28 June 2005

“Better Standards of Life in Larger Freedom” now within Reach, Secretary-General Says in Commemoration of 60th Anniversary of UN Charter

NEW YORK, 27 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement, as delivered today, by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the meeting at Headquarters commemorating the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Charter:

The words we have just heard -- the words of the preamble to our Charter -- are engraved on the collective memory of mankind.

Over sixty years, the United Nations has striven to redeem those pledges.

Where we could, we have averted the scourge of war.  Where we could not, we have sought to resolve conflict and build peace.

We have codified fundamental human rights.  We have done our best to uphold the dignity of the human person. 

We have enabled many women to assert their equal rights with men, and many small nations to take their place in this Assembly, on equal terms with their former colonial masters.

We have sought to establish conditions under which justice and respect for law can be maintained.

And we have done whatever we could to promote social progress, and better standards of life, in larger freedom.

We have had many successes. 

-- We have kept the peace in many places. 

-- We have helped banish smallpox and polio from almost every country. 

-- We have given millions of children an education that their parents could not dream of. 

-- We are helping with elections in countries from Afghanistan to Zambia. 

-- And we have brought relief to victims of disasters like the Indian Ocean tsunami.

We have also had failures.  The worst, perhaps, was our collective failure to prevent the genocide in Rwanda.

Today, in a new century, we face new threats and challenges, but also new opportunities.

Those “better standards of life in larger freedom” are now within our reach.  To reach them, we must advance on all three fronts:  development, security and human rights.

Never in the history of the United Nations have bold decisions been more necessary.  And never have they been more possible.

In September, at the 2005 World Summit, your heads of State and government will be called upon to reach those decisions.  Let us all work together, to ensure that this once-in-a-generation opportunity is not missed.

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