Activities of the Legal Counsel of the
Legal Counsel hosts ABA Day 2016 at United Nations Headquarters.
11 April 2016
On 11 April 2016, the United Nations Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, hosted the leadership of the American Bar Association (ABA), led by its President, Ms. Paulette Brown, and its President-elect, Ms. Linda Klein, at United Nations Headquarters. The ABA is the largest voluntary bar association of lawyers and law students in the United States with over 400.000 members. One of its principal goals is to advance the rule of law. Once every year, the President and senior officials of the ABA travel to New York for their “ABA Day at the UN”. In the morning, the ABA delegation is traditionally hosted by the Legal Counsel of the United Nations and in the afternoon the delegation is hosted by the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations.
ABA Day 2016 (from left to right): ASG for Legal Affairs Steve Mathias, ABA President-elect Linda Klein; ABA President Paulette Brown; UN Legal Counsel Miguel de Serpa Soares
In his opening remarks, Mr. Serpa Soares expressed his gratitude for the commitment to and support for the work of the United Nations demonstrated by the ABA. He recalled that the ABA had a proud and distinguished record of advancing justice, human rights and the Rule of Law. The UN relied on organizations such as the ABA to champion these fundamental issues, as they underpin the UN’s three pillars: peace and security, development and human rights. Over the course of the morning, the ABA Delegation heard briefings by the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Lakshmi Puri, on current priorities in advancing women’s rights, Assistant-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Mr. Stephen Mathias, on legal questions relating to the use of force in Iraq and Syria, by Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr. Miroslav Jenča, on current political challenges the Organization is facing, and by Mr. Joe Colombano, Director of the Office of the Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, former Special Envoy for Syria, addressed the ABA Delegation over lunch. The ABA used the framework of the annual ABA Day at the United Nations to honour Mr. Brahimi with the Francis Shattuck Security and Peace Award for his contribution to ending the conflict in Syria. This Award is given biannually by the ABA Section of International Law.