Dear President, dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen!
As a starting point I would like to recall that when I spoke at the 125th Assembly of the IPU in 2011, Estonia presented the idea of a global civic led movement aimed to clean up the whole world from illegally dumped solid waste and to then keep our planet clean. I am proud to announce that the movement Let´s Do It! Has been successful.
Today, three years later, 112 countries have joined the World Cleanup Campaign, and more than 10 million people have participated in clean-up events. It deserves special mentioning that the beginning of May, tens of thousands of volunteers from 15 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, which means – from three continents, gathered to participate in simultaneous clean-up events became the most widespread civis-led event ever organized in this region.
Let´s Do It! Campaign is exemplary worldwide grassroots movement aiming to engage 5 percent of the population of the world by the year 2018 to participate in cleanup actions in order to move towards a waste-free, healthy and sustainable future.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Unfortunately, and instead of such positive developments making the world better and more sustainable place to live we again have to discuss the growing threats to global peace, security and human rights. These dangers threaten not only our living environment but the lives of people, including the most vulnerable social group of women and children.
Continuous military hostilities in Ukraine, brutal killings by the extremist ISIL forces, violence in the Central African Republic cause extreme concern. For my country and for me, as an Estonian, the most most threatening crisis are the events in Ukraine. The whole world has witnessed the cynical geopolitics of Russia, a nuclear state, who has infringed the UN Charter, the OSCE Helsinki Final Act and the Budapest Memorandum of 1994.
Russia has not only violated Ukraine´s sovereignty and territorial integrity by the acts of aggression of its armed forces. The year 2014 has turned out to be a year when whole international order based on UN Charter has been put in doubt. To annex Crimea, an illegal referendum has been conducted in the presence and with help of the military forces led by Russia. In a democratic state it is not possible to speak about the people´s expression of the free will when armed foreign soldiers are present in polling stations. Another reason for great concern is that after the occupation of Crimea the situation of Crimean Tartars, a national minority living there, has considerably worsened.
After Crimea, the military activities expanded to East Ukraine where so-called separatists are mostly illegal mercenaries or regular forces from Russia. Allow me also to recall, that those were the Russian supported fighters who shot down the Malaysian airline MH17 that departed from the Netherlands, and which resulted in the death of 298 innocent people.
Military activities in East Ukraine have led to numerous human victims, and nearly half a million people, most of them women and children, have escaped from their homes and need help. The approaching cold winter aggravates the problem even more.
The surest way to ensure peace in East Ukraine is to end Russia’s interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine. Then Ukraine will be able to move on by itself, led by the parliament and government elected by its own people, and build up its state, increase the welfare of the people and make its life better.
It might have been a lengthy description of a single crisis. But it also serves as a special example of violence against women and children. As it was the positive case with the Let´s Do It! Campaign, it remains the task for us all, including parliamentarians, to increase people´s knowledge about such harsh events happening daily, and in the same way to mobilize the people to tackle these challenges.
I really hope that through our common efforts we will be able to move towards a better future where decisions are made in a democratic way. I hope that in a year the threats to peace and security have decreased and we can speak in more detail about the World Cleanup Campaign that started in Estonia. And I hope that next year we will be able to declare our success in achieving Millennium Developments Goals tackling the social inequalities and violence towards women and children. Finally, let me assure you that Estonia is and remains a firm contributor to reach these goals.
The Press Service
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