Statement by Minister Osman Saleh
H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea
XVII Non-Aligned Movement Summit
17-18 September 2016
Island of Margarita
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Your Excellency, Mr. Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me extend my heartfelt appreciation to the people and government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the generous hospitality extended to my delegation since our arrival. I also wish to congratulate the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for its election to chair the Non-Aligned Movement.
Let me also express my delegation’s appreciation to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the outgoing chair of the Coordinating Bureau, for its able leadership in steering the work of our Movement for the last four years.
Many countries of our Movement are facing daunting challenges of recurrent conflicts, food insecurity, youth unemployment, human trafficking, transnational organised crimes, manipulation of illegal migration, spread of violent extremism and terrorism. Our efforts to harness effective multilateral response is being hampered by unilateralism, military adventurism, flagrant violation of the UN Charter and misguided policies of certain powers. This has led to loss of millions of lives, destruction of nations, and spread of extremism and terrorism.
Since its inception our Movement has been at the forefront of the struggle for a global order based on peace, independence, respect for international law, justice, equity and sustainable development. It is vital that we continue to defend the sacrosanct principles of sovereign equality of nations, respect for territorial integrity, political independence and peaceful coexistence as well as respect for the dignity and rights of citizens. These time-tested principles are more relevant today than ever and should not be compromised.
For years our Movement has asserted that human rights can only be promoted through “ensuring universality, objectivity and non-selectivity in the consideration of human rights issues, and the elimination of double standards and politicisation.” The promotion and protection of human rights should be based on the principles of cooperation and dialogue in order to strengthen the capacity of States to comply with their human rights obligations. The Universal Periodic Review is the main intergovernmental mechanism to address the issue of human rights. However, we continue to witness that international human rights mechanisms, including Human Rights Council, are being utilised as tools of political coercion by certain powers with an aim to wreak havoc, polarise societies and nations, perpetuate political instability and change regimes. Unfortunately, some members of this Movement have become wittingly or unwittingly accomplice to these destructive policies.
We must strength our solidarity, enhance our cooperation and pursue our common goal to counter policies that intend to break us apart and pick us one after the other. We need to ensure the independence and integrity of international human rights instruments and institutions.
For over half a century the people of Eritrea has suffered from this unjust global order. We were denied our inalienable right to self-determination. For three decades, we were savagely bombed from the air and the ground, with the aim of crushing our struggle for independence. The same power that denied us our right for self-determination seven decades ago have imposed unjust and illegal sanctions on a bases of unfounded allegations and are maintaining this sanction even when the allegations have proven non-existent for years. The same powers continue to shield aggression against our nation and illegal occupation of our sovereign territory in violation of international law. They are also encouraging irregular migration in order to deprive Eritrea of its productive citizens, exposing the Eritrean youth to abuse and death (in the Sahara, Sinai and the Mediterranean) in the hands of human traffickers and smugglers. The people of Eritrea continues to be targeted by the United States Administration.
To add insult to injury some members of the Movement are Trojan-Horse for this unjustified hostilities by the US on our nation. Three members of our Movement continue to spearhead country specific resolution against Eritrea at the Human Rights Council. This unjustified action by Members of the Non-Aligned Movement contravenes NAM’s longstanding position and disparages the spirit of solidarity that we have been preaching for decades. We have to practice what we preach.
We reiterate our request to Members of the NAM, in spirit of solidarity, to call for an immediate lifting of the sanctions against Eritrea as well as reject and condemn all forms of hostilities and interferences that are being carried against the people of Eritrea, including country specific human rights mandates.
Despite the relentless harassment and hostilities, Eritrea is building a solid basis for inclusive and sustainable development with social justice as its centre. It has made strides in improving educational and health services, agricultural productivity, and infrastructure. Eritrea is also making its contribution to regional peace, stability and security in the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa.
Eritrea sees its own efforts for peace, justice, development, environmental protection as part of the struggle for a better, fair, just, peaceful and equitable global order. Eritrea reiterates its readiness to closely work with the sisterly member countries of the NAM to realise these objectives.
Let me, in conclusion, reaffirm Eritrea’s solidarity with the people and Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as they face illegal political and economic aggression. Eritrea also reaffirms its solidarity with people and governments of Cuba, Sudan and others who are suffering from unilateral sanctions and economic sabotages.
I thank you!