Subject: UN: GA give E Timor LDC status, approves humanitarian resolution

17 December, 2003

Press Release GA/10221

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Fifty-eighth General Assembly

Plenary

75th Meeting (PM)

As the General Assembly pushed to 22 December the recess date for its current session, it pressed ahead this afternoon on the final stages of its work, adopting 15 texts on a variety of issues, including resolutions on the safety and security of United Nations and other humanitarian personnel, coordination of humanitarian assistance, assistance to the Palestinian people and several country-specific situations.

Expressing its deep concern over the dangers and security risks faced by United Nations and other humanitarian personnel in the field, the Assembly adopted, by consensus, a resolution on the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and the protection of United Nations personnel.

By that text, the world body urged all States to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of United Nations and other humanitarian personnel and to ensure respect for the inviolability of United Nations premises. It also called upon all other parties involved in armed conflicts to ensure their safety and protection and to refrain from abducting or detaining them in violation of their immunity.

Strongly condemning any act or failure to act that obstructed or prevented United Nations and other humanitarian personnel from discharging their humanitarian functions, or that entailed their subjection to threats, the use of force or physical attack, the Assembly affirmed the need to hold to account those committing such acts. It also expressed its deep concern that threats against the safety and security of United Nations and other humanitarian workers have escalated at an unprecedented rate over the past decade.

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The world body adopted country-specific resolutions related to the situations in Somalia, Djibouti, Comoros (as orally revised) and Timor-Leste, as well as resolutions on the Alliance for the Sustainable Development of Central America, the "White Helmets" and the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.

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Background

Also acting upon a number of proposals contained in the reports of other bodies, the Assembly endorsed the Economic and Social Council's recommendation that Timor-Leste be added to the list of the least developed countries and adopted a number of recommendations of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), each by acclamation.

The Assembly met this afternoon to take action on various outstanding issues, including a draft resolution on the report of the Committee for Development Policy (document A/58/L.36), by which it would endorse the Economic and Social Council's recommendation that Timor-Leste be added to the list of least developed countries (LDCs).

And by a text on Assistance for humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and development for Timor-Leste (document A/58/L.46), the Assembly would welcome the commitment of the international community to meet the country's external requirements for rehabilitation, reconstruction and development activities. It would urge the United Nations, other intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and Member States to continue to support the Government and its people in their endeavours towards self-sustainable nation-building and in facing remaining vulnerabilities and challenges, such as nation-wide capacity-building in all sectors, sustainable development, national reconciliation and the return of refugees to Timor-Leste.

Deeply concerned by the dangers and security risks faced by humanitarian, United Nations and associated personnel at the field level, the Assembly had before it a draft resolution on Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations personnel (document A/58/L.47). By the terms of that text, the world body would urge all States to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and its associated personnel and to ensure respect for the inviolability of United Nations premises. It would also call upon all other parties involved in armed conflicts to ensure the safety and protection of United Nations and other humanitarian workers, to refrain from abducting or detaining them in violation of their immunity and speedily to release, without harm, any abductee or detainee.

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Action to Endorse Timor-Leste as Least Developed Country

The Assembly, this afternoon, adopted without a vote a resolution on the report of the Committee for Development Policy (document A/58/L.36) endorsing the Economic and Social Council's recommendation that Timor-Leste be added to the list of the least developed countries.

Introducing the text, the representative of Morocco, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, recalled that the Committee for Development Policy had recommended the inclusion of Timor-Leste on the list of least developed countries, and that recommendation had been approved by the Economic and Social Council, contingent upon that country's acceptance of the recommendation. Timor-Leste had since given its acceptance to its placement on the list of least developed countries.

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Introducing a text on Assistance for humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and development for Timor-Leste (document A/58/L.46), the representative of Timor-Leste said the measure acknowledged the progress that had been made there, but also recognized the need for continued international and United Nations support, especially in health, judicial, and law enforcement sectors. He hoped the draft would be adopted by consensus. He read out a technical correction to the text.

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