THIRD COMMITTEE’S ADOPTION OF DRAFT RESOLUTION ON STATE SOVEREIGNTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS DRAWS STRONG DEBATE

27 November 2001
GA/SHC/3674

THIRD COMMITTEE’S ADOPTION OF DRAFT RESOLUTION ON STATE SOVEREIGNTY AND HUMAN RIGHTS DRAWS STRONG DEBATE

27/11/2001
Press ReleaseGA/SHC/3674

Fifty-sixth General Assembly

Third Committee

50th Meeting (AM)

THIRD COMMITTEE’S ADOPTION OF DRAFT RESOLUTION ON STATE SOVEREIGNTY

AND HUMAN RIGHTS DRAWS STRONG DEBATE

Total of 11 Draft Resolutions Approved, Including 6 Others by Recorded Vote

The Third Committee, aiming to complete its work by the end of the week, this morning adopted 11 resolutions on issues ranging from self-determination to human rights, including a draft on the sovereignty of States and its possible impact on human rights, which drew strong debate.  In addition, the Committee heard the introduction of nine draft resolutions which were being readied for action later in the week.

Several delegation spoke against a draft entitled "Respect for the Purposes and Principles Contained in the Charter of the United Nations to Achieve International Cooperation in Promoting and Encouraging Respect for Human Rights and for Fundamental Freedoms and in Solving International Problems of a Humanitarian Character", maintaining it selectively singled out provisions in the United Nations Charter to ensure other nations respected the sovereignty of a country, even if there were human rights abuses occurring there.

The delegate of Canada, speaking before the vote, said the draft suggested sovereignty was a shield to human rights abuses.  The United Nations should not be denied the right to intervene where human rights violations may be taking place.  In fact, he said, it might be obliged to intervene.

The resolution, however, was approved by a vote of 86 in favour, 48 against with 17 abstaining.

The delegate of Cuba, speaking in a general comment after the vote, said the resolution was not a restrictive text, and its popularity was illustrated by the fact that nearly twice as many delegations voted for it than against it.  It was the delegations which voted against the draft which were the ones trying to manipulate the Charter and redefine sovereignty.

Under the agenda item relating to the right to self-determination, the Committee adopted by a recorded vote of 92 in favour, 20 against with 30 abstaining, a 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.

Those delegations opposing the proposal reasoned that the Third Committee was not the appropriate panel to address mercenaries; the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly was the appropriate body to take up such matters.

Speaking in favour, the representative of Armenia said the use of mercenaries in armed conflicts was a serious problem that needed to be addressed.  The conflict in the South Caucuses, he said, was perhaps the best example of mercenaries being used against people suffering from foreign domination.  Hundreds of these mercenaries were still present in the region.

A resolution on Human Rights and Unilateral Coercive Measures was approved without debate, and by a recorded vote of 94 in favour, 47 against with three abstaining (Republic of the Congo, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan).

The next resolution the Committee took up was on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, which was adopted by a recorded vote of 90 in favour, 48 against with 7 abstaining (Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa).

An additional resolution on respect for principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of States in electoral processes was approved by a vote of 87 in favor, 8 against, (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, the United States), with 53 abstaining.

The last resolution with a recorded vote was on the right to food, which was approved, 146 in favour, 2 against (Israel, the United States) with two abstaining (New Zealand, Australia).

The Committee also adopted without votes resolutions on strengthening United Nations human rights action through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity; elimination of all forms of religious intolerance; national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights; United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education; and the situation of human rights in parts of south-eastern Europe.

Earlier in the meeting, nine draft resolutions were introduced before the Committee.  They were on the Follow-Up to the Regional Conference to Address the Problems of Refugees, Displaced Persons, Other Forms of Involuntary Displacement and Returnees in the Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and Relevant Neighbouring States; Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Strengthening the Role of the United Nations in Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Principle of Periodic and Genuine Elections and the Promotion of Democratization; Human Rights and Terrorism; Human Rights in the Administration of Justice; Effective Promotion of the Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities; Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons; Sub-Regional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa; and the situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

When the Committee reconvenes at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, it will hear the introduction 11 draft resolutions, and take action on 10 draft resolutions.

Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) met this morning to hear the introduction of and take action on a host of draft resolutions on questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons, human rights questions, human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives. 

When the Committee took up drafts for action this morning, delegations had before them a host of texts on matters relating to human rights questions and human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives.  For details, see Press Releases GA/SHC/3669 of 20 November 2001 and GA/SHC/3673 of 26 November 2001, respectively.

The Committee is expected to take action on a 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.3/56/L.31 and PBI implications contained in A/C.3/56/L.77), by which the Assembly urges all States to take the necessary steps and to exercise the utmost vigilance against the menace posed by the activities of mercenaries and to take legislative measures to ensure that their territories and other territories under their control, as well as their nationals, are not used for the recruitment, assembly, financing, training and transit of mercenaries for the planning of activities to impede the right of peoples to self-determination; to destabilize or overthrow the Government of any State; or to dismember or impair the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States conducting themselves in compliance with the right of peoples to self-determination.

By another draft text, on human rights and unilateral coercive measures (document A/C.3/56/L.41), the Assembly would urge all States to refrain from adopting or implementing any unilateral measures not in accordance with international law and the Charter, which created obstacles to trade relations among States, thus impeding the full realization of the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.

A draft resolution on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (document A/C.3/56/L.44), would have the Assembly urge States to continue their efforts, through enhanced international cooperation, towards the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

A draft resolution on international cooperation in promoting human rights and solving international humanitarian problems (document A/C.3/56/L.45), would have the Assembly stress the vital role of the work of the United Nations and regional arrangements, acting consistently with the Charter purposes and principles in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as in solving international problems of a humanitarian character. 

Under the terms of a draft resolution on strengthening United Nations human rights action through the promotion of international cooperation (document A/C.3/56/L.46), the Assembly would express its conviction that an unbiased and fair approach to human rights issues contributes to the promotion of international cooperation as well as to the effective promotion, protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

A draft resolution on respect for principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of States in electoral processes (document A/C.3/56/L.47) would have the Assembly reaffirm the right of people to determine methods and to establish institutions regarding electoral process.  States should ensure the necessary mechanisms and means to facilitate full and effective popular participation in the process.

Under a resolution on the right to food (document A/C.3/56/L.48), the Assembly would encourage all States to take steps to achieve progressively the full realization of that right, including steps to promote conditions for everyone to be free from hunger.  It would also urge States to give adequate priority in their development strategies and expenditures to the realization of the right to food.

By a draft on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance (document A/C.3/56/L.51) the Assembly would reaffirm that freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief was a human right derived from the inherent dignity of the human person and guaranteed to all without discrimination.  The Assembly would therefore urge all States to ensure that their constitutional and legal systems provided effective guarantees of that freedom including the provision of effective remedies in cases in which it is violated.

Under a draft resolution on the National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (document A/C.3/56/L.52), by which the General Assembly would urge the Secretary-General to continue to give high priority to requests from Member States for assistance in establishing and strengthening national human rights institutions as part of the programme of advisory services and technical assistance in the field of human rights.

By another text before the Committee, on the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (document A/C.3/56/L.66), the Assembly would urge all Governments to promote the development of comprehensive and sustainable national strategies for human rights education and to establish and strengthen, as a priority in education policies, knowledge of human rights, both in its theoretical dimension and practical application.

Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on The Situation of Human Rights in Parts of South-Eastern Europe (document A/C.3/56/L.54), by which the General Assembly would urge all authorities in the region to cooperate fully with the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and in particular to comply with their obligation to immediately arrest and transfer to the custody of the Tribunal all indicted persons, as well as to comply with requests by the Tribunal for access to information and witnesses.

Introduction of Draft Resolutions

The Committee heard the introduction of two drafts on questions related to refugees.

The representative of the Russian Federation introduced a resolution on Follow-up to the regional conference to address the problems of refugees, displaced persons, other forms of voluntary displacement and returnees in the countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States and relevant neighbouring States (document A/C.3/56/L.70).  By that text, the Assembly would call upon the Governments of the Commonwealth of Independent States, in cooperation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization of Migration (IOM) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to strengthen their efforts and mutual cooperation relating to follow-up of the regional conference.

The representative of Finland introduced a draft resolution on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/56/L.74), by which the General Assembly would urge all States and relevant non-governmental and other organizations in conjunction with the Office of the High Commissioner, to cooperate and to mobilize resources with a view to enhancing capacity and reducing the heavy burden borne by States, in particular by developing countries and countries with economies in transition that have received large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers.  The Assembly would also call upon the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to play its catalytic role in mobilizing assistance from the international community to address the root causes as well as the economic, environmental and social impact of large-scale refugee populations.

On human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Committee heard the introduction of six draft resolutions.

The first was introduced by the representative of the United States.  By that text, on strengthening the role of the United Nations in enhancing the effectiveness of the principle of periodic and genuine elections and the promotion of democratization (document A/C.3/56/L.53), the Assembly, noting with satisfaction that an increasing number of Member States are using elections as peaceful means of discerning the will of the people and confidence-building, would request the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs to continue to inform States regularly about requests received and the nature of any assistance provided.

The representative of Algeria introduced a draft resolution on human rights and terrorism (document A/C.3/56/L.59).  By that text, the Assembly, expressing its solidarity with the victims of terrorism and its alarm that acts of terrorism aimed at the destruction of human rights have continued, would urge the international community to enhance cooperation at the regional and international levels in the fights against terrorism, including those relating to human rights.  

Further by the text, the Assembly would call upon States to take all necessary and appropriate measures, in conformity with relevant provisions of national and international law before granting refugee status, to ensure that an asylum seeker has not planned, facilitated or participated in the commission of terrorist acts.  The Assembly would also condemn the incitement of ethnic hatred, violence and terrorism.

The Committee also considered a draft resolution on human rights and the administration of justice (document A/C.3/56/L.60).  By that text, introduced by the representative of Austria, the Assembly would reaffirm the importance of the full and effective implementation of all United Nations human rights in the administration of justice.  The Assembly would also invite Governments to provide human rights training, including gender-sensitive training, in the administration on justice, including juvenile justice, to all judges, lawyers, prosecutors, social workers, immigration and police officers and other professionals concerned, including personnel deployed in the field.

Further by the draft, the Assembly would appeal to all Governments to include in their national development plans the administration of justice as an integral part of the development process and to allocate adequate resources for providing legal aid services to promote and protect human rights.  The Assembly would also call upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights to reinforce, within her mandate, her activities relating to national capacity-building in the administration of justice, particularly in post-conflict situations.

A draft resolution on the effective promotion of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (document A/C.3/56/L.61) was introduced by the representative of Austria.  By that text, the Assembly, concerned by the frequency and severity of disputes and conflicts concerning minorities in many countries and their often tragic consequences, would reaffirm the obligation of States to ensure that persons belonging to minorities might exercise fully and effectively all human rights and fundamental freedoms without any discrimination and in full equality of the law, in accordance with the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. 

Also by the draft, the Assembly, concerned that persons belonging to minorities are particularly vulnerable to displacement through population transfers, refugee flows and forced relocations, among others, would urge States and the international community to promote and protect the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, including through the provision of adequate education and the facilitation of their participation in all aspects of the political, economic, social, religious and cultural life of society.  The Assembly would also call upon States to give special attention to the promotion and protection of the human rights of children –- girls and well as boys –- belonging to minorities.

The representative of Norway introduced a draft resolution on the Protection of and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (document A/C.3/56/L.63), by which the General Assembly would request the Secretary-General to provide his Representative, from within existing resources, with all necessary assistance to carry out his mandate effectively, and would encourage the Representative to continue to seek the contribution of States, relevant organizations and institutions to put the work of the Representative on a more stable basis.

Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on the Sub-regional center for human rights and democracy in Central Africa (document A/C.3/56/L.69), introduced by the representative of Cameroon.  By that text, the Assembly would welcome the creation of the Sub-Regional Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa at Yaounde and would invite the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to take all necessary measures to ensure its smoother functioning.

On human rights situations and the reports of special rapporteurs and special representatives, the Committee heard the introduction of one draft resolution on the situation of human rights in Iran (document A/C.3/56/L.50), introduced by the representative of Belgium.  By that text, the Assembly, expressing concern at continuing violations of human rights in Iran and at the fact that no invitation had been extending by the Government to the Special Representative to visit the country since 1996, would call upon the Government to abide by its freely undertaken obligations under the International Covenants on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments. 

It would further call upon the Government to continue to consolidate respect for human rights and the rule of law as well as to eliminate all forms of discrimination based on religious grounds or against persons belonging to minorities.  The Assembly would also call upon the Government to, among other things, ensure full respect for freedom of expression, to end the imposition of the death penalty for crimes committed by persons under 18, and to ensure that the capital punishment would only be imposed for the most serious crimes.

Action on Drafts

Following the introduction of nine draft resolutions, the Committee took action on several draft resolutions.

Committee members first took action on issues relating to the rights of peoples to self-determination.

The first draft before the Committee was 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.3/56/L.31 and programme budget implications contained in document A/C.3/56/L.77).  By a recorded vote of 92 in favour, 20 against with 30 abstaining, the resolution was adopted (Annex I).

Explaining his delegation's vote after the vote, the representative of the United States said the Third Committee was not the place to address mercenary activities.  While recognizing that the use of mercenaries was a problem, the United States said the Committee was not the appropriate place to address the matter.

Explaining the European Union's position after the vote, the representative of Belgium, on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union recognized the dangers of using mercenaries in armed conflict and that terrorist acts should be condemned.  Unfortunately, the European Union members could not support the draft.  The Third Committee was not the appropriate body to address this issue.  The Sixth Committee was the appropriate body to draw up a definition of mercenary and terrorist.

Explaining his delegation's vote after the vote, the representative of Armenia said the conflict in the Southern Caucuses was perhaps the best example of mercenaries being used against people suffering from foreign domination.  Hundreds of mercenaries still resided in the region.  The delegation supported the resolution.

Explaining her delegation's position after the vote, the representative of Paraguay said her delegation would have voted in favour of the resolutions if it had been in the room.

Explaining her delegation's position after the vote, the representative of Guatemala said her delegation was in another room during the vote.  As a co-sponsor, had the delegation been in the room, it would have voted in favour of the resolution.

The Committee next addressed issues regarding human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The first matter addressed under that heading was Human Rights and Unilateral Coercive Measures (document A/C.3/56/L.41).  By a recorded vote of 94 in favour, 47 against with three abstaining (Republic of the Congo, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan), the resolution was adopted (Annex II).

Next, the Committee took up a draft on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order (document A/C.3/56/L.44).

At the request of the delegation of Libya, the Committee was informed that the United States had requested a recorded vote.

Explaining the European Union's position before the vote, the delegate of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union had carefully considered the text.  It addressed very important issues.  In fact, the European Union was convinced of the need to work toward an equitable economic order for all nations, and the sponsors should be thanked for their hard work.  However, the European Union believed the matters addressed in this resolution were better addressed in other bodies of the United Nations.  For this reason, the European Union was not in position to support the proposed draft.

By a recorded vote of 90 in favour, 48 against with 7 abstaining (Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and South Africa), the resolution was adopted (Annex III).

The next draft before the Committee was on Respect for the Purposes and Principles Contained in the Charter of the United Nations to Achieve International Cooperation in Promoting and Encouraging Respect for Human Rights and for Fundamental Freedoms and in Solving International Problems of a Humanitarian Character (document A/C.3/56/L.45).

Explaining his delegation's position before the vote, the representative of Canada said the resolution did not offer a constructive vehicle for addressing those issues, and it was not a productive use of the Third Committee's time.  Canada had raised those concerns last year, when it was first raised and adopted by only 27 votes.  The Charter of the United Nations was the United Nations.  Members were obliged to respect the principles in the Charter.  It was vitally important that human rights of concern to the international community not be diluted.  The resolution raised and singled out  selective issues within the Charter and suggested sovereignty was a shield to human rights abuses.  The United Nations should not be denied the right to intervene where human rights violations might be taking place; in fact, it might be obliged to intervene.  Canada would vote against this resolution, and encourage other delegations to consider doing so as well.

Explaining her delegation's position before the vote, the delegate of New Zealand was guided by the Charter of the United Nations.  It considered that the resolution selectively interpreted provisions in the Charter to suggest that sovereign rights could shield human rights abuses.  While New Zealand respected the principles of sovereignty contained in the Charter, it did not mean that human rights abuses would be ignored.  New Zealand was disappointed that this resolution had been presented again.  It unnecessarily provoked tensions in the Third Committee.

Explaining the position of the European Union before the vote, the delegate of Belgium, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union stated its readiness to cooperate with the text.  The European Union had submitted amendments, but they had not been taken into account.  The text only represented a partial view in the area of human rights.  It was regrettable that the resolution was selective.  The agenda of the Third Committee was already full, and the European Union regretted it must again vote against the resolution.

Explaining the position of his delegation before the vote, the delegate of Norway said the Third Committee was here to protect and promote the human rights of all persons in the world.  International cooperation was important in the protection of human rights, but it should not replace the responsibilities of the States.  Reference to the principle of sovereignty should not be made to avoid criticism, nor should it stop a nation from self-criticism.  Norway would vote against the resolution.

Explaining the position of her delegation before the vote, the delegate of Australia said there were two fundamental concerns regarding the resolution.  The first was its scope -- the relationship between human rights and international humanitarian problems was a complex one.  That should be addressed in a thorough way through all relevant agencies and in appropriate fora, and not just in the Committee.  Second, the United Nations Charter was central to the work of this Committee.  Australia would vote against this resolution.

By a recorded vote of 86 in favour, 48 against with 17 abstaining, the resolution was adopted (Annex IV).

Explaining the position of his delegation after the vote, the delegate of the United States said the resolution raised some very important questions being considered throughout the United Nations.  That was not a productive use of the Third Committee's time.  Member States were obliged to respect the spirit and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.  That was reinforced by the actions of the Committee and other United Nations organs.  The resolution, rather than embracing the spirit of the Charter, aimed to limit its scope.

Making a general statement, the delegate of Cuba said it should be pointed out that Cuba was ashamed to hear some of the comments made here.  One statement said this was an attempt to mislead members of the Committee.  Twice as many States favoured the resolution, which was not a restrictive text.  The members of the Committee who voted against it were the ones trying to manipulate the Charter and redefine sovereignty.

The delegate of Pakistan said the delegation was not present during the votes of A/C.3/56/L.31, A/C.3/56/L.41 and A/C.3/56/L.44.  Pakistan would have voted in favour of all three.

The Committee next approved without a vote a draft resolution on strengthening United Nations human rights action through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity (document A/C.3/56/L.46).

When the Committee turned to a draft on respect for principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of States in electoral processes (document A/C.3/56/L.47), a recorded vote was requested.

Before the vote, the representative of the United States said her delegation had always held a strong and abiding commitment to advancing free and fair elections and would continue to cooperate with States wishing to advance democracy and freedom.  It was with regret therefore that the country could not vote in favour of the resolution, which did not prescribe the benchmarks against which elections were held nor express support for the legitimate and direct participation of the international community in free and fair elections.

The draft was approved by a vote of 87 in favor, to 8 against (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Israel, New Zealand, Norway and United States), with 

53 abstentions.  (Annex V)

After the vote, the representative of Japan said her delegation deeply appreciated the spirit of cooperation and openness shown by the delegation of Cuba during the negotiation process.

The representative of Togo said that his delegation would have voted in favour of the resolution.

The representative of Myanmar said that delegation would have voted in favour drafts A/C.3/56/L.31, A/C.3/56/L.41 and A/C.3/56/L.44.

The representative of the Congo said that his delegation would correct its vote to be in favour of draft resolution A/C.3/56/L.41.

The representative of Mauritius said her delegation had always voted in favour of A/C.3/56/L.31 and A/C.3/56/L.41, and would have done so, if present this morning.

As was the custom with the Third Committee, the meeting was suspended briefly at 12:15 p.m., in deference to smaller delegations wishing to participate in a vote taking place in the Plenary on a draft resolution on the necessity of ending economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba.

When the meeting was resumed at 12:37, the Committee took up a draft resolution on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance (document A/C.3/56/L.51).  Before delegations, took action on the draft, the Committee Secretary read a note from the Programme Planning and Budget Division on budget matters related to the resolution.

That draft was adopted without a vote.

Next, the Committee turned to a draft resolution on the right to food (document A/C.3/56/L.48).  Before the Committee acted on that text, the Committee Secretary drew delegates’ attention to a note from the Programme Planning and Budget Division, on budget matters related to the draft. 

Before the vote, the representative of the Democratic Republic of Korea said the right to food was a basic component of all human rights.  However, delegations should be cautious, as that right could be used for political purposes.  His delegation was also concerned about the report of the Special Rapporteur on the matter, particularly its biased comments about his country.  Still, the Democratic Republic of Korea supported the right to food and hoped that the Special Rapporteur would carry out his mandate in a fair and objective manner.

The draft was approved by a recorded vote of 146 in favor, two against (Israel and United States) with two abstentions (New Zealand and Australia).

Following the vote, the United States said the best route to food security was, among other ways, the adoption of sound policy that led to expansion of markets.  The United States played a major role in ensuring food security around the globe by offering assistance to many countries in need.  Unfortunately, it could not support the draft as it implied that citizens had a right to receive food from their respective States and prescribed a legal remedy for those that believed that presumed right had been denied them.

The representative of New Zealand, speaking on behalf of Australia said that both delegations supported in principle the fundamental right to food.  However, they had strong concerns about some of the findings in the report of the Special Rapporteur, particularly the effect of trade systems on the right.  Both delegations considered that an open trading system played an important role in development, the elimination of poverty and had therefore abstained from the vote.

The representative of Trinidad and Tobago said had her delegation been present, it would have voted in favor of the draft.

Making a general statement, the representative of Cuba said his delegation was concerned that several countries had based their vote on the preliminary finding in the report of a special rapporteur. 

The Committee then adopted without a vote a draft on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (document A/C.3/56/L.52).

When the Committee turned to a draft on the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (document A/C.3/56/L.66), the draft’s main sponsor, Australia, introduced a few technical revisions.  Delegations approved the text without a vote.

The Committee turned next to take action on a draft on human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives.  That text was on the human rights situation in parts of south-eastern Europe (document A/C.3/56/L.54).

The representative of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia said his delegation considered the assessments and recommendations contained in the draft constructive.  The draft reflected the positive changes that had taken place in the region during the past year, and in that regard, its approach was welcomed. Commenting on some human rights matters that were of concern to his country, he noted that considerable efforts had been made to promote the rights of minorities, including establishing a Ministry on ethnic minority rights.  The most serious human rights situation in the region was in Kosovo and Metojia.  The United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) had been unable to make significant progress in that regard.  He hoped that with strict adherence to Security Council resolution 1244, the situation would gradually improve following the recent elections.

The resolution was approved without a vote.

Following the resolution’s approval, the representative of Venezuela said her delegation had joined in consensus on the draft, it would reaffirm that the mention of Kosovo should in no way violate the territorial integrity of States.

The representative of Sudan said the draft mentioned the International Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, and all delegations were aware that those recommendations could not be considered mandatory of binding as they had not been subject to negotiations within an inter-governmental framework with the participation of all States and the United Nations community.

The representative of Croatia said her country had joined consensus on the vote but had been unable to become a co-sponsor because of its unspecific title. It was her delegation’s understanding that the Commission on Human Rights had terminated the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Croatia.  The Commission had appointed a new Rapporteur for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, therefore countries under the scope of the resolution should be interpreted accordingly.

(annexes follow)

ANNEX I

Vote on Use of Mercenaries

The draft resolution on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of people to self-determination (document A/C.3/56/L.31) was approved by a recorded vote of 92 in favour to 20 against, with 30 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Federated States of Micronesia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstaining:  Andorra, Australia, Austria, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Georgia, Greece, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Yugoslavia.

Absent:  Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chad, Comoros, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nauru, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

(END OF ANNEX I)

ANNEX II

Vote on Human Rights and Unilateral Coercive Measures

The draft resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures (document A/C.3/56.L.41) was approved by a recorded vote of 94 in favour to

47 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Yugoslavia.

Abstaining:  Azerbaijan, Congo, Kazakhstan.

Absent:  Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chad, Comoros, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nauru, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

(END OF ANNEX II)

ANNEX III

Vote on Promotion of a Democratic, Equitable International Order

The draft resolution on the promotion of a democratic and equitable order (document A/C.3/56/L.44) was approved by a recorded vote of 90 in favour to

48 against, with 7 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Yugoslavia

Abstaining:  Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa.

Absent:  Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chad, Comoros, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Marshall Islands, Myanmar, Nauru, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

(END OF ANNEX III)

ANNEX IV

Vote on Respect for UN Charter in Promoting Human Rights

The draft resolution on respect for United Nations Charter principles in promoting human rights (document A/C.3/56/L.45) was approved by a recorded vote of 86 in favour to 48 against, with 17 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Yugoslavia.

Abstaining:  Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Georgia, Guatemala, Madagascar, Malawi, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Suriname, Thailand, Uruguay.

Absent:  Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chad, Comoros, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Kiribati, Lesotho, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

(END OF ANNEX IV)

ANNEX V

Vote on Respect for National Sovereignty, Non-Interference in Elections

The draft resolution on respect for principles of national sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of States in electoral processes (document A/C.3/56/L.47) was approved by a recorded vote of 87 in favour to

8 against, with 53 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, United States.

Abstaining:  Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Yugoslavia.

Absent:  Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bulgaria, Chad, Comoros, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lesotho, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

(END OF ANNEX V)

ANNEX VI

Vote on Right to Food

The draft resolution on the right to food (document A/C.3/56/L.48) was approved by a recorded vote of 146 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 2 abstentions (New Zealand, Australia), as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Israel, United States.

Abstaining:  Australia, New Zealand.

Absent:  Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Benin, Bulgaria, Chad, Comoros, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Grenada, Kiribati, Lesotho, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.