Estonian UN ambassador: WWII 70th anniversary must remind us of our commitment to refrain from use of force against territorial integrity of any state
Remarks by Margus Kolga, Permanent Representative of Estonia to UN, on behalf of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at the Meeting of the General Assembly in commemoration of all victims of the Second World War.
I have the honour to speak on behalf of Latvia, Lithuania and my own country Estonia. We fully align ourselves with the statement delivered by the European Union.
Today´s meeting is about remembering the innocent victims and loss of lives in World War II but also about the basic values that led to the creation of the United Nations. Recalling the past we unfortunately have to admit that the personal, psychological, demographic, economic and political implications of World War II are felt to this day.
We also remain very conscious of the fact that it is not just the two world wars that have brought untold sorrow to humankind over the last hundred years. Regrettably, our efforts for peace have failed too often and many current crises and conflicts remain unresolved.
This anniversary must remind us of our commitment to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or sovereignty of any state. Also, it should lead us to redouble our efforts to settle disputes by peaceful means. We are deeply committed to the core principles outlined in the United Nation´s Charter and we firmly believe that there is no place for the use of force and coercion to change internationally recognised borders. The United Nations was created to put an end to the world where might makes right. We, every one of us, should ensure that the dark days of war and injustice, which followed, will never ever prevail again.
While commemorating sincerely all the victims of World War II and paying solemn tribute to all the women and men from all around the globe who fought for liberty and peace, we know that the war left Europe deeply divided for more than four decades. While we commemorate the ending of the world war atrocities, we must also remember that for many European countries – including our three countries – the end of World War II did not bring freedom but more oppression and injustice, more crimes against humanity.
The Baltic states could not be among the founders of the United Nations as they had been occupied first by Soviet, then by Nazi, and then again by Soviet troops. For the men of the Baltic States, World War II was particularly poignant because they were forcibly recruited into armed forces on both sides of the battlefront.
At the time of the creation of the United Nations Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were illegally annexed to the Soviet Union and could liberate themselves only decades later. This is our story, this cannot be denied, this cannot be downplayed to irrelevance, and it definitely cannot be called “rewriting of history,” as some are trying to do.
Therefore, while commemorating the victims of this war, we also pay our tribute to thousands of our compatriots, who sacrificed their lives in the fight for our independence after the World War officially ended in Europe. Our thoughts are also with all the victims of Nazi and Soviet occupation regimes who were deported to and condemned to die far from their homes.
Remembering that the United Nations was created to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, 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 – we should be inspired by all this and redouble our efforts for peace and understanding in the world.