Effectual Diplomacy Needed 'More than Ever,' says PM Christie
"We must not allow the moral compass of the international community to be polarized by political and ideological differences at the peril of human life," Prime Minister Christie said, during the Diplomatic Week 2015 Luncheon, held at Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, October 23, 2015.
Among those in attendance were Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Philip "Brave" Davis, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell, Bahamian and international diplomats, and various stakeholders.
"The Bahamas, a peace-loving nation, is committed to upholding good governance and the rule of law," Prime Minister Christie added. "We are ever mindful that one of the responsibilities of Government is to protect those within its borders from oppression and violations of human rights."
Prime Minister Christie said that for the theme of Diplomatic Week 2015, the Government had chosen “Diplomacy And The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Positioning For The Future (Toward New Approaches, Tools And Methods For Implementing New Goals).”
"With the recent adoption of the '2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' by world leaders in September of this year in New York, we thought that it was especially important to consider how our foreign policy and diplomatic efforts could assist us in successfully accomplishing the agenda," he noted.
Prime Minister Christie added that when he addressed the United Nations Summit on September 25, 2015, he stressed that it was the hope of the People of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas that they would be agreeing to a new agenda that was "people-centred, planet-sensitive and inclusive in approach to its development," grounded in the common values and principles we espouse as the United Nations.
The Bahamas’ vision of the post-2015 development agenda was always one that was both inclusive and transformative, with the well-being of people at its core, Prime Minister Christie pointed out.
"Having now been adopted, the agenda is no longer a vision, but a reality," he said. "The Bahamas anticipates that the agenda will usher in a new era of development at the national and international levels. For this to happen, however, we must ensure that our approach to its implementation is bold, yet balanced and cohesive while upholding the values we want to protect, preserve and defend."
Prime Minister Christie said that the work in this regard will be necessarily influenced by a dynamic political, social, environmental and economic background that is ever-evolving and giving rise to significant global developments.
"Conflict and violence continue to devastate the safety and well-being of civilian populations and to threaten development gains and prospects, wherever they occur," he said.
Prime Minister Christie stated that, as a sign of its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas has offered itself for membership on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the period 2016-2018, the elections for which will take place next week in New York.
"The Bahamas, a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), has never served as a member of the Human Rights Council (HRC) and is seeking election as a demonstration of its unwavering commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all," he said. "The Bahamas believes that the fundamental rights and freedoms of all people must be protected and that small states ought to have a voice in ensuring such protection."
The Bahamas, Prime Minister Christie continued, is the first Member-State of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the first English-speaking country in the Latin American and Caribbean region to seek election to the HRC.
"The Bahamas’ election to the Council would provide a unique opportunity to bring a balance in the promotion and consideration of global human rights issues, from the perspective of a small state," he said. "The Bahamas firmly believes in the need to ensure inclusiveness and participation for all Member-States in the work of the Human Rights Council."
The Bahamas has a keen interest in the work of the HRC and desires to deepen its contribution to the advancement of human rights principles and values at the international level with special focus on, among other things, issues related to women, children, persons with disabilities, migration, health and sustainable development, he added.
Prime Minister Christie noted that The Bahamas’ long-term mission in seeking election to the HRC is to ensure that, in the exercise of foreign policy, human rights issues are central to the global discourse and are mainstreamed throughout the work of the United Nations system.
"Excellencies, we hope that we can count on the invaluable support of your Governments as we seek to realise this objective," he said to the audience of local and international diplomats.
Prime Minister Christie also called on their support of The Bahamas in its bid for re-election to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
"Our way of life is defined by the sea and our archipelago is dependent upon maritime transport of goods and people for our economic, social and cultural life," Prime Minister Christie said. "Membership on the IMO Council is therefore one of our foreign policy priorities, and we trust that our record of service on the Council to date would auger well for us in next month’s elections in London.”