23 September 2008
CHRISTINA FERNÁNDEZ DE KIRCHNER, President of Argentina, as the first woman elected President to her country, spoke first on Argentina’s policy of unrestricted respect for human rights. She urged that the Treaty on the Forced Disappearance of Persons be ratified by all nations that had signed it. Only three nations had joined Argentina thus far — Albania, Mexico and Honduras -– and it was indispensable that all firmly committed to ensuring the inviolability of persons.
She described Argentina’s work in the identification of disappeared persons, which promoted the establishment of “gene banks”, an idea first put forward by the Grandmothers of Placa de Mayo, who were in the Hall here today. They were witness to how, in the midst of adversity, including terrorism, it was possible to overcome death, and to fight for life. The task of identifying victims of Balkan wars and the 11 September 2001 attacks was also important, she added.
On fighting impunity, she described two bombings in her country between 1992 and 1994: one at the Israeli embassy and the other at the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) Centre, saying that last year, Argentina had asked INTERPOL for the ratification of the arrest warrants of the Iranian citizens accused of the Centre bombing. Those warrants had been issued. Today, she asked Iran, in compliance with international law, to accept Argentinian justice, which could bring forth transparent trials.
Continuing, she called for reform of multilateral organizations, including for the United Nations and international financial organizations. It was necessary to recreate the “lost multilateralism” that had given way to a far more insecure world. The United Nations must be “reformulated”, and bring results to its activities. Argentina had shown that it was possible to create multilateralism above regional differences, she said, explaining that it had participated in a multilateral exercise in which Heads of State were able to develop a resolution to help Bolivia. Indeed, the exercise of multilateralism was not just a speech for today; it was a concrete policy that was showing results in “emerging regions”.
On the global financial situation, she said the world today could no longer speak of the “rice effect”, which showed that the crisis came from emerging countries and continued to the centre. If a name was to be given, States could call it the “jazz effect”, meaning that it emanated from the first economy of the world to the rest. It was a historic opportunity to review behaviour and policies. South America had heard, during the era of the Washington Consensus, that the market would solve everything. However, the present intervention was the largest in memory, made by a State with an incredible trade and fiscal deficit.
Since 2003, Argentina had reduced its debt from 160 per cent to 50 per cent of GDP, having also repaid debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Further, it had received a proposal from three banks representing bondholders that had not joined its 2005 bond exchange. She believed Argentina’s strategy had been correct, and it was important to review what was happening today. Emerging countries did not have the possibility of bringing in credit agencies to tell them what to do.
She called for a twenty-first century without colonial enclaves, noting the Malvinas Islands, where, despite General Assembly resolutions, one party had refused to undertake discussion with Argentina on the matter. In the Security Council, one nation, in defending freedom and democracy, should prove that such ideas were not just part of a speech, and help end the shame around that colonial enclave. Argentina requested cooperation to urge the United Kingdom to comply with international law.