Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Three scores and ten years ago, last Saturday, October, 24th, the United Nations became fully operational when its Charter was ratified by the United States, United Kingdom, China, France and the Soviet Union as well as a majority of the other 46 countries which had initially signed the Charter. The International Court of Justice was also established by the Charter.
Mr Speaker, the name “United Nations” was first used by United States (US) President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Second World War when on New Year's Day in 1942, the allies who were fighting the Axis Alliance of Germany, Italy, Japan and their affiliates, decided to continue fighting together until victory was attained.
In the preamble to the Charter, the United Nations expresses its determina- tion:
i) to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war;
ii) to reaffirm faith in human rights and in the dignity of the human person;
iii) to establish conditions for justice and respect for international law and obligations; and
iv) to promote social advancement and improved living standards in freedom
Mr Speaker, the basic purposes of the United Nations as enshrined in the principles underlying the Charter may be encapsulated as;
the maintenance of peace and security;
the development of fr iendly relations among nations and the affirmation of self-determination and equal rights for all peoples;
the use of international cooperation to resolve economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems, and especially, promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, irrespective of race, sex, creed or language, and as a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining common goals.
Mr Speaker, these principles of the United Nations (UN) are what our country Ghana signed up to when we joined the UN on March 8, 1957, barely two days after attaining independence.
Ghanaian leaders have, since 1960, used the platform of the General Assembly and principles of the UN to articulate their views and Ghana's position on national, regional and international affairs.
On September 23,1960, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's First President speaking at the General Assembly condemned the colonialists and imperialists who still held colonies in a period of 20th Century enlightenment.
He made scathing remarks about Portugal's atrocious behaviour in her African colonies, France in her war against Algeria and Belgium for her intrigues in newly independent Congo.
Mr Speaker, Nkrumah admonished the UN for its role in the Congo, especially its use or misuse of Ghanaian troops under UN command and its failure to support the legitimate Government of Congo with Kasavubu as President and Patrice Lumumba as Prime Minister.
Nkrumah called for permanent seats for Africa and Asia on the Security Council and the admission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations.
President Nkrumah demanded that the UN lived up to its responsibilities in South West Africa and the Union of South Africa, stating poignantly, “possession of colonies is now quite incompatible with membership of the United Nations.”
Mr Speaker, in September 2000, 149 Heads of State and Government met in New York for the 55th Anniversary of the UN and participated in the Millennium Summit. Ghana's delegation was led by President Jerry John Rawlings. The outcome was the unanimously adopted Millennium Declaration.
The Declaration affirmed the principles of the United Nations and its Charter and established eight (8) millennium development goals, which had clearly defined objectives for extreme hunger and poverty, universal primary education, gender, child mortality, maternal health, HIV/AIDS and malaria, environmental sustainability and global partnership.