Sixth Committee (Legal) — 73rd session

Observer status for the Community of Democracies in the General Assembly (Agenda item 171)

Documentation

Summary of work

Background (source: A/73/100)

The item entitled “Observer status for the Community of Democracies in the General Assembly” was included in the agenda of the seventieth session of the Assembly at the request of El Salvador (A/70/142). The Assembly has had the item on its agenda annually since the seventieth session (decisions 70/525, 71/526 and 72/525).

At its seventy-second session, the Assembly decided to defer a decision on the item to its seventy-third session (decision 72/525).

Consideration at the seventy-third session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 14th and 31st meetings, on 15 October and 1 November 2018 (see A/C.6/73/SR.14 and 31).

Statements were made by the representatives of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Cuba, Syrian Arab Republic, Poland, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Nicaragua, Singapore and Bolivia (Plurinational State of).

Some delegations expressed their support for the granting of observer status to the Community. It was stated that, in line with its publicly available founding document, the Community’s objectives complemented those of the United Nations, including upholding the fundamental principles of democracy and protecting human rights. It was emphasized that the Community was governed by a council of senior government officials and assisted by a permanent secretariat; and that its host country agreement recognized its status as an international organization.

Some other delegations opposed the granting of observer status to the Community. They emphasized that it was not possible to determine if the criteria for obtaining observer status had been met without access to the constitutive instrument of the requesting organization; it was therefore not clear whether the composition of the organization was purely intergovernmental, and whether its activities covered matters of interest to General Assembly. It was indicated that the Community included non-State actors among its membership, and therefore was not purely intergovernmental. In addition, it was stated it would not be possible to grant observer status to an organization that sought to impose one model of democracy upon States, an action that violated international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

Archived videos of plenary meetings

Video   14th meeting (15 October 2018, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Video   31st meeting (1 November 2018, 10:00am – 11:30am)

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 14th meeting, on 15 October, the representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, also on behalf of Estonia, Finland, Mongolia, Norway, Poland and Sweden, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Observer status for the Community of Democracies in the General Assembly” (A/C.6/73/L.9) and announced that Canada, the Netherlands and Romania had joined in sponsoring the draft resolution. Subsequently, Lithuania and Ukraine also joined in sponsoring the draft resolution.

At the 31st meeting, on 1 November, the Chair of the Committee announced that the Bureau had been informed that the delegation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, on behalf of the sponsors, had requested that the Committee defer a decision on the request for observer status for the Community of Democracies in the General Assembly until the seventy-fourth session of the Assembly.

At the same meeting, the Committee adopted, without a vote, a draft decision under which the General Assembly would decide to defer a decision on the request for observer status for the Community of Democracies in the General Assembly to the seventy-fourth session of the Assembly.

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