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Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
Forty-ninth session (4 - 29 August 1997)

Item 4: The realization of economic, social and cultural rights

 Distinguished Colleagues,  

Our planet, in spite of it being so big, has become very small indeed by means of technological advancements in modern communications.  Whatever problems affect its East affect also its West, and whatever its South endures and suffers, has its consequences on its North as well.  Latin America, Africa and Southwest Asia are considered among the areas where developing countries suffer from complicated and difficult problems, which warn against more serious explosions threatening the progress of humanity and its prosperity. 

Dear Colleagues, 

Regardless of Malthus theory and its inclination for exaggerations, all of us notice nowadays, in figures which do not lie, that the population of this planet has dramatically increased as of the end of this century, an increase that may reach disproportionate geometrical progression.  This alarming increase has been concentrated in the Third World, or what is known as developing countries.  Such a condition has led to increased poverty and to the intensification of a vicious cycle of backwardness.  This situation has created a ripple effect leading to anarchy and bad administration that made people in developing countries unable to benefit from neither their strategic location nor their rich resources.  It is so much so to the extent that the individual’s annual income has been reduced in the Third World, to what amounts to less than one twentieth of that of the annual income of the individual in the developed countries of Europe and North America. 

This unbalanced situation prevails in our planet today.  Progress, prosperity and luxurious life on one side, while poverty, ignorance and backwardness are on the rise on the other side.  This same situation must lead, and has already led, to unrest, violence and terrorism, the acuity and danger of which increase day by day.  No doubt, the consequences could be disastrous and shall affect mankind worldwide.  After all, we should always keep in mind that the atomic weapon has started to escape to some whose actions and choice might be disturbed by desperation and dismay due to the oppression and suffering that they and their people have endured. 

There are many economic crises prevailing in the world, as well as, regional conflicts and their consequences of blood shedding, tragedies and pains; famine is threatening one third of the planet’s population, and killing tens and maybe hundreds everyday.  In addition, there are several other issues that the sub-commission has addressed, directly or indirectly.  Such situations can never be resolved or dealt with by idealistic and passionate campaigns and the speeches and good wills of those who do not possess, in their hands, the decisive tools to overcome them.  These significant issues that disturb our planet need an honest, responsible and sincere resolution by the decision makers, who possess the means to make such a stand.  The developed countries, especially the western ones in expiation of their previous guilt and, moreover, for the future welfare of their people, are the ones that have to bear the responsibility of what has resulted from their previous colonial policies. 

International problems do not occur by chance.  The truth is that we are the ones who create these tragedies because of our moral weakness and our selfishness. 

Distinguihed Colleagues, 

It is neither right nor logical that one third of the world’s population lives on two thirds of the international income, while two thirds of their brothers and sisters, in the Third World, live on the remaining third of the income. 

It is neither right nor logical to silently witness the continuation of sanctions which devastated Iraq’s infrastructure for almost seven years and Libya for almost five years even though both countries have responded to and fulfilled in acceptable ways all of the conditions imposed by the Security Council on them.  

We think that the international community and world opinion which is usually disturbed by isolated incidents involving an explosion of a bomb or an assassination of a person cannot tolerate the ongoing tormenting of an entire people consisting of eighteen million Iraqis who have been deprived of their sources of livelihood and the only means of feeding their women and children, and who bear no guilt whatsoever in any of the political conflicts in this world. 

We are afraid that although we are embarking on the 21st century yet the liquidation of people by mass killing, starvation and destruction of economic, industrial, educational and cultural basic structures on which a society is built still takes place, and due to ethnic, racial, religious or ideological reasons.  Without a doubt, if this continues it will be a disgrace for which future generations will not forgive us.   

Although some of the sanctions were cruel and lacked rational justification, since it has been verified that the people of Iraq have responded to and fulfilled all of the conditions imposed by the Security Council on them, then the continuation of the sanctions against the people cannot be due to anything but to unwholesome and unjustified political reasons. 

We take this opportunity to guard the United Nations and its respective councils to which we appeal for security and justice in order to make sure that the UN will not be a tool in the hands of those who have ulterior motives. 

The international public opinion, its agencies and non-governmental organizations call upon the United Nations to work seriously on ending this tragic and deviant situation. 

It is our great hope and greater wish that the people of the world will continue believing in this tenacious organization; “The United Nations.”  Any shaking in this belief will indeed mean a real world disaster. 

Distinguished Colleagues, 

If we really and truly believed that this world is but one family, created into tribes, peoples and nations to recognize each other and cooperate together to realize humanity’s dream of all that is Right, Good and Justice, then we should assume and hope that the responsibility of realizing this high and noble aim lies on our big ones before the smaller ones, on our strongest before our weakest, and our leading scientists before the less educated and illiterate ones among us. 

The more powerful ones among us, who have reached high levels of progress in science and technology, have to assist their brothers and sisters in humanity to attain the same level.  The idea of keeping technology and modern sciences out of the reach of the Third World is the most dangerous call that faces the world and threatens it with the worst results which the Westerns world itself will reap its spikes in the long-run. 

Accordingly, we must stop these media and propaganda oriented donations.  What the Third World needs is neither food, which will be eaten by the strongest among them, nor arms that tyrants will use against the weaker ones.  The Third World needs the means to advance and progress.  This aim cannot be realized except through education, and education alone. 

Thus the foreign aid that is offered by developed countries to developing regions, which should be multiplied many folds, must not be dispersed except via an international law for the construction of schools, educational institutions and universities. 

There are many billions of dollars every year in foreign aid, but most of it is dispersed like dust in the wind as we have already mentioned.  These billions could have established thousands of schools and tens of universities.  Consequently, education can potentially direct hundreds of thousands of youth in the developing world in the right path to extract the wealth of their countries for the benefit of the whole world. 

Thank you for your attention.