President Zapatero’s speech to United Nations

Zapatero asks for universal moratorium on death penalty by 2015 in speech to UN

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly last night the Spanish president, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, asked for a universal moratorium on the death penalty by 2015 and urged those countries that still apply it to reflect on the meaning of this punishment.

Zapatero made this proposal to the international community in a speech which focussed mainly on the international financial crisis and the need for rich countries to meet their obligations and not use current economic problems as an excuse not to fulfil the Objectives of the Millennium Development Plan to reduce extreme poverty by half by 2015.

With the aim of reaffirming the declaration on human Rights Zapatero argued for the approval this year of a universal moratorium on the death penalty as the first step towards its abolition.

The Spanish president also dedicated a large part of his address to the UN to demanding a new international financial order and to questioning the existence of economic spaces immune to regulation and public supervision.

He warned that the current crisis could affect the Objectives of the Millennium Development Plan and that poor countries could suffer ever more due to the malpractices of the rich.

He demanded the need to create institutions that control and supervise global markets and made a commitment to promote an agreement at an international level regarding rules of supervision and transparency and supported the idea of the creation of an early warning system for national financial institutions.

In his speech Zapatero emphasised the need not to become complacent when analysing the steps needed to in order to achieve the Objectives of the Millennium Development Plan. He warned that ‘we have not advanced as much as we should have’.

He also reminding the UN that misery and hunger were often the sources of conflicts and migratory pressure difficult to control. He also said that the eradication of poverty might appear to be a utopian idea but that this should not be the case.

Zapatero reminded the UN of the efforts made by Spain in the fight against world poverty. Over recent years Spain has become the country which has increased its official development fund more than any other over the last four years and it remains firmly committed to reaching the goal of dedicating 0.7% of its GDP to international development funds by 2012.

Finally Zapatero showed his support for the UN saying that the world needed the UN for sustainable development, permanent political dialogue, to stop countries returning to ‘new cold wars’ and to eradicate extreme poverty.