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10/24/2020

Statement by Euzkadi Buru Batzar on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations

The United Nations (UN) came into being in the context of a world war, tragedy and horror, with millions of lives lost and in a dehumanising dimension of humanity. It was essentially conceived to prevent World War III

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Statement by Euzkadi Buru Batzar on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations

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The Charter of the United Nations, its constitutive instrument, came into force on October 24, 1945 - 75 years ago today - and pursued the objectives of peace and security based on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. This same spirit and goals were shared by the leaders of our party, EAJ-PNV, at that time. Examples of this include Basque participation in the San Francisco Conference in 1945 and the meeting held by Lehendakari Agirre with the first Secretary General of the United Nations, Trygve Halvdan Lie.

The United Nations has had mixed success over its 75-year history. During this time, it has not been able to resolve many of the armed conflicts that ravage different parts of the world, although it has mitigated them. Some of these conflicts, such as those in Palestine and Kashmir, are as old as the organisation itself; others are more recent, such as those in Yemen, Syria and Libya. Nor did the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948 put an end to the violation of human rights, which continue to be violated with impunity, but it did contribute to the prevention of human rights violations in their various manifestations, such as torture, the death penalty and arbitrary persecution, while at the same time providing access to food, health and education for people in need.

Having recognised its strengths and identified its weaknesses, 75 years after its foundation we believe that the UN needs a thorough overhaul, both in terms of its internal structures (Security Council and Assembly) and its ability to adapt to new geopolitical realities. This update must be undertaken in the light of the emergence of new regional powers to respond more effectively to new challenges being posed in the 21st century in the context of updating its collective peace and security objectives.

A revamping of the composition of the Security Council is needed, involving the elimination of hierarchies and veto rights to allow it to function on the basis of qualified, simple majorities. New political realities, characterised by the erosion of the classical nation-state system and the establishment of transnational entities require the direct participation in the Security Council of regional organisations with a continental dimension, such as the European Union (EU) or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The General Assembly should also bridge the democratic deficit of a merely deliberative institution that adopts recommendations. In this regard, our proposal is to create a Legislative Assembly that would control the Security Council, the majority resolutions of which would be legally binding, as would its ability to impose sanctions.

We also advocate the establishment of representative channels within the various bodies of the UN institutional framework for dealing with new political realities, such as stateless nations and constitutional regions seeking to participate on the international stage.

In the midst of a global pandemic, which is the “biggest challenge the world has faced since the Second World War” according to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, a full-blown crisis has been unleashed, which is affecting health, the economy, social life and the well-being of the inhabitants of the entire planet, but also, and in a very negative way, the state of freedoms and human rights throughout the world. In the 21st century, we are facing problems as disturbing as the distortion of the concepts of 'democracy', 'freedom' and 'justice'; enormous environmental challenges on a planet that is clearly at risk of no longer being sustainable; and huge social challenges such as poverty, racism, inequality, slavery, people trafficking, arms trafficking and unemployment. These problems require responses, including global ones, that involve the intensification of international cooperation and the multilateralism of international actors.

Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea-Partido Nacionalista Vasco (EAJ-PNV - Basque Nationalist Party), which took part in the origins of the United Nations 75 years ago and adhered to its founding objectives, is still very much committed to multilateralism in a world that needs real political collaboration and effective global governance more than ever. We need a world that will gradually build on the international concept of the 'family of nations' and work for the common good and to eradicate poverty and protect human rights through a culture of tolerance, coexistence and peace.

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