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The 59th Annual Session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO) which is taking place from 29th November until 1st December 2021, began yesterday with the inaugural event hosted by the Government of the People's Republic of China. The Session was held in hybrid format encompassing a physical conference in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, as well as through virtual conference. The inaugural event of the 59th AALCO Session commenced with an opening statement by His Excellency Geophrey Mizengo Pinda, the Deputy Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania, and followed by the inaugural statement from the Chief Guest, His Excellency Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China and the welcoming address by Her Excellency Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR. The Session was attended by the Ministers, Deputy Ministers, foreign dignitaries and representatives from 27 AALCO member states across Asia and Africa, as well as observer states and international organisations, including ASEAN.
The Brunei Darussalam delegation was headed by The Honourable Attorney General, Awang Haji Ahmad bin Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Bakti Di-Raja Dato Laila Utama Haji Awang Isa, and comprised officers from the Attorney General's Chambers.
Presided by The Honourable Theresa Cheng, Secretary Justice of Hong Kong, the meeting considered and agreed on the organisational matters of AALCO, including among others, the election of His Excellency Dr. Kamaline Pinitpuvadol from the Kingdom of Thailand, replacing His Excellency Professor Dr. Kennedy Gastorn from the United Republic of Tanzania, as the new Secretary General of AALCO. The meeting was also apprised of the work and activities of AALCO in 2020 and 2021 and officiated the establishment of a new Regional Arbitration Centre in Hong Kong SAR.
During its second and third day, the Session will be holding a Side Event on Dispute Settlement, and the meeting will continue to deliberate on three topics from the substantive agenda items under the AALCO's work programme, namely selected items on the agenda of the International Law Commission at its 72nd Session, international law on cyberspace, and violations of international law in Palestine. Also attending the Side Event on Dispute Settlement, Her Excellency Ainatol Zahayu Mohammad, Brunei Darussalam Consulate General in Hong Kong SAR.
AALCO was established in November 1956 and is an inter-governmental organisation that examines issues of international law and serves as a forum for Asian-African cooperation in legal matters of common concern. Primarily, AALCO examines international law matters which are before the United Nations (UN), specifically the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly and the International Law Commission, including international economic trade law and related matters such as the WTO and the work of the UNCITRAL; law of treaties; developments on oceans and law of the sea; human rights; international law on cyberspace and international criminal law. AALCO presently have 47 countries as its members, comprising almost all the major States from Asia and Africa; Brunei Darussalam became member in 2003. AALCO holds its Sessions annually, on a rotation basis between the two regional groups.
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