ASSEMBLY ADOPTS DECLARATION TO MARK FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF END OF SECOND WORLD WAR
ASSEMBLY ADOPTS DECLARATION TO MARK FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF END OF SECOND WORLD WAR19951018 Calls on States to Maintain Efforts to End Conflicts, Save Future Generations from Scourge of New Wars and Racial Hatred
Commemorating the end of the Second World War, the General Assembly this morning adopted a Declaration calling on States to redouble their efforts to put an end to all conflicts, and to save future generations from the scourge of new wars and racial hatred.
The Declaration, which was adopted without a vote, honoured the tens of millions who perished in the Second World War as well as those who fought against dictatorship, oppression, racism and aggression. States were called upon to reaffirm their commitment to refrain from the use or threat of use of force against any State and to focus their efforts on creating the conditions for the general progress of humankind in larger freedom.
The representative of Israel said he had been born in Israel, but that his parents came from Europe, where they left large families behind. More than 50 members of his family were exterminated by the Nazis. For Israel, the Second World War could not be remembered without remembering the holocaust -- the Nazis' systematic annihilation of 6 million Jews, 1.5 million of them children.
The representative of Japan, said that, reflecting with deep remorse upon the past, his country had made sincere efforts to foster the principles and purposes of the United Nations and pledged to play a positive role in the Organization's future.
The Second World War had ended but the mines left behind after the armies had been withdrawn continued to kill innocent people almost every day, said the representative of Libya. He called on countries which had been responsible for the planting of mines to provide the countries where they had been planted with information, technical assistance, and compensation to victims.
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Other statements on the commemoration were made by the representatives of Spain (on behalf of the European Union and other countries), Marshall Islands, Ukraine, China, Belarus, United States, Estonia and Poland. The representative of France spoke in exercise of the right of reply. Introducing the draft resolution was the representative of the Russian Federation.
In addition to commemorating the end of the Second World War this morning, the Assembly also continued its consideration of the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization. Statements in that connection were made by the representatives of the Philippines (on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China) and Venezuela. Statements in exercise of the right of reply were made by India and Pakistan.
The Assembly also adopted a resolution relating to the recommendations of its Credentials Committee. Statements in explanation of position on that text were made by the representatives of Iran and Libya.
The General Assembly meets again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 20 October, to take up the issue of multilingualism.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly met this morning to continue its consideration of the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization. (For background, see Press Release GA/8957 of 17 October.)
The Assembly was also to begin its consideration of commemoration of the end of the Second World War and had before it a related draft resolution (document A/50/L.3 and Corr.1).
By that 43-Power text, the Assembly would approve a declaration in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, contained in the annex to the draft resolution.
The proposed declaration would have the Assembly commemorate the end of the Second World War, and honour the tens of millions who perished in that conflict, or became victims of genocide in the death camps, and those who fought against dictatorship, oppression, racism and aggression.
It would further reaffirm the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, noting that the establishment of the United Nations, to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, was one of the most remarkable results of the end of that War.
The Assembly would also recall the tragedy of the War and express its awareness of the necessity to end armed conflicts and to overcome its remaining legacies as well as manifestations of political, economic and social inequality.
States would be called upon reaffirm their commitment to refrain from the use or threat of use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State; redouble their efforts to put an end to all conflicts, and to save future generations from the scourge of new wars and racial hatred; promote democracy and human rights; support universal access to culture; and focus their efforts on creating the conditions for the general progress of humankind in larger freedom.
The fulfilment of those commitments would be the best way to pay tribute to those who fought for peace, freedom, democracy and human dignity and to honour the memory of the victims of the Second World War, according to the declaration.
The draft resolution is sponsored by the following countries: Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan,
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Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Uzbekistan.
The Assembly also had before it the first report of the Credentials Committee (document A/50/559) recommending that the Assembly accept the credentials of the representatives of 118 of its 185 Member States for the Assembly's current session. That report contains a draft resolution, by which the Assembly would accept the credentials submitted to the Secretary-General by those States and would further approve the first report of the Credentials Committee.
Speaking for the Group of 77 and China, REYNALDO O. ARCILLA (Philippines) commended the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on the work of the Organization. The United Nations had accorded considerable attention to preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution. However, there was much more that the developing countries would like the Organization to do, especially in the field of poverty eradication. He said the globalizatiion of the economy had also presented new challenges to the Organization, to which it must respond by enhancing its role in formulating appropriate policy guidelines on international economic and development issues. The Secretary- General had several times drawn attention to the financial situation of the Organization. His report mentioned that millions of dollars were owed to governments who had contributed troops and equipment to peace-keeping operations. He called on Member States to pay their dues unconditionally.
Welcoming the Secretary-General's initiatives to streamline the Organization, he said "downsizing" had been implemented and would continue. Reforms, however, should not compromise effective programme delivery and substitute for measures aimed at significantly strengthening the role of the United Nations in development.
ENRIQUE TEJERA PARIS (Venezuela) said his country was convinced of the value of the United Nations. The Secretary-General and the Secretariat deserved wholehearted support. Regarding reforms, a focus on enhancing the Organization's functions, rather than on structure, was required. To the extent possible, the work of the new Working Group on the Strengthening of the United Nations System should be simplified.
He said that in compliance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, the sovereignty of States must be respected when committing military and economic forces to contain conflicts. It was necessary to first secure the agreement of the parties to mediation.
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Speaking in right of reply, NALIN SURIE (India) said he regretted having to respond to the statement of the representative of Pakistan, who had "unleashed a litany of half-truths against India". The Secretary-General's report had been misquoted and selectively quoted. The Secretary-General had referred to the commitment of Indian and Pakistan to resolve the issue peacefully in accordance with the Simla agreements. He had referred to violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The incidents mentioned in the report resulted from Pakistan's backing of terrorism and violence from across the line of control. It was a historical fact that Pakistan had first violated the United Nations resolutions by refusing to withdraw its forces from the part of Kashmir occupied by it. Pakistan should realize that United Nations resolutions could not be implemented at its convenience. It was an indisputable fact that Jammu and Kashmir was and would remain part of India. India was committed to bilateral negotiations under the Simla agreement. It recommended that Pakistan vacate the Pakistani-occupied portion of Kashmir.
He said he had no intention of taking up the Assembly's time by responding to any reply that the representative of Pakistan might have to his reply.
AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan) said he was astonished at the "angry diatribe" of India. In his report the Secretary-General had mentioned violence in Jammu and Kashmir and deterioration of Indo-Pakistani relations. Did India deny that? he asked. There was a massive deployment of India's forces in Jammu and Kashmir and there were rapes and killings. The Indian forces had so far killed 50,000 Kashmiris. He further asked if India could deny that the issue was the longest unresolved dispute before the United Nations and that it had marred relations between the two countries. The Security Council through its resolutions had declared that the future of Kashmiris was to be decided according to their wishes. Was India in a position to deny that? Kashmir had never been a part of India, despite India's claim that it was an "inalienable" part of India. However, he went on, the Kashmiris were alienated from India, which was today "the largest terrorist State". India had abetted terrorism in all neighbouring States and had devoured Sikkim, Hyderabad and Junagadh.
Report of Credentials Committee
The Assembly then took up the report of the Credentials Committee, including the draft resolution it contained.
ALI ABOLHASSANI SHAREZA (Iran), speaking before action on the draft, expressed reservation on paragraph 4 of the report which concerned the credentials of Israel. Iran wished to disassociate itself from the approval of the credentials of Israel.
The draft resolution in the Credentials Committee's report was then adopted without a vote.
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Speaking after action on the draft, GUMA I. AMER (Libya) said his country did not recognize the credentials of the Israeli delegation. Despite recent developments on the Palestinian question, what was taking place did not form the basis of a just solution to the problem, which would require the establishment of a permanent State of Palestine with Al-Quds as its capital.
Introduction of Draft Resolution
SERGEY V. LAVROV (Russian Federation) said the end of the Second World War 50 years ago was forever engraved in the memory of mankind as the most tragic and the brightest event ever. "We are mourning today over millions of lost human lives and inexpressible human sufferings whose echoes can be heard even now. But, at the same time, we are proud of mankind which has managed, after joining its efforts, to win indeed the greatest historic victory over the forces of destruction, subjugation and suppression of human dignity." The United Nations, which was born from the ashes of the Second World War, was created with the mandate to save future generations from the scourge of war. The draft resolution reaffirmed that important goal, and should be adopted by consensus.
He said the following countries had joined in co-sponsoring the draft: Cyprus, Mongolia, Nigeria, Peru, Croatia, Czech Republic, Norway, Uruguay and the Republic of Korea.
JUAN ANTONIO YANEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain), speaking on behalf of the European Union and for Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania and the Slovak Republic, said the peoples of Europe remembered all too well the horrors of the Second World War, and the suffering inflicted not only on soldiers from all continents who lost their lives, but also civilians who perished in their homes and, in particular, those millions of men, women and children who died in the death camps. The memory of the Holocaust committed against the Jewish communities all around Europe would be an everlasting warning against all kinds of totalitarian and racist ideologies.
He said those men and women who fought for the restoration of human dignity would serve as an inspiration for all those who dedicated their lives to the preservation of peace and freedom. Their sacrifices were not in vain and the end of the Second World War had established the conditions for the creation of the United Nations.
He said the European Union was also forged out of that war and from the desire never to repeat its suffering. The very existence of the European Union, its vigour and cohesiveness, along with its openness to new members, was proof of the determination to make such war impossible in Europe again.
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The European Union wholeheartedly supported the draft declaration introduced by the Russian Federation today. All it member States were among co-sponsors of the draft resolution and hoped for its adoption by the Assembly without a vote.
PHILLIP MULLER (Marshall Islands) said the war in the Pacific involved more than the great Powers of the day, and he wished to honour the memory of those Pacific Islanders who fell in the struggle for freedom and justice against oppression. The Second World War had brought the most devastating pain and suffering to the shores of the Marshall Islands.
He said events which followed liberation, which had caused the Marshall Islands to be placed under trusteeship, were not memories that were treasured. The people of his country were still learning to deal with the results of the nuclear testing programme which the United Nations had previously allowed to proceed. It seemed that the international community was willing to again sit by while a colonial Power flexed its muscles and tested weapons in the South Pacific. "We cannot let this go on any more", he said. The memory of fallen countrymen must be an impetus in ensuring that the scourge of war was once and for all eradicated and replaced by preventive diplomacy.
VOLODYMYR YELCHENKO (Ukraine) said his country had been proud to contribute to the victory over fascism, which had regretfully been attained at a heavy price in terms of human lives and suffering. The end of the Second World War had led to the establishment of the United Nations. It had also given impetus to national liberation movements in Asia and Africa. At the same time, the end of the Second World War had created the bipolar world which had long been paralysed by the cold war. Now, the bipolar world had collapsed, and newly independent States, including Ukraine, were working to achieve peace, prosperity, development and democracy.
He stressed the importance of recalling the lessons of the Second World War, which had proved that it was possible to put an end to armed conflicts that were tearing regions apart, and to prevent new conflicts from emerging in the future. There was no alternative to settling disputes peacefully. It was in the common interest of all to not allow the threat or use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of any State. The struggle against negative manifestations of nationalism must also be at the forefront of international efforts.
QIN HUASUN (People's Republic of China) said the world-wide anti-fascist war half a century ago was a war to determine the destiny of mankind. It was a decisive battle between justice and evil, brightness and darkness, and progressive and reactionary forces. All peace-loving people, irrespective of their colour, religion and race, had joined hands.
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He said from the battle of Stalingrad to that of Alamein, and from the landing of Normandy to the capture of Berlin, several countries waged a life and death struggle against the German Fascists. The people of China fought the Japanese, on the eastern front. China resisted and pinned down two thirds of the Japanese forces, with more than 35 million military and civilian casualties. The victory of anti-fascist forces helped lay the foundation for the United Nations.
"We express our strong concern and condemnation at the remarks denying the history of aggression and even prettifying war of aggression and colonial rule made time and again by some people in that Asian country which should be held responsible for launching the war", he said. He hoped the country concerned would bear in mind the historical lesson and continue to take the road to peaceful development.
SHUNJI MARUYAMA (Japan) said the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations also marked the end of the most destructive war in the history of humankind. It was appropriate to study the lessons of history to reaffirm the commitment to lasting peace and prosperity.
Reading from the Declaration in Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the End of the Second World War on "the commitment to abstain from the use or threat of force both against territorial integrity or political independence of any State", he reaffirmed Japan's determination never to waiver from its commitment to world peace and prosperity.
The Declaration called on States to promote democracy, human rights and access to culture, which would enable them to pursue moderate, sound and appropriate foreign policies. Japan would also do its utmost to alleviate poverty and illiteracy and to promote public health and welfare, particularly in the developing countries. He said Japan welcomed the recent cease-fire agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He said Japan, reflecting with deep remorse upon the past, had made sincere efforts to foster the principles and purposes of the United Nations. The United Nations was expected, in new conditions since the end of the cold war, to play a more active role in efforts towards international peace and in the formation of the new international order in the coming century.
Reform of the Security Council was of particular importance in the reform of the Organization, he said. Japan intended to play a positive role in the new United Nations.
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ALYAKSANDR SYCHOU (Belarus) said commemoration of the momentous anniversary of the end of the Second World War was a tribute to the millions of people who had perished in its flames on the battlefield, in concentration camps, of hunger under siege or in terrible mass repressions. It was imperative to learn from the bitter experiences of human civilization so that they would never be repeated. The international community must focus on liquidating threats to peace and security, preventing conflicts and relying on peaceful means to settle disputes.
A radical re-evaluation of international and national security policies was needed. "Today, one cannot guarantee the national security of States, especially the small ones, by quantities of arms," he continued. "The development and effective use of international legal arrangements to provide for national, regional and global security are becoming key factors."
He said a complicated situation was emerging in some regions in the post-Soviet era. Africa was torn by numerous conflicts, and a solution to the problem in the Middle East had not been found. The question remaining was why mankind, which had achieved progress in many areas of science and technology, seemed unable to find a bloodless solution to social, political and economic problems. The task of saving succeeding generations from war remained the most noble goal towards which all Member States should strive. The draft resolution should be adopted by consensus.
KARL F. INDERFURTH (United States) paid homage to the victims of racial and ethnic hatred, in particular those who perished in death camps and the Holocaust. He noted the blessings of democracy, justice, peace and prosperity.
He said that hope and reconciliation had replaced tyranny and intolerance. However, he said, there was still the need to persevere with the challenges that faced the world until liberty, democracy, the rule of law and equal opportunity were secured for future generations. He reaffirmed the commitment to principles and values of the United Nations Charter. The United Nations was created to save future generations from the scourge of war. He called on all States to rededicate themselves to practise tolerance, to promote peace and security, to create conditions of larger freedom, and to reform and strengthen the United Nations to meet new transnational challenges.
GAD YAACOBI (Israel) said the Declaration Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the End of the Second World War was a moral obligation, not only to the fallen soldiers of the Second World War, to civilian victims and to honoured veterans. The Commemoration was also a moral obligation to generations to come. The lessons of the Second World War were eternal: the evils of racism, the dangers of surrendering to despotism, the bankruptcy of appeasement, and the strength of statesmanship and courage.
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He said he was born in Israel, but that his parents came from Europe, where they left large families behind. More than 50 members of his family were exterminated by the Nazis. For Israel, the Second World War could not be remembered without remembering the Holocaust -- the Nazis' systematic annihilation of 6 million Jews, 1.5 million of them children.
During the years of war the Jews of Europe were dehumanized and eventually destroyed. The Nazis introduced their "Final solution to the Jewish problem"; concentration and death camps were opened throughout occupied Europe to extinguish the Jewish people as a whole. Two thirds of European Jewry were obliterated.
The Holocaust was also a story of bravery and heroism of the Jewish people in the face of horror. Many Jews chose to resist the Nazis. Jewish soldiers joined the fight against the Nazis. He also paid tribute to individuals, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who risked their lives to save the lives of others. "Schindler was not alone", he said. "There were righteous people in Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Poland, Italy and other countries." The hope of Jewish sovereignty sustained the survivors of the Nazi brutality; if Israel had existed before the Second World War, many of those who perished could have been saved. The lessons of the Second World War and the Holocaust should be remembered: the price of powerlessness and the evils of hatred and racism.
MOHAMED A. AZWAI (Libya) said commemoration of the end of the Second World War offered the opportunity to take stock of past events and draw lessons which could be used to address present global situations. Today's world suffered from regional disputes and tensions which played havoc with security, among other problems. The proliferation of nuclear weapons threatened the entire planet. The United Nations needed protection from the ambitions of certain countries which ignored the sovereignty of States and sought to use the Organization to serve their own needs, including through the imposition of punitive actions against certain peoples.
The Second World War had ended but the mines left behind after the armies had been withdrawn continued to kill innocent people almost every day, he said. Libya's territory, which had been a theatre of operations during the war, was still full of mines and debris. Hundreds had been killed and thousands injured. The countries which had been responsible for the planting of mines should provide information to the countries where they had been planted, together with technical assistance and compensation for victims. In addition, colonial Powers should pay colonized peoples for the goods and money they had looted in order that colonialism might not return again.
TRIVIMI VELLISTE (Estonia) said the end of the Second World War created conditions for establishing the United Nations. Today, the role of the Organization in opening the prospects of a more peaceful world could not be
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forgotten. It was only in 1991 that Estonia had been finally able to join the United Nations.
The legacy of the Second World War had separate chapters for countries such as his. For Estonia, the war only really ended in August 1994, when the last foreign soldier left Estonian soil. "The ghosts of the past are gone", he said. Estonia could continue on the path of democracy that had been interrupted by Stalin and Hitler.
He called on all States to refrain from violation of the territorial integrity of all other States. The world had no place for terms such as "near aboad", he said. Countries should make all efforts to avoid all actions undermining the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
ZBIGNIEW MARIA WLOSOWICZ (Poland) said the Second World War lasted longest for Poland, since it was the first victim of that war. Questions about that part of the history would always haunt the world. The victory of the Second World War could not be enjoyed by Poland. It was only recently that Poland along with other countries of East Europe had chartered its own path.
He said that last year Poland had come forward with the suggestion that the phrase "enemy state" be removed from the Charter of the United Nations. The suggestion reflected the country's belief that no State ought to be viewed as an "enemy". Democracy and human rights must be promoted and we must never take freedom for granted, he stressed. He expressed his country's support for the resolution.
Action on Draft Resolution
The Assembly then took up the draft resolution containing the declaration commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
Explaining his country's position before action on the draft, GAD YAACOBI (Israel) said the Jewish people could never forget the enormity of the Holocaust. Israel, as the Jewish national home, had a special obligation to remember in memory of the 6 million who perished in the European graveyard, as well as the survivors who had rebuilt their lives in Israel and elsewhere. "The draft resolution did not mention the holocaust, but we must. For the six million whose voices have been forever silenced, for the Jewish people, for the State of Israel and for future generations." Israel could not co-sponsor the draft, but it would not request a vote on the text.
Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the Declaration Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the End of the Second World War.
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Right of Reply
JEAN-MICHEL GAUSSOT (France), speaking in right of reply, said that although totally out of context, the representative of the Marshall Islands had again mentioned nuclear tests carried out in the Pacific by what he had termed a "colonial Power". France had, on several occasions, refuted statements made by various countries on the subject of nuclear tests, but as a sovereign Power France could not accept the use of the injurious qualification which impugned its presence in that part of the world.
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