Sixth Committee (Legal) — 72nd session

Expulsion of Aliens (Agenda item 82)

Summary of work

Background (source: A/72/100)

At its sixty-ninth session, in 2014, the General Assembly, under the item entitled “Report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-sixth session”, considered chapter IV of the report of the Commission, which contained the draft articles on the expulsion of aliens together with a recommendation, in paragraph 42, that the Assembly: (a) take note of the draft articles on the expulsion of aliens in a resolution, annex the articles to the resolution and encourage their widest possible dissemination; and (b) consider, at a later stage, the elaboration of a convention on the basis of the draft articles. The Assembly welcomed the conclusion of the work of the Commission on the expulsion of aliens, expressed its appreciation to the Commissionfor its continuing contribution to the codification and progressive development of international law, took note of the recommendation of the International Law Commission contained in paragraph 42 of its report and decided that the consideration of this recommendation would be continued at the seventy-second session (resolution 69/119).

Consideration at the seventy-second session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 14th, 15th, 25th and 28th meetings, respectively on 12, 13 and 31 October 2017, and 3 November 2017 (see A/C.6/72/SR.14, 15, 25 and 28).

During the general debate on the item, statements were made by the representatives of Denmark (on behalf of the Nordic Countries), Mexico, the Sudan, Singapore, El Salvador, the Czech Republic, the United States of America, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Cuba, Indonesia, Greece, Bangladesh, Israel, Portugal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The representative of Myanmar made a statement in the exercise of the right of reply.

In their general comments delegations reiterated the critical importance of the topic, while also underlining its complexity. The contemporariness of the topic was also emphasized. Several delegations stressed the importance of striking a balance between State sovereignty and the human rights of the person expelled or in the process of expulsion. Some delegations expressed the view that aliens should only be expelled in exceptional circumstances. A number of delegations affirmed that the draft articles constituted an important contribution as guidelines to States. The view was expressed that the topic intruded directly into the domestic sphere of States and thus impaired on their capacity to enjoy discretion in this area. It was also stressed that the draft articles did not reflect customary international law.

A number of delegations made specific comments on the contents of the articles.

Several delegations expressed the view that the General Assembly should take note of the draft articles.  In that regard, it was suggested that the General Assembly also take note of the concerns raised and reservations expressed by delegations. Some delegations contemplated the possibility of the elaboration of a convention on the basis of the draft articles. It was recommended that the provisions of the draft articles should be considered during the ongoing work on developing a Global Compact on promoting Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration.

Several other delegations expressed the view that no convention on the basis of the draft articles should be elaborated, in particular because of the divergences of opinion and still evolving character of many aspects of the draft articles. In this regard, the importance of local, national and regional initiatives was emphasized. Other delegations questioned the advisability of a convention on rules already existing in other instruments applicable to human rights and refugees. Thus, several delegations considered that the elaboration of a convention was either premature or unnecessary and that the draft articles should instead serve as a set of non-binding guidelines on the expulsion of aliens.

Archived videos of plenary meetings

Video   14th meeting (12 October 2017, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Video   15th meeting (13 October 2017, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Video   25th meeting (31 October 2017, 3:00pm – 6:00pm)

Video   28th meeting (3 November 2017, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 25th meeting, on 31 October 2017, the representative of Paraguay, on behalf of the Bureau, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Expulsion of aliens” (A/C.6/72/L.13). At its 28th meeting, on 3 November 2017, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/72/L.13, without a vote.

Under the terms of the draft resolution, the General Assembly would decide to include in the provisional agenda of its seventy-fifth session an item entitled “Expulsion of aliens”, with a view to examining, inter alia, the question of the form that might be given to the articles or any other appropriate action.

Subsequent action taken by the General Assembly

The agenda item will be considered next at the seventy-fifth session (2020).

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