THIRD COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTIONS ON INTERNATIONAL DRUG CONTROL, ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN

7 November 1997
GA/SHC/3439

THIRD COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTIONS ON INTERNATIONAL DRUG CONTROL, ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN

7 November 1997

Press ReleaseGA/SHC/3439

THIRD COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTIONS ON INTERNATIONAL DRUG CONTROL, ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN

19971107

The General Assembly would call upon all States to intensify their cooperation to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking, by the terms of a draft resolution approved this morning by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).

The Committee also approved draft resolutions on improving the status of women in the Secretariat, traffic in women and girls, and traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and girls. All of today's actions were taken without a vote.

By other terms of draft text on international drug control, the Assembly would call upon the international community to provide increased economic and technical support to Governments that requested it for programmes of alternative and sustainable development, aimed at reducing and eliminating illicit drug production. The Assembly would also decide that the special session on the issue will be held from 8 to 10 June 1998, as recommended by the Economic and Social Council and would call upon Member States to participate in it at a high political level.

By another text, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General to hold individual managers accountable for implementing the strategic plan to achieve the goal of 50/50 gender distribution in the United Nations Secretariat by the year 2000. He would be encouraged to appoint more women as special representatives and envoys and to pursue good offices on his behalf in matters related to peacekeeping, preventive diplomacy, and economic and social development, as well as to appoint more women to other high-level positions.

Addressing traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and girls, the Assembly would call on States to intensify efforts to mobilize international and national public opinion concerning the harmful effects of such practices as female genital mutilation. By another text approved today, the Assembly would note with concern the increasing number of women and girl children from developing countries or those with economies in transition being victimized by traffickers. It would express deep concern over the proliferation and misuse of new information technologies for purposes of prostitution, child pornography, paedophilia, sex tourism and trafficking of women as brides. It would call on Governments to criminalize trafficking in women and girls.

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Also this morning, the Committee concluded its consideration of the elimination of racism and of the right to self-determination. The representative of Iran said that due attention must be given to the acts of violence, harassment, discriminatory treatment and insults against Muslims, which he called "the phenomenon of Islamophobia".

The achievement by the Palestinian people of their inalienable right to self-determination and statehood was a prerequisite for the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, the observer for Palestine told the Committee. The representative of Israel said his country was committed to a permanent status agreement, but a formula must be found within a bilateral context, not in an open forum such as the United Nations.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Syria, India, Pakistan Indonesia, Nigeria, Cuba, Argentina, Benin, Algeria and Libya.

The Third Committee will meet again at 3 p.m. today to begin its consideration of the implementation of human rights instruments.

Committee Work Programme

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to take action on five draft resolutions on issues relating to international drug control and the advancement of women. It is also expected to continue its consideration of the elimination of racism, the implementation of human rights instruments, and the right to self-determination.

On the elimination of racism and racial discrimination, the Committee had before it the relevant sections of the Economic and Social Council's report, as well as the report of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It also had before it reports of the Secretary-General on the financial situation of that Committee and on the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. A note by the Secretary-General transmits the interim report of the Special Rapporteur on measures to combat temporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances.

The Committee also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, as well as a note transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the use of mercenaries to undermine the right of peoples to self-determination.

(For background on the reports, see Press Release GA/SHC/3437 of 6 November.)

International Drug Control

The Committee had before it a 71-Power draft resolution on international action to combat drug abuse and illicit production and trafficking (document A/C.3/52/L.14 and Corr.1). By Part I of that text, the Assembly would call upon all States to intensify cooperation to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking, on a basis of equal rights and mutual respect.

Part II of the text would urge all States to become party to and implement all the provisions of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, as well as the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. It would call upon States to adopt measures to stem the illicit trade in small arms, which is closely linked to the illicit drug trade. It would call upon the international community to provide increased economic and technical support to governments that request it for programmes of alternative and sustainable development, aimed at reducing and eliminating illicit drug production.

The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) would be asked to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with multilateral development banks on lending and programming activities relating to drug control in

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interested and affected countries. It would be asked to continue to provide legal assistance to Member States that request it in adjusting their national laws, policies and infrastructures to implement the international drug control conventions, as well as assistance in training personnel responsible for applying the new laws and in establishing or strengthening national drug detection laboratories.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs would be urged to complete its work on a draft declaration on guiding principles for demand reduction, for submission to the Assembly at its special session in 1998. The Commission, acting as the preparatory body for the special session, would be urged to complete its work on political commitment, money laundering, judicial cooperation, precursors, stimulants and alternative development.

By Part III of the text, the Assembly would urge all governments and competent regional organizations to develop a balanced and comprehensive approach to demand reduction, giving adequate priority to prevention, treatment, research, social reintegration and training.

Under Part IV, the Assembly would decide that the special session will be held from 8 to 10 June 1998, as recommended by the Economic and Social Council, and would call upon Member States to participate at a high political level. It would stress that the special session should be devoted to assessing the existing situation, with a view to strengthening international cooperation to address the problem of illicit drugs within the framework of the 1988 Convention and other relevant conventions and international instruments.

Part V of the text would have the Assembly urge the United Nations bodies associated with the United Nations System-wide Action Plan on Drug Abuse Control to collaborate further with the UNDCP to integrate the drug control dimension into their programming. Member States would be invited to engage United Nations agencies and multilateral development banks in addressing the drug problem and in promoting consideration by governing bodies of requests for assistance for drug control programmes at the national level.

By Part VI, the Assembly would note with concern the decline of available resources for the Fund of the International Drug Control Programme. It would urge all governments to provide the fullest possible financial and political support by widening the donor base of the Programme and increasing voluntary contributions.

The draft resolution is sponsored by Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Ireland, Italy,

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Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The Committee will take action on draft texts concerning: the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), improving the status of women in the Secretariat, traffic in women and girls, and traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and girls.

By the terms of the draft resolution on UNIFEM (document A/C.3/52/L.16/Rev.1), the Assembly would stress the Fund's role as a development tool in supporting activities relating to women's economic and social development in developing countries. It would emphasize the Fund's important work in women's empowerment and gender equality within the framework of implementing the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women, held at Beijing.

The Assembly would encourage the Fund to continue to contribute to mainstreaming the gender perspective in all development efforts of governments, United Nations bodies and civil society. The Fund would be encouraged to strengthen its work within the United Nations system at the national level through the resident coordinator system, focusing on strategic interventions and building upon its comparative advantages. It would do so in order 2to promote systematic change, particularly with respect to women's political and economic empowerment. (For additional background and list of sponsors, see Press Release GA/SHC/3438 of 6 November.)

By the 44-Power draft resolution on improving the status of women in the Secretariat (document A/C.3/52/L.18), the Assembly would ask the Secretary- General to hold individual managers accountable for implementing the strategic plan for the goal of 50/50 gender distribution by the year 2000. It would ask him to continue creating a gender-sensitive environment supportive of both men and women staff, including through the development of policies for such matters as flexible working time, training, implementation of administrative procedures, and the development of a policy against sexual harassment. In addition, the Secretary-General would be asked to enable the office of the special adviser on gender to monitor and facilitate implementation of the plan, including by ensuring access to information. He would also be asked to provide statistics on the number and percentage of women in organizational units and at various levels of the United Nations system.

The Assembly would encourage the Secretary-General to appoint more women as special representatives and envoys, and to pursue good offices on his behalf in matters relating to peacekeeping, preventive diplomacy, and economic

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and social development, as well as to appoint more women to other high-level positions. It would strongly encourage Member States to support United Nations efforts in achieving the 50/50 gender distribution role by identifying and submitting more candidates and by encouraging women to apply for positions within the United Nations system.

The draft is sponsored by Australia, Austria, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Greece, Guinea, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey and the United States.

By a 19-Power draft resolution on traffic in women and girls (document A/C.3/52/L.20/Rev.1), the General Assembly would note with concern the increasing number of women and girl children from developing countries or those with economies in transition being victimized by traffickers, acknowledging that the problem also victimizes young boys. The Assembly would also express deep concern over the proliferation and misuse of new information technologies for purposes of prostitution, child pornography, paedophilia, sex tourism and trafficking of women as brides.

The Assembly would call on governments to criminalize trafficking in women and girls. It would urge governments to support and allocate resources to strengthening preventive actions and national programmes to combat trafficking in women and girls through sustained bilateral, regional and international cooperation.

The draft is sponsored by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Italy, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

By a 43-Power draft resolution on traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and girls (document A/C.3/52/L.21), the Assembly would call upon States to include in their reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and to the Committee on the Rights of the Child specific information on measures taken to eliminate traditional or customary practices harmful to the health of women and girls. They would be called on to intensify efforts to raise awareness of and to mobilize international and national public opinion concerning the harmful effects of female genital mutilation and other traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and girls, in particular through education, information dissemination and training, in order to achieve the total elimination of those practices.

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The draft text would also call on States to develop and implement national policies to prohibit traditional or customary practices harmful to the health of women and girls, particularly female genital mutilation. They would also be called on to support women's organizations at the national and local levels that are working for the elimination of female genital mutilation and other traditional or customary practices harmful to the health of women and girls. The Assembly would emphasize that information and education with regard to harmful traditional or customary practices should also be targeted at men and that they should be encouraged to be responsive to such information and education.

The draft text is co-sponsored by Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Zambia.

Action on Draft Texts

ALESSANDRO BUSACCA (Italy), Committee Chairman, said the draft resolution on international action to combat drug abuse and illicit production and trafficking had no programme budget implications. He reminded the Committee that the following Member States were added to the list of sponsors when the draft resolution was introduced on 3 November: Albania, Armenia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Georgia, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, Israel, Monaco, the Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, San Marino, Singapore and Uzbekistan.

The following co-sponsors were then also added to the list: Antigua and Barbuda, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Barbados, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mozambique, Poland, Senegal, Swaziland and Ukraine.

The draft resolution was approved without a vote.

Mr. BUSACCA (Italy), Committee Chairman, said the Committee would take action this afternoon on the draft resolution on UNIFEM, which was being reissued for technical reasons.

KATE NEWELL, Committee Secretary, read out the revisions made to the draft resolution on improving the status of women in the Secretariat when it was introduced on 3 November.

Mr. BUSACCA (Italy), Committee Chairman, said the draft resolution had no programme budget implications. He reminded the Committee that the following Member States were added to the list of sponsors when the text was

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introduced: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Germany, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Mozambique, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Republic of Korea, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Sudan, Swaziland, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United kingdom, and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Additional co-sponsors were then added as follows: Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Colombia, Croatia, India, Suriname, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Venezuela, Namibia, Burundi, Guyana, Viet Nam and Zambia.

The draft resolution was approved without a vote, as orally revised.

Mr. BUSACCA (Italy), Committee Chairman, said the draft resolution on traffic in women and girls had no programme budget implications. He reminded the Committee that the following sponsors were added to the list when the text was introduced on 3 November: Burkina Faso, France, Guatemala, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine.

The following Member States were then added to the list of sponsors: Colombia, Netherlands, Poland, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Israel, Ireland and Kenya

The draft resolution was approved without a vote.

Mr. BUSACCA (Italy), Committee Chairman, said the draft resolution on traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and girls had no programme budget implications. He reminded the Committee that the following Member States were added to the list of co-sponsors when the text was introduced on 3 November: Argentina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cuba, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Japan, Monaco, Mozambique, Panama, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Swaziland and the United States.

The following Member States were then added to the list of co-sponsors: Malawi, the Philippines, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Thailand, Guinea, Iceland, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ukraine, Malta, Brazil, Lesotho, Colombia, Slovakia, Malaysia, Armenia, Estonia, Mauritius and Latvia.

The draft resolution was approved without a vote.

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Statements

AHMAD AL-HARIRI (Syria) said that new manifestations of xenophobia and racial discrimination were a cause of concern and must be effectively addressed. People had made great sacrifice to free themselves of colonialism and win the right to self-determination. Syria was one of first countries to achieve independence after Second World War.

The world was seeing great changes since the 1960s, but they did not change basic principles and values, he said. Racism must end. The United Nations had made great strides for the self-determination of peoples, and yet the Palestinian people had not yet achieved that owing to Israel's violation of the United Nations Charter and its disrespect for basic human rights and laws. Israel's twisting of history and of the facts would not bring stability. The fight for Palestinian self-determination must continue just as the fight against colonialism and racial discrimination had been pursued. The rights promoted by the United Nations must enable people to bring freedom to land now under occupation, which alone could ensure stability.

BEGUM NOOR BANO (India) said that new forms of racism had begun to manifest, affecting the entire world in all ways -- from immigration and housing to the right of people to determine their future. "There is a tolerance for intolerance", she said. Racism was a chronic and growing phenomenon which took many forms, from the hardening of immigration laws to the use of new information technologies to spread racial propaganda, hatred and xenophobia. The world conference on racism must be convened to convey a strong message that the United Nations stood behind all those who suffered from discrimination, and it should address the issues of immigration and xenophobia. A line must be drawn between free speech and hate speech.

Self-determination was an important issue, especially for multi-ethnic, pluralist societies, she said. The principle of self-determination could be used to tear societies apart. The end of the cold war was seen by some as an opportunity for adventurism. If every group in the world were to claim separateness, there would be no stability, and the United Nations had affirmed that secession from a State could not be declared. Any fragmentation of States could be detrimental to human rights.

The transformation of mercenary activity and its spread into terrorism must be studied in its relation to self-determination in the post cold war period, she said. India had been the object of such mercenary terrorists. It was regrettable that financing limitations had prevented a deeper study of the question.

DORE GOLD (Israel) said his country would be the last to prevent self- determination for anyone. Israel fully supported self-determination. Zionism was an attempt to give self-determination to a people. However, self- determination must have context. On the political and diplomatic plane, the Israelis and Palestinians were involved in a process, but they were not alone on an island. The Palestinians had the historical backing of a coalition of Arab States, while Israel stood alone. Israel's need for border security was not born in a vacuum. No permanent agreement would be possible unless it took account of Israel's need for security on its eastern border. Israel was

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committed to a permanent status agreement, but a formula must be found. The place to advance such a formula was in a bilateral context, not in an open forum such as the United Nations. Bilaterality was the mechanism that had worked for Israel in the past with other Arab States.

AKRAM ZAKI (Pakistan) said the United Nations had played a major role in helping people gain the right to self-determination -- a fact that was reflected in the increased membership of the Organization. Middle East problem needed a solution which took account of the Palestinian people's right to self-determination. In the Balkans, the two issues were to preserve territorial integrity and to punish the guilty.

However, in Jammu and Kashmir the right of self-determination was even today being denied by India, he said. India had forgotten its promise to accept the decision of the Kashmiri people and had crushed the Kashmiri people's right to self-determination since 1989. While India was celebrating its fiftieth year of freedom, Kashmir was celebrating its fiftieth year of enslavement under India. South Asia's peace and security depended on a resolution of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The international community must influence India to cease its repression there and commit itself to the high-level meetings needed to resolve the issue.

BAHMAN AMYARI (Iran) said that despite the clarity of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on measures to combat temporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, due attention was not being given to the acts of violence, harassment, discriminatory treatment and insults against Muslims -- "the phenomenon of Islamophobia". By contrast, other manifestations referred to in his mandate drew unbalanced and disproportionate attention. The baseless and insulting misinterpretation and distortion of historical facts by the Israeli regime against Islam, Muslims and their Holy Quran as described in the Special Rapporteur's report amounted to premeditated attempts by those who advocated racism to intensify their biased propaganda against Arabs and Muslims throughout the world.

The Special Rapporteur should be more sensitive to the manifestation of intolerance and hatred towards different religions, he said. Also to that end, the Commission on Human Rights should consider appointing a thematic Special Rapporteur for a specific country or certain group of countries as a matter of priority. Also of concern was the use of the Internet to spread racist propaganda. An effective monitoring mechanism should be established on an urgent basis within the relevant United Nations organs to control and

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regulate the use of such communication instruments. Iran supported the prompt holding of the proposal world conference on racism and xenophobia.

SOMAIA BARGHOUTI, observer for Palestine, said the denial of the most essential of all human rights -- the right of peoples to self-determination -- was a grave violation of human rights and contradicted the principles and norms of the United Nations Charter, international law and all relevant human rights instruments. The Palestinian people were still denied that right and continued to suffer from discrimination, oppression and injustice. Israel, as the occupying Power, continued to deny the Palestinian people their basic and fundamental rights and to create new facts on the ground, including illegal colonial settlements and continued restrictions on the freedom of movement, and the detainment of prisoners. The ongoing problems of refugees and displaced persons had also worsened.

The achievement by the Palestinian people of their inalienable rights, including their right to self-determination and statehood, was a prerequisite for the achievement of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, she said. It was also an imperative for peace and security in the Middle East. The heroic struggles would continue until they achieved their freedom and independence and the full exercise of their inalienable rights. They would be content with nothing less than an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital. It was hoped that the Palestinian people's right to self- determination would be exercised soon within the course of the peace process.

IGA WESAKA PUDJA (Indonesia) said that despite two United Nations Decades to combat racism and racial discrimination and the ongoing activities of the Third Decade, their objectives had not yet been achieved. The international community continued to witness acts of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia throughout the world. Nevertheless, it should continue to support the activities of the Programme of Action for the Third Decade as an effective vehicle for change. It was hoped that additional seminars and meetings, to be held by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the 1997-1998 period, would further explore contemporary forms of racism and provide greater insight on the problem.

He said the use of new technologies, particularly the Internet, as propaganda tools to spread racism and racial discrimination should be addressed at the national and international levels. To that end, the convening of a seminar later this month by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Internet and racial discrimination was welcome. Indonesia supported the convening of a world conference on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. However, its deliberations should not be restricted, otherwise it would be of little value. The preparatory process should be designed to ensure positive results. The Commission on Human Rights should serve as the preparatory committee and the High Commissioner for Human Rights should act as coordinator.

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SAM OTUYELU (Nigeria) expressed concern about the re-emergence of new forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Those included the display of racial bias and prejudice by law-enforcement officials in the treatment of minorities, exclusionary and biased immigration policies, and the increasing use of the Internet to disseminate racist propaganda. Governments should adopt policies to promote multiculturalism, tolerance and social integration in the interest of socio-economic and political advancement of all people. Governments, together with law enforcement officials, communication experts and users of modern communication technology, should curb the irresponsible use of the Internet.

The issue of the use of mercenaries was of critical concern to Nigeria, because Africa was vulnerable to the activities of soldiers of fortune, he said. The Special Rapporteur stated that mercenaries continued to threaten the self-determination of peoples in the areas where they operated. Nigeria, therefore, endorsed the recommendation which called on States to prohibit the use of their territories for the recruitment, training, assembly, transit, financing and use of mercenaries.

JUAN ANTONIO FERNANDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba) said the struggle to throw off the burden of colonialism remained valid because domination continued in new ways. The exercise of self-determination was a prerequisite for all rights, because without it the others could have no meaning. The situation in the Middle East was distressing because the Palestinian people were fighting to exercise that most basic right, just as Cuba continued to fight for its own territory at Guantanamo, which was taken from it.

As the Special Rapporteur's report showed, he continued, mercenary activities were not something of the past, he said. Rather, they were changing, expanding and becoming much more dangerous. Those activities undermined communities, especially as the mercenaries increasingly became agents of other crimes, such as drug and arms trafficking. Cuba had been a victim of such mercenary activities for 30 years from the United States.

MARIANO SIMON-PADROS (Argentina) said the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was very important. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination had constitutional rank in his country, where legal measures had been taken to eliminate such discrimination. The freedom of all people was upheld and enshrined in Argentina's Constitution. The Committee's warning about difficulties it faced because of the holding of its sessions in Geneva should be addressed, since most delegations were based in New York.

PAUL H. HOUANSOU (Benin) said that racial prejudice was a curse which often led to war, as occurred in Europe from 1939 to 1945 and recently in the former Yugoslavia. The exacerbation of nationalism that came from such prejudice was founded on social, economic and religious grounds.

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Nevertheless, civilization was a mosaic, and cross-fertilization would enable humanity to flourish.

Benin's institute for human rights and democracy, benefitted from programme contributions by the United Nations Centre for Human Rights, and others, he said. To achieve cross-fertilization between peoples, it was important to promote human rights and to fight racism on the national level, which the United Nations supported. The Committee on racial discrimination should meet alternately in New York and Geneva. Its programmes must receive financial support. The proposed international conference should be held.

DALILA SAMAH (Algeria) said a false racial theory had created animosity and hatred in the world. Nations must penalize actions which created such effects and must support actions to combat racism. Algeria supported the holding of a conference on racism.

A whole range of instruments and texts existed in support of the principle of self-determination, she said. However, the important work of decolonization was incomplete as long as people were denied the right to choose their own destiny. In the Middle East, peace was deadlocked because of Israel's position. Only the removal of Israel from occupied territories would bring about stability. The recent agreement regarding the situation in Western Sahara was welcome but should be monitored.

JAMALEDDIN HAMIDA (Libya) said humanity had long suffered from the scourges of racism and racial discrimination. Some progress had been made, as in South Africa, but the problem had not been eliminated. Rather, it had manifested in new forms, such as xenophobia. Some States looked at other States as inferior, while holding their own rights as sacred and untouchable. Could the rights they valued not be extended to other States and peoples? An analysis of the sanctions imposed by the Security Council would show that a number of Arab States had been subjected to such action. Since the end of the cold war, Islam had been targeted for certain types of action.

Even the right to life of many Muslims had been violated and their religion desecrated, he said. Anti-Muslim propaganda was being published in some countries under the pretext of freedom of expression, while restrictions were being placed on the rights of others to have access to literature of their preference.

The United Nations Charter and international covenants on human rights emphasized the right of peoples to self-determination, he said. Despite progress made by the United Nations, many peoples continued to be denied their right to self-determination. The Palestinian people had been denied that right, despite numerous United Nations resolutions endorsing the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

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Addressing the question of mercenaries, he said that their use was being promoted and protected by some States, in violation of the Charter and international human rights instruments. African States had been exposed to the use of mercenaries since the 1970s. Libya opposed the use of mercenaries.

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For information media. Not an official record.