Month: September 2017

UNGA 72 President Outlines Priorities for 72nd Session

12 September 2017: The President of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Miroslav Lajčák, outlined the priorities of his mandate during the opening of UNGA 72. The UNGA President said his tenure will focus on conflict prevention, peace, migration and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.

In his acceptance speech, Lajčák identified six priorities for his mandate: people; peace and prevention; migration; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate action; human rights; and quality. UNGA 72 will address the theme, ‘Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.’

Delivering his first address to the Assembly in his capacity as President, the UNGA President reminded delegates that the 72nd session would see the negotiation of the first intergovernmental compact on migration and the signing of the first agreement on the elimination of nuclear weapons. Lajčák promised follow-up efforts for maintaining the momentum in implementing and financing the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The UNGA President also identified as important: contributing “a fresh outlook” to the ongoing UN reform; streamlining UNGA’s agenda to make it manageable for all Member States, including the delegations that have small representations; and communicating with youth, media, civil society and the private sector.

At the same event, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the UN reform proposals, which the Assembly will consider, will help the UN to adapt and deliver and stressed one key change “must be to empower the world’s women and girls.” Within this context, the Secretary-General said he had launched a roadmap for achieving gender parity throughout all levels of the UN.

UNGA 72’s opening session took place on 12 September 2017 in New York, US. Lajčák is a career diplomat from Slovakia. [UN Press Release] [UN Meetings Coverage] [Interview with UNGA President] [UN Secretary-General Statement] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNGA 71 Closing]

72nd Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72)

The General Assembly (GA) is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN. Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority.

The 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 72) will convene at UN Headquarters on Tuesday, 12 September 2017. The General Debate will open on Tuesday, 19 September 2017, with a focus on the theme, ‘Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet’.

For more information


Lagos, September 13, 2017: The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) condemns the deployment of soldiers to the streets of southeastern states of Nigeria by the Federal Government. LEDAP states that military is not set up to conduct civilian policing duties but rather, only to interfere where there is war against Nigeria. Therefore, the southeastern states are currently at peacetime and the deployment of soldiers in such massive numbers is provocative and unnecessary. It indicates a justification of the allegation of high-handedness of southeastern activists by the federal government.

LEDAP is concerned that continued militarilization of the Nigerian society will continue to increase violent crimes, extra-judicial killings, and violent extremist agitations across the country. LEDAP recalls that the excessive militarilization against peaceful protests and agitations in the Northeast between 2007 and 2009 resulted in the emergence of violent extremist Boko Haram especially the extrajudicial execution of Mohammed Yusuf, the former leader of the sect. It appears this regime of the Federal Government is poised to commit the same error of judgment of the former regime who, rather than engaging with protesters and political oppositions in peaceful dialogue, used excessive force resulting in the death of many people and consequently insurgency in the north-east.
LEDAP warns the Federal government that the massive deployment of soldiers in the so-called operation “Egwu Eke” will definitely result in violations of rights of ordinary citizens, extra judicial killings, violent crimes, and more importantly turning erstwhile civil protesters into extremist violent agitators. This is because the military are not trained to conduct civilian policing duties but only to wage war and therefore do not have the skill, the patience and the tools to engage with civilian population. It is therefore not proper to deploy soldiers in peacetime to a people who, for perhaps for justifiable reasons, are asking for self determination. All the federal government need do is to engage in dialogue with the stakeholders to ensure that their concerns are addressed in fair, transparent and right-based manner. The people of southeast are bona fide citizens of this country and therefore should not be in any way mistreated. LEDAP is of the strong view that there is no reason under the law or the Constitution of this country, justifying deployment of soldiers in states where there is neither violent uprising nor war.
We therefore call on the federal government to stop immediately, the so-called operation “Egwu Eke” by the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, recall all soldiers mobilized to the streets of the southeast, dismantle all road blocks mounted by the military or any security agency in the southeast and commence peaceful dialogue with all stakeholders involved in the southeast.
Chino Obiagwu
National Cordinator