17/11/2005
General Assembly
GA/SHC/3840

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixtieth General Assembly

Third Committee

42nd Meeting (AM)


PALESTINIAN SELF-DETERMINATION, HUMAN RIGHTS IN DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S


REPUBLIC OF KOREA ADDRESSED IN TEXTS APPROVED BY THIRD COMMITTEE


Other Texts Recommended to General Assembly Concern

Neo-Nazism, African Refugees, UN Refugee Office, Human Rights Covenants


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today approved seven resolutions on a wide range of issues, including the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, contemporary forms of racism, implementation of human rights instruments, and the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.


By the draft on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea -- approved by a vote of 84 in favour to 22 against, with 62 abstentions -- the General Assembly would express serious concern over a long list of human rights violations in that country and the refusal of its Government to cooperate with or recognize the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur on the country’s human rights situation.  (See Annex III.)


The resolution pointed to reports of widespread human rights violations, such as torture, public executions, arbitrary detention and the lack of due process.  It also noted serious concern over severe sanctions imposed on citizens repatriated from abroad, severe restrictions on the freedom of religion, expression, and assembly, the continued trafficking of women for prostitution or forced marriage, and unresolved questions over the abduction of foreigners.


The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, the draft’s main sponsor, said that in past years the Commission on Human Rights had tabled the draft.  However due to the continuing grave situation and the refusal of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea officials to work with the Special Rapporteur, the Commission had asked the General Assembly to formally hammer out a text.


A text on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination -- approved by a vote of 162 in favour to 4 against, with 3 abstentions -- reaffirmed the Palestinians’ right to their independent State of Palestine, and urged all States and United Nations agencies and organizations to continue to support realization of that goal (Annex II).


The text on the inadmissibility of practices leading to contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance -- also approved by a recorded vote -- expressed deep concern over the glorification of the Nazi past and former members of the Waffen SS organization, through monuments, memorials and public demonstrations.  It called on an end to such practices, noting that they did injustice to the memory of the victims of crimes against humanity committed during World War II, were incompatible with the United Nations Charter and democratic values, and encouraged the spread of various extremist political parties and groups.  The vote was 97 in favour to 4 against, with 63 abstentions (Annex I).


A draft on enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called for increasing the Committee’s membership from 68 to 70 States, and was approved without a vote.


A text on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa, also approved without a vote, called for concrete action and financial support by the international community to protect and assist refugees, returnees and displaced persons, and condemned all acts that threatened the security and well-being of refugees and asylum-seekers and the continuing violence against humanitarian personnel.  It also called for a positive response to the third-country resettlement needs of African refugees, making full use of the Multilateral Framework of Understandings on Resettlement and for the international community to ensure that Africa received a fair and equitable share of refugee programme funding.


Also approved without a vote where drafts on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which would have the Assembly call for greater cooperation and funding to boost countries’ capacity to receive large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers, and a text on the International Covenants on Human Rights, by which the Assembly would call for State to fulfil their reporting obligations under the Covenant on time and for better coordination among relevant United Nations mechanisms and bodies to help States implement the Covenants and the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


The representative of the United States, the main sponsor of the draft on incompatibility between corruption and the full enjoyment of human rights, withdrew the text, saying delegates had failed to reach agreement on its terms.


Also today, Jamaica’s representative introduced a draft on global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.


The representatives of Nigeria, Finland, Egypt, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Russian Federation, Costa Rica, Ghana, Israel, Canada, Argentina, Sweden, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Barbados, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Belarus, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Zimbabwe, Estonia, Syria, Republic of Korea, Japan, Bangladesh and Nicaragua made statements, as did the Observer of Palestine also spoke.


The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., Friday, 18 November, to take action on nine draft resolutions under several agenda items.


Background


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to hear the introduction of a draft resolution under its agenda item on the elimination of racism and racial discrimination:  global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/C.3/60/L.63).


The Committee also expected to take action three drafts under its agenda item on the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions.


The draft on enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/60/L.61) would have the General Assembly decide to increase the number of Committee members from 68 to 70 States, and request that the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elect the additional members at its 2006 organizational session.


The draft on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/60/L.64) would have the Assembly call upon the international community to take concrete action to protect and assist refugees, returnees and displaced persons, and to contribute generously to assistance programmes.  It would condemn all acts that threaten the personal security and well-being of refugees and asylum-seekers, and call upon States to respect refugee protection.  It would deplore the continuing violence and insecurity, which threaten the safety of staff members of the Office of the High Commissioner and other humanitarian organizations.  It would further urge all parties to a conflict to protect humanitarian assistance activities, preventing attacks on humanitarian workers and investigating and prosecuting crimes committed against humanitarian personnel.


Further, it would have the Assembly call upon all African States and sub-regional organizations, in conjunction with the United Nations and the international community, to strengthen existing partnerships and forge new ones in supporting the international refugee protection system.  It would also call upon the international donor community to help implement community-based development programmes that benefit refugees and host communities, as well as environmental and infrastructure rehabilitation programmes for refugees in countries of asylum.  It would also appeal to the international community to respond positively to the third-country resettlement needs of African refugees, making full use of the Multilateral Framework of Understandings on Resettlement, as well as urge the international community to provide generous funding for refugee programmes and ensure that Africa receives a fair and equitable share.


The draft on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/60/L.65) would have the Assembly endorse the report of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UNHCR on the work of its fifty-sixth session.  Further, the Assembly would urge all States and relevant non-governmental and other organizations, in conjunction with the UNHCR and in a spirit of international solidarity and responsibility, to cooperate and mobilize resources in order to enhance countries’ capacity to receive large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers, and call upon the UNHCR to continue mobilizing international assistance to address the root causes and the economic, environmental and social impact of large-scale refugee populations in developing countries, particularly least developed countries, and countries with economies in transition.


Further to the text, the Assembly would urge all States and international organizations and institutions to enhance efforts to address the root causes of forced displacement and recognize the UNHCR’s catalytic role in that regard.  The Assembly would also strongly reaffirm the UNHCR’s fundamental importance and purely humanitarian function to provide international protection to refugees and seek permanent solutions to refugee problems.  In addition, the Assembly would condemn all acts that threaten the personal security and well-being of refugees and asylum-seekers, including unlawful expulsion and physical attacks, as well as call upon States of refuge, in cooperation with international organizations, to ensure respect for the principles of refugee protection, including human treatment of asylum-seekers.


The Assembly would also encourage the UNHCR to continue to improve management systems and ensure effective, transparent use of resources and urge Governments and other donors to respond promptly to annual and supplementary appeals by the UNHCR for funding.


Under its agenda item on elimination of racism and racial discrimination, the Committee was expected to take action on a draft the inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/C.3/60/L.60), which would have the Assembly express deep concern over the glorification of the Nazi movement and former members of the Waffen SS organization, including by erecting monuments and memorials, as well as holding public demonstrations to glorify the Nazi past, the Nazi movement and neo-Nazism.  The Assembly would also stress that such practices did injustice to the memory of the countless victims of crimes against humanity committed in the Second World War and poisoned the minds of young people, particularly during the sixtieth anniversary of victory in the Second World War and the liberation of Auschwitz and other concentration camps, and that such practices were incompatible with the United Nations Charter and the Organization’s goals and principles.


Further to the text, the Assembly would stress that such practices fuelled contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and contributed to the spread of various extremist political parties, movements and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups.  The Assembly would also emphasizes the need to end such practices, and would call upon States to step up measures to combat these phenomena and the extremist movements, which posed a real threat to democratic values.


Under its agenda item on the right of peoples to self-determination, the Committee was to take action on a draft on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/60/L.62), which would have the Assembly reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine, and urge all States and United Nations agencies and organizations to continue to support the Palestinian people in the early realization of that right.


Under its agenda item on implementation of human rights instruments, the Committee was to take action on a draft on International Covenants on Human Rights (document A/C.3/60/L.26), which would have the Assembly express regret at the number of States parties that had failed to fulfil their reporting obligations under the International Covenants on Human Rights, as well as urge States parties to fulfil those obligations on time, and to attend and participate in the consideration of the reports by the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights when so requested.  The Assembly would also stress the need for improved coordination among relevant United Nations mechanisms and bodies to support States parties, upon their request, to implement the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Under its agenda item on human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Committee was to take action on a draft on the incompatibility between corruption and the full enjoyment of human rights (document A/C.3/60/L.42/Rev.1), which would have the Assembly condemn corruption in all its forms as one of the primary obstacles to economic, social and democratic development.  It would also encourage Governments to strengthen democracy through good governance as referred to in the Millennium Declaration and the Convention against Corruption.


Further, it would encourage Governments to prevent, combat and penalize corruption by, among other things, promoting the independence and integrity of the judiciary, protecting freedom of expression, promoting the widest possible public access to information about the activities of national and local authorities, and ensuring access to administrative remedies.  It would also encourage Governments to foster high levels of competence, ethics and professionalism within the civil services and to counter corrupt practices in elections.


Under its agenda item on human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives, the Committee was to take action on a draft on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (document A/C.3/60/L.48), which would have the Assembly express its serious concern at the Government’s refusal to cooperate with or recognize the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights.  It would also express serious concern over continuing reports of widespread human rights violations, including torture, public executions, arbitrary detention, the absence of due process, the imposition of the death penalty for political reasons, the large number of prison camps and the extensive use of forced labour.


Further, the Assembly would express serious concern over severe sanctions imposed on citizens repatriated from abroad, as well as severe restrictions on the freedom of religion, expression, and assembly.  Additionally, it would express serious concerns about limitations imposed on the free movement of people within the country and abroad, continued violation of the human rights of women through trafficking for prostitution or forced marriage, forced abortions and infanticide of children of repatriated mothers, and unresolved questions relating to the abduction of foreigners.


Further, the Assembly would express its concern that the Government has not engaged in technical cooperation activities with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).  It would express its deep concern at the precarious humanitarian situation in the country, in particular the prevalence of infant malnutrition.  The Assembly would urge the Government to ensure that humanitarian organizations, particularly the World Food Programme (WFP), have safe and unimpeded access to all parts of the country.


Introduction of Draft Resolutions


The representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced the draft on elimination of racism and racial discrimination (document A/C.3/60/L.63), which she said would seek to encourage implementation of the globally agreed upon agenda.  This year’s text was largely based on Assembly Resolution 59/177, and had been updated to include recent elements of the Durban declaration, including aspects of reports of the Secretary-General and the Special Rapporteur and this year’s resolution adopted at the Commission on Human Rights.  The forthcoming high-level seminar in Geneva was critical, and she urged all Member States to participate at the highest level.  An important follow-up to Durban was the exercise of the mechanism of the Special Rapporteur.  States were urged to continue to support him and his visits.  Since tabling the resolution, informal consultations had been ongoing.  She hoped to maintain that constructive and collaborative spirit.  Regularly updated versions would be posted on the Secretariat’s quickplace facility.


Action on Draft Resolutions


The Committee approved the draft on enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/60/L.61) without a vote.


The representative of Nigeria, the main sponsor of the draft on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/60/L.64), said he wished to express on behalf of the African group his appreciation to the co-sponsors and those who supported the resolution, and to commend the draft for adoption by consensus.


The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.


They then took up the draft on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/60/L.65).  The Secretary noted that Finland made an oral revision in operative paragraph 5.  The words “so as to strengthen refugee protection in Latin America and to ensure timely and effective responses to situations of forced displacement” were deleted.  Operative paragraph 9 was deleted in its entirety and the remaining paragraphs renumbered accordingly.


The representative of Finland, the main sponsor of the draft, said that, as in previous years, the purpose of the draft was to reaffirm the Assembly’s support for the work of the UNHCR.  It aimed to allow the Assembly to provide policy directives on the essential aspects of that work, while also recalling the responsibility of States.  While focusing on new developments, it drew particular attention to international protection and durable solutions.  Importantly, it underlined the purely humanitarian and non-political character of the UNHCR.  She said she hoped the Committee would adopt the draft by consensus, as it had during previous years.


The representative of Egypt said his country had co-sponsored the draft, as in previous years, out of a firm belief in the important of the UNHCR’s work.  With this year’s draft, there was a need to emphasize the established principle of linkage between the legal responsibility of States to provide protection to refugees and the operational principle of international burden-sharing to sustain and build the capacities of developing countries.  He underlined the increased applicability of increased solidarity in developing the least developed countries, paying particular attention to those that hosted large numbers of refugees.  He hoped those principles would be further emphasized in next session’s draft resolution.


The representative of Venezuela wanted to place on record the country’s commitment to protecting refugees and displaced persons.  Venezuela had made an effort in setting standards and implementing concrete measures to ensure immediate care for those suffering any kind of discrimination.  It had carried out concrete action to avoid social exclusion and promote integration of persons in vulnerable conditions.  It was unfortunate that there was no consensus on maintaining operative paragraph 9.  Venezuela had undertaken that commitment in several fora and encouraged countries to address the circumstances that created refugee flows.  Lasting and effective solutions depended on will and capacity and, particularly, the UNHCR support, all of which should be guided by humanism in international solidarity.


The Committee then adopted the text without a vote.


In explanation of position after the vote, the representative of Azerbaijan reiterated her full support of the work of the High Commissioner to fulfil his mandate.  It was regrettable that this year’s agreement was reached here in New York and not in Geneva, as was usual.  Despite the sentiment of the majority in New York informals, which indicated an unwillingness to reopen the text, it was reopened and substantial changes made, including paragraph 9, which was paramount for a number of delegations.  For that reason, Azerbaijan had to withdraw its co-sponsorship.  It was hoped that next year agreement would be reached in Geneva and preserved here.


The representative of the Russian Federation, the main sponsor of the draft on the inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/C.3/60/L.60), said that, in view of the number of co-sponsors, the international community must be concerned about the upsurge of all types of extremist groups, such as neo-Nazis and skinheads.  We had witnessed many repulsive phenomena, such as Afrophobia, Islamophobia, and Arabophobia, as referred to repeatedly by the Special Rapporteur.  The draft resolution referred to Neo-Nazis and skinheads, who very often found inspiration in practices that the United Nations had been set up to counteract.  It was unacceptable that people made heroes out of those who had taken part in Nazi crimes, including whitewashing former members of the SS, including the Waffen SS.  Such contemporary forms of racism and related intolerance were cause for considerable concern.  The resolution was in no way intended to bring one or another State to account.  On the contrary, it was a thematic resolution aimed at cooperation and dialogue.  By adopting it, a real contribution would be made to ending racism, racial discrimination, and send a clear signal to those who talked of racial purity.


The representative of the United States said her delegation shared the repugnance of other Committee members at attempts to glorify or promote Nazi ideology.  Nonetheless, free speech and expression must be protected.  The draft resolution failed to distinguish between actions and statements that were protected and those that promoted violence, which should not be protected.


Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he believed Neo-Nazism represented a particularly abhorrent manifestation of racism and xenophobia and needed to be tackled by effective measures at the national, regional and international levels.  The European Union had been involved in extensive consultations, and had agreed on a strong call to action at the recent session of the Commission for Human Rights.  Unfortunately, the consensus reached there no longer seemed workable.  The current text went beyond the Commission’s resolution.  Regretfully, the United Kingdom could not support it, as drafted.  It undermined the rights to associate, assemble, and express opinion, as well as human rights in general.  Operative paragraph 4 was unacceptable.   Limits determined by law must never be aimed at the destruction of human rights.  With great regret, the United Kingdom would abstain, and hoped other members would also do so.  Croatia also aligned itself with his statement.


The representative of Iceland said he aligned himself with the European Union’s position.


The Committee then adopted the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 97 in favour to 4 against (Japan, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, United States), with 63 abstentions (Annex I).


After the adoption of the draft, the representative of Costa Rica said the draft, which his country supported, contained important changes from the one recently adopted by the Human Rights Commission, and those changes should be carefully examined.  Regrettably, there had been only one informal meeting to discuss it, despite Costa Rica’s appeals to hold a second one.  It was striking that the current draft, unlike the Commission’s draft, did not correctly identify the SS organization and its elements as criminal organizations.  In preambular paragraph 3, only one aspect of the SS organization was highlighted.


There was also a problem in operative paragraph 2, where a similar mention was exclusively of the Waffen SS.  Particularly striking was operative paragraph 4, which reaffirmed categorically that all acts referred to in the above paragraphs were a clear and manifest abuse of the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression.  That wording restricted the scope of action of competent national authorities.  The same concern existed with regard to operative paragraph 5.  He deplored the fact that the resolution had to be voted on, which set a serious and regrettable precedent.  The draft should have been adopted by consensus.  Hopefully, in the future, its content could be improved, and it could be approved by consensus.


The representative of Ghana said that she had intended to vote in favour of the measure, but had inadvertently pressed the abstain button.


The representative of Egypt, the main sponsor of the draft on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.2/60/L.62), said the resolution before the Committee was the main annual document aimed at establishing the right of Palestinian people to self-determination, their own State and homeland.  He expressed hope that it would be adopted by consensus.


In a general statement before the vote, the representative of Israel then said he supported right of self-determination of people worldwide, including that of the Palestinians, and their right to a State of their own, which had been expressed by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.  However, bilateral negotiations on the issue were already in place.   Israel would vote against the resolution.  The draft did not build confidence to help the parties enable the existing Road Map to reach fruition.


The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, reinstated his commitment to the Palestinian people to their right to a sovereign State, and welcomed the goal as set forth in the Quartet’s Road Map for a two-State solution.  Such a solution constituted the best possible guarantee for Israel’s security and for it to be accepted as an integrated part of the region and was in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the Road Map.  He welcomed the recent Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of West Bank.  The right of Palestinians to self-determination included the holding of free and fair elections, he said, underlining the forthcoming elections of the Palestinian Legislative Council.


Violence and terror were incompatible with democracy, he said.  He renounced all violence n the region, including that perpetrated by Hamas.   Israel must comply with its international obligations regarding East Jerusalem and must refrain from settlement building and construction of the separation barrier, which were contrary to international law.  He reiterated his strong commitment to assisting the Palestinian people in their efforts to achieve self-determination.


The Committee then approved the draft by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 4 against ( Israel, Malta, Palau, United States), with 3 abstentions ( Australia, Equatorial Guinea, Tuvalu) (Annex II).


Following the vote, the representative of Venezuela said he had supported the draft and that the Palestinian people’s right to self determination was the fundamental problem to be resolved if peace and security were to be achieved in the region.


The representative of Canada reiterated that the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice must reflect its non-binding status concerning Israel’s security concerns.


The representative of Argentina said that if the issue of occupation did not exist, then there was no right to self-determination.  Therefore, the right to self-determination must be interpreted according to the United Nations Charter.


The Observer of Palestine thanked all those voting in favour of the draft and its co-sponsors.  The denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination was undoubtedly at the crux of the region’s woes.  The international community’s support of the resolution was essential until Palestinian self-determination was achieved.   Israel’s negative vote was evidence that Israel rejected that right, she said, stressing that it could not accept the legitimate rights of Palestinians, and at the same time, reject their right to self-determination.


Israel’s illegal policies seriously threatened the Palestinian’s right to self determination and the foundations of the peace process, she said.  The Palestinian people would never succumb to subjugation.  Their right to self-determination was not for sale.  She said she was also puzzled by the dichotomous position of the United States, noting that on the one hand it favoured a two-State solution, but continued to cast negative vote on the draft.  She implored the United State to reconsider its vote and see the incongruence its message sent to the Palestinian people.


The Third Committee Secretary then read out a statement regarding the financial provisions of a draft on International Covenants on Human Rights (document A/C.3/60/L/26).


The representative of Sweden, that draft’s main sponsor, said several oral revisions had been made to the draft as a result of informal consultations in the past week.


The Committee then approved the text, as orally revised, without a vote.


The representative of the United States then withdrew the draft resolution on incompatibility between corruption and the full enjoyment of human rights (document A/C.3/60/L.42/Rev.1) saying that, due to the diverse views of many countries, delegations wished to continue to pursue discussion on this topic in the future.


The representative of Cuba then highlighted the importance of any initiative to combat corruption, saying such an initiative was indispensable in promoting a widespread approach to prevent this scourge and was part of the United Nations broad approach to stem corruption and had important international repercussions.  Large private institutions and corporations in particular, had promoted corruption in many parts of the world.  Multinational corporations were engaging in the widest corruption.


Turning to the draft on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (A/C.3/60/L.48), the representative of United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union and the draft’s main sponsor, said that while he welcome the positive developments outlined in the Special Rapporteur’s report, he remained deeply concerned over the widespread grave violations of human rights in the country, including the lack of the rule of law and sanctions imposed on Korean citizens returning from abroad.  He was also concerned about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s continued refusal to recognize or cooperate with the Special Rapporteur.  That was the first time that a resolution on the situation was tabled in the General Assembly. In the past, the resolution had been tabled by the Commission on Human Rights.  However, this year, due to the lack of improvement of the country’s human rights situation and the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s non-compliance with the previous resolutions and with the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur, the Assembly was asked to take up the resolution.


In a general statement before the vote, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea expressed deep concern over the misuse by the United States and the European Union of human rights issues for political purposes against developing, small or weak countries, and rejected the draft.  The resolution was evidence that the European Union pursued interference in the internal affairs and regime change of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, according to the United States’ policy on the issue.  The resolution was false, based on fabrications and was intended to interfere in his country’s internal affairs.


Recently, his Government had decided to no longer receive humanitarian assistance as of next year, because the country’s food situation had notably improved.  That decision would help reduce the burden of the international community.  However, the draft resolution had expressed concern over that decision, and had urged his Government to continue accepting assistance and ensure international organizations free and unrestricted access to all parts of the country.  Time and again the European Union, the United States and Japan had used political preconditions to refuse to give urgently needed food aid, but they were now pressuring his country to receive such aid when it was capable of standing on its own.  That raised suspicion over their true intentions.  Individual States protected and promoted their human rights according to their respective socio-economic development, history, culture and tradition.  All of the Committee’s draft resolutions on human rights tabled by the United States and the European Union against developing countries during the current session were a culmination of politicization, double standards and selectivity.


The representative of Barbados said he attached the highest importance to the issue of human rights and democracy.  The increasingly divisive nature of the Third Committee in the tabling of resolutions was not helpful or productive.  While Member States were engaged in reforming the human rights machinery, some States had seen fit to table resolutions targeting certain countries.  Barbados would again abstain in its vote, but its vote on such resolutions should not be construed as a lack of concern on human rights.  The opposite was true.


The representative of Venezuela said that resolutions condemning specific countries did not stimulate human rights and understanding between peoples.  Rather, they created confrontation between Member States and encouraged the use of force, the right of the strongest and arbitrary injustice.  In the current case, the report of the Rapporteur was not credible, as it was based on information obtained in a specific way and based on unconvincing criteria.  The draft resolution was a clear exploitation of objectives, which had nothing to do with human rights.  Venezuela would vote against the draft because it did not accept the policy of selective condemnation, which was used by some States in the Committee.


The representative of Cuba said he would also vote against the draft because it did not encourage international cooperation on human rights.  It was clear that it was a tool of political manipulation and lacked objectivity.  Constructive approaches, based on dialogue and the territorial integrity of States, were not being encouraged by the European Union.  Those politicized approaches had discredited the Commission on Human Rights and could lead to the failure of the Third Committee.


The representative of Malaysia said he was strongly opposed to resolutions aimed at specific countries.  Malaysia had long called for a non-confrontational approach to human rights.  Regrettably, some States had tabled resolutions regarding specific countries.  More and more States were rejecting the culture of naming and shaming, which had polarized discussions at the Commission on Human Rights.  He encouraged countries to stop tabling such resolutions.  Human rights must be addressed through a global context, with objectivity, responsibility for national sovereignty and non interference in affairs of States.  The exploitation of human rights for political purposes, including selective targeting, should be excluded.


The representative of Indonesia said she regretted that the Committee had come to such an unfortunate situation.  It was important to reflect deeply on the issue because one of the very reasons for United Nations reform was to address the politicization of its work, and that related to country-specific resolutions.  She encouraged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to pay due attention to the legitimate concern being expressed by the international community, especially in matters related to abduction of foreigners.  Indonesia could not support tabling of draft resolutions like the current one, which was confrontational and counterproductive.


The representative of China expressed strong regret over the resolution.  Over the years, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had made encouraging progress.  It had engaged in several rounds of dialogue with the European Union.  The right attitude of the Committee should have been one of encouragement and recognition, instead of criticism.  China always opposed politicization of human rights and using draft resolutions to name and shame countries.  The current draft was a typical example.  It would not improve the situation, but would create an atmosphere of confrontation in the Committee.


The representative of Belarus said she consistently opposed country-specific resolutions.  They were counterproductive and did not serve to protect human rights.  Cooperation should be based on mutual respect and dialogue between sovereign States.  Country-specific measures produced unnecessary divisions and further polarized the Committee.


The representative of the Sudan said efforts being made by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to improve the economic and social situation of its people and to protect human rights should be encouraged and supported by the international community.  Regardless of draft contents, the very fact of submitting draft resolutions, which targeted specific countries represented politicization, selectivity, and double standards.  He called upon the draft’s co-sponsors to reassert their commitments to dealing with human rights in a transparent way, and not selectively.  The situation in the capitals of some of the co-sponsors -- including flagrant violations of immigrants’ rights, as well as violations of social, cultural and political rights -- was proof of such selectivity.


The representative of Turkmenistan said he was against the selective targeting of countries, especially when the sponsors were far from perfect themselves.  Double standards undermined progress in human rights and led to the extreme politicization of the human rights machinery.  Only through dialogue could we assist countries in their advancement.


The representative of Zimbabwe said his country had many times expressed its concern over selectivity and double standards in approaching human rights.  He regretted the tendency to abuse the human rights debate for political purposes, which would not help the human rights agenda.


The representative of Egypt said her country’s position was based on a single approach to human rights, and that it would vote against resolutions targeting specific countries, regardless of objective or thematic aspects.  Such resolutions politicized human rights and enshrined the policy of selectivity and double standards.  Those resolutions were not based on negotiations or multilateral cooperation, nor were they submitted to consultations with all countries.  They contradicted efforts to enhance cooperation, particularly for establishing a Human Rights Council.


The Committee adopted the draft resolution on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (document A/C.3/60/L.48) by a vote of 84 in favour to 22 against, with 62 abstentions (Annex III).


After vote, the representative of Estonia apologized for incorrectly abstaining when the vote should have been in favour of the measure.


The representative of Syria said she meant to vote against the measure, not in favour of it.


In a general statement after the vote, the representative of the Republic of Korea said his country was making efforts to achieve advances in the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and those efforts were being pursued in the framework of cooperation and openness.  For that reason the Republic of Korea had abstained.  His Government was providing humanitarian assistance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea while encouraging its move towards more openness and towards improving its human rights situation.  Noting the international community’s concerns, he said he expected the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would faithfully implement the international human rights convention it had voluntarily joined.  He also called on that country’s officials to engage in constructive dialogue and cooperation with the international community.


The representative of Japan welcomed resolution, saying Japan was among the countries whose citizens had been abducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  He expressed hope that the adoption of the resolution would lead the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to begin cooperating with the Special Rapporteur.  The draft’s objective was not to name and shame but to urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to work with the United Nations system.


Turning to other voting issues, the representative of Bangladesh then noted that, had her delegation been able to be present during the voting earlier in the meeting, it would have voted in favour of the draft on inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/C.3/60/L.60).


The representative of Nicaragua then also said that, had his delegation been able to be present during the voting earlier in the meeting, it would have voted in favour of the draft on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/60/L.62).


ANNEX I


Vote on Practices Fuelling Racism


The draft resolution on the impermissibility of certain practices fuelling racism (document A/C.3/60/L.60) was approved by a recorded vote of 97 in favour to 4 against, with 63 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Federated States of Micronesia, Japan, Marshall Islands, United States.


Abstain:  Albania, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom.


Absent:  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Gabon, Georgia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu.


ANNEX II


Vote on Palestinian Self-Determination


The draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/60/L.62) was approved by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 4 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States.


Abstain:  Australia, Equatorial Guinea, Tuvalu.


Absent:  Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Federated States of Micronesia, Gabon, Grenada, Kiribati, Liberia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Tonga, Vanuatu.


ANNEX III


Vote on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


The draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (document A/C.3/60/L.48) was approved by a recorded vote of 84 in favour to 22 against, with 62 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.


Against:  Belarus, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Gambia, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Libya, Malaysia, Myanmar, Russian Federation, Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.


Abstain:  Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia.


Absent:  Armenia, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Dominica, Gabon, Grenada, Kiribati, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mongolia, Oman, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Tonga.


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For information media • not an official record