Micheline Calmy-Rey

Presentation Ceremony of New Year's Greetings - Jan. 10, 2007

Micheline Calmy-Rey
January 10, 2007
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Papal Nuncio


President of the National Council

President of the Council of States

Ladies and Gentlemen

Your Excellency the Papal Nuncio, I would like to thank you very sincerely for the good wishes and kind words that you have just spoken in your capacity as doyen of the diplomatic corps in Switzerland. On behalf of the Federal Council, I hope that the year 2007 will bring Your Excellencies and your countries and peoples peace, happiness and prosperity.

Your Excellency expressed the hope that the nations of the world would this year renew their efforts to bring about a more peaceful and a more harmonious world. We share this hope. But what can be done when millions of people are without food and tens of thousands die of hunger every day? What can be done when even the most basic needs are not satisfied and when injustice reigns? What can be done to prevent civilians dying on the battlefields of the 21st century?

When we attempt to remedy the misfortunes afflicting human beings throughout the world, we note two major points. The first is that respect for human rights, the rule of law and good governance are the pre-requisite for lasting peace and security. Today we know that systematic human rights violations and flagrant inadequacies of states are often the source of conflicts.

The second observation concerns the nature of conflicts. On the battlefields, the front lines are becoming blurred. States and non-state actors mingle, gangs, warlords, terrorists and criminals are taking command, the roles of combatants and of civilians are reversed. Military arsenals are developing exponentially. War today is waged with knives and light weapons in the shanty towns of cities, with state-of-the-art technologies in the wide-open spaces of the African continent and in minefields. War today is waged with commercial aircraft targeted against skyscrapers and with bombs in underground stations and at bus stops in large urban centres.

Traditional concepts of security were primarily intended to guarantee the security of states whose borders and institutions needed to be protected. These concepts are developing and today they focus on the security of human beings. Human security is a response to very complex conflicts which are increasingly replacing traditional wars waged by states using conventional weapons. These conflicts are new not only in terms of their actors and of the weapons used but also because of the devastation that they cause among civilian populations. Responding to them requires an adaptation of methods and new commitments.

Human security policy aims to persuade states and armed non-state actors to respect certain basic rules which apply to everyone. It means compliance with the Geneva Conventions, mine clearance, democratic control of armed forces, police training and the integration of police in the community. On top of this, to achieve results we need alliances based on a community of interests and of values, in which differences are accepted and flexibility is made possible. The recent past has demonstrated that the International Criminal Court, the Human Rights Council, the Convention on anti-personnel mines are all the result of grand coalitions of states consisting of countries from all the regions of the world.

These states have transcended religious and cultural frontiers in order to stress the basic norms of the co-existence of humankind. Much still remains to be done. Injustice, hunger, violations of human rights, suicide attacks and crimes against humanity will also be the political problems of tomorrow. The best way pf combating these evils is a commitment by everyone to a minimum set of universal values and to a minimum of humanity. At the national, regional and global levels, today we need institutions that are capable of contributing effectively to the solution of these problems. And we need a multilateral system that works more coherently and efficiently.

All who deal with global challenges know for certain one thing: we as representatives of states will not be able to solve these problems unless we can rapidly build up partnerships with the worlds of business and science and with society as a whole. We have different tasks but the same goals, and we need to act jointly in areas where problems are too big for us to solve alone.

I very much hope that we can all strengthen the culture of implementation. We have made progress in the conception and the normative regulation of globalization and in overcoming its negative consequences. We now need to direct our energies to the implementation of what has been agreed in order to make a real difference. To make the world a better place. To achieve the Millennium Development Goals, to respect human rights, to protect nature better and avoid conflicts.

In this spirit, I would like on behalf of the Federal Council to extend to you once again my best wishes for 2007. May the new year bring you success and happiness in the accomplishment of your high mission.