Statement to the General Assembly by Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, 19 October 2000
At the XII Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, held in Durban, South Africa, the Heads of State or Government declared: "We must take up the challenge to fundamentally transform international relations, so as to eradicate aggression, racism, the use of force, unilateral coercive measures and unfair economic practices, foreign occupation and xenophobia in order to achieve a world of peace, justice and dignity for all".
At the Summit, the Heads of State or Government condemned the persistence by certain states in intensifying unilateral coercive measures and the exercise of domestic legislation with extraterritorial effects against developing countries. I am referring to actions that include blockades, embargoes and freezing of assets with the purpose of preventing these countries from exercising the right to fully determine their political, economic and social system and freely expand their international trade. We are convinced of the need to contribute more effectively to increase the role of developing countries in the international economic system. Furthermore, the need to equal and non-discriminatory rights of all countries to join the international trading system and the necessity to keep the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its membership procedure non-political and economic-orientated, cannot be overemphasised.
The Non-Aligned Movement firmly believes that increased recourse by the major trading countries to actions, such as extraterritorial measures, are incompatible, and in conflict with international rules and regulation agreed upon in the WTO. The unjustified and excessive use of anti-dumping measures to the detriment of the trade of developing countries, is a matter of great concern.
The Non-Aligned Movement also condemns the trend geared at strengthening coercive economic measures on developing countries. In this respect, we reaffirm that no state may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measure to coerce another state, including non-extension of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status. We also reject the expansion of such trends, and urge states applying unilateral coercive measures to put an immediate end to those measures.
NAM is concerned about the adverse effects of the use of coercive economic measures on the economy and development efforts of developing countries. We have no doubt that such measures have a wide negative impact on international economic co-operation and on world-wide efforts to move towards a non-discriminatory and open trading system.
Our aim is to create a rules based system where small and big nations will be treated as equal sovereign states. We believe that such democratic reform is necessary for all international institutions, including the United Nations.
At the Ministerial Conference in Cartagena in April this year, the Ministers called on all states not to recognise the unilateral, extraterritorial laws enacted by certain countries which impose sanctions on companies and individuals belonging to other countries. They were of the view that these measures and legislation threaten the sovereignty of states and adversely affect their social and economic development. Furthermore, they marginalise developing countries from the process of globalisation, and are contrary to international law, the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among states, and agreed principles of the multilateral trading system.
I thank you.
Once again, the United nations and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), despite severe financial constraints, has performed its tasks admirably, and my delegation would like to commend the sterling efforts of the Commissioner-General, Mr Peter Hansen, and the dedicated staff of the Agency. We hope that this Committee would once again draw attention to the hardship of the Palestinian refugees as a result of displacement.
UNRWA performs a crucial function in providing essential services to Palestine refugees who experience economic and social hardship imposed by the long and difficult illegal occupation by Israel. Until all the United Nations resolutions related to Palestine refugees are implemented, the work of UNRWA serves to alleviate the immense daily suffering of the people, and goes a long way to restoring their fundamental human rights and dignity.
The humanitarian services provided by UNRWA constitute tangible results in the living conditions for the Palestine refugees, and thereby the underpinning for stability that is conducive to the pursuit of peace, and must be given the fullest financial support of Member States, UN agencies, and other organisations.
The services of UNRWA were in particular need by the Palestinians during this time of the recent tragic situation. It is thus disturbing to learn, from the report of the Commissioner-General, of the intensified restrictions of movement imposed on the UNRWA staff by Israel, thereby impeding these humanitarian efforts, in contravention of international law relating to UN personnel.
The Non-Aligned Movement has reiterated its support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to attain their inalienable rights, including the right to return to their homeland and to have their own independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital. NAM has also repeatedly called for the implementation of all UN resolutions related to Palestinian refugees, and we emphasise that Resolution 194 (1948) must constitute the basis for a just and durable settlement to the refugee question.
South Africa firmly believes that peaceful negotiation is the only means of ensuring lasting peace, security and stability in the region. Furthermore, we believe that the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and independence is pivotal to the achievement of a sustained and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
It is incumbent upon the international community, recognising that armed conflict endangers the lives of citizens, to take steps to ensure that all efforts are made to enhance respect for international humanitarian law defined for the protection of civilians in time of war, so that civilians can live as normal a life as possible and in accordance with their laws, their culture and their traditions.
My delegation, supporting the resolution before us, would like to reaffirm that it remains the permanent responsibility of the United Nations towards the Palestinian people until a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement is achieved on the basis of Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and on the basis of land for peace.
I thank you.