#onthisday (21 Sep 1965) Singapore Joins the United Nations
#onthisday (21 Sep) in 1965, Singapore became an official member of the United Nations (UN). It was a momentous occasion, as our Singapore flag flew amongst the other 116 UN member states for the first time, at a flag-raising ceremony held in front of the UN building. 📷 1: Telegram showing Singapore’s application to the UN from then-Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr S. Rajaratnam. (PSD)
For a young nation like Singapore, our admission into the UN signified “an international endorsement of Singapore’s sovereignty and integrity”, said our first Foreign Minister, Mr S. Rajaratnam at his thank- you speech at the UN General Assembly.
The UN Charter’s principles of sovereign equality, peaceful settlement of disputes, and non-interference in the internal affairs of states are especially important for a small state like Singapore – it gave us a ‘voice’ where we could have a dialogue in a rules-based multilateral system.
Since our admission, besides participating in numerous UN peacekeeping missions, Singapore has also supported many UN initiatives including the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
📷 2: Singapore’s application to join the UN received unanimous support from the UN General Assembly. (NAS)
While the UN is not without its critics – particularly in recent times when geopolitical tensions and globalisation have exposed states’ inability to achieve consensus on major issues – the UN remains an important platform which helps to strengthen cooperation in the international community.
As then-Minister S. Rajaratnam said in 1965, “despite the cynics who focus attention on its many shortcomings, my country has faith in the future of the United Nations, simply because without it there is no worthwhile future for humanity.” PM Lee affirmed the importance of the UN’s rules-based multilateral system, and said “Singapore is committed to the future of the UN” at the UN’s 75th anniversary in 2020. At this critical juncture in humanity, it is all the more important for Singapore and member states to come together for the future of the UN and its values and ideals.
📷 3: Singapore’s flag was raised for the first time at the United Nations on 21 Sep 1965. (Min Vivian Balakrishnan’s FB)