Speakers Conclude Debate on Protection of Diplomatic, Consular Missions
With the increasing complexity of international law and a growing need for legal education, the Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law – funded by the United Nations regular budget – was fulfilling its important mandate by offering high‑quality legal training through its Regional Courses, publications and the Audiovisual Library, the Sixth Committee (Legal) heard today as it began its consideration of the Programme.
Jessica M. Elbaz, Secretary of the Advisory Committee of the Programme of Assistance, introduced the report of the Secretary‑General (document A/73/415), underscoring that funding by the regular budget of the United Nations had enabled the Programme to organize four training programmes in international law, including the three Regional Courses in International Law for Africa, Asia‑Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean. Given that only a limited number of lawyers attend these seminars, she emphasized the importance of the Audiovisual Library of International Law and its free, high‑quality online training.
In efforts to make the Library more accessible and address the lack of high‑speed Internet in certain countries, she highlighted the completion of the Codification Division’s podcast project, with over 500 lectures now in audio format that can be accessed even with a weak Internet connection. In addition, the French equivalent of the International Law Handbook – a four-volume collection of key international law texts and a principal resource used at the training courses – was published.
Vladimir Jares, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, updated delegates on the implementation of the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea. Established in 1981 to assist Government officials and other professionals from developing States to acquire additional knowledge on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Fellowship has supported 32 Fellows from 29 developing countries, he said.
It is important, he added, for developing countries to participate in ocean‑related processes, thereby ensuring effective implementation of maritime international law, such as the Convention on the Law of the Sea and its two implementing Agreements. Due to insufficient funds, however, no awards were made in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2016. Only a small award was made in 2017. It is critical that funding is made available for the Fellowships, he said.
Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, the representative of Ghana, speaking for the Advisory Committee of the Programme of Assistance, also highlighted the importance of funding, noting the large number of applications received in the past year for the International Law Fellowship Programme and Regional Courses makes it evident that there is a clear need for training. Applauding the Audiovisual Library for the launch of podcasts this year, she called it “a step in the right direction”.
Echoing the need to ensure consistent funding, the representative of Barbados, speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), emphasized that in an increasingly complex, globalized and inter‑connected world with an increasing number of multilateral treaties, it is vital that the Programme of Assistance continues to receive the resources it needs to carry out its mandate. Stressing that the Programme’s financing should continue to fall within the regular budget of the United Nations, she encouraged States and interested parties to make voluntary contributions to the Programme’s various activities.
A number of delegates also spoke of how the Programme of Assistance has assisted their States through the Regional Courses, workshops and resources, while other speakers called for resources to be expanded.
Tonga’s representative spotlighted the Programme’s contributions to building the capacity of legal counsels and legal policy advisers in his country. For his small island developing State, limited human, technical and financial capacities “are not mere rhetoric but our reality”, he said, pointing to the inability to retain legal practitioners within the Attorney General’s Office. The Programme’s support enabled Tonga to actively engage in the international arena.
Paraguay, that country’s delegate said, takes full advantage of its participation in the Programme, and he highlighted the “multiplier effect” with Paraguayan participants in Programme courses also working in departments dealing with the United Nations and international affairs. However, the Audiovisual Library will have a similar effect only when its contents are made available in Spanish, he pointed out.
The representative of Mexico added her voice to that request, pointing out that Spanish is spoken by 480 million people around the world as their mother tongue. She called for making the relevant documents available in all six official languages of the United Nations.
In the Programme’s 53 years of existence, the representative of Mauritius noted, statistics showed increasing interest in its different activities, especially in Africa. However, he also observed that the Programme activities require applicants to have a legal background. Urging that these educational opportunities include not only participants with backgrounds in law but also those in the diplomatic sector, he requested short‑term trainings and workshops on international law for diplomats, especially from Africa and developing countries.
The Sixth Committee also concluded its debate on the protection of diplomatic and consular representatives today with Sudan’s representative stressing that special attention must be paid to terrorists and other threats that might prompt embassies or consular sections to close.
Afghanistan’s delegate recalled that even as diplomatic and consular missions arrived in his newly democratic country, the continued threat of terrorism has spared no one, including military and humanitarian personnel. His Government investigated such incidents and shared the findings with relevant countries.
Also speaking in that debate were representatives of Cameroon, Timor‑Leste, Uruguay, Syria and Iran.
Speaking during the debate on the Programme of Assistance were representatives of Egypt (for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Gambia (for the African Group), El Salvador (for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Cambodia (for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Finland (also for Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), Brazil, Portugal, Sudan, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Lebanon, Gabon, South Africa, China, Russian Federation, United States, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Togo, Uruguay, Namibia, Monaco, Peru, Bangladesh, Singapore, Nigeria, Morocco, Ethiopia, Algeria, Cuba and Timor‑Leste, as well as the European Union.
The representative of Ukraine spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Sixth Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 22 October to begin its consideration of the report of the International Law Commission.
Statements on Diplomatic Protection
ZACHARIE SERGE RAOUL NYANID (Cameroon), expressing concern about incidents of harassment against diplomatic and consular representatives, said that such acts of violence are unjustifiable and must be vigorously condemned. The host State has the duty to protect diplomatic and consular missions as well as international organizations. This is necessary to maintaining cordial relations between nations and for fulfilling the United Nations Charter. Some of the first rules of international conduct in history have to do with the protection of emissaries, he noted, adding that such privileges and immunities are mutually beneficial to all States.
FONSECA DOS SANTOS PEREIRA (Timor‑Leste) condemned acts of violence against diplomatic missions and called for such acts to be fully investigated, with a view to preventing impunity and bringing offenders to justice. Without prejudice to their sovereign rights and the principle of non‑intervention, Member States should apply rules of international law on diplomatic and consular relations, as well as practical measures to prevent and prohibit illegal activities. He highlighted the importance of the diplomatic and consular functions performed by representatives in developing friendly relations and strengthening cooperation among States.
MARÍA ALEJANDRINA SANDE (Uruguay) said that the obligation of protection has a counterpart, that of diplomats respecting the laws of the host State. Diplomatic immunities are a fundamental guarantee for the foundations of diplomatic law and one of the oldest standards of international law. Stressing that her country has not committed any act of aggression that violates these treaty‑based laws which date back very far in history, she condemned all acts of violence against diplomats and consular representatives. States also have the obligation to show respect for the inviolability of premises, documents and communications in addition to respecting the immunity of representatives.
MASOUD SULTANI (Afghanistan) recalled that following the horrendous attacks of 11 September 2001, the global community helped his country begin a new chapter in its history by ushering in democracy. That brought with it a substantial number of diplomatic and consular missions based in Kabul. The continued threat of terrorism has spared no one, including military and humanitarian personnel working in the country. In November 2016, extremists attacked a German consular office in a northern city and Afghan security forces, together with German forces, suppressed the attack. In January 2017, the Governor’s guest house in Kandahar Province was attacked while a humanitarian mission was taking place. Noting that his Government investigated such incidents and shared the findings with relevant countries, he stressed that Afghanistan will continue to fulfil its obligations to ensure the protection of diplomatic and consular representatives.
AMMAR AL ARSAN (Syria), associating himself with the Russian Federation, said that respect by all Governments for the protection and immunity for diplomatic and consular representatives is a legal and moral obligation. It is unacceptable that this commitment would be subject to any type of threat or reprisals. Nothing can justify Governments’ manipulation of legal texts and international conventions covering diplomatic and consular relations. The correct interpretation of these treaties and conventions depends on the serious will of host Governments to comply with their obligations. His Government has strengthened its personnel and security teams for protection of property and diplomatic and consular representation in Damascus and elsewhere. That has been done to avoid any failure on the part of the Syrian Government to comply with its commitments. He underscored that Syria has not received the same commitment with respect to the two Vienna Conventions on diplomatic protections. Some host Governments have demonstrated political biases towards his country, he said.
SATTAR AHMADI (Iran) said that the fundamental principle of inviolability of diplomatic and consular missions and their representatives is a universally accepted norm and a well‑defined obligation under international law that has been observed for centuries among nations. However, some Iranian diplomatic and consular missions and their personnel have been targeted by illegal acts, including intrusion and serious damages and even terrorist attacks in the past two years. “In this respect, a Showman who is now staying in the United States has been provoking his followers on social media to resort to acts of violence, terrorism and vandalism, both inside and outside Iran, including by setting public places such as mosques and banks on fire”, he stated. This individual recently asked his followers to identify and attack Iranian embassies, diplomats and their families all over the world. It is unfortunate that this person is free to incite violence and acts of sabotage using online platforms. Such acts have jeopardized the security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.
ELSADIG ALI SAYED AHMED (Sudan), associating himself with the African Group, said that the protection of diplomatic and consular representatives and missions, archives, documents and communications is the cornerstone of international relations. Those privileges are granted to ensure that State representatives are able to fulfil their tasks effectively. Special attention must be paid to terrorists and other threats that might prompt embassies or consular sections to close. Given such violations, efforts must continue to protect these officials and premises to ensure international relations are safeguarded. He condemned all violations against consular and diplomatic missions and their representatives, as well as the missions of intergovernmental organizations and their staff.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Ukraine said that his country takes all appropriate steps to protect diplomatic and consular officials. Noting that the Secretary‑General’s report contains information submitted by his delegation on incidents concerning the Russian Federation, he said these included a number of violations to Ukrainian missions in that country. Many of these incidents, including attacks on the Embassy of Ukraine and damage to its property, did not receive any reaction from Russian law enforcement agencies, he said.
Opening Remarks on Programme of Assistance
MARTHA AMA AKYAA POBEE (Ghana), Advisory Committee on the Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law, said that it was evident from the large number of applications received for the International Law Fellowship Programme and Regional Courses in International Law in the past year that there was a clear need for training. It is gratifying that the current provision in the regular budget has made it possible to hold all three regional courses, she said, thanking Ethiopia, Thailand and Chile for hosting the courses.
Applauding the Audiovisual Library for the launch of podcasts this year, she called it “a step in the right direction”. It significantly increases accessibility for those who do not have the benefit of high‑speed Internet. Another challenge is to cater to those without any Internet connectivity at all. The Library, coupled with international law materials available on USB flash drives and CD‑ROMs as well as the desktop publishing facility, remain strong elements of the Programme of Assistance.
JESSICA M. ELBAZ, Secretary of the Advisory Committee, Programme of Assistance, noting that the Programme is in its fifty‑third year, said that the need for international law training and research materials has increased in proportion to the increasing complexity of international law issues. Thanks to the resources provided under the regular budget of the United Nations, this year the Codification Division was able to, once again, organize four training programmes in international law: the International Law Fellowship Programme in The Hague and three regional courses, for Africa, Asia‑Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
Announcing the recent issuance of the French equivalent of the International Law Handbook, she added that the publication, a four‑volume reference book containing a collection of key instruments of international law, is a principal resource used at the training courses. If there are sufficient voluntary contributions, the Handbook will be prepared in other official languages as well. Given that only a limited number of lawyers can take advantage of the training programmes, she underscored that it is especially important to continue maintaining and enriching the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law.
The Audiovisual Library offers online training that is both high quality and free of charge to an unlimited number of people across the globe, she continued. During the reporting period, 50 new lectures were added to it and significant efforts were made to improve its accessibility. Noting that in some parts of the world, the lack of high‑speed Internet posed challenges to accessing lectures in video format on the Library website, she added that the Codification Division has successfully completed its podcast project. Over 500 lectures are now available as audio files which make them easier to access even with a weak Internet connection.
While expressing gratitude to the General Assembly for putting the Codification Division in the regular budget, she added that in order for the Programme of Assistance to reach its full potential, voluntary contributions continue to be indispensable. Thanking China, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Kingdom for their donations, she added that applications for the Regional Course for International Law in Africa will be accepted this month. She called on delegates to share the information with qualified candidates.
VLADIMIR JARES, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, gave an update on the implementation of the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea. Capacity‑building activities are one of the core mandates of the Secretary‑General under relevant resolutions of the General Assembly. The Fellowship was established in 1981 to assist Government officials and other professionals from developing States to acquire additional knowledge on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, in order to promote its wider application and enhance specialized experience in maritime affairs.
To date, 32 Fellows from 29 developing countries have completed the Fellowship, of which 15 are women and 17 are men, he continued. These professionals are now making important contributions in their respective countries and regions. It is important for developing countries to build and maintain the capacity to participate in ocean‑related processes. This enables better understanding and effective implementation of maritime international law, such as the Convention on the Law of the Sea and its two implementing Agreements, among others, as well as the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and the commitments of the Paris Agreement.
The needs are many and the challenges are plentiful, he stressed. It is therefore critical that the awards granted under this Fellowship are implemented consistently and that the necessary funding is made available to that end. Due to insufficient funds, however, no awards were made in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2016. In addition, he also highlighted that due to insufficient funds, only a small award was made in 2017.
Statements on Programme of Assistance
EMAD SAMIR MORCOS MATTAR (Egypt), speaking for the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, expressed support for the Programme of Assistance and its efforts to disseminate a greater knowledge of international law. This helps strengthen international peace and security and promotes friendly relations and cooperation among States. The Programme and its components are the cornerstones of the United Nations efforts to promote international law. The jurists, academics, diplomats and other officials from developing countries greatly benefit from the regional courses, fellowships, publications and the Audiovisual Library of International Law.
He welcomed the Codification Division’s podcast project that made more than 500 lectures available as audio files for easy access and downloading. The Programme plays a vital role in promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels, contributing to the attainment of targets under Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peaceful and inclusive societies. He stressed that the Group of 77 is committed to including the International Law Fellowship Programme, seminars, regional training, publications and training materials, as well as the funding for the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship under the United Nations regular budget for the biennium 2018‑2019. The regular budget funding will better ensure the continuation of related activities in the coming years.
AMADOU JAITEH (Gambia), speaking for the African Group, said that for a world order based on the rule of law, “we need to study, understand, teach and disseminate knowledge of international law”. This is the main purpose of the Programme of Assistance which has trained generations of lawyers around the world. Urging all Member States to join efforts in effectively implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Committee and ensuring that regular budgetary funding is provided for the Programme of Assistance, he added that the African Union contributes to the regional course in Africa, which has enabled participants to attend and participate in them.
The African Institute of International Law was recently established to offer the higher learning and research in international law needed for the development of Africa, he continued. Its work focuses on the progressive development and codification of international law on the continent, as well as on the revision of relevant treaties. Thanking the Secretariat and all Member States who have made voluntary contributions to the Programme of Assistance, the lecturers who contribute to the regional course and the delegation of Ghana for its clear leadership, he urged the international community to renew its commitment to international law through capacity‑building as enshrined in the Programme of Assistance.
RUBÉN ARMANDO ESCALANTE HASBÚN (El Salvador), speaking for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that there are several areas in the report of the Secretary‑General of particular note, such as the section on international law scholarship and courses. These have a multiplier effect on the student and professional community. There have been entire generations of lawyers from various States who have benefited from the lessons provided by leading experts on each issue in the international legal agenda. Regional courses are also highly effective platforms for the teaching and dissemination of international law, including the Regional Course on International Law for Latin America and the Caribbean, which was held in April in Santiago, Chile.
The Legal Affairs Office deserves praise for all the hard work that has been put into establishing and maintaining 26 international law‑related websites, which not only contain valuable resources for the researcher but are also remarkably user‑friendly, he said. The work of the Office of Legal Affairs is also praiseworthy; the academic community benefits a great deal from access to the materials compiled in signature publications, such as the legislative series, and the summaries of advisory opinions and judgements from both the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of International Justice, which are available online.
HENRIETTA ELIZABETH THOMPSON (Barbados), speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and associating herself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, congratulated the Codification Division on convening the annual International Law Fellowship Programme in The Hague from 25 June to 3 August. She also expressed her appreciation for the fellowship awarded to her sister country, Haiti. Applauding the funding made available to maintain the Audiovisual Library, she highlighted the Library’s use by more than 1.6 million users in 193 countries. This demonstrates its enduring worth to lawyers and academics around the world. The Codification Division should continue its effort to make much of its information available on podcasts, DVDs, hard copy, CD‑ROMS, USB flash drives and other relevant media. She also voiced her support for the continuation after a brief hiatus of the Codification Division’s desktop publishing and hailed the publication of the International Law Handbook in two of the six official languages of the United Nations.
In an increasingly complex, globalized and inter‑connected world with an increasing number of multilateral treaties, it is vital that the Programme of Assistance continues to receive the resources it needs to carry out its mandate. Underscoring that the Programme’s financing should fall within the regular budget of the United Nations, she encouraged States and other judicial persons to make voluntary contributions to the Programme’s various activities. Turning to the developing and evolving nature of international affairs, she said it is critical that succeeding generations of Latin American and Caribbean lawyers are exposed to the growing and emerging principles of international law.
SOVANN KE (Cambodia), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the Programme of Assistance plays a key role in the Organization’s efforts to promote respect for international law worldwide. For over 50 years, the Programme has steadily contributed to the strengthening of international peace and security and has advanced respect for the rule of law at the national and international levels. The International Law Fellowship Programme, together with the Regional Courses in International Law, have been engaging qualified Government lawyers and teachers with a goal of deepening their knowledge of the field. He also welcomed the International Law Fellowship Programme, which serves the purpose of promoting a deeper understanding of contemporary issues in international law.
The Regional Courses provide opportunities for participants to engage with their peers and learn from one another, he continued, adding he looked forward to the course for Asia‑Pacific later this year. Nonetheless, for those unable to attend those courses or receive fellowships, the Audiovisual Library of International Law also provides access to educational materials and courses. Commending the Office of Legal Affairs for its efforts, he stressed that the financing of the Programme from the regular United Nations budget is paramount for its development. Over many years the Programme had relied on voluntary contributions, he recalled, adding that only in recent years has the regular budget become available.
ERIC CHABOUREAU of the European Union welcomed the three Regional Courses, noting that, given the limited number of participants who can be accommodated in the International Law Fellowship Programme, these courses played an essential role in the dissemination of international law. The establishment and continuous expansion of the Audiovisual Library is an especially significant achievement, offering easy access to a vast range of legal resources, at a relatively low cost, in several languages to an unlimited number of institutions and individuals around the world. He thanked the Codification Division for its significant efforts to facilitate access to lectures through the podcasts which began in 2017.
Noting that the Codification Division continues to disseminate legal publications and information via the Internet, he commended it for finalizing the preparation of the French edition of its publication Recueil de droit international: Collection d’instruments. He also congratulated the Division for continuing its desktop publishing activities, as well as for its plans to publish various books by the end of the year, including the United Nations Juridical Yearbook 2014. All Member States should consider making more frequent or increased contributions to sustain the projected Regional Courses, the Audiovisual Library and the International Law Handbook, as well as the Hamilton Shirley Amerasinghe Memorial Fellowship on the Law of the Sea.
NIINA NYRHINEN (Finland), also speaking for Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, said that through the Programme of Assistance generations of Government lawyers, judges and diplomats from all around the world have been able to gain a deeper understanding of the body of law that governs the interconnected international community. Commending the active and continued engagement of the Codification Division in pursuing its mandate regarding the Programme, she added that the International Fellowship Programme as well as the Regional Courses have been instrumental in providing training for young lawyers.
Commending the establishment in 2008 and the continuous development of the Audiovisual Library, she said: “This invaluable resource continues to bring high‑quality training to an unlimited number of individuals and institutions around the globe, free of charge.” Welcoming the efforts of the Codification Division to expedite the issuance of some of its legal publications, she also expressed her happiness upon learning that provisions of resources for the Programme are included in the United Nations regular budget.
PATRICK LUNA (Brazil), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said that peace can be achieved through law. The aspiration to implement that ideal had led the General Assembly to establish the Programme of Assistance which has trained successive generations in international law, especially in developing countries. The inclusion of funding for all three Regional Courses in the regular budget was no minor achievement, he pointed out, adding that the high number of applications demonstrates the significant demand for them. The Audiovisual Library is another crucial instrument of the Programme since it allows the United Nations to provide relatively low‑cost, high‑quality training to an unlimited number of individuals around the world. Advancing the multilingualism of the Library is, therefore, equally important.
PAULO ALEXANDRE COLAÇO PINTO MACHADO (Portugal) said that the Programme of Assistance has played a key role in the teaching, study, dissemination and wider appreciation of international law. It is seen today as a well‑established means of strengthening international peace and security and promoting cooperation among States. The United Nations Audiovisual Library, an initiative of the Office of Legal Affairs, is an important tool for such study and dissemination. It provides online quality training at a global scale at relatively low cost, covering all relevant areas of international law. Underscoring that funding will always be a challenge to the Programme of Assistance, he welcomed its inclusion in the United Nations regular budget. However, the budget could not cover all of the Programme’s financial needs. Therefore, it might be useful to debate new and creative funding mechanisms so that it can fulfil its mission in a financially sustainable way.
ELSADIG ALI SAYED AHMED (Sudan), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that the Programme is one of the main pillars of United Nations activities for the primacy of law. Commending the efforts made by the Codification Division, he highlighted the Fellowship Programme and the Regional Courses for their contribution to the dissemination of international law in developing countries. The Programme of Assistance has trained jurists, diplomats and lawyers around the world, he said, adding that it also assisted developing countries to harmonize their domestic legislation with international law. While the Fellowship Programme provides comprehensive training by professionals and highly qualified academics from around the world to professionals from developing countries, it is necessary to increase the number of people who can access these resources, he said.
ENRIQUE JOSÉ MARÍA CARRILLO GÓMEZ (Paraguay), associating himself with CELAC, drew attention to the development of American international law generated through the legal traditions of Latin American and Caribbean regions. The Programme had contributed to capacity‑building in countries such as his, while also benefiting international peace and security at the global level. Paraguay takes maximum advantage of its participation in the Programme’s Regional Courses and the International Law Fellowship Programme in The Hague, he said, noting that Paraguayan participants in those courses also work in departments dealing with the United Nations and international affairs. “Thus, we can confirm the multiplier effect of the Programme of Assistance,” he said, adding that the Audiovisual Library will have a similar effect when its contents are made available in Spanish.
PARK CHULL-JOO (Republic of Korea) said that the promotion of the rule of law at the national, regional and international levels is one of the highest priorities of the day. Through its Programme of Assistance, the United Nations has played an essential role in laying the foundation for such developments over half a century. He highlighted the importance of the Regional Courses which, by providing training opportunities for participants, has contributed greatly to capacity‑building and sharing of knowledge. His Government is also doing its part to support and supplement the United Nations efforts. Its Center for International Law at the Korea Diplomatic National Academy has been holding the Seoul Academy of International Law Programme since 2016. The course provides training opportunities for a broad range of core topics of international law. Financial assistance is provided for all participants, he added.
MAVIELA LOPEZ (Mexico), noting that dissemination of international law is a cornerstone of her country’s foreign policy, highlighted an international law workshop held free of charge in higher education institutions in different parts of Mexico. The most recent one was simultaneously disseminated over the Internet, reaching every corner of the country. Commending the Codification Division for its electronic system compiling and disseminating the practices of different legal entities, and the Audiovisual Library for its various resources, she expressed support for making the relevant documents available in all six official languages of the United Nations, especially in Spanish, which is spoken by 480 million people around the world as their mother tongue.
MARATEE NALITA ANDAMO (Thailand), associating herself with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that the provision of fellowships to candidates from developing countries, arrangements of study visits and organization of the Regional Courses and seminars have all helped increase the knowledge and expertise of practitioners of international law around the world. Indeed, the use of information and communications technology plays a significant part in the wider dissemination of international law. Her country is honoured to host the 2018 United Nations Regional Course in International Law in Bangkok from 19 November to 14 December, she said, expressing hope more women will participate in these programmes.
YOUSSEF HITTI (Lebanon) said that, throughout the years, the Programme of Assistance has provided legal knowledge to generations of jurists, practitioners, diplomats and students from developed and developing countries. It has also strengthened capacity‑building and contributed to the promotion of the rule of law. The creation of the Audiovisual Library 10 years ago and the significant number of lectures recorded, as well as the high number of its users, is a sign of its continued relevance. He expressed his hope that the podcast project launched in 2017 will help bridge the gap of accessibility for users from developing countries. Outreach to relevant public and private institutions could be strengthened in order to enhance the reach of the Library. Lectures available in the Library could be further disseminated through law schools and their websites as well as social media.
RISHY BUKOREE (Mauritius), aligning himself with the African Group and the Group of 77, said that, over the course of the Programme’s 53 years of existence, statistics showed increasing interest in its different activities, especially in Africa. Recalling the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he highlighted issues concerning small island developing States, stressing that the status quo must not continue. Training in international law does not begin on the benches of the university, he pointed out, adding that it can be done by promoting geography and history, along with the distribution of maps of the world’s nations. He then highlighted the fact that many of the Programme of Assistance courses, workshops, programmes and fellowships being offered require applicants to have a legal background. Not all Ministries of Foreign Affairs have a legal department. He urged that criteria for these educational opportunities include not only participants with backgrounds in law but also those in the diplomatic sector. He then requested that short‑term trainings and workshops on international law be specifically created for diplomats especially from Africa and developing countries.
ANNETTE ANDRÉE ONANGA (Gabon), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that she welcomed the efforts of the Codification Division and the Office of Legal Affairs. International law is the foundation of the proper cohesion among States and any attempt to strengthen the rule of law must take into account the need to promote and disseminate international law. The different activities of training and internships that are part of the Fellowship Programme for International Law are of great use to students, practitioners, academics and others, particularly in developing countries. The Regional Courses are in demand; 29 applicants were approved for the Regional Course in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
ROMI BRAMMER (South Africa), associating herself with the African Group and the Group of 77, said she is pleased to see the geographical distribution of Fellows selected to participate in the International Law Fellowship and the gender parity found throughout all the Regional Courses in International Law, as well as the Fellowship. The Audiovisual Library makes material easily accessible and available in many languages. It is particularly valuable to developing nations as it delivers information and training far beyond the use of the Internet; information is also available free of charge. However, even with the use of podcasts and converting video files to audio files, the provision of hard copies is essential to people without adequate access to the Internet. Commending the recording of 50 new lectures, she expressed her support for the proper funding of the Programme of Assistance.
SHI WUHONG (China), associating herself with the Group of 77, said that for more than a half century the Programme of Assistance has played an irreplaceable role in promoting the capacity‑building of countries, especially developing countries, in the field of international law. The International Law Fellowship Programme has provided comprehensive training for professionals from more than 20 developing countries and emerging economies. The Regional Courses were held in Africa, Asia‑Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, in which many renowned experts in the field of international law research and practice were invited to give lectures. The selection of participants in the training courses also takes into account gender equality. Her Government has been contributing to the Programme of Assistance for many years. In 2018, it contributed $20,000 to fund international law courses in the Asia‑Pacific and Africa regions.
ELENA A. MELIKBEKYAN (Russian Federation) expressed pleasure that funding for the Programme was now available through the regular budget. It is also encouraging that all Programme activities, including the Regional Law Courses and the Fellowship Programme have not been frozen for lack of contributions. She also noted the conscientious efforts of the staff of the Office of Staff Legal Assistance.
EMILY PIERCE (United States) said that the Programme of Assistance has made indispensable contributions to the education of students and practitioners since it was established in 1965. Knowledge of international law is a key component in furthering the rule of law at all levels. New generations of lawyers, judges and diplomats can gain a deeper appreciation of the complex instruments that govern so many aspects of the interconnected world. This year, the Programme has made notable progress in improving the global accessibility and dissemination of the Audiovisual Library, which helps reach those practitioners and students who are not able to participate in the courses. She also recognized the significant role of the Office of Legal Affairs, in particular the Codification Division, in implementing the Programme of Assistance. It has kept important programmes going despite limited resources.
MARTÍN GARCÍA MORITÁN (Argentina), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said that he attached great importance to the dissemination of knowledge of international law. It is essential that the Programme of Assistance focus on capacity‑building, particularly in developing countries, and facilitate access to official documents. Because of funding from the regular budget, the Programme of Assistance has been able to conduct all of its activities this year. However, he expressed concern over the balance of funds available for the Hamilton Fellowship which could prove insufficient to grant a fellowship in 2019.
JAVIER GOROSTEGUI (Chile), associating himself with the Group of 77 and CELAC, said that the Programme of Assistance is one of the most powerful tools within the United Nations to promote international law. His country supports it because better knowledge of the rules and principles governing the international community is crucial to building relationships between all Members States. Recent achievements include the holding of the three regional seminars, the increase in accessibility to the Audiovisual Library and the completion of the podcast project. Regarding the Regional Course held in Chile, where 25 participants received training, he expressed his thanks to the Director of the Programme of Assistance and her team for organizing the seminar.
CARLA ESPERANZA RIVERA SÁNCHEZ (El Salvador), associating herself with CELAC and the Group of 77, said that international law is constantly transforming in response to changes. That was shown by the need for new topics, such as labour immigration and environmental protection. The Programme of Assistance had made significant progress in disseminating a broader understanding of international law, which contributed to socioeconomic development as well as the maintenance of peace. The Regional Course held in Chile had 25 participants from 21 different countries including one from her country’s Foreign Ministry. For developing countries, the scholarship programme was an invaluable opportunity to build internal capacities, she said, adding that the Programme helped further the principles of the Organization.
DEKALEGA FINTAKPA LAMEGA (Togo), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, commending the International Law Fellowship Programme and the Regional Courses, paid tribute to the staff for their professionalism in the implementation of all the activities. His country had participated in the summer course in The Hague as well as the Regional Course in Ethiopia, he said, noting the contribution of eminent academics and the extensive documentation given to the participants at the end of each course. Encouraging the Codification Division to consider increasing the number of scholarships for the Regional Courses in order to satisfy as much as possible the ever‑growing demand for legal education, he said the Programme of Assistance has a substantive impact around the world.
MARÍA ALEJANDRINA SANDE (Uruguay) said that international law is the basis of relations between States and is the framework within which agreements and peacekeeping are possible. Knowledge of international law allows cooperation to take place and protects the rule of law at the national and international levels. Uruguay has been the host of its regional seminar and as a result has been able to experience directly how important the seminars are to the dissemination and codification of international law. These initiatives are important and must be continued. She suggested it would be useful to establish a closer relationship between the seminars and local universities, as well as international law associations. It would also be important to provide more numerous fellowships and increase the number of participants in the seminars.
NEVILLE MELVIN GERTZE (Namibia), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said the Programme’s positive role, especially for developing countries like Namibia, cannot be overemphasized. Citing the Secretary‑General’s report, he noted that of more than 260 applications for the International Law Fellowship, 191 were from Africa. Over the years, a number of Namibians have been able to participate in the Regional Courses for Africa. The knowledge gained by Government officials and other professionals who have attended the courses have helped them effectively implement the general rules of public international law and the international agreements binding upon Namibia under Article 144 of its Constitution. He called on the Codification Division to consider publishing the SADC Law Journal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as part of the research material of the Audiovisual Library. The SADC Law Journal serves as an important tool to create greater awareness about the law in the Southern African region.
VILIAMI VA’INGA TŌNĒ (Tonga) said that the robust work of the Programme of Assistance has contributed significantly to building the capacity of legal counsels and legal policy advisers in his country. While the Programme was established as a means of strengthening peace and security, it is, at its heart, a vehicle for understanding international law, particularly in maintaining the rule of law both at the national and international levels. As a small island developing State, limited human, technical and financial capacity “are not mere rhetoric but our reality”, he said. Because of the inability to retain legal practitioners within the Attorney General’s Office and other Government Ministries, the sustained assistance provided through the Programme is crucial to Tonga in actively engaging in the international arena.
FLORIAN BOTTO (Monaco) said that disseminating international law into international institutions, national institutions and universities strengthens international peace and security and extending cooperation among States. Improving access to resources in developing countries is also a challenge, while new technology and information technology in particular have more and more importance in daily lives. It is vital that international law be accessible to all, practitioners and students, in their respective languages. Access to Francophone contents must be facilitated for those who work in French, which is the sixth‑most spoken language in the world. In meeting this need, the Institute for the Economic Law of the Sea was established in 1985 in Monaco. It organizes conferences and seminars that bring together international law of the sea specialists.
ANGEL HORNA (Peru), associating himself with the Group of 77, reiterated his commitment to international law and an international order based on the rule of law. International law places all countries, large and small, on a genuinely equal footing since States are equal before the law. He recognized the importance of strengthening various components of the Programme of Assistance, including the Regional Courses, the Audiovisual Library and the Hamilton Fellowship. Regarding the work of the Library, he said that he was pleased to note an increase in the linguistic and gender diversity of the lecturers. The Programme of Assistance takes into account the academic bodies that disseminate international law, enabling them to continue carrying out their work efficiently.
TAREQ MD ARIFUL ISLAM (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Group of 77, said that the Programme is a catalytic tool for developing countries in achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda. Highlighting the breadth of issues covered by the Fellowship Programme, he encouraged the Secretariat to continue to expand its course design and target participants from least developed countries in particular. Noting the high rate of participation by women in the Regional Courses, he called on the Secretariat to address the low number of applications from the Asia‑Pacific region. The Audiovisual Library is a marvellous resource and information about it must be disseminated among the target audience in developing countries.
NATHANIEL KHNG (Singapore), associating himself with ASEAN and the Group of 77, highlighted the achievements of the Codification Division. The International Law Fellowship Programme and the Regional Courses make immense contributions to the promotion of international law, he said, encouraging the Division to continue its efforts to ensure that Programme lecturers are geographically diverse and representative of the principal legal systems of the world. The Audiovisual Library is an invaluable resource and the content of its Lecture Series has been significantly expanded with 50 new lectures. The Codification Division has been mindful of the need to facilitate access to material for users in regions without high‑speed Internet, he noted, congratulating the Division for completing its podcast project.
TIJJANI MUHAMMAD BANDE (Nigeria) voiced his support for the additional funding for the Programme that was included in the 2018‑2019 biennium budget. He also stated his appreciation for the Regional Course for Africa held at the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa this year. The Programme of Assistance has a positive impact on students and practitioners of international law around the world, he said, commending the Office of Legal Affairs and the Codification Division for their relentless efforts in implementing the Programme. The Audiovisual Library is an essential tool that helps produce a wider understanding of international law. He urged the United Nations to continue promoting its use; he also commended the resumption of desktop publishing activities that began in 2017.
MOHAMMED ATLASSI (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, stressed the need to continue funding of the Programme of Assistance from the regular budget as well as through voluntary contributions. Such funding has resulted in the three Regional Courses taking place two years in a row, which he called “the best possible result”. Also highlighting the Handbook, he said future generations in developing countries will benefit enormously from the Programme of Assistance. Expressing appreciation for the Codification Division he said that the Programme and all its components must have a place in the 2021 budget.
LILA DESTA ASGEDOM (Ethiopia), associating herself with the African Group and the Group of 77, said that the continuous training provided by the Programme, including the Regional Courses and the Library, plays a crucial role in ensuring the rule of law. Since 2011, Addis Ababa has had the privilege of hosting the Regional Course for Africa, which has brought together diplomats, teachers, staffs of independent human rights organizations and representatives of transnational organizations, including the African Union. Thanking all the relevant stakeholders who made the Regional Course for Africa successful, she called on all Member States to extend their overall support for the continuity of the Programme of Assistance.
ZAKIA IGHIL (Algeria), associating herself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that the Programme of Assistance has played a significant role in ensuring a better and deeper understanding of international law and promoting friendly relations and cooperation among States, as well as promoting the rule of law. Practitioners of international law from different parts of the world have greatly benefited from the various sections of the Audiovisual Library. The Regional Courses are important tools for expanding international law training opportunities and they provide participants the chance to focus on contemporary issues. Permanent venues for these courses should be found, she said. It is also important to promote multilingualism by increasing the publication of materials in other languages such as Arabic.
ANET PINO RIVERO (Cuba), associating herself with CELAC and the Group of 77, said that the Programme of Assistance makes an important contribution to promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels. At the same time, it strengthens international peace and security and promotes friendly relations between States. She also recognized the quality of The Hague’s course this past summer, as well as the regional seminars and the work undertaken by the Codification Division in implementing the Programme. The Programme is a valuable tool and legal experts, diplomats and others, particularly in developing countries, have benefited tremendously from the Regional Courses, as well as from the Audiovisual Library. Alternative tools should be made available for countries that have difficulty accessing the Internet, she said.
FONSECA DOS SANTOS PEREIRA (Timor-Leste) said the Programme of Assistance is a cornerstone of United Nations efforts to promote international law, peace and security, and friendly relations and cooperation among States. Spotlighting the Regional Course for Asia‑Pacific as one crucial way to expand training opportunities to developing countries, he said the course has benefited Timor‑Leste and other nations by focusing on contemporary issues and those of common interest to the region. In that vein, he proposed that the Programme be disseminated officially to Member States in order to make it more accessible, especially to small island developing States, least developed countries and other nations with limited access to online information.