‘Refugees have repaid the hospitality of my country thousands of times over’: Clark lauds NZ in strong UN pitch
12:15amShare Sources:One News| NZN
Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark has dominated today’s UN leadership candidates debate, outlining a clear vision on what her tenure as Secetary General could like.
Ms Clark addressed several topics, including immigration and international security, during her pitch for the United Nations’ top job this afternoon.
Helen Clark: ‘The refugees in my country have repaid hospitality to NZ a thousand times’
01:40 Helen Clark was asked about migration and the response from countries where refugees were arriving. Helen Clark was asked about migration and the response from countries where refugees were arriving.
Source: Al Jazeera
Ten of the 12 candidates in the running to be the next UN secretary-general took part in a “global town hall” debate, which was broadcast by Al Jazeera live on TV and online.
It’s the first time those vying for the UN’s top job have taken part in such an event, with the appointment process usually happening behind closed doors.
In her opening statement, Miss Clark said the UN was falling short when it comes to maintaining peace and security.
She’s still got it: Helen Clark’s sharp as response to reporter gets huge round of applause
00:52 A reporter asked Helen Clark if Eastern Europe should be getting the Secretary General position, given NZ’s population was so small. Helen Clark was on top form as she told the world why she should be the next UN Secretary General.
Source: Al Jazeera
“We have to get better at preventing conflict and resolving conflict,” she said.
“I believe that the long term answers lie in building the peaceful and inclusive societies which will talk their differences out and not fight them out.
“But in the short term we have to get a lot better at anticipating those warning signs of what could spill over into serious human rights abuses and conflict.”
I speak as someone who has seen the acceptance of refugees into my own country and I would say, without reservation, that those refugees have repaid the hospitality of my country thousands of times over”
Miss Clark also slapped down the UN’s geographical rotation principle, which tends to guide the appointment of the secretary-general.
“My country belongs to a grouping for electoral purposes at the UN called western Europe and others group,” she said.
“I’m from the others and sometimes I think WEOG should stand for western European and orphans, because my little country is from the South Pacific and it’s never had a secretary-general either.
Helen Clark: I have the vision, experience and the skills to lead the UN
01:26 NZ’s former Prime Minister explains why she should be elected as UN Secretary-General. NZ’s former Prime Minister explains why she should be elected as UN Secretary-General.
Source: Al Jazeera
“I really think that when we look at the scale of the challenges our world is facing, we need a global search for the best talent.”
Based on the geographical rotation principle, it’s widely tipped the next secretary-general will be from Eastern Europe.
Miss Clark and the other candidates also faced questions about refugees, reforming the Security Council and the UN, and peacekeeping.
Helen Clark ‘has been working towards this for all her life’
00:32 Phil Goff says his long-time friend has what it takes to be UN Secretary-General. Phil Goff says his long-time friend has what it takes to be UN Secretary-General.
“This is very disturbing,” she said addressing a question about racism and xenophobia directed towards refugees.
“I speak as someone who has seen the acceptance of refugees into my own country and I would say, without reservation, that those refugees have repaid the hospitality of my country thousands of times over.
“They are good people looking for a fresh start – and that is the approach we must take, people don’t flee their home for no reason, they flee because their society is destroyed around them … any of us in that situation would flee.”
She said countries boarding war-torn Syria, such as Turkey and Jordan, deserve support because they are “carrying a global burden” with their hospitality towards refugees.
The UN secretary-general is appointed by the Security Council, on the recommendation of the General Assembly.