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Tánaiste addresses United Nations General Assembly

United Nations, Press Releases, North America, 2012

New York, 29 September 2012: The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore T.D., will this evening deliver Ireland’s national address to the 67th United Nations General Assembly in New York.   

The Tánaiste will emphasise the vital importance of protecting human rights so that the United Nations can meet its primary mission to prevent and resolve conflicts:  

“Our history tells us that conflict grows in the spaces where human rights are denied.  Where deprivation, inequality and injustice erode human dignity and potential, conflict is the consequence.”

“For those who cannot speak publicly in their own lands.  Who look here to us for the vindication of their basic rights, who believe in the words of our Charter, and expect us to act on them.”

The Tánaiste will describe the situation in Syria as “an affront to humanity”. 

“The people of Syria deserve the full support of the international community for the efforts to bring about an end to this suffering and to achieve an early political transition.  Ireland backs the Joint Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, in his difficult task.  The priority must be to achieve an immediate ceasefire and to get a political process underway that will facilitate the transition.”

He will call for a strong Security Council Resolution to authorise targeted sanctions and to provide full accountability so that those responsible for atrocities and human rights abuses face punishment.

On the Middle East Peace Process, he will urge an end to the “depressing stalemate” which persists in the discussions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and he will reiterate Ireland’s support for Palestinian non-member observer status and, in due course, its formal admission to the UN as a full member.
Peace and security are inextricably linked to development, and the Tánaiste will confirm to the General Assembly Ireland’s commitment to maintaining our overseas development assistance programme through the work of Irish Aid.  He will highlight the case of Somalia, which he visited in July, and will urge a more coherent and effective approach towards humanitarian action and development policy.

“It is in all our interests as global citizens, that we stay the course in relation to the Millennium Development Goals.  And that we continue to work together for a sustainable and just world, where states operate on the basis of the rights of all people to participate in and contribute to society and inclusive economies.”

“I pledge today that Ireland will not turn away from Somalia.  Or from humanitarian emergencies elsewhere in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and across the globe.  We will work with partners to highlight forgotten crises and the needs of fragile states.”

Returning to human rights, the main theme of his address, the Tánaiste will conclude by referring to Ireland’s candidacy for election to the UN Human Rights Council in November:   

“The threats to human rights worldwide are proliferating steadily: whether from widespread poverty and hunger, from repressive systems of governance, from religious intolerance, from gender-based violence or from other directions.  If Ireland is elected to the Human Rights Council in November, we will serve the cause of international human rights protection as an active and committed member of the Council.”