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Public Papers - 1991

Proclamation 6362 -- United Nations Day, 1991

1991-10-21

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

As its Charter states, the United Nations was envisioned ``to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war . . . to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights . . . in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.'' Today the United Nations has an opportunity unparalleled in its 46-year history to fulfill the promise of its Charter.

In the past year, the United Nations has played a dramatic role in repelling aggression and vindicating the right of all states to live in peace. Indeed, it has proved that it can be an effective vehicle for promoting international cooperation and security. During the crisis in the Gulf, the U.N. condemned Iraqi aggression and took necessary and proportional steps to ensure peace and security in the region. It has also demonstrated exemplary compassion in addressing the human tragedy wrought by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the ensuing armed conflict, and subsequent Iraqi actions against its own citizens.

Today we know that, with the building of consensus and cooperation among its members, the United Nations can meet serious and sudden challenges to international peace. However, universal respect for human rights, as well as the long-term social and economic development of nations, are Charter aims that go hand in hand with the larger goal of lasting world peace. Thus the United Nations and its specialized agencies must continue working to overcome repression, poverty, illiteracy, and other persistent barriers to human freedom and progress.

Many people are aware of the United Nations' role in peacekeeping and in coordinating international humanitarian relief efforts. However, the United Nations is also playing an increasingly visible and important role in the fight against illicit drug use and drug trafficking. In 1987, the Secretary General convened a global conference on these subjects. One year later, the United States and other countries joined in negotiating the U.N. Convention Against Illicit Drug Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. We have urged all signatories to ratify this treaty.

The United States will also continue to support global environmental protection efforts through the United Nations. Established in 1972, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has an important role to play as humankind strives to reconcile legitimate needs for economic development with the need to preserve our planet's fragile ecosystem. During the past two decades, UNEP has been collecting widely sought information on the most effective means of conducting environmental impact assessments. As we prepare for the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development, UNEP should continue to serve as a central forum for the study and development of related policies and programs.

By facilitating international cooperation on issues ranging from the environment and drug interdiction to war and peace, human rights, development, and humanitarian concerns, the United Nations and its specialized agencies are helping to shape the world of tomorrow. The United States is pleased to note that seven new members have recently joined the United Nations, and we look forward to continuing progress in the year ahead.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 24, 1991, as United Nations Day. I invite all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.

George Bush

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:49 a.m., October 22, 1991]

Note: This proclamation was published in the Federal Register on October 23.

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