UN At 70: Ki Moon Lists Achievements, Bemoans Extremism


Ban Ki-Moon

TO mark 70 years of the United Nations (UN) Charter, which was drafted on June 26, 1945, the Secretary General of the organisation, Ban Ki Moon, has extolled the contribution of the body to global peace, despite the recent gloom brought about by extremism.

Ki Moon, who himself was a beneficiary of UN gestures during the Korean War, said ever since then, the body had occupied a special place in his life.

“I was six years old when the Korean War broke out. I have memories of my village in flames as my family sought refuge in nearby mountains. But another sight is even more lasting: the UN flag.  We were saved from hunger by UN food relief operations; we received textbooks from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); and when we wondered whether the outside world cared about our suffering, the troops of many nations sacrificed their lives to restore security and peace,” he said.

As the world marked the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Organisation’s founding Charter yesterday, Ki Moon expressed hope that the human race would come together with greater determination to work for a safer and more sustainable future.

According to him, the UN is proud to have worked with many partners to dismantle colonialism, triumph over apartheid, keep the peace in troubled places and articulate a body of treaties and law to safeguard human rights.

He added: “Every day, the United Nations feeds the hungry, shelters refugees and vaccinates children against polio and other deadly diseases.  Our relief workers brave remote and dangerous environments to deliver humanitarian assistance, and our mediators strive to find common ground between warring parties and peaceful solutions to grievances and disputes. The United Nations was founded to prevent another World War, and it has succeeded in that corer mission; despite grave setbacks, the past seven decades would surely have been even bloodier without the United Nations.

“Yet we are keenly aware that today’s landscape is scarred by conflict, exploitation and despair.  At least 59.5 million people have fled their homes – more refugees, displaced persons and asylum seekers than at any time since the end of the Second World War.  Violence against women blights all societies. At a time of pressing human needs, huge   amounts of money continue to be squandered on nuclear weapons and other destabilising military arsenals. The consequences of climate change are ever more apparent—and have only just begun. And although the world said “never again” after the Holocaust, and again after genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica, we continue to witness atrocious crimes by violent extremists and others.”

Pointing the world to goals that must be achieved, the UN Secretary General said the goal of the body would be 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 Organisation’s name,” he admonished.

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