63rd Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 73rd Session

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20-Dec-2018 01:07:22
Assistance to Palestinian people, compliance with court ruling concerning violation of Convention on Consular Relations among texts adopted by General Assembly at 62nd and 63rd plenary meetings.

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The General Assembly today adopted resolutions and decisions of its Second (Economic and Financial) and Sixth (Legal) Committees, also adopting four texts — including one calling for compliance with International Court of Justice judgments — from its plenary session.

The Assembly adopted, as orally revised, a resolution related to the judgment of the International Court of Justice of 31 March 2004 concerning “Avena and Other Mexican Nationals” (document A/73/L.63) by a recorded vote of 69 in favour to 4 against (Israel, Liberia, Marshall Islands, United States), with 66 abstentions. Through it, the Assembly urgently calls for full and immediate compliance with the Court’s judgment.

The representative of Mexico, who introduced the draft, said the Court issued its judgment in 2004 in a case presented by his Government related to violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and of due process involving over 50 cases of Mexican nationals sentenced to death in the United States. The Court determined the United States failed to provide necessary consular information and failed to allow Mexico to provide consular services. As a result, the Court ordered the review of 51 cases of Mexicans nationals, he said, warning that the United States is failing to comply with the judgment.

The representative of the United States, explaining her country’s position before adoption of the text, said it was inappropriate for such a bilateral matter to be brought before the General Assembly. The United States takes seriously its international obligations related to consular access and would vote “no” because the Assembly is not the proper venue for discussions on the matter.

Several speakers disagreed with that assessment, with the representative of Brazil stressing that “the duty to comply with the Court is established in the Charter of the United Nations”. As a result, the General Assembly can discuss Court-related matters, he said.

Earlier in the day the Assembly — acting without a vote — adopted a text on “assistance to the Palestinian people” (document A/73/L.69), through which it urges Member States, international financial institutions of the United Nations system, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and regional and interregional organizations to extend, as rapidly and as generously as possible, economic and social assistance to the Palestinian people.

“Despite challenges emanating from Israeli occupation, the State of Palestine has made progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said the observer of the State of Palestine after the text’s adoption. He warned that the lack of a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the greatest obstacle to sustainable development for the Palestinian people.

The General Assembly also adopted the resolution “cooperation between the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)” (document A/73/L.72) by a recorded vote of 142 in favour to 0 against, with 12 abstentions, having first decided to retain operative paragraph 6 by a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 11 against, with 19 abstentions.

Consideration of the draft, through which the Assembly takes note of the annual report for 2016 and the draft report for 2017 of OPCW submitted on its behalf by its Director General, saw representatives raise concerns over the apparent politicization of a historically procedural text.

“Several countries are politicizing the text by selectively targeting Syria and other Member States,” warned Syria’s representative after the text’s adoption.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly also adopted a resolution on cooperation between the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (document A/73/L.71), through which it reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations and the group to develop the partnership between the two organizations. It further encourages the United Nations to continue to work closely with ASEAN in implementing the 2030 Agenda.

Turning to the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), the General Assembly adopted 38 resolutions and one decision largely aimed at bolstering global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

By a resolution on international trade and development, adopted in a recorded vote of 184 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions, the Assembly emphasized the need to combat protectionism and rectify trade-distorting measures inconsistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements.

Adopting a resolution on protection of global climate for present and future generations of humankind, the Assembly expressed alarm that greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise worldwide, stating that it remains concerned that all nations are experiencing an increase in adverse climate change impacts.

A further resolution addressed the oil slick on Lebanese shores, which was adopted in a recorded vote of 166 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tonga). By that text, the Assembly expressed deep concern about the adverse implications of Israel’s destruction of oil tanks near Lebanon’s Jiyah electric power plant for achieving sustainable development in the country.

Another resolution was adopted on agriculture development, food security and nutrition by a recorded vote of 185 in favour to 1 against (United States). By its terms, the Assembly expressed concern that the world is falling behind in eradicating hunger and malnutrition by 2030, noting that scarce and unsustainably managed natural resources, climate change, drought, desertification and conflict are preventing progress.

Additional resolutions spotlighted financing for development; illicit financial flows; the international financial system; external debt; small island developing States; the El Niño phenomenon; desertification; biological diversity; the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); water for sustainable development; harmony with nature; sand and dust storms; radiation in Central Asia; the Caribbean Sea; entrepreneurship; affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy; Agenda 21; disaster risk reduction; World Food Safety Day; World Pulses Day; and International Year of Plant Health 2020.

Further resolutions concerned permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources; international migration; the new international economic order; least developed countries; landlocked developing countries; operational activities; South-South cooperation; the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); and global partnerships. The Assembly also adopted a decision titled draft provisional rules of procedure and provisional agenda of the second high-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation.

The Assembly also adopted the programme of work of the Second Committee for the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly.

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