12 November 2013
General Assembly
GA/SHC/4088

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

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Third Committee

44th Meeting (PM)


Solitary Confinement, ‘Refoulement’ Cited as Third Committee Approves


Text on Torture, Hears Presentation of 11 Others

 


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) approved today a draft resolution on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and heard the introduction of 11 texts, most of them relating to the promotion and protection of human rights.


Denmark’s representative introduced the annual draft titled “Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” (document A/C.3/68/L.33/Rev.1), by which the General assembly would call on States to address and prevent detention conditions amounting to torture or cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  It would note in that regard concerns about solitary confinement which may amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.


Also by the text, approved without a vote, the Assembly would urge States to ensure that no authority or official ordered, applied, permitted or tolerated any sanction, reprisal, intimidation or other prejudice against any person, group or association, including persons deprived of their liberty, for contacting, seeking to contact or having been in contact with any national or international monitoring or preventive body active in the prevention and combating of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.


Additionally, the Assembly would call on States to ensure accountability for any act of sanction, reprisal, intimidation or other form of unlawful prejudicial conduct; to bring perpetrators to justice; to provide access to effective remedies for victims, in accordance with their international human rights obligations and commitments; and to prevent any recurrence.


By further terms, the Assembly would call on Member States to adopt a victim-oriented approach in the fight against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, paying special attention to the views and needs of victims in policy development and other activities relating to rehabilitation, prevention and accountability for torture.  It would also request States not to expel, return (“refouler”), extradite or in any other way transfer a person to another State where there were substantial grounds for believing that the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture.


Speaking after the approval, Sudan’s representative underlined his country’s reservations on two paragraphs of the draft relating to the International Criminal Court.


Also today, delegates introduced 11 draft resolutions on refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions; elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; rights of peoples to self-determination; and the promotion and protection of human rights.  Presenting the texts were representatives of the Czech Republic, Russian Federation, Cuba, Germany, France, Greece, Cameroon and Mexico.


The Third Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 13 November, to hear the annual briefing by the President of the Human Rights Council.


Background


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this afternoon to take action on one draft resolution and hear the introduction of 11 others.


Introduction of Draft Resolutions


The representative of the Czech Republic presented a draft resolution titled “Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees” (document A/C.3/68/L.70).


The representative of the Russian Federation submitted a text on “Combating glorification of Nazism: inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” (document A/C.3/68/L.65).


The representative of Cuba tabled a draft resolution titled “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.3/68/L.66).


Representatives of Mexico and Greece introduced draft resolutions titled, respectively, “Protection of migrants” (document A/C.3/68/L.62) and “Safety of journalists and the issue of impunity” (document A/C.3/68/L.40).


The representative of France presented a draft on “International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance” (document A/C.3/68/L.44).


Representatives of Germany and Cameroon presented draft resolutions titled, respectively, “National institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights” (document A/C.3/68/L.50) and “Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa” (document A/C.3/68/L.54).


The representative of Cuba pointed out that the names of some co-sponsors had been misspelled, before going on to submit a text on “Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order” (document A/C.3/68/L.58).  She also tabled drafts on “Strengthening United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity” (document A/C.3/68/L.59), and on “The right to food” (document A/C.3/68/L.60).


Action on Drafts


Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the text on “Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.


Following that action, the representative of Sudan reiterated his country’s commitment to prohibiting any form of torture.  However, he underlined his country’s reservations on two paragraphs of the text relating to the International Criminal Court.


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


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For information media • not an official record