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
Check Against Delivery
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
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.