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GA/11590
21 November 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 58th Meeting (AM)

Considering Security Council’s Annual Report, General Assembly Calls for Continued Reforms, Greater Transparency in Working Methods of 15-Nation Body

Adopting Resolution without Vote, Speakers Mark 200th Year Anniversary of Slave Trade Abolishment

As the General Assembly considered the annual report of the Security Council on its work supporting the peaceful resolution of conflicts, delegations, while acknowledging the progress made by the 15-nation body, also called for continued reforms to its working methods and greater transparency for the Organization’s wider membership as it tackled complex international crises.

The Assembly also adopted, without a vote, a draft resolution on the commemoration of the 200th year anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade, entitled “Permanent memorial to and remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.”

Gary Quinlan, Security Council President for the month of November, introduced the report, pointing to progress made during the reporting period of August 2013 to July 2014.  Among achievements were the completion of the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone and the restoration of order in Guinea-Bissau.  As well, the brigade deployed as part of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) had become fully operational.

The Council had also responded to the crisis in Syria he said, with two resolutions to protect civilians and another asking for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons programme.  In addition, it had responded quickly to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 over Ukraine, with frequent meetings held to discuss the ongoing conflict in that country.

However, while acknowledging the Council’s activities, many delegations said it had not elucidated further on the reasons behind some of its actions, with several noting that the report was not sufficiently detailed.

The representative of Costa Rica, speaking for the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group of 23 cross-regional States said that to reverse the “ritualistic” nature of the debate in the General Assembly the Council should include a representative selection of non-Members views.  He also noted that while open debates demonstrated a greater willingness for inclusion, they did not, by themselves, translate into meaningful discussions.

Echoing that, Switzerland’s delegate said that Member States must be involved in the report process at the earliest possible date.  Observing that no informal meetings for that purpose had been held this year, he urged that they be held prior to the next report’s preparation.  He also suggested that the Council organize an open debate before finalizing the report in order to hear and respond to suggestions made by the wider membership.

With support voiced for a code of conduct put forward by France that would limit the Council’s use of a veto when considering crimes of atrocity, several speakers underscored that the Council, through the use of its veto, had reneged on its responsibility to act on such crimes.  The representative of Rwanda, whose delegation had prepared the report, said he deplored the fact that the Council continued to be gridlocked on important crises that had high potential for further escalation.

Brazil’s representative also observed that the Council’s chronic inability to act promptly and substantively illustrated a worrisome pattern of dysfunction, while the delegate of Indonesia emphasized that allowing the situations in Palestine and Syria to remain unaddressed in a meaningful manner was extremely harmful for regional peace and security.

Cuba’s representatives, also calling for the elimination of the autocratic veto, as well as for a formalization of its procedures, which had been provisional for almost 70 years, pointed out that closed-door consultations should be the exception and not the rule.

The Assembly, in its session, also commemorated the 200th year anniversary of the abolishment of the slave trade, adopting without a vote a resolution entitled “Permanent Memorial to and Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade”.

Sam Kutesa, President of the General Assembly said that “the Ark of Return,” the permanent memorial honouring victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade to be unveiled in the next couple of months, would be an important vehicle to educate and inform on the causes, consequences and lessons of slavery.  Through the resolution, Member States were reaffirming the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter and Declaration of Human Rights that everyone had the right to a life of dignity, free from exploitation and abuse.The representative of Jamaica, introducing the text, said it was an issue of tremendous importance to his delegation, not just because it was leading the initiative by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Group to erect the memorial, but also because of the historic significance of slavery and its impact on his country.

Haiti’s representative, expressing profound gratitude to all those who had contributed to the programme on the slave trade and to the fund for the permanent memorial, recalled that his country had been the first to achieve independence when its people fought against slavery.  “It was from Haiti that the spark came, that allowed the flame to combat slavery in the Americas”, he stated.

Also speaking today were representatives of Iran (speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement), Liechtenstein, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Portugal, Slovenia, Estonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Algeria, the United States and Israel.

The General Assembly will next convene at 3 p.m., Monday, 24 November, to consider the question of Palestine and the situation in the Middle East.

Background

The General Assembly had before it a notification by the Secretary-General under Article 12, paragraph 2 of the Charter of the United Nations, (document A/69/300), and a Report of the Security Council, (document A/69/281).  Also before it was a follow-up to the commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, with reports of the Secretary-General (documents A/69/93 and A/69/281) and a draft resolution (document A/69/L.19).

Introduction of Security Council Report

GARY QUINLAN (Australia), Security Council President, introduced the annual report of the Council for the period of 1 August 2013 to 31 July 2014.  Over the past year, the 15-nation body had discharged its responsibilities by supporting the peaceful resolution of conflicts and undertaking peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities.  It had held 238 formal meetings and had conducted two field missions. 

Turning to the Council’s usual focus on the African continent, he said progress had been made, including the completion of the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone.  Other substantial gains were made by the Somali Armed Forces against Al-Shabaab, with the support of the African Union mission in Somalia.  Constitutional order had been restored in Guinea-Bissau, and the Force Intervention Brigade deployed as part of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) had become fully operational.  As well, the Council had responded to conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Libya.

The Council had also responded to the situation in the Middle East, adopting resolutions 2118 (2013) on the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons programme, and resolutions 2139 (2014) and 2165 (2014) to address the humanitarian situation there, he said.  A Yemen sanctions committee had been established to oversee the imposition of sanctions on “spoilers to Yemen's political transition”. 

Responding quickly to the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 in Donetsk, Ukraine, the Council had also adopted resolution 2166 (2014) to strongly condemn the incident.  It then met frequently on the ongoing conflict in the country.  In addition, a meeting had been held to extend the mandates of multiple peace and stability missions, in Afghanistan, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, Abyei, Cyprus, Burundi, Libya, the Western Sahara, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq.  On the thematic issues of civilians, children and armed conflict, and women and peace and security, the Council met frequently, also adopting significant resolutions on those issues.

Upholding the rule of law and accountability for serious crimes continued to be significant topics for the Council, he underscored, and involved periodic briefings by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and consultative meetings with the African Union and the European Union.  He said that he would convey the discussion of the report by the Assembly to his colleagues in the Security Council.

HOSSEIN DEHGHANI (Iran), speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, stressed that the Security Council should report and be accountable to the General Assembly in accordance with Article 24(3) of the Charter.  He further underscored the need for Member States to respect the function and powers of each principal organ.  In addition, Article 24 of the Charter did not necessarily provide the Council with competence to address issues falling within the functions of the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, including in the areas of norm-setting, legislation, administrative and budgetary matters and establishing definitions.  It was the Assembly that was primarily tasked with the progressive development of international law and its codification.

Thus, he reiterated concern over the continuing encroachment by the Council on the functions and powers of the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council and its attempts to expand its mandate into areas that did not pose a threat to international peace and security.  He urged the Council to confine its mandate in accordance with the Charter and called on the Presidents of the three principal organs to regularly coordinate their agendas and programmes of work to increase coherence and complementarities with a view to generating mutual understanding.  Welcomed were the informal meetings between July’s Presidents of the Council and Member States.  However, there should be more regular interactions between the Council’s July Presidency and the wider Membership to enhance the quality of the Council’s annual reports, and for the reports themselves to be more explanatory, comprehensive and analytical, and to include cases in which the Council had failed to act and views expressed by members during deliberations.

JUAN CARLOS MENDOZA (Costa Rica), speaking on behalf of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group of 23 cross-regional States, said that his group would have welcomed a stronger focus in the report on elements of reflection or analysis.  To reverse the “ritualistic” nature of the debate in the General Assembly on the matter, the Council should include a representative selection of the views of non-Members.  Annual and monthly assessments by the Council Presidencies that provided more analytical material should form an integral part of the annual report, as well.

General underlying themes and cross-cutting issues that were not formally part of the agenda should be linked to country situation analysis, he said.  The report should be an exercise in accountability in the area of the Council’s working methods.  What should be done differently in order to better maintain peace and international security should also be included, he added, making it not just retrospective but also a prospective reform-minded one.  Open debates, while demonstrating a greater willingness for openness and inclusion, did not by themselves translate into meaningful discussions.  He applauded efforts to bring about a code of conduct on the use of the veto, through which the permanent Members would commit to refraining from using their veto in cases involving atrocity crimes.

STEFAN BARRIGA (Liechtenstein), associating himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, said delegations, including his, had for some time advocated for rules on the use of the veto.  He had worked with the Group, as well as with France, to advance the discussion towards a code of conduct.  To make such code of conduct meaningful, it should contain a clear and unambiguous commitment not to vote against resolutions aimed at preventing or ending genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.  Given the irreversible consequences of the crimes involved, prevention should also be included.  The code should refer to an authoritative entity which could bring ongoing or imminent instances of such crimes to the Council’s attention.

On 15 March this year, the Russian Federation had vetoed a draft resolution, co-sponsored by his country, among others, in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea, he continued.  That had raised serious questions under Article 27(3) of the Charter, which obliges parties to a conflict to abstain on decisions taken under Chapter VI of the Charter.  Surprised that the matter had not been raised in the Council, he said the time was ripe to re-examine the application of that paragraph and encouraged a frank discussion among Council members and the membership at large on that issue.

Asoke Kumar Mukerji (India) pointed out that the Charter mandated the Council to submit annual reports to the General Assembly, which exemplified the accountability of the Council to the larger membership of the Assembly.  However, Council resolutions agreed to before the participation of Member States reduced the Assembly’s contribution to “mere tokenism”.  If not checked in time, such actions defeated the principle of participation.  Though the outcomes of Council meetings and actions were accessible through its website, he asked for more information on how those decisions were taken, the sensitivities with which they were made and whether the Council’s procedures were applied consistently.  Furthermore, the Council should consult the troop contributing countries for an objective assessment of the implications of mandates on the impartial nature of peacekeeping.  Using events in the Golan Heights and Mali as examples, he called on the Council to take urgent steps to investigate and penalize perpetrators of terrorist acts against peacekeepers.  He also asked for regular interactive sessions with the Assembly to address issues of counter-terrorism.

MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan) said that the Security Council’s action or inaction had been watched by the media, especially social media, and the world citizenry had asked why the Security Council could not pronounce itself on many issues.  The Security Council’s actions should have broad “street” credibility; that body had to be perceived as fair and unbiased.  He said he fully understood the need to explore ways to adapt United Nations peacekeeping to the dynamic nature of conflicts.  An extensive dialogue among key stakeholders, including financially contributing countries, was necessary, and he welcomed the Secretary-General’s ongoing review of peacekeeping.  Steps taken to improve the working methods of the Council, such as the appointment of more pen-holders from elected Members of the Council, were also acknowledged.

ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) said that, as the situation on the ground further deteriorated in Syria, the Council’s chronic inability to act promptly and substantively illustrated a worrisome pattern of dysfunction.  Despite their irrefutable importance, resolutions 2139 (2014) and 2165 (2014) fell short of dealing with some of the most crucial aspects of the Syrian conflict.  He asked how long it would take the Council to adopt a common position against the continuing militarization of the crisis.  In addition, while it had held a significant number of meetings on the Middle East, the Council’s deliberation had little influence on the ground.  Had its past resolutions on the matter been fully implemented, illegal unilateral actions might not have reigned with impunity, the situation might not have become so tragic and the gap between the parties might not have grown so wide.  On the relationship between the Council and the International Criminal Court, he said the Council should strive to preserve a balance between upholding instruments of international criminal justice, while responding with wisdom to requests that were legally sound and met with wide political support.

AMR ABOULATTA (Egypt) urged that the growing trend by the Council to conduct a substantive portion of its work in open format should be further enhanced, observing that 218 out of 238 formal meetings held during the reporting period had been public.  In that regard, future reports should better reflect the contributions by the broader membership to the Council’s work, including open debates.  Also, the report must be more analytical rather than a narrative compilation of events.  Part of the efforts invested in that report should be allocated to assessment and evaluations.  He encouraged the inclusion of monthly assessments prepared by the monthly presidents in the annual report.  As a considerable amount of the Council’s work took place in its subsidiary bodies, they should also provide annual assessments of their work and incorporate it in the Council’s annual report.

ÁLVARO MENDONÇA E MOURA (Portugal) said that discussion of the Council’s report in the Assembly should aim at strengthening the relationship between the two bodies.  He suggested that, in future, the presentation of the report could focus the Assembly’s debate on selected aspects of Council activity reflected in it.  The report itself could present more informative monthly assessments, particularly on meetings held under consultations that gave a clearer picture of the difficulties encountered and reasons for action or inaction.  The Council could also suggest areas on which it would welcome comments and observations, without preventing delegations from commenting on anything they wished.  Furthermore, public briefings could evolve into “debates” following the intervention of the briefer so that Council members could speak for the record, contributing to increasing transparency and accountability.  He also said he saw “horizon scanning”, mentioned in the report, as a good preventive measure, and he encouraged the Council to devote more time to “scanning” potential threats.

Olivier Nduhungirehe (Rwanda), thanking the Member States for their contributions to the report, which his delegation had prepared, said he hoped in the future the Council would add an assessment on its effectiveness.  The world had witnessed an unprecedented increase in conflicts and in most of those situations the Council had adopted resolutions to address them, including those that addressed Syria’s chemical weapons programme and its humanitarian crisis.  He deplored that the Council continued to be gridlocked on important crises that had high potential for further escalation, and reiterated support for a code of conduct for the “P5” reform proposal put forward by France.

The first ever council resolution on genocide prevention reaffirmed Member States’ collective responsibility to protect, he said.  It was regrettable that those who had committed atrocities 20 years ago were still in operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  He hoped that MONUSCO and the Government would take the appropriate actions with regards to resolutions 2098 (2013) and 2147 (2014).  His Government believed that the best protection for conflict was to address root causes and urged the Council to move away from daily management of crises, to the more effective strategy of preventing them.  It was critical for the Council to continue working on its reform.

Andrej Logar (Slovenia), associating himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group and stating his membership in that body, said that he was aware of the complex topics the Security Council had tried to address.  On some occasions, it had not been able to deliver on time, or at all.  The Council should be based on transparent, accountable and coherent procedures.  The number of decisions taken by them was increasing, and needed was a concrete plan of implementation that could be reviewed on occasions like the present debate.  New items were added to the Council’s agenda, but none had been removed.  Decisions taken by the Security Council had an effect on all, and he called for voluntary commitments not to use the veto in cases of atrocity crimes. 

KAMAPRADIPTA ISNOMO (Indonesia), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, voiced deep concern about certain cases of inaction by the Council.  That the situations in Palestine and Syria had remained unaddressed in a meaningful manner was extremely harmful for regional peace and security, thus negating the very principles of the Charter, international and humanitarian law, and seriously calling into question the Council’s credibility and intentions.  He would have welcomed a more analytical report, describing the factors that had led the Council to decide in a certain way.  Member States, which had entrusted the Council to act on their behalf for the maintenance of international peace and security, should know fully why it had not taken substantive action on a situation that threatened the peace and security of people and where casualties had occurred.

MARGUS KOLGA (Estonia) said the Council’s responsibility for maintaining peace and security should be clear and understandable to all Member States.  To fulfil that goal, the Council should normally meet in public.  Even in the case of closed meetings, it should keep and publish detailed records.  The wider Member States’ involvement should be continuous, from the beginning to the final implementation of a decision.  He asked that the Council refer atrocity crimes to the International Criminal Court in a way that would fully empower the Court to fulfil its mandate.  The Council needed to follow up with the Court to make sure decisions were carried out, including warrants of arrest.  Several resolutions on crimes of atrocity had been blocked by permanent Members of the Council, he noted, expressing support for the proposal by France on establishing a code of conduct on voluntary restraint in the use of the veto in in those cases.  He reiterated calls for more transparency and involvement of the Assembly in the selection of the next Secretary-General in 2016.

HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia) said, as an incoming member, that the Security Council’s relationship to the other principal organs should be improved.  Each body should respect the jurisdiction, roles and responsibilities of the others and better coordinate their work.  During his term on the Council he would work towards that end.  While the Council had taken important decisions on key issues during the reporting period, it remained paralysed on others, including the Palestine-Israel conflict.  He encouraged the Council to continue considering fresh approaches.  Noting that the wider Membership’s calls for greater transparency, coherence and accountability had been implemented through increased use of Arría-formula meetings and open briefings, he said more could be done.  The Council should also address the call for the annual report to be more accessible and concise, while remaining comprehensive, and underscored the need for closer interaction and better cooperation between the Council and the Assembly.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said that the Security Council, despite its flaws, was still the world’s only body in the multilateral context within the international order.  It was necessary to respond to many conflicts at international levels.  International organized crime, the radicalization of youth, pandemics, terrorism, and violent extremism were scourges which were mutually reinforcing as they impacted crumbling societies.  The root causes were poverty, illiteracy, and other circumstances, he said, urging the international community to act against those challenges.  That was not possible without increased cooperation.  His Government continued on a national level to take measures, including sharing its knowledge and experience in that area, to contribute towards strengthening cooperation.

PAUL SEGER (Switzerland), associating himself with the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, said States must be involved in the report process at the earliest possible date.  No informal meetings for that purpose had been held this year and he urged that they be held prior to the next report’s preparation, perhaps organized as informal workshops that tackled country or thematic issues.  He suggested that the Council organize an open debate before finalizing the report in order to hear and respond to suggestions made by the wider membership.  In terms of substance, the report should not be limited to a retrospective view.  Rather, it should present lessons learned and best practices in each area covered.  In the current report, debate summaries were often incomplete.  The reasons why members had used the veto should be included, as should information on visits undertaken by the Council.

Oscar León González (Cuba), associating his delegation with the Non-Aligned Movement, said unfortunately every year the Assembly met to analyse similar reports by the Council, which lacked a real critical analysis.  The report merely described the Council’s actions, and there was no true assessment of the causes and implications of the actions taken by it or the reasons that no decisions had been made in response to some threats to international peace and security.  That was far from authentic accountability.  He reiterated his concern regarding the rising trend of the Council to take on issues not under its purview.  The Assembly was the principal organ of deliberation and decision-making.  The Council’s inability to carry out reform meant it was not truly democratic or transparent.  Closed-door consultations should be the exception and not the rule.  He asked for the elimination of the autocratic veto, as well as for a formalization of its procedures which had been provisional for almost 70 years.  Member States should put an end to the usurpation of their role by the Council.  A more transparent Council would be a more legitimate, accessible, inclusive and effective body.

DJAMEL MOKTEFI (Algeria), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated concerns over the continuing encroachment by the Council on the functions and powers of the Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.  He called on the presidents of all three bodies to coordinate their agendas and programmes of work to increase coherence and complementarities.  Furthermore, the Council’s annual report continued to be a procedural overview and lacked an analytic perspective on its work.  The current report did not give the Assembly a sense of the debates that had taken place and, as no mention was made of what happened during informal discussions, of what had actually occurred on various agenda issues.  He called on the Council to submit an annual report that was more explanatory, comprehensive and analytical, and that expressed the views put forward by its members during deliberations.

Mr. KUTESA said that many delegations had highlighted the need for the Security Council to carry out its work in a more efficient and responsive fashion, but had also expressed appreciation for the Council’s work in the maintenance of international peace and security.  Speakers had called on the Security Council to demonstrate a greater decisiveness on complex issues that appeared on its agenda.  Delegates had also called on the Council to pay greater attention to the role of preventive diplomacy and for greater consultation and cooperation with troop- and police-contributing countries on issues related to peacekeeping, while respecting the role of the Special Committee on Peace-keeping Operations.  Many delegations had also stressed that the report should be even more analytical and substantive in the future, he said, adding that he had listed the proposals made, and would follow up with the President of the Security Council so the matters could be discussed in depth.

200th Anniversary of Abolition of Transatlantic Slave Trade

Mr. KUTESA said eight years after the adoption of resolution 61/19 titled, “Commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade,” the unveiling of a permanent memorial to honour victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade would be unveiled in the next couple of months.  The memorial, “The Ark of Return,” would occupy a prominent place at the United Nations and would be an important vehicle to educate and inform on the causes, consequences and lessons of slavery.

He urged Member States who had not yet done so to consider contributing to the trust fund, thus ensuring that the project would be completed.  The memorial and the Slave Route Project under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) contributed to a global conversation that could help break down barriers raised by discrimination, racism and intolerance.  Next year’s commemoration would focus on women and slavery.  With the adoption of the General Assembly resolution, Member States would be reaffirming the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter and Declaration of Human Rights that everyone had the right to a life of dignity, free from exploitation and abuse.

COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), introducing the draft resolution entitled, “Permanent Memorial to and Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade,”, said the text was an issue of tremendous importance to his delegation, not just because it was leading the initiative by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Group to erect the memorial, but also because of the historic significance of slavery and its impact on his country.  Jamaica and other countries like his faced realities that owed much of their origin to the crime against humanity perpetuated upon millions of their ancestors over centuries.  They were confronted by disadvantages in the global economic system, many of which found their roots in the inequalities arising out of slavery and colonialism.  He commended the Department of Public Information for its work in conducting educational outreach and public awareness.  Steady progress on the permanent memorial initiative continued, with the goal of unveiling it on 25 March, 2015, for the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  He urged Member States who had not yet done so to contribute to the memorial’s trust fund.

Leslie Berger Kiernan (United States), voicing support for the establishment of a permanent memorial to the transatlantic slave trade, noted that this year also marked the twentieth anniversary of UNESCO’S “Slave Route Project”.  The contributions made by enslaved Africans to building cultures were being acknowledged, reminding the world that the international community had to continue to study the history of slavery and the slave trade.  The children in her country studied slavery to understand racism and the challenges that remained.  As a multi-cultural society, the United States continued to press forward on eliminating discrimination in its own country.  The international community needed to learn from and redeem the past. MORDEHAI AMIHAI BIVAS (Israel) said that the more than 350 years of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which uprooted and placed thirty million people in bondage, remained one of the longest and most sustained assaults on the lives and dignity of human beings in history.  Generation after generation were born, toiled and died without knowing freedom, but “they do live on in our memory,” he said. The Jewish people shared the pain of slavery and thus understood the yearning for freedom.  Slavery’s long arm continued to touch the modern world, living on in discrimination and inequality, racism and prejudice.  The most fitting tribute that could be paid slavery’s victims was to address those issues.  “Wherever a child is forced into hard labour, wherever a woman is sold into prostitution, we must put into action the responsibility that comes with memory,” he said.

ASOKE K. MUKERJI (India) said that the transatlantic slave trade had undeniably been one of the most inhumane chapter of recorded human history.  Having completely altered the socio-economic fabric of African society, its legacy continued in the form of racism and prejudice.  Welcoming programmes undertaken by the Department of Public Information to commemorate the “International Day of Remembrance”, he added that it was important that regular and adequate financing was allocated to the Department in organizing those events.  Through education and remembrance, the international community had to build in future generations an understanding of the causes, consequences and lessons of the slave trade so that the horrors of the past were not perpetuated through racism and prejudice. 

Denis Régis (Haiti) expressed his profound gratitude to all those who had contributed to the programme on the slave trade and to the fund for the permanent memorial.  Two hundred and ten years ago, the “Republic of Haiti” was established, he said, pointing out that his country had been the first nation to achieve independence after its people fought against slavery.  Recalling a speech by Michel Jean, a Haitian citizen and Envoy for UNESCO, he stated “It was from Haiti that the spark came, that allowed the flame to combat slavery in the Americas.”  He thanked the United Nations Department of Public Information, civil society and Member States for their awareness activities.

The General Assembly then adopted the resolution, entitled “Permanent memorial to and remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade” without a vote.

For information media. Not an official record.