STATEMENT BY THE AMBASSADOR OF GUYANA TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, H.E. DR. ODEEN ISHMAEL, TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS, ON MEASURES TO ELIMINATE INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM, NEW YORK, 4 OCTOBER 2001
Posted October 5th. 2001
Mr. President, Secretary General, Excellencies, Members of Delegations, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Guyana vehemently deplores the criminal and monstrously destructive terrorist acts of September 11 that have had the effect of converting a part of our host city into a veritable war zone with enormous loss of life C a state of affairs replicated to a degree, in Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. The loss of life reverberates throughout the community and the world, the victims and their loved ones coming from a multitude of nationalities and ethnicities, many of my own countrymen and women perishing with the rest. The loss of life and property has also been injurious to economies everywhere in this age of globalization.
Mr. President, Guyana extends its deepest sympathy to the people and Government of the United States upon their suffering and loss. We wish the United States Government every success in its efforts to marshal the forces of humanity in a coalition to conquer international terrorism, which affects us all, and which violates the ideals that we both profess and support. If it were to go unchallenged, it would have the effect of negating all that we have worked and struggled for in this Organization since its founding in 1945.
Guyana's opposition to terrorism is complete and absolute. In a message delivered on the occasion of the inter-faith service of remembrance, held in New York on September 30, 2001 for twenty-four Guyanese nationals who lost their lives in this disaster, Guyana's President, His Excellency Bharrat Jagdeo, declared himself as follows:
Death is almost always a painful thing. When it comes to people in their youth, or in the prime of their lives, and when it comes so tragically and in such an unexpected fashion as it did to our Guyanese brothers and sisters on September 11, in that disaster of such mind-boggling dimensions, the wrenching pain is unbearable and the grief unsupportable. Guyana supports the efforts to rein in terror and we pledge our full cooperation to root out terrorism.
Guyana, as a country with a substantial Muslim population, and as a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference, is anxious for our efforts to eradicate terrorism to succeed. However, it is imperative, Mr. President, that we guard against the bigotry that has driven some to blame Muslims and Arabs for the events of September 11. It has been well and succinctly stated, at this very podium earlier in the debate, that terrorism has "no religion, no nationality and no ethnicity." No religion authorizes or legitimizes terrorism, and any protestations or claims to the contrary are no more than a vain political excuse to justify that which can never be vindicated.
Mr. President, Guyana supports the multifaceted efforts of our Organization to deal with terrorism. There is an abundance of anti-terrorist conventions presently on offer, and one more is still in negotiation. We currently subscribe to the OAS Declaration of Lima to Prevent, Combat and Eliminate Terrorism with its Plan of Action on Hemispheric Cooperation approved on April 26, 1996. We also support the resolution adopted at the Organization of American States on September 21, 2001 by the Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the States-Parties invoking the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (the Rio Treaty). This resolution established a program of solidarity and mutual assistance in the American hemisphere to deal with the scourge of terrorism.
These efforts require, for their success, that we pay heed to the instances of injustice that abound in the contemporary world. Where injustice is manifest, it can become a politically destabilizing force and breed hatred conditions that might be exploited by the unscrupulous for the furtherance of their own evil ends. The current revolution in communications has now rendered it impossible to conceal injustice from the eyes of its victims.
It was the decolonization process that gave rise to the greatest increase in the membership of our Organization. We must ensure that the freedoms which we sought for ourselves are enjoyed by everyone else that there is everywhere respect for human rights, for our common humanity; for our right as human beings to pursue our legitimate destiny, whether individually or as a collective, embodied in a state without arbitrary interference or denial; that the autonomy of the human spirit is maximized and its creativity, thereby, nurtured.
Mr. President, Guyana welcomes Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) which, in our view, represents a significant advance in the efforts of the international community to eradicate terrorism while, simultaneously, constituting an innovative interpretation of the Charter of the United Nations. Mr. President, the meaning of the Charter in 2001 is significantly at variance with its meaning in 1945, and this reality is reflective of changes in the world that have occurred in the intervening period. We are concerned here with the fashioning of a legal structure that will facilitate the attainment of a purpose we all endorse. The validity of all law and International Law is no exception has a temporal dimension, and change being inherent in all forms of human social organization, it follows inevitably and inexorably that law must be adapted to the exigencies of that change if it is to preserve its relevance and effectiveness.
In a dissent from an Advisory Opinion given by the International Court of Justice and requested by our Assembly concerning the Competence of the General Assembly for the Admission of a State to the United Nations, the distinguished Chilean Judge Alejandro Alvarez stated that "it is necessary, when interpreting treaties in particular, the Charter of the United Nations to look ahead, that is, to have regard to the new conditions, and not to look back . . . A treaty or a text that has once been established acquires a life of its own. Consequently, in interpreting it we must have regard to the exigencies of contemporary life."
The present period in which we live is different from 1945, and the framers of the Charter contemplated threats to the maintenance of international peace and security that are often radically at variance with the kinds of threats with which we are confronted today. International terrorism, in all its ramifications, does constitute a threat to the maintenance of international peace and security. It is therefore appropriate that the decision-making machinery that is vested in Chapter 7 of the Charter is enlisted with a view to eradicating this malady. Guyana will fulfill the obligations that have been laid upon us all by Security Council Resolution 1373.
As I close, Mr. President, I reiterate Guyana's unswerving support for all the efforts we have crafted for the purpose of defeating terrorism. These efforts are hugely multilateral and derive an enhanced legitimacy from that sobering reality. We shall prevail! Our survival, with the full complement of rights to which we all aspire, requires that we do!
I thank you.