by one become challenges faced by all, sometimes gradually but often suddenly. With our fates ever more entwined, our future must be one of ever deeper cooperation – nations united by a spirit of global citizenship that lives up to the promise of the Organization’s name.
Ki-moon seems to have been a very busy bee on this (barely noticed) Anniversary. Here are some excerpts from a speech he delivered while he was in San Francisco (my bold -hro):
Let me thank our host country, the United States of America, for its formative role. UN values and U.S. values are one and the same – equality, freedom, dignity and peace.
Today, when I travel to refugee camps and conflict areas around the world, I tell young people: you are not alone. I made it. You can, too. The United Nations will stand with you.
That is our mission.
Every day, the United Nations feeds the hungry, shelters refugees and vaccinates children against deadly disease.
Every day, we defend human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.
[… more crowing and blowing of UN’s horn]
In September, world leaders will adopt an inspiring new development agenda to end global poverty.
In December, the international community has committed to reach a bold climate change agreement to place the world on more sustainable footing.
These are once-in-a-generation opportunities. This is our San Francisco moment.
In signing the Charter, the founders achieved what many thought impossible. It falls to us to heed the Charter’s call to “unite our strength” and to use their creation — the United Nations — for the common good.
The United Nations is the hope and home of all humankind.
The UN “defends human rights for all”?! That’s a joke and a half. How about human rights for all — within the Arab block, and some South American “member nations”, eh?!
And as for the UN being the “hope and home of all humankind” …
Perhaps the increase in so-called Palestinian refugees from approximately 850,000 in 1948 to several million today – in no small measure, thanks to the UN’s very own 30,000 staff and their dedication to perpetuating the stateless misery and ignorance of those in the UN dedicated bailiwick known as the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is part and parcel of Ki-moon’s idea of the “hope and home of all humankind“.
All other refugees (whose numbers today far exceed those under the UNRWA) are the responsibility of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Perhaps such unprecedented numbers are also part and parcel of Ki-moon’s idea of the “hope and home of all humankind“.
Come to think of it, what has the UN done for Haiti — apart from sending troops infected with cholera who subsequently infected thousands of Haitians? And what has the UN done for those in Papua New Guinea who lack the resources to combat TB?! You guessed it: zip, nada, zilch – again.
The UN is the “hope and home of all humankind”?! Perhaps in his dreams – or those of his cadre of speechwriters. But, sadly, not that the UN has been able to demonstrate on the planet that we inhabit.