“75 Years from the End of the Second World War on European Soil. Lessons Learned for Preventing Future Atrocities, Responsibility of the Security Council.”
Statement by H.E. Stef Blok
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
NEW YORK, 8 May 2020
Thank you for bringing us together and initiating this debate in this time of crisis.
In several ways, this special meeting comes at a pivotal moment.
75 years ago, a collective and costly effort of allied powers and national armies brought about the end of a devastating war. For some countries this meant a regained freedom, supported by Marshall Aid, NATO and European institutions. For other countries it ushered in a new era of repression and a lack of freedom. And we have to acknowledge that the preservation of states’ territorial integrity that undergirds the post-World War order is still under threat in a region of Europe.
This year we also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
The UN has helped to build and maintain peace, freedom and prosperity for many people worldwide.
Exactly 75 years later, we find ourselves in a time of major geopolitical divergence and social and economic uncertainty.
And yes, we find ourselves in the midst of a terrible global health crisis.
So as we celebrate historic milestones of the past, this year, too, will prove to be a historic one.
Because the current crisis can only be overcome if we reinvigorate our shared determination and reinvent international dialogue and cooperation.
Indeed, the COVID-19 crisis has put our post-war rules-based system of multilateral cooperation under even greater pressure. Still, it is this system, set up in 1945, that can best help us deal with the current crisis – by pooling our efforts and fighting the crisis together, through collective action, and by accelerating valuable work in many other fields. I’m confident that this current crisis can serve as a new impetus for that agenda. The world is looking to this Council to take decisive action.
For example, Mr President, in your concept note you stress the need to prevent future atrocities.
The present crisis should indeed add momentum to initiatives urging the Security Council to live up to that responsibility. In this light, we support the appeal by UN Secretary-General António Guterres for an immediate global ceasefire.
If only because it makes sense to use all our energy to deal with the crisis together, instead of fighting each other.
In his speech earlier this year, the Secretary-General referred to the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
One of these looming threats to future progress concerns cybersecurity.
While we should push forward with digitalisation, because it can drive development and peace, we must also fight the dark side of the digital world. Human rights must be protected both online and off.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands remains committed to the international rule of law in the digital domain.
We also support the Secretary-General’s initiatives to improve the UN system. More than ever, the UN needs to demonstrate its value. We need to show our worth, and not only in tackling the current crisis. How we deal with COVID-19 will determine the future of multilateralism.
Today, therefore, is a special day. The milestones we are celebrating today should be seen as stepping stones to a brighter future.
Let us work towards the future we want, and the UN we need.
Thank you, Mr President.