27/03/2002
Press Release
GA/10012



Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

97th Meeting (PM)


FOLLOWING RECORDED VOTE, GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS DECLARATION,


PROGRAMME OF ACTION OF DURBAN WORLD CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM


Also Adopts 18 Texts on Administrative, Budgetary Matters,

Including Two Texts Limiting Cutbacks on Internet Services for Permanent Missions


Convinced that the results of the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance -- held in Durban, South Africa from 31 August to 8 September 2001 -- must be fully implemented without delay, the General Assembly this afternoon endorsed the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by that Conference as a solid foundation for further action and initiatives towards the total eradication of racism and racial discrimination.


On the recommendations of its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), the Assembly adopted a total of four resolutions on matters related to the elimination of racial discrimination, including texts on measures to combat contemporary forms of racism, and on measures to be taken against political platforms based on doctrines of superiority and violent nationalist ideologies.  The Assembly also reiterated its call to all governments, United Nations agencies and the wider international community to contribute to the effective implementation of the Programme of Action for the United Nations Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, which began in 1993.


The Assembly's work today marked the conclusion of what had been described by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson as a "difficult process".  Owing to a fundamental disagreement in the outcome of the deliberations in Durban, and subsequent protracted negotiations over the Conference's Report, the Third Committee had deferred action on resolutions related to discrimination.  When Mrs. Robinson opened the Committee's resumed session in late January, she announced the completion of the report, saying agreement on the Declaration and Programme of Action provided an innovative anti-discrimination agenda essential to the emerging global dialogue on how to eliminate the scourge of racial discrimination.


This afternoon, by adopting a text on follow-up to Durban, the Assembly expressed its satisfaction with the outcome of the Conference and recognized the critical importance of placing that outcome on an equal footing with previous United Nations world conferences in the human rights and social fields.  The Assembly stressed the need for continued political will at the national, regional


and international levels to maintain the momentum achieved at Durban.  It recognized that the success of the Programme of Action would require adequate resources and called upon all States to formulate and implement without delay policies and plans of action to combat racism and racial discrimination.


The draft resolution on the comprehensive implementation of the Durban Conference was adopted by a vote of 134 to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (Australia, Canada).  (See Annex.)  Three other Third Committee drafts were adopted without a vote. 


Speaking in explanation of position before the vote, the representative of the United States said that having withdrawn from the World Conference against Racism, his country was not part of the agreement to adopt the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  The Conference had placed an unacceptable focus on a single country-specific situation that was, and remained, totally irrelevant to the subject matter.  Particularly now, when it was critically important to reduce the violence in the Middle East and guide the conflicting parties back to the negotiating table, the international community should not assess disproportionate blame on any one side in the dispute. 


He added that as the United States had not agreed to the establishment of either an anti-discrimination unit in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, or a body of five eminent persons to monitor the implementation of the Durban documents, it also continued to object to the Third Committee’s approval of those mechanisms in the text and to the Fifth Committee’s approval of regular budget funding for them.


Also speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, Canada's representative said that his country disassociated itself from all negative references to the State of Israel and from any process or language that did not promote a negotiated Middle East peace.  Although Canada remained fully committed to the fight against racism, it continued to have serious concerns about the Durban process and the outcome documents.


The representative of Cuba –- in explanation of vote after the vote -- said that Durban had been a turning point in the history of the struggle against racism, and expressed regret that it had been necessary to vote on the text.


Following the conclusion of its Fifth Committee’s (Administrative and Budgetary) first resumed session last week, the Assembly also acted on 17 draft resolutions and one draft decision recommended by that body.


In particular, the Assembly addressed the cutbacks in services recently announced in connection with the $75-million reduction in the real level of resources available to the Organization under the budget for 2002-2003.  According to the new provisions, the Secretariat would no longer service any weekend and night meetings, other than those of the Security Council and the Assembly plenary.  Reductions were also announced in such areas as telephone support for software applications, elevator service and services provided by sound engineers and other contract personnel.


(page 1b follows)


Adopting without a vote a resolution on this matter, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General “to implement the budget resolutions in a way that does not adversely affect the services provided to Member States and minimize the adverse effect of any changes".  Noting the importance of appropriate provision of conference services to the bodies and committees of the United Nations and regional groups, it also requested the Secretary-General to immediately restore Internet services to Permanent Missions.  For this purpose, the resolution envisions the use of resources released as a result of a reduction of honorariums payable to the members of the Organization’s organs and subsidiary bodies -– as decreed by another text adopted today.


By its resolution on the comprehensive study of the question of honorariums -– also adopted without a vote -- the Assembly set all honorariums currently payable to the members of the International Law Commission, the International Narcotics Control Board, the United Nations Administrative Tribunal, the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child at $1 (one dollar) per year.


By the text adopted in connection with the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on a follow-up investigation of allegations of fee-splitting between defence counsel and indigent detainees at the two International Tribunals, the Assembly expressed concern at the OIOS findings and requested the Secretary-General to follow up on the investigation and ensure that errant officials were held accountable.  [Among others, the report describes cases of a staff member of the Rwanda Tribunal receiving kickbacks from defence team members, and an accused person claiming indigence at the ICTY purchasing real estate while in detention.]


By two other texts, the Assembly approved resources for the continuation of oversight functions at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.  For the ICTY, it approved an amount of $430,300 gross for the remainder of the current biennium, deciding on a revised appropriation of a total amount of $248.93 million gross.  For the ICTR, a revised appropriation of $197.13 million gross for 2002-2003 was adopted.


In other action on the Fifth Committee reports, the Assembly approved (without a vote):


-- an appropriation of some $56.75 million gross for the maintenance of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) for 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002, in addition to the $405.74 million gross appropriated for the period of 1 July 2001 to 31 March 2002.


-- some $7.71 million for the construction of office space facilities at the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa;


-- the use of some $5.63 million of interest accrued under the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) Fund to update the system;


(page 1c follows)


-- and the charge of some $41.46 million (inclusive of the previously approved $11.11 million) for 19 special political missions mandated by the Security Council.


The Assembly also determined that the level of final appropriations for the biennium 2000-2001 amounted to some $2.56 billion.


By other texts, the Assembly addressed such issues as the availability of the United Nations documentation on the Web site in the six official languages, the documentation and publications of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the development of the common system of obtaining goods and services in Geneva, the Organization’s public information activities, the arrears of The Former Yugoslavia, and the new regulations governing the status, basic rights and duties of non-Secretariat officials and experts on missions, as well as those of the Secretary-General.


Also this afternoon, as it adopted a resolution on the Fifth International Conference of New and Restored Democracies, the Assembly welcomed the proposal of the Government of Mongolia to hold the event in Ulaanbaatar from 18 to 20 June 2003.  It also invited the international community and all relevant actors to support the Conference and collaborate in its holding.


Documents before the Assembly were introduced by Third Committee Rapporteur Juraj Priputen (Slovakia), the representative of Mongolia and Fifth Committee Rapporteur Santiago Wins (Uruguay).


Statements were also made by the representatives of Benin and Cuba (on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China).


Speaking on behalf of the Assembly, its Acting President, Fawxi Bin Abdul Majeed Shobokshi (Saudi Arabia) extended his sympathy to the Government and the people of Afghanistan for the tragic loss of life and material damage resulting from the earthquake in northern Afghanistan on 25-26 March.  He hoped that the international community would show its solidarity with that country and respond generously to any requests for help.


The representative of Afghanistan expressed his gratitude for the international assistance to his country. 


Also during today’s meeting, the Assembly took note of the fact that Cape Verde had made the necessary payments to reduce its arrears below the amount specified in Article 19 of the Charter.  [Under that article, a Member State in arrears in the payment of its dues to the Organization in the amount equal to or exceeding its contribution for the preceding two years, loses its vote in the Assembly.]


The Assembly will meet again at a date to be announced.


Opening Statements


Speaking on behalf of the Assembly, its Acting President, Fawzi Bin Abdul Majeed Shobokshi (Saudi Arabia) extended his sympathy to the Government and the people of Afghanistan for the tragic loss of life and extensive material damage resulting from the earthquake in northern Afghanistan on 25-26 March.


RAVAN FARHADI (Afghanistan) expressed his gratitude to the Secretary-General for his recent appeal for emergency humanitarian assistance for victims of the earthquake in northern Afghanistan.  The earthquake, which struck in the district of Nahrin in the northern Baghlan province of Afghanistan, had left a long trail of destruction and loss of life.  According to the latest reports, the death toll was some 2,000, of which 600 bodies had been recovered.  Another 4,000 persons had been severely injured.  Estimates indicated that the quake had left as many as 20,000 homeless. 


He also expressed appreciation to Member States and international relief organizations for their prompt response in providing the victims with emergency supplies.  He reiterated earlier appeals for emergency international assistance to the thousands of civilians in dire need of help.  He suggested that all governments intending to assist earthquake victims establish contact with the Interim Administration's Ministry of the Interior, through the office of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan. 


Action on Draft Resolutions


Elimination of Racism and Racial Discrimination


The Assembly first took up four draft resolutions in the report of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) (document A/56/581).  It also considered the report of the Fifth Committee on the programme budget implications of one of the draft texts (document A/56/883).  The draft resolutions were:


Draft I -- Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination;


Draft II -- Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance;


Draft III -- Measures to combat contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;


Draft IV -- Measures to be taken against political platforms and activities based on doctrines of superiority and violent nationalist ideologies, which are based on racial discrimination or ethnic exclusiveness and xenophobia, including neo-Nazism.


The Assembly also had before it a draft decision by whose terms the Assembly would take note of the report of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the work of its fifty-eighth and fifty-ninth sessions.


Introducing the report of the Third Committee, its Rapporteur, Juraj Priputen (Slovakia), noted several changes to the texts.


The representative of Libya then noted several differences between the English and Arabic versions of the texts.


The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position before the vote, recalled that his country had withdrawn from the World Conference against Racism and was not part of the agreement to adopt the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  The Conference had placed inappropriate and unacceptable focus on a single country-specific situation that was, and remained, totally irrelevant to the subject matter.


The Durban Conference had deviated from its original, stated purpose of crafting positive, forward-looking solutions to contemporary racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, he said.  The United States was also mindful that the Conference had been accompanied in the streets of Durban by some of the worst examples of hate and intolerance witnessed in many decades.


Particularly at the present moment, he said, when it was critically important to reduce the violence in the Middle East and guide the conflicting parties back to the negotiating table, the international community should not assess disproportionate blame on any one side in the dispute.  In the Fifth Committee, the United States had strongly advocated a short delay in funding the Programme of Action in order to give the parties time to work out a ceasefire and a way back to the negotiating table.


He said the United States had additional concerns about those paragraphs of the text that would require an expenditure of funds from the regular budget.  That would place significant added pressure on the budget agreement of last December that set the biennium regular level at $2.625 billion, a level that was already strained as it strove to provide effective and efficient services to Member States.


The text, he went on, called for the allocation of additional funds towards the operation of an anti-discrimination unit in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the establishment of five eminent persons to monitor the implementation of the Durban documents.  Because the United States had not agreed to the establishment of either body, it continued to object to the Third Committee’s approval of those mechanisms in the text, and to the Fifth Committee’s approval of regular budget funding for them.


For those reasons, he said, the United States must vote against adoption of the text.  Nevertheless, it remained committed to the goals that the Conference was initially established to fulfil.  Those were to combat racism.  The United States position was simply that in that struggle, the focus must remain clear and a conference must never again be allowed to typify in some respects the very opposite of its original aims.


The representative of Canada, also speaking in explanation of position before the vote, said his country had gone to Durban to address issues of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  But the Conference had been marred by inappropriate references to the Middle East.  While Canada had stayed in order to exert a positive influence on the outcome, it disassociated itself from all negative references to the State of Israel and from any process or language that did not promote a negotiated Middle East peace.


However, he said, the outcome document contained helpful language, and Canada was particularly encouraged by language on multiple discrimination.  But although Canada remained fully committed to the fight against racism, it  continued to have serious concerns about the Durban process and the outcome documents.  Canada would therefore abstain from the vote.


The Assembly then adopted draft resolution I, as orally corrected, without a vote.


Turning to draft resolution II, the Assembly's Acting President, said that a recorded vote had been requested.


The Assembly then adopted draft resolution II by a vote of 134 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States) with 2 abstentions (Australia, Canada).


The Assembly then adopted draft resolutions III and IV, as well as the draft decision, acting without a vote.


The representative of Cuba, speaking in explanation of position after the vote, associated himself with the Group of 77 and China.  He expressed regret that it had been necessary to vote on the text, following the Group’s intensive efforts to reach a consensus that would accommodate the concerns of all delegations.  Nevertheless, Durban had been a turning point in the history of the struggle against racism, he emphasized.


Support by United Nations System for Efforts of Governments to Promote and Consolidate New or Restored Democracies


The Assembly next turned to a draft resolution on the Fifth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies (document A/56/L.75).


J. ENKHSAIKHAN (Mongolia), introducing the draft resolution, announced a list of delegations that had joined the co-sponsors of the text.


He said that his country’s offer to host the Conference was connected with a strong belief in the immense creative potential of popular participation, good governance and democratic rules.  Exchange of views and experience in democratic transformations would be useful for all that were willing and committed to developing or consolidating democratization.


The representative of Benin said the holding of the fifth such conference in Asia was a sign that the principles of democracy were entrenched throughout the continent.  Since the text was basically procedural in nature, Benin hoped the General Assembly would adopt it by consensus.


The Assembly's Acting President then announced additional co-sponsors of the text.


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft.


Reports of Fifth Committee


Fifth Committee Rapporteur SANTIAGO WINS (Uruguay) introduced the various reports of that Committee before the Assembly. 

Programme Budget for Biennium 2000-2001


The Assembly took up reports of the Fifth Committee on the programme budget for 2000-2001, as contained in documents A/56/653/Add.1 and A/56/735/Add.1. 


The Assembly first turned to four draft resolutions contained in document A/56/653/Add.1.  The texts were:


Draft I –- Construction of additional office facilities at the Economic Commission for Africa;


Draft II –- Integrated Management Information System;


Draft III –- Comprehensive study of the question of honorariums payable to members of organs and subsidiary organs of the United Nations;


Draft IV –- Standards of accommodation for air travel.


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted all four drafts.


Next, the Assembly turned to the draft resolution contained in the report of the Fifth Committee (document A/56/735/Add.1).  Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution.


Programme Budget for Biennium 2002-2003


The Assembly then turned to five draft resolutions contained in document A/56/736/Add.1 on the programme budget for 2002-2003.  The texts were:


Draft I -- estimates in respect of matters of which the Security Council is seized;


Draft II -- programme budget for the biennium 2002-2003;


Draft III -- documentation availability in six languages on the United Nations Web site;


Draft IV -- review of public information activities in the United Nations;


Draft V -- documents and publications of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted all five drafts.


The representative of Cuba, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing nations and China, expressed concern over the reduction in support services as they were in violation of resolutions adopted in the 2002-2003 budget and because they affected Member States and the operation of regional groups.  Within the framework of the said resolutions, the General Assembly had already rejected proposals to reduce services that directly affected Member States and regional groups, in particular, conference services and the operation of substantive departments, such as the Department of General Assembly Affairs and Conference Services. 


The Group was concerned, she said, about the negative impact of certain arbitrary budget levels for implementation of activities and programmes that had been mandated by Member States.  The measures ignored importance of the current practices for the supply of conference services and services for Member States.  The measures, which were implemented with immediate effect and without the General Assembly's approval, had resulted in the unplanned postponement of meetings, reduction in conference services, and the holding of meetings without minimum requirements, such as air conditioning, translation and sound.  The Group had, in fact, cancelled several meetings. 


She said the Group had tabled a draft resolution on the subject in the Fifth Committee given the lack of adequate responses to its repeated demands for the resumption of services, particularly conference services and Internet services to the Permanent Missions.  The resolution approved by the Committee had reestablished Internet services immediately, through savings accrued through the reduction in honorariums for members of certain commissions, including the Commission on Human Rights and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.  While it was not the optimal resolution, it was the only one possible to reinstate Internet services to the Missions within the framework of the budget.  She hoped the proposals presented by the Secretariat next May would make possible the implementation of provisions of the conference services resolution and the reestablishment of services.  The Group hoped that the Secretariat would find other ways to carry out budget cuts -- not at the expense of Member States and resolutions of the Assembly.


Scale of Assessments


The Assembly then turned its attention to a draft resolution on the scale of assessments, as contained in document A/56/728/Add.1.


The Assembly adopted the draft without a vote.


International Tribunals for Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda


The Assembly then took up a draft resolution on the follow-up investigation into possible fee-splitting arrangements between defence counsel and indigent detainees at the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia (document A/56/881).


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft.


Next, the Assembly turned to two draft resolutions on measures to strengthen the role of internal oversight at the two International Tribunals, as contained in reports A/56/730/Add.1 and A/56/731/Add.1. 


The drafts were adopted without a vote.


United Nations Organization Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC)


Next on the agenda was a draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) in document A/56/713/Add.1.


Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft.

Review of Efficiency of Administrative and Financial Functioning of UN


The Assembly then took up two draft resolutions and one draft decision contained in document A/56/734/Add.1.  Draft resolution I was entitled "report of the Joint Inspection Unit on the United Nations system common services at Geneva" while draft resolution II was on the proposed regulations governing the status, basic rights and duties of officials other than Secretariat officials.


The two draft resolutions and the draft decision were adopted by the Assembly without a vote.


Drafts before Assembly


The Assembly had before it a report of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) on the elimination of racism and racial discrimination (document A/56/581).  The report contains four related draft resolutions for the Assembly's adoption.


According to the terms of draft resolution I, entitled Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, the Assembly would reaffirm its determination and commitment to totally and unconditionally eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to accord high priority to the activities of the Programme of Action for the Third Decade and, in this regard, to ensure that the necessary financial resources are provided for the implementation of such activities for the remainder of the Decade.


By other terms of the text, the Assembly would reiterate its call upon all governments, United Nations bodies, the specialized agencies, intergovernmental and regional organizations and interested non-governmental organizations to contribute fully to the effective implementation of the Programme of Action for the Third Decade.  The Assembly would also recognize that the Programme of Action for the Third Decade would require political will, adequate funding and international cooperation.


According to draft resolution II on the comprehensive implementation and follow-up to the World Conference against Racism, the Assembly, convinced that the Conference made an important contribution to the cause of the eradication of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, would stress the need for maintaining continued political will and momentum at the national, regional and international levels to combat racism.


Further according to the text, the Assembly would emphasize that, in the implementation of commitments undertaken under the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, adequate resources at the national, regional and international levels are necessary and constitute an important element in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.


By other terms of the draft, the Assembly would endorse the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the Conference on 8 September 2001, and express its satisfaction with the outcome of the Conference, which constitutes a solid foundation for further action and initiatives. 


The Assembly would also recognize that the success of the Programme of Action will require political will and adequate funding at the national, regional and international levels and international cooperation.  It would invite all human rights treaty monitoring bodies and all mechanisms and subsidiary bodies of the Commission on Human Rights to consider the relevant provisions of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action in the discharge of their respective mandates.  The Assembly would also urge States to establish and implement without delay national policies and action plans to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including their gender-based manifestations.


Also according to the draft, the Assembly would support the decision by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish an anti-discrimination unit to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and to promote equality and non-discrimination. 


The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General, in accordance with the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, to appoint five independent eminent experts, one from each region, from among candidates proposed by the Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, after consultation with the regional groups, to follow the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration and Programme of Action. 


In follow-up to the Conference, the Assembly would request the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to cooperate with the five independent eminent experts and to report annually to the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, taking into account relevant information and views provided by States, human rights treaty bodies, special procedures and other mechanisms of the Human Rights Commission and other institutions.


Finally, the Assembly would recognize the critical importance of placing the outcome of the Conference on an equal footing with previous United Nations world conferences in the human rights and social fields.


By the terms of draft resolution III on the measures to combat contemporary forms of racism, the Assembly, alarmed at the increase in racist violence in many parts of the world, would reaffirm the responsibility of governments for safeguarding and protecting the rights of individuals within their jurisdiction against crimes perpetrated by racist or xenophobic individuals or groups. 


Emphasizing the importance of creating conditions that foster greater harmony and tolerance within societies, the Assembly would express its full support and appreciation for the work of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and encouraged its continuation.  It would also urge States that have not done so to consider urgently ratifying or acceding to the international human rights instruments that combat racism, in particular the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination with a view to achieving universal ratification by 2005. 


Also according to the text, the Assembly would urge States to adopt and implement, or strengthen, national legislation and administrative measures that expressly and specifically counter racism and prohibit racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance whether indirect or direct, in all spheres of public life.  It would also urge States to establish, on the basis of statistical information, national programmes which may include affirmative or positive measures to promote access of individuals and groups of individuals who are or may be victims of racial discrimination to basic social services.


By further terms of the text, the Assembly would condemn the misuse of print, audio-visual and electronic media and new communication technologies, including the Internet, to incite violence motivated by racial hatred.  It would call upon States to take all necessary measures to combat this form of racism in accordance with the commitments they have undertaken under the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. 


By further terms of the draft, the Assembly would reaffirm that acts of violence against others stemming from racism do not constitute expressions of opinion but rather offences.  It would express profound concern about and unequivocal condemnation of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in particular all racist violence, including related acts of random and indiscriminate violence.  The Assembly would also express its profound concern about and condemnation of racism, and stereotyping of, migrant workers, persons belong to minorities and members of vulnerable groups in many societies. 


The Assembly would urge States, including law enforcement agencies, to design and fully implement effective policies and programmes to prevent, detect and ensure accountability for misconduct by police officers and other law enforcement personnel that is motivated by racism and to prosecute perpetrators of such misconduct. 


Also according to the text, the Assembly would strongly condemn the fact that slavery and slavery-like practices still exist today in parts of the world.  It would urge States to take immediate measures as a matter of priority to end such practices, which constitute flagrant violations of human rights.


The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the necessary human and financial assistance to carry out his mandate efficiently, effectively and expeditiously and to enable him to submit an interim report to the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.


According to draft resolution IV, entitled Measures to be taken against political platforms and activities based on doctrines of superiority and violent nationalist ideologies which are based on racial discrimination or ethnic exclusiveness and xenophobia, including neo-Nazism, the Assembly would be convinced that any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous and that there is no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or in practice, anywhere.


The Assembly would also note with regret that in the contemporary world, various manifestations of neo-Nazi activities and other political platforms continue to exist based on doctrines of superiority and violent nationalist ideologies, which entail contempt for the individual or a denial of the intrinsic dignity and equality of all human beings. 


The Assembly would urge States to take all available measures, in accordance with their obligations under international human rights instruments, to combat political platforms and activities based on doctrines of superiority and violent nationalist ideologies which are based on racial discrimination or ethnic exclusiveness and xenophobia.  It would also call upon States to undertake and facilitate activities aimed at educating young people in human rights and democratic citizenship and instilling values of solidarity, respect and appreciation of diversity, including respect for different groups. 


The Assembly would also urge States to consider the adoption, as a matter of high priority, of appropriate measures to eradicate activities that lead to violence and condemn any dissemination of ideas based on doctrines of superiority, consistent with their national legal systems and in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.


Finally, the Assembly would express support for the activities of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and call upon all States to cooperate with him.


The Assembly also had before it the report of the Fifth Committee (document A/56/883) on the programme budget implications of the draft resolution on the comprehensive implementation and follow-up to the World Conference against Racism, document A/C.3/56/L.84/Rev.1, as orally revised.  The Fifth Committee decided to recommend to the Assembly neither to approve funds requested for expenses related to regional meetings, nor to approve the related proposed changes in the narrative of section 22, Human rights, of the 2002-2003 programme budget.  It decided to inform the Assembly that should it adopt draft resolution A/C.3/56/L.84/Rev.1, expenditures not exceeding some $566,800 would arise under section 22, Human rights, and some $103,900 under section 32, Staff assessment of the 2002-2003 programme budget.


The Fifth Committee also decided to recommend that the Assembly authorize the Secretary-General to enter into commitment for an amount not exceeding $566,800 under section 22, Human rights, and some $103,900, under section 32, Staff assessment, on the understanding that the Secretary-General would report to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session on the actual requirements, and that these requirements would be dealt with by the Assembly, at that session, in accordance with established procedure.


The Assembly had before it a draft resolution on the Fifth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies, to be held in Ulaanbaatar in 2003 (document A/56/L.75).  By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would once again express its deep appreciation for the support provided by Member States, the United Nations system, including the specialized agencies and other intergovernmental organizations to the Government of Benin for the holding of the Fourth International Conference of New or Restored Democracies in Cotonou.


Welcoming the proposal of the Government of Mongolia to hold the Fifth International Conference from 18 to 20 June 2003 in Ulaanbaatar, the Assembly would invite the Secretary-General, Member States, relevant specialized agencies and bodies of the United Nations system and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to support the holding of the Conference.  It would encourage the intergovernmental follow-up mechanism to the Cotonou Conference to actively cooperate in the preparatory process for the Fifth Conference.


Document A/56/653/Add.1 contains four Fifth Committee draft resolutions. 


According to draft resolution I on the construction of office space facilities at the Economic Commission for Africa, the Assembly would decide to approve some $7.71 million for the construction project to be financed within the available balance of the construction-in-progress account.  The Secretary-General would be asked to report annually to the Assembly on the progress of the additional office facilities, bearing in mind the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) on the matter.


The Assembly also had before it draft resolution II on the Integrated Management Information System (IMIS).  By the terms of the text, the Assembly would endorse the ACABQ's recommendations on the matter and decide to approve the use of some $5.63 million of interest accrued under the IMIS System Fund from the investment income available at 30 June 2001, to meet the requirements of IMIS relating to the activities detailed in the Secretary-General's report.  The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to report -- in the context of the proposed programme budget -- on progress in the implementation of IMIS, including ways in which the System had reduced administrative processes, and to submit a concise update in non-budget years.


By further terms of the text, the Assembly, recalling its resolution 56/239 of December 2001 on information technology, would note that IMIS must be an integral part of the comprehensive strategy for the development and implementation of information technology.  The Secretary-General would be asked to submit a single report on the subject to the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session, including a schedule for the introduction and implementation of IMIS in peacekeeping missions and the International Tribunals.


Draft resolution III deals with the comprehensive study of the question of honorariums payable to members of various United Nations and subsidiary organs.  By its terms, the Assembly would decide, with effect from 6 April, to set all honorariums currently payable on an exceptional basis to the members of the International Law Commission, the International Narcotics Control Board, the United Nations Administrative Tribunal, the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child at $1 per year.  It would request the Secretary-General to report on the appropriation adjustments required as a consequence of this decision and the related transfers in respect of the provision of Internet services to Member States’ Missions, in the context of the first performance report on the programme budget for 2002-2003.


The last draft resolution contained in this report refers to standards of accommodation for air travel.  By that text, the Assembly would take note of the Secretary-General’s reports and endorse the recommendations of the ACABQ on the matter.  It would request the Secretary-General to continue to submit his annual reports on air travel accommodation and call upon him to improve coordination among the various departments in order to expedite settlement of travel reimbursement claims.  It would also emphasize that all travel reimbursement claims must, to the extent possible, be settled within 30 working days of their submission.


Another text before the Assembly was a draft resolution on the final level of appropriations for the biennium 2000-2001 (document A/56/735/Add.1).  By its terms, the Assembly would resolve that, for the biennium 2000-2001, the revised appropriation and commitment authority totalling $2,561,578,000, approved in its resolution 56/240, should be decreased by $391,100, resulting in a final appropriation of $2.56 billion.  The required additional assessment of

$32.21 million gross would be taken into account in the context of determining regular budget assessments for 2003 at the fifty-seventh session of the Assembly.


The Board of Auditors, when auditing the accounts of the United Nations for the biennium 2000-2001, would be requested to pay particular attention to the sections of the budget with over-expenditures, as well as sections with large amounts of unliquidated obligations, to ensure their validity.


Document A/56/736/Add.1 contains five draft resolutions of the Fifth Committee. 


Regarding the estimates in respect of matters of which the Security Council is seized, the Assembly had before it draft resolution I, by whose terms it would take note of the Secretary-General’s reports on the matter and concur with the ACABQ recommendations in that regard.  For the 19 special political missions mandated by the Security Council, the Assembly would approve the charge of some $41.46 million, inclusive of the amount of $11.11 million already approved in resolution 56/255 of 24 December, against the provision for special political missions requested under section 3, Political affairs, of the programme budget for 2002-2003.


Draft resolution II refers to the economy measures outlined in the Secretary-General’s note verbale of 28 February and information circular ST/IC/2002/13.  By the terms of the text, the Assembly would note with concern the implementation of those measures and request the Secretary-General to implement the budget resolutions in a way that does not adversely affect the services provided to Member States.  He would also be requested to minimize the adverse effect of any changes in the established practice resulting from the announced cutbacks.


Stressing the need for the Secretary-General to implement all resolutions in a transparent and non-selective manner, the Assembly would also note the importance of appropriate provision of conference services to the bodies and committees of the United Nations and regional groups.  The Secretary-General would also be requested to immediately restore the Internet services to Permanent Missions, utilizing resources released as a result of the measures envisioned in the draft resolution on the question of honorariums payable to members of the Organization’s subsidiary bodies and organs.  


On the subject of simultaneous documentation availability in six languages on the United Nations Web site, the Assembly had before it draft resolution III, by whose terms it would take note of the Secretary-General’s report on the matter.


By draft resolution IV, the Assembly would note the Secretary-General’s report on the review of public information activities outside the Department of Public Information (DPI).  Looking forward to the outcome of the comprehensive review of information activities referred to in its resolution 56/253 of

24 December 2001, along with the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee on Information and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), it would decide that the comprehensive review should also address the language versions of publications issued outside DPI.


On the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) documents and publications, the Assembly had before it draft resolution V.  By its terms, it would urge the Commission to comply with all relevant provisions of resolution

44 (IV) of 1977, whereby ESCWA had decided that all documents submitted to it should, as far as possible, be drafted in Arabic.  The Assembly would also take note of the Secretariat’s note on the languages used for preparation of ESCWA documentation, and look forward to the Secretary-General’s report on progress achieved on production of documents and publications in Arabic, which is to be submitted during the fifty-seventh session.


By the draft resolution on the scale of assessments (document A/56/728/Add.1), the Assembly would decide to consider the question of the arrears of the former Yugoslavia to its fifty-seventh session, taking into account the views of the Committee on Contributions thereon.  The COC would be requested to consider the question and report on it to the General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session.  [Following last year’s admission of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to membership in the United Nations, the membership of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia -– the State admitted to the United Nations in

1945 -– was automatically terminated.  Now, a decision must be made regarding that country’s outstanding dues, which amount to some $16.22 million.  The Assembly has an option of approving a write-off of those dues, or seeking payment from the five successor States -- Croatia, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.]


The Assembly also had before it a Fifth Committee report containing a draft resolution on the follow-up investigation into possible fee-splitting arrangements between defence counsel and indigent detainees at the International Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia (document A/56/881).  By the terms of the text, the Assembly, taking note of the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on the issue, would express concern at the OIOS findings and request the Secretary-General to ensure the full and expeditious implementation of OIOS recommendations.  It would also request the OIOS to follow up on the investigation and ensure that errant officials were held accountable.


Having considered the revised estimates resulting from the measures to strengthen the role of internal oversight at the two International Tribunals, the Fifth Committee also prepared two draft texts on the matter (contained in its reports A/56/730/Add.1 and A/56/731/Add.1).  By their terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the provisions of its latest resolutions on the financing of those courts and endorse related recommendations of the ACABQ.  Both texts would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to address accountability, management and efficiency problems at the respective Tribunals and report to it on the measures taken.  It would also regret the delay in the issuance of the comprehensive report on the results of the review of the functioning of the Rwanda and former Yugoslavia Tribunals, and decide to review the assessments for the courts at its fifty-seventh session in the context of the first performance report.


For the ICTY, the Assembly would approve the Tribunal's staffing table for 2002-2003, except for the additional trial preparatory team.  It would approve resources for the continuation of oversight functions at the Tribunal for the remainder of the current biennium in the amount of $430,300 gross ($312,700 net), and decide on a revised appropriation for the Special Account for the Tribunal of a total amount of $248.93 million gross ($223.32 million net) for 2002-2003.


Regarding the ICTR, the Assembly would approve the staffing table for the court and request the Secretary-General to ensure completion of the report on the likely long-term financial obligations of the United Nations with regard to the enforcement of sentences by the fifty-seventh session.  It would decide on a revised appropriation of $197.13 million gross ($177.74 million net) for the Tribunal for 2002-2003.


By the terms of the draft resolution on the financing of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) (document A/56/713/Add.1), the Assembly would take note of the status of contributions to the Mission as of 31 January 2002, including outstanding contributions of

$294.8 million -- about 75 per cent of the total assessed contributions.  It would express concern that only 2 per cent of Member States had paid their assessed contributions in full.  


The Assembly would also endorse the recommendations of the ACABQ on the matter and request the Secretary-General to ensure their full implementation.  In particular, the Secretary-General would be requested to consider options to remedy the situation involving an airfield services contract for MONUC and submit a report thereon at the second part of the resumed session.  [In the ACABQ report, questions were raised over awarding a $34-million contract to PAE/Daher company over the lowest bidder.]  Also to be submitted during the second resumed session is the OIOS report on the recent audit of the situation concerning award of the current contract on air services to MONUC. 


Also according to the draft, the Assembly would decide to appropriate

$56.75 million gross ($57.23 million net) for the maintenance of the Mission from 1 July 2001 to 30 June 2002, in addition to the $405.74 million gross

($396.68 million net) already appropriated for the maintenance of the Mission from 1 July 2001 to 31 March 2002.  That amount would include $11.63 million gross ($10.26 million net) for the support account for peacekeeping operations and $862.91 million gross ($774.89 million net) for the United Nations Logistics Base.


And the final report before the Assembly (document A/56/734/Add.1) contains two draft resolutions and one draft decision recommended by the Fifth Committee.


By the terms of draft resolution I, the Assembly would take note of the recommendations contained in the report of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on the United Nations common services at Geneva and the comments of the Secretary-General and the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) on the matter.  It would also reiterate that the use of common services should be one of many tools available to obtain goods and services in the most efficient manner. 


Further by the text, the Assembly would encourage relevant Geneva organizations to give priority to services lending themselves to common delivery, while taking into account the distinct mandates, roles, tasks and rules of each participating body.  Welcoming the views of the ACABQ on the matter, it would note the efforts made to date by the Geneva-based organizations of the United Nations in the enhancement of common services.  The Assembly would also encourage them to pursue, on a more structured approach, the improvement and further development of

common approaches within the framework of the Management Ownership Committee and the Task Force on Common Services and its working groups. 


The Secretary-General would be requested to encourage the Management Ownership Committee to adopt streamlined consultation procedures to promote timely agreement on what services should be delivered jointly, with a view to the possible full launching of the plan of action for Geneva common services earlier than the targeted year of 2010.  The JIU would be invited to continue to monitor progress in the development and consolidation of common services at Geneva and other duty stations.


Having considered the reports of the Secretary-General on the proposed regulations governing the status, basic rights and duties of non-Secretariat officials and experts on missions, as well as regulations governing the status, basic rights and duties of the Secretary-General, the Fifth Committee also recommended draft resolution II on the matter.  By this text, the Assembly would adopt the draft regulations governing the status of those officials, together with explanatory commentary contained in the annex to the report of the Secretary-General (document A/56/437), subject to certain modifications provided in the draft.


The Assembly also had before it a draft resolution on action taken on certain items, by whose terms it would decide to defer consideration of several agenda items to the second resumed session of the Fifth Committee.  The items deferred would include:  gratis personnel provided by governments and other entities, conditions of service for judges of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunals, and the administration of justice at the United Nations.  The Assembly would also decide to defer to the second resumed session its consideration of several reports under the agenda item on human resources management, including the reports of the Secretary-General on a monitoring capacity of the Office of Human Resources Management of all relevant activities in the Secretariat, regardless of source of funding. 


The Assembly would also decide to defer to its fifty-seventh session the reports of the Secretary-General on the mandatory age of separation, the composition of the Secretariat and the placement of staff members serving in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.


(annex follows)

ANNEX


Vote on draft resolution on comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to World Conference against Racism


The draft text on follow-up to the World Conference against Racism (document A/56/581) was adopted by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 2 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Israel, United States.


Abstaining:  Australia, Canada.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Estonia, Fiji, France, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Swaziland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.


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