02 December 2013

Statement by Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order at the 68th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

Mr. Chairperson,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my honour to submit this progress report to the General Assembly in accordance with Resolution 67/175. The report should be read together with my report to the Human Rights Council, presented on 10 September 2013 pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 21/9, which focuses on other aspects of the mandate and contains fourteen important annexes.

In this report to the Assembly I summarize activities undertaken from August 2012 to July 2013, and endeavour to address some of the issues specifically raised in creating the mandate, which I understand as global in geographical scope and multi-level in conceptual approach. As the resolutions indicate, the goal is convergence of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights into a coherent synthesis that will advance the process of achieving an international order that is more democratic and equitable.

The vast scope of the resolutions manifests the bold vision of the Human Rights Council and General Assembly and calls for the formulation of pragmatic recommendations.

My reports identify manifold obstacles to the realization of a democratic and equitable international order and propose reforms to the United Nations institutions so as to make them more democratic, making participation in the Bretton Woods more equitable and representative, bringing transnational corporations under UN scrutiny, so as to enhance both transparency and accountability. Domestically, I call for greater use of the instruments of direct democracy.

Undoubtedly Peace is a condition to realizing a democratic and equitable international order. Humanity’s best hope thus remains a revitalized United Nations and a pro-active General Assembly that will deploy preventive strategies and henceforth implement the pledge to spare humanity from the barbarity of war more effectively. It is time for the UN General Assembly, as the most representative world body, not only to voice the international community’s rejection of war and war-mongering, but also to develop early warning mechanisms to detect and neutralize disinformation, insidious propaganda for war and the panoply of pretexts used by some States to justify the use of force.

Similarly, the UN Secretary General could use his good offices and deploy preventive strategies against the uncontrolled dynamics of war propaganda. He can exercise a more proactive role in referring belligerent tensions not only to the Security Council but also to the General Assembly and to the Human Rights Council, bearing in mind that armed conflicts always impact negatively on the most fundamental human rights. In this context the creation of the function of a Special Advisor to the Secretary General on the prevention of war and the suppression of war-mongering could be considered.