United Nations Day, on 24 October, marks the anniversary of the day in 1945 when the UN Charter entered into force. Throughout its 76 years, there have been some memorable speeches at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). We have listed out three of the most memorable ones below. The world is waking up to climate change slowly. And perphaps the one to bring the issue to the forefront was teen climate activist Greta Thunberg. In 2019, Thunberg's fiery speech accusing the world leaders of inaction to tackle climate change is perhaps etched in the memory of all.
"My message is that we'll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare youYou have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you! For more than 30 years, science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you're doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight," she said.
Her speech though had been mocked by former US President Donald Trump. In a tweet, Trump said, "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"
'Homosexuality Is Not A Choice'
The next on the list is Luxemborg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who is an openly gay leader. In 2019, he told the United Nations that as an openly gay politician he could not accept hate speech and everyone had a duty to challenge it. Advocates said to be the first speech at the UN by an openly gay world leader on LGBT+ rights, Bettel called on world leaders to stop freedom of expression from leading to harm.
"In 2020, we will mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing conference, which set up the Commission on the Status of Women, the CSW. I'm asking myself whether in today's world we'd be able to re-sign that convention…particularly when listen to the words coming from some quarters with regards to the rights of women. You can make the same charge about the rights of people to freely live out the expression of their sexual orientation. The day before yesterday here in New York I headlined a debate about hate speech targeting LGBTI people. As we are all aware, or we ought to be aware, homosexuality is not a choice. Let it be accepted that this is how people are. What is a choice is homophobia, and we should not tolerate it," he said.
'Our Vision Is Not Health For Some'
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reminded leaders gathered at the summit on Universal Health Coverage that, through the Sustainable Development Goals, they all signed up to provide affordable health care for everyone, everywhere.
"Ultimately health is a political choice. A choice that you have the power to make. WHO is committed to supporting every country's transition to a health system based on strong primary health care…a world in which health is not a cost but an investment, a world in which health propels sustainable development, a world in which all of us enjoy the health we deserve. Our vision is not health for some. It's not health for most. It's health for all. Poor and rich. Able and disabled. Old and young. Urban and rural. Citizen and refugee. Everyone everywhere. Because health is an end in itself, because it's a fundamental right and also a means to prosperity," he said.
Sadly, the COVID pandemic has shown that access to healthcare around the world is not equal.
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