|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
98th Meeting (PM)
General Assembly Adopts Resolutions on Peacekeeping Operations,
New Partnership for Africa’s Development
Members also Approve Nomination of New High Commissioner for Human Rights
The General Assembly, adopting two resolutions today, endorsed the proposals of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and followed up progress on the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), as well as approved the four-year appointment of Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Michal Komada (Slovakia), Rapporteur of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization), introduced the resolution titled “Comprehensive review of the whole question of peacekeeping operations in all their aspects”, contained in document A/68/426/Addendum 1, following which the Assembly adopted the text without a vote.
Bernadette Ssempa (Uganda), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced the resolution on NEPAD, under the item “Causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa” (document A/68/L.43/Rev.1). The resolution, she said, stressed that the African countries had the main responsibility for achieving a conflict-free Africa. The international community’s support should be channelled towards Africa’s sustainable development, particularly the priority areas identified at the continental level, she said, stressing the need for coordinated approaches tailored to a country’s peacebuilding needs and challenges.
The Assembly then adopted the draft without a vote.
Next, it approved the nomination of the new Human Rights High Commissioner (document A/68/904). Delegations around the Hall welcomed the appointment.
Marjon V. Kamara (Liberia), speaking on behalf of the African Group, commended the selection and also paid tribute to the outgoing High Commissioner. She underscored the importance of human rights in the political, social and cultural life of each individual. Societies would barely prosper where those rights were not protected. She expected that the new “chief global advocate” for human rights would prioritize national capacities.
Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates), speaking on behalf of the Asia-Pacific States, lauded the incoming High Commissioner for his extraordinary skill, evidenced by the integrity and sound judgement he had exercised as Jordan’s Permanent Representative over the years. The international community would benefit greatly from his leadership, sense of justice and deep knowledge.
Rodolfo Reyes Rodríguez (Cuba), speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group, attached great importance to human rights protection and recognized the central role of the United Nations in that effort. His region was seeking to ensure the enjoyment of human rights for all — to peace, development, self-determination, migrants’ and indigenous peoples’ rights and gender equality.
Peter Wilson ( United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of the Western European and Other States, said promotion and protection of human rights were a core part of the Organization’s role and among its founding principles. That work would be led by someone with commitment, passion and an in-depth knowledge of the United Nations, as well as a dedication to gender equality and criminal justice. He also appreciated Ms. Pillay’s work in providing a voice for the most vulnerable.
Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of the European Union Delegation, congratulated the new High Commissioner and noted his “proven track record”, which was evident in his promotion and protection of human rights and the fight against impunity, as well as his exceptional diplomatic experience.
Paul Seger ( Switzerland), associating himself with the European Union Delegation, said he looked forward to greeting the new High Commissioner and his family in Geneva. He commended Ms. Pillay for work in defending human rights.
The new High Commissioner for Human Rights, thanking the Assembly, remarked that his wife had urged him to enjoy the moment. Quoting her, he said, “You are among friends whom you’ve known for a long time. When you start this job, you might not have them for very long.” He noted that he was the first High Commissioner from the Asian continent and from the Arab and Muslim world. The position’s dossier was full of responsibility and paramount challenges, requiring skills to work with civil society, Governments, and the Organization itself. He acknowledged the work of Ms. Pillay, and thanked the King of Jordan for allowing him to be of service in the international arena.
The General Assembly will meet again at a date and time to be announced.
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