UN General Assembly: Romanian president’s speech focuses on the pandemic, human rights
Romania's president Klaus Iohannis touched important topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic and its challenges, human rights and climate change during his intervention at the 76th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN).
He said at the beginning of his speech that, although the pandemic changed people's lives, "it also provided us with opportunities to learn, adapt and do things better."
"Global challenges require common solutions, solidarity and cooperation. Romania strongly believes that democratic values and a rules-based international order, with the United Nations at its core, are fundamental to build a safer and better future. An effective and equitable multilateralism, directly benefiting our citizens, is essential," Iohannis said.
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic "also showed us that we need to find ways to build back better and greener."
"We must recommit to achieving sustainable economies, as well as resilient, fair and inclusive societies where "no one is left behind". Indeed, the special needs of the vulnerable ones should be granted particular attention. In order to be effective in achieving this aim, solidarity in action is necessary," the Romanian president noted.
Talking about post-COVID recovery, Klaus Iohannis said it should be done sustainably, and countries should work together to protect the planet and ecosystems.
"The effects of climate change have no national borders, and the responsibility to effectively address them rests on all of us," he said, adding that "working with other states and international organizations to respond to climate change" is a priority for him.
"The pandemic has also prompted us to act together to consolidate our national health systems and make them more resilient. An urgent priority is to ensure equitable and affordable global access to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. Romania reaffirms its support for the COVAX Facility, and we have contributed to the "Team Europe" approach to help various countries to tackle the impact of the pandemic. Romania fully supports the adoption of an international legal instrument for pandemic preparedness and response," Iohannis also said.
The Romanian president also talked about human rights. According to him, states must ensure that restrictions related to COVID-19 "do not exacerbate rights violations."
"Romania remains strongly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. My country promotes the imperative of combating discrimination and hate speech, including anti-Semitism. […] Romania will continue to work towards these objectives, including by pursuing a mandate to the Human Rights Council for the term 2023–2025," the president noted.
Security was another dominant theme of Klaus Iohannis' speech, also put in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Armed conflicts, ethnic divide and inequalities are still harsh realities. It is the right time to turn the COVID-19 crisis and its security impact into an opportunity to revitalize the peace and security agenda, with renewed emphasis on conflict prevention and the consolidation of peace processes," he said.
"The protracted conflicts in Romania's vicinity continue to threaten Europe's security," the president also noted, adding that Romania supports "the lasting peaceful resolution of these conflicts, through political negotiations, in the framework of their dedicated formats."
President Iohannis leads between September 21 and September 23, Romania's delegation at the 76th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly held in New York. For the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person attendance is allowed at this year's session of the UN General Assembly.
(Photo source: Presidency.ro)