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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Mr Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Croatia*, Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Serbia, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this statement.

The EU has been a staunch advocate for the new system of Administration of Justice and played an active role in the process of its establishment. We therefore greatly appreciate the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 63/253, the subsequent appointment of all the judges for the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) and the United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT) as well as the establishment of the Office of Administration of Justice, comprising the new Office of Staff Legal Assistance, as well as other entities such as the Office of the Ombudsman and the registries, and the tireless work of the Secretariat in this regard.

The EU believes that the Administration of Justice system has already begun to prove itself. The Member States have, together with the Secretariat, created a comprehensive new system, comprising both an informal and formal part, that will provide a substantially better recourse to justice for the staff members. Based on acquired experience, the new system will be open to further improvements.

Mr Chairman,

The EU also welcomes the submission of the Rules of Procedure of new Tribunals. The Rules of Procedure have been established by the judges of both UNDT and UNAT and have been provisionally applied since the 1st of July this year. In accordance with resolution 63/253 they should now be approved by the Assembly. The EU is ready to approve the Rules of Procedure without delay and expects other delegations to be in a position to do the same.

Mr Chairman,

The European Union sees several major outstanding issues that fall within the ambit of this Committee, many of which will also have to be addressed by the Fifth Committee. Such issues include the questions relating to effective remedies for non-staff personnel, legal assistance to staff, and the possibility for the staff associations to file applications before the Tribunals. We believe, however, that we should let our deliberations be guided by

    – firstly, an attitude of trust in permitting the new system establish its working practices, and not allow ourselves to resort to micro-management,

    – secondly, by limiting our efforts to one or a few issues where our guidance can truly assist the new system, and

    – thirdly, by focusing our attention on how we best can prepare for the 65th General Assembly session, which will conduct a comprehensive review of the new system.

With regard to the scope of the new system and questions relating to effective remedies for non-staff personnel, the EU has consistently stressed that the new system should be consistent with a number of fundamental principles of rule of law and due process, including the right to an effective remedy, equal access to justice and the right to be heard. Providing effective remedy to all persons who perform work for the Organization is of paramount importance for the credibility and effective work of the Organization. We should seek to make sure that the United Nations, as an exemplary employer, complies with its duty to ensure that effective remedies are available to all categories of UN personnel and consider what types of recourse would be the most appropriate to this end.

The EU welcomes the progress made in the Ad Hoc Committee, as reflected in the Committee’s report (A/64/55). The Working Group that meets later this week should take up the suggestions contained therein and advance our collective thinking on ways to improve access to justice for non-staff. Let me remind delegations that the General Assembly has decided to take the necessary decisions at its 65th session, that is, next year. If we want to meet that deadline and submit, as Sixth Committee, meaningful proposals on this issue to the Fifth Committee, we should indeed continue that discussion. This is the last chance to ask the Secretariat for any additional information or proposals before this Committee takes up the issue next year. We should make good use of this opportunity.

I thank you, Mr Chairman.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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