General Assembly, Adopting 5 Texts, Establishes 2021 International Year for Ending Child Labour, Promotes Cooperation between United Nations, Regional Organizations

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The General Assembly today adopted five resolutions, establishing an international year to end child labour, fostering cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, and promoting a culture of peace.

Declaring 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, the Assembly invited all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, other international and regional organizations and civil society, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), individuals and other relevant stakeholders, to observe the International Year, as appropriate, through activities aimed at raising awareness of the importance of the eradicating child labour, and to share best practices in this regard.

Two drafts focused on cooperation between the United Nations and partner organizations. The first text � on cooperation with the Economic Cooperation Organization � was adopted by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 3 abstentions (Armenia, Brazil, Papua New Guinea). By its terms, the Assembly encouraged all the relevant international financial and specialized institutions, taking into account the key role played by the railway and road networks of the region as land bridges between Asia and Europe, to consider participating in the implementation of the decision of the Ministers for Transport of the Economic Cooperation Organization at their ninth meeting. Such decisions focus on addressing investment gaps in the transport infrastructure networks and the need for mobilization of concessional financial resources for supporting regional transport corridors and connectivity in the Organization region.

The Assembly also invited the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre to develop strategies for the member States of the Economic Cooperation Organization for trade liberalization and the promotion of foreign direct investment to facilitate the global and regional integration of their economies.

The United States representative, explaining his delegation's request for a recorded vote, said his country has deep concerns about potential United Nations collaboration with the Economic Cooperation Organization because of Iran's role as its Chair and host. As Iran has a clear track record of undermining regional security and has destabilized its neighbours, it must be held accountable, he said, asking Member States to vote against the text.

Finland's representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed support for the resolution and encouraged closer cooperation. Regarding the text's references to the Baku Declaration, he said such language is without any endorsement of resolutions or decisions adopted by the European economic fora. The provisions of the Baku Declaration related to Cyprus are not consistent with existing Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, he said, urging the Economic Cooperation Organization to refrain from adoption positions that may undermine international law and the United Nations Charter.

In another text concerning partner organizations, the Assembly invited increased cooperation and coordination among the specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations system and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, as well as the development of their direct contacts in areas of mutual interest. It also encouraged both organizations to continue to examine possible ways to further strengthen their interaction in the area of peacekeeping.

The representative of Ukraine, who did not support the text, explained his delegation's position following the adoption. While expressing support for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, he said that, in today's world, the role of the latter in preventing conflicts is varied. While the African Union has succeeded in its efforts, the Collective Security Treaty Organization has completely failed to address the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine, with members voting against any measures to deal with this aggression. Indeed, it has become the Russian Federation's policy tool.

The representative of Mexico, spotlighting the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and two of its protocols � related, respectively, to the trafficking of women and children, and the illicit trafficking of migrants by land, sea and air � rejected attempts to equate illegal migration with the trafficking of drugs of weapons. Stressing that those phenomena are separate crimes falling under separate international protocols and require different responses, he disassociated himself from operative paragraph 2 of the resolution which seeks to put illegal migration on the same footing as threats to international peace and security, such as terrorism and drug trafficking.

The Assembly also adopted two draft resolutions without a vote under its agenda item on the culture of peace. In one text, on promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance in countering hate speech, the Assembly condemned any advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, whether it involves the use of print, audiovisual or electronic media, social media or any other means. It also called upon Member States to engage with all relevant stakeholders to promote the virtues of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, respect and acceptance of differences, tolerance, peaceful coexistence and cohabitation and respect for human rights, to reject the spread of hate speech, that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence.

The Assembly then adopted a text on promoting a culture of peace with love and conscience, by which it declared 5 April the International Day of Conscience. By the text, the Assembly invited all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as the private sector and civil society, to build such a culture in line with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through quality education and public awarenessraising activities, thereby fostering sustainable development.

The General Assembly will meet again at a date and time to be determined.

Outcomes of Major United Nations Conferences and Summits

The Assembly considered its agenda item on integrated and coordinated implementation of and followup to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields.

The representative of Argentina introduced the draft resolution International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, 2021 (document A/73/L.101), saying that 150 million children around the world are presently subjected to child labour and underscoring the practice's incompatibility with the principles enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The representative of the United States, joining consensus on the text, said his delegation nevertheless does not view the Convention on the Rights of the Child as constituting the standard for child protection. The United States joins the consensus with the understanding that States are not bound by any instruments to which they are not a party, he said, noting that his delegation does not recognize the creation of any new rights, the expansion of existing rights or any changes to international or customary law as a result of today's adoption.

Adopting the draft without a vote, the Assembly decided to declare 2021 the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour and invited all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, other international and regional organizations and civil society, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), individuals and other relevant stakeholders, to observe the International Year, as appropriate, through activities aimed at raising awareness of the importance of the eradication of child labour, and to share best practices in this regard.

The representative of Cabo Verde, on behalf of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, commended the transparent negotiations leading to the adoption of L.101.

Culture of Peace

The Assembly then turned to its agenda item on the culture of peace, taking up two draft resolutions.

The representative of Morocco introduced the draft resolution Promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue and tolerance in countering hate speech (document A/73/L.100), saying today's world is characterized by an acceleration of hate speech, which runs counter to the values of the United Nations. Noting that religious and political extremism violates the right of people to express themselves, he added that it promotes exclusion, stokes conflict and feeds terrorism and anarchy. Warning that such forms of speech cost thousands of lives, he drew attention to recent attacks against religious sites around the globe. These challenge our universal conscience and demand action, he stressed.

The representative of the United States, joining consensus on the resolution, voiced his delegation's strong support for the freedoms of expression and belief, which he said are mutually reinforcing. Rejecting any attempts to curtail them, he advocated for robust protections for speech coupled with appropriate legal regimes. Expressing concern about over the text's reference to moderation, he cautioned that moderationfocused programmes and policies could undermine fundamental freedoms. The United States supports the protection of speech for all, including those with minority viewpoints and those with whom we disagree, he said.

Adopting L.100 without a vote, the Assembly condemned any advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, whether it involves the use of print, audiovisual or electronic media, social media or any other means. It also called upon Member States to engage with all relevant stakeholders to promote the virtues of interreligious and intercultural dialogue, respect and acceptance of differences, tolerance, peaceful coexistence and cohabitation, and respect for human rights, and to reject the spread of hate speech, that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence.

Next, the representative of Bahrain introduced the draft resolution Promoting the Culture of Peace with Love and Conscience (document A/73/L.102), which was without a vote.

By its terms, the Assembly declared 5 April the International Day of Conscience. The Assembly invited all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as the private sector and civil society, to build the culture of peace with love and conscience in accordance with the culture and other appropriate circumstances or customs of their local, national and regional communities, including through quality education and public awarenessraising activities, thereby fostering sustainable development.

Cooperation between United Nations and Economic Cooperation Organization

Under its agenda item on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Assembly took up an eponymous draft resolution (document A/73/L.74).

The representative of Tajikistan, introducing L.74, said that the relationship is mutually beneficial, including in aligning regional and global objectives related to the 2030 Agenda. The draft focuses, among other things, on core matters, such as trade, transport, connectivity, tourism, health, natural disasters, food security and energy, called for by member States' needs. Regretting to note that, despite efforts to reach a consensual resolution, a vote has been requested for the first time, he asked delegations to vote in favour of the text.

The representative of the United States, explaining his delegation's request for a recorded vote, said his country has deep concerns about potential United Nations collaboration with the Economic Cooperation Organization because of Iran's role as its Chair and host. As Iran has a clear track record of undermining regional security, has destabilized its neighbours, particularly through the its support for terrorist organizations, and supports the Bashar alAssad regime's attacks against the Syrian people, it must be held accountable, he said, asking Member States to vote against the draft resolution.

The representative of Armenia said the reference in operative paragraph 3 to the Baku Declaration is redundant and blatantly distorts the basic principles for peaceful settlement of the NagornoKarabakh conflict, particularly omitting the principle of equal rights and selfdetermination of peoples. He called on the Economic Cooperation Organization to refrain from taking any approaches that would jeopardize discussions on the conflict.

The Assembly then adopted L.74 by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 3 abstentions (Armenia, Brazil, Papua New Guinea). By the terms of the text, it encouraged all the relevant international financial and specialized institutions, taking into account the key role played by the railway and road networks of the region as land bridges between Asia and Europe, to consider participating in the implementation of the decision of the Ministers for Transport of the Economic Cooperation Organization at their ninth meeting to address investment gaps in the transport infrastructure networks and the need for mobilization of concessional financial resources for supporting regional transport corridors and connectivity in the Organization region.

Also by the text, the Assembly invited the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre to develop strategies for the member States of the Economic Cooperation Organization for trade liberalization and the promotion of foreign direct investment to facilitate the global and regional integration of their economies.

The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, explained his position, expressing support for the resolution and encouraging closer cooperation between the Economic Cooperation Organization and the United Nations. Turning to the resolution's references to the Baku Declaration, he said such language is without any endorsement of resolutions or decisions adopted by the European economic fora. The provisions of the Baku Declaration related to Cyprus are not consistent with existing Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, he said, urging the Economic Cooperation Organization to refrain from adoption positions that may undermine international law and the United Nations Charter.

The representative of Turkey said that, as one of the Economic Cooperation Organization's founding members, her country strongly supports the grouping. Describing it as regrettable that a vote was requested on the text for the first time in its history, she pointed out that Turkey will soon take up the chairmanship of the Economic Cooperation Organization and outlined some of its top priorities. Expressing support for a settlement of the Cyprus issue, she said only a negotiated settlement based on dialogue and diplomacy will be sustainable. All relevant parties must contribute to that goal without prejudice or bias, she stressed, noting that the statement delivered by the European Union's representative runs counter to those principles. The Union has increasingly been unable to adopt a balanced position on that issue and therefore disqualifies itself as a contributor to a balanced resolution to the conflict, she stressed.

The representative of Iran, responding to the statement delivered by the representative of the United States, expressed regret that the Assembly is being used as a platform from which to distort reality. He voiced further regret that, despite efforts by the resolution's facilitator to accommodate all viewpoints, the United States � in its pathological obsession against Iran � decided to break the consensus to pursue its narrow political aims. Frameworks such as the Economic Cooperation Organization have repeatedly proven their worth as successful, dynamic regional arrangements, he said.

The representative of Cyprus, calling on Turkey's delegation to respect the names of Member States, anticipated efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem. Regarding problems raised about the Baku Declaration, she said the Security Council has spoken extensively on the Cyprus situation, adding that the way to achieve unification is not the subordination of Cyprus to Turkey.

The representative of Azerbaijan, exercising the right of reply to respond to comments made by her counterpart from Armenia, noted that the draft resolution contains no mention of Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan.

The representative of Turkey recalled that, since the 1960s, there has not been a single Government representing both peoples on the island, but rather two independent, selfgoverning States. The Greek Cypriot administration's insistent denial of the rights of Turkish Cypriots and their existence in the north of the island only undermines the prospect of finding a sustainable, negotiated settlement.

The representative of Armenia dismissed Azerbaijan's comments, saying the situation in NagornoKarabakh is the result of a failure to negotiate with the people of the region and Azerbaijan's policy of forcefully resolving the issue through mass atrocities and complete extermination of the NagornoKarabakh population.

The representative of Cyprus rejected comments made by her counterpart from Turkey.

The representative of Azerbaijan said a war was waged against her country, resulting in death, displacement and disrespect for territorial integrity, which Armenia disregards completely.

Cooperation between United Nations and Collective Security Treaty Organization

Turning next to its agenda item on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, it took up a draft resolution of the same name (document A/73/L.103).

The representative of Kyrgyzstan introduced the draft resolution, highlighting progress, including the memorandum of understanding with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and steps taken to implement the United Nations Global CounterTerrorism Strategy.

Adopting L.103 without a vote, the Assembly invited increased cooperation and coordination among the specialized agencies and programmes of the United Nations system and the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the development of their direct contacts in areas of mutual interest. It also encouraged both organizations to continue to examine possible ways to further strengthen their interaction in the area of peacekeeping.

The representative of Ukraine, explaining his delegation's position, expressed support for cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations. However, in today's world, the role of regional organizations in preventing conflicts is varied. While the African Union has succeeded in its efforts, the Collective Security Treaty Organization has completely failed to address the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine, with members voting against any measures to deal with this aggression. Indeed, it has become the Russian Federation's policy tool. For these reasons, his delegation does not support the draft resolution.

The representative of Azerbaijan, underlining the importance of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, said Armenia � a Collective Security Treaty Organization member � has violated the United Nations Charter, using military force to seize the NagornoKarabakh region where it set up a racist regime. As a result, the Security Council has condemned Armenia's use of force, demanding the complete withdrawal from occupied areas. Armenia has failed to abide by these demands, she said, pointing out that the General Assembly, by terms of the draft resolution, encourages members to attain objectives consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

The representative of Mexico, spotlighting the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and two of its protocols � related, respectively, to the trafficking of women and children, and the illicit trafficking of migrants by land, sea and air � rejected attempts to equate illegal migration with the trafficking of drugs of weapons. Stressing that those phenomena are separate crimes falling under separate international protocols and require different responses, he disassociated himself from operative paragraph 2 of the resolution which seeks to put illegal migration on the same footing as threats to international peace and security, such as terrorism and drug trafficking.

The representative of Georgia, disassociating herself from the consensus, expressed regret that the Collective Security Treaty Organization failed to take adequate steps to respond to the Russian Federation's aggression against her country in 2008, as well as the resulting occupation of some of its territories.

The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, welcomed the resolution's adoption without a vote, but voiced disappointment that some delegations used the agenda item to push forward politicized approaches to bilateral issues.

The representative of Armenia rejected attempts by Azerbaijan's delegate to misuse the Assembly to pursue its narrow ambitions. Stressing that the Security Council never considered the issue of a political settlement of the NagornoKarabakh issue � nor did it set limits on the rights of that territory's people to selfdetermination � he said the Council's requirement was the immediate cessation of hostilities. However, a ceasefire remains challenging to this day, due to Azerbaijan's constant hostile acts. That country is attempting to conceal its agenda of antiArmenian hatred and its glorification of hate crimes against Armenians, he stressed.

The representative of Azerbaijan, rejecting Armenia's statement as hypocrisy, said the resolutions adopted by the Security Council in 1993 are still relevant and the situation on the ground has not changed. Emphasizing that the NagornoKarabakh region has always been, and will remain, an integral part of Azerbaijan, she noted that Armenia continues to occupy parts of her country in violation of international resolutions. As a result, the Azerbaijani community has been forcibly expelled and their rights violated. Pointing out that Armenia also continues to obstruct the conflict resolution process, she demanded that the latter immediately withdraw its forces.

Source: United Nations