Statement by H.S.H. Hereditary Prince Albert during the General Debate of the 59th Session of the General Assembly

23 septembre 2004

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Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I congratulate you, Mister President, for your brilliant election to the Presidency of this 59th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, an election that offers Africa its tenth Presidency.

The international community thereby testifies to the Gabonese Republic the recognition it deserves and the French-speaking countries are delighted to see one of them lead our debates. Be assured that the Delegation of Monaco that I preside will support you without reservation in your noble mission at the service of peace and development.

The process of indispensable reforms to improve the functioning of our Organization is ongoing. In this consideration, I wish to congratulate President Julian Hunte for his work during the 58th Session of the General Assembly; his perseverance has allowed for the adoption of new steps to revitalize the methods of work of the General Assembly. While we praise these progresses, we need to pursue our endeavor.

The attachment to democracy and to the rule of law, the complete trust we place in the values of multilateralism, and the respect of our differences allow us to move forward with harmony and constantly adapt our Organisation in the face of the challenges of our time. We must give our Organization the means to better respond to the expectations of the Peoples of the world.

To fulfill this purpose, the Principality supports the initiatives that aim at improving its methods of work and, in particular, those concerning the reform of the Security Council. Its enlargement, be it of permanent or non-permanent seats, should strengthen its ability to contribute to the essential tasks of peace-keeping by asserting a more equitable representation of the diverse regions that compose our international community.

Mr. President,

The 15th International Conference on HIV/AIDS held in Thailand has once again pointed out the devastating effects of this terrible pandemy as well as its dreadful social implications. However, the Conference also demonstrated that when international organizations, governments and the civil society come to work together, we fight more efficiently.

In this fight, the role of women is crucial. In my country, Her Serene Highness Princess Stephanie, My Sister, presides over the Association "Fight AIDS Monaco" that provides moral and material support to AIDS patients and their families and promotes information and prevention programs.

As for Me, I have expressed the wish that all the students of the Principality participate in the celebration of the World Day for children orphaned by AIDS, to show solidarity towards these vulnerable children whose number could reach 100 million by 2010.

Once again this year, My Country contributes to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, that was created at the end of the first ever Special Session of the General Assembly to be dedicated to a disease.

We also contribute, on a regular basis, to UNAIDS activities since its creation and I am pleased to announce that the Principality has decided to strengthen its financial cooperation with the Program. The creation within UNAIDS of the Program Acceleration Fund will hopefully address the specific needs defined by the recipient countries themselves.

For we are convinced that States need, on the one hand, to strengthen their ability to provide basic social services and adequate sanitation facilities and on the other, to continue their campaigns of sensitzi ation and information.

Mr. President,

Upon the initiative of His Serene Highness the Sovereign Prince, My Father, the Principality of Monaco has always expressed its solidarity with the most underprivileged populations of this world. It shares the concerns of world leaders on the threat poverty exert on international security.

We will therefore examine closely the elaboration of a new global partnership oriented towards the eradication of hunger and poverty, economic development and social justice in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Monterrey Consensus.

Unfortunately, terrorism has now become a day-to-day reality as we witnessed, among others, the tragedy in Beslan that revolted our consciences. Our determination to combat it must remain without breach.

We therefore welcome the creation of an Executive Direction of the Committee against terrorism. In that field, international cooperation is essential to insure efficiency: no State, whatever its size might be, must be a weak link to undermine the efforts we undertook together.

Thus, the Principality intends to play its role in the fight our Organisation leads against terrorism: Monaco has become a Party to all twelve Conventions that curtail international terrorism and taken appropriate actions in its domestic laws.

The number of refugees or internally displaced persons grows continually and the unbearable suffering of those populations cannot limit itself to shocking our conscience.

In every complex emergency situation, civilians and among them the most vulnerable are always the targets of the worst acts of violence. The foreseen humanitarian catastrophe that continues to take place under our eyes in the Darfour region underlines once more the limitation in our capacity to enforce human rights and humanitarian international law.

Responding to the appeal made in 2002 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees during the Special Session on children, the Government of the Principality of Monaco decided to allocate more specifically its annual funding for the UNHCR in the field of primary education for refugee children.

We wish to offer those children, whose world has been brutally shaken, temporary relief from a day-to-day life of promiscuity, harsh conditions and the stress of never finding their homes again, by somehow providing them with a substitute for their traditional schooling.

Mr President,

The protection of the rights of the child is of the utmost importance for us. To achieve "a world fit for children" in conformity with the commitments adopted during the Special Session in May 2002, the World Association of Children's Friends (World AMADE) chaired by My Sister, Her Royal Highness the Princess of Hanover, held in April 2003, a Round Table dedicated to that topic.

It is clear with each and every day that we need to strengthen and ensure a more efficient application of international law to protect the Rights of the Child. Consequently, aren't we bound to answer to those abominable crimes in an exceptionally strong manner?

Shouldn't we prosecute without any statute of limitation of time and place the most serious violations of these rights. The Principality of Monaco invites you to consider the adoption of a legal instrument that will eventually put an end to the impunity that prevails regarding the recruitment of child soldiers, the sexual exploitation of children and the despicable trade, to mention the most shocking of those crimes. The open debate of the Security Council that took place last June only confirmed that this consideration comes at an opportune time.

Let's reinforce prevention by putting no limitation on the crimes to be prosecuted and therefore honour the memory of victims. Let's we extraterritoriality to fight transnational organized crime that defies the States legal order.

I am all too aware of the numerous and difficult legal implications that arise from this fundamentally ethical proposal for the defence of the rights of the child in today's international law. However, aren't we obliged to take action when international law does not respond anymore to the challenges of our time at a moment where the international community is evidently standing together when it comes to banish these revolting practices.

Mr President,

Let's be courageous and ambitious in the fight for the noblest cause that is the defence of innocence. Let's act to answer Albert Einstein's plea: "as long as there will be unhappy children, the word progress is meaningless".

I thank you for your attention.