Thursday, October 1, 2015

UNGA 2015: Statement by The Gambia’s Vice President Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy

"It is imperative that as agents of change, the United Nations must not fail to account for and cement the implementation of critical resolutions designed to assist our member nations, and indeed, the entire universe for the improvement and sustainment of a better quality of life," Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy said. (Photo: Daily Observer)
I wish to first and foremost praise the Almighty Allah for granting me this opportunity to once again be part of this 2015 United Nations General Assembly with leaders from around the globe. I also pray to the Almighty to guide us throughout this session and provide us with the necessary wisdom, courage and blessing for the fulfillment of our objectives.

But before speaking any further, please allow me Mr. Mogens Lykketoft to first extend my warmest congratulation to you in your new position as the elected President of the 70th UN General Assembly and to further wish you all the best in your official endeavors throughout your tenure.

Mr. President, 

The entire Gambian delegation and I are pleased to support your presidency during the course of these deliberations. By being entrusted with such a special responsibility, it is fair to say that the world has, in a position of consensus identified your exemplary qualities and abilities as the perfect person to oversee the current global agenda for the “building of a more caring world free of war ravages and underdevelopment”.

I will also on behalf of my delegation and on my own behalf wish to covey my special thanks to your predecessor, Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa for his remarkable performance during his tenure in office. We are very proud of him and will continue to wish him the best and give him all the support in his future undertakings.

And last but not the least, I wish to register our special commendation to Mr. Ban Ki-Moon Secretary General of the United Nations Organization and members of his entire supporting team who despite difficult challenges continue to perform their duties with notable successes.

Mr. President,

There has never been a moment greater than now for our organization to collectively reflect and resolve in order to respond with a special sense of urgency to the increasing complexities of global challenges that threaten to derail hundreds of years of peace, progress and prosperity for humanity. It is therefore imperative that as agents of change, the United Nations must not fail to account for and cement the implementation of critical resolutions designed to assist our member nations, and indeed, the entire universe for the improvement and sustainment of a better quality of life.

Mr. President,

In order to effectively achieve the goals set forth by this world body for the stability and maintenance of world peace, all member states, whether big or small, must be promptly and strongly reprimanded or censured for violations that are in direct conflict with the United Nations sustainable development agenda.

I remain firm in my constant recommendation for the whole world to stand together against the continued barbarism and brutality of indiscriminate terrorism against innocent men, women and children, causing undue suffering and losses that often render the victims helpless, homeless and hopeless.

As genuine Muslims worshipping the Almighty Allah whose message in the Holy Quran repeatedly draws our attention to the essence of living together in peace for our common humanness, we the majority must not remain indifferent or silent to those few sadistic sons of SATAN who are committed to desecration of Islam with only one objective inclination to wreak havoc on their fellow human beings.

Let me say again, as I have said in this forum and many others elsewhere, that the propaganda and propagation of these SATANIC ideologies are not only a fraudulent misrepresentation of Islam, a mockery of democratic ideals but an insult to the Almighty Allah, making it ever more necessary to nullify their existence by all means possible.

Their baseless claims and increasing attacks on peaceful regions demand that we, the United Nations, join together to exterminate these barbaric monsters as they have no regards for the sanctity of human life. Countries that are caught at the crossroads and who are embroiled in conflicts with terrorism deserve our unfettered and unmitigated support.

Hence I call upon member nations to fully commit to this organization’s basic tenets regarding the solidification of enduring solutions that protect, and sustain all human life. As true Muslims and ALLAH worshiping people, we must understand that these are unconscionable acts that should be subjected to the toughest penalties.

Mr. President, 

In recognition of the need for world peace, my government respects the recent landmark of the Iran Nuclear deal outlined under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in which Iran has agreed along with the United States, Russia, China and Germany, to limit its nuclear program as specified. My government believes that it is an important achievement with the right measures put in place for monitoring and accountability.

Mr. President,

While we welcome the Iranian agreement to curb proliferation of nuclear weapons, the need to address perennial conflicts with high human cost on our youth, women and children and to diffuse persistently tense situations with high potentials of escalation should also be treated with much more urgency than the prevention of a nuclear conflagration. 

Thus I call upon this global institution and other regional organizations charged with the responsibility of conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peace building to firm up our commitment to international peace and security.  This is imperative to end the dangerously escalating acts of violence, terrorism and banditry in simmering troubled spots the world over.

Mr. President, 

The continuation of these conflicts questions the efficacy of the U.N in executing the principal function for which it was created.  Paradoxically however their persistence constitutes highly valued gains for some unscrupulous enemies of peace, as the belligerents and opposing factions are supported by states, entities and individuals for geopolitical economic and military strategic interests based on greed and hate for the rest of humanity.

Mr. President,

I would also urge that the United Nations address the post-Ebola 2014 Virus Epidemic that claimed and maimed thousands of lives, mostly in the hardest hit West African Sub-region. While the sizable monetary, medical personnel and supply contributions made a huge impact on its containment and treatment, there are invariably, vast rippling effects for almost the entire continent.

The reaction times for response efforts, human fear and media reports have created a wide scale negative economic impact across a large number of countries. As a result of continued reductions in trade and foreign investments, border closures, and flight cancellations, the United Nations Development group (UNDG) has projected that West Africa stands to lose more than 3.6 billion dollars annually over the next three years.

As the virus still poses a threat to the world, there are a number of solutions that the UN organization could support to contain and prevent the disease from reemerging and spreading. Critical among such approach is the need to invest in awareness campaigns, education, and vaccinations to ensure the safety and security of the whole world community.

Obviously, we cannot but continue to express our sincere appreciation of the timely and effective intervention of the Cuban Government, the Russian Federation and US government whose rapid deployment of the necessary logistics, including medical teams to the worst-affected areas helped immensely in stopping the spread of the disease.

Mr. President,

Despite persisting challenges, Africa and The Gambia continue to make effective gains in achieving many aspects of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals. To begin with, protecting our environment must emphatically remain a major priority for this global body, because registered climate changes over the course of history have significantly impacted negatively on our earth and demand our immediate and permanent attention.

Mr. President,

The planet is after all our only home for which we must passionately protect for the benefit of present and future generations.  That, in essence, demands from all of us the steadfastness to soundly manage our natural resources for both economic and social development.

We can no longer continue to pretend not to know or live in denial of the challenges faced by humanity with the adverse impact the depletion of our natural resources are showing today in the form of desertification, drought, land degradation and ocean acidification though activities of State own multi international companies mostly from the West and Developed world.

This body must act with greater commitment to sustainable conservation programs with production patterns aimed at effectively combating climate change, the restoration of our ecosystem, the promotion of forest management and the combat against desertification and land degradation. It is also the obligation of the UN to be resilient in ensuring the reduction of risks on man-made disasters that often cause massive pollution to our seas, oceans and fresh water sources.

Mr. President,

My government continues to reiterate the significance of how the United Nations Security Council reform bears on the global interest of all Member States and the enduring interest of the Organization as well. As clearly articulated in decision 62/557 adopted by the General Assembly in a consensus of Member States, we stakeholders all support the laudable idea that the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform should be driven by Member States and that the positions of Member States should form the foundation of the Negotiations.

We are however yet to realize a reflection of such principles and consensus in the council’s general approach and framework document. In order for the Security Council’s multifaceted reform to realize its desired objective of increased efficiency and effective representation in an atmosphere governed by democratic working methods, top priority should be given to increasing the representation of African countries in particular which will provide us with better opportunity to participate in the Council’s decision making process.

We must bear in mind that African Nations represent over 1 billion people in this body and constitute 54 sovereign states and countries here making her ever more qualified for the allocation of the two permanent seats and two non-permanent seats Africa rightly deserves but never headed despite persistent calls for and as articulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration.

Mr. President,

It has been fifteen years, in 2000, since the initial development of the Millennium Development Goals, and though progress in various degrees has been accomplished among member states, yet, with broader, reliable and sustainable goals, we must continue to scaffold proposed motions so as to realize real achievement of the goals we target.

Mr. President,

Despite the marked evolution in human diversity, there are some tenets with respect to people’s religious beliefs and values that are sacred and no country, big or small, should be allowed to insult another country or to bully them for honoring the traditions that govern its people. To do so is disrespectful and dangerous.

Whereas materialism, terrorism, crime, obsession with weapons of mass destruction, deviant lifestyles seem to be the order of the day, make no mistake that there is still right and wrong deeds, and positive and negative consequences. As much as some behaviors are clearly in violation of laws, and societal norms, there are others that are a direct insult to our respective religions.

I maintain that all of the aforementioned behaviors are displeasing to the Almighty Allah and against the principles that govern peaceful and loving Muslims and Christians.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) for 70 years since the founding of the UN Organization continues to maintain the same language as the mainstay of literally every UN resolution and conference that has to do with the family; that the family is “the natural and fundamental group unit of society”. So that spirit had and still should exclude any international acknowledgement of relationships between persons of the same-sex to signify a “family” as in the case of homosexual civil union and so-called same-sex marriages.

Therefore given the natural structure of human nature and society, we must not allow ourselves to depart from the UDHR norm by entertaining deviant beliefs that reduce the family to government approval of adult sexual and emotional desires, instead of recognizing it as a central agent to achieve the common good of spouses, children and society at large.

Mr. President,

I wish to shift your attention to the great continent of Africa with human and vast natural resources that have always been the target of trespassers who have trampled our economic, social, political, and human rights. Although there has been a steep learning curve with regards to becoming self-sufficient, there has always, and will always, persist a desire for Africa to remain forever independent of colonial rule and subjugation.

In fact my government and other states have made an ironclad promise to our citizens that this is our time. It is time for Africa to reap the benefit of her divine inheritance. It is time for Africa to dispel the myths and falsehood about our history and people. It is time for Africa to stop people from taking advantage of our glorious and rich natural resources. It is time for Africa to stand up for what she believes in, what she is interested in and what is better for her people. No longer will we be robbed of our very means to progress and prosperity.

Mr. President,

It is heartbreaking to live with the sad reality that the UN cannot gain much traction in arresting the state of incessant violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories which is evidently as a result of “the continuing policy of settlement expansion and the climate of impunity relating to the activities of the settlers.”

Although there is an overwhelming increase in the areas of conflict in the Middle East that in many ways has impacted the priorities of the UN there, our attention must never be distracted from the suffering of the Palestinian people, for their rights to a state with secured borders and East Jerusalem as Capital will not be compromised.  This long overdue exigency which is backed by myriads of UN Resolutions not least the most recent, (resolution 66/225 of 29th March 2012), continues to be my Government’s position on the issue.

Mr. President,

The fight against drug and human trafficking should be one of international security, because it is a serious threat to all societies. We know that the use and selling of drugs is deeply rooted in violence and organized crime.

We also know that drug trafficking is linked to terrorist activities, and other crimes, including money laundering, and the sell/ trade of arms. Wide scale corruption exists within organized groups with pervasive criminal mindsets. Therefore the inherent threats of drug trafficking and its related problems, require urgent actions on the part of this international body.

At the current rate Mr. President, drug trafficking is likely to become an epidemic that no country can escape because it is steadily rising to a borderless threat. So I strongly urge that we approach this threat much more aggressively, with a comprehensive plan that involves accountability, full international commitment and support. Besides, not just tougher laws and penalties are necessary, but critical efforts are as well vital to contain the spread of the use of drugs and the need for adequate rehabilitation measures for enduring solutions.

I must underscore my government’s gratitude to the Russian Federation for sponsoring the Moscow-African-Anti-drug dialogue meeting held in The Gambia on July 23rd 2015 with the objective of mapping out the best means of approaching the hazard in the African continent and the world over. The meeting was a resounding success and once again, I stand to sincerely extol the special part played by the leaders and government of Russia for a job well done.

In conclusion Mr. President,

At the forefront of our agenda, we should aggressively discuss how we can cope with the evolution of enduring issues that co-exist in our societies, such as trespassers and pillagers on free soils, willing to take what doesn’t rightly belong to them. For centuries the African continent remained the target of intrusion, theft, and enslavement by foreign powers.

Nevertheless, increased terrorism threats, hunger, poverty, crime and disease continue to expand faster than our intelligence, resources and might. Global peace, it therefore seems, depends on our efforts to take corrective measures against rampant injustice.

It is with serious concern that I suggest to this organization, that on the basis of the brutality and inhumanness of the slave trade, the lingering influences and effects of colonialism, and the pervasive destruction of human capital, and the theft of native African resources, often rare and only germane to this extraordinarily diverse continent, this organization should consider remitting an invoice of reparations to the entire world, and made payable to sovereign governments of Africa.

But please know that such action alone isn’t enough to compensate for the untold losses of life, limb, talent, and resources vital for Africa to become a more developed and sustainable nation. This instead would amount to a fairly acceptable gesture of restoration, and justice for what Africa cannot reclaim.

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