Polish president to UN: Breaking int’l law must have consequences
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has warned the international community against being passive and submissive towards aggressor states, in a speech at the United Nations that focused on peace, environmental protection and welfare.
Duda addressed the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
He appealed for “the promotion of peace through law, care for the natural environment through shared responsibility, and engagement for welfare policy through sustainable development.”
Making a reference to the recent 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, Duda said that “despite that terrible lesson, today, in the 21st century, there are still acts of incomprehensible barbarity perpetrated all over the world: ethnic cleansing, mass murders and even genocide.”
Moreover, he said, “there are also attempts aimed at” violating the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and borders are moved by force … there is also the temptation today to ‘buy time’ for peace through passiveness and submission, and sometimes even parleying with aggressors in the name of one’s own interests.”
Duda cautioned nations to not prioritise their own economic interests over a willingness to punish violations of international law.
The president said: “Poland, so gravely affected as it was in the previous century, has a moral duty to speak out very clearly on this matter, and we are doing so. In the name of peace and freedom, which is so dear to us.”
‘State borders must not be changed by force’
Duda told his UN audience that Poland “has been and will continue to be a champion of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine and Georgia.
“State borders must not be changed by force,” he stated.
The Polish president also said that, in its role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, his country has fought for the respect of international law around the world, for the protection of children’s rights and assistance to people with disabilities in areas affected by armed conflicts.
‘Surge of violence and religious hatred’
Duda appealed for increased activity of international organisations to ensure full respect of the rights of religious minorities.
He added that Poland was “concerned about the surge of violence and religious hatred,” adding that his country was “particularly painfully aware of the spreading violence against Christians.”
Duda also spoke about environmental protection. He mentioned the COP24 climate summit held in Poland’s Katowice last year and the new “rulebook” for fighting global warming that was adopted there.
He outlined efforts undertaken by Poland to counteract climate change, such as a programme for reducing emissions from transport and households, alongside afforestation and the adaptation of cities to climate change.
He said: “Environmental policy must be understood as a social policy and cannot be instrumentalized in order to gain economic advantages derived from different energy mixes of individual economies or reserves of natural resources at hand.”
Polish Radio SA