Sixth Committee (Legal) — 75th session

Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country (Agenda item 171)

Documentation

Summary of work

Background (source: A/75/100)

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, 72/124, 73/212 and 74/195).

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-fourth session, the Assembly allocated the item to the Sixth Committee, where statements in the debate were made by 12 delegations (see A/C.6/74/SR.33). 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 and to make recommendations in its report to the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session (resolution 74/195).

Consideration at the seventy-fifth session

The Sixth Committee considered the item at its 9th, 10th, 15th and 19th meetings, on 22 and 23 October and on 10 and 19 November 2020. (see A/C.6/75/SR.9, 10, 15 and 19). The Chair of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country introduced the report of the Committee (A/75/26).

Statements were made by the representatives of Islamic Republic of Iran (on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)), the European Union (on behalf of its member States (the candidate countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, the country of the Stabilization and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Republic of Moldova, aligned themselves with the statement)), Cuba, Singapore, Syrian Arab Republic, Russian Federation, Nicaragua, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Islamic Republic of Iran, China and United States of America.

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, and the Committee was encouraged to continue its productive work in the same spirit of cooperation and in accordance with international law. 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. 

Concern was voiced over the remaining travel restrictions imposed by the Host Country on staff of certain missions and staff members of the Secretariat of certain nationalities, especially the more stringent restrictions that continued to affect the permanent and visiting representatives of two Missions. These restrictions were considered unjustified, selective, discriminatory, politically motivated and contrary to the Headquarters Agreement, the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and customary rules of diplomatic law. 

Concern was also expressed in relation to the non-issuance of entry visas to certain representatives of certain Member States and other difficulties experienced by some permanent missions in obtaining visas, opening bank accounts and carrying out banking transactions, as well as alleged unjustified expulsion of diplomats accredited to the United Nations and restrictions arising from the bilateral relations of the Host Country in relation to the permanent missions, their premises and their personnel.

It was further observed that the working methods of the Committee needed to be improved to ensure 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) and to consider applying the dispute settlement mechanism under section 21 of the Headquarters Agreement.

Archived videos and summaries of plenary meetings

Video   9th meeting (22 October 2020, 10:00am – 1:00pm) | Summary

Video   10th meeting (23 October 2020, 3:00pm – 6:00pm) | Summary

Video   15th meeting (10 November 2020, 10:00am – 1:00pm) | Summary

Video   19th meeting (19 November 2020, 3:00pm – 6:00pm) | Summary

Action taken by the Sixth Committee

At the 15th meeting, on 10 November, the representative of Cyprus, also on behalf of Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica and Côte d’Ivoire, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country” (A/C.6/75/L.2).

At 19th meeting, on 19 November, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.6/75/L.2 without a vote.

Under the draft resolution, the General Assembly would, inter alia, strongly urge the host country to remove all remaining travel restrictions imposed by it on staff of certain missions and staff members of the Secretariat of certain nationalities; express serious concern regarding the non-issuance of entry visas to certain representatives of certain Member States and expect the prompt issuance by the host country of entry visas to all representatives of all Member States pursuant to the Headquarters Agreement; request the Secretary-General to more actively engage in all aspects of the relations of the United Nations with the host country at various levels in order to resolve the issues raised in the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country and recommend the Secretary-General to consider and take any appropriate steps under section 21 of the Headquarters Agreement; 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-sixth session (2021).

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