Third Committee Approves Resolution Aimed at ‘Combating Defamation of Religions’, One of 16 Draft Texts Recommended to General Assembly

12 November 2009
GA/SHC/3966

Third Committee Approves Resolution Aimed at ‘Combating Defamation of Religions’, One of 16 Draft Texts Recommended to General Assembly

12 November 2009
General Assembly
GA/SHC/3966
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fourth General Assembly

Third Committee

41st & 42nd Meetings (AM & PM)

Third Committee Approves Resolution Aimed at ‘Combating Defamation of Religions’,

One of 16 Draft Texts Recommended to General Assembly

 

Refugee High Commissioner, Globalization, Disabilities Convention,

Palestinian Self-Determination, Protecting Migrants Among Other Issues Addressed

The General Assembly would express deep concern at the negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief by one of 16 texts the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) approved today -- six of them by recorded vote.

The Committee also passed 10 other drafts by consensus, on questions related to refugees, returnees and displaced persons, the right of peoples to self-determination and the promotion and protection of human rights.  It deferred action on three drafts tabled by the Cuban delegation and two others related to crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as international drug control.

By further terms of the draft on combating defamation of religions -- which was approved by a recorded vote of 81 in favour to 55 against, with 43 abstentions -- the Assembly would strongly deplore all acts of psychological and physical violence and assaults against persons on the basis of religion or belief, and deplore incitement to such acts. (See Annex VII for further details of the vote.)

The Assembly would also note with deep concern “the intensification of the overall campaign of the defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred”, including the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001.  It would further recognize that, in the context of the fight against terrorism, defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred had become aggravating factors that contributed to the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms of members of target groups, as well as their economic and social exclusion.

By other provisions, the text would have the Assembly emphasize that freedom of expression carried with it special duties and responsibilities, and might therefore be subject to limitations as provided by law, and which were necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, public health or morals.

In explaining their opposition to the resolution, several delegations cited its focus on one religion and suggested a broader perspective would achieve wider support. Others emphasized that the defamation of religion had to be addressed in such a way that was not detrimental to other rights, including, several stressed, the right to freedom of expression.

Underscoring the “increasingly splintered view” among States on the current text, the United States representative suggested an alternate vision to combat the defamation of religion was needed.  Among other things, the United States would not agree that prohibiting speech was the way to promote tolerance.  Such prohibitions were sometimes used for discrimination, he cautioned, and Governments might abuse individual rights in the name of this resolution and the United Nations.

The delegations of Albania and India further expressed concern that the text attempted to link the issue with racism, which specifically requests the Secretary-General to address the correlation between defamation of religions and the intersection between religion and race in his report on the resolution’s implementation during the Assembly’s sixty-fifth session.

By the terms of a draft resolution on the International Covenants on Human Rights, which was introduced by Finland, the Assembly would strongly appeal to all States that had not yet done so to become parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to consider acceding to their Optional Protocols.

The draft text was passed, as orally revised and amended, by a recorded vote of 111 in favour to none against, with 66 abstentions, following separate recorded votes on two oral amendments proposed by the representative of Zambia, on behalf of the African Group.  (See Annex IV).

Those two oral amendments proposed, respectively, to delete from operative paragraph 9 references to General Comment No. 33, on the obligations of States parties under the Optional Protocol, and to delete from operative paragraph 10 references both to General Comment No. 19 on the right to social security and General Comment No. 20 on non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural rights.

In calling for these amendments, the representative of Zambia said General Comment No. 33 lacked clarity and risked contradicting the Vienna convention on law of treaties.  General Comment No. 20 on non-discrimination lacked solid ground in international law.  Moreover, mentioning it in the current resolution was unprecedented, since it was not even included in the report of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Along those lines, the African Group had no issues with General Comment No. 19, but believed referencing the Committee’s report, which included that General Comment, was sufficient.

Echoing several of the draft’s co-sponsors, Finland’s delegate said the proposed amendments were a strong signal of distrust towards the committees where the General Comments originated.  Taking note of these General Comments in what amounted to factual references helped raise awareness among States, United Nations agencies and civil society on work being done to support implementation of the two Covenants.  As such, their deletion would be a great loss.

Before the text as a whole was passed, the first amendment was approved by a recorded vote of 70 in favour to 69 against, with 25 abstentions (Annex II).  The second proposed amendment was subsequently defeated by vote of 72 against to 71 in favour, with 23 abstentions (Annex III).

The four other texts that passed by recorded votes were on:  the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (Annex I); globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights {Annex V); human rights and unilateral coercive measures (Annex VI); and promotion of equitable geographical distribution in the membership of the human rights treaty bodies (Annex VIII).

By the terms of a consensus text entitled “further steps to improve the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons”, the Assembly would, among other things, urge Member States that had not yet done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.  It would also stress the need for consultations on a global plan of action against human trafficking to be held in an open and transparent manner.

By other terms, it would call on Governments to continue efforts to, among other things, criminalize trafficking in persons in all its forms, take measures to criminalize child sex tourism, and investigate, prosecute, condemn and penalize traffickers and intermediaries, while providing protection and assistance to the victims of trafficking.

In introducing the text, the representative of Belarus said that, while certain colleagues had shown firm resolve and discipline during negotiations, it had, in a way, been misplaced.  They should have trained their attention on the less than perfect cooperation shown by the international community on the issue, and in gaps in international action to address trafficking, which should be addressed through a practical, coordinated global plan of action on trafficking.  He hoped that the draft would be supported not because it was beautiful or even provided great ideas, but because it broke business-as-usual on human trafficking.  By undermining the notion that the problem had been taken care of, it went against the idea that a half-hearted, weak-spirited and vague approach was the best the United Nations could muster. 

In other action taken without a vote, the Committee approved nine resolutions on:  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination; Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto; national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights; follow-up to the International Year of Human Rights Learning; protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons; protection of migrants; and enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights.

Also today, the Committee heard the introduction of eight draft resolutions, ranging from promotion and protection of human rights to the right of peoples to self-determination.  Other drafts addressed the elimination of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances and questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons.  The representatives of Sierra Leone (on behalf of the African Group), Sudan (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Russian Federation, Cuba, United States, Argentina and Mexico introduced these texts.

Speaking on matters relating to the various draft resolutions were the representatives of Slovenia, Pakistan, Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Argentina, Egypt, Israel, Australia, Iran, the Federated Sates of Micronesia, Norway, Botswana, Canada, Chile, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Indonesia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Pakistan, Malaysia (on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference), Haiti, Cuba, Germany, Benin, Venezuela, Brazil, Sudan, India, Singapore, Colombia, Jamaica and Albania.

Also speaking on a draft resolution was the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine.

The representative of France spoke on a procedural issue.

The representative of the United Kingdom spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

The Committee is expected to meet again on Thursday, 19 November, to hear the introduction of additional draft resolutions and to act on texts already introduced.

Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to take action on 21 draft resolutions, on:  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/64/L.52*); enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/64/L.58); universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/C.3/64/L.51); the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/64/L.56); International Covenants on Human Rights (document A/C.3/64/L.22); Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto (document A/C.3/64/L.24); combating defamation of religions (document A/C.3/64/L.27); promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (draft A/C.3/64/L.28); 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.3/64/L.29); and the right to food (document A/C.3/64/L.30/Rev.1).

Also: globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights (document A/C.3/64/L.31); national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (document A/C.3/64/L.32); follow-up to the International Year of Human Rights Learning (document A/C.3/64/L.33/Rev.1); protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons (document A/C.3/64/L.34/Rev.1); protection of migrants (document A/C.3/64/L.41/Rev.1); human rights and unilateral coercive measures (document A/C.3/64/L.45); enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights (document A/C.3/64/L.46); promotion of equitable geographical distribution in the membership of the human rights treaty bodies (document A/C.3/64/L.48); further steps to improve the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons (document A/C.3/64/L.11/Rev.1); strengthening the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity (document A/C.3/64/L.12/Rev.1); and international cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/C.3/64/L.15/Rev.1).

Of the eight draft texts being introduced today, one, on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/64/L.59), was under the agenda item on the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions.

Two draft resolutions and one decision were being introduced under the agenda item on elimination of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerances, including: inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/C.3/64/L.53); global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/C.3/64/L.54); and a decision on the adoption of the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference (document A/C.3/64/L.55).

Under the agenda item on the right of peoples to self-determination, a draft resolution on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/C.3/64/L.57) was also expected to be introduced.

Three drafts under the agenda item on promotion and protection of human rights were also slated for introduction, including:  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.3/64/L.26); International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (document A/C.3/64/L.42); and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (document A/C.3/64/L.43).

Introduction of Draft Resolutions

Introducing the first draft, on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/64/L.59), was the representative of Sierra Leone, speaking on behalf of the African Group.  She said the resolution was similar to one adopted by consensus last year, with the exception of a few technical updates.  Other new elements included language to reaffirm the international community’s commitment to address the plight of African refugees.  She drew attention to a major development: the adoption on 22 October by the African Union during its special summit in Kampala, Uganda, of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa. 

She said the text would also have the Assembly express its grave concern at the state of refugee camps in Africa, where diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious illnesses were spreading, and would call on the international community, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and other United Nations agencies to protect and assist of refuges, returnees and displaced persons, and to facilitate the creation of a durable solution for them.  She was certain that consensus had been reached as a result of negotiations, and that the text would be tabled soon.  Amendments to the text from last year would be duly made available.

Next, the representative of Sudan, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, introduced a draft resolution on global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/C.3/64/L.54).  The resolution was focused on the General Assembly’s role in providing political guidance to the Human Rights Council in implementing the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and its follow up.  The draft would have the Assembly welcome the outcome of the Durban Review Conference of April, and emphasise the importance of the tenth anniversary of the Durban Declaration and of initial planning for that commemoration.  It would acknowledge the Council’s leadership role and encourage it to oversee implementation of the Declaration and Action programme, and would highlight the need to provide the Human Rights Commissioner with the support needed by her Office.  It would take note of the Special Rapporteur’s report and would request States to consider implementing its recommendations.  He hoped the text would adopted by consensus.

The representative of the Russian Federation then introduced the draft on inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/C.3/64/L.53), which he pointed out fell under agenda item 67(a).  He said the issues highlighted by the text were important in light of the April Durban Review and given that the current session coincided with the sixty-fifth anniversary of the “great victory” in the Second World War.  The text’s co-sponsors were deeply concerned by extremist groups, such as neo-Nazis and skinheads, who committed violence against people of different skin colour and religions and against minorities, as highlighted by the Special Rapporteur.  They were grateful to Rapporteur for the investigation into those occurrences, and the provisions listed in the report were taken into account in the draft. 

He said extremist groups drew inspiration from the very ideas that the United Nations had been created to combat.  It was unacceptable to glorify those involved in Nazi crimes, including through whitewashing the Nazi Party’s SS and its Waffen-SS subdivision.  The draft was not calling on the Assembly to look back on the past; rather, it was drawing attention to a contemporary matter that needed to be countered.  The resolution’s adoption with the maximum support of States would be a realistic contribution to efforts to eradicate racism and related intolerance.

The representative of Sudan next introduced, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, the draft text on adoption of the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference (document A/C.3/64/L.55).  This was, he corrected, a draft decision not a draft resolution.

He said the Durban Review Conference reviewed the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, which was held in 2001.  As such, the review was “standard practice” in following up to major United Nations conferences and summits. The decision highlighted the importance of following up to the first Durban Conference in the same framework and mechanisms that were outlined in the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action, which resulted from the first conference.  He noted that the text should be changed under paragraph (b) to read:  “decides to endorse the outcome document of the conference”.  Sudan hoped the decision would be adopted by consensus.

The representative of Cuba then introduced the draft resolution on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/C.3/64/L.57). She noted that the text had a large number of co-sponsors.  She thanked those who traditionally supported this text, which gave special attention to the use of mercenaries and how that use infringed on human rights. Among other things, the text encouraged the strengthening of the international framework to prohibit the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries, according to the legal definition of a mercenary drafted by the Special Rapporteur in his report to the sixtieth session of the Commission on Human Rights. It sought to make up the deficiencies in this area and to address current and future uses of mercenaries, including private security forces.

The representative of the United States then introduced the draft resolution 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.3/64/L.26).  He stressed that true democracy required governance based on the consent of the governed. The provision of electoral assistance was part of the commitment of the United Nations to supporting electoral processes in its Member States.  Observers could improve the legitimacy of elections.  Technical assistance could improve the mechanics of voting itself.

He said that, over the last 20 years, the United Nations had provided assistance to over 100 states and 4 territories. Support had ranged from legal advice to coordination of various electoral processes. Today’s biannual resolution would have the United Nations continue to provide this assistance. Noting the strong support the resolution had received in recent years, he urged the Committee to continue to promote free and fair elections by supporting the draft again this year.

Next, the representative of Argentina introduced a draft on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (document A/C.3/64/L.42), also on behalf of France.  Since the resolution was adopted in December 2008, States had made progress towards the signature and ratification of that Convention, which now had 81 signatories.  Of those, 16 had ratified or acceded to it, which meant the international community was on the threshold of its entry into force.  The Convention was believed to be an important tool in the fight against impunity and in fostering full respect of the human rights of all individuals under any circumstances. 

He said the text supported universal support for that Convention through a natural process, and called on the Secretary-General, the depository for that instrument, to report on his activities in support of the Convention.  The draft also paid due recognition to elements such as the right to truth, and reflected the fact that the Convention had come about through dialogue and negotiation, in which international human rights movements and other organs of the international human rights system had taken part alongside States.  He noted that the draft was being supported by a number of States that had not yet become party to the Convention.  Revisions to the text would be posted online, and later published in an official revision.

Finally, the representative of Mexico introduced a draft on protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (document A/C.3/64/L.43).  He said terrorism was a severe security problem requiring appropriate measures to counter it.  But, no action by States to protect their countries could justify actions contrary to human rights.  The General Assembly had adopted a similar resolution initiative for the first time in 2002, enabling States to debate various aspects of that topic since that time.  It was natural for States to hold different viewpoints, in view of the issue’s complexity.  But, a commitment to human rights while countering terrorism had made it possible for the international community to move forward on a common agenda.  He would seek to continue dialogue with all delegations on the text, and to find points that brought everyone together without sacrificing anyone’s principles.  He thanked others for their constructive participation during consultations.

Action on draft texts

The Committee first turned to a draft resolution on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/64/L.52*), which the representative of Finland introduced.

By that text, the General Assembly would re-emphasize that the protection of refugees was primarily the responsibility of States, whose full and effective cooperation, action and political resolve were required to enable the Office of the High Commissioner to fulfil its mandated functions.  It would similarly re-emphasize State responsibility in the prevention and reduction of statelessness, as well as the protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons, in appropriate cooperation with the international community.

The Assembly would also strongly condemn attacks on refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons, as well as acts that pose a threat to their personal security and well-being.  It would, thus, call on all concerned States and, where applicable, parties involved in armed conflict, to take all necessary measures to ensure respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.

By further terms, the Assembly would express deep concern with the increasing number of attacks against humanitarian aid workers and convoys, and particularly the loss of life of humanitarian personnel working in the most difficult and challenging conditions.  It also would emphasize the need for States to ensure that perpetrators of attacks committed on their territory against humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel do not operate with impunity, and that the perpetrators of such acts are promptly brought to justice as provided for by national laws and obligations under international law.

The text would also have the Assembly deplore the refoulement and unlawful expulsion of refugees and asylum-seekers, and call upon all concerned States to ensure respect for the relevant principles of refugee protection and human rights. It would also strongly reaffirm the fundamental importance and the purely humanitarian and non-political character of the function of the Office of the High Commissioner of providing international protection to refugees.

The Assembly would also recall that the search for permanent solutions to refugee problems included voluntary repatriation and, where appropriate and feasible, local integration and resettlement in a third country.  At the same time, it would reaffirm that voluntary repatriation, supported, as necessary, by rehabilitation and development assistance to facilitate sustainable reintegration, remains the preferred solution.

The Assembly would, by other provisions, 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 to enhance the capacity of and reduce the heavy burden borne by host countries, particularly those that had received large numbers of refugees and asylum-seekers.  The Office should also 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 in developing countries.

By the text, the Assembly would also express deep concern with the existing and potential challenges posed by the world financial and economic crisis to the activities of the High Commissioner’s Office and would call on it to further explore ways to broaden its donor base and achieve greater burden-sharing.  It would also urge Governments and other donors to respond promptly to annual and supplementary appeals issued by the Office for requirements under its programmes.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft text.

The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/64/L.58), which was introduced by the representative of Slovenia, who noted that her country had requested to be elected to the Executive Committee.

By text, the Assembly would decide to increase the Executive Committee’s memberships from 78 to 79 States and would request the Economic and Social Council to elect the additional member at its resumed organizational session for 2010.

Acting again without a vote, the Committee approved the draft resolution.

The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/C.3/64/L.51), which was introduced by the representative of Pakistan.

By the text, the Assembly would reaffirm that the universal realization of the right of all peoples -- including those under colonial, foreign and alien domination -- to self-determination is a fundamental condition for the effective guarantee, observance, preservation and promotion of human rights.

The Assembly would also declare its firm opposition to acts of foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation, since those have resulted in the suppression of the right of peoples to self-determination and other human rights in certain parts of the world.  It would also call on those States responsible to cease immediately their military intervention in and occupation of foreign countries and territories, as well as all acts of repression, discrimination, exploitation and maltreatment.

By further terms, the Assembly would deplore the plight of millions of refugees and displaced persons who have been uprooted as a result of these acts and reaffirms their right to return to their homes voluntarily in safety and honour.  It would also request the Human Rights Council to give special attention to the violation of human rights, especially the right to self-determination, resulting from foreign military intervention, aggression or occupation.

The Committee then approved the draft text without a vote.

Making an explanation of position, the representative of Sweden, speaking on the behalf of the European Union and associate countries, said the Union had been able to join consensus because it considered the right of self-determination to be fundamental in international law.  That right deserved close attention by the international community.  Further, there was a clear link between self-determination and international peace in the United Nations Charter and self-determination was also closely associated with democracy. It required the holding of free and fair elections within the framework of a democratic society. Given the importance the Union attached to right, it would have welcomed discussions with the draft’s co-sponsors on the text.

She said, however, that in the Union’s view the thrust of the resolution remained too narrow.  All peoples had the right to self-determination and, thus, the text should have reflected a wider perspective than it had.  Moreover, the text contained a number of inaccuracies. To this end, she said the right, as described in the international covenants, attached only to peoples, not nations.  It was also not correct that self-determination, as such, was a pre-condition for the enjoyment of all other rights. Such inaccuracies undermined the debate on self-determination and the Union would rather have the opportunity to discuss the draft with the main sponsors, rather than making a statement such as this, year after year.  It could only hope that next year’s text would be a more effective draft, in this regard.

Argentina’s delegate expressed support for the right of to self-determination of peoples who were still under colonial domination or foreign occupation.  His delegation understood that the resolution that had just been approved should be implemented within the framework of other United Nations decisions and declarations on self-determination.  This included the decisions and resolutions on the Malvinas Islands.  Those adopted up until now recognized that Argentina and the United Kingdom were the sole parties to the dispute.  They established the need for bilateral negotiations for the resolution of this conflict.  The Malvinas Islands were illegally occupied by the United Kingdom, which expelled the population of the local islands, thus rendering self-determination inapplicable to the situation there.

The representative of the United States said his Government considered the right to self-determination to be important, and he had thus joined consensus on the text.  However, as stated by others, he also noted that the resolution contained mis-statements of international law.

Following that action, the Committee then turned to a draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/64/L.56), which was introduced by the representative of Egypt.

By that text, the Assembly would reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine. It would urge all States and the specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations system to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.

The representative of Israel requested a recorded vote on the text.

Speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of United States said that, with respect to the situation in the Middle East, his Government’s policy was to support the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security.  That policy was backed up by substantive diplomatic assistance to both sides, as well as through financial support to the Palestinian Authority and to Palestinian refugees through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).  There was no contradiction in its support for Palestinians and its support for Israel. 

He was discouraged by the tabling of that resolution, which was unbalanced, unlike those with respect to other States, geographic area or issues.  It placed demands on Israel, and did not refer to steps that both sides needed to take towards peace.  The text presupposed the outcome of talks on the right of return and the status of east Jerusalem, which made it difficult to resolve them.  It would undermine the institutional credibility of the United Nations, which, through the Quartet, had an important role to play in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The representative of Israel said that, earlier in Washington, D.C., Prime Minister Netanyahu had reiterated Israel’s desire to restart negotiations.  He had called on President Abbas to begin talks immediately.  In June, Prime Minister Netanyahu outlined his vision for a genuine peace that was defensible and permanent, involving one Jewish and one Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security.  Real progress towards self-determination did not happen because of one-sided resolutions such as this, and so many others.  Progress took place on the ground through bilateral negotiations.  For that reason, Israel had called on the Palestinian leadership to return to talks.

Turning to the draft, she said it reflected a pattern in which there was a failure to address all sides in an equitable manner, and did not serve the cause of peace.  It failed to place responsibility on Palestinians to ensure the safety and security of the State of Israel and its people.  It ignored the road map, in which incremental steps towards peace had been laid out.  She called for the resumption of peace negotiations, which could bear the fruit of peace, where the stale resolution did nothing.  For that reason, she had called for a vote, and would vote against it.

The draft resolution was adopted by a vote of 171 in favour to 6 against ( Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and United States), with 5 abstentions ( Botswana, Cameroon, Canada, Tonga and Vanuatu). (See Annex I).

The representative of Australia said he had voted in favour, because it supported the rights of Palestinians to self-determination, in line with his Government’s longstanding view that peace between Palestinians and Israelis must be predicated on a two-state solution.  Australia urged those parties to resume negotiations.  In earlier years, until 2004, Australia had abstained on the resolution because the text had included references to the International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Israel’s security barrier.  But, it had come to the view that, while the court’s opinion was not supported by the Australian Government and it considered that opinion non-binding, it would not oppose the text because of the references.

The representative of Argentina said self-determination required an active subject for its exercise. Without this being so, that right must be interpreted in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter and other relevant provisions.  With regard to the Malvinas Islands, the resolutions of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee [Fourth Committee] highlighted the special status of those islands.  In particular, they recognized that the form to settle the dispute in the Malvinas was the resumption of bilateral negotiations between his country and the United Kingdom, bearing in mind the interests of the inhabitants of those Islands.  The Malvinas Islands were illegally occupied by the United Kingdom, which had expelled the local population. As a result, self-determination did not apply to the situation there.

Iran’s representative said his delegation had voted in favour of the resolution, but his delegation wished to re-emphasize that it would continue to maintain its longstanding position on the issue of the Palestinian people.  It believed that a durable peace in Palestine would be possible through the end of the occupation, the return of all refugees and the establishment of a democratic Palestinian State with Al-Quds as its capital, among other things.

The representative of the Federated States of Micronesia reaffirmed its commitment to the two-State solution and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. However, his delegation could not accept language which prejudged the outcome of the negotiations between the parties, which needed to resume. Further, his delegation feared that operative paragraph 2 also endangered the impartiality of the United Nations on the matter.  It was also concerned with the reference to the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion. For these reasons, it had voted against the draft resolution.

Noting that she had been late to push her voting button, the representative of Norway said her delegation had co-sponsored the resolution and would like for its vote in favour of the text to be included in the meeting’s records.

Botswana’s representative said her delegation had abstained, but as a co-sponsor it wished to vote in favour of the draft text.

The Secretary, MONCEF KHANE, said the Secretariat had duly noted the wishes of Norway and Botswana, which would be reflected in the records of the meeting. However, the vote could not be changed.

Making a general statement, the representative of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine thanked those delegations that had voted in favour of the text. She also thanked the over 140 co-sponsors. She said that foreign occupation remained the crux of the problem facing the Palestinian people.  Thus, support for the resolution was crucial, until the day when this right was realized.

She said the statement made by Israel merited no response. However, something must be said regarding Israel’s vote against the draft, which indicated that the Government did not support the right of self-determination for the Palestinian people.  One could not say one recognized the rights of the Palestinian people and, at the same time, refuse their right to self-determination.  Indeed, the right to self-determination was not a matter to be negotiated.  Moreover, the blatant refusal to recognize the right of the Palestinian people by Israel was evident in its actions.  As regards the peace process, it should be said that the continuation of Israel’s illegal colonization campaign were evidence, in that respect.  The extension of settlements must be ended before peace negotiations could be launched.

She said her delegation continued to be perplexed by the dichotomous United States position. On the one hand, it said it supported the establishment of two States, while, on the other, it cast a vote against Palestinian self-determination.  Her delegation had hoped that, with the new administration, this would change.  The message the United States sent with its vote against this draft must be considered.

She welcomed, on a positive note, Australia’s vote in favour of the draft text. If peace in the Middle East was to be achieved, a solution must recognize the rights of both peoples.  The Palestinian people had been striving for that right for over 40 years.  They would not give up that struggle until a Palestinian State was not just a dream, but a reality.

The Committee took up a draft resolution on the International Covenants on Human Rights (document A/C.3/64/L.22), introduced by the representative of Finland, on behalf of the five Nordic countries.

By that text, the Assembly would strongly appeal to all States that had not yet done so to become parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to consider acceding to their Optional Protocols and making the declarations provided for in article 41 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in articles 10 and 11 of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [by which States Parties would recognize the competence of the respective Committees overseeing those Covenants to receive and consider communications].

By other terms, the Assembly would emphasize the need for States to ensure that any measure to combat terrorism complied with their obligations under relevant international law, including their obligations under the International Covenants on Human Rights.

Other provisions of the text would have the Assembly recall that certain rights were recognized as non-derogable in any circumstances, and underline that derogrations were exceptional and temporary in nature and must be in accordance with the conditions and procedures stipulated under article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  States must bear in mind the need to provide the fullest possible information during states of emergency so that the justification for measures taken in those circumstances could be assessed.  In that regard, the text would have States take note of General Comment No. 29 adopted by the Human Rights Committee.

The text would also have the Assembly urge that States parties to the respective Optional Protocols to take account of the views adopted by the Human Rights Committee under the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the same would apply to views adopted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights following its entry into force.

Among other things, the draft would request the Secretary-General to ensure that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights provided adequate staffing and other resources to the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the implementation of their respective mandates.

Oral revisions to the text were circulated in written form by the representative of Finland, which included grammatical corrections.  In addition, she explained that the final draft would leave out references to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.  The reasoning used was that the resolution fell under the purview of more than one Special Rapporteur.  However, despite suggestions by certain parties to omit references to General Comments by the two human rights committees, those references were retained because references to the latest General Comments appeared regularly in the previous years’ texts. 

Speaking before action, the representative of Zambia, on behalf of the African Group, voiced appreciation for the decision to delete the reference to the Special Rapporteur on terrorism.  The Groups’ views on that were articulated on 26 October; in addition, they had failed to see the connection between the work of that Rapporteur and the text at hand.  But, it was regrettable that the other serious concerns had not been addressed.  Operative paragraphs 9 and 10 would have the Assembly welcome reports of the two human rights committees, including their general comments.  The co-sponsors had claimed that general comments were traditionally referred to in the texts, and that those references were “technical updates”.  In fact, General Comment No. 33 lacked clarity and risked contradicting the Vienna convention on the law of treaties.  General Comment No. 20 on non-discrimination lacked solid ground in international law.  Also, No. 20 was not even included in the report of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and to mention it in the resolution when it did not even appear in the committee’s own report was unprecedented.  And, although the African Group had no issues with General Comment No. 19, it still believed that the reference in the report of the Committee, which included that General Comment, was sufficient.

In view of the reluctance of co-sponsors to take the African Group’s views into account, she would submit the following oral amendment for action: the first, to delete references to General Comments No. 33 on the obligations of States parties under the Optional Protocol from operative paragraph 9; and the second, to delete references to General Comment No. 19 and General Comment No. 20 from operative paragraph 10.

Responding, the representative of Finland said that, given four open informal sessions and several bilateral discussions on the text with interested delegations, as well as the “enormous” concessions by co-sponsors to reach consensus, she regretted that the representative of Zambia had made those proposals at this late stage.  She remained unconvinced by the arguments put forward by the representative of Zambia, and so requested a recorded vote on each of those amendments separately.  She requested others to vote against those amendments as well.

Prior to the first vote, MONCEF KHANE, Secretary of the Committee, repeated the first proposal by the representative of Zambia.

In a general statement before the vote, the representative of Finland said the amendments to delete references to General Comments were a strong signal of distrust towards the committees where they originated.  Ever since the fifty-second session of the General Assembly, the United Nations membership had been able to take note of General Comments, referring to the most recent ones by name and number in what amounted to factual references.  Doing so helped raise awareness among States, United Nations agencies and civil society on work being done to support implementation of the two Covenants.  It also enabled States to make decisions based on the most recent data available.  As such, their deletion would be a great loss. 

She acknowledged that the most recent General Comments were included in their respective Committees’ reports, but only as annexes.  General Comment No. 20 on non-discrimination, however, was not yet annexed to any report, because it had just been adopted in May.  The fact that it was not in a report did not hinder the General Assembly from considering it in the resolution in a “factual” manner.  She further believed that there was nothing unprecedented in its inclusion in the text.  Also, General Comment No. 33 was clearly directed to states parties to the optional protocol, and she did not see how it would set a bad precedent in international law.  She further observed that General Comments were in no way legally binding. 

She said should delegations have had serious concerns regarding the General Comments, a perfect opportunity to raise them would have been on Monday, during a meeting of the Conference of States parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  But, no such concerns were raised.  She urged States to vote against the first proposal.

The representative of Canada said she deeply regretted that the amendments had been put forward.  The resolution was a biennial one and had a long tradition of consensus.  The paragraphs now being put to a vote consisted of language previously agreed to, and reflected technical developments over the last two years.  The work of the two bodies was important, and the paragraphs served to welcome their annual reports and to take note of their General Comments.  Although States had different views on the Comments, surely they could agree on neutral language to describe them.  The co-sponsors had demonstrated great flexibility throughout the negotiation process, and changes were made to accommodate the views of States not party to the Covenants or their protocols.  References to the special procedures had been removed.  It was regrettable that a reasonable compromise had not been reached.  She urged all states to vote against those amendments.

The representative of Chile said that, as a traditional co-sponsor of the resolution, she had found it unfortunate that there was no consensus on the text this year.  The proposed corrections did not fit with the spirit of the resolution.  Eliminating references of the committees’ work only signalled mistrust for their work and the opinion of the independent experts who worked on those Committees, who were elected to their posts by States.  She called on States to maintain the integrity of text, and urged states to vote against the proposed amendments.

The representative of the United Kingdom said the resolution was designed to emphasize the importance of the international covenants, as well as the work of the committees that monitored their implementation.  Those committees were composed of independent experts whose independence had to be respected.  By taking note of the General Comments, the resolution merely paid legitimate and suitable attention to the committees’ work.  The amendments were an attempt to pass judgment on the committees.  Threats to their independence, or attempts to put their work to a “no confidence” vote, were not acceptable.

The representative of Egypt wondered what the vote was on.

Mr. KHANE said the proposal was the first draft amendment put forward by Zambia.  As the “proposer” of the original proposal, Zambia could not make an explanation of vote before the vote.

Egypt’s delegation said that the proposed amendment had been made by Zambia, but that Finland had proposed that a recorded vote be taken.

Mr. KHANE said the Committee was proceeding as if this was a proposed amendment and would proceed to a recorded vote.

The Committee then approved the first amendment, which would delete the reference to General Comment No. 33 in operative paragraph 9, by a recorded vote of 70 in favour to 69 against, with 25 abstentions (See Annex II).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Switzerland said that, as a co-sponsor of the resolution, his delegation had voted against the oral amendment proposed by Zambia on behalf of the African Group. The least the Committee could do was note the existence of General Comments, whether or not countries agreed with them.  Not doing so was completely unacceptable, he said.

Making a general statement after the vote, Zambia’s representative said the recent Conference of State parties of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights had dealt with elections, not general comments.  Moreover, her delegation had raised these concerns several times during consultations, but they had not been heeded.

Following that action, Mr. KHANE repeated the wording of the second suggested amendment before the Committee moved to a vote.

The representative of Finland, in a general statement before the vote, said she understood those amendments to be a signal of distrust towards the two treaty bodies concerned.  The deletion of a reference to General Comment No. 20 would be a great loss of the enhancement of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  Comment No. 20 was not yet annexed to a report, because it was only recently adopted, and no mention of it in the draft would be to “lose it totally”.  The fact that it was not in the report of the Committee that wrote it did not hinder the General Assembly’s ability to consider it in a factual manner in the resolution.  She noted that the proposed amendment would also affect the Assembly’s consideration of General Comment No. 19, on social security, towards which no delegation had raised an objection.  She asked that States consider the report of the Committee on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights based on its merits and as a whole, not on the basis of individual issues contained in some General Comments.  Discriminatory practices undermined the economic, social and cultural rights of many people.  Economic development had not led to sustainable development, because of entrenched forms of discrimination.  Were States prepared not to take note of a General Comment that contained such an important statement?  She hoped that the Third Committee would agree to keep a reference to those General Comments, as well.

Through a recorded vote, the proposal to delete references to General comments 19 and 20 in operative paragraph 10 was rejected by vote of 71 in favour, and 72 against, with 23 abstentions (See Annex III).

When the meeting resumed in the afternoon, Mr. KHANE said, that upon the adjournment of the morning’s session, a number of delegations had approached the podium to seek clarification on the procedural correctness of ending the meeting in the middle of taking action on the draft resolution L.22 as a whole.  Yet, the consideration of draft resolution L.22, as amended, had not yet begun.  Therefore, it was a correct and opportune time to adjourn and postpone consideration of the text until the afternoon.  He said “old-timers” would recall that, two years ago, the Committee had required three full meetings to complete the proceedings related to one single draft resolution.

Before the Committee took up the draft resolution as a whole, the representative of Zambia said she was taking the floor to ask for clarification on the reason for the adjournment in the middle of action on the draft text and without any kind of summary of the action that had just been completed. In the future, her delegation would appreciate if such incidents were avoided.

Egypt’s delegate, aligning his country with the statement made by Zambia, said he realized that the morning meeting had started late, but wondered that it could not be extended five more minutes.  He stressed the importance of delegations knowing what was happening in the room before a meeting’s adjournment.

Mr. KHANE said he did not share the view that an “incident” had occurred. Before adjourning it had been said that the Committee would resume its consideration of the draft text in the afternoon.  He stressed again that the Committee was not in the voting procedure when the meeting was adjourned.  That procedure started when the Chair announced that “we would now vote on the draft”.

The Chair then opened action on the draft text as a whole.

Making a general comment, Finland’s representative recalled that, for the past 40 years, consensus had been reached on the resolution, which dealt with the very core of the work of the respective treaty bodies.  Despite views expressed today, it was Finland’s hope that all delegations would be able to vote in favour of the draft text.

Speaking on a point of order, Argentina’s representative requested to know which delegation had called for a vote.

Mr. KHANE said the vote was in line with Rule 130 of the Rules of Procedure, which called for a vote to be taken if one or more amendments are adopted.

The representative of Zambia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that bearing in mind that its proposed amendment on operative paragraph 10 had not been approved, the African Group would abstain.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution as whole, as orally revised by a vote of 111 in favour to none against, with 66 abstentions (See Annex IV).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of the United States said his delegation supported the resolution with the express understanding that it did not imply obligations by States to instruments to which they were not a party.

The representative of Indonesia said it was regrettable that this Committee should witness countries abstaining from a resolution that had historically enjoyed consensus.  His delegation believed this resolution aimed to broaden support for the norms and mechanisms for the protection of human rights. 

Iran’s representative said that his country was a party to the international covenants on human rights and attached great importance to their implementation. It, thus, supported the draft resolution.  However, it was not able to vote in favour of the resolution, because it had specific reservations on the General Comments mentioned in operative paragraphs 9 and 10.

The representative of Mexico said he supported the draft as originally submitted, saying his country held much respect for the two International Covenants and indeed all human rights instruments that Member States themselves had established.  He voiced support for the two human rights committees and said he had opposed the draft amendments submitted today.  He would have preferred that the draft retain the language on the Special Rapporteur on terrorism, and that it had maintained other elements in the original text based on the agreement reached during negotiations.

Jamaica’s representative said her Government supported the resolution’s general thrust.  However, it had difficulty with references to the General Comments of the two human rights committees.  She had hoped that those paragraphs could have been eliminated.

The representative of New Zealand said her Government was a strong supporter of the two covenants and of the United Nations treaty body system, and supported the independence and impartiality of the two committees.  That independence and impartiality was crucial in enabling them to fulfil their mandates, as well as for the promotion and protection of human rights.  She thanked the representative of Finland for bringing the proposal forward this morning, although she would have preferred that it retain the references to the general comments, particularly Comment No. 33, which had been published online for States to provide comments in advance of adoption.  It was a shame that the text had been voted on in the manner that had happened, and she expressed hope that it would not be repeated.

Pakistan’s representative said the resolution was an important one.  As mentioned by the African Group, the Third Committee might have been able to achieve consensus on it, given time.  The amendments proposed by the representative of Zambia were substantive, and he had voted in favour of them.  It was because the second amendment had not been passed that he had abstained from the vote.

Having completed action on that text, the Committee took up the proceeding draft resolution, on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto (document A/C.3/64/L.24).  It was introduced by the representative of Mexico, speaking also on behalf of New Zealand.

The draft would call on States that had not yet done so to consider signing and ratifying the Convention and the Optional Protocol as a matter of priority, and would welcome the start of work of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The Secretary-General would be requested to continue implementing standards and guidelines for the accessibility of United Nations facilities and services, particularly when undertaking renovations, including interim arrangements.  It would also request him to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in the United Nations system in line with the Convention, including the retention and recruitment of persons with disabilities.  It would request United Nations agencies and organizations to continue efforts to disseminate “accessible information” on the Convention and the Optional Protocol, and to assist States parties in implementing their obligations under those instruments.  It would invite intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to do the same.

The text was approved without a vote.

The Committee turned to the draft resolution on combating defamation of religions (document A/C.3/64/L.27), introduced by the representative of Malaysia, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference, Belarus and Venezuela.

The terms of the draft would have the Assembly express deep concern at negative stereotyping of religions, and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief.  It would strongly deplore all acts of psychological and physical violence and assaults against persons on the basis of religion or belief, and deplore incitement to such acts.  Acts directed against such persons’ businesses, properties, cultural centres and places of worship, as well as targeting of holy sites and religious symbols of all religions, would be equally deplored.  The Assembly would express deep concern at programmes and agendas pursued by extremist organizations and groups aimed at creating and perpetuating stereotypes about certain religions, in particular when condoned by Governments. 

By further provisions, States would note with deep concern “the intensification of the overall campaign of the defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred” which included ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001.  The Assembly would recognize that, in the context of the fight against terrorism, defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred had become aggravating factors that contributed to the denial of fundamental rights and freedoms of members of target groups, as well as their economic and social exclusion.  In that respect, it would express serious concern that Islam was frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.

The same text would have the Assembly reiterate the commitment of all States to the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which was adopted without a vote by the General Assembly on 8 September 2006 and reaffirmed by the Assembly in its resolution 62/272 of 5 September 2008, and which clearly confirmed, among other things, that terrorism could not and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group.

Further by the text, States would deplore the use of print, audio-visual and electronic media, including the Internet, and any other means to incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination against any religion and religious symbols.  It would emphasize that freedom of expression carried with it special duties and responsibilities, and might therefore be subject to limitations as provided by law, and which were necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others, protection of national security or of public order, public health or morals.  It would reaffirm that general recommendation XV (42) of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in which the Committee stipulated that the prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based upon racial superiority or hatred is compatible with freedom of opinion and expression, was equally applicable to the question of incitement to religious hatred.

Among other things, the text would have the Assembly strongly condemn all manifestations and acts of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against religious and linguistic minorities and migrants, and would urge all States to apply or reinforce existing laws when such intolerant acts occurred.  It would call on States to exert their utmost effort to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and symbols were fully respected and protected, and to take additional measures in cases where they were vulnerable to desecration or destruction.

The Assembly would request a report from the Secretary-General, at its sixty-fifth session, on the implementation of the resolution, which would include the correlation between defamation of religions and the intersection between religion and race, the upsurge of incitement, intolerance and hatred in many parts of the world, and steps taken by States to combat that phenomenon.

The representative of Haiti asked that a correction be made to the text in its French version, to reflect the fact that the main co-sponsors were the Organization of Islamic Conference, rather than the Group of 77 and China.  The representative of Malaysia confirmed that there was a discrepancy between the English and French texts.  The Committee Secretary said the error would be corrected.

The representative of Malaysia then asked for action to be postponed until after the mistake had been corrected.  Replying, the Secretary said clerical errors had, in the past, never prevented a Committee from taking action, but the representative of Malaysia repeated his request for a postponement.

The Secretary then made an oral correction to the footnote in the French version, reading aloud the correct phrasing in French, but the representative of Malaysia once more said he would like action to be postponed until after the situation was fully resolved.

The representative of Egypt, aligning himself with the statement by the Malaysian representative, said it was important to allow more time to study the oral amendments, and also to “be aware” of any corrections made.  He also pointed out that there could be other mistakes in the French version. 

The Chair of the Committee NORMANS PENKE, said he would agree to postpone action to the end of the session.

The representative of Cuba announced that, in view of the fact that a number of delegations had asked for postponement of consideration of the three draft resolutions proposed by her country, since they were still awaiting instructions on co-sponsorship, she was requesting that action on these three drafts be postponed until next week.  Those three drafts were: promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (draft A/C.3/64/L.28), 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.3/64/L.29) and the right to food (document A/C.3/64/L.30/Rev.1).

Thus, the Committee then took up the draft on globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights (document A/C.3/64/L.31), introduced by the representative of Egypt.

By its terms, the Assembly would call on Member States, United Nations agencies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society to promote equitable and environmentally sustainable economic growth for managing globalization so that poverty was systematically reduced and that international development targets were achieved.  Affirming that globalization was “a complex process of structural transformation”, with an impact on the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, the Assembly would underline the need to analyse the consequences of globalization on the full enjoyment of all human rights.

The CHAIR said that a recorded vote had been requested.

The representative of Egypt asked which delegation had made that request.

The CHAIR said Sweden had requested the vote.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, said the Union could not support the draft resolution.  It had declared its position in previous years.  The Union believed that globalization could negatively impact human rights.  Yet, the text inaccurately characterized globalization as affecting all rights and the Union could not support that characterization.  The problems and challenges facing the world were of an increasingly global nature.  But, globalization offered the means of tackling some of them. Indeed, it could provide a great opportunity for stimulating growth and prosperity all over the world.

Reiterating that the Union was not convinced that globalization had an impact on all human rights, she said its impact should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.  Indeed, there might be positive effects in some of them, as, for example, in the increased flow of information.  Given that the Union had severe problems with the text, it would press the red button and respectfully asked other delegations to do the same.

The Committee then approved the text by a vote of 125 in favour to 54 against, with 3 abstentions ( Brazil, Chile, Singapore) (See Annex V).

The Committee next turned to a draft resolution on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (document A/C.3/64/L.32), which the representative of Germany introduced.

That text would have the Assembly stress the importance of financial and administrative independence and the stability of national human rights institutions in promoting and protecting human rights.  It would note with satisfaction the efforts of those States that have provided their national institutions with more autonomy and independence, including giving them an investigative role or enhancing such a role.  It would encourage other Governments to consider taking similar steps and 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.

By further terms, the Assembly would particularly underline the importance of the autonomy and independence of the Ombudsman institutions and encourage increased cooperation between national human rights institutions and regional and international associations of Ombudsmen. Ombudsman institutions would also be encouraged to actively draw on the standards enumerated in international instruments and the Paris Principles to strengthen their independence and increase their capacity to act as national human rights protection mechanisms.

Among other things, the Secretary-General would be requested to provide the necessary assistance for holding international and regional meetings of national institutions, including meetings of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions.  National institutions would be encouraged to seek accreditation status through that coordinating committee.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft text.

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on follow-up to the International Year of Human Rights Learning (document A/C.3/64/L.33/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Benin.

That text would have the Assembly encourage Member States to expand on efforts made during the International Year of Human Rights Learning and to consider devoting the financial and human resources necessary to design and implement international, regional, national and local long-term human rights learning programmes of action. It would call on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council to support, cooperate and collaborate closely with relevant stakeholders within and outside the United Nations system in designing strategies and programmes of action at all levels that aimed at broad-based and sustained human rights learning.

Among other provisions, the Assembly would recommend that the Human Rights Council integrate human rights learning into the preparation of the draft United Nations declaration on human rights education and training. Relevant actors in civil society would be encouraged to develop the concept of human rights learning as a way to promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.

The representative of Benin, making a general statement, noted that next year would mark the sixty-first anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the end of the International Year of Human Rights Learning.  He asked that the Secretariat convey the text to the plenary as quickly as possible, so it would be taken up before the end of the General Assembly’s main session.

The draft was approved without a vote, and the Committee also decided that it would be transmitted to the plenary on 10 December as proposed by the main sponsor, Benin.  The Chair said notwithstanding that decision, there was no assurance that the text would actually be considered on 10 December.  Nevertheless, the recommendation would be duly transmitted to the General Assembly plenary.

The Committee took up the draft on protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons (document A/C.3/64/L.34/Rev.1), introduced by the representative of Norway.

The text would have the Assembly call on States to provide durable solutions, and to encourage stronger international cooperation through the provision of resources and expertise to affected countries, in particular developing countries.  It would emphasize the importance of consultation with internally displaced persons and host communities during all phases of displacement, and their participation, where appropriate, in programmes and activities pertaining to them.  But it would also take into account the primary responsibility of States for the protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons within their jurisdiction.

By the terms of the draft, the Assembly would recognize the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement1 as an important international framework for the protection of internally displaced persons, while welcoming the fact that an increasing number of States, United Nations organizations and regional and non-governmental organizations were applying them as a standard.

By further terms, the Assembly would urge all Governments to continue to facilitate the activities of the Representative of the Secretary-General, in particular Governments with situations of internal displacement, and to respond favourably to requests from the Representative for visits to enable him to continue dialogue with Governments in addressing situations of internal displacement.  It would thank Governments that had already done so.

The draft would have the Assembly call on Governments to provide reintegration and development assistance to internally displaced persons, and to facilitate the efforts of United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations in those respects, including by further improving access to internally displaced persons, and by maintaining the civilian and humanitarian character of camps and settlements for internally displaced persons where they exist.  It would emphasize the central role of the Emergency Relief Coordinator for the inter-agency coordination of protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons, and would note with appreciation the increased attention paid to the issue of internally displaced persons in the consolidated appeals process and encourage further efforts in this regard.

Further by the text, the 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 to encourage the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in close cooperation with the Emergency Relief Coordinator, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and all other relevant United Nations offices and agencies, to continue to support the Representative.  It would encourage the Representative to continue to seek the contributions of States, relevant organizations and institutions in order to create a more stable basis for his work.

The representative of Norway made some oral revisions to the text to correct a grammatical error, and the draft was approved, as orally revised, without a vote.

The representative of Venezuela said she had joined the consensus, but wished to clarify a point regarding a reference in the text to the Statute of the International Criminal Court, which said that unlawful displacement of the population constituted a war crime.  Displacement could only constitute a war crime under certain circumstances.  At times, their displacement was required for their safety.  She believed the text would give rise to misunderstanding by signifying displacement as a crime, when in fact it was necessary at times to prevent internal disturbances or to deal with sporadic violence.  In fact, the Statute had provisions regarding the direct or indirect displacement by an occupying power of part of its population in the occupied territory to other sections of the occupied territories.  The resolution had left out that detail.

The representative of Brazil said he had joined the consensus in recognition of the serious situation facing internally displaced persons and the need to strengthen international efforts to protect and assist them.  There was one area that he felt could have been better addressed: climate change.  Climate change was “a major challenge of our time”, but links between climate change and the causes of displacement could not be established, or implied.  Special Rapporteur Walter Kalin had pointed out in his report that there was no linear relationship between climate change and displacement.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in its fourth assessment report by working group 2, had said that disaggregating the causes of migration was “problematic”.  Estimates on the number of environmental migrants was, at best, guess work.  What climate change did was to worsen problems caused primarily by poverty and conflict.  Those other phenomenon impaired the adaptive capacity of communities, and focusing on them would prove more useful.  Nevertheless, Brazil would work towards strengthening the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons, while addressing climate change in an appropriate manner.

Sudan’s delegate said his country had joined consensus due to its concern for internally displaced persons. His delegation had effectively participated in all meetings on the text. However, it would have preferred that the current text refer to international agreements, especially since the resolution was important to everyone. That was why his delegation was not committed to any terminology that emanated from documents that were not agreed on, such as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The Committee then turned to the draft on protection of migrants (document A/C.3/64/L.41/Rev.1).

Mr. KHANE noted that the requests made in the resolution regarding the meetings of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families did not contain any programme budget implications under the budget for the proposed biennium for 2010-2011.

The representative of Mexico then introduced that text, by the terms of which the Assembly would call on States to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, and to address international migration through international, regional or bilateral cooperation and dialogue and while recognizing the roles and responsibilities of countries of origin, transit and destination.  It would express concern over the impact of the economic and financial crisis on international migrations and migrants, and in that regard would urge Governments to combat unfair and discriminatory treatment of migrants.

The Assembly would, by the text, take note with appreciation of measures adopted by some States to reduce detention periods in cases of undocumented migration.  Among other things, the draft would have the Assembly request States to adopt concrete measures to prevent the violation of the human rights of migrants while in transit, including in ports and airports and, at borders and migration checkpoints, to train public officials who work in those facilities and in border areas to treat migrants respectfully.

Further by the text, the Assembly would request Member States, the United Nations system, international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders, especially the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, to ensure that the issue of migrant rights was included among the priority issues in discussions on international migration and development within the United Nations system.  In that regard, it would underline the importance of adequately taking into account the human rights perspective as one of the priorities of the informal thematic debate on international migration and development, to be held in 2011, as well as in the High level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, expected to take place at the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly in 2013, as decided by the Assembly in a resolution from December 2008.

It would request the Secretary-General to provide the resources, from within existing resources, for the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families to meet for a maximum of three weeks in one session or two separate sessions in 2010, as required by the number of reports submitted to the Committee.  It would also request the Committee to report to the General Assembly on the use of its meeting time.

Making a general statement before action, the United States representative said his delegation had joined consensus after substantial negotiations with many delegations. Implicit in this and any other discussion of international migration was the well-established principle that States could regulate the flow of migrants into their territory.  The United States provided substantial protections under its Constitution to aliens in the United States regardless of their immigration status.

Reiterating some of the points raised by the United States during consultations, he said his country strongly supported the need for States to protect the rights of all people, including migrants, in their territory. He called attention to the well-established principle that States have the obligation to accept migrants returned to them.  This would contribute to reducing the detention periods referenced in the resolution.  The United States shared concerns that when States enforced laws on migrants, they must do so in regard for their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law.

He went on to say that the approach of the United Nations to this global concern should not be distracted by bilateral discussions between various states. In that regard, it was inappropriate to make reference to such a case.  The case mentioned in preambular paragraph 9 was not the only one of this nature and referring to it alone did not promote constructive cooperation toward advancing the rights of migrants.  The United States had a long history of welcoming migrants.  More than 1 million United States citizens lived outside the country’s borders and the Government recommended that these citizens observe all local laws in their countries of residence, he added. 

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft text.

Speaking after action, the representative of Sweden, on behalf of the European Union, said the Union had joined consensus on the draft text. It was firmly committed to protecting the rights of migrants. Its approach was based on the rule if law.  Its work in this regard was undertaken as part of its fight against human trafficking, exploitation of irregular migrants and violations of employment laws.  He welcomed the explicit references in the text to the States of origin, transit and destination. However, this balanced approach could and should be better incorporated in the text.

He said the Union was also convinced that, as an intergovernmental process, a global forum could continue to bring benefit to the dialogue on migration as long as it remained informal.  Referring to operative paragraph 4 (a), he said that detention in the European Union was subject to rigorous judicial review in compliance with international human rights obligations and it rejected any inference that such review could be excessive.  He called attention to the obligations of States to receive returning nationals.  Hopefully, the progress made this year would result in a fair and balanced text next year that could be supported by all.

Next, the Committee turned to a draft resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures (document A/C.3/64/L.45), which was introduced by the representative of Cuba, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  Although the representative of Cuba had made oral revisions and corrections to the text at the time of its introduction, the Secretary of the Committee informed Member States that the Secretariat’s editorial board had deemed the draft acceptable “as is”.

The Assembly would, by that text, urge all States to cease adopting or implementing any unilateral measures not in accordance with international law, the United Nations Charter and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States, particularly those of a coercive nature, which create obstacles to trade relations among States, thus impeding the full realization of human rights.

Among other things, the Assembly would condemn the continued unilateral application and enforcement by certain Powers of unilateral coercive measures and further reject those measures as being tools for political or economic pressure against any country, particularly developing countries. It would also reaffirm that essential goods such as food and medicines should not be used as tools for political coercion and that under no circumstances should people

be deprived of their own means of subsistence and development.

The text would have the Assembly call upon Member States that have initiated such measures to abide by the principles of international law, the Charter, the declarations of the United Nations and world conferences and relevant resolutions. It would also have the Assembly urge the Human Rights Council to take fully into account the negative impact of those measures in its task concerning the implementation of the right to development.

When the Chair announced that a vote had been requested, the representative of Cuba asked who had called for one, and was told that it had been asked for by the representative of the United States.

The Committee approved the text by a vote of 128 in favour to 52 against, with no abstentions (See Annex VI).

Speaking after the vote, the representative of United States said his country had called for a vote because it believed the text had no basis in international law and did not serve the cause of advancing human rights.  The draft challenged the ability of States to conduct economic relations and to take actions in response to security concerns.  It undermined the ability of States to respond to acts against international norms.  The use of unilateral or multilateral sanctions was a legitimate tool to achieve national and international objectives, and the United States was not alone in that view or practice.

Next, the Committee then returned to its consideration of draft resolution on combating defamation of religions (document A/C.3/64/L.27) after the Chair was informed that the main sponsor, Malaysia, was ready to move for action on that text.  The Chair also informed the Committee that a recorded vote had been requested, and in reply to the representative of Malaysia, told Member States that the vote had been sought by the representative of Sweden.

Before taking action, the representative of Sweden spoke in explanation of vote, saying she had called for a vote on behalf of the European Union.  Their position on the draft was based on its strong belief in tolerance, non-discrimination, and freedom of expression, thought, religion or belief.  They believed that continuous dialogue could help overcoming gaps in perceptions, concepts and ideas.  They shared the Organization of the Islamic Conference’s concern that people were routinely victimized on the grounds of religion or belief, and that more needed to be done to deal with persons who incited violence or hatred through legal means.  But, they could not agree with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) on the concept of defamation of religion as a response to such discrimination, because it would limit freedom of expression and might endanger the atmosphere of tolerance that would enable people of different religions or beliefs to coexist without fear. 

She said a distinction must be made between criticism of religion and incitement to religious hatred.  The concept of “defamation of religion” was inconsistent with human rights law, which protected individuals in the exercise of their freedoms and did not offer protection to religious belief systems, as such.  A number of Special Rapporteurs had called for a response that was anchored in a legal framework underpinned by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  The European Union recognized the legitimate concerns put forth by the co-sponsors, and condemned intolerance and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.  It had expressed strong resolve to fight the phenomenon and was transparent about its own challenges in that regard.  It would ask others to do the same.  The phenomenon was global and not limited to certain regions or beliefs.  Non-believers, as well, were victims of human rights violations.  Attempting to come up with a list of those discriminated against would only be exclusive. 

She said the European Union was interested to engage in serious dialogue to explain its concerns, to increase understanding and to find ways to address the concerns of the main co-sponsors in ways that were grounded in international law, and in ways that took account of all Member States’ views.  The European Union would vote against the text and encourage others to do likewise.

The United States representative said that his country had long had concerns with the concept of the defamation of religions.  It had tried over the last year in Geneva and New York to generate an alternative.  It believed that the increasingly splintered view on this text suggested that, while the majority of Member States might have a number of concerns on this issue, they were not adequately reflected in the present resolution.  In light of its work on this issue, the United States regretted the early vote on the current resolution this year. More importantly, it regretted that the problem had not been addressed in a spirit of consensus.  To this end, he quoted the statement by United States President Obama that “so long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace… and this cycle of suspicion and discord must end”.

He said that the United States approach to freedom of religion was well-known and he would not reiterate it today.  But, freedom of religion was, among other things, a foundation of civil society and a key to international security. The United States believed it was the duty of all Governments to respect the rights of each individual to practice his or her own faith.  Religion was a global phenomenon, a key source of identity and a motivating force around the world.  The United States also knew, first-hand, how it could result in intolerance.  The United States believed it was incumbent on States to model respect and welcome diversity of faith.  Governments had the tools at their disposal in this regard, including national laws against hate crimes and the means for outreach to local communities.

He went on to stress that a great deal was left to learn from each other on diversity.  There were hundreds of faiths living in harmony and this was a story the United Nations should tell. Moreover, freedom of religion was enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Free and open dialogue was also part of the solution.  When held up to the bright light of scrutiny, hateful ideas were exposed for what they were.  However, this could not be achieved by imposing governmental laws regarding who could say what, when.  The United Nations must remain faithful to the central tenet of human rights law, which said that human rights were held by individuals not nations or religions.  Nor should it lose sight of the overall goal of realizing universal human rights for all individuals.

He said the United States would vote against this resolution because it would not agree that prohibiting speech was the way to promote tolerance. Indeed, such prohibition was sometimes used for discrimination and Governments were likely to abuse individual rights in the name of this resolution and the United Nations. The United States was ready to work with other States in the spirit of consensus until an alternate vision could be reached. Meanwhile, he urged other delegations to vote no on this resolution.

India’s delegation conveyed his delegation’s opposition to the defamation of religion.  However, India remained concerned with the resolution’s focus on one religion.  It was also concerned with attempts to link this issue with racism. For this reason, his delegation would vote against the resolution.

The Committee then approved the text by a vote of 81 in favour to 55 against, with 43 abstentions (See Annex VII).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Brazil said his delegation had abstained, even though it recognized many good provisions in the text.  It could not support the text as tabled, however, because it believed the concept of the defamation of religion as articulated was not in line with international law, nor with Brazil’s own laws.  Moreover, the defamation of religion had to be addressed in such a way that was not detrimental to other rights.   Brazil was convinced that common ground could be found that reflected the concerns of the entire membership and, in this regard, he cited paragraph 12 of the outcome document of the Durban Conference.

Singapore’s representative said she had voted in favour of the resolution on the understanding that it applied to all religions.  In a multicultural society such as Singapore’s, it was critical that diversity of religions, cultures and races not become a source of friction.  Her Government believed that free speech could not happen at the expense of others, and that freedom came with a degree of responsibility and accountability.  Defamation of religion bred distrust and undermined societal cohesion and harmony.  Communities should discourage intolerance, even as it sought to inculcate understanding and tolerance.  She reaffirmed her Government’s support for efforts to combat defamation.

The representative of Colombia said the Constitution of Colombia protected the freedom of worship and practice of religion as a right.  All churches and religious organizations were recognized as equal before the law.  The media could contribute to better understanding between peoples and to create a constructive environment for an exchange between peoples.  But, she had abstained from the vote, since the definitions contained in the draft could give rise to diverse interpretations and might limit freedom of expression.  Those definitions could give rise to situations that ran counter to the full expression of freedoms contained in other instruments.

Jamaica’s representative said her Government had always supported the principles of religions freedom and tolerance, and did not support intolerance based on religion, faith or belief.  It believed that people could practice a religion of their own choosing.  But, to be faithful to its title, the draft should have been more balanced and not confined itself to the concerns of one religion.  It had failed to account for the violations of rights of persons of other faiths or religions.  For those reasons, she had abstained from the vote.

The representative of Albania said he had abstained from the vote though he would have liked to have supported it. Despite the Albanian delegation’s active engagement during negotiations, they were not able to address issues such as the link between defamation of religion and racial discrimination.  He recognized the resolution’s value, which was meant to minimize conflicts within and among societies by fostering respect for religions and beliefs.  In Albania, people of three religions lived in harmony and, although it did not recognize the concept of defamation of religion, Albanians had an unwritten rule to respect each others’ religious sensitivities, which included the media.  Having said that, he underlined the importance of fully respecting freedom of expression, a free media, and an open society for building a healthy democracy, which for Albania was non-negotiable.  But, believing also in the importance of guaranteeing people’s freedom to practice their religion in public and private, it would, in future, continue to work towards finding common language that opposing groups could agree on.  The real value of a resolution rested in it being supported by all Members.

The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights (document A/C.3/64/L.46), which was introduced by the representative of Cuba, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

By the terms of that text, the Assembly would urge all actors on the international scene to build an international order based on inclusion, justice, equality and equity, human dignity, mutual understanding and promotion of and respect for cultural diversity and universal human rights.  They would also be called on to reject all doctrines of exclusion based on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The Assembly would, by other provisions, reaffirm that the promotion, protection and full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms should be guided by the principles of universality, non-selectivity, objectivity and transparency, in a manner consistent with the purposes and principles set out in the Charter.  It would also call on Member States, the specialized agencies and intergovernmental organizations to carry out a constructive dialogue and consultations aimed to enhance understanding and to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Non-governmental organizations would be encouraged to contribute actively to this endeavour.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft text.

The Committee next turned to a draft resolution on the promotion of equitable geographical distribution in the membership of the human rights treaty bodies (document A/C.3/64/L.48), which was introduced by the representative of Cuba, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  She made an amendment to the text to correct a grammatical error.

The text would have the Assembly reiterate that, in the elections to the human rights treaty bodies, consideration shall be given to equitable geographical distribution of membership and to the representation of the different forms of civilization and of the principal legal systems.  It would further urge the States parties to the United Nations human rights instruments, including the bureau members, to include this matter in the agenda of each Conference of States Parties of those instruments in order to initiate a debate on ways and means of ensuring equitable geographical distribution.

By other provisions, the Assembly would recommend that, when considering the possible establishment of a quota by region for the election of the membership of each treaty body, the introduction of flexible procedures should encompass certain criteria, including that each of the five regional groups established by the Assembly must be assigned a quota in equivalent proportion to the number of States parties to the instrument that it represents; periodic revisions that reflect the relative changes in the geographical distribution of States parties must be provided; and automatic periodic revisions should be envisaged to avoid amending the instrument’s text when the quotas are revised.

The chairpersons of the human rights treaty bodies would be requested to consider at their next meeting the content of the present resolution and to submit, through the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, specific recommendations for the achievement of the goal of equitable geographical distribution their membership.  The High Commissioner would also be requested to submit concrete recommendations to this end.

The CHAIR said a recorded vote had been requested.

Cuba’s representative asked to know which delegation had requested the vote.

The Chair said the United States delegation had requested the vote.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Sweden said, on behalf the European Union and associated States, that while the Union fully recognized the importance of equitable geographic distribution, including in human rights treaty bodies, it was opposed to the current resolution. Provisions for the election of their members were part of the instruments governing the treaty bodies and it was not up to the General Assembly to modify these. The Union also strongly opposed the establishment of a quota system contained in operative paragraph 4 of the resolution.  It was also strongly opposed to operative paragraph 6, which had two things fundamentally wrong with it. It was not up to the General Assembly to make requests of treaty body presidents, who served in their independent capacity. This was up to the States parties. She regretted that no formal consultations were convened on the resolution toward reaching a more acceptable text. The Union would, thus, vote against the draft text.

The Committee then approved the text, by a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 51 against, with 3 abstentions ( Chile, Timor-Leste and Vanuatu) (See Annex VIII).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, Chile’s representative said that his delegation had decided to abstain, despite efforts by the co-sponsors to include in operative paragraph 1 a provision that recalled that this was a criterion that Member States should take into account. However, it was not the only, nor the most fundamental, criteria. That should remain the stature of the individuals nominated, including their independence. The guiding feature of human rights bodies and mechanisms was ensuring the rights of the individual, not the State. Any predetermined criteria would contravene the fundamental core of human rights, which were of individuals, not states.

Brazil’s delegate said that the resolution was in the spirit of addressing the frequent under-representation of developing countries in international fora. But, in human rights bodies, membership was exercised on an individual basis. The establishment of a quota system may not be a remedy to current imbalances.

Argentina’s representative said her country supported equitable geographic distribution in the membership of treaty bodies. It had voted in favour of the resolution in the belief that the text should be regarded in the context of national laws. Moreover, the specific stipulations in the relevant treaties should continue to apply.

The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on further steps to improve the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons (document A/C.3/64/L.11/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Belarus.

The Secretary made an oral correction to the text, to change a reference to “12 June” to “17 June”, and to add the numerical symbol for a resolution cited in the draft.

The text would have the Assembly urge Member States that had not yet done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.  It would further urge them to ratify or accede to a number of other relevant international instruments, such as the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

The draft would also have the Assembly take note with appreciation the decision of the President of the sixty-third session of the General Assembly to appoint co-facilitators to start consultations and consideration of a plan of action against human trafficking. In that context, it would stress the need for consultations to be held in an open and transparent manner.

As part of his introduction, the representative of Belarus harked back to “frank and bitter words” exchanged over the course of negotiations on the text.  Traditionally, the text had referred to numerous international instruments on combating trafficking, but his delegation did not believe that repeating the names of those documents added any value to the cause.  There were thirteen such paragraphs, said by some to be substantive, but which he described as a smoke screen that concealed the international community’s hesitation and lack of determined action. 

He said there were certain topics where States should not seek division, only honest dissent.  And indeed, modern slavery needed full international support.  But, certain colleagues had shown firm resolve and discipline, but in a way that was misplaced.  Instead they should have trained their attention on the less than perfect cooperation shown by the international community on the issue, and in gaps in international action to address trafficking.  Those gaps could be addressed through a practical, coordinated action: the global plan of action on trafficking.  It was not morally acceptable to pay tribute to the victims of slavery on one day and, on the next, to pay less than full respect to a collective call to action against modern-day slavery.  He said the issue was not about politics, but was a question of morality.

He was not asking for States to support the resolution because it was beautiful, because it provided great ideas or because it was the crowning achievement of a meaningful agreement.  But what the draft did do was to break the business-as-usual on human trafficking, and to undermine the notion that the problem had been taken care of.  The draft went against the idea that a half-hearted, weak-spirited and vague approach was the best the United Nations could muster.  The United Nations could do better, and could do best when united.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft text as orally amended.

Because time was approaching its end, the Chair appealed for understanding from Member States who were waiting to deliver explanations of position, agreeing to a request by the representative of France asked that explanations be heard at the next meeting.

Right of Reply

Exercising his right of reply, the representative of the United Kingdom responded to comments by the representative of Argentina regarding the Falkland Islands.  He said his Government’s position on that issue was well-known and was most recently reiterated in a right of reply made to comments by Argentina’s President at a meeting of the General Assembly on 23 September.  The United Kingdom had no doubt about the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and there could be no negotiations on its status unless and until the time the islanders so wished.

ANNEX I

Vote on

The draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/64/L.56) was approved by a recorded vote of 171 in favour to 6 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:

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

Against:  Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, United States.

Abstain:  Botswana, Cameroon, Canada, Tonga, Vanuatu.

Absent:  Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kiribati, Norway, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan.

ANNEX II

Vote on Amendment  

The proposal to delete the reference to General Comment No. 33 in operative paragraph 9 of the draft resolution on International Covenants on Human Rights (document A/C.3/64/L.22) was approved by a recorded vote of 70 in favour to 69 against, with 25 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu.

Abstain:  Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Brazil, Dominica, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Nepal, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Suriname, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago.

Absent:  Bahrain, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

ANNEX III

Vote on Amendment

The proposal to delete the reference to General Comments No. 19 and 20 in operative paragraph 10 of the draft resolution on International Covenants on Human Rights (document A/C.3/64/L.22) was rejected by a recorded vote of 72 against to 71 in favour, with 23 abstentions, as follows:

Against:  Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela.

In favour:  Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Abstain:  Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Brazil, Dominica, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, India, Nepal, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago.

Absent:  Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam.

ANNEX IV

Vote on Human Rights Covenants

The draft resolution on International Human Rights Covenants (document A/C.3/64/L.22) was approved as revised by a recorded vote of 111 in favour to none against, with 66 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam.

Against:  None.

Abstain:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Absent:  Azerbaijan, Belarus, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kiribati, Myanmar, Nauru, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tonga.

ANNEX V

Vote on Globalization

The draft resolution on globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights (document A/C.3/64/L.31) was adopted by a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 54 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

Abstain:  Brazil, Chile, Singapore.

Absent:  Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kiribati, Nauru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu.

ANNEX VI

Vote on Coercive Measures

The draft resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures (document A/C.3/64/L.45) was approved by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 52 against, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, UNITED STAT.

Absent:  Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia.

ANNEX VII

Vote on Combating Defamation of Religions

The draft resolution on combating defamation of religions (document A/C.3/64/L.27) was approved by a recorded vote of 81 in favour to 55 against, with 43 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Comoros, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu.

Abstain:  Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia.

Absent:  Antigua and Barbuda, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Haiti, Kiribati, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles.

ANNEX VIII

Vote on Geographical Distribution

The draft resolution on promotion of equitable geographical distribution in the membership of human rights treaty bodies (document A/C.3/64/L.48) was approved by a recorded vote of 125 in favour to 51 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

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

Abstain:  Chile, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu.

Absent:  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.