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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2010

Sixth Committee of the General Assembly Agenda item 79. The report of the International Law Commission on the work of its sixty-second session: Chapters VIII (obligation to extradite or prosecute); X (treaties over time); XI (MFN clause); XII (shared natural resources).

New Zealand statement by Natalie Ryan, Legal Adviser, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 29 October

Madam Chair,

As this is the first time New Zealand has spoken during the debate on agenda item 79, we wish to thank the International Law Commission and its members for the report on the work of its sixty-second session. We also thank its Chair, Mr Nugroho Wisnumurti, for his introductory remarks. We express our appreciation to the Codification Division for the valuable support it provides to the Commission.

New Zealand congratulates Mr Huikang Huang on his election to the Commission, and thanks Ms Hanqin Xue, for her work as former Chair of the Commission, before her resignation in July to take up her place on the bench of the International Court of Justice. New Zealand wishes to acknowledge the work of former members Sir Ian Brownlie and Professor Paula Escarameia, who both passed away this year.

Madam Chair,

Today I will address the three topics discussed in chapters V to VII of the report – expulsion of aliens, effects of armed conflict on treaties and protection of persons in the event of natural disasters.

In order to be of the greatest assistance in clarifying and codifying international law on this topic, the draft articles should be relevant to the variety of types of conflict that occur today. We therefore support the inclusion of non-international armed conflicts within the scope of the draft articles.

We note the Special Rapporteur’s intention not to address the effects of armed conflict on treaties to which one or more international organisations are party, as well as many States. We encourage further consideration of the exclusion of such treaties.  It may be possible to devise a formula ensuring the inclusion of major treaties to which a single international organisation is a party, for example, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The mere fact of membership by an international organisation may not necessarily mean that the treaty’s application to State parties should be excluded from the scope of the draft articles.

New Zealand thanks the Special Rapporteur, Mr Eduardo Valencia-Ospina for his third report on the Protection of Persons in the Event of Disasters, which included draft articles on humanitarian principles in disaster response, the underlying concept of human dignity and the primary responsibility of the affected State to ensure protection of persons and provision of disaster relief.

New Zealand strongly supports this focus on principles that are directly relevant to the protection of individuals. In times of disaster, people are at their most vulnerable, and the mechanisms of civil society are placed under pressure and can struggle to function. For these reasons, we consider that a pragmatic approach is most appropriate for this topic and we therefore support the consideration of the rights and obligations of the affected State and those of assisting States to the extent that they are relevant to the protection of persons and the facilitation of immediate assistance and relief activities.

We look forward to consideration by the Commission at its next session of the four draft articles provisionally adopted by the Drafting Committee referring to further humanitarian principals and the role of the affected State.

Thank you Madam Chair.


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