310th & 311th Meetings (AM & PM)

Special Committee on Charter Concludes Session without Consensus on Annual Report

The Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on Strengthening the Role of the Organization concluded its annual session today without the adoption of a full draft report due to disagreements on language concerning the ongoing conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine.  The Committee approved Chapter I of the report (document A/AC.182/2024/L.1) and forwarded it to the General Assembly.

Established as a platform to exchange views on the Charter’s implementation, the Committee holds annual sessions, with Member States gathering to consider proposals and hold substantive discussions.  The Committee’s 2024 session, from 20 to 28 February, featured in-person discussions and working groups.  (For details of its opening meeting, see Press Release L/3297.)

Committee Chairperson Michael Hasenau (Germany) deplored the failure — three years in a row — to reach consensus on its draft report as a whole.  He called on delegates to reflect on the events this year and consider what might be done differently in the future.  It is necessary to prepare earlier to avoid repeating this, he said, also thanking the Bureau and Secretariat for “living through this experience” once again.

In 2022 and 2023, differences on certain provisions concerning the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine prevented the Committee from adopting a substantive report. 

The 2024 report, presented by its Rapporteur, Gloria Dakwak (Nigeria), consists of five chapters covering discussions conducted during two plenary sessions and three working group meetings.  While delegates approved Chapter I on introduction, they differed on the contents of the other chapters.  Some delegates pointed to omissions and vagueness in the report while others said it is important to preserve its delicate balance.  Disagreements hinged on language, such as the difference between “many” and “a number of”, as delegates underscored the importance of the report accurately reflecting various conversations and the agreements and disagreements expressed in them.

Several delegates expressed reservations about Chapter II, concerning the maintenance of international peace and security, which details the Committee’s discussions that featured statements regarding Gaza and Ukraine. 

South Africa’s delegate objected to that chapter’s designation of the attack carried out on 7 October by Hamas as a “terrorist attack”.  That reflects the views of some States and not the Committee, she said, while Israel’s delegate expressed shock at such comments.  The Observer for the State of Palestine noted that only two or three States expressed a contrary view during the Committee's deliberations.  Israel’s delegate suggested deleting paragraphs 4 and 5 in the relevant section in their entirety to avoid these political considerations. 

Also in that chapter’s consideration of the revised working paper submitted by Belarus and the Russian Federation, the latter’s representative said that the proposal in paragraph 4 concerning requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legality of the use of force by the Russian Federation against Ukraine does not reflect reality and existing practice and asked for its deletion.  Ukraine’s delegate disagreed, while the Russian Federation’s speaker proposed alternate wording, which did not meet with consensus.

In another section of the same chapter, Ukraine’s representative proposed replacing the word “invasion” of Ukraine with “aggression”, in line with the term used by the General Assembly in its Emergency Special Session resolution on the issue.  However, the Russian Federation’s delegate denounced the inclusion in the Committee’s report of statements that do not fall within its competence and stressed the importance of not “politicizing” its work. 

Differences also emerged on Chapter V on working methods and identification of new subjects.  Mexico’s delegate proposed adding a paragraph reflecting the broad support enjoyed by his delegation’s revised working paper entitled “Review of the application of Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, with regard to paragraph 4 of Article 2 of the same instrument”.  The representatives of the Philippines, Uganda, El Salvador, Chile, Kenya, Peru and Libya supported the addition.  However, the delegates of United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia objected to it, stressing that the Committee’s report must reflect the opinions of Member States and not add any additional analysis.

Several delegates expressed concern that some of the language in this chapter gave the impression that the Committee agreed that the proposal — to note unilateral coercive measures were illegitimate and punitive in nature — was too politically charged.  Iran’s representative noted that it was only one delegation that had voiced this view while Kenya’a delegate suggested alternate language, which, however, was not acceptable to the European Union. 

Canada’s delegate said that many of the proposed changes are fundamentally altering the content of the report.  Agreeing, Australia’s delegate said that at this late stage, it was not possible to agree on changes that affect the substance and balance of the report.  It is time for the Committee to reconsider its working methods and allot more time next year to review the report, she said.

For information media. Not an official record.