Third Committee - Statement by Iceland
The Permanent Mission of Iceland
to the United Nations
Mr. Nikulás Hannigan, Minister
Deputy Permanent Representative
GA70 / Item 70 – Racism; Self-determination
3 November 2015
The Permanent Mission of Iceland to the United Nations
800 Third Ave. 36th fl. - Tel 212-593-2700. - Fax 212-593-6269
Let me first turn to the issue of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance before discussing the right to self-determination.
Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia or related intolerance are human rights issues that concern all of us and must be fought with conviction and commitment at the global, regional and national level. In this regard it is essential to work towards the universal adherence and full implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and we urge all States, who have not yet done so, to become parties to the Convention.
The massive movement of people in flight from conflict or extreme want makes the fight against racism all the more urgent. We continue to see an increase of hate speech across the world. We see a rise in hate speech in the political discourse, the media and online. Here I am thinking particularly of our own continent, Europe.
If we are to continue to build strong resilient societies in Europe, if we are to avoid the debilitating divisiveness that racism creates, it is vital that racism and related intolerance are combatted energetically and in every sphere of life.
Our education systems must be proactive in teaching tolerance and respect for other racial groups. The world of sport carries a special responsibility in ensuring that expressions of racism are not tolerated and that positive role models are put to the fore. And the media as a whole must ensure that they are not manipulated by those who thrive on instigating hate of other racial groups. Politicians also carry a heavy burden of responsibility in how they address this issue. And in this age of social media, when each of us is potentially a broadcaster with his or her own audience, we as individuals must ensure that we contribute to a discourse which is free of racial prejudice and encourages tolerance and respect.
Turning to the issue of self-determination, Iceland has, in light of its history, been a long standing supporter of the right of peoples to self-determination. This right is enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and affirmed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.
Accordingly, Iceland reiterates its continued support for the realization of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the application of the State of Palestine for full membership to the United Nations.
Iceland equally supports all efforts undertaken under the auspices of the Secretary-General with a view to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution on Western Sahara, which is long overdue.
Thank you Mr./Madame Chair