|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-first General Assembly
105th Meeting (PM)
GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RECOMMENDATIONS ON PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS,
INCLUDING ‘UNITED NATIONS STANDARDS OF CONDUCT’
Also Elects Assembly Vice-Presidents, JIU Members;
Rejects ‘Contemporary Forms of Xenophobia’ as Agenda Item
By adopting a text entitled “Comprehensive review of a strategy to eliminate future sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping”, the General Assembly today decided that United Nations standards of conduct be included in the revised draft model memorandum of understanding between the United Nations and troop-contributing countries.
The memorandum is part of the Organization’s ongoing efforts to ensure the highest standards of conduct, professionalism and accountability of the nearly 100,000 peacekeeping personnel deployed around the world. The “United Nations Standards of Conduct: We Are United Nations Peacekeeping Personnel”, acknowledges that peacekeepers, representing the United Nations and present in a country to help it recover from the trauma of a conflict, “must consciously be prepared to accept special constraints” in their public and private lives to do the work and to pursue the Organization’s ideals.
By further provisions of the revised memorandum of understanding, United Nations peacekeeping personnel agree, among other things, to: conduct themselves in a professional and disciplined manner at all times; respect local laws, customs and practices; treat host country inhabitants with respect, courtesy and consideration; and act with impartiality, integrity and tact and report all acts involving sexual exploitation and abuse. They also agree to encourage proper conduct among fellow peacekeeping personnel and to properly account for all money and property assigned to them as mission members.
The resolution, adopted without a vote, was contained in a report of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), entitled “Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects” (document A/61/409/Add.2), which summarizes the Committee’s proceedings on 17 July (see Press Release GA/SPD/368). The report was introduced by the Committee’s Rapporteur, Rana Salayeva ( Azerbaijan).
The Assembly also adopted by consensus a resolution contained in the same report, by which it endorsed the proposals, recommendations and conclusions contained in paragraphs 15 to 232 of the report of the 2007 substantive session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and its Working Group (document A/61/19 (Parts I-III)).
That report contains wide-ranging proposals and recommendations and touches on topics such as strengthening operational capacity, integrated planning and personnel matters. Addressing concerns about military capacities, the Special Committee notes the establishment of a strategic military cell as an ad hoc mechanism to provide military strategic guidance for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Also, stressing the need for equitable treatment of all peacekeeping operations with respect to their needs for adequate military capacity, the Special Committee requests that the Secretariat undertake a review of that military cell, including clarification of its role and functioning, and present it to the Committee at its next substantive session (para. 87).
Also in the area of military capacity, in light of the expected continued demands on the military components of United Nations peacekeeping operations and the strategic role that the Military Adviser plays within such operations and within the Secretariat on matters pertaining to field operations, the Special Committee supports the upgrading of the post of Military Adviser to the level of Assistant Secretary-General.
In the area of safety and security, the Committee requests that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, in cooperation with the Department of Safety and Security, develop an effective mechanism for undertaking periodic risk analyses in peacekeeping missions and at headquarters, to be conducted at every stage, especially prior to the establishment of a mission (para. 54).
On conduct and discipline, the Special Committee calls on the General Assembly to convene, at the earliest possible date during the sixty-first session, an ad hoc open-ended working group on assistance and support to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse (para. 71). In that regard, the Assembly’s President, Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa ( Bahrain), informed Member States that details on the chairmanship and programme of work of the ad hoc working group would be communicated to them shortly.
Also today, the Assembly followed its General Committee’s recommendation, as specified in document A/61/250/Add.4, not to include in the Assembly’s agenda an item entitled “Contemporary forms of xenophobia”. That item was requested for inclusion by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in order to address what it believed to be the “inhumane acts” of Japanese authorities over the past year, which had entered a “reckless and hideous phase” of discrimination and flagrant violation of international human rights norms and regulations. (See Press Release GA/10604 of 20 July.)
In an explanation before that action, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s representative said it had requested the inclusion of the matter because of intolerable Japanese suppression of Koreans and their organization known as Chongryon in Japan this year, including threats, assaults and violent searches of its schools and printing facility by heavily-armed Japanese police. Those acts were a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and international human rights law.
The representative of Japan responded that the allegations by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea distorted the facts of the events, which were by no means instances of xenophobia, but instead had to do with internal affairs of Japan. The searches related to an abduction case and were conducted legally. Other allegations related to Japan’s efforts to remediate the situation of bankrupt credit unions associated with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was handled like other bankruptcies. He maintained that the Government of Japan had made sincere efforts to eliminate all forms of racial and ethnic discrimination, and he invited the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to work on the normalization of relations and the resolution of outstanding problems, such as abductions.
Both representatives exercised their right of reply to reiterate their arguments.
In other action, the Assembly elected by acclamation 21 Vice-Presidents for the sixty-second session, to wit: Bahamas, Benin, Botswana, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Gambia, Honduras, Iceland, Iraq, Mauritius, Palau, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uruguay, as well as the five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States).
The Assembly also appointed Nikolay V. Chulkov ( Russian Federation), Even Francisco Fontaine Ortiz ( Cuba), Mohamed Mounir-Zahran ( Egypt), Deborah Wynes ( United States) and Zhang Yishan ( China) as members of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) for a five-year term beginning on 1 January 2008 and expiring on 31 December 2012. (The appointees’ curricula vitae are contained in document A/61/962).
At the outset of the meeting, Member States were informed that Georgia had made the necessary payment to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter of the United Nations.
The General Assembly will meet again at a date to be announced.
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