20 October 2005
Legal Committee Reviews Efforts to Widen Scope of Convention on Security of United Nations and Associated Personnel
New Protocol Said to Be Needed, Accountability to Host Country Laws also a Factor; Debate Is Concluded on Report of Charter Committee
NEW YORK, 19 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Sixth Committee (Legal) this morning began debate on proposals to broaden the scope of the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, to ensure the security of such individuals. Delegations stressed the urgent need for the adoption of the additional protocol now being negotiated to achieve that purpose.
While acknowledging the responsibility of Member States to ensure the safety of such personnel in their territories, the representative of Namibia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the United Nations should institute a system of accountability for personnel who fell afoul of the laws of the host countries. The personnel should respect and obey those laws.
Speaking for the European Union, the representative of the United Kingdom emphasized the fundamental importance of universal acceptance of the 1994 Convention. He welcomed the measures taken at United Nations Headquarters to enhance security consciousness, including the very important step of establishing the Department of Safety and Security. He said members of the European Union underlined the point made by the Secretary-General in his report that the United Nations relied heavily on the cooperation of host countries for the safety of its personnel.
(The Chairman of the Sixth Committee, Juan Antonio Yañez-Barnuevo, announced that as of 18 October 2005, 79 States had become parties to the 1994 Convention and 43 were signatories. The Convention had been in force since 15 January 1999.)
Also speaking on the topic were representatives of Pakistan, Japan, Jordan and Zambia.
Nicholas Michel, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and Legal Counsel, gave a report on the number of status-of-forces and status-of-missions agreements into which key provisions of the 1994 Convention had been incorporated, as well as those currently under negotiations.
Christian Wenaweser, Liechtenstein, Chairman of both the Ad Hoc Committee and the Working Group of the Sixth Committee on the negotiating details of the optional protocol, introduced the reports of both groups. The Sixth Committee Chairman later announced that the Working Group would hold further consultations.
Earlier, the Sixth Committee had concluded its discussion of the 2005 report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization. Delegations again raised the issue of modalities for resolving the problem of assistance to third States harmed by United Nations sanctions. Some said the goals and time frame of sanctions should be clearly defined, and their effects on civilians and unintended consequences on third States should also be examined.
On the question of sanctions, the representative of the United States said Article 50 of the Charter provided a mechanism for discussions on the effects of sanctions, but it did not require the Security Council to take action to produce a solution to the problem. He noted that during the period covered by a report of the Secretary-General, no Member State approached any of the Council's sanctions committees concerning special economic problems arising from sanctions. As a member of the Council, he said, the United States would continue to be sensitive to the value of "smart sanctions".
Other issues raised in the debate by representatives included work methods of the Special Committee and the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council. The representative of Japan said improving the Special Committee's working methods and enhancing its efficiency could strengthen it and also serve its purpose of strengthening the function of the United Nations.
Also making statements on the Special Committee's report this morning were the representatives of Libya, Cuba, Cameroon, Viet Nam, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Jordan, Kenya, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela, Republic of Korea, and Turkey.
Shola Omoregie, Acting Chief of the Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch, Department of Political Affairs, also made a statement.
The Special Committee on the Charter examines suggestions and proposals regarding the Charter and the strengthening of the Organization's role in the maintenance and consolidation of international peace and security. It also considers the development of cooperation among all nations and the promotion of the rules of international law (resolution 3499 (XXX)).
The Sixth Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, 20 October, to continue its debate on the scope of legal protection under the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to conclude its discussion of the report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on Strengthening the Role of the Organization. (For further information, see Press Release GA/L/3278 of 14 October.)
The Committee was also expected to take up the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Scope of Legal Protection under the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel (document A/60/52). The Ad Hoc Committee, which met from 11 to 15 April 2005, is discussing an expansion of the scope of the Convention, possibly through a protocol to the treaty, that would cover United Nations operations, other than peacekeeping operations, and dispense with the "requirement of the declaration of risk" under the Convention.
The Ad Hoc Committee has been concerned about the continued attacks on United Nations and associated personnel, as well as the lag in achieving universality of the treaty. The 1994 Convention came into force in January 1999 and has 78 States Parties.
The treaty's key provisions require Parties to take all appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel and for the prompt release and return of captured or detained personnel. It also obliges Parties either to prosecute or extradite offenders. The Convention requires Parties to establish as criminal offences, among others, the murder, kidnapping or any other attack upon the person or liberty of any United Nations or associated personnel; and a violent attack upon the official premises, the private accommodation or the means of transportation of any United Nations or associated personnel, likely to endanger his or her person or liberty.
The observation was made during the Committee's discussions that too often no legal action was taken against perpetrators of crimes against United Nations or associated personnel.
The Sixth Committee also has before it a related report from its Working Group which has been negotiating the particulars of an optional protocol to the treaty which would extend treaty coverage to those humanitarian, political or development assistance workers in yet-to-be-determined situations of certain risk. The kinds of operations being considered for potential inclusion in the scope of the treaty include peacebuilding, and pre- and post-conflict situations, as well as the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
The protocol would enter into force 30 days after 22 instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession are notified.
The Working Group report (document A/C.6/60/L.4) contains a revised Chairman's text of the optional protocol, as well as an informal summary of the discussions on the protocol.
Statement on Repertoire of Practice of Security Council
SHOLA OMOREGIE, Acting Chief of the Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, said the Secretariat was following a two-track approach in the preparation of the supplements of the Repertoire which had been endorsed by the General Assembly in resolution 59/44 of 2 December 2004. He said the drafting of the twelfth supplement, covering the period 1993 to 1995, was proceeding concurrently with that of a contemporary, streamlined Millennium Supplement, covering 2000 to 2003. Work on the thirteenth supplement, covering 1996 to 1999, was also in progress and would pick up further pace once the twelfth supplement had been completed.
He said the Secretariat remained committed to making the drafted sections of the Repertoire available quickly to the reader; advance versions of individual chapters would be posted on the Repertoire website as soon as they were approved. Completed chapters were also being submitted to the editors for processing, to reduce the time-lag between the drafting and the publishing of all the supplements currently under preparation.
He said contributions to the Trust Fund for the updating of the Repertoire played a crucial role in enabling the Secretariat to achieve concrete progress in bringing the publication up-to-date. He named past contributors to the Trust Fund as Belarus, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. He expressed concern that no pledges had been received in over a year, and that the Trust Fund remained depleted. He urged Member States to make whatever contribution they could to enable the Secretariat to bring the publication up-to-date. The contribution could take the form of sponsorship of an associate expert position in the relevant branch of the Secretariat, as Germany and Italy had done recently.
JUANA ELENA RAMOS RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) said the Special Committee on the Charter played an essential role in the current United Nations reform process, particularly when considering the recommendations in the Outcome Document. There must be true respect for the Charter from all States, both those small and large. The decisive elements in the reform process centred around democratization of the major United Nations organs and revitalization of the General Assembly. A permanent solution, based on Charter provisions for assistance to third States affected by sanctions, must be found to address that recurring problem. The general question of the application of sanctions could be separated from the need to reform the Security Council. The issue was linked to the Council, both in terms of reform of its working methods and the representative nature of its body.
She said the application of sanctions must be subject to agreed and transparent criteria. For example, sanctions regimes must contain clear objectives and precise criteria for the lifting of those sanctions, once conditions had been satisfied. They should be subject to periodic review and their impact on the humanitarian situation taken into account. She added that sanctions could not constitute "a second privilege" in addition to the veto. The General Assembly must have an appropriate input into the application of sanctions.
MUAMMAR ELAGELI (Libya) said the Charter Committee should play a leading role in the reform of the United Nations. Its contribution was particularly important in light of recommendations contained in the Outcome Document recently adopted at the United Nations Summit. Libya was one of a number of countries that had submitted proposals related to sanctions in the Charter Committee. Libya had proposed that there be a set of criteria for imposing sanctions. Those criteria should include such issues as sanctions being time-bound, subject to periodic review and lifted once the reason for their imposition was gone. Sanctions should be used only as a last resort.
In recognition of the principle of the rule of international law, Libya joined others in supporting the proposal that called for advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice on sanction imposed without an explicit decision of Security Council by a country or group of countries. He added that the Repertoire and Repertory were very valuable to researchers. There should be a mechanism for voluntary financing of the two repertoires in other languages. Libya was willing to contribute to their translation into Arabic.
IYA TIDJANI (Cameroon) said sanctions could have adverse effects on civilian populations and unintended consequences on the social and economic well-being of third States. He welcomed the efforts of the Security Council through the various bodies such as the Working Group that it had established to deal with the question of sanctions. He also welcomed the publication of the report of the Group showing that its activities were now transparent. The report should be widely disseminated. The Group should continue to study the effects of sanctions -- an issue of importance to his country. It was essential that assistance was provided to third States adversely affected by sanctions. He said Cameroon supported the outcome of the work of the expert group set up by the Secretary-General to study the effects of sanctions on third States, and its recommendations should be studied by the Charter Committee.
Cameroon supported peaceful settlement of disputes by States in conflict; that procedure could be the best guarantee for international peace and security. He recalled the 2000 Summit statement which reaffirmed the important role the International Court of Justice played in asserting the primacy of the rule of law in international relations. He urged consideration of improvements in the working methods of the Special Committee, with the interests of all delegation being taken into account.
HIROSHI TAJIMA (Japan) noted the broad support shown for the revised working paper from his delegation on the working methods of the Special Committee on the Charter, which was also sponsored by Australia, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Uganda. A further revised version of the working paper, which had taken account of additional views of delegations, had been submitted. He hoped further discussions would continue with the view to finalize the text. He reiterated Japan's view that improving the working methods of the Special Committee and enhancing its efficiency would strengthen it and, in turn, serve the Special Committee's purpose of strengthening the function of the United Nations. He hoped the Sixth Committee would continue to give priority to the item as it did in a resolution on the Special Committee last year (A/RES/59/44).
On the topic of Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs, also considered by the Special Committee at its 2005 session, Japan's representative said his delegation did not consider the publication of the Repertory necessarily in line with the current efforts of the Secretary-General to achieve administrative and budgetary reform of the United Nations. The Secretary-General's efforts, which Japan supported, should be taken into account during consideration of the subject.
NGUYEN DUY CHIEN (Viet Nam) said his delegation supported the working paper from the Russian Federation on the basic conditions and standard criteria for the introduction and implementation of sanctions. It also supported another paper on sanctions by Libya. Those proposals could contribute to the sanctions debate, and he urged the Special Committee to undertake a constructive consideration of them. On the question of strengthening the role of the Organization and its effectiveness, he expressed support for the paper presented by Cuba, noting that the papers submitted by Cuba in 1997 and 1998 were valuable.
He said Viet Nam commended the efforts to reduce the backlog in the publication of Repertory Practice of the United Nations Organs and the Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council. On the Special Committee's working methods, he commended the efforts of Japan, Australia, Republic of Korea and Uganda for their revised working paper on the topic. He emphasized that in its 30 years' existence, the Special Committee had recorded numerous valuable achievements. Viet Nam was convinced that the Special Committee should accelerate its efforts to finalize its work on proposals before it.
ALLIEU IBRAHIM KANU (Sierra Leone) said sanctions should be purposeful and smartly targeted, to minimize their adverse effects on third States. Those third States should be helped to make use of assistance provided for in Article 50 of the Charter. He said his delegation supported India's call for the establishment of a working group within the Sixth Committee to consider the matter of sanctions and their impact on third States. Welcoming the work of the Security Council's working group, as well as its monitoring team which had been examining the issue of sanctions, he said those developments should not be the prerogative of the Council alone. The General Assembly should also play a part on the sanctions question. He said the Indian proposal should, therefore, be explored.
On the question of peaceful settlement of disputes, he reaffirmed the important role that the International Court of Justice could play. Decisions of the Court should be respected, he said, adding that respect for rule of law at the national level should be extended to the international level. He commended the Office of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea for the establishment of a capacity-building unit to assist developing countries in their application and implementation of the provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
ITTIPORN BOONPRACONG (Thailand) said he welcomed the establishment of the Trust Fund to eliminate the backlog on the Repertory, as well as the contributions by Greece, Germany and Italy for the updating of the Repertoire. He also supported the recommendation to enhance cooperation with academic institutions and the use of internship programmes. Expressing concern with the results achieved so far on considering ways and means to improve the Charter Committee's working methods, he said a revised working paper aimed at improving efficiency was not meant to create an obstacle to the submission of new proposals.
Mandatory sanctions should be applied only when all other peaceful means had been exhausted, he said. They should be based on strict and clear criteria. He supported the Charter Committee's efforts to elaborate basic conditions and criteria for sanctions and other coercive measures, as well as implementation of Charter provisions for assistance to third States. He called for serious consideration to be given to the revised working paper on the subject submitted by the Russian Federation.
ADI KHAIR (Jordan) said his Government was concerned about the negative impact sanctions had on the lives of innocent civilians. Sanctions had often increased the poverty rate and led to economic and humanitarian deterioration in countries. In light of that harm, sanctions should only be imposed as a last resort and only if a real threat to international peace and security existed. Moreover, all other peaceful means should be exhausted first. Sanctions should be targeted and reviewed for their short-term and long-term impacts. They should not be imposed unilaterally, and they should be time-bound and removed when the conditions for their application no longer existed or their objective had been achieved.
He welcomed the calls for giving practical assistance to third States affected by sanctions. Sanctions regimes required a global sanction application system. He cited, in particular, the calls for a fund for assistance to third States, as well as a standing advisory mechanism. He also welcomed the proposals that called for consideration and assistance to third States through trade and other means.
He noted the important contribution that such legal bodies as the International Court of Justice and the Tribunal for the Law of the Sea made to the rule of international law. Countries had sought recourse through those bodies which had helped prevent problems. He called for greater assistance to be given to their work.
P.R.O OWADE (Kenya) welcomed the various initiatives to streamline the sanctions regimes, particularly the efforts of the Council to target sanctions to help minimize their unintended consequences. He urged increased use of pre-assessment and ongoing assessment reports on the likely and actual unintended impact on primary, as well as third, States. Enhancing cooperation and coordination between United Nations organs seized of the matter would contribute immensely to further improvement in the sanctions regimes. He supported the call by the African Group for a General Assembly open-ended working group on sanctions. There must be practical and long-term solutions to reduce the adverse consequences of sanctions on third States, especially to the civilian populations in those countries.
He said Kenya also attached significance to the elaboration of legal principles for United Nations peacekeeping operations. Rather than shy away from undertaking the task, the Sixth Committee should explore ways of working with the Special Committee on Peacekeeping to ensure congruence between the political, operational and legal aspects of peacekeeping operations. Noting that Kenya was among the 65 States that had accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, he urged other States that had not yet done so to heed the call to accept its jurisdiction and support its work.
LAWRENCE GRIPPO (United States) said that while Article 50 provided a mechanism to discuss the effects of sanctions, it did not require the Council to take action to produce a solution to the problem. Progress had been made in the Council's efforts to minimize unintended economic problems for States. Since May 2003, all of the Council's existing sanctions regimes had been targeted. No Member State had recently approached any sanctions committees concerning special economic problems arising from such sanctions. The United States would continue to be sensitive to the value of "smart sanctions".
Recognizing that compliance did entail costs in some cases, he said the United States was prepared to seriously consider in the international financial institutions well designed regional infrastructure projects that promoted trade with key markets. He encouraged countries to work closely with officials of those international financial institutions to identify and develop such projects. The United States also supported the proposal that the Charter Committee engage, as appropriate, in the implementation of any decision to amend the Charter.
ALI HAFRAD (Algeria) said his delegation supported the recommendations of the Special Committee on the question of sanctions. All peaceful methods should be explored before sanctions were imposed, and they should have specific goals, with their unintended effects on third States taken into account. The effects of sanctions on civilian populations should also be evaluated. He said he supported the proposals of the Russian Federation on the conditions and criteria for the introduction and implementation of sanctions. He said the proposed Russian declaration should be sent to the General Assembly.
He said he also supported another Russian proposal, also before the Special Committee, dealing with the legal basis for United Nations peacekeeping operations within the context of Chapter VII provisions of the Charter. He cited other proposals which Algeria favoured -- those of Libya on the strengthening of the role of the Organization and enhancing its effectiveness, and proposals by Russia and Belarus calling for an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice regarding the legal consequences of the resort to the use of force by States without prior authorization of the Security Council.
He reaffirmed the usefulness of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council. The publications kept alive institutional memory of the work of the Organization. He expressed support for the recommendations of the Special Committee on the subject, which included encouragement by the General Assembly of voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund set up to expedite work on the two publications. He also said the Special Committee should take up the recommendations of the 2005 World Summit regarding amendments to the Charter.
KARIM MEDREK (Morocco) noted the large number of instruments that the Special Committee had developed since its establishment 30 years ago. He said his delegation was confident that the Special Committee would contribute effectively to the reform process of the Organization. On the question of sanctions, he said their imposition should be a last resort, undertaken in accordance with the Charter and international law. The effects of sanctions should be observed and their duration noted. They should be terminated once their purpose had been served. He welcomed the various bodies established by the Security Council dealing with sanctions questions. He said the Russian Federation proposals on sanctions were useful and worthy of further consideration in the Special Committee. The Libyan proposals should also be further examined by the Special Committee. He said he hoped the Special Committee would conclude discussions of those documents at its next session.
On the working methods of the Special Committee, he said the proposals submitted should contribute to the streamlining of the Committee's work. He welcomed, with satisfaction, the Secretariat's efforts to bring up to date the two publications on the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council, respectively. He encouraged collaboration of the Secretariat with universities in its work on them.
RAZAK MASHKOOR (Iraq) said the General Assembly, because of its enlarged membership, had a democratic character which constituted a positive element in questions regarding the maintenance of international peace and security. Iraq supported fully the recommendations of the Special Committee on the revitalization of the General Assembly in order to effectively and efficiently exercise the functions assigned to it under the Charter. On the Trusteeship Council, he said it would be premature to abolish or change its status, adding that that had to be done through the amendment of the Charter. He said his delegation welcomed the efforts of the Special Committee on the question of peaceful settlement of disputes. It also supported the principle of the free choice of means of dispute settlement, and noted the importance of the consent of the parties involved.
MHD. NAJIB ELJI (Syria ) said that the double standards sometimes present in imposing sanctions, without the approval of the Security Council, was a dangerous trend and in violation of international law. Sanctions could be useful if implemented under the guidelines of the Charter and only when there was a clear need for them. They should be applied only as a measure of last resort and with due consideration given to their impact on civilian populations and third States that might be affected by them.
Sanctions which often affected innocent populations must be precisely defined for them to be a useful tool, he said, adding that there should be a time limitation on sanctions and they should be lifted once the original reasons for their imposition no longer existed. Sanctions contained a political and economic dimension. The revised paper on basic conditions and criteria submitted by the Russian Federation deserved consideration and further study.
He expressed the hope that the Security Council would be enlarged and its functioning improved. The work of the Assembly must also be revitalized, as it was the main body of the United Nations. He also expressed support for the proposal concerning the International Court of Justice and the legal use of force. Turning to the Repertory and the Repertoire, he said that their publication in hard copy should be carried out as soon as possible; a fund should be created in support of those publications. Their translation into other languages was very important given that they were the major record of the history of the work of the United Nations.
LAILA TAJ EL DINE (Venezuela) said her delegation favoured the genuine revitalization of the General Assembly, since it was the only organ whose decisions could claim credibility, truly reflecting the will of the international community. She said peaceful means should be chosen to resolve conflicts, and the General Assembly should be involved in that endeavour. Imposition of sanctions could be justified if they were mandates of the United Nations, and in strict compliance with Chapter VII provisions of the Charter. They could also be justified after all peaceful means had been exhausted. She also said that sanctions should not be used as punitive measures against a Member State, and they should be reviewed periodically. Venezuela was attached to the peaceful settlement of disputes between States. She called for the establishment of mechanisms or arrangements that could be resorted to early in disputes, to help the parties involved settle their differences.
She said Venezuela supported efforts to eliminate the backlog in the publications of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council.
AHN EUN-JU (Republic of Korea) said that sanctions could serve their intended purpose when applied effectively. It was important, however, that their unintended economic effects on civilians and third countries be minimized. She noted the continued discussions in the Special Committee on ways to achieve that goal. She also noted the role of judicial organs such as the International Court of Justice in the peaceful settlement of disputes. Joint fact-finding missions or fact-finding missions by the Security Council could also be useful, she said. The Republic of Korea supported the revised working paper presented by Japan on the working methods of the Special Committee and hoped more support could coalesce around the goal of improving the Committee's work. The Special Committee should consider adopting the text soon.
EMINE GOKCEN TUGRAL (Turkey) pointed to the number of practical ideas that had been suggested to address the problem of third States affected by the imposition of sanctions. Notable among them were the proposals to grant commercial exemptions or concessions to those third States, as well as the suggestion that priority be given to contractors from third States to work in affected States. Those ideas merited an in-depth study. She also called for compliance with Article 50 of the Charter which called for consultation with third States affected by the imposition of sanctions.
Concerning the peaceful settlement of disputes, she said the consent of each certain party should be required. She added that the revised working paper on improving the working methods of the Charter Committee contained useful points.
Safety Convention: Statement by Legal Counsel
NICOLAS MICHEL, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, reporting on implementation of the Safety Convention, said that a number of status-of-forces and status-of-mission agreements, since the last Secretary-General report in August 2004, had incorporated the key provisions of the Convention. Those agreements covered activities in Burundi, East Timor, Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait. A number of other agreements containing core provisions of the Convention were currently under negotiation, including in Uganda, Kenya, Haiti, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Introduction of Reports on Safety Convention
CHRISTIAN WENAWESER (Liechtenstein), Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee and the Working Group, after describing the reports, said that after a brief general exchange of views, discussions on the draft articles of the optional protocol focused first on a definition of "United Nations operation", and then on the modalities of inclusion of the element of risk in the definition. The concepts of peacebuilding and emergency humanitarian assistance were introduced as an attempt to properly reflect the element of risk in United Nations operations. Responsibilities of host States and United Nations personnel were also discussed. The Ad Hoc Committee also considered the relationship between the protective regime of the Convention and that of international humanitarian law.
The Working Group considered whether or not the term "peacebuilding" should be defined in the draft protocol, he continued. As to the question of emergency humanitarian assistance, the debate revolved around the procedure by which a host State could declare the non-applicability of the optional protocol in certain situations.
Statements on Safety Convention
HUW LLEWELLYN (United Kingdom), speaking for the European Union, said the list of those United Nations and associated personnel who had been killed since July 2004 by explosions, gunshot wounds and stabbings was truly shocking. And yet there was little or no information about prosecution of the perpetrators. United Nations and associated personnel conducting operations in the field were fulfilling UN mandates and acting in the common interest of the international community. He paid tribute to those who served and especially remembered those who had lost their lives in service. While the United Kingdom welcomed the efforts to include core provisions of the Convention into status-of-forces and status-of-mission agreements, he said, universal acceptance of the Convention remained of fundamental importance.
He welcomed the measures taken at United Nations Headquarters to enhance security consciousness, including the very important step of establishing the Department of Safety and Security. The resulting enhancement of United Nations security strategies and training for personnel were crucial. He recalled the Secretary-General's point that the Organization was heavily reliant on the cooperation of the host State for its safety.
He urged host States to provide timely information on arrests and detentions and said perpetrators must be investigated and held accountable. The increasing dangers faced by both international and local staff involved in UN operations underlined the urgency of the need for further measures to reinforce their safety and security. He looked to the few delegations remaining doubtful to show the necessary flexibility to allow for completion of the optional protocol.
JENS PETER PROTHMANN (Namibia), speaking for the African Group of member States, said those States unequivocally condemned all acts which undermined the safety and security of personnel engaged in United Nations activities. They reiterated that the success or effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping operations depended on guaranteeing the safety and security of those involved. The African Group remained deeply concerned that despite numerous collective efforts to ensure the safety of those personnel, including the adoption of the 1994 Convention on the subject, attacks on United Nations personnel had not relented. The Group believed in the 1994 Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel as an important tool for strengthening the legal regime for the protection of United Nations operations. He noted that the instrument, however, suffered from a lack of universality. Also, he said there were other assignments undertaken by the Organization and associated personnel with grave security consequences, which were not covered by the 1994 Convention.
He said the African Group called for the political will to ensure the adoption of the additional optional protocol which would adequately cover the gaps in the 1994 Convention. They stressed that while they fully accepted the responsibility of Member States to ensure the safety of United Nations and associated personnel within their territories, they also emphasized the reciprocal duty of the personnel to respect and obey the laws of the host countries. A system of accountability for personnel who fell foul of the law should be instituted. The United States itself should also provide consistent, adequate, practical and operational security measures, including adequate finances, equipment and training for its personnel in the field. Furthermore, all United Nations operations should be adequately manned and equipped to ensure effective and meaningful execution of their mandates.
NAJEEB SAMI (Pakistan) said that Pakistan was an important troop-contributing country. Its peacekeepers had exposed themselves to risk only for the cause of United Nations peacekeeping and for stabilizing societies and building peace. To date, 93 Pakistani peacekeepers had paid the ultimate price for the cause of peace. As one of the oldest, largest and most consistent peacekeeping participants, Pakistan spoke from the perspective of a major stakeholder with long-standing experience. It had recently been the recipient of international assistance in the wake of the earthquake in which 40,000 people, mostly children, had lost their lives and more than 60,000 had been injured. The number of those displaced or rendered homeless was about 3 million. The adoption of the optional protocol held special significance.
United Nations and associated personnel should have better protection, and there should be no impunity for crimes against them, he continued. The scope of the Convention should extend to conflict and post-conflict situations, but not to pre-conflict situations. In cases of natural disasters, operations for emergency humanitarian assistance should be carried out only with the consent of the host State. He thus supported the proposal that allowed for a declaration of non-applicability of the optional protocol.
Mr. TAJIMA (Japan) said his country believed that the Convention was an important means for guaranteeing the safety of United Nations and associated personnel, and he called for the expansion of its scope, as well as for greater participation of States in it. Clarity of the scope of application was essential for the protocol to apply in domestic courts, and it would also be helpful to both host States and posted United Nations and associated personnel. The position of each State should be reflected to the extent possible, so as to enable as many States as possible to join the protocol. He urged States to show flexibility in the early adoption of the protocol, bearing in mind the primary aim of its drafting which was, namely, to ensure the safety of United Nations and associated personnel.
MAHMOUD HMOUD (Jordan) expressed the hope that all that had been invested, including more than a year and a half of negotiations on a consolidated text, would culminate in the adoption of the protocol. That would be the proper reaction to the mounting number of the attacks on United Nations personnel and the increasing risks attached to their operations. There were inherent risks associated with certain UN activities which necessitated an expansion of the scope of the Convention. Significant hazards were attached to the delivery of humanitarian, political and development assistance in peacebuilding.
There was no need to place too much emphasis on the definition of peacebuilding. The agreement between the United Nations and the host State, before the deployment of an operation, was critical in determining whether such an operation was, in fact, peacebuilding. Member States should place faith in the Organization's ability to make the proper determination with the relevant State.
Delivering humanitarian assistance was a risky endeavour which required sufficient legal protection. However, in certain situations, such as natural disasters, the sovereign State had a right to declare that its national legal system was sufficient to provide the necessary legal protection. However, he added, such a declaration should be withdrawn once attacks occurred on the UN operation. Another important provision was the right of the State to exercise its national jurisdiction over such personnel who violated its laws. Immunity from national law violations had no reasonable legal grounds and, in fact, would impede the universality of the protocol.
TENS KAPOMA (Zambia) said that as a troop-contributing country Zambia attached great importance to the safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel. He was deeply concerned with the limits of the current scope of legal protection, citing in particular its inadequacies in the protection of humanitarian personnel and journalists. The risk environment in which United Nations and associated personnel operated called for an urgent need to broaden and strengthen the scope of legal protection accorded to them.
He reaffirmed the provisions of the Outcome Document which called for the conclusions of a negotiation on a protocol expanding the scope of legal protection, and he called for flexibility on the negotiations so that progress could be made.
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