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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2009

Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, Agenda item 82
Report of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organisation

Statement on behalf of CANZ by Anais Kedgley Laidlaw, Legal Advisor of the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations,Monday 19 October 2009

Mr Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of Australia and Canada, as well as New Zealand.

Sanctions imposed under Chapter VII of the Charter are the final step, short of armed force, that the United Nations can take to ensure compliance with objectives set by the Security Council; and, sparingly used, are a vital tool in the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security.

CANZ welcomes the ongoing consideration of issues relating to the imposition and implementation of sanctions. Within the United Nations, it is the 15 members of the Security Council that have the mandate to impose sanctions, yet all Member States are required to implement them. There is therefore a valid and important role for the General Assembly in respect of sanction-related issues. We endorse the principles outlined in the paper - that sanctions should have clear objectives, be proportionate, be in conformity with the Charter, take account of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and be regularly reviewed.

In recent years, many of us have been grappling with how best to give full and timely effect to sanctions resolutions, while still ensuring respect for international and domestic law requirements around due process and related human rights issues. CANZ gives primacy to implementing mandatory Security Council decisions, as Article 103 of the Charter requires. However, the processes followed by the Council’s sanctions committees, particularly in the inclusion of names on lists, have sometimes seemed to fall short in terms of standards of transparency and accountability.

To this end, we welcome work undertaken by the Security Council, most recently by way of Security Council Resolution 1822, which requests the 1267 Committee to make several key changes to its processes. In particular, we support the directive to review all names currently inscribed on the 1267 Consolidated List of Entities by June 2010, to ensure that the List is accurate and that all listings remain appropriate. CANZ also supports the guidelines developed by the 1267 Committee in response to Resolution 1822 to govern its work. Among other things, these provide much needed guidance for considering requests for exemptions to asset freeze provisions and from travel bans.

Efforts to improve listing processes continue to require the support of Member States. For this reason, we welcome Paragraph 7 of the paper, which focuses on ensuring fair and clear procedures in the listing and delisting of persons and entities.

While we support adoption of the paper by the Sixth Committee, we do have some concerns with aspects of the section on “Unintended side effects of sanctions”. We consider that humanitarian aid should be provided with the host State’s consent. In addition, appropriate humanitarian exemptions to sanctions are imperative, and humanitarian assistance should be available for the affected civilian population, regardless of whether sanctions are in place.

Mr Chairman:

We endorse the need for cooperation between States by exchanging information about the legislative, administrative and practical implementation of sanctions.

Effective implementation of sanctions is a challenge that all Member States face. Cooperation and information sharing can assist with this challenge and contribute to a robust and effective multilateral sanctions system.

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