27 November 2007
General Assembly
GA/SHC/3911

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

Sixty-second General Assembly

Third Committee

53rd Meeting (AM)


THIRD COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE


ON VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN, AS IT APPROVES FIVE DRAFT TEXTS


Others Address:  Women’s Anti-Discrimination Convention; Implementing Social

Summit ; Beijing Declaration; Protecting Human Rights While Fighting Terrorism


Profoundly concerned by the situation facing children in situations of armed conflict and foreign occupation, and by the number of children subject to trafficking, prostitution and child pornography, the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative to act as a high-profile global advocate on the elimination of violence against children, according to one of five draft resolutions approved by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today.


The request to create the post of Special Representative was one of several provisions contained in a 17-page omnibus resolution on the rights of the child, which was approved by the Committee by a recorded vote of 176 in favour to 1 against (United States), with no abstentions (see Annex IV).  The text would have the Assembly encourage the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization to provide financial support to the future Special Representative, while Member States would be called on to provide voluntary contributions.


The same draft would have the Assembly call on all countries 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.  Further, 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, emphasizing that the treaty “must constitute the standard in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child”.


Explaining why he had voted against the text, the representative of the United States said the Convention had been overemphasised in the resolution, which in his view had set up tension between the rights of children and parental authority.  It also went against state and local law provisions in his country, under which there was greater emphasis on duties of parents to protect and care for children. 


Also today, the Committee approved -- by a vote of 173 in favour to 1 against ( United States), with no abstentions (see Annex III) -- a draft resolution on the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, to which 185 countries are party.  If approved by the Assembly, States parties would be urged to limit the extent of any reservations that they lodged to the Convention, which contained articles pertaining to marriage and family life, political representation and other socio-legal matters.  States parties with reservations were further urged to formulate them in such a way that they were not incompatible with the Convention’s objectives. 


Though she had voted in favour of the draft, the representative of Singapore noted that the Convention was subject to the Vienna convention on treaties, which defined permissible reservations to treaties.  As such, she was concerned by a trend among some delegations to discourage reservations, when the focus should be on encouraging countries to accede to international treaties and conventions.


Before approving the draft as a whole, the Committee had voted separately on a contentious provision within the text that would allow the Assembly to authorize, on a temporary basis, an extension of the meeting time of the body charged with overseeing its implementation, at a cost of nearly $11 million.  The paragraph was approved by a vote of 158 in favour to 1 against ( United States), with 9 abstentions ( Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lichtenstein, Malaysia, Mali, Singapore) (see Annex I).


Normally, that body -- known as the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women -- would meet for two weeks each year to hear reports from States parties on their efforts to protect women’s rights.  The draft would allow it to meet for three annual sessions of three weeks each, effective from January 2010, pending a formal General Assembly decision on the frequency of its meetings. 


The draft would also authorize the body to hold five sessions from 2008 to 2009, in an effort to clear a backlog of 34 reports from States parties.  Approved by a second separate vote, of 143 in favour to 3 against (Egypt, Syria, United States), with 22 abstentions (Annex II), the paragraph containing that provision would allow the treaty body to split itself into “parallel chambers”, so as to hear from several States parties at once.


Though the provision had passed, the representative of Egypt expressed a reservation shared by many delegates regarding the practice of “parallel chambers”, saying the smaller groups afforded less cultural diversity, because not all experts would be present at each meeting.


In other action, the Committee approved three resolutions by consensus:  on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; on the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly; and implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth Special Session of the General Assembly.


Meanwhile, action was deferred on four texts covering the girl child:  the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; the protection of migrants; and the Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa.


A proposed draft on the status of internally displaced persons and refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia, was withdrawn by the Georgian delegation.


The Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 28 November, to continue taking action on draft resolutions.


Background


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to take action on the following draft resolutions.


For a summary of proposed texts on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/62/L.20/Rev.1, with programme budget implications contained in document A/C.3/62/L.87), the rights of the child (document A/C.3/62/L.24/Rev.1) and 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, with programme budget implications contained in document A/C.3/62/L.90), please see Press Release GA/SHC/3909 of 20 November.


A draft resolution on the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/62/L.10/Rev.1) would have the Assembly recognize that the concept of social development, as affirmed by the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly, had been weakened in national and international policymaking.  It would recognize the need for further attention on other commitments agreed to at the Summit, particularly those concerning employment and social integration.  In addition, it would reaffirm that, while each country was primarily responsible for its own economic and social development, international cooperation was essential in helping developing countries to strengthen their human, institutional and technological capacity.  It would also urge developed countries to meet the targets of 0.7 per cent of their gross national product for official development assistance to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.2 per cent of their gross national product to least developed countries.


The Committee also had before it a draft resolution on the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and Full Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third Special Session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/62/L.89).


A draft text on the girl child (document A/C.3/62/L.23/Rev.1) would have the Assembly stress the need for full and urgent implementation of the rights of the girl child as guaranteed to her under all human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and all their optional protocols, and urge States to consider signing, ratifying or acceding to those human rights instruments.


It would also have the Assembly deplore all the cases of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children, especially girls, in humanitarian crises, including those cases involving humanitarian workers and peacekeepers, and call upon States and relevant organizations of the United Nations to take effective measures to address gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies, and to make possible all efforts to ensure that their laws and institutions are adequate to prevent, promptly investigate and prosecute acts of gender-based violence.


Through the draft resolution on the status of internally displaced persons and refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia (document A/C.3/62/L.38), the Assembly would reiterate the right to return of all refugees and internally displaced persons from Abkhazia, Georgia; in dignity, under secure conditions, without any preconditions and in accordance with international law.  It would reaffirm the unacceptability of the demographic changes resulting from the conflict, and condemn any attempts to change the pre-conflict demographic composition of Abkhazia, including by repopulating it with persons not previously resident there.  It would have the General Assembly stress the urgent need to alleviate the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons who were victims of ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia, and the need for a prospect of life in security and dignity, in particular for the new generation.


A draft resolution on the protection of migrants (document A/C.3/62/L.40) would have the Assembly call upon States to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, and to address international migration through cooperation and dialogue.  States would also be called upon to ensure that their laws and policies -- including in the areas of combating transnational crime such as terrorism and human trafficking -- do not impinge on the human rights of migrants.  Concern would be expressed about legislation and measures adopted by some States that may restrict the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants.  In the case of vulnerable persons, such as refugees and victims of trafficking, States would be urged to ensure that repatriation mechanisms allow for their identification and special protection.  In addition, the Assembly would strongly condemn racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against migrants and the stereotypes often applied to them, and urge States to apply existing laws when xenophobic or intolerant acts, manifestations or expressions against migrants occurred.


Through the draft resolution on the Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa (document A/C.3/62/L.44, with programme budget implications contained in A/C.3/62/L.91), the Assembly would welcome the activities of that Centre, note with satisfaction the support provided for its establishment by its host country Cameroon, and take note of the adoption of its new three-year strategy.  It would go on to reiterate its request to the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for additional funds and human resources to be provided to the Centre to enable it to meet growing needs in the promotion and protection of human rights and in developing a culture of democracy and the rule of law in the Central African subregion.


Through the draft resolution on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (document A/C.3/62/L.47/Rev.1), the Assembly would reaffirm that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism comply with their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.  While deploring the suffering caused by terrorism, it would call upon States to continue to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which reaffirms respect of human rights for all, with the rule of law being the fundamental basis of the fight against terrorism.  States would be urged to fully respect non-refoulement obligations under international refugee and human rights law; they would also be called upon to refrain from returning persons, including in cases related to terrorism, to their countries of origin or to a third State whenever there is a real risk of torture or persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.  States would be urged to ensure due process guarantees while countering terrorism; at the same time, the Assembly would oppose any form of deprivation of liberty that amounts to placing a detained person outside the protection of the law.


The draft resolution on the right to development (document A/C.3/62/L.49) would have the Assembly call upon the Human Rights Council to agree on a programme of work that would lead to raising the right to development to the same level as all other human rights and fundamental freedoms.  It would reaffirm that the realization of the right to development is essential to the implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which regards all human rights as universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.  It would stress that primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of all human rights lies with States, which had primary responsibility for their own economic and social development.  The need for an international environment conducive to the right to development would be reaffirmed.


The same draft would have the Assembly would recognize that developing countries still faced difficulties in participating in the globalization process, and that many risked being marginalized from its benefits.  It would also underline the fact that the international community was far from meeting the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people living in poverty by 2015, and urge developed countries that have yet to do so to make concrete efforts towards meeting the targets of committing 0.7 per cent of their gross national product for official development assistance to developing countries.  In addition, the Assembly would call for the implementation of a desirable pace of meaningful trade liberalization.


Finally, the Committee had before it its programme of work for the sixty-third session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/62/L.86).


Action on Draft Resolutions


The Committee first turned to the draft resolution on the implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/62/L.10/Rev.1), upon which the representative of Pakistan asked for action to be deferred.  It was so decided.


The Committee turned to the draft resolution on the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/62/L.89), tabled by the Committee Chairman, RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica).


Vice-Chairman of the Committee, TAKASHI ASHIKI ( Japan), who introduced the resolution, said the draft called for action at the national, regional and international levels for full implementation of the Beijing Declaration.  The Economic and Social Council and other organizations were also called upon to take specific actions to promote advancement of women and gender equality.  The resolution addressed such issues as the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and the need to meet a 50/50 gender balance in the United Nations system.  It called for the active involvement of women in environmental decision-making and other forms of governmental policymaking, including on sustainable development.


The Committee then approved the resolution without a vote.

The representative of the United States said he wished to disassociate himself from the consensus and did so reluctantly because he had, indeed, wanted to encourage appropriate follow-up on the Beijing Declaration.  First, he said his Government understood that references to that Declaration and its five and ten year reviews did not create any right, and, in particular, did not create or recognize a right to abortion.


He said he regarded operative paragraph 3 as having acknowledged the efforts of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on implementation, rather than endorsing specific pronouncements or recommendations.  In addition, while operative paragraph 5 called upon States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to take into consideration the concluding comments and recommendations of the Committee, his Government had concerns about that Committee’s recommendations in other areas.  Finally, regarding operation paragraph 7, he said the United States understood that there was international consensus on the term “sexual and reproductive health”, which did not include abortion or constitute support for the use of abortifacients.  The wording in that paragraph contained a variant of the phrase “reproductive health services” that the United States did not accept.


The representative of Egypt began to speak, but due to technical reasons there was no interpretation of her remarks from Arabic into English, prompting the Chairman to adjourn the meeting a number of times to enable the problem to be resolved.


The representative of Egypt, resuming her statement, said her delegation had joined consensus, as it was convinced of the importance of the issue addressed in the draft resolution.  In doing so, it remained convinced that the draft resolution in no way contained anything that would support abortion.


The Committee then took action on the draft resolution Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/62/L.20/Rev.1, with programme budget implications contained in document A/C.3/62/L.87). 


The representative of Denmark, noting that 90 per cent of Member States had become parties to the Convention, said that views nevertheless differed regarding the future work of the Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  The revised draft resolution represented a balance and, to some, a difficult compromise.  It envisioned that the Committee would meet in five sessions in the biennial 2008-2009 to clear a backlog of country reports.  Two of the five meetings would be held in New York.  Also, from January 2010, the draft resolution envisions three annual sessions.


The representative of the United States requested separate votes on operative paragraphs 14 and 15, saying that the paragraphs gave rise to serious budget implications.


The representative of Australia referred to the budgetary implications of extending the Committee’s meeting time.  The United Nations was working in an environment of budget growth; it had been trying to do more with less.  It was regretted that the programme budgetary implications had not been made available earlier to delegations.  Australia supported the draft resolution on the understanding that the costs of additional meetings of the Committee would be covered from existing budget resources.


The representative of Egypt, in an explanation of vote before the vote, said her delegation would vote for the draft resolution in its entirety.  It would, however, vote against operative paragraph 15 as it envisioned three meetings of the Committee being held in parallel chambers.  Such parallel meetings would create an imbalance; there would be less legal expertise and less cultural diversity because all experts would not be present at the meetings.


The Committee then approved operative paragraph 14 of the text, by a vote of 158 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 9 abstentions (Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Lichtenstein, Malaysia, Mali and Singapore)(see Annex I).


The representative of Lichtenstein said she agreed with the view that the Committee needed to continue its work on a sustainable basis.  However, she said that holding three annual sessions was not the best way to achieve that goal; continuing the parallel chamber system would have been better.  That system had allowed members of the Committee, one of the United Nations largest treaty bodies, to engage in enhanced dialogue with States parties, and she would have welcomed using the parallel system on a permanent basis, with safeguards to ensure adequate regional representation in each chamber. 


She said the current solution could create more backlog, not less.  Furthermore, agreeing to hold three annual sessions for a time would provide a disincentive for Member States to vote in favour of an amendment to the Convention, which would have the General Assembly agree on the ultimate number of sessions in which the Committee would meet.


Turning to operative paragraph 15 of the same draft, the Committee approved it by a vote of 143 in favour to 3 against ( Egypt, Syria, United States), with 22 abstentions (see Annex II).


The representative of Japan said he shared the concerns expressed by States parties about the serious backlog of reports awaiting consideration.  He welcomed the use of a parallel chamber system, and supported the idea of holding two annual sessions using that system in 2008 and 2009.  It was an effective way of tackling the backlog, and was also the most cost-effective alternative.  In addition, it allowed experts to make five minute interventions, compared to the three minutes allowed under the plenary system.  He was sorry to hear that the Secretariat had started preparations for the first session in 2008 to be conducted in the plenary style, without General Assembly authorization, which prevented the consideration of alternative methods.


He said Japan appreciated the Committee’s role, but the resolution would require almost $11 million in additional funds.  Concerned that such programme budget implications would impair the United Nations financial system, he had abstained from the vote.


The representative of Mexico reaffirmed her Government’s commitment to the Convention, and was the first State party to host a visit by the Committee under the optional protocol.  With regard to the backlog, she said States parties had an obligation to explore creative measures to allow the Committee to fulfil its duties.  However, she had voted against the paragraph because she believed the parallel chamber system, whose use had been extended, would limit equitable discussions in the Committee, thus undermining the spirit under which it had been established.


The representative of the United Kingdom voiced support for the Convention, adding that his Government firmly believed that an effective treaty body was the best way to protect women’s rights.  He would work to support the Committee, including its drive to increase efficiency.  Regrettably, he was not convinced that operative paragraph 15 offered the best way to eliminate the backlog of reports.  He was also concerned that the parallel chamber system might set an unfortunate precedent, reducing opportunities for all Committee members to exchange their views together.  The United Kingdom considered it a good idea for the Committee to be based in Geneva, and urged its members to engage with the rest of the United Nations gender architecture.  He viewed the Committee’s New York meetings to be a transitional alternative only.  For that reason, he had abstained in the vote.


The representative of Syria, noting that her country was a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, said her delegation had voted against operative paragraph 15, as it requested that meetings of the Committee be held in parallel chambers.  Syria believed that such a division would lead to a lack of objectivity and transparency in the discussion of reports.


The representative of Venezuela reaffirmed her country’s commitment to the promotion and protection of the human rights of women and the work of the Committee.  In that context, it supported the establishment of parallel chambers, on the condition that it would be a temporary measure.  However, Venezuela noted with concern that an extension of such meetings had been enshrined in the draft resolution.  Thus, she had abstained in the vote.


The representative of Cuba said that, since 1959, her country had developed a strategy to attain full gender equality.  Its delegation had voted in favour of operative paragraph 15, on the understanding that it represented an exceptional temporary measure to deal with a backlog of country reports.


The Committee then took action on the draft resolution as a whole.


The representative of the United States said his delegation would vote “no” on the draft resolution.  Referring to preambular paragraphs 7 and 7 bis, he said his country understood that references to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and their five- and ten-year reviews, did not create any rights, including in particular the right to abortion.  Referring to operative paragraph 2, he said that it was every country’s sovereign right to ratify a treaty.  Referring to operative paragraph 4, he noted that the United States had concerns regarding the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in certain areas.  Referring to operative paragraphs 14 and 14 bis, he said the increased number of meetings of the Committee would put in place budget implications that were unacceptable.  It was regrettable that Member States and the Secretariat had not been able to mitigate those costs.


The Committee then approved the draft resolution (A/C.3/62/L.20/Rev.1) by a recorded vote of 173 in favour to 1 against ( United States), with no abstentions (see Annex III).


The representative of Singapore, in an explanation of vote, noted that her delegation had voted in favour.  However, the Convention was, like all treaties, subject to the Vienna convention on treaties, which defined permissible reservations to treaties.  It was inappropriate that States parties be asked to review permissible reservations with a view to withdrawing those reservations.  Singapore was concerned by a trend among some delegations to discourage reservations, when the focus should be on encouraging countries to accede to international treaties and conventions.  Singapore’s position on permissible reservations applied to all draft resolutions.


The Committee then took note of the Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its thirty-seventh, thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth sessions (Supplement No. 38) (document tA/62/38), and the Report of the Secretary-General on the future operations of the International Research and training Institute for the Advancement of Women (document A/62/173).


Turning its attention once again to the draft on the implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/62/L.10/Rev.1), the representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, made several oral revisions to the text, calling for commitment to macroeconomic policies that promoted opportunities for productive employment for the most disadvantaged.


He said a new paragraph would be added, to be labeled “operative paragraph 14 bis”, based on paragraph 69 of the Copenhagen Programme of Action.  Copies had been provided to the Secretariat to be reflected in the final text.  The paragraph would reaffirm that violence, in its many manifestations, including domestic violence against women, children, older person and persons with disabilities, was a growing threat to individuals and communities everywhere.  Total social breakdown was a real, contemporary experience.  Organized crime, illegal drugs, the illicit arms trade, trafficking in women and children, conflict, civil war, terror and terrorist violence, politically motivated killings and genocide were a threat to global social order and societies, and were compelling reasons for Governments to act to foster social cohesion, while recognizing, protecting and valuing diversity.


Before taking action on the draft, the representative of the United States said that he would join the consensus, and congratulated the text’s co-sponsors for successfully working out the “difficult issues” presented by earlier drafts.  Nevertheless, he had concerns about the use of Committee resolutions to rework and redefine the development language that had been carefully negotiated in Monterrey.  Sponsors had undermined consensus, such as by adding the verb “meeting” in operative paragraph 29 to describe the 0.7 per cent of gross national product for official development assistance.


He added that a narrow focus on official development assistance overlooked other vital sources of financing for development, such as private investment, remittances and private philanthropy.  According to the World Bank, $647 billion of private capital had flowed into developing countries in 2006.  An obsession with official development assistance to the exclusion of such forms of financing undermined previously agreed international consensus on generating global economic growth and development.  Word-smithing around the 0.7 per cent target neither addressed critical governance and effectiveness issues, nor the specific needs of its recipients.


The Committee then adopted the draft as orally revised and without a vote.


Having acted on all the resolutions under that item, the Committee took note of the report of the World Social Situation 2007:  Employment Imperative (document A/62/168).


As the Committee began to take action on the draft resolution entitled the girl child (document A/C.3/62/L.23/Rev.1), the representative of Zambia said the editors of the draft resolution have to “take it upon themselves to make changes” to the text.  She requested, on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), that action be postponed so that the Committee could vote on a “clean resolution”.  The Chairman agreed to postpone action until the afternoon meeting.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the rights of the child (document A/C.3/62/L.24/Rev.1), with the Secretary making an oral statement on the programme budget implications. 


The representative of Portugal made oral revisions to the text.  She thanked all delegations for their flexibility and spirit of compromise; to work with all delegations to create an “historical mandate” –- that of Special Representative on violence against children –- had been a pleasure.  Like all draft resolutions at the United Nations, “L.24/Rev.1” was not perfect, but it reflected a good compromise with the aim of contributing to a world fit for children.  She added, in order to save time, she would presently be informing the Secretariat of some minor technical corrections.


The representative of Egypt said her country had long advocated children’s rights.  It had been among the first to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  It had hoped that the new position of Special Representative be funded from the regular budget of the United Nations.  However, given the overwhelming support for funding by voluntary contributions, it had decided not to block consensus, bearing in mind that funding would be subject to review in three years.


The Chairman said a recorded vote had been requested on the draft resolution, as orally revised.


The representative of Sudan said his delegation understood operative paragraph 53 as condemning all kinds of abduction of children, including abductions under the cover of humanitarian action.  Everyone knew what the French organization Children’s Rescue had done, namely, kidnapping children from Darfur with the intention of trafficking them for various ends.  That was incompatible with international law and the principles of humanitarian action.  In the future, Sudan would like the resolution to clearly address that kind of activity.


The representative of Lebanon said it was his understanding that operative paragraph 58, which says that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General should be independent, also referred to the person’s independence in managing the resources of the Office.  As for operative paragraph 61, he said references to “no children left behind” pertained to both the Special Representative on violence against children and the Special Representative on children in armed conflict.


The representative of the United States said his Government supported many of the principles underlying the resolution.  For example, it had ratified the two Optional Protocols to the Convention of the Rights of the Child relating to the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, and to the Sale of Children, Child Pornography and Prostitution.  But, it had made clear that the Convention raised a number of concerns, in that it conflicted with the authority of parents and state and local law provisions in the United States.  The Convention also set up tension between the rights of children and parental authority.  Under United States law, there was greater emphasis on duties of parents to protect and care for children, and it apportioned rights between adults and children in a manner different from the Convention.


Although the Convention contained many positive principles, the United States could not accept its overemphasis in the resolution, and the assertion that the Convention “must constitute the standard in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child”.  Indeed, other international instruments addressed particular problems in a far more comprehensive and effective manner. 


He said the draft also contained problematic language too numerous to mention.  The process of dealing with the resolution needed to change.  What was needed was a far shorter text targeted on specific issues of critical importance to children, as well as one that concentrated on matters not addressed in other resolutions.  He would vote “no” on the draft.


The representative of Turkey said his Government had been among the resolution’s traditional co-sponsors, but could not join this year.  Although he planned to vote in favour of the text, he underlined the fact that his Government had disassociated itself from operative paragraph 42 [on child soldiers].


When asked by the representative of Egypt, the Chair revealed that the recorded vote had been requested by the United States delegation.


The resolution was then approved, as orally revised, by a vote of 176 in favour to 1 against ( United States), with no abstentions (Annex IV).


The representative of Japan said he had voted in favour of the draft because he believed it important to address the issue in a comprehensive manner.  But, he assured the Committee that, although Japanese prosecutors did not take action against all the perpetrators of crimes, if deemed unnecessary due to rehabilitation of other circumstances, Japan’s national legal system did not conflict with operative paragraph 57 (e).


The representative of the Philippines said he had voted in favour of the resolution and would have liked to become a co-sponsor.  However, references to the International Criminal Court had prevented it from doing so, since the country had not ratified it.


The representative of Syria said she had voted in favour of the text and saw no difficulties with it.  She valued highly the efforts of the co-sponsors to address, in the draft, the need to end all acts of violence against children living under foreign occupation.  As for operative paragraph 61, she said she understood it as having conferred upon the Special Representative a clear mandate to address all forms of violence against children living under foreign occupation.  Operative paragraphs 15, 17, 18 and 32 would be interpreted in accordance with Syrian law.


The representative of Switzerland she her country had been a traditional co-sponsor of the omnibus resolution, despite growing dissatisfaction with the negotiating process, which had lacked transparency.  The text had been released late, and opportunities to positively influence the text had been very few.  Switzerland had, thus, withdrawn its co-sponsorship this year.  She called for a new approach.


The representative of New Zealand said her country had been a dedicated sponsor of the text on the rights of the child; that was again the case this year.  However, the length and detail of the text were not conducive to constructive debate.  There was no need to repeat previously agreed chapters from years past.  Next year’s resolution should concentrate on a particular theme; it should also be open to inclusive negotiation and debate at a much earlier point.


Before the conclusion of discussion on promotion and protection of the rights of children, the representative of Senegal thanked the Secretariat for circulating a new text on supporting efforts to end obstetric fistula (document A/C.3/62/L.21/Rev.1).  However, 37 co-sponsors had misgivings over a number of corrections in the text.  Her delegation would be contacting the Secretariat with a view to having a text that would acceptable for all before its adoption by the General Assembly.


The representative of El Salvador said, for the record, that her country would join co-sponsorship on “L.21/Rev.1”.


The Committee then turned to the draft 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 Chairman drew attention to its associated programme budget implications, as contained in document A/C.3/62/L.90. 


[Implementation of the resolution would require expenditures estimated at approximately $7.2 million.  Should the General Assembly adopt draft resolution A/C.3/62/L.65, a detailed statement of programme budget implications would be submitted to the Assembly for its consideration in the context of its review of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009.]


The representative of Pakistan requested that action be postponed.  It was so decided.  However, the Chair stressed the importance of taking action as soon as possible.


Turning to the draft resolution on the status of internally displaced persons and refugees from Abkhazia, Georgia (document A/C.3/62/L.38), the representative of Georgia said her Government had decided to withdraw the resolution.  It was so noted.


As the Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the protection of migrants (document A/C.3/62/L.40), the Secretary said that, should the draft be adopted by the General Assembly, the estimated resource requirements of $183,200 could be accommodated within the proposed programme budget for the 2008-2009 biennium.


The representative of Mexico suggested postponing action until tomorrow so that amendments to the text could be discussed properly.  The Chair agreed to defer action, but again stressed the importance of presenting the text for action as early as possible.


Taking up the draft resolution on the Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa (document A/C.3/62/L.44), the Chair drew the Committee’s attention to associated programme budget implications, as contained in document A/C.3/62/L.91.


The representative of Cameroon asked that action be deferred.  It was so decided.


Action was then taken on the draft resolution on protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (document A/C.3/62/L.47/Rev.1). 


The representative of Mexico, the main sponsor, named a number of additional co-sponsors, including the United States.  The text had been the outcome of an open negotiation process.  Terrorism was a serious problem, but the need to protect populations from terrorist action did not justify the permanent derogation of the human rights of individuals, subject to their jurisdictions.  The text identified practices of particular concern, so that tangible steps could be taken to address them.  Mexico felt pride in submitting a comprehensive text to the Committee.


The draft was then approved without a vote.


At the start of the afternoon meeting, the Chairman, Mr. WOLFE ( Jamaica), announced that, due to insufficient progress on some outstanding draft resolutions, the Committee would not reconvene before Wednesday afternoon, at which time the Chair intended to proceed to action on all draft resolutions.


ANNEX I


Vote on Operative Paragraph 14/Anti-Discrimination Convention


Operative paragraph 14 of the draft resolution on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/62/L.20/Rev.1) was approved by a recorded vote of 158 in favour to 1 against, with 9 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), 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 Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, S  an Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  United States.


Abstain:  Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mali, Singapore.


Absent:  Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Dominica, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.


ANNEX II


Vote on Operative Paragraph 15/Anti-Discrimination Convention


Operative paragraph 15 of the draft resolution on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/62/L.20/Rev.1) was approved by a recorded vote of 143 in favour to 3 against, with 22 abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  Egypt, Syria, United States.


Abstain:  Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Gambia, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Yemen.


Absent:  Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Dominica, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam.


ANNEX III


Vote on Women’s Anti-Discrimination Convention


The draft resolution on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/62/L.20/Rev.1) was approved by a recorded vote of 173 in favour to 1 against, with no abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, 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, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), 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, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 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, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  United States.


Abstain:  None.


Absent:  Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Dominica, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.


ANNEX IV


Vote on Rights of the Child


The draft resolution on the rights of the child (document A/C.3/62/L.24/Rev.1) was approved by a recorded vote of 176 in favour to 1 against, with no abstentions, as follows:


In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, 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, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, 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, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, 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, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Against:  United States.


Abstain:  None.


Absent:  Burundi, Central African Republic, Dominica, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Madagascar, Palau, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.


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For information media • not an official record