Minister Counselloer Gjermund Sæther at the opening of the High-level Meetng on Youth. 
Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas.Minister Counselloer Gjermund Sæther at the opening of the High-level Meetng on Youth. Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

GA: Norway attacks discussed at High-level Meeting on Youth

7/25/2011 // In this statment to the UN High-level Meeting on Youth, Norwegian Minister Counsellor, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Mr. Gjermund Sæther, focused on the deadly shootings that took place at the summer camp of the Labour Party's youth wing. He appealed to young people to stay engaged and politically active despite this heinous attack.

President,

This youth conference ought to be about the rights and values that were attacked last Friday.

It should be about the right and opportunity of young people to participate in public life.

The right to shape and express their own opinions.

To organise freely.

And to speak out against their own country´s leadership or political system.

On Friday, around 700 young people were gathered on the island of Utøya exercising exactly those inherent and in our view inviolable rights. They were driven by their belief in democracy, diversity and inclusiveness.

They were convinced that they had a right and duty to take part in political life.

 

That only through active participation could they help develop Norway further.

 

That through active participation they would help ensure that Norway continues to play a positive role in international affairs, as a partner in solidarity with other peoples and countries.

 

These were the sentiments and convictions that prevailed on that island in the afternoon of last Friday. These were the values that evil set out to destroy.

 

The terrorist attack seems to be the act of a single Norwegian man who defined himself as deeply conservative and a Christian. Through this heinous act, he hoped to reverse Norway's policy of tolerance and inclusion, not least towards Islam. 

 

The attacks were the deadliest in Norway since the Second World War. The bombing of the government complex and the massacre of young people gathered for the annual Labour Party summer youth camp struck at the very heart of Norwegian democracy.

 

More than 80 young people have been shot and killed - one by one.

 

Those killed were part of Norway´s political future. Their surviving friends have pledged not to be intimidated by the atrocity. They will not be terrrorised into silence.  By staying engaged they will demonstrate that violence against opinion is ineffective. Thus they will also honour their dead friends.

 

In fact, over the years the Labour Youth of Norway has sent many youth representatives to the UN. We trust that they will do so again.

 

As Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg - himself once a youth representative to the UN - said, - we will respond to this attack by even more democracy, more openness, more participation, more humanity.

 

In this time of national tragedy Norway stands united in grief and united in our determination to uphold the values of our democracy - openness, trust and participation regardless of background.

 

We are grateful and heartened by all the warm words and expressions of condolence and sympathy to the families and friends of the victims and to the people of Norway.

 

Mr President,

 

I would like to conclude by quoting a young female survivor from the island. She said that

 

If one man can show so much hate, imagine how much love we all can show each other.

 

Thank you, Mr President


Bookmark and Share