President UNGA discontent with UN’s failure to adopt budget, plan for 2021
UN rights expert pushes US to remove sanctions impeding rehabilitation in Syria
UNITED NATIONS, Volkan Bozkir, president of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on Wednesday expressed his disappointment at the world body’s failure to adopt the budget and plan for 2021.
“I would like to express my concern and disappointment that the United Nations’ budget and plan for 2021 have still not been adopted. We are facing an unprecedented situation, in which we are still continuing discussions that have traditionally been finalized before Christmas,” the UNGA president said in a statement.
This year, consensus is more urgent than ever. The world has yet to fully address the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated socio-economic consequences, the statement noted.
“The world is therefore looking to the United Nations, including the General Assembly, for leadership and demonstrable action to address these pressing challenges in the real world.
The General Assembly has a responsibility to meet the world’s expectations and support multilateral-ism and pandemic recovery, in a manner that accelerates the implementation of the 2030 Agenda during this Decade of Action,” it said.
The statement noted that if member states fail to reach an agreement, the consequences on the work of the United Nations will be “dire.”
First of all, according to the statement, all personnel, including in special political missions, will be asked to stand down from any activity except the minimum needed to ensure the safety of our personnel and assets.
On other consequences, the statement said that all mandated activity, including support for political processes under way, will be disrupted, increasing the risk of instability. “The missions with time sensitive tasks will be most affected.”
A UN human rights expert Tuesday called upon the United States to remove unilateral sanctions against Syria that hamper efforts to rebuild the war-torn country’s destroyed civilian infrastructure.
Alena Douhan, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impacts of unilateral coercive measures on human rights, voiced concerns that sanctions imposed under the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act – also known as the Caesar Act – risk exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation in Syria, especially in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, and put Syrians at even greater risk of rights violations.
“When it announced the first sanctions under the Caesar Act in June 2020, the United States said it did not intend for them to harm the Syrian population,” she stated.
“Yet enforcement of the Act may worsen the existing humanitarian crisis, depriving the Syrian people of the chance to rebuild their basic infrastructure,” Ms. Douhan added.
Thousands of schools have been destroyed and the health system is in tatters, with only 58 per cent of hospitals reported to be fully functional.
According to a statement from the UN human rights office (OHCHR), the Caesar Act contains the most wide-ranging US sanctions ever applied against Syria.
It could target any foreigner helping in reconstruction of Syria, including employees of foreign companies and humanitarian operators helping to rebuild.
Since Syria’s economy is largely destroyed, it needs to be able to rely on foreign assistance in accessing vital humanitarian aid and rebuilding essential infrastructure.