28 November 2012
General Assembly
GA/SHC/4063

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

Sixty-seventh General Assembly

Third Committee

47th & 48th Meetings (AM & PM)


Social Development Summit, Follow-up to Beijing Women’s Conference, Child Rights


Among Issues, as Third Committee Approves 24 Resolutions, Concludes Session

 


Concluding its current session, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) today approved 24 draft resolutions on a wide range of human rights and social issues, including texts aimed at assessing progress made since the social development summit, advancing the rights of women and children, and eliminating racism.


The Committee today adopted by consensus the draft resolution on implementation of the outcome of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly.  By the text, the Assembly would express deep concern that social development objectives were being hindered by the world financial and economic crisis, volatile energy and food prices and the challenges posed by climate change, as well as the lack of results in multilateral trade negotiations.


Introducing the text, Algeria’s representative, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said more must be done to eradicate poverty, promote full employment and decent work, and achieve social integration.


Also by the draft, the Assembly would emphasize the need to enhance the role of the Commission for Social Development, and would call upon international financial institutions and donors to support developing countries in achieving their social development goals, in line with their national priorities and strategies by, among other things, providing debt relief.


Reiterating the call for the United Nations to increase efforts to fully mainstream a gender perspective into all issues, the Committee also approved without a vote the draft resolution on the Follow-up to the 1995 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.


The text would have the Assembly express its deep conviction that the Follow-up and the Platform for Action were important for gender equality and women’s empowerment, and must be translated into effective action by all States, the United Nations and other organizations.  The Secretary-General would be requested to redouble his efforts to make progress towards 50-50 gender balance at all levels throughout the Organization.


The Committee also adopted by consensus the draft resolution on the rights of the child.  By its terms, the Assembly would call on States to make efforts aimed at ensuring child well-being, eliminating violence against children, eradicating the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and addressing the issues of children in armed conflict, child labour and children with disabilities.


The Assembly would also call on States to take measures to protect the rights of indigenous children against all forms of discrimination, violence, abuse and exploitation, safeguard the realization of their right to access education, and protect them from physical and/or mental violence or exploitation.


The Committee also approved the draft resolution on Global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of, and follow-up to, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action Document by a vote of 126 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands and the United States), with 47 abstentions.


Introducing the draft text, Algeria, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said the follow-up to the Durban Declaration had always been at the centre of the fight against racism.  The lack of political will to eliminate racism included strong resistance in dealing with historical injustices and issues of remedies and reparations, he said.


The draft would have the Assembly express its alarm at the increase in racist violence and xenophobic ideas in many parts of the world, in political circles, in the sphere of public opinion and in society at large as a result.  It would also express grave concern that the principal objective of combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance had not been attained, in particular due to the lack of progress made in the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.


Some delegations that did not vote in favour of the resolution said they believed it was imperative to fight racism, and that the text had positive aspects, but they could not support the inclusion of several paragraphs on religious intolerance, which they believed ran counter to the spirit of the text.  Representatives of Israel and the United States also said their delegations objected to the singling out of Israel in the Durban Declaration.


Also adopted by a recorded vote today were draft resolutions on:  Use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination with 122 in favour to 52 against, with 5 abstentions (Afghanistan, Colombia, Fiji, Mexico, Switzerland); The United Nations human rights training and documentation centre for South-West Asia and the Arab region with 149 in favour, to 1 against (Syria), with 17 abstentions; Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights with 128 in favour to 53 against; The right to development with 147 in favour to 4 against (Canada, Israel, United Kingdom, United States) with 29 abstentions; Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all with 121 in favour to 53 against, with 5 abstentions (Afghanistan, Armenia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Singapore); Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order with 121 in favour to 52 against, with 7 abstentions (Afghanistan, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru, Samoa); and Programme Planning with 161 in favour to 3 against (Canada, Israel, United States), with 7 abstentions (Afghanistan, Australia, Belarus, Cambodia, Iran, Samoa, Syria).


Additionally, adopted without a vote today were the draft resolutions that concerned:  Mainstreaming of volunteering for the next decade; Preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family; Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing; Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa; Human rights and extreme poverty; Protection of migrants; The right to food; Missing persons; Preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption; Committee on the Rights of the Child; Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief; and Freedom of religion or belief.


The Committee also adopted the Tentative programme of work of the Third Committee for the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, submitted by the Chair of the Committee.


Speaking during action today were Algeria (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), United States, Japan, Cuba, Venezuela, Jamaica, Russian Federation, Cyprus (on behalf of the European Union), Greece, Montenegro, Liberia (on behalf of the African Group), Argentina, United Kingdom, Qatar, Syria, Indonesia, Peru, Chile, Egypt, Costa Rica, Canada, Uruguay, Israel, Norway (on behalf of Iceland), Mexico, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emirates, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Cape Verde (on behalf of the African Group), Trinidad and Tobago (on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Australia, China and the Philippines.


An Observer from the Holy See also spoke.


Background


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to conclude its work for the current session and take action on all outstanding draft resolutions, including on:  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.3/67/L.11/Rev.1); Mainstreaming of volunteering for the next decade (document A/C.3/67/L.8/Rev.1); Preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family (document A/C.3/67/L.12/Rev.1); Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/C.3/67/L.13/Rev.1); 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.3/67/L.71); and Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/67/L.61).


Also:  Rights of the child (document A/C.3/67/L.23/Rev.1); Global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/C.3/67/L.56/Rev.1); Use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/C.3/67/L.58); The United Nations human rights training and documentation centre for South-West Asia and the Arab region (document A/C.3/67/L.27/Rev.1); Human rights and extreme poverty (document A/C.3/67/L.32/Rev.1); Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights (document A/C.3/67/L.33); and Committee on the Rights of the Child (document A/C.3/67/L.35).


Also:  The right to development (document A/C.3/67/L.39); Protection of migrants (document A/C.3/67/L.40/Rev.1); Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all (document A/C.3/67/L.41); the right to food (document A/C.3/67/L.42/Rev.1); Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (document A/C.3/67/L.43); Missing persons (document A/C.3/67/L.46); Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief (document A/C.3/67/L.47); Freedom of religion or belief (document A/C.3/67/L.48); Preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (document A/C.3/67/L.18/Rev.1); (document A/C.3/67/L.73); and Tentative programme of work of the Third Committee for the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, submitted by the Chair of the Committee (document A/C.3/67/L.72).


Action on Texts


The Committee first took up the draft resolution on 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.3/67/L.11/Rev.1), which contains some 60 paragraphs.  It was introduced by the representative of Algeria, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, who said that while recognizing progress made since the Copenhagen Declaration, the text acknowledged that more must be done to eradicate poverty, promote full employment and decent work and achieve social integration.


He said it stressed the need to create an enabling environment by increasing market access for developing countries and called on developed countries to meet their official development assistance (ODA) commitments.  It also contained new elements vis-à-vis the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – or “ Rio+20” Conference.  He made a minor editorial amendment to the text to preambular paragraph 13.  He looked forward to the text’s approval by consensus.


The Committee then approved without a vote the orally revised draft resolution on Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly.


By that text, the Assembly would emphasize the need to enhance the role of the Commission for Social Development in the follow-up to and review of the World Summit for Social Development and the outcome of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly.  It would express deep concern that attainment of the social development objectives was being hindered by the ongoing adverse impact of the world financial and economic crisis, volatile energy and food prices and the challenges posed by climate change, as well as the lack of results in the multilateral trade negotiations, which had negative implications for social development.


Further, the Assembly would stress the importance of the policy space of Governments, calling upon international financial institutions and donors to support developing countries in achieving their social development goals, in line with their national priorities and strategies by, among other things, providing debt relief.  It would also stress that the benefits of economic growth should be distributed more equitably and that, in order to close the gap of inequality and avoid any further deepening of inequality, comprehensive social policies and programmes, including appropriate social transfer and job creation programmes and social protection systems, are needed.


The Assembly would urge Governments to develop social protection systems that supported labour-market participation and reduced inequality and social exclusion and to extend or broaden, as appropriate, their effectiveness and coverage, including for workers in the informal economy.  It would also invite the International Labour Organization to strengthen its social protection strategies and policies on extending social security coverage and urge Governments, while taking account of national circumstances, to focus on the needs of those living in, or vulnerable to, poverty and to give particular consideration to universal access to basic social security systems, including the implementation of social protection floors, which can provide a systemic base to address poverty and vulnerability and, in that regard, takes note of the recommendation of the International Labour Organization on social protection floors.


After action, the United States’ delegate said her Government was pleased to join consensus on the text and appreciated its highlighting of the need to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in the context of development.  She supported the text’s continued attention to indigenous rights.  She voiced some concerns that the text did not appropriately weigh the impact of external and internal factors on development, and misstated the impacts of financial markets on country vulnerabilities.  The text’s unbalanced advocacy of policy space ignored the need for national commitments.  The primary responsibility for social and economic development rested with Governments.  Official development assistance and energy price fluctuations could affect development, but a national Government’s domestic policies played a critical role in removing obstacles to broad-based economic growth.


Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution on Mainstreaming of volunteering for the next decade (document A/C.3/67/L.8/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Japan, also on behalf of Brazil.  He said the spirit of volunteerism was growing throughout the world and expressed hope that volunteering would be integrated into activities during the coming decade.  He then made oral amendments to operative paragraphs 6 and 9, saying he hoped the text would be approved by consensus.


Before action, Cuba’s delegate said her country promoted volunteerism nationally and internationally, especially in the field of health, education and sports.  On operative paragraph 6, that should not prejudice Assembly resolution 67/290 (2012), notably the provision on the continuing discussions on human security.


Venezuela’s delegate explained her position on operative paragraph 6, saying her Government had joined consensus on resolution 67/290 (2012), on the basis of the need to work together to define the concept contained therein.  It was premature to force incorporation of that mention into this or any other resolution, as that would weaken the balance regarding understandings reached.  She opposed the idea of that mention setting a precedent, until the concept of human security achieved consensus.  Venezuela, however, joined consensus on the matter under discussion. 


Jamaica’s delegate said her Government supported volunteerism.  On operative paragraph 9, she agreed it should not prejudge the post-2015 development agenda.  She took that position on the resolution at hand and all others in the Third Committee.


The Committee then approved as orally revised the draft resolution on Mainstreaming of volunteering for the next decade.


It would have the Assembly commend the contributions from national and international volunteers for their fundamental role in the promotion of peace and development.  It would invite Member States and other stakeholders to favour the integrating of volunteering in all relevant issues of the United Nations as well as the elaboration of future sustainable development goals.


The Assembly would request United Nations Volunteers to continue their efforts to promote volunteerism, including through integration of volunteerism in peace and development as well as the development of innovative recruitment modalities, such as online volunteering.


By other terms, the Assembly would urge the United Nations Volunteers and other relevant United Nations organizations to promote a youth volunteer programme called for in the five-year action agenda of the Secretary-General, and would also urge all stakeholders to promote youth volunteering, including through the programme, in cooperation with the United Nations system, and it would invite Member States to consider voluntary contributions to the youth volunteering trust fund for the purpose of the programme.  It would request the Secretary-General to report to the Assembly’s seventieth session on the implementation of the present resolution, including an action plan to be developed by the United Nations Volunteers programme to integrate volunteering in peace and development in the next decade and beyond.


The Russian Federation’s delegate said he had not blocked adoption of the text by consensus.  Several of the text’s provisions, however, were not meaningful and did not advance the work of volunteers.  For example, the idea of human security could not add anything new to volunteering.  Attempts to include human security in the text were counter-productive and he registered concern that the comments of several delegations were ignored in negotiating the text.


The Committee turned its attention to a draft resolution on Preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family (document A/C.3/67/L.12/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Algeria, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  He said recognizing the need for increasing cooperation on family issues, the text underlined areas of poverty eradication, full employment, and international solidarity, among others, which could be viewed as reflecting the core themes of social development.  It was based on resolution 66/126 (2011).  It would draw further attention to the International Year.  He looked forward to its adoption by consensus.


The Committee then approved by consensus the draft resolution on Preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family.

By that text, the Assembly, recognizing that preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year in 2014 would provide an opportunity to draw attention to the Year’s objectives, would urge Member States to create a conducive environment to strengthen all families, recognizing that equality between women and men, and respect for the rights of all family members, was essential to society at large.  It would invite States to consider undertaking national activities in preparation for the anniversary.


After action, Cyprus’s delegate, on behalf of the European Union, recognized the crucial role of families in improving outcomes for children and young people, and shared the view of their valuable contribution to strengthening societies.  For such policies to succeed, they must be inclusive.  Families in the European Union continued to change, showing it was a dynamic entity.  “We must all continue to recognize this diversity”, he said.  He recognized all references to the term “family” as reflecting that diversity.


The representative of the United States said she was pleased to join consensus on the text, but would have preferred if the text referred to various forms of the family.


The draft resolution on follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/C.3/67/L.13/Rev.1) was also introduced by the representative of Algeria.


In a point of order, Greece’s delegate recalled a Security Council resolution, and said the country mentioned by Algeria as a co-sponsor of today’s draft should be referred to as the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.  He appealed to States to use that country’s proper name.


Algeria’s representative said the draft noted that urgent action was needed vis-à-vis the Madrid Plan of Action.  It encouraged the international community, including international and bilateral donors, to increase efforts to eradicate poverty and establish support for older persons, bearing in mind countries had the responsibility for their own economic and social development.  It recommended the situation of older persons be taken into account in the attainment of internationally agreed development goals, including in the post-2015 development agenda.  He then made minor editorial amendments to operative paragraph 22.


The Committee then approved as orally amended the draft resolution on follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing.


By that text, the Assembly would express deep concern that the situation of older persons in many parts of the world had been negatively affected by the world financial and economic crisis.  It would reaffirm the Political Declaration and the 2002 Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and would encourage Governments to pay greater attention to building capacity to eradicate poverty among older persons, in particular older women, by mainstreaming ageing issues into poverty eradication strategies and national development plans.


Governments would be invited to conduct their ageing related policies through participatory consultations with relevant stakeholders, and be encouraged to continue their efforts to mainstream the concerns of older persons into their policy agendas.  It would recommend that States reaffirm the role of United Nations focal points on ageing, increase technical cooperation, expand the role of regional commissions on ageing issues and provide more resources for such efforts.  The Secretary-General would be requested to continue his support to the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, within existing resources, and to organize a fourth working session in 2013.


Next, the draft resolution on 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.3/67/L.71) was introduced by Committee Vice-Chair DRAGANA SĆEPANOVIĆ ( Montenegro), who led consultations on the text.  She said the text was the result of three rounds of informal consultations and a set of bilateral meetings.  It encouraged progress in integrating a gender perspective into the United Nations.  It reiterated full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the outcome of the special session, as essential to attaining internationally agreed development goals.  It encouraged States to consider activities for commemorating the adoption of the Declaration and Platform for Action.


The Committee then approved without a vote the draft resolution on 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.


The text would have the Assembly express its deep conviction that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000:  gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, were important contributions to the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment, and must be translated into effective action by all States, the United Nations and other organizations.


By other terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the commitments to gender equality and women’s advancement made at the Millennium Summit and the 2005 World Summit, among other major meetings and summits, reaffirming also that their full, effective and accelerated implementation was integral to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.  It would also reaffirm commitments in regard to gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development.


Further, the Assembly would welcome the integration of a gender perspective into the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, commending UN-Women on its efforts to ensure coherence throughout the United Nations in its advocacy for gender equality and women’s empowerment in the context of sustainable development.  It would reiterate the call on the United Nations, including the Development Cooperation Forum of the Economic and Social Council, to increase efforts to fully mainstream a gender perspective into all issues under their consideration and within their mandates.


It also would reiterate that the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session was essential to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, calling for the goal of gender equality and women’s empowerment to feature prominently in discussions on the post-2015 development framework, bearing in mind the importance of mainstreaming a gender perspective.  The Secretary-General would be requested to redouble his efforts to make progress towards achieving the goal of 50/50 gender balance at all levels throughout the Organization.


After action, Algeria’s delegate, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, reaffirmed support for the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome of the Assembly’s special session.  Most of the Group’s proposals had been accommodated in the text’s language.


The Committee then took note of the Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its forty-ninth, fiftieth and fifty-first sessions (document A/67/38), as well as the Secretary-General’s note transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences (document A/67/227).


Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/67/L.61), which was introduced by the representative of Liberia, on behalf of the African Group.  She said that at the end of 2011, Africa had hosted one-quarter of the global refugee population.  She was concerned that insecurity had uprooted millions of people and prevented the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, who did not receive adequate protection.


She said the text recognized that host States had the primary responsibility for people on their territory, underlining the need for burden- and responsibility-sharing.  She highlighted African States’ burden in that regard.  Informal consultations and bilateral discussions had been held on the text.  She then read out oral amendments to preambular paragraphs 4, 5 and 10, as well as operative paragraph 19.  She looked forward to the text’s adoption by consensus.


The Committee then approved without a vote, as orally revised, the draft resolution on Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa.


By that text, the Assembly would call upon African Member States that had not yet signed or ratified the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa to consider doing so as early as possible in order to ensure its early entry into force and implementation.  It would note with great concern that, despite all efforts made so far by the United Nations, the African Union and others, the situation of refugees and displaced persons in Africa was precarious.


By other terms, it would call upon States and other parties to armed conflict to observe scrupulously the letter and spirit of international humanitarian law, bearing in mind that armed conflict is one of the principal causes of forced displacement in Africa.  Further, it would condemn all acts that threatened the personal security and well-being of refugees and asylum seekers and would call upon States of refuge, in cooperation with international organizations, to take all measures necessary to ensure respect for the principles of refugee protection.


Cyprus’s delegate, on behalf of the European Union, said the plight of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons was of great concern.  He regretted that a more transparent consultation process had not taken place.  That would have resulted in more European Union Member States co-sponsoring the draft resolution.


Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on the Rights of the child (document A/C.3/67/L.23/Rev.1).  The Secretary read an oral statement on budget implications, saying there would be no additional requirements under the programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013.


Introducing the draft text, the representative of Uruguay , on behalf of Latin American and Caribbean States, asked to postpone its adoption until the afternoon session.


Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on Global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action Document (document A/C.3/67/L.56/Rev.1).  The Secretary said action on this draft text would need to be postponed pending clearance by the budget division on the draft text.


Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/C.3/67/L.58), which was introduced by the representative of Cuba.  This resolution, which was annually presented to the Committee, recognized the importance of the Working Group on the matter and the continuity of the Special Rapporteur.  Cuba appreciated the support of co-sponsors and called upon all delegations to vote in favour of the draft text.


A recorded vote was requested on the draft resolution.


Cuba’s representative asked who had requested the vote.


The Chair said the United States had requested the vote.


Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Cyprus, on behalf of the European Union, said it shared many of the concerns of draft text.  However it believed neither the Third Committee nor the Human Rights Council were the proper forum where those matters should be addressed.  It was not appropriate to include private military companies in the resolution, as had been done since 2010.  Equating their regulation with mercenaries would be false and misleading.  Other frameworks could assist setting professional standards and monitoring and regulating private military company standards.  Therefore the member States were not in a position to support the resolution.  They would vote against the resolution, but were open to discussions in a more appropriate forum.


By a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 52 against, with 5 abstentions (Afghanistan, Colombia, Fiji, Mexico, Switzerland) the Committee approved the draft resolution on Use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/C.3/67/L.58).


It would have the Assembly urge States to exercise the utmost vigilance against the menace posed by mercenaries and take legislative measures to ensure that their territories – and territories under their control – were not used for the recruitment, assembly, financing, training, protection or transit of mercenaries.  It also would call on States that had not yet done so to consider acceding to or ratifying the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries.


By other terms, the Assembly would condemn recent mercenary activities in developing countries, and the threat they posed to the exercise of the right to self-determination.  The Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights would be requested to provide the Working Group on the use of mercenaries with all necessary support – professional and financial - for the fulfilment of its mandate, deciding to consider the question of the use of mercenaries at its sixty-eighth session.


Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Argentina said his delegation would like to express its support for the right to self determination.  In the specific case of the Malvinas Islands, the Special Committee on Decolonization stressed that it was a “special and particular” decolonization situation, expressly recognizing that a sovereignty dispute existed between Argentina and the United Kingdom.  It established that the way to put an end to it was through the resumption of bilateral negotiations, in order to find as soon as possible a just, peaceful and definitive solution to the controversy, taking into account the “interests” of the population on the islands.


Making a general statement, the representative of the United Kingdom said that her country had no doubt about its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands and surrounding areas.  There could be no negotiation on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands unless the residents so wished.  This year democratically elected representatives had expressed their opinions to the Decolonization Committee; no population had been removed from the islands when their families moved there generations ago, and they confirmed that they did not wish any change in the status of the islands.


Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on The United Nations human rights training and documentation centre for South-West Asia and the Arab region (document A/C.3/67/L.27/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Qatar.


The secretariat representative said an additional $50,900 for documentation services would be required in 2013.  No provision had been included in the 2012-2013 budget and an allocation of funds would be required.  However, all possible efforts would be made to absorb those requirements within existing resources.


Qatar’s delegate said his delegation had held a number of meetings to reach consensus on the draft and had been open to several proposals.  The text’s adoption would be a “landmark” phase in the Centre’s ability to fulfil its mandate to promote capacity in the field of human rights.  He hoped the text would be adopted by consensus.


The chair said a vote had been requested.


Qatar’s delegate asked which delegation had requested the vote.


The Chair responded that Syria’s delegate had requested the vote.


Speaking before the vote, Syria’s delegate said Qatar was trying to finance the centre from the United Nations budget, notwithstanding the crisis that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was experiencing.  Funding the centre from that budget was not in line with the centre’s founding resolution, which stated it should be based on voluntary contributions.  The centre, with its headquarters in Doha, was not a regional centre.  Qatar had used it as a national centre to serve its national agendas.  Preambular paragraph 8 confirmed that the centre had never been a regional one.


She said Qatar had violated the basic procedural matters of the Third Committee and working methods of the General Assembly, as it should have submitted its draft to the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).  It was strange that Qatar would propose using United Nations regular budget funds while spending billions of dollars on funding armed groups in Syria.  For such reasons, Syria would vote against the draft.


The United States’ delegate believed the centre played an important role for countries in that region.  She strongly supported its work and was disappointed the text could not be adopted by consensus.  The United States would vote yes and encouraged others to do the same.


By a vote of 149 in favour, to 1 against ( Syria) with 17 abstentions, the Committee approved the draft resolution on The United Nations human rights training and documentation centre for South-West Asia and the Arab region (document A/C.3/67/L.27/Rev.1).


By that text, the Assembly would welcome the training activities and regional consultations conducted by the United Nations Human Rights Training and Documentation Centre for South-West Asia and the Arab Region, and would note the support provided for the establishment of the Centre by the host country.  It would request the Secretary-General to provide funds and human resources from the regular budget of the United Nations, beginning in the biennium 2014-2015, to enable the Centre to respond positively and effectively to the growing needs in South-West Asia and the Arab region.


After action, Cyprus ’s delegate, on behalf of the European Union, said regional cooperation played a fundamental role in the promotion and protection of human rights.  He welcomed the assessment of the centre’s work to date.  It was appropriate to consider alternative funding, such as cost-sharing initiatives and voluntary contributions.  He was committed to implementation of human rights standards and full realizations of such rights for all.  It would seek ways to strengthen the centre’s mandate.  For such reasons, his delegation had voted in favour of the text.


Indonesia’s delegate said there had been an error in the voting.  He had voted in favour of the text.


The secretariat said the vote could not be corrected.  A footnote could be added explaining Indonesia’s vote.


Japan’s delegate said he had abstained from the vote, noting that his Government recognized the centre’s role in the region.  Japan was cautious about use of the regular budget.  Voluntary contributions, not the regular budget, should be considered.

The Committee turned to the draft resolution on Human rights and extreme poverty (document A/C.3/67/L.32/Rev.1*), which was introduced by the representative of Peru.  He said the main change in the text from that approved two years ago was that it would have the Assembly take note of the guiding principles adopted by the Human Rights Council in September.  Peru was convinced of the link between fighting extreme poverty and exercising human rights.  He hoped the text would be approved by consensus.


The Committee then approved by consensus the draft resolution on Human rights and extreme poverty.


By that text, the General Assembly would express deep concern that extreme poverty persisted in all countries of the world, regardless of their economic, social and cultural situation, and that its extent and its manifestations were particularly severe in developing countries.  It would also express deep concern that gender inequality, violence and discrimination exacerbated extreme poverty, disproportionally impacting women and girls.


Further, the Assembly would encourage Governments, relevant United Nations bodies, funds and programmes, specialized agencies, other intergovernmental organizations and national human rights institutions as well as non-governmental organizations and non-State actors, including the private sector, to consider the guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights, adopted by the Human Rights Council in September 2012, in the formulation and implementation of their policies and measures concerning persons affected by extreme poverty.  It would also request the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to disseminate the guiding principles, as appropriate, and decide to consider the question further at its sixty-ninth session under the sub-item entitled “Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.


After action the United States’ delegate was pleased to join consensus on the text and planned to continue working to eliminate poverty in the world.  She noted the guiding principles, as referenced, articulating useful guidelines for States in the formulation of poverty eradication programmes.  However, she reiterated concern that they included interpretations of human rights law with which the United States disagreed.


She said the United States’ joining with consensus did not imply that States must become parties to instruments to which they had not acceded.  The United States did not recognize any change in treaty or customary law.  The draft resolution also contained language on a global food crisis the United States considered inaccurate.  Factors such as food price volatility did not amount to a food crisis.  The World Food Programme (WFP) and others had attested to that.


Chile’s delegate said the text appropriately took note with appreciation on guiding norms adopted by the Human Rights Council for States in the creation of policies to eradicate extreme poverty.  States must bear in mind that it was not an option to deny the rights of those living in poverty.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights (document A/C.3/67/L.33), which was introduced by the representative of Egypt.  He said the distribution of globalization’s benefit did not favour developing countries.  The text urged addressing such challenges and mobilizing related resources.  It highlighted the importance of ensuring fair distribution of the benefits of globalization, while respecting the economic, social, cultural and other differences among countries.  Certain States refused to engage in a constructive dialogue with the co-sponsors on the basis of fundamental problems with the text.  The co-sponsors regretted such an approach and looked forward to more engagement with partners, in hope the text could be adopted by consensus.


The chair said a vote had been requested.


Egypt’s delegate asked which delegation had requested the vote.


The chair said the vote had been requested by the United States.


Before action, the representative of Cyprus, on behalf of the European Union, said he could not support the draft resolution.  The Union’s position had been clearly articulated in previous years.  Dealing with globalization’s effects had been high on the Union’s agenda, and it had acknowledged it could impact the full enjoyment of human rights.


But the text characterized globalization as affecting all rights, he said, which the Union could not support.  Globalization was a multidimensional phenomenon.  The text was unbalanced because of an almost exclusive focus on the negative aspects of globalization.  It could also offer the means to solve some of the most acute problems of the age.  The European Union would vote against the draft and asked others to do the same.


By a vote of 127 in favour to 52 against, the Committee then approved the draft resolution on Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights.


By that text, the General Assembly would emphasize the need to fully implement the global partnership for development and enhance the momentum generated by the 2005 World Summit to promote fair globalization and the development of the productive sectors in developing countries to enable them to participate more effectively in and benefit from the process of globalization.


It would express grave concern at the negative impact of international financial turmoil on social and economic development and on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly in the light of the continuing global financial and economic crisis, which had an adverse impact on the realization of the internationally agreed development goals, particularly the Millennium Development Goals, and recognizing that developing countries are in a more vulnerable situation when facing such impact and that regional economic cooperation and development strategies and programmes can play a role in mitigating such impact.  The Assembly would underline the urgent need to establish an equitable, transparent and democratic international system to strengthen and broaden the participation of developing countries in international economic decision-making and norm-setting.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the Committee on the Rights of the Child (document A/C.3/67/L.35).


Costa Rica’s delegate requested postponing action on the text until the afternoon.


The Chair then said action would be postponed until the afternoon.


Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution on The right to development (document A/C.3/67/L.39), which was introduced by the representative of Cuba, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  She said the text underscored the importance of implementing that right.  She made three oral amendments to the text, saying preambular paragraph 17 would be eliminated.  Operative paragraphs 2 and 5 would be combined in one paragraph.  She also added language to operative paragraphs 3 and 8.


The Chair said a recorded vote had been requested.


Cuba’s delegate asked which delegation had requested the vote.


The chair said the United States had made the request.


Before action, Iran’s delegate, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the full realization of the right to development and of peoples under foreign occupation to self-determination were fundamental to promoting a culture of peace and developing friendly relations among nations.  A constructive approach was needed to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Equal attention should be given to all rights.  He reaffirmed the need for a new global human order to reverse disparities between rich and poor through promotion of poverty eradication, decent work and social integration.


With that in mind, he said it was essential for States to combat extreme poverty and hunger, as well as foster participation of the poor in decision-making. He urged that human rights machinery ensure the right to development was operationalized, as a priority.  He called on the United Nations to mainstream that right in its policies and operational activities.  The text was an attempt to fulfil the Movement’s aspirations for development and prosperity.  He regretted that the text had been put to the vote.


The United States’ delegate said her Government strongly supported achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and was implementing a global development policy, which placed a premium on broad-based growth.  Progress depended on the choices of political leaders.  Where leaders set in place good policies, positive outcomes could be achieved.  In their absence, it would be difficult to sustain progress.  She agreed that economic development goals must be pursued in a way that took into account the development needs of present and future generations.


However, she said the United States would vote no on the text, as it did not reflect consensus on the best way to achieve such goals.  The draft should not include information on topics being discussed elsewhere.  The United States could not accept language in the text vis-à-vis a legal standard of a binding nature.  It must instead focus on the aspects that related to human rights and universal rights, including civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.  Those concerns had not been reflected in the text.  It would be important to consider criteria and indicators elaborated by the High-level Task Force.  Only after that would the United States be able to consider revisions to the Task Force’s work.  The United States would continue to engage with the Open-ended Working Group on the right to development to advance efforts on that important topic.


By a recorded vote of 147 in favour to 4 against (Canada, Israel, United Kingdom, United States) with 29 abstentions, the Committee then approved as orally amended the draft resolution on The right to development (document A/C.3/67/L.39).


By that text, the General Assembly would stress that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action reaffirmed the right to development as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights.  It would express deep concern about the negative impacts of the global economic and financial crises on the realization of the right to development, stressing that poverty eradication was critical in the promotion and realization of the right to development and that poverty was a multifaceted problem requiring a multifaceted and integrated approach.


Further, it would stress that it was important that the views requested of Member States and relevant stakeholders on the work of the high-level task force and the way forward take into consideration the essential features of the right to development.  It would urge developed countries to make concrete efforts towards meeting 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.  At the same time, it would encourage developing countries to build on the progress achieved in ensuring that official development assistance was used effectively to help to meet development goals and targets.  It would also call upon the United Nations to mainstream the right to development in its operational programmes and objectives.


After action Canada’s representative said she supported the concept of the right to development and placing the individual as the core beneficiary.  However, Canada had serious concerns about consideration of a legally binding instrument on the right to development.  As such, she had voted against the text.


The United Kingdom’s delegate said her Government was committed to the right of development, as stated in the Vienna Declaration, which was integral to fundamental human rights.  The United Kingdom continued to donate 0.7 of gross national income to official development assistance (ODA) and regretted that its concerns had not been addressed in the text.  States had the responsibility to create the conditions for the right to development.  The lack of development should not be used as pretext to curtail human rights.  Her country would continue to engage with the Open-ended working group, but that did not imply it would work towards a legally binding standard.  For such reasons, the United Kingdom could not vote in favour of the text.


Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on the rights of the child (document A/C.3/67/L.23/Rev.1).  Introducing the text, the delegate of Uruguay made oral revisions to preambular paragraphs 3, 6, 10, 14 and 15, as well as operative paragraphs 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 16 and 19.


The Chair asked Uruguay’s delegate if, in the interest of time, the Committee could adopt the draft, rather than read 10 pages of oral revisions.


Resuming, Uruguay’s delegate said the text was the result of extensive negotiations and had been enriched through informal consultations during the last month.  There was always a spirit of cooperation and the greatest possible efforts were made to consider delegations’ views.  The text included the rights of indigenous children.  The co-sponsors had studied each proposal to bring about a balanced text to achieve the greatest possible support and he called for the text’s adoption by consensus.


The Committee then approved by consensus the draft resolution on Rights of the child as orally revised, which contains some 50 paragraphs.


By its terms, the Assembly would call on States parties to withdraw reservations that were incompatible with the purpose of the Convention on the Rights of the Child or the Optional Protocols.  Elsewhere, States would be called upon to make efforts aimed at ensuring child well-being, eliminating violence against children, eradicating the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and addressing the issues of children in armed conflict, child labour and children with disabilities.


As regards the rights of indigenous children, States would be called on to take measures to protect them against all forms of discrimination, violence, abuse and exploitation, safeguard the realization of their right to access education, and protect them from physical and/or mental violence or exploitation.  The United Nations and Member States would be called on to strengthen international cooperation to ensure the realization of the rights of the child by supporting national efforts that emphasized the development of indigenous children.


After action, the United States’ delegate said her Government was pleased to join consensus on the draft resolution, noting the text’s highlighting of indigenous children’s needs.  The United States was deeply committed to promoting and protecting their rights, at home and worldwide.  Domestically, the United States had many programmes that demonstrated that commitment.  The United States had joined consensus with the understanding that it did not imply that States must become parties to instruments to which they had not acceded.


The United States did not recognize the creation of any new rights or expansion of other rights.  It understood the text’s reaffirmation of prior documents applied to those that had acceded to them.  In addition, the serious global economic situation made it imperative to scrutinize all United Nations expenditures and, where possible, to absorb costs within the regular budget.


The representative of Canada said her Government was happy to join consensus on the text and was committed to promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.  The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was a non-legally binding document that did not change Canadian laws.


The representative of the Russian Federation attached great importance to the omnibus resolution on children’s rights, saying her Government had joined consensus.  However, it had abstained from being a co-sponsor, as it did not agree with the idea of giving indigenous children separate rights.  The assumption of separate programmes for children of indigenous peoples, inter alia, in promoting education, health protection or combating violence, was counter-productive.  Instead of undertaking all possible efforts to eliminate barriers to indigenous children’s integration into society on equal footing with others, the co-sponsors were calling for creating a special regime for children of indigenous peoples, which would lead to their isolation.


She was seriously concerned that a major group — the United States, European Union and the Latin American and Caribbean Group — had reserved the right to resolve for everyone what should be done to promote children’s rights.  As regards many provisions, the co-sponsors had not been receptive to the views of other delegations.  She recalled that the resolution on the rights of the child had universal support in years past, as it had taken into account the views of all regions.  This year, however, the co-sponsors had imposed their views.  She hoped a more balanced approach would be taken in the future.


The representative of the Holy See said that, while he would have hoped for more time to discuss the text, this year’s focus on indigenous children was a welcome opportunity to stress the need to uphold the equal dignity and worth of all people.  He reiterated support for the text.  He was disappointed there was no reference to forced sterilizations and forced abortions, particularly against indigenous peoples.


That devastating scandal continued to wreak havoc on indigenous communities today, he said, noting that everyone had the right to life, liberty and security of person.  Such foundational principles could not be ignored when they became unpopular.  They must be implemented by all Governments.  He reaffirmed his reservations concerning references to sexual and reproductive health, as well as “gender”.  The expression “sexual and reproductive health” could not be understood to include abortion.  By gender, he understood that term to mean “male” and “female”.


The Committee then took note of the Report of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (document A/67/41) and the Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (document A/67/291).


Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on Global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action Document (document A/C.3/67/L.56/Rev.1).  The Secretary read out an oral statement of programme budget implications.


The representative of the Algeria, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, then introduced the draft text, saying the follow up had always been at the centre of the fight against racism.  Racial discrimination had manifested itself through new and modern technologies, making racial discrimination globalized, without respect for any borders.  The lack of political will to eliminate racism included strong resistance in dealing with historical injustices and issues of remedies and reparations, he said.  There existed other forms of comparative racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the plight of victims should be at the centre of efforts of the General Assembly.  The Group of 77 and China had tirelessly worked with other delegations in an open and constructive manner to find common ground on the text.  He made oral amendments to the text.


Israel’s representative said the Jewish people knew the evils of racism all too well.  Her country had always been a strong advocate in the fight against racism.  Israel expected that the imperative to tackle racism would unite Member States at the Durban Conference, but a small group of States had a different goal in mind.  The Durban Conference was hijacked by States who had hijacked so many other meetings for a destructive agenda.  It became a vehicle for mobilizing hatred against Israel, and Israel had no choice but to withdraw from the Conference and the follow up.  The text had positive aspects, but was contaminated by elements that should not be in there and, hence, Israel could not join consensus.  Israel remained committed to the fight against racism, but it was calling for a vote and would vote against the resolution.


Making a general statement, Algeria’s representative said it was the view of the Group of 77 and China that in this text the Assembly would have an inclusive process of consultation with all relevant stakeholders.  The draft resolution also addressed comparative manifestations of racial discrimination and touched on the significant work of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination and the issue of racism in sport.  He urged all delegations to vote in favour of the draft resolution.


Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, Norway’s representative, also on behalf of Iceland, Switzerland and Lichtenstein, said they supported last year’s resolution and had again engaged constructively to support the resolution this year.  They deeply regretted, however, the introduction of several paragraphs on racism or intolerance based on religion or belief which had not been taken into account, and disregarded other forms of discrimination.  The doubling of the number of such references weakened and undermined the struggle against racism, and for that reason they were compelled to abstain from the vote on the draft resolution.


The representative of the United States said her country remained firmly committed to battling racism against others.  However, based on its experiences, the best antidotes to offensive speech included robust legal protection against hate crimes and the vigorous defence of freedom of expression.  The United States concerns about the Durban Declaration, which included the singling out of Israel, were well known and therefore it could not support many elements of the resolution.  She regretted the United States must vote no.


The representative of Cyprus, on behalf of the European Union, said its Members remained fully committed to the principle goal of the Durban Conference.  He welcomed the open and constructive discussion on the draft text and the fact that it requested the President of the General Assembly to launch a preparatory process for the Decade of People of African Descent.  But, it regretted it could not support this year the inclusion of several paragraphs on religious intolerance, which was essentially different from racism.  There was a firm difference between what people believe and who they were, he said.  Religious intolerance was not a problem between nations, but primarily a challenge at national and local levels.  A more streamlined text focusing on the core text would unite Members on the resolution.  Members of the European Union would not be able to support the resolution this year, he said.


The draft was then approved by a recorded vote of 126 in favour to 6 against (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Marshall Islands, United States), with 47 abstentions.


By that text, the Assembly would underline the importance of Human Rights Council resolution 6/22 of 28 September 2007, in which the Council deplored the lack of political will to translate the Durban commitments into concrete action and tangible results.  It would further stress the importance of a consistent global effort to inform the public about the contribution that the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action has made in the struggle against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.


The Assembly would be alarmed at the increase in racist violence and xenophobic ideas in many parts of the world, in political circles, in the sphere of public opinion and in society at large as a result, inter alia, of the resurgent activities of associations established on the basis of racist and xenophobic platforms and charters and the persistent use of those platforms and charters to promote or incite racist ideologies.  It would also express grave concern that the principal objective of combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance has not been attained, in particular due to the lack of progress made in the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, in particular key paragraphs 157 to 159 thereof, and that countless human beings continue to be victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.


It would request the Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, relevant United Nations programmes and agencies and civil society, including non-governmental organizations, to launch a preparatory process, for the proclamation of the Decade for People of African Descent, with the theme, “People of African descent:  recognition, justice and development”, with a view to proclaiming it in 2013, and to report to the Assembly before the end of its sixty-seventh session on the practical steps to be taken to make the decade effective.


Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, Mexico’s representative called upon delegations to maintain the balance that was important on this issue.


The representative of the Czech Republic said fighting racial discrimination was a long-term priority of his country, but it regretted it had less than two weeks to negotiate a text of more than 80 paragraphs.  The Durban Declaration was a relevant tool in fighting racism, and all victims of racism should be treated equally.  The Czech Republic was sceptical about the Decade of Peoples of African Descent.  The resolution, as a whole, did not do justice to the matter of racial discrimination, and unfortunately the Czech Republic voted no to the resolution.


Uganda’s representative asked to reflect her country’s vote in support of the draft resolution.


The Committee then took note of the Report of the Secretary-General on global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/67/325) and the Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the interim report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/67/326).


The Committee next turned to the draft resolution on Protection of migrants (document A/C.3/67/L.40/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Mexico.  She said the migratory phenomenon had brought with it significant challenges and she recalled in that regard, that new United Nations human rights treaties mentioned the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families.  She reiterated the importance of that treaty being ratified.  The General Assembly would hold a high-level dialogue on migration.  She then made a few oral amendments to the text.


The Committee then approved by consensus the draft resolution on Protection of migrants as orally revised.


By that text, the General Assembly would emphasize the global character of the migratory phenomenon, the importance of international, regional and bilateral cooperation and dialogue in that regard, as appropriate, and the need to protect the human rights of migrants, particularly at a time in which migration flows have increased in the globalized economy and take place in a context of new security concerns.  It would call on States to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migration status.


The Assembly would expresses its concern about the impact of financial and economic crises on international migration and migrants, and in that regard urge Governments to combat unfair and discriminatory treatment of migrants, in particular migrant workers and their families.


Further, it would stress the importance of international, regional and bilateral cooperation in the protection of the human rights of migrants, and therefore, encourage States to take the measures necessary to achieve policy coherence on migration at the national, regional and international levels, including by ensuring coordinated child protection policies and systems across borders that are in full compliance with international human rights law.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all (document A/C.3/67/L.41), which was introduced by the representative of Cuba.  She said only the promotion of peace could ensure human rights for all.


The Chair said a vote had been requested.


Cuba’s delegate asked which delegation had requested the vote.


The Chair said a vote had been requested by Cyprus’s delegate, on behalf of the European Union.


Cyprus’s delegate, on behalf of the European Union, explained his vote before the vote, stressing the strong commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law.  The absence of peace could not justify failure to respect human rights.  The text failed to touch on State duties towards their citizens and consider an important part of the Committee’s mandate.


He also highlighted that the Human Rights Council’s decision to establish a working group to writeadeclaration on the right to peace was controversial.  There was no consensus on that right in international law.  It was potentially inconsistent with international norms, including the United Nations Charter.  He could thus not support the Council’s decision and therefore could not support the resolution and would vote against it.


Also explaining her vote, the United States delegate said her country would address each issue in the appropriate United Nations body.  She was concerned the text did not serve the stated purpose of promoting peace.  She did not agree with language welcoming the decision of the Human Rights Council to establish an intergovernmental working group, which would draft a declaration covering issues that were unrelated to the cause of peace and, at worst, detrimental to that cause.  She did not agree with the suggestion that there was a collective right to peace, and that text contained inconsistent interpretations of international law.  She would vote no on the text and suggested others to do the same.


By a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 53 against, with 5 abstentions (Afghanistan, Armenia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Singapore) the Committee approved the draft resolution on Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all (document A/C.3/67/L.41).


By that text, the Assembly would reaffirm that peoples had a sacred right to peace and that preservation of that right was a fundamental State obligation.  It would stress that peace was vital for the promotion and protection of all human rights, stressing that the deep fault line dividing human society between rich and poor and the ever-increasing gap between the developed and developing worlds posed a major threat to global prosperity, peace and security and stability.


By other terms, the Assembly would emphasize that the preservation and promotion of peace demanded that State policies be directed towards eliminating the threat of war.  It would also welcome the Human Rights Council’s decision to establish an open-ended working group with the mandate of progressively negotiating a draft United Nations declaration on the right to peace.  It would invite all States and relevant United Nations human rights mechanisms to continue paying attention to the importance of mutual cooperation in ensuring the promotion and protection of human rights.


After action, Ethiopia’s delegate said he had voted in favour of the text.


The Committee then turned to the draft text on The right to food (document A/C.3/67/L.42/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Cuba.  She said that with the global food crisis, many people were suffering.  An estimated 870 million people suffered from hunger and malnutrition and it was worrisome that 98 per cent of them lived in developing countries.  She urged international financial institutions and others to work to end the food crisis and defend food security.  She then made amendments to preambular paragraph 9, and another such paragraph, and included a new paragraph after operative paragraph 9.


The Committee then approved by consensus the text on The right to food as orally revised, which would have the Assembly reaffirm that hunger constituted an outrage and a violation of human dignity, requiring the adoption of urgent measures at the national, regional and international levels for its elimination.  It would also reaffirm the right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient, nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and to be free from hunger.  The Assembly would consider it intolerable that more than one third of children who died each year before 5 years of age did so from hunger-related illness.


With that in mind, the Assembly would encourage all States to take steps to achieve the full realization of the right to food.  It would recognize that 80 per cent of hungry people lived in rural areas, and the need to strengthen national commitment, as well as international assistance towards the full realization and protection of the right to food.


After action, the United States delegate said her Government was pleased to join consensus on the text.  On language regarding the world food crisis, she said the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) had issued warnings about price volatility, but had made clear that that did not constitute a global food crisis.  The text omitted the role of conflict and the lack of good governance in causing food insecurity.  She agreed that there was food insecurity in the Horn of Africa, where 8.2 million people were experiencing food insecurity.


The United States was not a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, she said, and joining today’s text did not mean the United States recognized any change in the state of customary or international law vis-à-vis food rights.  The text’s references to State obligations were applicable to the extent they had assumed such obligations.  She did not concur that States had any extraterritorial obligations with respect to the right to food, also reiterating concern about unattributed statements of a scientific or technical nature and with which the United States did not agree.


Also, the United States was committed to trade liberalization, she said, clarifying that the text would not undermine the commitments of the United States or others in existing trade agreements or mandates of ongoing trade negotiations.  The implementation of World Trade Organization Agreement on trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS) meant the United States was subject to obligations contained therein.  Those obligations encouraged policies that enabled countries to use policies that increased agricultural productivity.


Canada’s delegate said her Government was pleased to join consensus, but had concerns about operative paragraph 29.  There was no link between the trade-related intellectual property rights and concepts of food security and the right to food.  Operative paragraph 29 did not suggest that States make interpretations of that Agreement.  Canada continued to support the realization of the right to adequate food.


Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution on Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (document A/C.3/67/L.43), which was introduced by the representative of Cuba.  She said the text called on the Secretary-General and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to continue to cooperate with the independent expert in the fulfilment of her mandate. She called on all delegations to support the text.


The Chair said a recorded vote had been requested


Cuba’s delegate asked which delegation had requested the vote.


The Chair said Cyprus’s delegate, on behalf of the European Union, had requested the vote


Turkmenistan’s delegate said he had voted in favour of resolution “L.41”, which was just approved.


Cyprus’s delegate, on behalf of the European Union, said it was necessary to work towards a democratic and equitable international order.  Having considered the independent expert’s report, and the draft resolution put forward by Cuba, the Union believed that a significant number of defining elements in the text extended beyond the United Nations human rights agenda.  As such, the European Union would vote against it.


By a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 52 against, with 7 abstentions ( Afghanistan, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru and Samoa), the Committee then approved the draft resolution on Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.


By that text, the General Assembly would be deeply concerned that the current global economic, financial, energy and food crises represented a global scenario that was threatening the adequate enjoyment of all human rights and widening the gap between developed and developing countries.  It would stress that efforts to make globalization fully inclusive and equitable must include policies and measures at the global level that corresponded to the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition and were formulated and implemented with their effective participation.  It would also stress the need for adequate financing and technology transfer to developing countries.


The Assembly would be resolved to take all measures within its power to secure a democratic and equitable international order, and would resolve that such an order required, inter alia, realization of the right of peoples and nations to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources; the right of all peoples to development; promotion and consolidation of transparent, democratic, just and accountable international institutions in all areas of cooperation; promoting of a free, just, effective and balanced international information and communications order; and the enjoyment by everyone of ownership of the common heritage of mankind in connection to the public right of access to culture.


Further, it would request the Secretary-General and OHCHR to continue to provide all the human and financial resources necessary for the effective fulfilment of the independent expert’s mandate.  Governments would be called on to supply all requested information to the Independent Expert and consider responding favourably to his request to visit their countries.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on Missing persons (document A/C.3/67/L.46), which was introduced by the representative of Azerbaijan.  He said the main message of the text was about calling on States to take measures to prevent persons from going missing in connection with armed conflict.  It took into account the latest developments reflected in the Secretary-General’s report.  It invited States to develop archives and provide access to them.  He hoped the text would be adopted by consensus.


The Committee then approved by consensus the draft resolution on Missing persons.


By its terms, the Assembly would urge States to respect and ensure respect for international law, as set out in the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.  States parties to armed conflict would be called on to take all measures to prevent persons from going missing, account for persons reported missing as a result of such a situation, and ensure the investigation and prosecution of offences linked to missing persons.


By other terms, the Assembly would call on States parties to armed conflict to take timely measures to determine the identity and fate of persons reported missing in connection with the conflict, recognizing, in that regard, that the means of identification and the collection of data on missing persons and unidentified remains must be in accordance with international and national legal norms.  The Assembly would also stress the need to address the issue of missing persons as part of peace and peacebuilding processes, inviting relevant human rights mechanisms to address the problem in connection with armed conflicts in their forthcoming reports to the Assembly.


Next, the representative of the United Arab Emirates asked that the draft resolution on Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief (document A/C.3/67/L.47) be deferred until Friday.


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on Preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (document A/C.3/67/L.18/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Colombia.  She said corruption had a negative affect on the legitimacy of institutions and their functioning.  The text focused on recovery and return of assets that had been affected by corruption.  She read out an amendment to operative paragraph 18.  She hoped the text would be adopted by consensus.


The Committee then approved as orally revised the draft resolution on Preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption.


By that text, the Assembly would condemn corruption in all its forms, including bribery, as well as the laundering of proceeds of corruption and other forms of economic crime.  It would call upon States parties to the Convention that have not yet done so to designate a central authority for international cooperation under the Convention and, where appropriate, focal points for asset recovery, and also would call upon States parties to give timely consideration to the assistance requests made by such authorities.


By other terms, it would stress the need for transparency in financial institutions, would invite States to work on the identification and tracing of financial flows linked to corruption, the freezing or seizing of assets derived from corruption and the return of such assets, and encourage the promotion of human and institutional capacity-building in that regard.  It would reiterate its call upon the private sector to continue to promote corporate responsibility and accountability.


After action, Liechtenstein’s delegate supported the decision to consider the combat of corruption from a human rights perspective in the Committee.  There was a lack of balance in the text and a selective reference to balanced instruments like the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  The Committee was not appropriate place for it to be adopted.  He hoped substantive improvements would be possible in the future.


Switzerland’s delegate said the terms of reference of the Convention’s review mechanism stated that it should be transparent and inclusive.  Switzerland regretted that those qualities had not been properly addressed in the text.  Transparency was integral to the fight against corruption and crucial to the implementation of the Convention.  He regretted that important stakeholders like civil society could not participate in the review mechanisms.


The Committee then took note of the Secretary-General’s report on the follow-up to the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/67/97)and the Secretary-General’s note transmitting the report of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against corruption on its fourth session (document A/67/218).


The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the Committee on the Rights of the Child (document A/C.3/67/L.35).


Costa Rica’s delegate asked whether the Committee would reconvene on Friday, 30 November.


The Chair responded that the Committee would proceed with the draft at hand.  The Committee would need to continue its work on another day.


Costa Rica’s delegate requested that the current text be postponed, due to matters of a financial nature that were not yet available.


The representative of the secretariat said interpretation was available until 6:15 p.m.  The Committee could continue to work in English only after that point.


Cuba’s delegate said consideration of draft resolutions should continue in all official languages.


Pakistan’s delegate said it was routine that the Committee worked overtime.  It was surprising that there would be no more interpretation.  The secretariat should have taken care of that in advance.  He requested half an additional hour of time.


The Chair said he had sent an e-mail to the Assistant Secretary-General and the response was negative.  It responded there would be services only until 6:15 p.m.


Cuba’s delegate asked the secretariat to make efforts to have interpretation for an additional hour.


The Chair said the only choice he could offer was to continue the meeting in English only.  He asked the secretariat if anything more could be done.  Resuming, he said the Committee could only continue without interpretation.  He asked Costa Rica’s delegate to proceed in English.


Costa Rica’s delegate, also on behalf of Slovenia, introduced the draft resolution on the Committee on the Rights of the Child (document A/C.3/67/L.35).  The text aimed to allow the Committee to conduct its work in one of its pre-sessions in parallel chambers to avoid that the report backlog did not reach unmanageable proportions.  He then made oral revisions to the text.


The secretariat said that, after consultations on the possible revisions now before the Committee, the programme budget implications associated with the text had been withdrawn.


The Committee approved as orally revised the draft resolution on the Committee on the Rights of the Child.


By that text, the General Assembly would reaffirm the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocols thereto.  It would, however, note that that a backlog of more than 100 reports existed related to the submission by States parties of their reports under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocols in conformity with their obligations, and would note with concern that if this backlog was not addressed, it would impede the ability of the Committee on the Rights of the Child to consider reports in a timely manner.


It would also decide to authorize the Committee, without prejudice to the intergovernmental process of the General Assembly on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system, to meet in parallel chambers, of nine members each, for the five working days of one of its three pre-sessional working group meetings in 2013 and thirteen working days of one of its three regular sessions in 2014, for the purposes of considering the reports of the States parties submitted under article 44 of the Convention, article 8 of the Optional Protocol thereto on the involvement of children in armed conflict and article 12 of the Optional Protocol thereto on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, taking due account of equitable geographical distribution and the principal legal systems.


After action, the representative of the Russian Federation was disappointed that proper conference services had not been reserved for the meeting.  It appeared there was discrimination against the Third Committee, as it was the only one not given such services after the recent Hurricane Sandy.  The Russian Federation did not interpret operative paragraph 4 as having any impact on the conduct of the General Assembly’s intergovernmental process on strengthening the treaty body system.  Page limits were to be discussed in that process.


Japan’s delegate shared the concern that the Committee faced a large backlog and for that reason, his Government had joined consensus.  However, he regretted the text had been presented at a late stage, giving little opportunity for discussion.  It was crucial to seek a long-term solution to the backlog problem.


The United Kingdom’s delegate regretted that her Government had had to disassociate from consensus on the text.  The almost universal ratification of the Convention was an achievement and a way must be found for the Committee to carry out its tasks effectively.  It was clear that the proposal would not solve the backlog problem.  It had been approved as a temporary measure.  She regretted the draft had been presented so late.  While she appreciated efforts to answer her questions, she was disappointed that her Government’s concerns had not been taken into account.  Some proposals that addressed concerns over costs had not been reflected.


The United States’ delegate supported the Committee on the Rights of the Child, but disassociated from consensus, as the text would result in an increase in spending over the years.  The current economic situation meant remaining attentive to financial constraints.  The United States emphasized the need to enhance the effectiveness of all treaty bodies, including through the treaty body strengthening process.


Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief (document A/C.3/67/L.47), which was introduced by the representative of the United Arab Emirates, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.  He said that the draft resolution had undergone extensive negotiations since it was tabled on November 20.  He read out revisions to the text.


Making a statement in explanation of position, the representative of Cyprus, on behalf of the European Union, said ongoing dialogue about these important matters was the only way forward.  It would continue to condemn any violence based on religion or belief, but still attached importance to freedom of expression.  The international community needed to consolidate its response to counter those who used religion to fuel extremism.  It was also important that no one may invoke cultural diversity to infringe upon rights guaranteed under international law.  Religious freedom was primarily a threat to individuals at local and international levels.  There was an international dimension to intolerance, but at the same time it was the responsibility of States to make clear that such intolerance was the expression of individuals.  All persons belonging to religious communities should be allowed to practice their religion without fear of attacks.  Members of the European Union hoped next year the main sponsors would be able to reflect these views in their text.  In light of those comments, the Members of the European Union were ready to join consensus on the draft resolution.


The Committee adopted the draft resolution on Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief (document A/C.3/67/L.47) by consensus.


It would have the Assembly express deep concern at derogatory stereotyping, negative profiling and stigmatization of persons based on their religion or belief.  It would express concern that the incidence of religious intolerance continued to rise in some parts of the world, condemning any advocacy of religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.


It would call on States to encourage the creation of collaborative networks to build mutual understanding and inspire action towards shared policy goals.  States also would be called on to encourage training of Government officials, speak out against intolerance, and adopt measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief.  States also would be called on to ensure that public functionaries did not discriminate against a person on that basis, to foster religious freedom and pluralism, and to adopt measures and policies to promote full respect for and protection of places of worship and religious sites.


Speaking after adoption, the representative of the United States heartily welcomed the consensus on the draft resolution.  Violence was never an appropriate response to speech — rather, the appropriate response was contrary speech.


Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution on Freedom of religion or belief (document A/C.3/67/L.48), which was introduced by the representative of Cyprus, speaking on behalf of the European Union.  The draft resolution highlighted the role of education and dialogue as constructive means to promote tolerance, respect and understanding, he said.  He made some oral amendments.  He was confident the resolution would, as in previous years, be adopted by consensus.


Making a general statement, Iran’s representative said in the course of recent years there had been steady dangerous trends to harm central aspects of human rights.  Regretfully, recently some insulted Muslim sanctities with an internet film, part of an ongoing anti-Muslim campaign which would, if continued, legitimize practices against them.  It was urgent for all States to uphold obligations under human rights law on incitement to hatred.


The Committee then adopted the draft resolution on Freedom of religion or belief (document A/C.3/67/L.48), as orally revised, by consensus.


It would have the Assembly strongly condemn all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief, as well as violations of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, stressing that the right to such freedoms applied equally to all persons.  The Assembly would also emphasize that no religion should be equated with terrorism.


As such, the Assembly would urge States to step up their efforts to protect and promote freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, and to that end, ensure that legislation was not implemented in a discriminatory manner, end violations of women’s human rights, and ensure that no one was discriminated against on the basis of religion or belief when accessing education, medical care, employment, humanitarian assistance or social benefits.  The Assembly would stress the importance of strengthened dialogue in all its forms, recommending that States, the United Nations and other actors, ensure the widest possible dissemination of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.


Speaking after adoption, Turkey’s representative said it was glad the draft resolution had been adopted by consensus.  Turkey was not able to co-sponsor this draft resolution and others due to its longstanding position on the Cyprus issue.


The representative of Cyprus expressed regret for the statement by the delegate of Turkey, which chose to politicize the Committee.  As a Member State of the United Nations, Cyprus fully participated in the work of the United Nations, including through its current presidency of the European Union.


The Committee then took note of the Report of the Human Rights Committee (document A/67/40) volumes I and II, the Report of the Secretary-General on the status of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery (document A/67/269) and the Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Chairs of the human rights treaty bodies on their twenty-fourth meeting (document A/67/22), under agenda item 69 (a).


Under agenda item 69 (b), the Committee took note of the Report of the Secretary-General on the right to development (document A/67/159), the Report of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (document A/67/56), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the independent expert on minority issues (document A/67/293), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (document A/67/285), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights (document A/67/287), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (document A/67/396), and the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (document A/67/292).


It also took note of the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (document A/67/289), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the independent expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights (document A/67/304), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the independent expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights (document A/67/304), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination in this context (document A/67/286), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education (document A/67/310).


It also took note of the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence (document A/67/368), the note by the Secretariat on the report of the Working Group on the Right to Development on its thirteenth session (document A/67/178), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers (document A/67/305), the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (document A/67/302), and the note of the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression (document A/67/357).


Under agenda item 69 (c), the Committee took note of the Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (document A/67/379).


Next, the Committee turned to the draft decision entitled Programme Planning (document A/C.3/67/L.73).  The Chair introduced the text, saying it had been submitted to him on the basis of informal consultations, and thanking the facilitators, and representatives from Egypt and Mexico.  “This has been, as you know, a very difficult process that the Third Committee is called upon to engage in from time to time,” the Chair said.

Egypt’s representative described the programme planning framework, saying the Committee had before it two documents.  The first page of “L.73” contained a decision.  The “Contents” page of the second untitled document came next.  Then, page 2 of “L.73” would be inserted.  After page 12 of “L.73” — the last page — the first page of the untitled document would be inserted as page 13, with the headline “legislative mandates”.  That was the structure in which the document should have been produced.


Mexico’s delegate described the process to accommodate the various views and positions, saying that different amendments had been made over long hours of negotiation to present a text he believed provided the best basis for consensus.


The Chair said a recorded vote had been requested on Programme Planning (document A/C.3/67/L.73).


Egypt’s delegate asked which delegation had requested a vote.


The Chair responded that Israel’s delegation had requested the vote.


Making a general statement before action, Cape Verde’s delegate, on behalf of the African Group, said the promotion and protection of human rights was a core United Nations mandate, and as such, he supported the work carried out by the High Commissioner.  His delegation had engaged fully in negotiations on the text.


He said the co-facilitators had held several consultations in an open and transparent manner.  All had been given adequate time to present proposals.  Not all proposals were accommodated, but the balanced text represented diverse positions.  The final document charted the way forward for the Office of the High Commissioner.  He was pleased about a clear mandate for the High Commissioner to support country leadership and expressed hope the High Commissioner would operationalize such programmes.  The final document was not perfect.  He would have liked if more of his proposals had been included.  “But, this is the nature of the negotiating process,” he said, urging support for the text and to reject any amendment.


The representative of Trinidad and Tobago, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said it was unfortunate that the Committee had been unable to arrive at consensus on the text, which had taken into account the concerns of all delegations as far as possible.  It reflected the best possible compromise.  She expressed continued support for the High Commissioner for Human Rights.


The secretariat representative corrected the title of “L.73” to “Programme 20, Human rights of the proposed strategic framework for the period 2014-2015”.


By a recorded vote of 161 in favour to 3 against (Canada Israel and United States) and 7 abstentions (Afghanistan, Australia, Belarus, Cambodia, Iran Samoa, Syria), the Committee approved the draft decision on Programme Planning (document A/C.3/67/L.73).


Explaining his vote after the vote, Cyprus’s delegate, on behalf of the European Union, said OHCHR was critical to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.  He would have liked that the text would have been approved by consensus.  He voted in favour of it, and in doing so, expressed support for the work being carried out by the Office.

Israel’s delegate had asked to amend only two points in the text, including the reference to “ Durban”.  Some paragraphs of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action were politicized and should not have been part of that Declaration in the first place.  Israel had merely asked that the text refer to the follow-up focus on the relevant provisions of the Declaration.  Israel also opposed the reference to Human Rights Council resolution 19/17 (2012).  For such reasons, her Government had voted against the text.


The representative of the Russian Federation supported the adoption of programme 20, which was an extremely important document outlining the aims of the High Commissioner in the near future.  That was why he had voted in favour of the text.  Unfortunately, it was not a perfect document, but it represented the best option that could have been achieved.  It was important for the High Commissioner to abide by General Assembly resolution 60/251 (2006) and another which outlined its mandate and authority.  His Government was open for dialogue with the Office and was ready to assist it.


Australia’s delegate said her Government strongly supported the High Commissioner.  She was disappointed that the Committee had not reached consensus on programme planning.  She was disappointed at language relating to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.


Cuba’s delegate said his Government agreed the document was not perfect, but it represented the views of the majority of delegations.  He had expected that consensus would have been reached.  The text would provide the High Commissioner with all necessary guidelines for its work in the future and he expected them to be fully implemented.


China’s delegate made a general comment on the proposed strategic framework for the 2014-2015 period, saying her country attached importance to the Office of the High Commissioner.  She had provided proposals, but regretfully, many of them had not been reflected.  She expressed concern over that fact.  She underlined the need for the Office to respect the principles of impartiality and non-selectivity in promoting social and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights in a balanced manner.


The United States’ delegate was disappointed that consensus had not been reached and that she had not been able to vote for the text.  The United States could not agree to language calling on OHCHR to prioritize implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.


She said the United States was committed to finding ways to work together to make the right for development a uniting, rather than divisive, issue.  The text inappropriately emphasized that issue for special attention by the Office, an agency charged with promoting and protecting all human rights.  The Office must remain able to exercise its mandate without fear of reprisal from Governments that wished to avoid scrutiny.


Switzerland’s delegate, speaking also on behalf of Liechtenstein and Norway, voted in favour of the text and its addendum, regretting that consensus could not agree on the text presented in June this year.  The Office’s independence must be observed.  She regretted the decision could not be approved by consensus.


Finally, the Committee turned its attention to the tentative programme of work of the Third Committee for the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, submitted by the Chair of the Committee (document A/C.3/67/L.72).


The Secretariat said the work of the Human Rights Council had been inadvertently omitted from the text.  The text would be reissued to correctly reflect that important inclusion.


The Committee then approved the tentative programme of work of the Third Committee for the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, submitted by the Chair of the Committee (document A/C.3/67/L.72).


The secretariat informed the Committee that an oral statement related to “Realizing the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities towards 2015 and beyond” (document A/C.3/67/L.10/Rev.1) had been withdrawn by the budget division.


The Philippines’ delegate wanted to make clear that the Philippines had carried out consultations with utmost transparency and had been informed by the budget division there would be no programme budget implications.  It came as a surprise the text had been approved with their inclusion.  He was dissatisfied that the Committee had been forced take action on the basis of the wrong information.  He suggested measures be corrected.


The Committee then heard the representatives of the United Kingdom and Egypt recite traditional poems to mark the end of the Third Committee.


Closing remarks


Thanking delegations for their work, Chair HENRY L. MAC-DONALD ( Suriname) said “it was a smooth ride”, noting his pleasure at the Committee’s excitement and focus on results.  With that, he declared the meeting officially closed, to a burst of applause.


* *** *


For information media • not an official record