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United Nations - Office of Legal Affairs
Activities of the Legal Counsel of the United Nations

Legal Counsel hosts ABA Day 2015 at United Nations Headquarters.

On 27 April 2015, the Legal Counsel, Mr. Serpa Soares, hosted a delegation from the American Bar Association (ABA), led by its President, Mr. William C. Hubbard, and the Chairman of the ABA’s International Law Section, Mr. Marcelo Bombau, 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 leadership of the ABA travel to New York for their “ABA Day at the UN”. In the morning, they are traditionally hosted by the Legal Counsel of the United Nations and in the afternoon they are hosted by the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations.

The Legal Counsel and the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Li Keqiang prior to the opening of the AALCO session
ABA Day 2015 - ABA President William Hubbard; Legal Counsel Miguel de Serpa Soares; ASG for Legal Affairs Steve Mathias; ABA Section Chair Marcelo Bombau

In his opening remarks, Mr. Serpa Soares expressed his gratitude for the unceasing 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 Assistant-Secretary-General Thomas Gass on the “post-2015” development agenda, by Assistant-Secretary-General Stephen Mathias on the situation in South Sudan from a legal point of view and by Mr. Chris Coleman, Deputy-Director and Special political mission management focal point in the Department of Political Affairs, on current political issues. Mr. Serpa Soares addressed the meeting on the issue of accountability for international crimes and Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, addressed the ABA Delegation on current issues facing OCHA over lunch.