UN General Assembly: is a vaccination certificate needed

New York officially requires compliance with the established rules and the presentation of a vaccination certificate from the leaders and participants of the UN General Assembly, stating that:

“People entering UN premises to visit the General Assembly Hall must show proof of vaccination in order to get there.”

However, the head of the organization, Antonio Guterres, said yesterday that he has no right to demand from world leaders and everyone entering the UN General Assembly hall to prove that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, as New York officials want, telling Reuters:

“As Secretary-General, I cannot tell the head of state that if he is not vaccinated, he will not be able to enter the United Nations headquarters.”

Dozens of leaders of countries and governments, foreign ministers and numerous diplomats will gather in New York next week for the Organization’s annual General Assembly. True, some of them, in connection with the pandemic, will not go to the UN headquarters, limiting themselves to sending video-recorded speeches.

Formally, the entire territory and buildings of the UN headquarters located in Manhattan are international, therefore the participants of the General Assembly are not obliged to obey US law. However, earlier UN officials promised to abide by the rules of the pandemic. In this regard, Guterres noted:

“We discussed with the City Council various ways to get the maximum number of people vaccinated, and New York City provided us with vaccination options. People who come here can be vaccinated. “

At the same time, the UN head noted that he understands the problem well, and discussions about how many diplomats arriving to participate in the General Assembly can be vaccinated reflect “how dramatic the inequality in vaccination is today.” And he assured that the “overwhelming majority” of delegations would be vaccinated.

According to Reuters, only 2% of the 5.7 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered globally went to the population in Africa. The UN Secretary General warns that the more the virus spreads among unvaccinated people, the higher the risk of more dangerous strains of it. He insists on a global vaccination of 70% of the world’s population by the first half of 2022.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city’s provision of Covid-19 tests and Johnson & Johnson vaccines at a location outside UN headquarters early next week. He praised Abdullah Sahid, President of the UN General Assembly, for writing a letter to his colleagues stating his strong support for demonstrating proven vaccination and that he would work with the Secretary General to meet this “possible” requirement.

However, Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, yesterday announced Moscow’s objection to the requirement to provide proof of vaccination to participate in the General Assembly and called such a measure discriminatory. In an address to his UN colleagues, Nebenzia called for a General Assembly to be convened on Thursday to discuss the issue, but it is not clear whether such a meeting is planned.

Over the past 2 months, New York officials say the spread of the Delta strain has been a major concern and new cases have skyrocketed. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, previously urged leaders of states to send video recordings of speeches instead of attending the event in person. She said that such a decision will help prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus and its transformation into conflict.

In 2020, no state sent its delegations to New York, participating in the General Assembly using video recordings of speeches.

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