Her Excellency
    Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir
    Minister for Foreign Affairs
    Video player cover image

    Statement summary

    THÓRDÍS KOLBRÚN REYKFJÖRD GYLFADÓTTIR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, thanked all people who work in the name of the United Nations, from office cleaners to translators to security guards to diplomats, as everyone has a role to play and all roles are important.  She said that multilateralism is in serious crisis, with only 15 per cent of the Sustainable Development Goals currently on track for completion by 2030 and the Paris Agreement in jeopardy.  Highlighting increased naturals disasters, food insecurity, poverty and hunger, she said:  “This is an existential threat to us all.”  Recalling that Iceland had formally presented its candidature to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2025–2027 term, she said that, if Member States do not live up to the values and commitments in the Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there need to be consequences.  “This is why the General Assembly rightly voted in favour of suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council because of atrocities committed in Ukraine,” she said.

    “Freedom of expression is for human beings, not for programmed bots that spread hate, lies and fear.  Human rights are for human beings,” she said, spotlighting the serious degradation of human rights around the world, including in Afghanistan where women and girls cannot go to school, in Iran where authorities continue to deny women freedom and punish those who dissent, and in many countries where the LGBTI+ communities are deprived of their rights.  “Iceland is fortunate enough to be a society that has developed from being among the poorest in Europe to one of the most prosperous since we became an independent republic almost 80 years ago,” she said, underlining that equality and her country’s prosperity are strongly linked.

    She also pointed out that, in Belarus, opponents of the regime have been jailed and exiled while the rulers aligned themselves with the Russian Federation’s war in Ukraine.  Observing that, around the world, people are being punished for challenging authorities, she noted that the Russian Federation’s war is not only a brutal assault on Ukraine and its people, but also an unprecedented affront to the international system.  “This madness has been ongoing for over 18 months and is the sole responsibility of a permanent member of the Security Council, which should be acting on behalf of the United Nations membership as a guardian of international peace and security,” she said. Every country of the world and humankind as a whole stand to lose if the international community allows wars of neo-colonial conquest by large powers against their neighbours.  “Russia is the aggressor and must be stopped.  Ukraine is rightly defending its land, and by extension, our international system, and Ukraine must be supported,” she stressed.


    Full statement

    Read the full statement, in PDF format.

    Statement in English


    Listen to and download the full statement in mp3 format.

    Loading the player...


    Portrait of Her Excellency Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir (Minister for Foreign Affairs), Iceland
    UN Photo credit.

    Previous sessions

    Access the statements from previous sessions.