Press Release

Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Third Committee

1st Meeting (PM)



At its organizational session this afternoon, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) elected Ilham Ibrahim Mohamed of Sudan, Toru Morikawa of Japan and Loreto Leyton of Chile, as its Vice-Chairmen.  Oksana Boijo of Ukraine was elected as its Rapporteur.

The Committee also adopted its programme of work for the current session (document A/C.3/57/L.1 and Add.1), which is expected to conclude on 20 November.

Before the afternoon’s work began, Committee Chairman, Christian Wenaweser (Liechtenstein) -- elected by the General Assembly in mid-July –- said he had been very impressed by the importance attached to the Committee’s work throughout the United Nations.  Therefore, delegations were facing not only a heavy workload, but an enormous responsibility to live up to high expectations.  The significance of the wider Assembly’s role depended in no small part on the work the Committee would undertake in the coming weeks, he said.

To achieve comprehensive, positive and beneficial results, delegations must work together and observe some crucial principles –- discipline, dialogue and transparency.  He added that he was a strong believer in dialogue, and he urged Committee members to listen to diverse opinions and to do their utmost to bridge existing gaps, wherever possible.  On the issue of transparency, he said the number of texts the Committee would consider was enormous.  It was therefore crucial that drafts were made available as early as possible.

Mr. Wenaweser then welcomed new delegates to New York, especially the representatives of Switzerland.  He looked forward to welcoming East Timor to the Committee, when substantive work began next week.

During the coming session, the Committee will consider agenda items related to crime prevention and criminal justice (item 100), international drug control (item 101), advancement of women (items 102 and 103), refugees and displaced persons (item 104), the rights of children (item 105), indigenous people (item 106), elimination of racial discrimination (item 107), the right to self-determination (item 108), and diverse human rights questions (item 109).

Continuing its practice of examining various relevant reports, the Committee will also hold interactive dialogues with rapporteurs, special representatives and senior Secretariat officials.  In addition, the Committee will hold a dialogue with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on or about 4 November,

and, later in the session, it will hear a presentation by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and hold a dialogue with him.

The representatives of China and Cuba made brief interventions this afternoon.

The Committee will begin its substantive work on Monday, 30 September at

10 a.m., when it will take up questions related to crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as international drug control (items 100 and 101).

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