President Hage Geingob yesterday hailed the United Nations' (UN) role in the attainment of Namibia's independence, saying the organisation has become the guarantor of human dignity for millions of people across the world. In his virtual message on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the UN, Geingob said the fact that for 75 years the world has averted a Third World War is testament to the "success of this great human experiment in multilateralism".
"We recognise the pivotal role this distinguished organisation has played to promote and sustain world peace, and in the decolonisation of Africa. As Namibians, we can attest to this fact, given our own history," Geingob said. He said in 1960, Ethiopia and Liberia instituted proceedings against apartheid South Africa at the International Court of Justice regarding the interpretation and application of the country's mandate over Namibia, then South West Africa. "On 18 July 1966, the International Court of Justice dismissed the case due to a technicality. Based on that technicality, the ICJ did not deal with the merits of the case and failed to rule on the legality of Apartheid South Africa's occupation of Namibia," he added.
However, he said, in the same year, the UN general assembly passed resolution 2145, declaring the mandate terminated and that South Africa had no further right to administer Namibia.
Therefore, Geingob said, the UN assumed direct responsibility for Namibia. "Thus, we are grateful that the UN was able to accompany us to independence and it was a proud day when, on 21 March 1990, we received the instruments of power from secretary general Javier Pérez de Cuéllar to commence a new chapter in Namibia's history," Geingob said.
Geingob says not only did the UN contribute to the establishment of democracy in a free and independent Namibia but it also laid a cornerstone for the country's democracy by establishing the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN), where he had the privilege to be a director for 12 years. He said the institute helped train young Namibians to equip them with the requisite expertise and knowledge to become leaders and administrators in an independent Namibia.
To date, Geingob said Namibia continues to reap the benefit from this extraordinary organization, whose alumni includes the country's chief justice Peter Shivute and his deputy Petrus Damaseb, amongst other key figures in the political, public and commercial spheres.
Geingob says, indeed, the commemoration of this 75th Anniversary is a great day for Namibia, given the illustrious history of the UN and the realities of the modern-day world. "It is unacceptable that Africa remains excluded from the UN Security Council. It is time that the UN Security Council's representation reflects the current global geopolitical formations and security threats," he said. In this regard, Geingob said Africa is a capable partner; therefore, Africa should occupy her rightful position at the UN in the interest of global peace and stability.
"The UN has always championed equality and, therefore, Africa cannot continue to be sidelined," Geingob said. "Let us make this anniversary an ideal moment for us to engage in collective introspection and to take this organisation to the next level. Let us embrace multilateralism in order to augment the values and ideals upon which the UN was founded," he said.