The representative of Rwanda this morning appealed to the international community to show solidarity and to do everything possible to help re-create life in his country on a normal and durable basis. The Government had made the return of refugees a top priority and to make a break from past segregationist policies, he said. Great progress had been made in establishing a semblance of normality, but the process of repatriation, reconciliation and reconstruction was held back by insecurity and intimidation in certain refugee camps.
Rwanda was one of 15 speakers heard this morning as the General Assembly held a far-ranging debate on strengthening the coordination of United Nations humanitarian and disaster relief, including special economic assistance, and the participation of volunteers.
The representative of Bangladesh stressed the need to address the underlying causes of humanitarian emergencies, cautioning that a failure to do so would cause certain countries to experience what he termed a relief dependency syndrome. Disaster-prone countries needed the resources to strengthen their prevention and mitigation capacities, he said.
The representative of Belarus told the Assembly that approximately one- quarter of his country’s national income was spent on mitigating the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster. People’s health anxieties were impeding the progress of economic reforms, he said. The safety of existing nuclear reactors and the prevention of the distant effects of radiation on ecosystems and people were also concerns.
The representative of United States strongly urged that White Helmet activities be coordinated through the United Nations volunteers. He was pleased that the draft resolution before the Assembly on the subject pointed to the operational role of the volunteers in the selection, training, deployment and effective utilization of the White Helmets.
The representative of Pakistan said that in humanitarian crises stemming from man-made conflicts, the victims, who were primarily civilians, were often being subjected to horrendous human rights violations. That was evident in Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Iran, Cameroon, Uganda, Liberia, Republic of Korea, Japan, India, China, Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the CARICOM countries, and Yemen.
Also this morning Djibouti introduced a draft resolution by which the Assembly would express its solidarity with the Government and people of Djibouti in the face of devastating natural disasters and the new economic realities resulting from the continuing critical situation in the Horn of Africa, especially in Somalia. The Secretary-General would be requested to continue his efforts to mobilize financial, technical and material assistance to Djibouti.
The Assembly will meet again this afternoon to continue its consideration of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance and to consider the report of the Security Council.
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