26 September 2023

United Nations united for 75 years

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The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) marked the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the United Nations Charter (UN) over the weekend (24 October).

PM&C said that in 1945, as the Second World War was ending, the world came together to create a new instrument for peace by enshrining the protection of human rights.

“Australia was one of the first countries to respond to the call for unity,” the Department said.

It said two Australians in particular were important to the birth of the UN, Herbert Vere Evatt (pictured centre) and Jessie Street.

“Herbert Vere ‘Doc’ Evatt – our External Affairs Minister in the 1940s – was a leader at the originating conference in San Francisco in 1945, where he helped craft the UN Charter,” it said.

“Jessie Street was Australia’s only woman delegate,” it said.

“Out of 850 delegates in San Francisco, just eight were women.”

“Street worked with other women to make sure the word ‘sex’ was in the clause ‘without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion’ wherever it occurs in the UN Charter.”

PM&C said Australia continued to support the UN’s efforts on women’s rights, particularly through the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, which turned 20 this month.

It said Australia had provided the first ever UN peacekeepers in 1947 to deliver a ceasefire between the Dutch and the new Indonesian Republic.

“We’ve been involved in humanitarian and health missions, and in 2020 Australia has worked within the UN to confront the global COVID-19 pandemic,” PM&C said.

“For 75 years, Australia has been a leader in the UN’s vital work: defending human rights, securing peace and prosperity, and supporting the frameworks that help us work together as a community of nations,” the Department said.

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