18 November 2011
General Assembly
GA/SHC/4031

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

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Third Committee

46th Meeting (AM)


Third Committee Approves Text Stressing Critical Importance of Women’s Political


Participation in All Contexts – Peace, Conflict, Political Transition


Other Drafts Approved on Indigenous Peoples; Electoral Assistance; Social

Integration; Global Cooperation; Strengthening UN Action; Internally Displaced


Stressing the critical importance of women’s political participation in all contexts, including in times of peace, conflict and in all stages of political transition, the General Assembly would call upon all States to eliminate laws, regulations and practices that prevent or restrict women’s participation in the political process by a draft text approved by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today without a vote.


The draft text — one of seven approved by consensus as the Committee closed in on its last week of scheduled work — would also have the Assembly call on States to accelerate the achievement of equality between men and women and, in all situations, including in situations of political transition, to promote and protect women's human rights.


Stressing that women embodied an enormous, but untapped potential in their political systems, the representative of the United States, which tabled the draft text, said it applied broadly to women everywhere, but paid particular attention this year to States in transition in light of recent historical developments.


To that end, the Assembly would further call on such States to take effective steps to ensure the participation of women on equal terms with men in all phases of political reform, from decisions on whether to call for reforms in existing institutions to decisions regarding transitional Governments, to the formulation of Government policy, to the means of electing new democratic Governments.


While enjoying unanimous support, the text’s references to “States in situations in political transition” elicited numerous expressions of regret from State delegations, several of which voiced alarm that negotiations on the text had been mishandled.  Of the seven speakers taking the floor on those points, nearly all stressed that the term “political transition” lacked a common, agreed understanding, with some suggesting its inclusion undermined the text’s larger objectives.


Voicing strong support for the draft, Liberia’s representative said her country’s experience was a testament to how critical women’s participation was for conflict prevention and resolution, as well as post-conflict peacebuilding.  The resolution not only reflected the mandate of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), but also the diversity of recommendations from Member States, she said.  At the same time, it sent a strong signal of support to women around the world.


By a draft text on the rights of indigenous peoples, presented by Bolivia, the Assembly would the request the Secretary-General to convene, in coordination with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, within existing resources, a high-level event during the eleventh session of the Forum in May 2012 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  It would also stress that the event’s result could serve as an input for the preparation of its 2014 high-level plenary meeting, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.


The draft text on strengthening the role of the United Nations in enhancing periodic and genuine elections and the promotion of democratization, approved by consensus, would have the Assembly reaffirm that the electoral assistance provided by the United Nations should continue to be carried out in an objective, impartial, neutral and independent manner.  The Secretary-General would be requested to provide the Electoral Assistance Division with adequate human and financial resources to allow it to carry out its mandate.  Recorded votes were taken on two draft amendments, proposed by the Russian Federation.  Neither was approved — the first, which proposed additional language stressing that the United Nations should refrain from any comment on the outcome of an election process until after a formal announcement of the results by the competent national authority, was rejected by a vote of 55 in favour to 75 against, with 26 abstentions.  The second, which sought to strike references to the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers, was opposed by a vote of 29 in favour to 88 against, with 32 abstentions.


Other draft resolutions approved with a vote today addressed promoting social integration through social inclusion, enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, strengthening United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity, and protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons.


Speaking during action today were the representatives of Syria, Maldives, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Canada, United Kingdom, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Paraguay, Malaysia, Pakistan and Poland (on behalf of the European Union).


The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m., Monday, 21 November, to take action on a number of outstanding draft resolutions.


Background


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to take action on several draft resolutions, including:  promoting social integration through social inclusion (document A/C.3/66/L.8/Rev.1); women and political participation (document A/C.3/66/L.20/Rev.1); rights of indigenous peoples (document A/C.3/66/L.26/Rev.1); enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights (document A/C.3/66/L.32); and Strengthening United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity(document A/C.3/66/L.37).


Also:  strengthening the role of the United Nations in enhancing periodic and genuine elections and the promotion of democratization (document A/C.3/66/L.43/Rev.1 and amendments thereto contained in documents A/C.3/66/L.71); and protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons (document A/C.3/66/L.45/Rev.1).


Action on Draft Resolutions


The Committee first turned to a draft resolution on promoting social integration through social inclusion (document A/C.3/66/L.8/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Peru.  He noted that during current times, social inclusion policies were urgently necessary to address social and economic inequalities.  In that regard, he noted the spread of social unrest and social activism, including by the “indignados” and in Zuccotti Park in the United States.


Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the text, which would have the Assembly stress that States, which bear the main responsibility for social integration and social inclusion, should prioritize the creation of a “society for all” based on respect for all human rights and the principles of equality among individuals, the access to basic social services and the promotion of the active participation of every member of society, in particular those in vulnerable or marginalized situations, in all aspects of life, including civic, social, economic and political activities, as well as participation in decision-making processes.


It would, by further terms, call upon States to promote a more equitable participation in and access to economic gains through, among other things, policies that ensure inclusive labour markets and by implementing socially responsive macroeconomic policies in which employment has a key role, social inclusion strategies that promote social integration by ensuring social protection floors for those who are in vulnerable or marginalized situations, as defined by each country in accordance with its individual circumstances, and the promotion and protection of social and economic rights.


Speaking in explanation of position after action, the representative of the United States voiced support for the text, while also expressing reservations about operative paragraph 14, which was not germane to the issue of social inclusion.  He stressed that social inclusion was driven primarily by policies and practices at the national level.  While market access and debt relief were important, they were not integrally related to the central issue and the draft would, in the future, benefit by being limited to issues more directly related to social inclusion.


Next, the Committee turned to a draft text on women and political participation (document A/C.3/66/L.20/Rev.1), which was presented by the representative of the United States.  He stressed that women embodied an enormous, but untapped potential in their political systems.  While the text applied broadly to women everywhere, it paid particular attention in some places to States in transition.  He read out a number of revisions to the text.


Speaking before action, the representative of Syria noted that her delegation had actively participated in discussions leading to the draft resolution.  Underlining the importance of women’s political participation, she said such participation was increasing in Syria, where women had obtained complete equality with men as stipulated in the Constitution.  She further noted the high-level governmental and diplomatic posts held by women.  Nevertheless, her delegation had profound concerns that the text’s facilitators had not addressed its concerns on the pretext that Syria was not a co-sponsor.  That was particularly the case regarding the paragraph on political transitions.  How could the Assembly request the Secretary-General and the United Nations to include a concept that was not accepted by all?  Further, the facilitator affirmed that there was not any agreement on the concept of “transitional politics.”  That limited the ability of the United Nations and States to formulate the notion.  Syria could not support the inclusion of a concept that was not agreed upon, unless there were consultations on the definition.  She hoped that the concerns of all would be addressed.


Expressing support of the draft text, Liberia’s representative said her country attached utmost importance to strengthening women’s participation in politics.  Women’s participation in conflict prevention and resolution, as well as post-conflict peacebuilding, was critical as evidenced by Liberia’s experience.  The resolution reflected the mandate of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and reflected the diversity of recommendations of Member States, while also sending a strong signal of support to women.  Thus, she encouraged States to vote for its adoption.


The representative of the Maldives, recalling that her delegation was a co-sponsor of the text, said it was pleased with the text presented.  She further noted that the facilitator had been flexible.  Nevertheless, her Government would have preferred to retain references to democracy and transition.  It supported fully preambular paragraph 5 on UN-Women.  She urged delegations to support the resolution.


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


By the terms of the draft resolution, the Assembly would call upon all States to eliminate laws, regulations and practices that, in a discriminatory manner, prevent or restrict women’s participation in the political process.  It would also call upon all States to enhance women's political participation, accelerate the achievement of equality between men and women and, in all situations, including in situations of political transition, to promote and protect women's human rights.  States in situations of political transition would be further called on to take effective steps to ensure the participation of women on equal terms with men in all phases of political reform, from decisions on whether to call for reforms in existing institutions to decisions regarding transitional Governments, to the formulation of Government policy, to the means of electing new democratic Governments.


The Assembly would, by other provisions, urge all States, with encouragement from the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, within their existing mandates, to take a number of actions to ensure women’s equal participation, including:  reviewing and adjusting the impact of their electoral systems on women's participation and representation; eliminating prejudices that are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles that constitute a barrier to women’s access to, and participation in, the political sphere; developing mechanisms and training to encourage women to participate in the electoral process, political activities and other leadership activities; improving and broadening women’s access to information and communication technology, including e-government tools; and addressing and countering the barriers faced by marginalized women in accessing and participating in politics and decision-making at all levels.


Speaking in explanation of position after action, Iran’s representative said his delegation had joined consensus based on its belief that the protection of women’s participation should be seen and considered as an obligation of Governments to achieve equality and ensure equal opportunity for women and men in all walks of life.  But, while women had often been mistreated and were not afforded proper status, they should not be seen as the most vulnerable part of society.  They needed more attention in order live up to their potential, not because of their circumstances.


He further stressed that some of the ways that deliberations were handled were not satisfactory for many delegations.  “It goes without saying that we are all diplomats,” he stressed, underling that this was the case even when negotiating diametrically opposed positions.  In that regard, he expressed dissatisfaction over the mishandling of the negotiations by the main sponsor.  Further, forming a coalition of common positions did not require registration and did not need any recognition from Washington, or anywhere in any case.  It was the sovereign right of any State to align with other countries on issues they deemed relevant.


Substance was being “slaughtered” by the “wrong, biased and apolitical” approach of some delegations.  In that regard, he sought to ring the alarm about such an approach.  While supporting the resolution’s spirit and objectives, Iran recorded its discontent with the “non-diplomatic, arrogant and impudent” manner with which the negotiations on the text had been handled.


Cuba’s representative said her delegation had joined consensus based on its support for women’s participation.  It urged that attention be paid to the text, but wished to leave on record its concern about the inclusion of an unprecedented sentence in the text relating to “States in situations of political transition”.  Cuba denied support for that sentence and advised against any other backdoor attempt to include that language in any other United Nations document.


Venezuela’s delegate said gender equality was a Government policy in her country and, today, women’s participation there was unprecedented.  Among other things, Venezuela had created a unit for women to promote their empowerment in all areas of life.  Yet, she expressed regret over the arbitrariness displayed by the text’s main sponsors, who, by including a phrase that lacked real meaning, undermined the text’s purpose.  She referred specifically to the use of the hitherto unused term “political transition” and rejected any attempt to use that phrase in the text, as well as any others.  Her Government was equally concerned that the concerns of all delegations had not been accounted for.  Understanding, not railroading, should be the principle for addressing State concerns.


Pakistan’s representative welcomed the important resolution and acknowledged that it contributed to enhancing women’s political participation.  Pakistan was proud of its credentials in that area, he said, noting that women had held high offices in the country, including the office of the Prime Minister.  Pakistan supported the aims and objectives of the text, but felt it should have continued to address issues in a broad format, rather than addressing controversial and undefined concepts, such as “political transition”.  Indeed, that inclusion had generated unnecessary controversy and he regretted that his delegation’s constructive proposals were not taken into account during negotiations owing to selective criteria.


Nicaragua’s delegate, underscoring the high levels of women’s participation in her country, said that, while her delegation joined consensus, it regretted the way in which the text was negotiated.  Her delegation could have lent greater support had there been greater equality during those negotiations.  Consensus was needed to promote women’s empowerment.


The representative of the Russian Federation said that, while his Government had joined consensus, it was concerned by the excessive involvement of the co-sponsors in short-term nuances.  Excessive focus on women’s political participation in States in the midst of political transition did not demonstrate a balance in the document and distracted from the main issue of enhancing women’s status in all countries.


Turning to the draft’s reference to the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice, he noted that the activities of any special procedure must take place in strict compliance of their mandate and any expansion of competencies required amending that mandate.  It was inadmissible to by-pass that mechanism.  He hoped that in the future, the co-sponsors would be more balanced and would not try to impose their own opinions of what was correct.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on rights of indigenous peoples (document A/C.3/66/L.26/Rev.1), tabled by the representative of Bolivia.


The Secretary read out a statement on programme budget implications, saying that should the draft resolution be adopted by the General Assembly, it is envisaged that a high-level event will be held during the eleventh session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from 7 May 2012 to 18 May 2012.  It will comprise one meeting which requires interpretation service in all six languages, with additional requirements of $18,000 to provide interpretations service and other meeting support service.  However, those additional requirements would be absorbed within the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013 and no additional programme budget implications would arise.


Speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of the United States said it was pleased to co-sponsor the resolution.  The United States administration had prioritized government-to-government relationships with federally recognized tribes, and looked forward to working with the international community on the aspirations of the document.


The Committee approved the draft resolution by consensus.


By the draft text, the Assembly would welcome the work of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as his most recent report, taking note of his report on the rights of indigenous peoples and encouraging all Governments to respond favourably to his requests for visits.  It would also urge Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, indigenous organizations, and private institutions and individuals to contribute to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations and the Trust Fund and for the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.


By further terms, the Secretary-General would be requested to convene, in coordination with the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, within existing resources, a high-level event during the eleventh session of the Forum to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  In that context, the Assembly would stress that the event’s result could serve as an input for the preparation of its 2014 high-level plenary meeting, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.  Governments, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders, including the media, as well as relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system, would also be invited to carry out activities focused on marking the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration.


Speaking in explanation of position after action, the representative of Canada reaffirmed her country’s commitment to promoting the rights of indigenous peoples and was pleased to join consensus on the resolution.  The Declaration was not legally binding, and for that reason, her delegation continued to have reservations about preambular paragraph 8 and operative paragraph 4, in particular.  Canada would continue to work with its own indigenous populations based on their shared history, she said.


Speaking in explanation of position, the representative of the United Kingdom said his delegation was pleased to have joined consensus, and was fully committed to promoting and protecting human rights for all individuals, including indigenous people.  The United Kingdom continued to work overseas and through multilateral institutions to improve the situation of indigenous people internationally, and fully recognized indigenous individuals were entitled to full protection of their human rights and fundamental freedoms in international law, on an equal basis to all other individuals.  “The [United Kingdom] remains firmly of the view that, since equality and universality are the fundamental principles underpinning human rights, we do not accept that some groups in society should benefit from human rights that are not available to others,” he said.  With the exception of the right of self-determination, it did not accept the concept of collective human rights in international law.  It was important to ensure individuals within groups were not left vulnerable or unprotected by allowing the rights of the group to supersede the human rights of the individual.  The United Kingdom, therefore, understood any internationally-agreed reference to the rights of indigenous peoples to refer to those rights bestowed at the national level by governments to indigenous peoples and according to the its position on human rights and collective rights.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights (document A/C.3/66/L.32), which was tabled by the representative of Cuba, approving it by consensus.


By that text, the Assembly would reaffirm that it is one of the purposes of the United Nations and the responsibility of all Member States to promote, protect and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms through, among other things, international cooperation.  It would further recognize that, in addition to their separate responsibilities to their individual societies, States have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level.


The Assembly would, by other provisions, urge all actors on the international scene to build an international order based on inclusion, justice, equality and equity, human dignity, mutual understanding and promotion of, and respect for, cultural diversity and universal human rights, and to reject all doctrines of exclusion based on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  It would call upon Member States, the specialized agencies and intergovernmental organizations to continue to carry out a constructive dialogue and consultations for the enhancement of understanding and the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and encourages non-governmental organizations to contribute actively to this endeavour.


The Committee then took up the draft resolution on strengthening United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity (document A/C.3/66/L.37), which was tabled by Cuba’s representative.  She noted that several consultations and bilateral meetings on the text had resulted in an oral amendment to delete the entire preambular paragraph 7.


The text was approved without a vote.


By the text, the Assembly would be deeply convinced that United Nations action in the field of human rights should be based not only on a profound understanding of the broad range of problems existing in all societies, but also on full respect for the political, economic and social realities of each of them, in strict compliance with the purposes and principles of the Charter and for the basic purpose of promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms through international cooperation.


Underlining the obligation that Governments have to promote and protect human rights and to carry out the responsibilities that they have undertaken under international law, as well as various international instruments in the field of human rights, the Assembly would express its conviction that an unbiased and fair approach to human rights issues contributes to the promotion of international cooperation, as well as to the effective promotion, protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms.


The Assembly would invite Member States to consider adopting, as appropriate, within the framework of their respective legal systems and in accordance with their obligations under international law, especially the Charter and international human rights instruments, the measures that they may deem appropriate to achieve further progress in international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.


It would request the Human Rights Council to take the present resolution into account and to consider further proposals for the strengthening of United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of the principles of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity, including in the context of the Universal Periodic Review.


It would also request the Secretary-General to invite Member States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to present further practical proposals and ideas that would contribute to the strengthening of United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation based on the principles of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity, and to submit a comprehensive report on the question to the General Assembly at its sixty-eighth session.  Finally, it would decide to consider the matter at its sixty-eighth session under the item entitled “Promotion and protection of human rights”.


Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution on strengthening the role of the United Nations in enhancing periodic and genuine elections and the promotion of democratization (document A/C.3/66/L.43/Rev.1), which was tabled by the United States representative who said this year’s text included new elements recognizing the importance of fair, periodic elections, including in new democracies.


The Assembly would, by the text, commend the electoral assistance provided upon request to Member States by the United Nations and request that such assistance continue on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the evolving needs and legislation of requesting countries to develop, improve and refine their electoral institutions and processes.  It would reaffirm that the electoral assistance provided by the United Nations should continue to be carried out in an objective, impartial, neutral and independent manner.


Further to the text, the Assembly would acknowledge the aim of harmonizing the methods and standards of the many intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations engaged in observing elections, and, in that regard, express appreciation for the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers, which elaborate guidelines for international electoral observation.


Recalling the establishment by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Trust Fund for Electoral Assistance, and, bearing in mind that the Fund is currently close to depletion, the Assembly would call upon Member States to consider contributing to the Fund.  The Secretary-General would be requested to provide the Electoral Assistance Division with adequate human and financial resources to allow it to carry out its mandate, including by enhancing the accessibility and diversity of the roster of electoral experts and the Organization’s electoral institutional memory.  He would also be asked to ensure that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is able to respond, within its mandate and in close coordination with the Division, to the numerous, increasingly complex and comprehensive requests from States for advisory services.


The Secretary-General, through the United Nations focal point for electoral assistance matters and with the support of the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs of the Secretariat, would also be encouraged to continue responding to the evolving nature of requests for assistance and the growing need for specific types of medium-term expert assistance aimed at supporting and strengthening the existing capacity of the requesting Government, particularly the capacity of national electoral institutions.


Before taking action on the draft resolution, the Committee turned to a draft text containing two amendments to draft resolution A/C.3/66/L.43/Rev.1 (document A/C.3/66/L.71) tabled by the Russian Federation.


The first proposed amendment would add, at the end of operative paragraph 3, the words “and stresses that the United Nations shall refrain from any statement regarding the outcome of the election process or from attributing victory to any party to elections until the time of an official formal announcement of the results of such elections by the competent national authority of the relevant State.”


The second amendment would delete the words, in operative paragraph 9, “and in this regard expresses appreciation for the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers, which elaborate guidelines for international election observation.”


Introducing those amendments, the representative of the Russian Federation said his delegation supported many of the elements included in the draft resolution.  From the start of work on the draft resolution, his Government had participated in discussions and noted the willingness of the United States delegation to accept suggestions on its content.  A lack of readiness by partners to incorporate some essential changes, however, had prompted his delegation to bring the proposed amendments.


To that end, he stressed that the United Nations should provide electoral assistance only when requested.  Further, it could only give an assessment of an election result when mandated, and only after the election was recognized by the national electoral authorities.  Otherwise, those authorities would be undermined.


He went to say that references to the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers should be removed from the text, since the Declaration was not the product of intergovernmental expert agreement and was never subject to any United Nations negotiation.  In that regard, he noted that the Russian Federation was not contesting the Declaration’s substance, but could not, in principle, support any reference to such a document.  He further pointed out that his delegation supported retaining the beginning of operative paragraph 9.


If the amendments as a whole were unacceptable to State delegations, he called for a separate vote on each amendment.


The representative of the United States voiced support for a recorded vote on each amendment.


Speaking on a point of order, Egypt’s delegate asked under what rule the vote being conducted.


The Chair said the Committee was proceeding on the basis of Rule 130.


Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of the United States said his delegation would vote against the proposed amendments and urged others to do so.  The issue raised in the proposed amendment to operative paragraph 3 fell well outside the scope of the Third Committee.  It was clearly aimed at the Russian Federation’s dissatisfaction with the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, and the appropriate place to address that issue was in the Security Council.  He noted that the Russian Federation had repeatedly agreed to all mandates on Côte d’Ivoire, including in Council resolution 2000 (2011) this July.  Reiterating that it was not appropriate to ask the Third Committee to reopen that debate, he expressed hope that other States would vote against the first proposed amendment to ensure the ongoing support to States requesting electoral assistance.  He also urged the other co-sponsors to defend the resolution.


Egypt’s delegate stressed that his country attached great importance to the draft resolution, which it had supported in the past and would continue to support.  He noted that support for elections was an enabling factor that allowed States to establish democracy.  The United Nations electoral assistance and supporting role in that regard must be carried out in an objective, impartial, neutral and independent manner in support of the national ownership of the electoral process.  That included support for the announcement of electoral results by national authorities.  For that reason, Egypt would vote in favour of the proposed amendment to operative paragraph 3.


The Chair then opened the floor for a recorded vote on the first proposed amendment to operative paragraph 3.


Speaking on a point of order during the voting process, the representative of C ôte d’Ivoire said his delegation was voting no to the amendment, despite what the board showed.  Similarly, the representative of the Central African Republic said his delegation had voted no.  Paraguay’s representative said his delegation had also voted against the amendment.


Following the provision of technical assistance to those delegations, the Committee rejected the first proposed amendment by a vote of 55 in favour to 75 against, with 26 abstentions.


It then turned to the second proposed amendment on operative paragraph 9.


Making a general statement before action, the representative of the United States said his delegation would vote against the amendment and encouraged others to do the same.  He said the Russian Federation wished to delete agreed language from the last version of the draft.  As in 2009, when a similar amendment was proposed, he hoped delegations would vote against the amendment.


Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Egypt said that, as reiterated in the sixty-fourth session, his Government recognized that regulating the observation process was in the national competence of each Member State and must be conducted with full cooperation between the State and other organizations.  He noted that the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation had been endorsed by the African Union, but it had not been adopted by a vote of Heads of State and Government.


The Committee then rejected the second proposed amendment by a vote of 29 in favour to 88 against, with 32 abstentions.


Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, Malaysia’s representative reiterated its appreciation to the United States in tabling and negotiating the full draft resolution.  It recognized that electoral assistance provided by the United Nations should be provided in a neutral, objective and impartial manner.  It took note of efforts to harmonize the methods and standards of electoral observers.  Having said that, however, his Government was concerned with the lack of an intergovernmental process that led to the elaboration of the documents cited in the draft resolution.  It believed the Organization must refrain from making any statements about the outcome of an election before the announcement by the national electoral authorities.  On that basis, Malaysia believed the amendments would have strengthened the text.


Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft resolution.


Speaking in explanation of position after action, the representative of Pakistan said his Government supported the holding of periodic elections as an important element of the democratization process.  Although the United Nations could provide valuable technical assistance on request, that assistance must be carried out in an objective, impartial and neutral manner.  Noting the importance of electoral observers, he said his Government was not comfortable with the language included in operative paragraph 9 and, thus, had supported the proposed amendments, despite its agreement with the general direction of the draft text.


The Committee next approved by consensus the draft resolution on protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons (document A/C.3/66/L.45/Rev.1), which was tabled by the representative of Norway.


By the text’s provisions, the Assembly would be deeply disturbed by the alarmingly high numbers of internally displaced persons throughout the world who receive inadequate protection and assistance, and would be conscious of the serious challenges that this is creating for the international community.


Deploring practices of forced displacement and their negative consequences for the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by large groups of populations, the Assembly would recall the relevant provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court that define the deportation or forcible transfer of population as a crime against humanity, and the unlawful deportation, transfer, or ordering the displacement of the civilian population as war crimes.


It would call upon States to provide durable solutions, and encourage strengthened international cooperation, including through the provision of resources and expertise to assist affected countries, and in particular developing countries, in their national efforts and policies related to assistance, protection and rehabilitation for internally displaced persons.  The Assembly would also express particular concern at the grave problems faced by many internally displaced women and children, and encourage the continued commitment of the Special Rapporteur to promote action to address their particular assistance, protection and development needs, as well as those of other groups with special needs, such as severely traumatized individuals, older persons and persons with disabilities, taking into account all relevant United Nations resolutions.


It would request the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Special Rapporteur, from within existing resources, with all assistance necessary to carry out his mandate effectively, and encourage the Special Rapporteur to continue to seek the contributions of States, relevant organizations and institutions in order to create a more stable basis for his work.


The Assembly would request the Special Rapporteur to prepare, for the General Assembly at its sixty-seventh and sixty-eighth sessions, a report on the implementation of the present resolution, and would decide to continue its consideration of the question of protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons at its sixty-eighth session.


Making a general statement after adoption, the representative of Poland, on behalf of the European Union, said the region strongly supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons.  It understood that the reference to all relevant United Nations resolutions in operative paragraph 8 included both General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on the topic.


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For information media • not an official record