Sixth Committee

Sixth Committee

15 December 2020

The General Assembly today reaffirmed the vital role of the Sixth Committee (Legal) as its primary forum for considering legal questions, adopting without a vote 19 draft resolutions and 10 draft decisions recommended by the Committee, including four new requests for observer status.

19 November 2020

Concluding its seventy-fifth session today — after weeks of deliberations marked by socially distanced meetings and masked delegates — the Sixth Committee (Legal) upheld its tradition of consensus by approving without a vote 15 draft resolutions, 4 requests for observer status and 10 draft decisions, as delegates came to terms with the limitations placed on their work by the COVID‑19 pandemic and sought a way forward despite the uncertainty created by the virus.

13 November 2020

Speakers called for a regulatory framework that will underpin international cooperation efforts when protecting persons in the event of disasters and assisting affected States, as the Sixth Committee today concluded its consideration of that agenda item.

11 November 2020

As climate‑related hazards and natural phenomena continue to loom over many countries and the world continues to reel from the COVID‑19 pandemic, the debate on the protection of persons in the event of disasters took on an urgency that went beyond legal abstractions, as the Sixth Committee (Legal) today considered the Secretary‑General’s report on the matter (document A/75/214) and deliberated the merits of codifying related draft articles into an international agreement.

10 November 2020

Despite long-held principles found in the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, delegates spotlighted recent attacks against their missions and staff, as the Sixth Committee (Legal) took up the Secretary‑General’s report, “Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives” (document A/75/168).

6 November 2020

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) took up the Secretary‑General’s report on the Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law (document A/75/389), delegates praised its unique contribution to promoting the rule of law by providing high quality, accessible training in international law education, even during an unprecedented pandemic.

5 November 2020

In lieu of International Law Week - rendered impossible due to COVID‑19 - the Sixth Committee (Legal) heard oral reports from the Chair‑Designate and the Secretary of the International Law Commission today, as delegates, praising the Commission’s adaptation of work methods around the pandemic’s limitations, spotlighted the importance of its recent issuance of the first issues paper on sea‑level rise in relation to international law.

4 November 2020

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) took up the Secretary‑General’s annual report on the Status of the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts (document A/75/263), some speakers highlighted the importance of ratifying the Protocols universally, while others voiced reservations based on their national experience.

3 November 2020

Frustration with a lack of meaningful progress and divisions over the appropriate scope and application of universal jurisdiction permeated the discussion in the Sixth Committee (Legal) today, as delegates took up the report of the Secretary‑General, “The scope and application of the principle of universal jurisdiction” (document A/75/151).

23 October 2020

Complaints and concerns about the abuse of the Headquarters Agreement by the United States dominated discussion in the Sixth Committee (Legal) today, as delegations took up the report of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country.  (For background, see Press Release GA/L/3622.)

22 October 2020

Concerns about corruption, decolonization and safe havens for illicit financial flows were at the forefront today as delegates, concluding the debate on strengthening the rule of law, reported on efforts to promote the principle both nationally and internationally, while outlining how the absence of the principle diverted resources and undermined trust.  (For background, see Press Release GA/L/3621.)

20 October 2020

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) continued its debate on the rule of law at the national and international levels today, the Assistant Secretary‑General for Strategic Coordination introduced the Secretary‑General’s report on the topic, describing the challenges of promoting the rule of law and fighting corruption in the face of emerging realities such as the COVID‑19 pandemic. 

19 October 2020

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) concluded its debate on strengthening and promoting the international treaty framework today, speakers highlighted the importance of developing online tools to facilitate the treaty process and the need to correct the geographic imbalance in the registration of these instruments.

15 October 2020

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) took up the Secretary‑General’s annual reports on the administration of justice at the United Nations today, speakers welcomed the increased number of cases disposed by the Dispute Tribunal, while also highlighting the work of the Management Evaluation Unit in resolving issues before they proceeded to litigation.

14 October 2020

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) began its consideration of the International Law Commission’s draft articles on crimes against humanity, speakers debated on whether or not a convention, based on those texts, should be elaborated.

12 October 2020

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) began consideration of the annual reports on criminal accountability for United Nations officials and experts on mission today, some speakers called on Member States whose nationals were alleged to have committed a crime to provide previously requested information on those cases, while other stressed that primary jurisdictional responsibility laid with the alleged perpetrators’ State of nationality.

8 October 2020

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) continued its consideration of measures to eliminate international terrorism, delegates held a heated debate, describing the challenges to their countries and their efforts to address and combat the global threat inside and outside their national borders.

7 October 2020

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) continued its debate on measures to eliminate international terrorism, speakers grappled with the amorphous nature of the global threat, highlighting how — absent a comprehensive international convention — defining and then taking appropriate measures to combat the phenomenon, which continues to defy categorization, remained challenging. 

6 October 2020

The COVID‑19 pandemic has aggravated the challenges of fighting international terrorism, exacerbating conditions conducive to the threat and increasing the climate of misinformation and distrust, the Sixth Committee (Legal) heard today as it took up the Secretary‑General’s report on the subject and approved its work programme for the seventy‑fifth General Assembly session.

20 November 2019

As the Sixth Committee (Legal) concluded its seventy‑fourth session today by taking action via its tradition of consensus on 12 draft resolutions, 1 draft decision and 3 requests for observer status, several delegates expressed regret over a lack of forward progress in the development of international law, while others distanced themselves from certain provisions in those texts because of terminology or tacit endorsements of certain mechanisms.