Today, 22 May 1992, dr Franjo Tudjman delivered his speech at the United Nations, ushering Croatia into the world of free, sovereign, independent and democratic states. Here is the speech he delivered in New York on that day, which I have translated into English. Source: http://www.tudjman.hr
Dr. Franjo Tudjman
Speech on the occasion of Croatia being accepted into the United Nations membership
United Nations, New York City, May 22, 1992
Ladies and Gentlemen
In the entirety of the history of development and of international position of one nation there can be no event more important than the recognition of its independence and sovereignty, and its admission into the world’s community of equal and independent states such as the Organization of United Nations. In line of this, allow me to express on behalf of the Croatian people our deepest gratitude for receiving us into the OUN:
– to the Secretary General Mr. Boutros Boutros Ghali;
– to the President of the Security Council, Mr Peter Hohenfellner and to all its members who, in Resolution 753 (1992), had unanimously recommended that the Republic of Croatia be accepted into the UN membership;
– and finally, and especially to the President of this 46th sitting of the General Assembly, Mr. Samir S. Shihabi, and to all participants of this plenary session who, with today’s decision regarding the acceptance of the Republic of Croatia into membership, have shown honor and trust that Croatia has unquestionably deserved and will endeavor to justify, completely.
respected representatives of the free countries of the world!
With today’s day Croatia has gained her international legitimacy. Her flag, which is a sanctity to every Croatian man due to the fact that he had been judged and chased into foreign lands because of it, will flutter freely, from now on, in front of the OUN building, and everywhere in the world, with the dedication of international recognition.
The Croatian nation is one of the oldest people of today’s Europe. It possesses written documents and stamps of its national statehood independence, as well as of belonging to the Western European civilization, from the Seventh century (A.D.) onwards, in stone and on parchments, in literature and the arts, and what is most important, in its spiritual being. The Croatian nation can be proud of its contribution to the spiritual and real cultural heritage of mankind. Incidentally, it is not by chance that a small part of it is also present here. The entrance through which we pass into the United Nations General Assembly hall is made of Marble from the Croatian island of Brac. That stone in my country symbolizes Croatian survival. In it, during many centuries, the greatest of Croatian sculptors have reflected themselves, including Antun Augustincic whose equestrian figure, “Monument of Peace”, is found in the park behind this very United Nations’ building.
From the Tenth to the Twelfth centuries Croatians had their own independent kingdom, ruled by their own nationals. Historical changes and the unenviable geopolitical position of their country – at crossroad between the Western and Eastern Europe civilizations – had caused that after that, from the Twelfth to the Twentieth centuries (to 1918), they exist in togetherness with the Hungarian and the Hapsburg crown. However, Croatian people had preserved their identity during that time as well as in the later Yugoslav multi-national state community – which is especially evidenced by the glorious Republic of Dubrovnik – incessantly aspiring towards full independence and sovereignty. That highest of goals, realization of which is in the yearning of all national beings from the moment when, in its development, it reaches a degree of special national, political-cultural resoluteness, and when the international circumstances permit, Croatian nation – as many other smaller nations – has realized that goal today. That is, to say, a time in which mankind, due to scientific-technological (creative, but also destructive) omnipotence, experiences the relatively highest degree of civilization integration (cultural, economic, technical, trade, informational), but also the free and national individualization. With the permeation of these, in essence opposite tendencies, mankind aspires towards creating a unique global community of regulated international order of independent sovereign states, which have arisen from the generally accepted principles regarding the right of people to self-determination and freedom.
However, Croatian nation did not achieve its independence and sovereignty in the context of these general tendencies only, but also under the especially difficult circumstances of the breakup of the totalitarian Socialist system in Europe and the disintegration of the multi-national Yugoslav state community. After establishing its democratic order and proclaiming independence on the basis of plebiscitary expression of the will of the people, Croatia had to endure hard losses to preserve its sovereignty. The Yugo-Communist army and Serb imperialism for the restoration of Communism and conquest of Croatian regions war was imposed upon Croatia. In that war, during which Croatian people found themselves barehanded in comparison to the technically superior armed Yugoslav Army, Croatia has, by defending its freedom and democracy, gained even international recognition on the way to membership in OSCE and UNO. That war, however, has not entirely ended, especially because those who had caused it have spread it to the neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina despite the engagement by the EU and the UN Security Council.
The consequences of that barbaric war, at the end of the Twentieth century, are horrific. Some thirty thousand people in Croatia have been killed or wounded, mainly civilian people and many settlements and whole towns have been completely destroyed, several hundreds of historical monuments, industrial, church, health and educational objects have been annihilated. The dimensions of the suffering of the civilian population in this war of aggression against Croatia are evident in the fact that more than six hundred thousand people, helpless elderly and children, in Croatia, have been forcefully deported or have fled their homes. In addition to this, about a quarter of one million people are those who had fled Bosnia and Herzegovina into Croatia.
Accommodating the needs of the displaced and the refugees is beyond Croatia’s capability, which has been exhausted by the war. Hundreds of thousands of people await the assistance of the international community. Besides that, Croatia appeals to the highest bodies of international organizations to undertake, together with the EU and the OSCE, more decisive and more effective steps towards an immediate ending of the war in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the establishment of peace and a stable international order in this part of the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
The membership in the United Nations is the crown of international confirmation of the sovereign statehood of the Republic of Croatia. In light of that, we are deeply conscious of the responsibility we take upon ourselves with that membership. It is my honor to solemnly state, in this place, that the Republic of Croatia accepts the United Nations Charter in its entirety, and that it will be devoted to the principles of that Charter and the rule of international law, on the basis of which Croatia has won its international recognition. From now on, Croatia, as a full member of the United Nations, will be able to enjoy greater support from the world organization in its efforts for a peaceful solution to the crisis on the territory of the former Yugoslavia based on the Charter’s principles, for the success of the United Nations Peace Forces, for the resolution of the aforementioned refugee problems, for the stimulation of economic development. The Republic of Croatia accepts the principle according to which the international community has the right to mediate in cases of breaches of basic human rights and ethnic rights, threatening the peace, or ecological stability of our planet.
As for the solution to the Yugoslav crisis and relations between the states rising from the ground of former Yugoslavia, Croatia has accepted the final documents of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, but also the principles upon which The Brussels Peace Conference acts. All that clearly says that the Republic of Croatia wishes to be loyal to the principles upon which the Charter is based, and to the principles of peace, justice and international cooperation without any discrimination. Croatia wishes to be an effective factor of the modern international order that is built on the generally accepted principles of anti-Fascism and democracy.
The Croatian people have, themselves, given a significant contribution to the battles against Nazi-fascism during World War II, which had endangered the democratic order of Europe and the world. (I can proudly mention that I myself, as a young man, also participated in that war against fascism). As part of the former community of states Croatia had also contributed significantly to solving problems of independence of the Third World countries and their economic development. That had also served the strengthening of the role of the United Nations during the Cold War period.
Finally, Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to highlight our firm determination to build the internationally recognized Republic of Croatia upon the principles of the open, democratic and free society. In the political and economic sense we want Croatia to be a rule of law state and a free home to all its citizens. Croatia wants to be open for an all-encompassing cooperation with all neighboring and other countries of Europe and the world. Croatia wants to be a backbone of peace and stability of the international order and a worthy member of the United Nations.
(Translated from the Croatian language by Ina Vukic, February 2013)