LEGAL COMMITTEE CALLS FOR WORKING GROUPS ON HUMAN CLONING, BETTER PROTECTION FOR UN, RELATED PERSONNEL; OTHER TEXTS ALSO APPROVED
Debate on Terrorism Begins; Chairman of Security Council
NEW YORK, 19 November (UN Headquarters) -- In draft resolutions approved without a vote, the Sixth Committee (Legal) recommended the establishment of two new ad hoc committees —- the first to study a ban on reproductive cloning of humans, and the second to explore ways of improving protection for United Nations and associated personnel.
The Committee approved seven other drafts—all without votes—-concerning the International Law Commission, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the International Criminal Court, and observer status in the General Assembly.
In addition, as the Committee took up the item on terrorism, it heard a statement from Sir Jeremy Greenstock (United Kingdom), Chairman of the Security Council’s counter-terrorism committee. Noting that part of the mandate of the counter-terrorism committee was to help raise the operational capability of Member States to counter terrorism, he said the Council would look to the Sixth Committee and the General Assembly to craft related resolutions. He urged the Sixth Committee to finalize the comprehensive convention against terrorism, and the convention on the suppression of nuclear terrorism.
The Chairman of the Sixth committee’s Working Group on Measures to Eliminate Terrorism, in introducing the Group’s report, said that although it had not yet concluded the priority item of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, to fill in the gaps left by other sectoral anti-terrorism treaties, it was close to reaching agreement. The remaining issues involved politically sensitive matters and would require political will and compromise to overcome them.
The Chairman of the Sixth Committee, Pierre Lelong (Haiti) said an unprecedented 167 Member States and four Observers had taken part in the General Assembly’s debate on terrorism last month. Hans Corell, Under-Secretary-General, Office of Legal Affairs, and United Nations Counsel said the Secretary-General was also closely following the work of the Sixth Committee, and assisting the Security Council’s counter-terrorism committee in order that the momentum not be lost.
The proposed ad hoc committee on human cloning would meet twice next year -- from 25 February to 1 March and from 23 to 27 September —- to begin negotiating an international treaty that would ban the reproductive cloning of humans. In a letter to the General Assembly requesting that the item be included on the agenda, France and Germany said that new biotechnological advances, which opened up prospects as regards health, also gave rise to new ethical issues. The announcement by certain laboratory researchers that they intended to proceed in the near future with reproductive cloning of humans posed a particularly serious problem in terms of human dignity and identity.
The representative of France introduced the draft. Other speakers on the issue were the representatives of Germany, Israel, Japan, Russian Federation, Malta, Canada, Poland, Grenada, Lithuania, Libya, Venezuela, Uganda, Cuba, Peru, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Haiti and Nigeria.
The Observers for the Holy See and Switzerland also made statements.
The other proposed ad hoc committee, on the safety of personnel would study the Secretary-General’s recommended measures to strengthen and enhance the protective legal regime for the safety and security of United Nations and associated personnel. The committee would meet next year from 1 to 5 April and from 7 to 11 October. The representative of New Zealand introduced the draft.
The Secretary of the Sixth Committee spoke on the financial and administrative implications of the draft resolutions approved this morning and said no additional appropriations would be necessary if they were to be adopted by the Assembly.
The representative of India introduced a draft on observer status in the Assembly for the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The Sixth Committee (Legal) met this morning to consider a new item on its agenda -- "International Convention for the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings".
The item was included at the request of France and Germany (document A/56/192). The accompanying explanatory memorandum states that within the general issue of biotechnological advances, which opens up prospects as regards health and also gives rise to new ethical issues, the announcement by certain laboratories' researchers that they intend to proceed in the near future with reproductive cloning of humans poses a particularly serious problem in terms of human dignity and identity and calls for an urgent initiative. Such operations would have an impact on the entire human family.
A draft resolution is also included which calls for the setting up of an ad hoc committee to elaborate the proposed international convention. The draft would have the Assembly decide that the ad hoc committee should hold two one-week sessions during the Assembly’s current session, with the understanding that the first meeting be opened with an exchange of information and technical assessments, with the participation of experts on genetics and bioethics.
A number of draft resolutions were expected to be introduced this morning.
By a draft resolution on International convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings (document A/C.6/56/L.19), the Assembly would have the Ad Hoc committee meet from 25 February to 1 March in 2002 to elaborate a mandate for negotiation of the convention. Work would continue from 23 to 27 September within the framework of a working group of the Sixth Committee during the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly next year.
Upon the adoption of a negotiating mandate, the General Assembly would recommend the reconvening of the Ad Hoc committee for formal negotiations on the international convention to begin, taking into account the acute nature of the problem.
The issue would be on the provisional agenda of the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly next year.
A 32-Power draft resolution on Scope of legal protection under the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel (document A/C.6/56/L.18) would have the General Assembly establish an Ad Hoc Committee to consider recommendations made by the Secretary-General (A/56/637) on measures to strengthen and enhance the protective legal regime for such personnel.
The Committee would meet from 1 to 5 April 2002, and its work would be continued from 7 to 11 October in the Sixth Committee within the framework of a working group during the Assembly's fifty-seventh session. The Ad Hoc Committee would be open to all Member States or members of the specialized agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and would have to submit a report on its work to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session. The International Committee of the Red Cross would be invited to participate in the Committee's deliberations as an observer.
The text would have the General Assembly call upon all States to consider becoming parties to the Convention and to respect fully their obligations under relevant international instruments. By other provisions of the text, the Assembly would recommend that the Secretary-General continue to seek the inclusion of relevant provisions of the Convention in the status-of-forces or status-of-mission agreements concluded by the United Nations.
By a draft resolution on "Report of the International Law Commission" (document A/C.6/56/L.17), the General Assembly would take note of it and ask the Commission to resume work on the liability aspects of prevention of transboundary harm from hazardous activities, taking into account developments in international law on the topic and comments by Governments.
The International Law Commission would also be asked to begin work on "Responsibility of international organizations" and to consider the remaining topics to be included in its long-term work programme. Furthermore, the Commission would be asked to indicate in its reports specific issues on which views of Governments would be of particular interest to it.
By other provisions of the text, the Assembly would reiterate its invitation to governments to respond in writing by 28 February 2002 to the questionnaire on unilateral acts of States circulated to them by the Secretariat on 31 August 2001. The Assembly would also request that they submit the most relevant national legislation, decisions of domestic courts and State practice on diplomatic protection to assist the International Law Commission in its work on the topic.
Taking note of the cost-saving measures taken by the Commission, the Assembly would invite it to continue to enhance its efficiency and productivity. The Assembly would stress the desirability of the enhancement of dialogue between the Commission and the Sixth Committee, and would encourage the holding of informal discussion between members of the two bodies attending the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly next year.
The Assembly would reaffirm its previous decisions concerning the role of the Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs of the Secretariat and those concerning the summary records and other documentation of the International Law Commission.
It would express the hope that the International Law Seminar would continue to be held and that an increasing number of participants, in particular from developing countries, would be given the opportunity to attend it. The Assembly would appeal to States to continue to make urgently needed voluntary contributions to the United Nations Trust Fund for the seminar.
Finally, the Assembly would recommend that the Sixth Committee’s debate on the Commission’s report should commence on 28 October 2002.
A draft resolution on "Responsibility of States for internationally wrongful acts" (document A/C.6/56/L.20) would have the General Assembly take note of articles prepared by the International Law Commission on the subject, and would also commend them to the attention of Governments without prejudice to the question of their future adoption or other appropriate action. The draft articles are annexed to the draft resolution as recommended by the Commission. The Assembly would welcome the conclusion of the Commission’s work on the topic, which took more than four decades.
The 59 articles of the text are intended to have general application to the entire field of international law. They develop a clear system for regulating the obligations of States in their interactions with other States, according to the International Law Commission.
Part One, entitled "The internationally wrongful act of a State", defines the general conditions necessary for State responsibility to arise. Part One comprises five chapters and 27 articles. Part Two of the draft articles entitled "Content of the international responsibility of the State" deals with the legal consequences for the responsible State. It comprises three chapters and 14 articles.
Part Three of the draft articles, "The implementation of the international responsibility of a State", covers such issues as the invocation of the responsibility of a State, and also by an injured State, and actions that might be taken to secure the performance of the obligations of cessation of and reparation on the part of the responsible State.
The final section, Part Four, headed "General provisions", also includes provisions for questions of State responsibility not regulated by the articles, responsibility of an international organization and individual responsibility.
Before the Committee are three draft resolutions relating to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). The first draft resolution, entitled Report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law" (document A/C.6/56/L.8), is sponsored by 92 States.
By its terms, the General Assembly would note with satisfaction the completion and adoption by the Commission of its draft Convention on the Assignment of Receivables in International Trade, and of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures.
The Assembly would take note of the progress the Commission had made on arbitration and insolvency law, and of its decision to begin work on electronic contracting, privately financed infrastructure projects, security interests and transport law. It would express its appreciation for the Commission’s decision to adjust its working methods to accommodate its increased workload without endangering the high quality of its work.
The General Assembly would reaffirm the Commission’s mandate as the core legal body within the United Nations system on international trade law to coordinate legal activities in that field. Accordingly, it would call upon all United Nations bodies, and also invite international organizations, to avoid duplication of effort and to promote efficiency, consistency and coherence in the unification and harmonization of international trade law.
The Assembly would appeal to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other bodies responsible for development assistance, such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as to Governments, to support the Commission’s training and technical assistance programme.
Also by the text, the Secretary-General would be asked to adjust the terms of reference of UNCITRAL's Trust Fund for Symposia to make it possible for its resources to be also used for the financing of training and technical assistance activities undertaken by the Secretariat.
By the terms of the UNCITRAL-related draft, "Model Law on Electronic Signatures of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law" (document A/C.6/56/L.11), the General Assembly would express its appreciation to UNCITRAL for completing and adopting the model law and preparing a guide to its enactment. It would recommend that States consider favourably the model law when they revise their laws relating to alternatives for paper-based communication and its storage or authentication. It would recommend wide dissemination of the law and guide, as well as those of the Model Law on Electronic Commerce.
Also, before the Sixth Committee is a draft on "United Nations Convention on the Assignment of Receivables in International Trade" (document A/C.6/56/L.12) prepared by UNCITRAL. By the draft, the Assembly would adopt the Convention and open it for signature or accession, calling on Governments to consider becoming a party to it.
The Convention is annexed to the draft resolution. An annex to the Convention deals with such elements as registration and priority rules. Chapter one pertains to scope of application and chapter two to general provisions. Chapters three and four concern the effects of assignment and rights obligations and defences respectively, and Chapter five, the autonomous conflict-of-laws rules.
Establishment of the International Criminal Court
A draft text on Establishment of the International Criminal Court (document A/C.6/56/L.21) would have the General Assembly reiterate the historic significance of the adoption of the Rome Statute of the Court. It would call upon States to ratify or accede to it as appropriate, without delay, and would encourage efforts to promote awareness of the results of the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of the International Criminal Court and of the provisions of the Statute.
The Assembly would welcome the important work accomplished by the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court in the completion of a great number of parts of its mandate under resolution F of the Rome Conference and would note the particular importance of the growing participation in the work of the Commission’s working group on the crime of aggression.
The Secretary-General would be asked to reconvene the Preparatory Commission from 8 to 19 April and from 1 to 12 July 2002, to continue to carry out its mandate and to discuss ways to enhance the effectiveness and acceptance of the Court.
It would encourage States to make voluntary contributions to the trust funds established towards meeting the costs of the participation in the Commission’s work of least developed and some developing countries.
By a draft decision on Observer status for Partners in Population and Development (document A/C.6/56/L.23), the General Assembly would defer to its next session further consideration of and a decision on, the organization’s request for observer status.
By draft resolution on Observer status for the Inter–Parliamentary Union in the General Assembly (document A/C.6/56/L.24), the Assembly would invite the President of the International Parliamentary Council or a parliamentarian nominated by the Presidency to participate as an observer in the Assembly’s sessions and work.
Measures against Terrorism
The Sixth Committee had before it two reports on "Measures to eliminate international terrorism": the first, from the Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism, which held five meetings as a working group of the Sixth Committee from 15 to 26 October 2001 (document A/C.6/56/L.9); and the second is a report from the Secretary-General (document A/56/160) on the status of previously adopted anti-terrorism conventions.
The Ad Hoc Committee on Terrorism, which was established by the General Assembly in 1996 to elaborate a comprehensive legal framework of conventions dealing with international terrorism, was mandated to examine the possibility of developing a comprehensive instrument on the subject as well as to continue negotiations on a convention on nuclear terrorism. It also keeps on its agenda the question of convening a high-level United Nations conference to formulate an international response to all forms of terrorism. The working group focused on a paper first submitted by India at the General Assembly's fifty-first session, which was intended to serve as the basis for negotiations on a comprehensive convention.
The objective of a comprehensive convention is to close the gaps on offences that are currently outside the scope of the existing specialized anti-terrorism conventions, and to provide further legal support to them.
Delegates began negotiations on the 27-article draft comprehensive convention at the Ad Hoc Committee’s fifth session from 12 to 23 February earlier this year. Negotiations continued in the form of a Sixth Committee Working Group in mid-October where delegates reached agreement on most of the articles. In the hope of being able to present an agreed draft convention to the Assembly in December, the Sixth Committee has appointed a coordinator to continue negotiations on the few remaining articles of the text.
The submitted text seeks to define terrorism, to urge domestic legislation and the establishment of jurisdiction, and to ensure that States parties not grant asylum to any person involved in a terrorist act. The text also addresses questions of liability, extradition and custody. Among other provisions, States parties would offer the greatest measure of assistance in connection with investigations or criminal or extradition proceedings, including assistance in obtaining evidence. The convention would enter into force 30 days after ratification by 22 States.
The officers of the Committee are, as follows: Chairman, Rohan Perera (Sri Lanka); Vice-Chairmen, Carlos Fernando Diaz Paniagua (Costa Rica), Mohammad Gomaa (Egypt), and Cate Steains (Australia); Rapporteur, Ivo Janda (Czech Republic).
The Secretary-General’s report lists the specialized conventions on terrorism previously adopted and gives a status report on the level of their ratifications and applications. Dating back to 1963, the agreements deal with specific manifestations of terrorism and seek to provide the basic legal tools to combat international terrorism -- from the seizure of aircraft to hostage-taking to the financing of terrorism. Many have been ratified by a majority of countries, and only the most recent one is not yet in force. The conventions have been developed by the General Assembly, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Statements on Convention on Human Cloning
JEAN-LUC FLORENT (France), introducing the draft resolution L.19 on a ban against reproductive cloning of human beings, said the text was purely procedural in nature and designed to set in motion a process at the United Nations. The initiative dealt only with reproductive cloning of human beings and had no bearing on other types of cloning. The aim was a universally applicable convention. The draft resolution envisaged that first a special ad hoc committee would be established. The committee would meet twice next year, once in the spring and once in the autumn to negotiate a mandate for itself. The first session would consist of an exchange of views, which should include the participation of experts in genetics and bioethics. He suggested that Member States begin to give some thought to identifying experts from their countries who could participate in that meeting.
It would be highly desirable for the committee’s mandate to be adopted at the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly so that actual negotiations on the convention itself could begin in 2003, he continued. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Health Organization should be invited to participate as observers as their input would be most helpful.
He said that the following countries had joined as sponsors of the draft: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Republic of Korea, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Morocco, Poland and San Marino.
CHRISTIAN MUCH (Germany) said the proposal for a convention would try to translate into a legal instrument the consensus on substance that had already been reached within UNESCO, and endorsed by the General Assembly. Not only States but experts in the fields of genetics and bioethics should also be associated with the initiative. He highlighted the important role which the draft resolution assigned to UNESCO.
While aware that reproductive cloning was only one aspect within a wider range of bioethical concerns, he said, the sponsors of the text would continue to insist that their initiative be limited exclusively to the cloning of human beings for reproductive ends. Only that approach would give the international community, acting in a spirit of prevention, a real chance to come rapidly to concrete results and to win the race against some irresponsible researchers.
The serious threat to human dignity posed by reproductive cloning was a sufficient reason in itself to strive for a legally binding instrument. Only a binding norm could prevent dishonest competition among research institutions around the world.
TAL BECKER (Israel) said that Israel was one of a number of countries that had already adopted legislation on human cloning and was looking forward to taking an active part in the work on the topic. The Israeli legislation, adopted in 1998, prohibited genetic intervention on human beings for the purposes of human cloning, as defined in the law. The prohibition was in force for an initial period of five years during which the moral, legal, social and scientific aspects of that issue were to be examined by an advisory committee specifically established for that purpose.
He believed the Sixth Committee must approach the topic carefully and said he supported the view that a detailed examination of the subject should precede any discussion of the appropriate form and content of its international legal regulation. The examination should be as broad and inclusive as possible and involve qualified representatives from the medical profession as well as experts in bioethics and philosophy, and religious leaders.
SHUICHI AKAMATSU (Japan) said reproductive cloning of humans had serious implications for the preservation of human dignity, the protection of human life and integrity of the human body, and also the maintenance of the social order. Therefore, the international community must strongly denounce and never allow such practices. This past year, Japan had enacted a domestic law, which regulated cloning technologies concerning human beings, and strictly prohibited that kind of reproductive cloning in Japan.
Stating that it was high time for the international community to turn its attention to the matter, he said that UNESCO had engaged in the subject for quite a while and had accumulated considerable knowledge. That expertise should be duly taken into account by the special Ad Hoc committee. To obtain broad support, and to establish a solid regime regulating the issue, the discussion in the new committee should be limited to establishing measures directly related to the cloning of humans.
VLADIMIR TARABRIN (Russian Federation) said the international community could not remain on the sidelines on the question of human cloning. It was useful that a committee be created to study international legal instruments on the matter. The draft resolution before the Committee was a procedural one. His delegation was awaiting with interest the establishment of the Ad Hoc committee, and its first meeting and subsequent work. Its work should cover the scientific, legal, social and health aspects of the question.
He said it would be useful to include in the provisions of the draft text matters relating to scientific cloning of animals, human cells, information dissemination and regulation of laboratories engaged in cloning research.
ALEXANDRA VASSALIO (Malta) said she supported the initiative to establish a special ad hoc committee to examine the possibility of elaborating a convention on the banning of reproductive cloning of human beings. Although a convention would only be a first step, it was an important step in the right direction. The establishment of the committee would send the correct signal to the scientific community and to the world at large. Stating that scientific advances were moving too fast, she described the initiative as timely. Reproductive cloning technology was an important and vital tool and yet it could lead to serious abuses. The scientific community must be respectful of fundamental human rights. The convention would serve as a beacon by the United Nations for respect of morality and ethics in scientific advances.
CHRISTINE HANSON (Canada) said her country was pleased to co-sponsor the draft resolution. There had been remarkable scientific advances in recent years that raised complex and disturbing issues. The international community had begun to see the need to address the issue of reproductive cloning of human beings from a legal, ethical, health and safety perspective. There was a broad international consensus on the need to ban reproductive cloning of humans. She pointed to the announcement by certain scientists that to proceed with experiments in the cloning of human beings posed a particularly grave problem. Canada itself was in the process of taking domestic legislative steps on the issue. There was a need for a special committee to carefully explore the implications with input from experts. She advocated the establishment of the ad hoc committee in the shortest possible time.
PIOTR OGONOWSKI (Poland) said the benefits of the scientific and technological advances of the past decades were manifest. They could be seen in improved communications, better access to information, growing quality of medical services, new opportunities in education as well as in many other areas, since improvements in one province of science often had a positive impact in other fields. However, the international community must remain vigilant lest the advances and improvements turn against people, their health and the values cherished. Fortunately the international community had been able to react to challenges by developing norms intended to prevent potentially negative consequences of such advances becoming a reality. Four years after the adoption of the UNESCO Declaration on Human Genome and Human Rights, the time was ripe to move forward to a legally binding document prohibiting human cloning, an area where general consensus seemed already to exist. He supported the proposal that work begin with a mandate for the negotiations as well as beginning next year’s work with inputs from experts in the fields of genetics and bioethics.
HAROLD FRUCHTBAUM (Grenada) said that speaking as a member of Columbia University’s School of Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine, the issue was of special interest to him. His delegation would have no difficulty in supporting the draft resolution if its objective was to establish an ad hoc committee for the purpose of considering the elaboration of an international convention, on rather than against, the reproductive cloning of human beings.
His delegation was concerned that if the committee opposed reproductive cloning of human beings and research towards that end, it would be unable to give a full and fair hearing to the practical argument that attempting to prohibit research on the subject would drive it underground.
He proposed that the draft resolution A/C.6/56/L.19 be amended to cover consideration of research on reproductive cloning of human beings.
ANDRIUS NAMAVICIUS (Lithuania) said it was a timely resolution. He noted that the Council of Europe, and not only UNESCO, had also issued texts on the subject. He stressed that respect and integrity of the human person must be respected. The cloning of cells should be acceptable.
AHMED ELMESSALATI (Libya) said the proposal was welcome and required detailed study. Rapid progress had been made in the field of genetics and it should be possible to eliminate its harmful effects. There should be regulations to ensure that dangers were averted and humanity benefited from scientific and technological progress.
L. HERNANDEZ (Venezuela) welcomed the draft resolution and applauded the initiative by Germany and France, which he said built on previous juridical initiatives on the issue. The reproductive cloning of humans must not be allowed. He supported the establishment of a special ad hoc committee to study the issue of cloning, saying it seemed the most appropriate way to begin to tackle the matter. He expressed gratitude for the important and timely initiative contained in the resolution and said his country was happy to co-sponsor the draft.
NYIRINKINDI ROSETTE KATUNGYE (Uganda) also expressed appreciation for the timely initiative, and said her country was joining as a co-sponsor.
SORAYA ALVEREZ NUNEZ (Cuba) announced that her country had joined as a co-sponsor. She found the draft to be an outstanding initiative and congratulated Germany and France. The establishment of the special ad hoc committee would allow the international community to promptly begin work on the matter.
AUGUSTO CABRERA (Peru) expressed appreciation for the invaluable initiative by Germany and France in launching the elaboration of a convention banning the reproductive cloning of humans. His country shared the goals and objectives as exemplified in the draft and had therefore joined as a co-sponsor.
GORAN STEVVCEVSKI (The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) announced that his country would like to join as a co-sponsor.
BEATRICE EUGENE (Haiti) announced that her country was a co-sponsor of the draft resolution.
KENJIKA EKEDEDE (Nigeria) described the Germany-France initiative as of primary importance, given the threat to and the belittlement of the dignity and status of human beings posed by reproductive cloning. His country wished to co-sponsor the draft, since such practices must be stopped and "nipped in the bud" by subjecting them to international regulation.
RENATO MARTINO, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, said the Committee’s discussion, which would lead to the creation of a normative instrument valid for all the world, was one of urgency. The ethical and juridical consequences which would arise from reproductive human cloning would contaminate and desecrate the future of humankind.
He said the act of cloning was a predetermined act which "forced" the image and likeness of the donor and was actually a form of imposing dominion over another human being which denied the human dignity of the child and made him or her a slave to the will of others. The child would be seen as an object and a product of one’s fancy rather than a unique human being, equal in dignity to those who "created" him or her.
The practice of cloning would usurp the role of the creator and thus be seen as an offence before God, he said. Fundamental rights to equality, to freedom, and to non-discrimination enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were based upon the truth of the specific and inalienable dignity of every human being. That very dignity could not be the object or the instrument of the will of other people.
To have the United Nations and governments of the world committed to a juridical instrument of the highest validity was more than justified. Describing the challenge as new in our time, he said the international community was called upon to defend human life and future generations from the possible abuses of science and technology. While science was one of the most important factors in progress, it was at the same time one of the powers that could be abused with unpredictable and negative effects.
He said the issues of therapeutic cloning, the production of human embryos as suppliers of specialized stem cells, and embryos to be used in the treatment of certain illnesses and then destroyed, must be addressed as well. The exploitation of human beings, sought by certain scientific and industrial circles, and pushed forward by underlying economic interests, retained all its ethical repugnance as an even more serious offence against human dignity and the right to life, since it involved human beings —- embryos -— who were created in order to be destroyed.
VALENTIN ZELLWEGER, Observer for Switzerland, said a draft convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings would open new prospects for health, while raising new issues of an ethical and juridical nature. It was imperative and urgent that cloning be banned. He was deeply concerned about the intention of some researchers and laboratories to undertake cloning. Switzerland prohibited the practice and punished it with imprisonment under its federal law. He called for international cooperation to harmonize various instruments against cloning. His delegation supported the draft resolution and its objectives. It would contribute to the work of the Ad Hoc committee proposed under the draft resolution.
Action on Draft on Convention Banning Human Cloning (L.19)
The Secretary of the Committee, speaking on the financial and administrative implications of the draft on an International Convention for the Reproductive Cloning of Human Beings (L.19), announced that should it be adopted, no additional appropriation would be required.
The representative of Grenada withdrew his proposal that the special Ad Hoc committee should also consider a convention on research on reproductive cloning of humans.
The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.
Action on Draft on Legal Protection of United Nations Personnel
ELENA GEDOIS (New Zealand), introducing the draft on the scope of legal protection under the Convention on the safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel (document A/C.6/56/L.18), announced that the following countries had joined as co-sponsors: France, Greece, Luxembourg,
The Secretary of the Committee announced that there would be no additional financial implications should the draft resolution be adopted.
The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.
Action on Drafts on Report of International Law Commission
MIRZA CRISTINA GNECCO (Colombia) introduced the first draft, L.17, which was then approved by the Committee without a vote.
MARCELO VAZQUEZ (Ecuador) introduced the second draft, L.20, on the responsibility of States, which was also approved without a vote.
Action on Report of UNCITRAL (L.8)
The Committee approved the draft on the report of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) (L.8), which had been introduced at a previous meeting, without a vote.
The Committee also approved without a vote the drafts on a Model Law on Electronic Signatures (L.11) and on the United Nations Convention on Assignment of Receivables (L.12 and Corr.1).
Establishment of International Criminal Court
EDWIN KEYZER (Netherlands) introduced the draft resolution on the establishment of the International Criminal Court document (A/C.6/56/L.21). He announced that 46 States had to date ratified the Rome Statute on the Court. He noted that draft text included a provision for the establishment of a trust fund to finance the cost of convening the first meeting of the Assembly of States Parties. He urged the approval of the text without a vote.
The Secretary to the Sixth Committee announced that no additional appropriation would be necessary should the General Assembly adopt the draft resolution.
NICHOLAS ROSTOW (United States), speaking before action on the draft resolution, said his delegation would not participate in it. The objections of the United States to the establishment of the International Criminal Court were serious. Its objections covered issues relating to the Court’s jurisdiction, due process and jus cogens (fundamental norms of international law) with respect to the handling of the question of aggression. The United States would therefore not join in the consensus.
The Sixth Committee then approved draft resolution A/C.6/56/L.21 without a vote.
MOSUD MANNAN (Bangladesh) introduced the draft decision on Observer status for Partners in Population and Development in the General Assembly contained in document A/C.6/56/L.23. The text replaced the draft resolution contained in document A/C.6/56/L.4 and Corr.1.
The text was approved without a vote.
The Committee next took up its new agenda item on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Inter–Parliamentary Union.
A report of the Secretary-General on the subject (document A/56/614) said the two bodies had continued to strengthen their cooperation since the 1996 signature of the cooperation agreement between them. The General Assembly had annually debated efforts by the Inter–Parliamentary Union and the United Nations to secure parliamentary input to the major undertakings of the United Nations.
The first-ever Conference of Presiding Officers of National Parliaments, which was held at Headquarters from 30 August to 1 September 2000, concluded with the adoption of the Declaration entitled "The Parliamentary vision for international cooperation at the dawn of the third millennium," in which the Presiding Officers pledged their commitment to international cooperation with a strong United Nations at its core, and reaffirmed their belief that the United Nations should remain the cornerstone of effective global cooperation.
The Secretary-General’s report states that as an exception to the criteria established by the General Assembly in its decision 49/426 of 9 December 1994, the Assembly might wish to grant the Inter–Parliamentary Union a standing invitation to participate, as appropriate, in its sessions and work as well as in those of its subsidiary organs and in international conferences convened under United Nations auspices.
NARINDA SINGH (India) introduced a related draft resolution, contained in document A/C.6/56/L.24. The Sixth Committee will take action on the text at its next meeting.
Measures to eliminate international terrorism
PIERRE LELONG (Haiti), Chairman of the Sixth Committee, said the General Assembly had an extensive debate on measures against International terrorism, from 1 to 5 October, during which an unprecedented number of 167 Member States and 4 Observers spoke. The seriousness with which the plenary considered the item certainly provided impetus to the work of the working group of the Sixth Committee established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 55/158.
He said the working group held its session from 15 to 26 October. Its report had been issued in document A/C.6/56/L.9. Other relevant documents were, in particular, the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 (document A/56/37 and the Report of the Secretary-General entitled "Measures to eliminate international terrorism" (documents A/56/160 and Corr.1 and Add.1).
ROHAN PERERA (Sri Lanka), Chairman of the Working Group, introducing its report, said it reflected the progress that the working group achieved on the issues before it. They were the elaboration of a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism; outstanding issues relating to the elaboration of a draft international convention for the suppression of nuclear terrorism; and the convening of a high level conference under United Nations auspices to formulate a joint organized response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
He said that notwithstanding the progress achieved on those three issues in the course of its two-week proceedings, several key issues remained to be resolved. It was the group’s recommendation that work should continue as a matter of urgency on the elaboration of a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism, building upon the work accomplished during the meetings of the group.
On the draft text of the suppression of nuclear terrorism, he said it had been recommended that the coordinator for the text should continue his consultations and to report to the Sixth Committee on them.
He emphasized the spirit of compromise and flexibility which characterized their work. The shared objective of each delegation he consulted was to conclude the comprehensive convention on international terrorism. That was also clearly manifest in the discussions in the working group. Although that objective was not realized, he said there was no doubt that the working group was close to reaching agreement. Considerable progress had been made towards completing the text, he said, adding that the issues that remained pending involved politically sensitive matters. They required political will and compromise.
He hoped that the momentum generated in the working group would prevail as the Sixth Committee considered the report. The debate in the General Assembly on international terrorism, as well as the general debate, indicated that the events of 11 September had brought about a sense of urgency and renewed purpose for the international community to act resolutely together in the fight against international terrorism. The expeditious conclusion of a comprehensive convention would constitute yet another important step in the global response to terrorism. He hoped the General Assembly would be in a position to adopt it during its current session.
RICHARD ROWE (Australia) reported on the outcome of his consultations on the draft convention for the suppression of nuclear terrorism. He said he carried out extensive consultations on the issue. It was agreed that work on the text should continue and that priority be given to it, with the aim of completing work on it as expeditiously as possible.
MR. LELONG (Haiti), Chairman of the Sixth Committee, said the working group on terrorism had made considerable progress on the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism. It was indeed important that the Committee build upon the work accomplished by the working group. He was confident that the spirit of cooperation and flexibility would not disappear so that the outstanding issues might be resolved and that the Committee could conclude its work on the convention in the near future.
He recalled that the issue of international terrorism was the concern of both the General Assembly and the Security Council. He recalled that the Security Council in its resolution 1373 of 28 September established a counter-terrorism committee, chaired by the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who would apprise the Sixth Committee of the developments in that committee, since it was dealing with issues of particular interest to all delegations.
SIR JEREMY GREENSTOCK (United Kingdom), Chairman of the Security Council Counter-terrorism Committee, said he believed the Committee had much to lean from the Sixth Committee and to exchange ideas with it. Part of his Committee’s mandate was to help raise the operational capability of Member States to counter terrorism. The Security Council would look to the Sixth Committee and the General Assembly to craft a resolution on that.
He commended the working group on its activities, noting that it had provided the General Assembly an opportunity it might not have again. He urged finalization of the texts on a comprehensive convention against terrorism, and on the suppression of nuclear terrorism.
He updated the Sixth Committee on the activities of the Counter-terrorism Committee. He said its plan of work had been published together with guidelines. The Committee was now discussing how to process reports from Member States on counter-terrorism measures they had put in place. The reports were due by 21 December this year. An important aspect of its work was seeking the views of Member States on those areas on which they would require expert assistance to counter terrorism, and how that expertise could be acquired. It was an aspect the Counter-terrorism Committee would like to discuss in more detail with Member States: what they might need and how those needs could be met. He said his Committee would have one or two meetings every week, and he hoped the Sixth Committee would take a close interest in its work.
HANS CORELL, Under-Secretary-General, Office of Legal Affairs, and United Nations Legal Counsel said the Secretary-General had asked him to convey his greetings and indicate that he was following the work of the Sixth Committee. In order that momentum should not be lost, the Secretariat had been asked to assist the counter terrorism committee.
Because of the importance of the work against terrorism, the Secretary-General had requested that Richard Rowe of Australia be permitted to return to continue his consultations on the draft convention for the suppression of nuclear terrorism, and the draft resolution on comprehensive terrorism. He noted the importance of the work on those texts.
MR.LELONG, Chairman of the Sixth Committee, said the Committee would take action on the draft resolution on measures to eliminate international terrorism at its next meeting.
MR. ROWE (Australia) said he intended to undertake bilateral consultations with a wide range of delegations on the outstanding issues involved in the text on comprehensive convention against terrorism.
MR. FRUCHTBAUM (Grenada) recalled that last Tuesday he had spoken of the importance of wide dissemination of international law in connection with the United Nations work in that area. Delegations had been silent on his proposal. He said the United Nations Programme focused too much attention on teachers and students, academics and journalists. He noted that the Secretary-General had emphasized most strongly the need for dissemination of international law.
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