UNGA Current Affairs - 2020

India pitches for anti-terror treaty, UNSC reforms

India has strongly pitched for finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) and UN Security Council (UNSC) reforms.

On behalf of India, these issues were stressed by Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during her meeting with the President-elect of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Mogens Lykketoft who is on official two-day visit to India.

India’s demand

  • Urgent reforms in UNSC to reflect present day world realities in order to reflect current geopolitical realities and increasing role of developing nations.
  • Early finalisation of the CCIT (a treaty proposed by India in 1996) in order to make it binding for countries to ban terrorists, deny funds and safe haven to them.

In regard with terrorism, India clearly mentioned that no nation can be immune to the threat of terrorism especially with the emergence of Islamic State. So it is important to have collective effort to deal with menace of terrorism.

Mogens Lykketoft was unanimously elected by the UNGA as the President of the 70th Session which is going to start in September 2015. Prior to this appointment he was speaker of the Danish Parliament and earlier had served as Finance Minister and Foreign Minister of Denmark.

70th Session of UNGA: It is considered as landmark session as it is expected to address several important global issues, including UNSC Reforms, Review of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Climate Change, Adoption and implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Review of the Tunis Agenda (World Summit on Information Society) etc.

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UNHRC asks China to ensure universal voting rights in Hong Kong

The UNHRC ( United Nations Human Rights Committee) asked China to ensure universal suffrage in Hong Kong, specifying that universal voting rights included the right to stand for election as well as the right to vote.

Role of UNHRC in Hong Kong

The UNHRC monitors compliance with an international treaty on civil and political rights, namely the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), in Hong Kong. Therefore, it is concerned with violations of the treaty in Hong Kong.

Concerns of the UNHRC

The main concerns expressed by the UNHRC were focused on the right to stand for elections without unreasonable restrictions. The UNHRC has also asked for additional information on the specific method for selecting the Chief Executive Legislative Council of Hong Kong by universal suffrage, to ensure its compliance with the ICCPR. This recent statement of UNHRC is a follow-up on its recommendations made in March 2013 pertaining to the need for universal and equal suffrage in Hong Kong for all elections.

ICCPR

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the UNGA in 1966. It guarantees fundamental freedoms including the right to self-determination and free and regular elections. China is also a signatory but it has never been ratified. However, though ICCPR is just a treaty for other countries, it is binding in Hong Kong due to the special nature and circumstances surrounding the province.

Protests in Hong Kong

Protestors in Hong Kong have also been demanding universal suffrage and that the impending elections in 2017 and 2020 be held according to international standards. The elections in question are for the Chief Executive position and Legislative Council seats.

The protest was conceived to be an act of civil disobedience by the organizers. Hong Kong citizens, unlike those of mainland China have the right to free speech and right to protest. The ruling of the National People’s Congress which triggered the protests said that candidates for the 2017 Chief Executive elections would be only those nominated by a Committee which consisted mostly of pro Beijing members.

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