20 November 2007
General Assembly
GA/SHC/3909

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

Sixty-second General Assembly

Third Committee

49th & 50th Meetings (AM & PM)


THIRD COMMITTEE APPROVES THREE COUNTRY-SPECIFIC TEXTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS


DESPITE OPPOSITION LED BY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

 


Draft resolutions that would have the General Assembly address the human rights situations in three Member States -- Myanmar, Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea -- were approved today by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) amid a barrage of objections by many delegations, which maintained that the freshly constituted Human Rights Council was the correct forum to address such concerns.


Several delegations, mindful of the fact that all three drafts had been initiatives of developed countries, protested that the texts also represented an attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Member States which was contrary to the principles set out in the United Nations Charter and were politically motivated with no bearing on or real interest in human rights.


In other action, the Committee approved a draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination by a recorded vote of 172 in favour to 5 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and United States), with 5 abstentions (Australia, Canada, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Fiji)(see annex II).  That text would have the General Assembly express the urgent need for the resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process and reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to an independent State of Palestine.


In another recorded vote the Committee approved the report of the Human Rights Council on the preparations for the 2009 Durban Review Conference in South Africa by 169 in favour to 2 against (Israel and United States), with 4 abstentions (Australia, Cambodia, Canada and Fiji) (see annex I).  By the terms of that text the Assembly would review progress made on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference against Racism in 2001.


Explaining his position, the representative of the United States said his country opposed the use of limited United Nations resources for such “costly” meetings, while Israel’s representative recalled how the Durban Conference had been a “fiasco” that had targeted one nation and one people -- a reference to itself.


Going to yet another recorded vote, the Committee approved a draft resolution, as orally revised, on Combating defamation of religions by 95 in favour to 52 against, with 30 abstentions (see annex III).  The text would have the Assembly express deep concern about the negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief still in evidence in some regions of the world.  The Assembly would further note with deep concern, the intensification of the campaign to defame religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001.


After rejecting a no-action motion, the Committee approved a draft resolution on the Situation of human rights in Myanmar by a recorded vote of 88 in favour to 24 against, with 66 abstentions (see annex VI).  By that text, the Assembly would strongly condemn the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators, and express grave concern about ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.


The representative of Portugal, on behalf of the European Union, said the draft was an urgent appeal from the international community to the Government of Myanmar to show full respect for the human rights of its people.  The human rights situation had deteriorated since the last time the Assembly considered the issue in Myanmar.  And although some positive steps had been taken by the Government recently, the Assembly could not remain silent on the issue.  Myanmar’s representative said the vote had demonstrated the divisive nature of country-specific resolutions.  He said his country would reject the resolution “and we will not be bound by it”.


Several delegations said human rights issues were better handled by the Human Rights Council, particularly after the Committee itself had approved its institution-building package which established a Universal Periodic Review mechanism whereby the human rights situation in each and every Member State would come under the microscope.  The representative of China voiced opposition to country-specific resolutions aimed at developing countries; her counterpart from Angola, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the Committee should be a forum for dialogue, not criticism.  The representative of New Zealand, on the other hand, said that the Assembly had a mandate to consider human rights situations; it had adopted such resolutions for more than 30 years, and countries that had been subjects of such resolutions had since become strong defenders of human rights.


Similar arguments were aired when the Committee took action on a draft resolution on the human rights situation in Iran -- approved by a recorded vote of 72 in favour to 50 against, with 55 abstentions (see annex VIII), after a no-action motion was defeated by the narrowest of margins -- and on the draft on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was approved by a vote of 97 in favour to 23 against with 60 abstentions (see annex IV).


The representative of Iran was critical of Canada, the main sponsor of the draft on his country, saying Canada’s human rights record was not flawless; he also pointed out what he described as factual errors in the draft.  For his part, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the draft resolution on his country -- put forth by Portugal on behalf of the European Union -- was full of false information and was being pursued for a sinister political purpose.  It was no secret, he said, that such resolutions were used by the West as a way to impose their values on other countries.


The Committee also deferred action on five texts on Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; Rights of the child; From rhetoric to reality: a global call for concrete action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; and Elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief.


It also learned with sadness that a representative of Chile, Pamela Ahumada, died last week after a five-year battle with cancer.  The Committee extended condolences to Ms. Ahumada’s family, as well as to the Chilean delegation.


The representative of the United Kingdom spoke in exercise of the right of reply.


The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 21 November, to take action on additional draft resolutions.


Background


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to take action on a number of draft resolutions.


The draft resolution on Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/62/L.82) would have the Assembly condemn all acts that pose a threat to the personal security and well-being of refugees and asylum-seekers, such as refoulement, unlawful expulsion and physical attacks.  The text would have the Assembly express grave concern about the plight of internally displaced persons in Africa, and -- taking note of the current activities of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) related to protection and assistance of internally displaced persons -- would emphasize that the agency’s activities be consistent with relevant General Assembly resolutions, and not undermine the refugee mandate of the Office and the institution of asylum.


The resolution would also have the Assembly appeal to the international community to respond positively to the third-country resettlement needs of African refugees, and therefore encourages interested States, UNHCR and other relevant partners to make full use of the Multilateral Framework of Understandings on Resettlement, where appropriate.


A draft resolution on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/62/L.20/Rev.1) would have the Assembly urge States parties to comply fully with their obligations under the Convention and its Optional Protocol, and to take into consideration the concluding comments as well as the general recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.  It would also have the Assembly strongly urge States parties to the Convention to take appropriate measures so that acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention by a two-thirds majority of States parties can be reached as soon as possible and the amendment can enter into force.


By the terms of a draft resolution on the Rights of the child (document A/C.3/62/L.24/Rev.1), the Assembly would urge States that had yet to do so to become parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols.  It would note with concern the large number of children who are victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and urge States to respect and promote the right of girls and boys to express themselves freely, and to ensure that their views are given due weight, in accordance with their age and maturity.  All States parties to the Convention would be urged once again to intensify their efforts to comply with their obligations under the Convention to preserve a child’s identity, including nationality, name and family relations.  The right to education would be recognized, and States would be called upon to ensure the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.


The draft would also have the Assembly call upon all States to take immediate steps to eliminate child hunger.  All countries, particularly those in which the death penalty has not been abolished, would be called upon to abolish the death penalty for those under the age of 18, and to criminalize and penalize all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, including paedophilia.  The abduction of children, particularly in situations of armed conflict, would be condemned.  Finally, the Assembly would recommend that the Secretary-General appoint a Special Representative on violence against children, for a period of three years, to act as a high-profile and independent global advocate to promote the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children.


By the terms of a draft resolution entitled From rhetoric to reality:  a global call for concrete action against 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.3/62/L.65), the Assembly would express “profound disappointment” at the fact that, six years after the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, the major commitments undertaken in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action are unfulfilled.  It would note with serious concern that there is no commitment for financial support to the Durban Review Conference from voluntary sources.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights would be asked to put in place mechanisms to ensure the availability of adequate financial resources for the successful convening of the Durban Review Conference.  The Secretary-General would be asked to allocate adequate funding, from the regular budget of the United Nations, for regional preparatory conferences and the Durban Review Conference, including for the funding of delegations from least developed countries, as well as non-governmental organizations, particularly those from the developing countries.


According to the text, the Assembly would urge Member States to withdraw reservations contrary to the object and purpose of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and to consider withdrawing other reservations.  The Assembly would express regret at the fact that the deadline set by the 2001 Durban World Conference for the universal ratification of the Convention has not been met; it would also endorse the decision of the Human Rights Council to realign the work and name of the Anti-Discrimination Unit in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), so as to render it consistent with its mandate, and the decision that henceforth the Unit should be known as the “Anti-Racial Discrimination Unit”, with operational activities that focus exclusively on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.


A draft resolution on the Report of the Human Rights Council on the preparations for the Durban Review Conference (document A/C.3/62/L.66), would have the Assembly welcome the Report of the Preparatory Committee on its first session, particularly the decisions adopted by the organizational session of this Committee.  It would also endorse the decisions adopted by this session.


According to a draft resolution on The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/62/L.63), the General Assembly would express the urgent need for the resumption of negotiations within the Middle East peace process and reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine.  It would also urge all States and the United Nations to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.


Adraft resolution on Combating defamation of religions (document A/C.3/62/L.35) would have the Assembly express deep concern about the negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief, still in evidence in some regions of the world.  The Assembly would further note, with deep concern, the intensification of the campaign to defame religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001.  It would also emphasize that everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which should be exercised with responsibility and may therefore be subject to limitations according to law and necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others; protection of national security or of public order, public health or morals; and respect for religions and beliefs.


The draft resolution on Elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief (document A/C.3/62/L.42) would have the Assembly condemn all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief, as well as violations of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.  It would stress that the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion be applied equally to theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, and that all believers and non-believers are entitled, without any discrimination, to the equal protection of the law.  An overall rise in instances of intolerance and violence against members of many religious and other communities would be recognized with deep concern, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia.  States would be urged to step up efforts to eliminate intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief. 


A draft resolution entitled Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (document A/C.3/62/L.37/Rev.1) would have the Assembly express its very serious concern at continuing reports of systematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in this country, including:  torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; the situation of refugees and asylum-seekers; severe restrictions on the freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association; limitations imposed on the free movement of every person within the country, as well as on travel abroad; and violations of economic, social and cultural rights that have led to severe malnutrition, widespread health problems and other hardships.  Very serious concern at unresolved questions relating to the abduction of foreigners in the form of enforced disappearance would be reiterated.  The Assembly would express deep concern at the precarious humanitarian situation in this country.  The Government would be strongly urged to fully respect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


By the terms of a draft entitled Situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/C.3/62/L.41/Rev.1), the Assembly would strongly condemn the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators who had been exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression.  Grave concern would be expressed about ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, arbitrary detentions, repeated violations of international humanitarian law, discrimination suffered by persons of ethnic nationalities, the absence of genuine participation by representatives of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other political parties, and the continuous deterioration of living conditions, as well as increasing poverty.  The Government in this country would be strongly called upon to ensure full respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to give serious consideration to recommendations and proposals put forward by the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General during his visit in October 2007.


According to the text, the Assembly would strongly call upon the Government to desist from further arrests and violence against peaceful protesters, and to release all political prisoners without conditions, including the leaders of the NLD, Aung San Suu Kyi and Tin Oo.  The Government would also be called upon to lift all restraints on peaceful political activity, to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur, and to immediately ensure safe and unhindered access to all parts of Myanmar for the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations.


The Assembly would again strongly call upon the Government to put an immediate end to the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and to take urgent measures to end military operations targeting civilians in ethnic areas.  It would call upon the Government to resume, without delay, dialogue with all political actors, including the NLD and representatives of ethnic nationalities, to restore the independence of the judiciary and due process of law, to allow human rights defenders to pursue their activities unhindered, and to refrain from imposing restrictions on access to the flow of information by the people of Myanmar.  The Assembly would also ask the Secretary-General to continue to provide his good offices, to pursue his discussions on the situation of human rights and the restoration of democracy with the Government and the people of Myanmar, and to closely monitor developments with the aim of preventing the resumption of violence.


The draft resolution on the Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (documentA/C.3/62/L.43) would have the Assembly express deep concern at ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of this country.  Very serious concern would be expressed about a number of developments since the adoption of Assembly resolution 61/176 (2006).  The Government would be called upon to fully respect its human rights obligations in a number of ways, including:  the elimination of amputations, flogging and other forms of torture and inhuman punishment; the abolition of public executions; the abolition of stoning as a method of execution; the abolition of executions of persons who at the time of their offence were under the age of 18; the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls; the elimination of all forms of discrimination and other human rights violations against persons belonging to religious, ethnic, linguistic or other minorities; the implementation of a 1996 report of the Special Rapporteur on religious intolerance, which recommended ways in which Iran could emancipate the Baha’i community; an end to the harassment, intimidation and persecution of political opponents and human rights defenders, including the release of persons imprisoned arbitrarily or on the basis of their political views; upholding due process of legal rights; and ending impunity for human rights violations.  The thematic procedures of the Human Rights Council would be encourage to visit Iran and continue their work to improve the human rights situation in the country.


A text on the Situation of human rights in Belarus (document A/C.3/62/L.51) would have the Assembly express concern about the continued use of the criminal justice system to silence political opposition and human rights defenders, which would include arbitrary detention, lack of due process, and closed political trials of leading opposition figures and human rights defenders.  It would also have the Assembly urge the Government to release, immediately and unconditionally, all individuals detained for politically motivated reasons and others detained for exercising or promoting human rights.  Further, the draft would have the Assembly insist that the Government cooperate fully with the Human Rights Council, as well as with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).


Action on Draft Resolutions


The Committee first turned to a draft resolution on Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/62/L.82), and decided to defer action on it at the request of the representative of Angola, on behalf of African Group.


Next, the Committee turned to a draft resolution on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/62/L.20/Rev.1).  The Secretary of the Committee, Moncef Khane, said the resolution would give rise to programme budget implications and that a formal document detailing those implications would be issued tomorrow morning.  As such, he requested the Committee to defer action on the text, which it did.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the Rights of the child (document A/C.3/62/L.24/Rev.1).  The representative of Portugal, on behalf of the European Union, said that resolution was not ready for action, and asked for action to be postponed, which was so decided.


As the Committee began to take action on a draft resolution entitled From rhetoric to reality:  a global call for concrete action against 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.3/62/L.65), the Secretary said that it would give rise to programme budget implications, and therefore action would have to be postponed.  The draft was then deferred until tomorrow.


The Committee then took action on the draft resolution on the Report of the Human Rights Council on the preparations for the Durban Review Conference (document A/C.3/62/L.66).  The Secretary made an oral statement vis-à-vis programme budget implications; the representative of Angola asked all delegations to approve the draft by consensus.


The representative of the United States asked for a recorded vote.  He said the draft had been bought to the Committee without proper review; it also called for an inappropriate use of United Nations resources.  His delegation particularly objected to the report’s suggestion that the Secretary-General find resources for funding costly preparatory meetings, and the suggestion that funding come from the United Nations general budget.  The United States had objections to the overall direction and procedures leading up to the Review Conference.  Also, the process by which the resolution had been brought before the General Assembly was troubling, as there had been neither meetings nor open discussions about the text or the 44-page report that it endorsed.


The representative of Israel said the Durban Conference of 2001 had been anything but a meeting to eliminate racism; some delegations and non-governmental organizations had manipulated the occasion to demonstrate their deep-seated prejudice and hatred for one Member State and one particular people.  Israel had been compelled to withdraw from the conference; it would continue to vote against resolutions that heralded Durban as a display of international resolve to combat hatred and promote tolerance.  Durban had been a fiasco, and Israel could not support a resolution that called for a review conference.   Israel would vote against the resolution, and hope that, with time, the mistakes of Durban would be rectified.


The Committee then approved the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to two against ( Israel and the United States), with four abstentions ( Australia, Cambodia, Canada and Fiji).  (See annex I)


Turning next to the draft resolution, on The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/62/L.63), the representative of Egypt noted that 117 countries had co-sponsored the text.  That growing number reflected the importance attached to helping the Palestinian people realize their aspirations to break free from occupation and to attain their inalienable right to self-determination.  It was an unequivocal signal of support and solidarity at a time of need.


He hoped there would be larger United Nations engagement in resolving the issue in a serious manner, through its involvement in the Quartet and other confidence-building measures.  Stronger engagement by the Organization would be in keeping with the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the approaching end of the Second International Decade on the Eradication of Colonialism.  Approving the text by consensus would be a good first step towards helping the Palestinian people establish an independent, sovereign State on their own land, alongside Israel, with East Jerusalem as its capital.


The representative of Israel then requested a recorded vote, and, in a general statement before action, said her country recognized the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, but, in turn, expected the Palestinians to respect the Israeli right to live in peace and security.  In addition, Israel had long promoted the two-State vision; the international agreements that Israel had signed with the Palestinians showed that will was there.  The inability of the Palestinian people to achieve statehood was not due to her country’s lack of will, but to the Palestinians’ own lack of will to recognize that security was a prerequisite to their statehood.  In fact, the Road Map obliged the Palestinians to fight terror and incitement, and dialogue could only take place after that provision was fulfilled.


She said the Road Map and other agreements were unequivocal in determining that both parties had rights and responsibilities.  The current resolution, and others like it, affirmed Palestinian rights but made no demands on them to fulfil their responsibilities, such as denouncing terrorism.  Israel would not tolerate a State that allowed terrorism on its border.  Since stagnation and inaction was not in Israel’s interest, it would continue to meet with the Palestinian leadership to launch the upcoming Annapolis dialogue, which would enable the culmination of the two-State vision.  But Israel would vote against the present text.


The representative of the United States said his country had worked continuously to support the socio-economic development, as well as the legitimate political aspirations, of the Palestinian people.  The level of United States assistance to address the needs of Palestinian people compared favourably with aid given to other parts of world.


The United States’ objective was two sovereign and democratic States, living side by side in peace and security.  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was committed to those principles and his platform for peace.  The United States, however, could not support the current resolution because it and others like it reflected an outdated approach, conceived when the Palestinian people thought that a solution lay solely in the United Nations.


He said there was indeed a role for the United Nations:  to support the two parties as they worked with each other, within the context of the Quartet.  The present resolution, however, undermined the Organization’s credibility.  Both sides must see the United Nations as an honest broker.  One-sided resolutions such as the current one did nothing to resolve the issue.


The representative of Australia said that while she supported a peaceful negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine, based on a two-State solution, she would abstain from the vote, since the resolution contained unbalanced language that would do nothing to assist in resolving the dispute.


The Committee then approved the resolution by a vote of 172 in favour to five against ( Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau and United States), with five abstentions ( Australia, Canada, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Fiji).  (See annex II)


In an explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Argentina remarked that people must be living under subjugation in order for them to exercise a right to self-determination.  In terms of the Malvinas Islands, over which there was a sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom, that right was not applicable.  That situation must be solved through bilateral negotiations, taking into account the interest of the islanders.


The representative of Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, restated her commitment to enabling the Palestinian people to fulfil their right to self-determination, including the possibility of establishing a sovereign State as set forth in the Road Map, and as agreed upon by both parties.  Such a solution was the best guarantee for Israel’s security and its acceptance as an integrated partner in the region.


She said the Union was ready to contribute to preparations for the upcoming Annapolis conference within the context of the Quartet, and would continue to support the parties with their ongoing negotiations.  Moreover, progress in negotiations should go hand in hand with a strengthening of Palestinian institutions, which would also help improve the day-to-day life of Palestinian people.  Meanwhile, the parties in question should take additional steps towards implementing the Road Map and the Agreement on Movement and Access.


The representative of Canada reiterated his country’s strongest possible support for the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination, as well as its full backing of the Quartet’s Road Map, which had been endorsed by the Security Council.  However, as the resolution did not adequately address the responsibilities of both parties to the conflict to demonstrate efforts towards the goals set out in the Road Map, Canada had chosen to abstain.


The observer for Palestine expressed her appreciation to all the countries that had supported the resolution; its adoption by an overwhelming majority was a reaffirmation of the international community’s unwavering commitment to the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.  It was regrettable, however, that it could not have been approved by consensus, and the fact that Israel continued to cast a negative vote on a resolution that simply reaffirmed international law was a matter of deep concern to her delegation.  It was also totally contradictory to Israel’s professed position in favour of a peace settlement.  Moreover, living in peace and security was not an exclusive Israeli right; it was a mutual need and right.


She said that recognition of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination would have been an acknowledgement by Israel that its occupation of Palestinian territory was illegal and untenable.  After all these years, and two days before the fortieth anniversary of Security Council resolution 242, it had to be obvious to Israel and the rest of the international community that the former’s security could not be assured through the continuation of the occupation.  If there was to be peace in the Middle East, the rights of people had to be recognized.  It was hoped that such a resolution would not be necessary next year, but if it was proposed, it should be adopted without a vote.


Turning to the draft resolution on Combating defamation of religions (document A/C.3/62/L.35), the Committee heard from the representative of Pakistan, on behalf of Member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.  He said that that during negotiations on the draft, a number of proposed amendments had been accommodated; he then read out a number of oral revisions.


The representative of the United States requested a recorded vote.


The representative of India said that his delegation would abstain, as the draft resolution focused excessively on a single religion, and defamation and stereotyping should be of concern to all religions.


The representative of the United States said his delegation agreed with many of the general tenets contained in the resolution, and deplored the denigration of any religion.  The resolution, however, was incomplete.  It failed to address the situation of all religions, and instead emphasized only one religion.  More inclusive language would have furthered the objective of promoting religious freedom.


The representative of Portugal, on behalf of the European Union, said she agreed with the need to raise concern and alarm about serious instances of intolerance, discrimination and acts of violence based on religion or belief, as well as intimidation and coercion motivated by extremism, occurring anywhere in the world.  However, the concerns set out in the draft amounted to religious intolerance.  The Union did not see the concept of defamation of religions as valid in a human rights discourse; international human rights law protected primarily individuals, rather than religions as such, and religions or beliefs in most States did not enjoy legal personality.  Discrimination based on religion or belief had to be addressed in all its aspects; it was neither confined to any one religion or belief, nor confined to any one part of the world.  The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir, had herself indicated that use of the concept of defamation of religion could be counterproductive, as the main focus should remain the rights and freedoms of individuals.  During consultation on the draft, the European Union had made proposals so that the text would focus on combating incitement to religions hatred, but while some of the proposals were taken on board, they did not significantly change the general approach, conceptual framework and terminology of the draft.  The European Union would therefore vote against it.


The representative of Chile, explaining that his delegation would abstain, said due respect had to be given to freedom to worship without discrimination.  Freedom of expression, however, also had to be strictly respected and guaranteed by the State.  Both were fundamental rights of the individual that could not be limited, except in exceptional cases as defined by law.


The Committee then approved the resolution as orally revised by a recorded vote of 95 in favour to 52 against, with 30 abstentions.  (See annex III)


The representative of Singapore, explaining his delegation’s vote in favour of the text, said that it had done so on the understanding that the resolution applied to all religions.  He noted that Singapore was a multiracial society, and added that freedom of expression could not be at the expense of others.  Harmful rhetoric and demonization had no play in any society.


The representative of Japan said his country had a strong interest in the subject of the resolution; discrimination against any religion was illegal in Japan.  The resolution was an improvement on last year’s version.  But the Government of Japan also believed that freedom of expression was an important human right, and it had expressed reservations about article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  For that reason, Japan had therefore abstained during the vote.


The representative of Colombia said his country’s Constitution protected the right of individuals to practise whatever religion they chose.  He also believed the media could contribute to a greater understanding among religions.  Everyone had a right to expression, which could only be restricted under special circumstances, as noted in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  His delegation had therefore abstained from the vote because one provision in the text (operative paragraph 10) would seek to restrict freedom of expression in ways that were not in line with the International Covenant.


The representative of Burkina Faso said he had intended to vote in favour of the text, and wanted that to be officially noted.


The representative of Egypt thanked all States that approved the resolution, and hoped the text would end extremist trends.  Also, he noted the spirit of understanding that had prevailed during informal consultations on the draft.  That spirit was reflected in the many amendments to the draft.  He hoped those changes would positively impact the votes of various Member States in future.  He also said the Third Committee was the right place to examine such resolutions, since the United Nations Charter and rules of procedure stated that it was that Committee’s responsibility to examine social, humanitarian and cultural issues.


Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on the Elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief (document A/C.3/62/L.42), upon which the representative of Portugal requested that action be deferred.  It was so decided.


The Committee then turned its attention to the series of country-specific resolutions under the sub-item “Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives”.


Before taking action on the relevant texts, the representative of Cuba, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reaffirmed what was agreed at the Movement’s fourteenth summit conference vis-à-vis country specific resolutions, namely that exploitation of human rights for political purposes, including the selective targeting of individual countries for “extraneous considerations”, should be prohibited.  The Movement had also stressed its adherence to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, opposing and condemning selectivity and double standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as attempts to exploit human rights for political purposes.  All members of the Non-Aligned Movement were called upon to adhere to those principles when casting their votes.


The representative of Portugal, on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said an approach based on cooperation and dialogue was the ideal.  In conducting negotiations on country-specific resolutions, the Union had tried to go about it in a way that provided a platform for engagement and dialogue with the countries concerned.


She said the General Assembly would undermine its own credibility if it remained silent about countries that refused to cooperate.  That body had an obligation to alert the international community when human rights were being violated.  In many cases, international pressure was the only way to get the message across to Governments committing abuses.


She said protecting and promoting human rights was one of the pillars of the United Nations, and it would be contradictory for the Organization to reaffirm those rights while reducing its own competence to address human rights questions.  The creation of the Human Rights Council did not preclude the General Assembly from adopting resolutions.  But the interrelationship between those two bodies was reflected in the draft resolutions.  Also, she noted that the creation of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism was intended to reinforce, not weaken, the protection of victims of human rights violations, and to complement, not substitute, the existing instruments.


She added that the Universal Periodic Review was a regular exercise with a four-year rotation span.  The victims of urgent and exceptional human rights situations could not afford to wait four years.  Suppressing debate was contrary to ideals upon which the United Nations was built.  Therefore, how could its Members say to the victims of human rights abuses that their suffering could not be addressed by the Assembly?


The representative of South Africa, aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Human Rights Council had been created with the understanding that all human rights issues would be addressed under its purview.  As such, Member States should act in a way that enhanced its credibility, especially during its current formative stages.  Also, while it was true that the Assembly was free to discuss any issues it wished, he hoped that anything it did would enhance the working of the Council.  Indeed, its primary aim was to ensure that human rights issues were addressed in a non-politicized way, as the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement -- Cuba -- had expressed earlier.


The representative of Uganda, also aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, recalled that the reason why the former Human Rights Commission was replaced was to encourage dialogue, rather than “demonization” of some countries.  It was not possible to promote human rights through a negative approach.  By introducing country-specific resolutions at a session of the Third Committee, countries were undermining the very institutions that Member States had so enthusiastically set up.  He said his delegation would oppose the upcoming resolutions, since all country-specific resolutions should be addressed to the organ mandated to handle such issues.


The representative of Libya, aligning himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said he would reject any draft resolution that was country-specific, since it would only give rise to confrontation.  Such resolutions were a way for some to exert pressure on targeted countries for political reasons.  He insisted that human rights issues be addressed in a manner free of selectivity and double standards, while taking into account the cultural and religious specificities of all peoples.  Member States had agreed that in order to avoid selectivity and politicization of human rights issues, they would engage in a Universal Periodic Review within the framework of the Human Rights Council.  He had high expectations for the new Universal Periodic Review mechanism, which would examine the human rights situation in all countries.  For that reason, he rejected country-specific resolutions in the Third Committee.


The representative of Syria said her delegation endorsed the statement by Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  She totally rejected the exploitation of human rights in a selective manner, and the use of human rights as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of a Member State.  Responsible dialogue and mutual understanding, based on respect for Member States and their territorial integrity, were the only way in which the viewpoints of different countries could be reconciled.  Syria would vote in favour of a no action resolution; if the draft were put to a vote, Syria would vote against.


The representative of Sudan said his delegation also endorsed the statement made by Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  Country-specific resolutions were one of the worst holdovers from the period of the Commission on Human Rights.  Based on the need to strengthen human rights in a spirit of dialogue and non-confrontation, the Human Rights Council had adopted guidelines and methods governing the Universal Periodic Review mechanism.  That meant no State would be excluded from examination, selectivity would be avoided, and there would no longer be a targeting of developing countries.  Country-specific resolutions only suited the political purposes of certain parties and contributed nothing to human rights.   Sudan would oppose such resolutions.


The representative of Nicaragua, noting that her country was a member of the Human Rights Council, said that body was the apt organ to consider human rights issues, including country-specific situations.  The Council should be given the opportunity, through the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, to address issues in a global context with a constructive approach.  Nicaragua adhered to the Non-Aligned Movement’s statement.


The representative of the United States said a fundamental purpose of the United Nations was to serve as a forum where a spotlight could be shone on human rights violations and where action could be called upon.  A no action motion would deprive the Organization of that important role.  Delegations should think about what message they would be sending to those who violate human rights, and to those who were the victims of such violations.  A successful no action motion would give perpetrators of human rights violations a sense of comfort and immunity; successful debate would send a message to their victims that they were not alone.


The representative of Australia said the Assembly would undermine its own credibility if it remained silent in the face of serious human rights violations.  Action in one forum did not preclude action in others.  The Assembly, with its universal membership, had a particular responsibility to express the views of international community on serious human rights situations.  As a matter of principle, any country-specific resolution should be considered on its individual merits.  Preventing debate on certain country situations would allow the assumption that some countries were above consideration by international human rights forums.


The Committee then began to take action on the draft resolution entitled Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (document A/C.3/62/L.37/Rev.1).


The representative of Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said her regional group and Japan had submitted the draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to call attention to the serious situation in that country, despite calls by the General Assembly and OHCHR for the Government to end its widespread violations of human rights.  According to reliable sources, such violations included the systematic practice of torture and degrading punishment, among others.  People were being imprisoned for religious reasons, or were punished for trying to leave the country.


She said the text would express concern at the economic situation leading to severe malnutrition among children, women and the elderly, and violation of workers’ rights, among other issues.  It would call on the Government to extend its full cooperation to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in that country, to engage in technical cooperation activities in the field of human rights with OHCHR, and to give United Nations agencies and humanitarian actors the access necessary to allow them to carry out their mandates.  It would also call on the Government to resolve the question of foreign abductees, which was an issue of international concern.


She said the European Union had tried to engage the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in negotiations on the text, only to be refused.  Nevertheless, she thought the resulting text was balanced.  Indeed, a new preambular paragraph would also welcome the intra-Korean summit and recent progress in recent Six-Party Talks.


The General Assembly must not be silent on the plight of the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and all States interested in promoting human rights should vote in favour of the resolution.


The representative of Japan said no Government should neglect its responsibility to protect and promote human rights.  In the case of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the abduction of foreigners was also a serious concern.  Last year and the year before, the Assembly had called on that country to improve its human rights situation, but it had failed to take steps towards that end.  Based on that, Japan and other co-sponsors had decided to submit the draft resolution currently before the Committee.  He appealed to all delegations to support that text, saying the international community should send a clear message to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to persuade it to work constructively with the various United Nations human rights mechanisms.  Addressing the abduction of foreigners, he said the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea must respond to requests made in the resolution by allowing the abductees to return to Japan and other countries of origin. 


He added that the Third Committee and the Assembly played an important role as the sole universal body within the United Nations charged with human rights issues.  The Human Rights Council had not completed its institution-building process, and the Universal Periodic Review was only set to begin next year.  Furthermore, the Council would only be able to address the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in two years’ time.  There should be no lacuna in the human rights regime; it was incumbent on all Member States to extend support to those whose rights were being violated by supporting the draft resolution.  He hoped the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would heed its message.


The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said he categorically rejected the draft resolution, which was full of false information and was being pursued for a sinister political purpose.  It could not be justified, in any case, since it was a part of a plot that had nothing to do with human rights:  the ultimate goal sought by the United States and the European Union was to eliminate his country’s ideas and system.  The draft was characterized by politicization, selectivity and the double standards that were prevalent in the field of human rights.  It was no secret that the United States and the West used their resolutions as a way to impose their values on other countries.


He said the European Union had made no mention of human rights violations caused by the invasion of Iraq and its attendant massacre of civilians, not to mention the suppression of Koreans in Japan, and that of minorities in many Western countries.  Indeed, the resolution exposed the two-faced, hypocritical nature of the European Union, and it was a miscalculation on their part to expect any changes in his country’s socialist system.


He asked that a recorded vote be held on the draft resolution, and hoped the justice-loving countries would vote against it.


In a general statement before the vote, the representative of Costa Rica said he disapproved of the deplorable human rights situation in several countries, and called on all involved to respond positively.  But, as he had reaffirmed in previous years, such issues should be addressed by the Human Rights Council.  The Third Committee had only recently adopted an institutional building package for the Council, which would help make it into the best forum for such discussions.  Since he believed that the Human Rights Council should be given a chance to live up to the functions for which it was created, he called on all Members to abstain from the vote.


The representative of Ecuador said the international community was right to be vigilant about stamping out human rights violations in all countries.  But equally important, countries must ensure a non-selective and depoliticized analysis of all cases of violations.  She said she would abstain from acting on all country-specific resolutions before the Third Committee, since, following the recent adoption of the Periodic Review mechanism, the Human Rights Council was the only body with the competence to take up such issues.  That body would use that mechanism to evaluate the human rights situation in Ecuador in April 2008, the second country slated for evaluation.  She underscored the fact that her Government fully supported that mechanism.  She also supported the urgent consideration of specific countries at extraordinary sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.


The representative of Nepal said his delegation supported concerns expressed in the draft resolution, particularly those on the abduction of foreigners, and therefore called upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to resolve those concerns.  Nepal would abstain, however, as a matter of principle; the resolution approved the previous week on institution-building at the Human Rights Council sought to address the matter of country-specific resolutions.  Nepal would abstain from all country-specific resolutions.


The representative of Belarus, in an explanation of vote before the vote, said his country consistently opposed the practice of considering politicized country-specific resolutions.  The Human Rights Council should carry out a study of the human rights situation in a Member State.  No State could be released from its responsibility for violating human rights, but such violations had to be examined in a civilized manner, with no group of countries imposing their views.  Belarus would therefore vote against the draft.


The representative of Egypt said her delegation rejected selectivity, double standards and the politicization of human rights.  It would vote against all country-specific resolutions, including the current one.  Egypt supported the position taken by the Non-Aligned Movement, and believed that consideration of human rights should be based on cooperation, not confrontation, through the Human Rights Council.  When human rights were being evaluated, historic specificities and ethnic composition –- a reflection of human diversity, which should be a factor that brings societies together -- should be taken into account.  Egypt would vote against the draft on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


The representative of Venezuela said her delegation, too, would vote against the resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as it opposed selective practices applied by some countries to suit their political purposes.  Such drafts were instruments to promote underhanded political interests and strategic confrontation.  Moreover, no genuine interest in assisting victims of human rights violations was being expressed.  Governments which tabled such resolutions had committed human rights violations themselves, and no such resolutions had been presented against them; that was an example of the use of double standards in addressing human rights issues.


The representative of Malaysia aligned his delegation with the statement made by Cuba on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  He said his country had a principled position against country-specific resolutions and would be voting against the text.  Such a position, however, was not to be interpreted as meaning that Malaysia accepted gross violations of human rights.


The Committee then approved the resolution by a recorded vote of 97 in favour to 23 against, with 60 abstentions.  (See annex IV.)


Making an explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Viet Nam said his delegation had voted against the text, in line with its opposition to country-specific resolutions.  Viet Nam’s position was to encourage dialogue and cooperation.  All acts of abduction, however, were opposed by his country.


The representative of India condemned the abduction of nationals of one country by another.


The representative of Colombia said his country had suffered the harmful consequences of abductions perpetrated by criminal organizations.  It therefore rejected abduction in all its forms, and expressed solidarity with victims of abductions and their families anywhere in the world.  It moreover called for the unconditional release of abducted persons.


The representative of China said her delegation was always opposed to the use of country-specific resolutions to exert pressure on developing countries, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which had been taking positive measures to improve the livelihood of its people.  She hoped the differences on human rights could be resolved through dialogue and cooperation.


The representative of Algeria said her delegation had voted against the resolution, as it would against all country-specific resolutions.  Such texts perpetuated a climate of confrontation that was detrimental to human rights.  The Human Rights Council had established a Universal Periodic Review mechanism that had just been approved by the Third Committee in the framework of the Council’s institution-building.  That mechanism was the only appropriate one for examining human rights, as the goal of such work was to promote human rights rather than confrontation.


The representative of Indonesia said his delegation was convinced that progress could only be achieved through dialogue and cooperation, in a climate of mutual respect.  In the case of the resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the lack of concrete dialogue between the initiators of the draft resolution and that country was regrettable.  Past resolutions had failed to bring about significant changes.  Indonesia had voted against the draft.  There was a need to start exploring ways to engage the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on human rights, on a basis of mutual respect; meanwhile, that country should adhere to the undertakings it had signed up to in international instruments.  It should pay attention to legitimate concerns expressed by the international community about the situation on the ground, including unresolved questions about the abduction of foreigners.  Indonesia was willing to cooperate with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on human rights through bilateral and multilateral channels.


The representative of Cuba said his delegation’s vote against the draft had been based on its position vis-à-vis selectivity and double standards.  The text had been a further example of selectivity, manipulation and double standards.


The representative of Guatemala said country-specific resolutions were useful in cases where the gravity of a situation merited attention, and as a complement to the work of the Human Rights Council.  Guatemala supported a better balance, as well as objectivity, in the consideration of human rights, both in the Human Rights Council and in the Assembly.  The Universal Periodic Review mechanism was a tool to evaluate the human rights situation in all countries.  The criteria for submission of a country-specific resolution had not been met in the cases of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Belarus and Iran, and therefore Guatemala would abstain from voting on those draft resolutions.


The representative of Brazil said her delegation strongly supported the consolidation of the Human Rights Council as the main United Nations body for promoting and protecting human rights.  However, the lack of cooperation on the part of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with the Human Rights Council was disquieting; that warranted a clear message from the Third Committee.  Brazil had thus voted in favour of the draft.  It encouraged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to resume dialogue with bodies and mechanisms of the Council, and to make concrete progress towards improving its human rights situation.


The representative of Senegal asked whether she could raise a few points about obstetric fistula.


The Chair, RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica), said that issue could be taken up in the afternoon session


Announcement of the Death of Pamela Ahumada


At the start of the afternoon session, the Chairman announced with sadness the death last week of Pamela Ahumada ( Chile) after battling with cancer for five years.  She was 30 years old.  She had participated actively in the work of the Third Committee and would be sorely missed.  Condolences were expressed to her family, which was present today in the meeting room, and to the Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations.


Action on Draft Resolutions


The Committee next turned to the draft resolution on the Situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/C/3.62/L.41/Rev.1), which the Chair said contained programme budget implications as specified in document A/C.3/62/L.83.


[By the terms of “L.83”, should the General Assembly adopt draft resolution “L.41”, additional requirements amounting to $781,900 net ($865,100 gross) would be required for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2008 of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009, for the continuation of the efforts of the good offices of the Secretary-General on the situation in Myanmar.  Appropriation for these requirements would be sought in the context of the report of the Secretary-General on estimates vis-à-vis special political missions, good offices and other political initiatives authorized by the Assembly and/or the Security Council during the current session of the Assembly.]


The representative of Myanmar raised a point of order, requesting a no action motion on the draft on the human rights situation in his country.


In accordance with the rules of procedure, the Chair then gave floor to two representatives who wished to speak in favour of the motion, and two against.


The representative of China said she supported the no action motion requested by Myanmar, saying that her Government advocated the settlement of such issues through dialogue based on mutual respect.  She was against any country-specific resolutions aimed at putting pressure on developing countries.  Similar resolutions adopted in the past had failed to promote human rights.  Furthermore, the resolution upon which the Human Rights Council was founded had pointed out in explicit terms that the promotion and protection of human rights should be conducted with respect to the different religions and cultural background of various nations, and that dialogue should be promoted between countries with different social systems and ideologies.  The no action motion would not suffocate discussion, but would rid the Committee of double standards and politicization of the issues before it.


The representative of Angola said he believed the Third Committee should be a forum for dialogue, not criticism.  The Human Rights Council had adopted its Universal Periodic Review, which would provide information on Myanmar’s fulfilment of its obligations and commitments in 2011.  He also welcomed the decision taken by Myanmar to permit visits by the Human Rights Council.  Angola would support the motion for no action requested by Myanmar.


Speaking against the no action motion, the representative of Norway deeply regretted that it had been tabled.  Regardless of their content, all texts before the Committee should be reviewed on their merits and discussed; procedural means should not be used to prevent consideration of an issue of substance.  Also, while there had been much talk about selectivity, serious situations on human rights merited consideration.  The Committee should never refrain from addressing serious human rights problems.  Adoption of a no action motion would mean the Committee was turning a blind eye to human rights violations.


The representative of New Zealand said the Assembly had a mandate to consider human rights situations.  Resolutions expressing collective concern about such situations had been adopted for more than 30 years, and countries that were once the subjects of such resolutions had become strong defenders of human rights.  Serious questions about the situation of human rights in Myanmar remained, and the Committee had to deal with them.  Her delegation would vote against the no action motion.


The representative of China, speaking on a point of order, informed the Committee that when she referred to Myanmar in her statement, the Chinese interpreter had said Burma by mistake.  She wanted to acknowledge that error.


The committed then took a recorded vote and rejected the motion by 88 against to 54 in favour, with 34 abstentions.  (See annex V)


The representative of Portugal, on behalf of the European Union, made an oral correction to a typographical error in line five of operative paragraph three of “L.41/Rev.1”, saying that the word “towards” should be deleted.  The draft resolution contained an urgent appeal from the international community to the Government of Myanmar to show full respect for the human rights of its people.  The human rights situation in Myanmar had deteriorated since the last time the Assembly considered the issue.  In echoing the call previously made by the Human Rights Council, the draft called upon the Government to show the utmost restraint, desist from violence, and release all political prisoners.  It also called on Myanmar to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in that country.  Steps taken recently by the Government were welcomed, including most recently allowing a visit by the Special Rapporteur and the appointment of a minister for relations with Aung San Suu Kyi.  An effort had been made to negotiate the text with the delegation of Myanmar, for which the Union was grateful, but consensus could not be reached, and therefore it was not believed that the Assembly should remain silent.  The representative pleaded with all delegations to speak in favour of the people of Myanmar by supporting the draft.


The representative of Myanmar noted that the United Nations Charter placed human rights in the context of international cooperation, while the current draft would generate confrontation rather than cooperation.  His Government found the text objectionable both on grounds of procedure and substance, and it was a continuation of the yearly ritual of pressure placed by the European Union on Myanmar under the guise of promoting and protecting human rights.  The text also exhibited an utter lack of respect on the part of the European Union for the institutional building package adopted by the Third Committee a few days ago.


He said that, as was the case last year, the Union had made a copy of the draft available only three days before, making it impossible to conduct meaningful negotiations.  Besides, the proper venue for dialogue on such issues was the Human Rights Council.  The draft made a mockery of the establishment of that body.


He also said that the purpose of the draft was to manipulate Myanmar’s home-grown political process and to derail the seven-step political road map for its transition to a democratic society.  The draft was filled with unfounded allegations emanating from exiles and remnants of the insurgency who were waging a disinformation campaign, aided and funded by some powerful western countries.  Furthermore, the fact that the draft intruded on matters that fell under Myanmar’s sovereign domain made it entirely unacceptable.


He said the draft had been introduced at a time when Myanmar was cooperating actively with the Secretary-General’s good offices and the Human Rights Council, which could only be counterproductive.  Ibrahim Gambari, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, had visited Myanmar twice, and the Special Rapporteur, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, had also successfully completed a visit there.  He stressed that peace and stability had been restored in the country since its period of unrest in September.  Only 91 people, found to have been involved in a conspiracy to commit terror, remained under detention.


Furthermore, Myanmar’s National Convention had laid down the basic principles to be enshrined in a soon-to-be created constitution, and a minister had been appointed to liaise with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who herself had stated that the Government was willing to work for national reconciliation.  The challenges facing his country were complex and delicate, and the Secretary-General’s good offices should be given time and space to facilitate the reconciliation process.  The European Union’s draft turned a blind eye to such positive developments, and for that reason, he was compelled to request a recorded vote.  He appealed to all countries to demonstrate their solidarity with his.


He also thanked the European Union for referring to his country as “ Myanmar”, which was its proper name for thousands of years.


The representative of Algeria said she had meant to vote in favour of the no action motion, and asked for it to be reflected in the meeting’s official records.


The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said the European Union had, over the years, put forward specific resolution on Myanmar, interfering in that country’s affairs.  Human rights could not be imposed from outside, and indeed, such resolutions undermined trust among potential partners.  Human rights could only be advanced locally and globally through dialogue and engagement.  His delegation would vote against the draft resolution.


The representative of Uzbekistan said he was convinced country-specific resolutions did not contribute to solving human rights issues, but complicated them.  They gave rise to confusion and confrontation, and had a negative effect on the United Nations’ work on those rights.  The best way to strengthen human rights was through action based on mutual respect.  The Human Rights Council and the United Nations should focus their attention on joint solutions.  The present resolution was counterproductive and exploited human rights issues for political purposes; as such he would vote against it.


The representative of Thailand said his country and Myanmar were neighbours sharing a 2,400 kilometre border.  The future of the two nations was intertwined.  For that reason, Thailand, no less than anyone else, wished to see a peaceful and stable Myanmar.  The violent incidents of September were tragic and, understandably, attracted concern from various parties.  But although there were still challenges that needed to be addressed, the situation had since calmed down.


He noted the positive steps taken by the Government of Myanmar to address those challenges, and voiced full support for the Secretary-General’s good offices.  Those efforts constituted a process, not a single event, and required an element of trust and confidence to work.  He also welcomed the recent visit by the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council.  The international community should rally behind the good offices process to pave the way for national reconciliation.  The future lay in the hands of the people of Myanmar themselves, and Thailand would continue to work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to give support to a national reconciliation process.  Hopefully, a broad-based and time-bound dialogue could commence soon, which was vital in a complex case like Myanmar.  He planned to abstain from the vote.


The representative of Venezuela, reiterating the statement made by her delegation during action on the draft resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said her delegation would vote against the draft resolution.


The representative of Barbados said his delegation had hoped with the creation of the Human Rights Council, human rights situations would be dealt with through dialogue, cooperation, non-selectivity, non-politicization and real concern about those rights.  Such hopes had proven to be unfounded.  His delegation was disappointed that the Council had not been given the opportunity to establish and prove itself.  The targeting of certain countries was not helpful or productive.  Barbados would abstain from voting on such resolutions, and would support no action motions.  Its vote, however, was not to be construed as a lack of concern about human rights; indeed, the opposite was true.  Barbados was gravely concerned by the pattern of human rights abuses around the world, including in Myanmar.


The representative of Belarus, recalling the statement made by his delegation during action on the draft resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said it would vote against the current draft.


The representative of Egypt said her delegation firmly opposed draft resolutions addressing human rights in specific countries, and which confirmed the selectivity and politicization of human rights issues.  Such issues should be dealt with in the Human Rights Council.   Egypt would vote against “L.41/Rev.1”.


The representative of Malaysia said his delegation would vote against “L.41/Rev.1”, in line with its position on country-specific resolutions.  Its vote was not to be interpreted as condoning the use of force to put down protests.  It was important for the Government of Myanmar to engage all parties in genuine dialogue.


The representative of Sudan said country-specific resolutions did not help to achieve the noble goal of protecting human rights, and served the interests of the sponsor countries.  The role of the Human Rights Council should be reaffirmed.  Moreover, the draft resolution would harm negotiations between Myanmar and the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General, Ibrahim Gambari.  Sudan would vote against it.


The Committee then approved the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 88 in favour to 24 against, with 66 abstentions.  (See annex VI)


In an explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of India said his country had consistently maintained that all initiatives vis-à-vis Myanmar should be forward-looking, non-condemnatory, and seek to engage the Government in a non-intrusive and constructive manner.  By adopting a condemnatory, intrusive and unhelpful tone, the draft resolution would not contribute to, or strengthen, the initiatives being taken by the United Nations; in fact, it might prove to be counterproductive.  It also did not reflect the positive steps being taken by the Government of Myanmar, including the visit of the Special Rapporteur and meetings between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the Government’s specially appointed minister for relations with her.  India had no option but to vote against “L.41/Rev.1”.


The representative of Indonesia said his delegation had rejected the proposal to defer action on the resolution, as requested by Myanmar, because he believed the efforts of the Secretary-General’s good offices deserved support.  The motion for no action would have gone against those efforts.


He then said that he had abstained from action on the text on the situation of human rights in Myanmar because the Security Council had been able to act on that issue through consensus, which had not been the case among the co-sponsors of the present resolution.  A consensus text would have sent a stronger message of support to Myanmar in its pursuit of human rights promotion and protection.


He expressed regret that more effort had not been made to engage Myanmar in the process.  Last year’s resolution, though updated, was not commensurate with the situation.  He wished to echo the encouragement to Myanmar made by others vis-à-vis the lifting restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi, and on national reconciliation efforts.  He also voiced support for the Secretary-General’s good offices efforts, and said his country would contribute to Myanmar’s transition to democracy through ASEAN.


The representative of Singapore said he had abstained from the vote because the General Assembly was not the appropriate forum for tabling country-specific resolutions, since they tended to be divisive.  It would have been more appropriate for the Human Rights Council to take that matter up, and indeed, it had done so during its special session on Myanmar in October.


He added that he was troubled by recent events in Myanmar, and as president of ASEAN last month, Singapore had issued a statement expressing revulsion at the use of force against demonstrators.  Also in its statement, ASEAN had called for the release of detainees.  Meanwhile, Singapore continued to call on all parties in Myanmar to work towards national reconciliation and the transition to democracy.


Although a superficial aura of calm had descended on Myanmar, he said arbitrary arrests continued.  That situation was untenable.  He called for the release of those detained.  He spoke out against the termination of the assignment of Charles Petrie, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Myanmar.  That action had sent the wrong signal.  Nevertheless, he acknowledged recent positive developments, such as the visits of Mr. Gambari and Mr. Pinheiro to the country.  He was particularly encouraged by the appointment of a minister to liaise with Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as the partial lifting of restrictions to her in November.  He noted that she had expressed trust and support for the good offices of the Secretary-General, and it was to be hoped that those efforts would help pave the way for an inclusive dialogue.


He also pointed out that the Government of Myanmar had expressed a desire to deal with the United Nations and international community of its own accord, while operative paragraph 3(g) of the text had talked of ASEAN’s role in the issue.  A national reconciliation process would take time, and he questioned the effect the present resolution would have.


The representative of Algeria said she had voted against the resolution because she felt it was confrontational, as were other country-specific texts.  Only a cooperative approach, based on authentic dialogue, could promote dialogue on human rights issues.  Also, the Universal Periodic Review was the appropriate mechanism to examine country-specific issues.  The goal should be to improve conditions within those countries, not to stigmatize them.


The representative of Cuba said his delegation voted against the resolution because his Government was opposed to any attempts to use human rights as an instrument to attain political domination.  The Third Committee should be a forum for cooperation and dialogue.  He was against attempts to turn the Committee into a tribunal for Third World countries.


The representative of Bangladesh said he had been following developments in Myanmar closely, and wished to extend his full support to the Secretary-General’s good offices.  He said he was encouraged by the readiness of Aung San Suu Kyi to pursue dialogue, as well as by her statements welcoming the efforts of the Secretary-General.  The Government of Myanmar was encouraged to engage constructively in the dialogue process.  Hopefully, such developments would create new ground for dialogue between Ms. Suu Kyi and that Government.  Approving the present resolution at this stage would derail the process presently underway.


The representative of the Philippines, explaining his delegation’s abstention, said his country acknowledged the recent positive outcomes of Mr. Gambari’s visit to Myanmar, which he had outlined before the Security Council.  It was hoped that all efforts in the region, and at the United Nations, would produce positive and tangible outcomes that would lead to national reconciliation and a peaceful transition to democracy in that country.


The representative of Japan said his delegation had voted in favour of the draft, in the hope that a message sent by the international community would lead to an improved human rights situation in Myanmar.  He deplored the use of force against peaceful demonstrators and expressed concern about the detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and others.  Some positive developments were welcomed, however, including the visit by the Special Adviser, the visit by the Special Rapporteur, and three meetings between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the minister for relations with her.  Japan would continue to engage Myanmar in dialogue, and he called upon that country to make improvements.


The representative of Viet Nam said his delegation had voted against the text.  As a country in the region, his had been following developments in Myanmar closely; it hoped that restraint would be exercised and differences resolved through dialogue.


The representative of Brazil, explaining his delegation’s vote in favour, said his country had actively participated in the Human Rights Council’s special session on Myanmar.  It had been encouraged by Mr. Gambari’s visit to that country, and by the decision of the Government there to accept, after four years, a visit by the Special Rapporteur.  For the time being, however, light still had to be shed on the situation in Myanmar.


The representative of Myanmar said the divisive nature of country-specific resolutions had been demonstrated by the vote that had just taken place.  The result was neither surprising nor discouraging.  The sponsors did not even have a majority.  A loud and clear message had been sent that the exploitation of human rights for political purposes was not accepted by Myanmar or by many other nations.  His country was on a smooth track to democracy through a seven-step process.  Country-specific resolutions that targeted developing States should be opposed by Member States which were genuinely concerned about human rights.  Myanmar disassociated itself from the resolution; “we reject it and we will not be bound by it.”  His country would cooperate with the United Nations and with the good offices of the Secretary-General.  He thanked delegations that had stood in solidarity with Myanmar, as well as China and Angola (on behalf of the African Group) for speaking in favour of the no action motion.


The representative of Switzerland said freedom of expression had to be duly protected and promoted; all peaceful demonstrators and political prisoners had to be released.  Myanmar was expected to demonstrate its resolve to cooperate with the United Nations, and he welcomed the upcoming visit by the Special Rapporteur to that country.  Switzerland had supported the draft resolution.  The Human Rights Council had shown that it could take up its mandate; it was its duty to address such issues.  Therefore, such country-specific resolutions ought to include references to instruments of the Human Rights Council.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (document A/C.3/62/L.43).


The representative of Iran moved for motion of no action, saying the Human Rights Council was the most competent institution to consider human rights issues, through its Universal Periodic Review Mechanism.  Consideration of the present resolution was unwarranted, and it should be excluded from the Committee’s agenda.


Again, in accordance with the rules of procedure, the Chair invited two representatives to speak in favour of the motion and two against.


The representative of Pakistan said he supported the motion of no action since it was important to address human rights issues in a fair and balanced manner, in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation.  Country-specific resolutions were confrontational and provided the stimulus to alienate national Governments through their selective approach.  They also tended to overlook national efforts.  Pakistan urged all States to support that motion to save the Third Committee from blaming selected developing countries.


The representative of Venezuela also spoke in favour of the motion, saying that she disagreed with the practice of condemning certain Member States in a selective manner.  Such politicization, selectivity and double standards ran counter to the principles of the Charter, and were also at odds with the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism, which was designed to ensure impartial examination of human rights situations anywhere in the world.  The promotion of human rights required international cooperation and dialogue.  For that reason, she supported the no-action motion requested and urged Member States to support it as well.


Opposing the motion, the representative of Lichtenstein said the Third Committee was indeed seized with human rights matters, in specific countries, as stipulated in its programme of work.  The resolution on Iran’s human rights situation dealt with a situation that had long been under international scrutiny.  If passed, a no-action motion would deprive his delegation of the only opportunity to express its opinion on Iran, for the Third Committee was the only United Nations body with universal membership.  That was an important point for a small State such as his.


He added that, during negotiations on the text, his country had advocated for a division of labour between the Assembly and the Human Rights Council.  The present text did not have a counterpart in the Council, unlike other resolutions before this Committee that had already been passed.  Furthermore, Lichtenstein did not belong to a group of Member States that held a common opinion.  Diversity of opinion could enrich dialogue, and he was keen to know the opinion of other delegations.  For that reason, he would vote against the proposal of no motion.


The representative of Canada said the Assembly was a body with universal membership, with the important task of recommending action to be taken on human rights issues.  Proponents of the no-action motion would deny Member States the right to discuss, debate and consider action to be taken in the face of serious human rights violations.  Canada strongly believed that any country-specific human rights resolution should be considered on its individual merit.  The Third Committee had a duty to stand up to those who would stifle that debate.


Moreover, he said the Committee had already voted on two country resolutions so far, on their merits, and “L.43” should be no different.  He urged all States to vote against the proposed motion.


The Committee then defeated the motion of no action by a recorded vote of 79 against to 78 in favour, with 24 abstentions.  (See annex VII.)


The Secretary reminded the Committee of a number of technical corrections that had been made at the time of the introduction of the draft resolution.


The representative of Canada, the main sponsor, said there was continued deterioration in the Government of Iran’s performance in protecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its people.  His country and the 41 other co-sponsors looked forward to the day when such a resolution was no longer necessary, or even to the day when the Iranian Government would simply acknowledge that it faced human rights issues.  One day, hopefully, Iranian citizens would be able to address human rights issues openly.  Until such time, the Third Committee remained a key avenue for the international community to encourage positive change.


He said every effort had been made to ensure a balanced and accurate text.  In Iran, there were confirmed instances of the return to stoning as a method of execution, increased use of amputations and flogging, and systematic persecution of human rights defenders and minorities.  Just five days ago, Iran had executed a young man for a crime he had committed when he was only 16 years old.  The Assembly had an obligation to address serious human rights situations; it had to stand up, respond, and hold the Iranian Government accountable for the continued violation of the human rights of its citizens.  It had to have a voice when the people of Iran had been denied one.


The representative of Iran said he really appreciated the statement by the Permanent Representative of Canada, although he wished that it had included the murder of a young Iranian boy by Canadian police officers.  His delegation believed that the right place to consider human rights was in the Human Rights Council, not in the Third Committee.  Canada was attempting to abuse the United Nations human rights mechanism; such an unhealthy and biased approach would eventually lead to a revival of the cold war legacy.  The draft lacked credibility, reliability and objectivity in terms of both substance and procedure; it contained flawed, inaccurate and over-exaggerated claims, as well as unfounded allegations.  It stated that no special procedures had been permitted to visit Iran since July 2005, but since 2002, when a European Union draft resolution against Iran was defeated in the Commission on Human Rights, six mandate-holders had visited.   Iran’s level of cooperation with special procedures ranked amongst the highest within the international community.  Furthermore, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, had visited Iran in September 2007; she had exchanged views with high-ranking Iranian officials and visited the women’s prison.


He said that, while Canada had arrogated to itself a leading global role on human rights advocacy, members of its own population -- especially minorities, immigrants, foreigners and indigenous people -- had suffered from human rights violations and discriminatory policies.  At the international level, it was among the very few countries that had not condemned Israel’s systematic and gross violations of the human rights of the Palestinians; in the course of the Israeli aggression into Lebanon in August 2006, Canada had openly supported Israeli brutalities and atrocities.  Other co-sponsors could not be proud of their own human rights records either.  He invited the Committee to vote against the draft resolution.


The Chairman said a recorded vote had been requested.


The representative of Syria reaffirmed her country’s position against any attempt by a State to intervene in the affairs of others under the pretext of human rights.  The promotion of human rights required understanding and dialogue based on mutual respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity, the principles of transparency and non-selectivity, and should serve to promote cooperation.


She voiced support for the view expressed by the representative of Iran that human rights issues should be considered by the Human Rights Council and not in the Third Committee.  When countries insisted on presenting drafts dealing with human rights in certain countries for political reasons, it undermined international consensus on mechanisms for considering human rights issues, which had just been proven in the divisive vote on the no-action motion.  Human rights issues were important; therefore, States should strive to encourage dialogue and desist from defaming particular States for reasons that had nothing to do with the protection of human rights.  Countries should oppose such resolutions, since they created double standards.


The representative of Belarus said the resolution on Iran was unjustified, and reaffirmed the selective and biased approach of sponsors towards situations in that country.  The focus of the resolution was to target Iranian foreign policy.  Iran was playing its part in developing an international human rights system, and had hosted a ministerial meeting on human rights and cultural diversity recently.  He would vote against the resolution and called on other countries to do the same.


The representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference, said in its final communiqué in October, the Conference had opposed the selective targeting of Islamic countries.  He noted that the practice of selectivity was how the former Human Rights Commission had earned its reputation for being overly politicized.


The representative of the Sudan said he supported Pakistan’s statement, adding that no country could claim to be free from human rights violations.  To proclaim oneself a defender of human rights was a political tactic used to interfere in the affairs of other States, and amounted to an application of double standards.  The Human Rights Council had established its Universal Periodic Review mechanism to combat such behaviour.  Indeed, there was a need for greater dialogue and cooperation to ensure the sovereignty of States while honouring their cultural specificities.  The resolution on Iran was an attempt to reactivate the spirit of the old Commission.  For that reason, he would vote against it.


The representative of Egypt said her delegation would vote against all draft resolutions that were selective in nature and which sought to politicize human rights issues.  The Human Rights Council had to be given the opportunity to take up its role, regardless of the political considerations of States.


The representative of Venezuela recalled the position that her delegation had taken earlier on similar draft resolutions.  Venezuela would vote against the text.


The representative of Libya said all country-specific resolutions would increase confrontation while preventing the resolution of human rights situations.  The Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review mechanism were the appropriate way to address human rights the world over.   Libya would vote against the draft.


The draft resolution was then approved by a recorded vote of 72 in favour to 50 against, with 55 abstentions (see annex VIII).


Speaking in explanation of the vote after the vote, the representative of Algeria said the Universal Periodic Review was the appropriate mechanism to examine the situation of human rights in specific countries.  Only a cooperative approach, based on authentic dialogue, could promote dialogue on rights issues.  The goal should be to improve conditions within those countries, not to stigmatize them.


The representative of Cuba said his delegation voted against the resolution because his Government was opposed to any attempts to use human rights as an instrument to attain political domination.  The Third Committee should be a forum for cooperation and dialogue.  He was against attempts to turn the Committee into a tribunal for Third World countries.


The representative of Japan said he had voted in favour of the text because it was believed that Iran’s human rights situation required further improvement.  Having said that, he welcomed that Government’s efforts to improve the situation, such as when it engaged in a dialogue with Japan, in Tokyo in July.  The Japanese Government valued Iran’s position in agreeing to continue that dialogue, believing that it contributed to the promotion and protection of human rights in that country.  Also, Iran had recently signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which signalled its willingness to achieve progress in that area.


The representative of Brazil said she had abstained from the vote because her Government supported the consolidation of the Human Rights Council as the main United Nations body to promote and protect human rights.  The Council would create an enabling environment to address human rights violations, in the spirit of cooperation and dialogue.  However, she noted the situation in Iran with some concern, particularly the lack of free expression, violence against women and the practice of cruel punishment.  Her Government was also against the use of the death penalty on people under 18 years of age.


In addition, she said Brazil disapproved of acts of discrimination against the Baha’i community, including imprisonment on issues of conscience and restrictions on some members of that community to the right to work and education.  She expected the Iranian Government to deepen its dialogue with the Human Rights Council and other United Nations human rights mechanisms.  Iran’s ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination were welcomed.


The representative of Portugal, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated states, said she had voted in favour of the draft because the international community should not be silent in situations where violations were grave and widespread, and where the country in question was not willing to address the situation or to engage in a meaningful dialogue.  Large or small, all countries should be held accountable for their actions.  In Iran, people suffered a systematic violation of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Furthermore, country visits by special procedures had not taken place since 2005.


She said reliable data collected by non-governmental organizations and others had indicated an “aggravation” of human rights violations over the last year, including the use of torture, public executions, collective executions, unusual forms of execution such as stoning, and the execution of juvenile offenders.  There were also many violations against women and minorities, women’s rights defenders, failure to observe the due process of law, and restrictions on the freedom of expression.


Finally, she urged the promotion and protection of fundamental freedoms of all Iranian citizens regardless of sex, sexual orientation or religious belief.  Hopefully, the resolution just adopted would open new avenues for cooperation, and contribute to fundamental freedoms by all Iranians.


Upon conclusion of that item, the Chair suggested that action on the draft resolution on the Situation of human rights in Belarus (document A/C.3/62/L.51) be taken up tomorrow, in view of the lateness of the hour.  It was so decided.


Rights of Reply


Responding to an earlier statement by the representative of Argentina, the representative of the United Kingdom said his country’s position on the Falkland Islands was well known, and had been set out by its Permanent Representative in a written right of reply to Argentine President Nestor Kirchner earlier in the year.  The United Kingdom had no doubts about the sovereignty of the Falkland Islanders.  They had a right to determine their own future, and no negotiations on their sovereignty would be held unless and until the Islanders so wished.


ANNEX I


Vote on Report of Human Rights Council on Preparations for Durban Review Conference


The resolution on the report of the Human Rights Council on the Preparations for the Durban Review Conference (document A/C.3/62/L.66) was approved by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to 2 against, with 4 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, 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, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Israel, United States.


Abstain:  Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Fiji.


Absent:  Central African Republic, Chad, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Niger, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Tonga.


ANNEX II


Vote on Right of Palestinian People to Self-Determination


The resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/62/L.63) was approved by a recorded vote of 172 in favour to 5 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, 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, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, 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, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States.


Abstain:  Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji.


Absent:  Central African Republic, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Nauru, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Tonga.


ANNEX III


Vote on Combating Defamation of Religions


The resolution on combating defamation of religions (document A/C.3/62/L.35) was approved by a recorded vote of 95 in favour to 52 against, with 30 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen.


Against:  Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu.


Abstain:  Argentina, Armenia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Japan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Solomon Islands, United Republic of Tanzania.


Absent:  Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Nauru, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Tonga, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


ANNEX IV


Vote on Situation of Human Rights in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea


The resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (document A/C.3/62/L.37/Rev.1) was approved by a recorded vote of 97 in favour to 23 against, with 60 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu.


Against:  Algeria, Belarus, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Libya, Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, Russian Federation, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.


Abstain:  Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.


Absent:  Azerbaijan, Central African Republic, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Mongolia, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Tunisia, Zambia.


ANNEX V


Vote on Motion to Adjourn Debate


The motion to adjourn the debate on the resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/C.3/62/L.41/Rev.1) was rejected by a recorded vote of 88 against to 54 in favour, with 34 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, India, Iran, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Libya, Malaysia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu.


Abstain:  Belize, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Colombia, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu.


Absent:  Algeria, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan.


ANNEX VI


Vote on Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar


The resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar (document A/C.3/62/L.41/Rev.1) was approved by a recorded vote of 88 in favour to 24 against, with 66 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu.


Against:  Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Libya, Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.


Abstain:  Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guinea, Haiti, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zambia.


Absent:  Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Tonga, Tunisia.


ANNEX VII


Vote on Motion to Adjourn Debate


The motion to adjourn the debate on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (document A/C.3/62/L.43) was rejected by a recorded vote of 79 against to 78 in favour, with 24 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu.


Abstain:  Belize, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Colombia, Dominica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu.


Absent:  Cameroon, Central African Republic, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Jordan, Kiribati, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Turkey.


ANNEX VIII


Vote on Situation of Human Rights in Iran


The resolution on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (document A/C.3/62/L.43) was approved by a recorded vote of 72 in favour to 50 against, with 55 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu.


Against:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Gambia, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.


Abstain:  Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Swaziland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Zambia.


Absent:  Cambodia, Central African Republic, Dominica, Gabon, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Iraq, Jordan, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Turkey.


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For information media • not an official record