7 November 2013
General Assembly
GA/SHC/4087

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

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Third Committee

43rd Meeting (PM)


Third Committee Approves Three Draft Resolutions, Including One


Addressing Needs of Rural Women

 


Other Texts Highlight Year of Family, International Human Rights Covenants


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) approved three draft resolutions today, including one addressing the needs of women in rural areas and another highlighting the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family to be observed in 2014.


By the terms of the first text, titled “Improvement of the situation of women in rural areas” (document A/C.3/68/L.25/Rev.1), the General Assembly would urge Member States to attach greater importance to improving the situation of rural women, including indigenous women, in their national, regional and global development strategies.  It would also request the relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system, in particular those dealing with issues of development, to address and support the empowerment of rural women and their specific needs.


While the Committee approved the draft resolution without a vote, a number of delegations expressed reservations about inheritance and reproductive rights, as mentioned in certain operative paragraphs.


By the terms of a second text, titled “Preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family” (document A/C.3/68/L.16/Rev.1), the General Assembly would devote one plenary meeting to the observance during its sixty-ninth session in 2014 and discuss the role of family‑oriented policies in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.  The Assembly would also urge Member States to view 2014 as a target year by which concrete efforts would be made to improve family well-being through the implementation of effective national policies, strategies and programmes.


Following the Committee’s approval of that text, again without a vote, several delegations said that the term “family” was understood to include various types of family.


Acting once again without a vote, the Committee approved a third draft resolution, titled “International Covenants on Human Rights” (document A/C.3/68/L.32), by which the General Assembly would invite the Chairs of the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to engage in an interactive dialogue during its sixty-ninth and seventieth sessions.


Speaking during the Committee’s action on the drafts were representatives of Lithuania (on behalf of the European Union), United States, Qatar, Israel, Mongolia, Chile, Bahrain(on behalf of the Gulf States), Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Iran, Mauritania, Angola, Senegal, Nigeria, Niger, El Salvador, Canada as well as the observer for the Holy See.


Presenting draft resolutions for the Committee’s consideration were representatives of Finland (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Brazil, Germany, Cuba, United States, Austria, Lithuania (on behalf of the European Union) and Canada.


Representatives of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran expressed their objections to the texts just tabled, which related to human rights in their respective countries.


The Third Committee will meet again on Tuesday, 12 November, to take action on additional draft resolutions.


Background


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this afternoon to take action on pending draft resolutions.


Introduction of Draft Resolutions


The representative of Finland introduced draft resolutions titled, respectively, “Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees” (document A/C.3/68/L.46) and “Human Rights Committee” (document A/C.3/68/L.31).


The representatives of Brazil and Germany presented a draft on “The right to privacy in the digital age” (document A/C.3/68/L.45).


The representative of Cuba submitted drafts on “The right to development” (document A/C.3/68/L.35); “Human rights and cultural diversity” (document A/C.3/68/L.36); “Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights” (document A/C.3/68/L.37); “Promotion of equitable geographical distribution in the membership of the human rights treaty bodies” (document A/C.3/68/L.38); and “Human rights and unilateral coercive measures” (document A/C.3/68/L.39).


The representative of the United States tabled a draft resolution titled “Strengthening the role of the United Nations in enhancing periodic and genuine elections and the promotion of democratization” (document A/C.3/68/L.41).


The representative of Austria introduced a draft on “Effective promotion of the Declaration on the Rights of persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities” (document A/C.3/68/L.51).


The representative of Lithuania presented, on behalf of the European Union, drafts on the “Situation of human rights in Myanmar” (document A/C.3/68/L.55) and the “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” (document A/C.3/68/L.56).


The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea asked the European Union to withdraw the text concerning his country, describing its contents as “fabricated”.

The representative of Canada submitted a draft resolution on the “Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran” (document A/C.3/68/L.57).


The representative of Iran said her country was committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and requested Member States to reject the text.


Action on Draft Resolutions


Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution on the preparations for the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family.


After that action, the representative of Lithuania, speaking on behalf of the European Union, stressed the great importance of the family and the need to develop policies reflecting that.  However, the term “family” should be understood as inclusive and reflective of diversity in the family.


The representative of the United States said she recognized the importance of the family in raising children, adding that he looked forward to considering all types of families, including those headed by single mothers and same-sex couples.


The representative of Qatar, associating herself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said her delegation took great pride as a co‑sponsor of the draft, highlighting the role of the family in bringing up children, the importance of paternal involvement in child-rearing and the need to address domestic violence and other elements that caused family dysfunction.


The representative of Israel said her delegation understood the term “family” to mean all types of families.


The Committee then approved a draft resolution titled “Improvement of the situation of women in rural areas” (document A/C.3/68/L.25/Rev.1).


Speaking before the approval, the representative of Mongolia said the delegation of El Salvador had asked to withdraw its name from the list of co‑sponsors.


Following the approval, the representative of Chile emphasized that “promotion and protection of women’s reproductive rights” did not imply that Chile would accept the practice of abortion.


The observer for the Holy See echoed that statement, expressing support for the text’s reference to maternal health.  He warned, however, against “misconstrued” recourse to abortion, stressing that it should not be used as a family planning tool.


Also expressing reservations concerning the paragraph mentioning “reproductive rights” were representatives of Bahrain, on behalf of the Gulf States; Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Iran, Mauritania, Angola and Senegal, who variously said either that the provision would contravene Sharia (Islamic law) or national legislation and tradition as followed in their respective countries.


The representative of the United States reaffirmed that women’s rights rested on recognition of their right to decide freely and responsibly on matters relating to their sexuality.


The representative of Israel, speaking as one the draft’s co-sponsors, confirmed her delegation’s full support for the entire text.


The delegations of Nigeria, Mauritania and Niger expressed reservations about the text’s reference to the “equal right to inheritance”.


The representative of El Salvador clarified that his country’s withdrawal as a co-sponsor was based on “purely procedural reasons”, explaining that the draft was “premature”.


Taking up the draft resolution titled “International Covenants on Human Rights” (document A/C.3/68/L.32), the Committee approved it without a vote.


Following that action, the representative of the United States said her delegation had joined the consensus but did not agree with some of the recommendations made by the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.


The representative of Canada said her delegation was committed to supporting the two Committees, but her Government did not agree with some aspects of their reports.


The Committee Chair said that according to the Secretariat, none of the texts contained any programme budget implications.


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For information media • not an official record