14/11/2002
Press Release
GA/SHC/3724



Fifty-seventh General Assembly

Third Committee

49th Meeting (AM)


THIRD COMMITTEE HEARS INTRODUCTION OF 13 DRAFT RESOLUTIONS ON HUMAN RIGHTS,


INCLUDING SITUATIONS IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, IRAQ, MYANMAR, SUDAN


This morning the General Assembly’s Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) heard the introduction of 13 draft resolutions on human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Draft resolutions were also introduced on human rights situations and the reports of special rapporteurs and representatives.  


Draft resolutions introduced on human rights questions, covered the issues of cultural diversity; globalization; missing persons; religious intolerance; responsibility of individuals, groups and organs of society; regional arrangements; the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education; a democratic and equitable international order; and human rights education. 


The human rights situations in the Sudan, Myanmar, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were taken up in the introduction of drafts on human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives.


Introducing draft resolutions were representatives of Iran, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Ireland, Norway, Belgium, Australia, Cuba, Denmark (on behalf of the European Union) and Suriname. 


The Committee will reconvene tomorrow at 10 a.m. to resume its general discussion on questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and hear more introductions of draft resolutions on human rights.


Introduction of Drafts


The Committee began its work by taking up draft resolutions on human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. 


The representative of Iran introduced a draft on human rights and culture (document A/C.3/57/L.41), which would have the Assembly urge States to ensure that their political and legal systems reflected the multicultural diversity within their societies.  The representative of Iran said the issue of cultural diversity and its relationship with human rights was becoming an increasingly important aspect of life in the twenty-first century.  The draft resolution aimed to sensitize the international community to the importance of respecting cultural diversity. 


A draft resolution on globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights (document A/C.3/57/L.44) was introduced by the representative of Egypt, and would have the Assembly call upon Member States, relevant United Nations agencies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society to promote equitable and environmentally sustainable economic growth for managing globalization so that poverty was systematically reduced and the international development targets met.  The representative of Egypt stressed that the draft aimed to ensure that the process of globalization -- a powerful and dynamic force -- would be utilized to the benefit of all countries and that human rights would not be forgotten in this process. 


The representative of Azerbaijan introduced a draft resolution on missing persons (document A/C.3/57/L.46), which would have the Assembly call upon States which were parties to an armed conflict to take immediate steps to determine the identity and fate of persons reported missing and request States to pay the utmost attention to cases of children reported missing.  The representative of Azerbaijan said that a number of Member States were facing the problem of missing people, often due to armed conflict.  It was therefore necessary that the international community deal with this issue. 


The next text before the Committee, on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance (document A/C.3/57/L.47), was introduced by the representative of Ireland.  Emphasizing that the right of freedom of thought, conscience religion and belief is far-reaching and profound, that draft would have the Assembly express its alarm that serious instances of intolerance and discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief were increasing in many parts of the world.  The Assembly would therefore urge States to take all necessary action to combat hatred, intolerance, intimidation and acts of violence based on religion or belief.


The representative of Norway introduced the draft on the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (document A/C.3/57/L.51), noting that the text was often referred to as the draft on "human rights defenders".  It would have the Assembly express its grave concern regarding human rights violations committed against persons engaged in promoting and defending human rights around the world.  That text would have the Assembly condemn all human rights violations committed against human rights defenders and urge States to take all appropriate action, consistent with the Declaration and all other human rights instruments, to eliminate such violations.


Next, the representative of Belgium introduced the draft on regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights (document A/C.3/57/L.52).  He said there had been considerable progress in regional cooperation in recent months and underlined that regional arrangements should reinforce universal human rights standards as contained in international human rights instruments.  The draft would have the Assembly request the Secretary-General to continue to strengthen exchanges between the United Nations and regional intergovernment organizations dealing with human rights and to make available adequate resources from within the regular budget, for technical cooperation, to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to promote regional arrangements. 


The text on the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, 1994-2004 (document A/C.3/57/L.54) was introduced by the representative of Australia, who said the draft, which had nearly 100 sponsors, aimed to promote sustained and effective human rights education as an important part of international efforts to achieve universal human rights.  The text would urge all Governments to contribute further to the implementation of the Decade's Action Plan, by in particular, initiating and developing cultural and educational programmes aimed at countering racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, as emphasized at the Durban World Conference against Racism.    


A draft resolution, introduced by the representative of Cuba, on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (document A/C.3/57/L.55) would have the Assembly urge all actors on the international scene to build an international order based on inclusion, justice, equality and equity, human dignity, mutual understanding and promotion of and respect for cultural diversity and universal human rights.  The representative of Cuba said this draft showed the great hopes of a great number of co-sponsors for justice and equality in the form of a democratic and equitable international order. 


The Committee then took up draft resolutions on human rights questions, human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives. 


In this connection, the representative of Denmark, on behalf of the European Union, introduced a draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the Sudan (document A/C.3/57/L.43), by which the Assembly would urge all parties to the conflict to seize the prospect of peace to ensure continued progress in the fields of human rights, democratization and the rule of law.  By the terms of the text, the Assembly would also call upon the Government of Sudan to comply fully with its obligations under international law, to end impunity for human rights violations and to try perpetrators in accordance with the rule of law.  The representative of Denmark said that there had been positive developments in Sudan; however the European Union remained deeply concerned about the humanitarian and human rights situation in the Sudan.  She added that the language of the text was still being negotiated and that a final revised text would be issued at a later date.   


The representative of Denmark, on behalf of the European Union, also introduced a draft resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/C.3/57/L.48), which expressed its grave concern at the ongoing systematic violation of the human rights, including civil, political, economic,

social and cultural rights of the people of Myanmar.  The text of the draft would have the Assembly strongly urge the Government of Myanmar to end the systematic violations of human rights in Myanmar, to end impunity, and to investigate and bring to justice any perpetrators of human rights violations.  The representative of Denmark said the draft resolution was the outcome of constructive dialogue between concerned Member States, including with the Government of Myanmar.  He noted the recent positive developments in Myanmar, including the release of several political prisoners, but expressed concern as to the overall human rights situation in the country.


On behalf of the European Union, the representative of Denmark went on to introduce the draft resolution on the human rights situation in Iraq (document A/C.3/57/L.49).  He said the draft welcomes the fact that the Government of Iraq had allowed the first visit of the Special Rapporteur, which would hopefully serve as a basis for future cooperation and further dialogue.  He added, however, that the text expressed grave concern that the human rights situation in the country had not improved, and it would have the Assembly call upon the Government to end all human rights violations and to put a moratorium on all executions, as recommended by the Rapporteur.


The text also calls upon the Government to cooperate further with international agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide humanitarian assistance and monitoring in the northern and southern areas of the country.


The text on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (document A/C.3/57/L.50) was also introduced by the representative of Denmark on behalf of the European Union, who said the draft recalled the ceasefire agreement signed at Lusaka, as well as the Kampala disengagement plan and the peace agreement signed at Pretoria, and encouraged the Congolese parties to use the present momentum to promote an all inclusive conclusion to the inter-Congolese dialogue.


The draft would also have the Assembly express its concern regarding breaches of freedom of expressions and other violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms and international humanitarian law, primarily in the eastern part of the country.  It urged all parties to the conflict to cease military activities in the country in order to re-establish the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Delegations then took up the text on human rights education (document A/C.3/57/L.45), which was introduced by the representative of Suriname, who stressed the importance of human rights education as a key to development.  The draft would have the General Assembly express its conviction that human rights education and information contribute to the concept of development consistent with the dignity of women and men of all ages, which takes into account particularly vulnerable segments of society such as children, youth, older persons, indigenous people, minorities, rural and urban poor, migrant workers, refugees, persons with disabilities and persons with HIV/AIDS.