Statement by H.E. Sophia Tesfamariam, Permanent Representative of the State of Eritrea to the United Nations – Eritrea Ministry Of Information

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At the Second Meeting of National Coordinators of the Group of Friends in Defense of the United Nations Charter

13 May 2024, Caracas, Venezuela

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Allow me first to congratulate the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for convening the Meeting of National Coordinators of the Group of Friends in Defense of the UN Charter and for the Political Declaration before us. I thank the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the kind hospitality provided to my delegation since our arrival in the beautiful city of Caracas. The three areas that we are discussing today, the situation in Palestine, decolonization and neocolonialism are timely issues, that warrant our attention.

Mr. Chair

For far too long, the Palestinian people have endured unimaginable suffering and hardship. Their fundamental rights have been denied, their land occupied, and their voices silenced. The ongoing occupation, illegal settlements, and blockade have perpetuated a cycle of violence and instability, undermining the prospects for a just and lasting peace in the region.

As defenders of the UN Charter, we must reaffirm our commitment to the principles of sovereignty, self-determination, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. We cannot turn a blind eye to the violations of international law and human rights that continue to occur in Palestine.

It is incumbent upon the international community to uphold its obligations and support efforts to resume meaningful negotiations based on relevant UN resolutions, international law, and the principles of fairness and equality. The establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state is not only a moral imperative but also essential for achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the region.

We must address the dire humanitarian crisis facing the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza, where the situation is dire. Access to basic necessities such as food, water, and healthcare must be ensured, and the blockade must be lifted immediately to alleviate the suffering of innocent civilians. The ongoing conflict perpetuates suffering, deepens divides, and undermines the prospects for peace and stability in the region. The Palestinian people have an inalienable right to live in freedom, dignity, and security, within their own sovereign and viable state.

We should redouble our efforts to support a negotiated settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the principles of justice, equality, and mutual respect. Only through genuine dialogue, cooperation, and respect for international law can we hope to achieve a future where both Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in peace and security. Eritrea calls for an immediate end to the war unleashed on the Palestinian civilian population and public institutions and calls for respect for the inalienable rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

Mr. Chair

We are compelled to reflect not only on the broader issue of decolonization but also on the unique experiences of nations like Eritrea.

Eritrea’s struggle for independence spanned three decades, marked by a bitter armed struggle against colonial rule and foreign domination. The Eritrean people endured immense sacrifices, demonstrating unwavering resolve and resilience in their pursuit of self-determination and liberation. Eritrea’s journey to independence serves as a poignant reminder of the inherent right of all peoples to determine their own destiny, free from external coercion or intervention. It underscores the significance of self-determination as a foundational principle enshrined in the UN Charter, a principle that must be upheld and respected by all nations.

The successful attainment of independence by Eritrea stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of a people determined to chart their own course, reclaim their identity, and build a future based on principles of sovereignty, equality, and justice. As we reflect on Eritrea’s experience, let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting the aspirations of all peoples striving for self-determination and independence. Let us stand in solidarity with those still struggling against colonialism, oppression, and foreign occupation, and work tirelessly to ensure that their voices are heard and their rights respected.

As we gather in Caracas for this crucial meeting, it is essential to delve deeper into the insidious mechanisms of neocolonialism and its pervasive tools that perpetuate oppression and inequality.

Neocolonialism operates through a myriad of strategies, often disguised as benign forms of cooperation or development assistance. Economic exploitation lies at its core, with powerful nations and corporations leveraging their influence to extract resources, control markets, and perpetuate dependency in former colonies and vulnerable regions.

One of the primary tools of neocolonialism is economic coercion, whereby powerful actors use their economic leverage to dictate terms that benefit their own interests at the expense of the sovereignty and development of others. Unfair trade agreements, debt traps, or conditional aid packages that undermine local industries and perpetuate a cycle of dependency define the international financial and governance structures

For those of us in this group who are dealing with the negative effects of unilateral coercive measures, sanctions and various Executive Orders, recognize them as instruments used to subjugate our nations and we continue to raise awareness of their negative effects. At this juncture, allow me to congratulate the Permanent Mission of Venezuela for the many events it has organized to bring visibility to this insidious issue.

Political interference is another hallmark of neocolonialism, we have all seen as powerful nations seek to manipulate the internal affairs of sovereign states to further their own geopolitical agendas.

In the face of these challenges, it is incumbent upon us to remain vigilant and proactive in countering the tools of neo-colonialism. This requires promoting economic justice, political autonomy, and cultural diversity, as well as advocating for indigenous governance structures that empower marginalized communities and safeguard their cultural and social rights.

As we discuss the insidious impacts of neocolonialism, it is imperative to shine a spotlight on its profound effects on the development trajectory of Africa. Despite achieving formal independence from colonial rule, many African nations continue to grapple with the enduring legacies of exploitation, marginalization, and dependency.

Neocolonialism in Africa manifests through various channels, each exacerbating the challenges faced by the continent in its quest for sustainable development. Economic exploitation remains a central feature, with multinational corporations and foreign investors exploiting Africa’s natural resources without commensurate benefits accruing to local communities. The extraction of minerals, oil, and other commodities often occurs under terms heavily skewed in favor of external interests, depriving African nations of the resources needed for their own development.

Moreover, neocolonial economic structures perpetuate dependency and hinder Africa’s ability to achieve economic self-sufficiency. The continent remains trapped in a cycle of debt, with loans from international financial institutions often coming with stringent conditions that prioritize repayment over investments in education, healthcare, and infrastructure. This debt burden limits the fiscal space available for governments to pursue policies that promote inclusive growth and address the needs of their populations.

The effects of neocolonialism on Africa’s development are profound and far-reaching, undermining efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and leaving millions trapped in poverty and deprivation. However, Africa is not passive in the face of these challenges. Across the continent, there are vibrant movements advocating for economic justice, political autonomy, and cultural revitalization.

As allies in the fight against neocolonialism, it is incumbent upon us to support these efforts and amplify the voices of those advocating for genuine sovereignty, dignity, and self-determination in Africa. Only through solidarity and collective action can we hope to dismantle the structures of oppression that perpetuate neocolonialism and pave the way for a future where Africa can realize its full potential on its own terms.

Eritrea’s history is marked by a long and arduous struggle for independence from colonial rule, culminating in its hard-fought liberation in 1991. However, despite achieving formal independence, Eritrea is facing persistent attempts by external actors to undermine its sovereignty and impede its development. Eritrea has faced concerted efforts at political interference, with external powers seeking to manipulate its internal affairs and shape its political landscape.

Despite these challenges, Eritrea has remained steadfast in its commitment to sovereignty, self-determination, and independence. The Eritrean people have demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity, mobilizing to defend their rights and resist external pressures. Eritrea continues to assert its agency and pursue a path of self-reliance and sustainable development. As allies in the fight against neocolonialism, it is incumbent upon us to stand in solidarity with states like Eritrea and support its peoples’ efforts to chart their own course, free from external interference

This necessitates fostering genuine solidarity among nations and peoples, based on mutual respect, reciprocity, and shared aspirations for a more equitable and just world. By standing together in defense of sovereignty, dignity, and self-determination, we can confront the scourge of neocolonialism and build a future where all nations and peoples can thrive on their own terms.

Eritrea will continue to call for an end to global inequality and injustice.

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