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President Evo Morales Ayma of the Plurinational State of Bolivia addresses the General Assembly’s annual general debate. UN Photo/Cia Pak

Bolivia’s Morales, at UN, says natural resources, basic necessities must be viewed as human rights

While some pledges made in the United Nations Charter have been met, “others have come to noting,” the President of Bolivia told the General Assembly today, that the planet’s precious resources and vulnerable people must be protected from greed and exploitation by political elites.

“After more than 70 years, instead of progress, we are moving backwards,” Evo Morales told delegations at the Assembly’s annual general debate, where he denounced what he called the “abusive, wildcat consumer market” that is supporting capitalism and colonialism and sparking crises that were destroying the lives of millions of people worldwide.

He said history has shown that the seizure of natural resources and political world domination led to invasion, the fall of governments, “creating chaos in order to benefit from it.” Many such invasions had given rise of terrorist groups, which in turn led to even greater harms against civilians.

Indeed, wars and violent conflicts persisted, while 2017 was the hottest year in world history. Emphasizing that all countries must comply with the Paris Agreement, Mr. Morales said it was unjustifiable that the United States had decided to turn its back on that instrument. That country was among the main polluters and its Government has now become a threat to Mother Earth. All countries must comply with the accord and work jointly to save the plant.

‘Water is the lifeblood of Mother Earth,” he continued, and that resource must be respected, shared and protected for future generations. Bolivia promoted the recognition of water as a human right, he said, noting that its Constitution prohibited the exploitation of that resource for profit. Where water flowed, so too did peace, he said, adding that it must never be a source of conflict.

Mr. Morales went on to say that the “gulf between those who have everything and those who have virtually nothing” is growing wider every year. “Inequality is immoral,” he said, going on to condemn the building of walls and passing of laws that criminalize migration. To that end, he called for the creation of a form of “universal citizenship,” saying there should be no difference between a foreigner and a national.

 

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On Sept 19, 2023 ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit in New York City, climate activists gathered for a rally and civil disobedience outside Bank of America Tower in Midtown Manhattan as part of the March to End Fossil Fuels wave of actions resulting in multiple arrests. Activists demand Bank of America to “Defund Climate Chaos and Defend Human Rights” Photo: Erik McGregor (CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

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Illustration by Stephanie McMillan. Used with permission