UN: EU statement against motions to adjourn the debate on draft resolutions dealing with country situations

61st Session of the UN General Assembly; III Committee, Agenda Item 67(c)

Statement on behalf of the European Union against motions to adjourn the debate on draft resolutions dealing with country situations

Mr. Janne Jokinen, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations

New York, November 21, 2006

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

Mr. Chairman,

As a matter of principle, the European Union will vote against any motion to close the debate on an item under discussion in the Third Committee. The calling of such a motion aims at denying the Members States of the United Nations their sovereign right to bring before the General Assembly any concern which they themselves deem to merit its attention, and limiting the agenda of the General Assembly - in this case, the Third Committee - only to issues chosen by some of us.

During this session of the General Assembly, many delegations have repeatedly stressed the particular authority of this Committee to consider all human rights issues since it is the only such body in the United Nations system that has universal membership. If successful, motions to adjourn the debate limit that authority by preventing us from even considering the concerns of the international community.

When it comes to addressing the human rights situations in individual countries, constructive dialogue is what we all seek. However, such a dialogue is only possible when governments are genuinely committed to removing obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The General Assembly would undermine its own credibility if it remained silent on grave and widespread violations of human rights in situations where the country concerned refuses to cooperate in any meaningful manner with the United Nations human rights system. No country – large or small – can be regarded as being beyond or above consideration by international human rights fora. This would run counter to the principles of universality and interdependence of all human rights and betray the victims. No-one who is truly opposed to selectivity and double standards can support such an approach.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.