© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
Russia objects against the requirement to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to be allowed to enter the UN debate hall during the UN General Assembly high-level week, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said in a letter to UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UN ambassador of all countries.
Nebenzia noted that he was "very much surprised and disappointed" by Shahid’s letter to members in which he supported the New York authorities’ requirement to provide a vaccination certificate to enter the UN debate hall.
"We strongly object that only people with a proof of vaccination should be admitted to the GA hall," he wrote, TASS reports.
According to the Russian diplomat, this requirement runs counter to the 1947 agreement between the United Nations and the United States on the UN headquarter and violated the UN Charter. He noted that this requirement doesn’t take into account a number of other aspects, for instance, the rights of people who cannot be vaccinated dur to medical reasons, or those who have just recovered from the coronavirus infection and has antibodies, or those who were inoculated with vaccines that are not registered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under New York’s sanitary requirements, people are obliged to provide vaccination certificates to attend indoor events. According to the city administration, these requirements are applicable to the UN headquarters located in the city. Although the list of vaccines allowed for UN GA participants was not provides, only Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are recognized in the United States.
The UN secretariat has repeatedly said that it is not authorized to demand mandatory vaccination of all participants in the General Assembly session but it was said about the UN headquarter in general, but not about the UNN debate hall.
Earlier, the United States issued a letter to the countries’ missions to the United Nations calling for opting for video format of participation. However, US President Joe Biden reportedly plans to attend the UN GA high-level debates personally.