UN fact-finding missions
United Nations fact-finding missions are United Nations missions intended to discover facts. They are often sent to troubled areas. Fact-finding missions have been sent by the UN to a number of trouble-spots over the past 50 years, on a pragmatic, occasional, case-by-case basis. There are legal and political parameters for fact-finding, which stresses its value and opens the door for more comprehensive, ongoing use of this tool, particularly by the Secretary-General.
The draft declaration was adopted without a vote by a Special United Nations Committee at the end of a three-week sessions in New York from 4–22 February 1991. On 9 December 1991, the General Assembly adopted resolution 46/59; “Declaration on Fact-finding by the United Nations in the Field of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security”.
The declaration that defines and institutionalizes the use of such missions states that it is not only a tool to gather information, but also to signal concern over a potentially explosive situation. It states that fact-finding should be "comprehensive, objective and impartial". It should be used at the earliest possible stage to prevent disputes. Fact-finding missions may be undertaken by the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretary-General, with the consent of the "receiving State". Nations, however, are asked to receive and cooperate with these missions. Refusals to do so should be explained.
The Secretary-General should monitor conflicts which may threaten international peace and security, and bring relevant information to the attention of the Council. He should be able to mount an emergency mission in case of need. The Secretariat's early warning capability should be enhanced.
The Secretary General's Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons, requests the Secretary-General to carry out investigations in response to reports that may be brought to his attention by any Member State concerning the possible use of chemical, biological or toxin weapons. The Security Council encourages the Secretary-General to carry out promptly investigations in response to allegations brought to his attention by any Member State concerning the possible use of chemical, biological or toxin weapons.
- "Declaration on Fact-Finding by the United Nations in the Field of the Maintenance of International Peace and Security". New York: UN. 9 December 1991. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
- "Resolution 46/59 Declaration of fact-finding missions". New York: UN. 9 December 1991. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- Charter committee drafts declaration on UN fact-finding activities - declaration sets clear, legal and political parameters for fact-finding missions | UN Chronicle | Find Articles at BNET.com
- "Relating to the Secretary General's Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons". New York: UNODA. 9 December 1991. Retrieved 5 May 2014.