Sixth Committee (Legal) — 73rd session

Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (Agenda item 167)


Summary of work

Background (source: A/73/100)

At its twenty-sixth session, the General Assembly established the Committee on Relations with the Host Country and decided to include the item entitled “Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country” in the provisional agenda of its twenty-seventh session (resolution 2819 (XXVI)).

The Assembly has had the item on its agenda annually since its twenty-seventh session (resolutions 3033 (XXVII), 3107 (XXVIII), 3320 (XXIX), 3498 (XXX), 31/101, 32/46, 33/95, 34/148, 35/165, 36/115, 37/113, 38/140, 39/87, 40/77, 41/82, 42/210 A and B, 42/229 A and B, 42/230, 42/232, 43/48, 43/49, 43/172, 44/38, 45/46, 46/60, 47/35, 48/35, 49/56, 50/49, 51/163, 52/159, 53/104, 54/104, 55/154, 56/84, 57/22, 58/78, 59/42, 60/24, 61/41, 62/72, 63/130, 64/120, 65/35, 66/108, 67/100, 68/120, 69/128, 70/121, 71/152 and 72/124).

At present, the Committee is composed of the following 19 Member States: Bulgaria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, France, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Russian Federation, Senegal, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America.

At its seventy-second session, the Assembly allocated the item to the Sixth Committee, where statements in the debate were made by 11 delegations (see A/C.6/72/SR.27). The Assembly endorsed the recommendations and conclusions of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country contained in its report. The Assembly requested the Committee to continue its work in conformity with resolution 2819 (XXVI) and, in that framework, to continue to consider additional appropriate measures to enhance its work and effectiveness (resolution 72/124).

Consideration at the seventy-third session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 32nd meeting on 2 November 2018 (see A/C.6/73/SR.32). The Chair of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country introduced the report of the Committee (A/73/26).

Statements were made by the representatives of the European Union (also on behalf of its member States (the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, the country of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, aligned themselves with the statement)), Syrian Arab Republic, Cuba, the Russian Federation, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Mauritius and the United States of America.

Statements were further made by the representatives of the Russian Federation, Syrian Arab Republic and Cuba in exercise of the right to reply.

The conclusions and recommendations formulated by the Committee were endorsed, with some delegations noting its important role in handling a variety of matters that the large, diverse and dynamic diplomatic community may face in the context of the relationship between the host country and the United Nations. Appreciation of the fact that the Committee continued to be an open and efficient forum was also expressed. It was further emphasized that the observance of privileges and immunities of diplomatic personnel was an issue of great importance, based on solid legal principles, and the necessity to safeguard the integrity of the relevant body of international law, particularly the Headquarters Agreement between the United Nations and the Host Country, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations was underlined.  Appreciation of the host country’s efforts to accommodate the needs, interests and requirements of the diplomatic community in various areas was also expressed, and the Committee was encouraged to continue its productive work in the same spirit of cooperation and in accordance with international law. 

Concern was voiced over alleged restrictions on movements of some diplomats accredited to the United Nations and international civil servants, including secondary screening procedures, with some delegations stressing that this was unjust, selective, discriminatory, politically motivated and contrary to the Headquarters Agreement, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and to the customary rules of diplomatic law.  Concern was also expressed in relation to difficulties in obtaining visas, opening bank accounts and carrying out banking transactions as well as alleged unjustified expulsion of civil servants and restrictions arising from the bilateral relations of the Host Country in relation to the permanent missions, their premises and their personnel. In connection with the latter point, the Host Country noted that unimpeded travel to unofficial events or for recreational purposes was not required by the Headquarters Agreement or any other international agreement. The need for the host country to take appropriate action, such as the training of police, security, customs and border control officers, with a view to maintaining respect for diplomatic privileges and immunities, was also noted.

It was further observed that the working methods of the Host Committee needed to be improved as, e.g., there was no meaningful interaction between the Committee and observer States in terms of negotiation and preparation of the recommendations and conclusions of the Committee.  The Secretary-General was called upon to ensure that the Host Country strictly and fully complied with the provisions of the Headquarters Agreement in accordance with General Assembly resolution 2819 (XXVI).

Archived videos of plenary meetings

Video   32nd meeting (2 November 2018, 10:00am – 11:30am)

Video   35th meeting (13 November 2018, 10:00am – 1:00pm)

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 35th meeting, on 13 November 2018, the representative of Cyprus, on behalf of the Bureau, introduced the draft resolution entitled “Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country” (A/C.6/73/L.18).

At the same meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/73/L.18 without a vote.

Under the draft resolution, the General Assembly would, inter alia: urge the host country to address alleged ongoing violations of the privileges and immunities applicable to the premises of the permanent missions to the United nations under international law and to remove without delay any restrictions applied to the premises of a Permanent Mission inconsistent with those privileges and immunities; recall that before proceedings requiring persons referred to in article IV, section 11 of the Headquarters Agreement to leave the host country are instituted, meaningful consultations by the host country with the Member State, the Secretary-General or other principal executive officer are required; anticipate that the host country will continue to enhance its efforts to ensure the issuance of entry visas to representatives of Member States and members of the Secretariat; request the Secretary-General to actively engage in the work of the Committee; and request the Committee to continue its work in conformity with Assembly resolution 2819 (XXVI).

Subsequent action taken by the General Assembly

This agenda item will be considered at the seventy-fourth session (2019).

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