UN General Assembly

The UN General Assembly (GA) is the main deliberative organ of the UN, comprising all 193 UN member states.  Each state has one vote. GA decisions are not considered legally binding, but represent the moral authority of the world community. The GA meets in regular session intensively from September to December each year, and thereafter as needed.  Much of the UN’s work derives from thematic or country-specific GA resolutions. Amnesty International therefore advocates for GA member states to adopt the strongest standards and resolutions to ensure full respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights.

Amnesty International priorities at the GA include:

Abolition of the death penalty. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty worldwide because it violates the right to life and other human rights. In line with the world-wide trend to abolish the death penalty the GA adopted a land-mark resolution in 2007 calling on all states to “establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty", with follow-up resolutions adopted in 2008 and 2010. Amnesty International works for the full implementation and strengthening of the resolutions in order to bring about abolition of the death penalty in all countries of the world. More.


Defending the rights of people in poverty. Amnesty International advocates for states to ensure that all efforts to tackle poverty and advance development, including the "Cairo" Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals, are implemented in ways that are fully consistent  with international human rights standards, including states' obligations in relation to economic, social and cultural rights. Human rights standards  include freedom from racial and other discrimination, the right to participation, women's and girls' sexual and reproductive rights, the rights to water and sanitation and the right to adequate housing. Amnesty International also works for ratifications of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights , which will enable those whose rights have been violated in their own country, and who have been denied an effective national remedy, to seek justice through the UN. More.
Responding to serious country situations.
Amnesty International supports country-specific resolutions adopted by the GA as an important means to address serious or chronic human rights violations requiring the attention of all UN member states. Amnesty International opposes procedural devices such as ‘No Action Motions’ used by some UN Member States to prevent such situations from being considered on their merit.

An Arms Trade Treaty. Amnesty International is advocating for an international, legally binding and effective treaty to hold irresponsible arms dealers to account. In 2009, the General Assembly agreed to convene a Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in 2012. Amnesty International is  working to ensure that the treaty includes a “golden rule” to prevent international transfers of arms or ammunition where there is substantial risk of the arms being used to facilitate serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. More.

Ending enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment.
The absolute prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment has been questioned in the context of the "war on terror.” Amnesty International works to strengthen the annual GA resolutions on torture and other ill-treatment, and on the protection of human rights while countering terrorism. Amnesty International also works for states to ratify the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol, as well as the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. More.

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