On December 29, 2019 the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has given its approval for a new Russian resolution which will draft a new international treaty to combat cyber-crime. The Russian draft resolution was approved by the 193-member world body of UNGA by a vote of 79-60 with 33 abstentions (declining to vote).
Russian resolution to combat cybercrime:
i.Russian resolution: This resolution will comprise of an expert committee with world region representations. It will also elaborate the international convention on countering usage of information and communication technologies for criminal purposes.
ii.Committee meet: The committee will meet in August 2020 to agree on an outline of its activities while the substantive work on the new convention will begin in 2021.
Resolution condemning abuse against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims & minorities approved:
The UNGA also approved a resolution which strongly condemns human rights abuses against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims and other minorities. It has also called the govt. of Myanmar to take speedy measures to combat incitement (urging someone to behave unlawfully) of hatred against minorities in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states.
UN increased budget for 2020 to $3.07 billion; also includes funds for war crime probes
The UNGA adopted $3.07 billion operating budget for 2020 and also for the very 1st time included funding for the investigation of war crimes in Syria and Myanmar. 2020 operating budget is slightly more when compared with the $2.9 billion budget.
2020 operational budget:
i.Reason for increase: The increase in budget for 2020 is due to additional missions assigned to the UN Secretariat, inflation and exchange rate adjustments.
ii.Additional missions: The mission assigned to the UN secretariat additionally include observer mission in Yemen, political mission established in Haiti, investigation of crimes committed in Syria since 2011 civil war outbreak, and in Myanmar, on the crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority after 2017.
iii.Budgets for Syria and Myanmar investigations: Before the budget being adopted by the UN for the first time in 2020, it was previously financed by voluntary contributions. These contributions will be transferred to the UN secretariat’s budget and will also receive compulsory contributions from the 193 member states.
iv.Russia proposed multiple amendments during negotiations in the Committee on Budgetary Questions meeting and in UNGA plenary session. At each vote, Russia, Syria, Myanmar and their supporters, including North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua and Venezuela, were outvoted. They stated of dissociating themselves from references to investigative mechanisms in the adopted resolutions.
v.Operating budget: The UN’s operating budget is separate from the annual budget for peacekeeping operations of some $6 billion that was adopted in June 2019.
UN extends investigation of secretary-general Dag’s mysterious 1961 death:
The UNGA has given its approval to extend the investigation into the mysterious death of the 1961 death of Second secretary-general of UN Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld (Sweden). He was killed in a plane crash near the city of Ndola in what was then known as Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, while travelling to southern Africa for a mission to unite Congo and stop the mineral-rich Katanga province from seceding.
Investigation on the death:
i.The text, to investigate the death initiated by Sweden and co-sponsored by more than 100 countries, was adopted by consensus without a vote.
ii.Reappointment of Tanzanian lawyer: Sweden recommended reappointment of Tanzanian lawyer Mohamed Chande Othman, who led the investigation of his mysterious death for several years.
iii.Last report by lawyer: As per the last report by Mohamed, US (United States) and Britain were accused of withholding information regarding Hammarskjold’s death. He even accused South Africa. Prior to this report, another report concluded that the crash was caused by pilot error.
About United Nations General Assembly(UNGA):
President- Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.
Headquarters- New York City, United States(US).
1st session of UNGA- 10 January 1946.