General Assembly Adopts 52 Resolutions, 6 Decisions Recommended by Third Committee on Broad Range of Human Rights, Social, Cultural Issues

21 December 2010
GA/11041

General Assembly Adopts 52 Resolutions, 6 Decisions Recommended by Third Committee on Broad Range of Human Rights, Social, Cultural Issues

21 December 2010
General Assembly
GA/11041
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Plenary

70th & 71st Meetings (AM & PM)

General Assembly Adopts 52 Resolutions, 6 Decisions Recommended by Third Committee

 

on Broad Range of Human Rights, Social, Cultural Issues

 

UN Women, ‘Bangkok Rules’ for Women Prisoners, Rights of the Child,

Extrajudicial Executions, Death Penalty Moratorium among Issues Addressed

The General Assembly today adopted 52 resolutions and 6 decisions recommended to it by its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), including one welcoming the establishment of “UN Women” and another that sets new standards governing the treatment of women prisoners.

Several major thematic resolutions were adopted by consensus, including all those which dealt with social development, advancement of women, refugees, indigenous issues, crime prevention and criminal justice, and international drug control.  For the second year running, the Assembly unanimously adopted what used to be a contentious resolution on the rights of the child, which recognizes the right of children to be heard on all matters affecting them.

The Assembly, which voted unanimously on 2 July 2010 to create the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, better known as UN Women, demonstrated its keen interest in its evolution with a resolution that welcomed its establishment, while urging Member States to ensure adequate funding for its estimated $500 million budget, so it can promptly and effectively plan and carry out its mandate.  UN Women — which consolidates the work of four separate United Nations units dealing with gender issues — will formally come into being on 1 January 2011.

Under its crime prevention agenda item, and also clearly related to the advancement of women, the Assembly adopted a set of United Nations rules on the treatment of women prisoners.  Known as the Bangkok Rules, they cover such issues as the classification of women detainees, health care and safety concerns specific to women, and the treatment of children who live with their mothers behind bars.

By consensus, the Assembly agreed to hold a high-level meeting on persons with disabilities in 2012 and a world conference on indigenous peoples in 2014.  But, a proposal to mark the tenth anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action — the outcome document of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance — with a high-level meeting on the second day of the general debate of the sixty-sixth session of the Assembly, was postponed awaiting a statement of budget implications.

As in past years, resolutions critical of the human rights situation in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iran were adopted by recorded vote, while a similar text on Myanmar was postponed, also for a statement of budget implications.  The resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was adopted by a recorded vote of 106 in favour to 20 against, with 57 abstentions, and the text on Iran was adopted by a recorded vote of 78 in favour to 45 against, with 59 abstentions.

Also put to a recorded vote — and adopted by a vote of 127 in favour to 52 against, with 5 abstentions — was an annual 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, which this year encouraged Member States to consider a proposal from an intergovernmental working group on a possibly legally binding instrument on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of private military and security companies.

Without a vote, the Assembly adopted a resolution on the elimination of all forms of intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief, which states that “no religion should be equated with terrorism”.  However, another resolution on combating defamation of religions — whereby the Assembly noted deep concern with an intensification of defamation of religion, incitement to religious hatred and frequent wrongful associations of Islam with human rights violations and terrorism — was only adopted after a recorded vote of 76 in favour to 67 against, with 40 abstentions.

The third resolution to be adopted by the Assembly since 2007 calling for a moratorium on the death penalty was adopted by a recorded vote of 103 in favour to 41 against, with 35 abstentions.

The Assembly also adopted a resolution by which it strongly condemned once again all extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and demanded that all States ensure the practice is brought to an end by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 1 against, with 62 abstaining.  Prior to action, an amendment offered by the United States, which added the words “or because of their sexual orientation” to an operative paragraph, was adopted by a recorded vote of 93 in favour to 55 against, with 27 abstaining, with some 16 delegations taking the floor to explain their position.

On a more consensual note, the Assembly declared 23 June every year International Widows’ Day, and 30 August the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

Recorded votes were also required on resolutions concerning the report of the Human Rights Council (123‑1‑55); practices fuelling racism (129‑3‑52); Palestinian self-determination (177‑6‑4); globalization (132‑54‑0); unilateral coercive measures (131‑53‑0); right to development (133‑24‑28); promotion of peace as an aspect of human rights (127‑54‑4); and an equitable international order (126‑54‑5).

The Assembly will meet again on Wednesday, 22 December, to take up a number of issues, as it approaches the end of the main part of its current session.

Background

The General Assembly met today to consider the reports of its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).

Social Development

The Committee’s report on social development (document A/65/448) contains five draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I on Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing, approved without a vote on 19 November, would have the Assembly call upon Governments to ensure conditions that enable families and communities to care and protect persons as they age, evaluate improvement in the health status of older persons, and reduce disability and mortality.  It would also call upon Member States to develop their capacity for monitoring and enforcing the rights of older persons.  The Assembly would also decide to establish an open-ended working group, open to all Member States, to consider the feasibility of an international convention on the rights of older persons.  (Press release GA/SHC/3999)

Draft resolution II entitled United Nations Literacy Decade: education for all, approved without a vote on 28 October, would have the Assembly recall the considerable progress achieved during the Decade that began on 1 January 2003.  However, with 796 million people still lacking basic literacy skills, and with two years left to run in the Decade, and the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaching, the Assembly would draw attention to the limited time left to achieve the objectives of the Decade and call on Member States and others to scale up quality literacy efforts while considering a post-2012 strategy.  (Press release GA/SHC/3990)

Draft resolution III on Cooperatives in social development, approved without a vote on 28 October, and recalling the Assembly’s proclamation of the year 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, would see the Assembly convene, at its sixty-sixth session, a plenary meeting devoted to the launch of the Year, within existing resources, preceded by an informal roundtable discussion among Member States and others.  (Press release GA/SHC/3990)

Draft resolution IV on implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly, approved as orally revised without a vote on 19 November, would have the Assembly urge Member States that have 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.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3999)

Draft resolution V on Realizing the Millennium Development Goals for persons with disabilities towards 2015 and beyond, adopted without a vote on 9 November, would have the Assembly call upon Governments and United Nations bodies and agencies to include disability issues and persons with disabilities in reviewing progress towards achieving the Goals.  It would call upon Governments to ensure that programmes and policies are inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities.  It would also call upon Governments to strengthen the collection and compilation of national data and information about the situation of persons with disabilities.  (Press release GA/SHC/3995)

Advancement of Women

The Committee’s report on advancement of women (document A/65/449) contains five draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I on intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women, which was approved without a vote as orally revised on 4 November, would have the Assembly strongly condemn all acts of violence against women and girls, whether perpetrated by the States, private persons or non-State actors, and call for the elimination of all forms of gender based violence in the family, community or where perpetrated or condoned by the State.  It would reaffirm that armed conflict is a major impediment to the elimination of all forms of violence against women, and call for priority attention and increased assistance to be given to women and girls living in such situations.  Stressing the role of ad hoc tribunals and the International Criminal Court in ending impunity, it would urge States to consider ratifying or acceding to the Rome Statute.  (Press release GA/SHC/3994)

Draft resolution II on supporting efforts to end obstetric fistula, approved without a vote as orally revised on 9 November, would have the Assembly stress the interlinkages among poverty, malnutrition, lack of or inadequate or inaccessible health services, early childbearing, early marriage of the girl child, violence against young women and girls, and gender discrimination as root causes of obstetric fistula.  It would call on the international community to support the activities of the United Nations Population Fund and other partners in the global Campaign to End Fistula.  It would also urge multilateral donors, and invite international financial institutions and regional development banks, to review and implement policies to support national efforts to ensure that a higher proportion of resources reaches young women and girls, in particular in rural and remote areas.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3995)

Draft resolution III on International Widows’ Day, approved without a vote on 4 November, would have the Assembly decide, with effect from 2011, to observe International Widows’ Day on 23 June each year, and to call upon Member States, the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations to give special attention to the situation of widows and their children.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3994)

Draft resolution IV, entitled Trafficking in women and girls, approved on 22 November without a vote, would call upon Governments to discourage, with a view to eliminating, the demand that fosters the trafficking of women and girls for all forms of exploitation.  It would also call upon Governments to address the factors that increase vulnerability to being trafficked, and encourage them to take preventative action to eliminate sex tourism demand.  They would also be called upon to criminalize all forms of trafficking in persons.  In addition, the Assembly would invite Governments to encourage media providers, including Internet service providers, to adopt or strengthen self-regulatory measures to promote the responsible use of media with a view to eliminating the exploitation of women and children.  (Press release GA/SHC/4000)

Draft resolution V on Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, approved on 4 November without a vote, would see the Assembly welcome the establishment of UN Women and urge Member States to ensure that it is adequately funded so that it can “promptly and effectively plan and carry out its mandate”.  The obligation of States to exercise due diligence to prevent violence against women and girls would be reaffirmed, and the Secretary-General would be asked to redouble efforts towards the goal of 50/50 gender balance throughout the United Nations system. (Press release GA/SHC/3994)

Refugees

The Committee’s report on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions (document A/65/450) contains three draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I, entitled Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, approved without a vote on 16 November, would have the General Assembly decide to increase the number of members of the Executive Committee from 79 to 84 States, and request the Economic and Social Council to elect the additional members at its resumed organizational session for 2011.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3997)

Draft resolution II on Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa would have the Assembly express grave concern about the deteriorating conditions in some of the refugee camps in Africa.  Emphasizing that States have the primary responsibility to provide protection and assistance to internally displaced persons within their jurisdiction, as well as to address the root causes of the displacement problem in appropriate cooperation with the international community, it would call upon African Member States that have not yet signed or ratified the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa to consider doing so as early as possible, in order to ensure its early entry into force and implementation.  It would also call upon the international community, including States and the Office of the High Commissioner and other relevant United Nations organizations, to contribute generously to projects and programmes aimed at alleviating the plight of refugees, returnees and displaced persons, as well as to intensify their support to African Governments through appropriate capacity-building activities, such as including training of relevant officers and disseminating information about refugee instruments and principles.

Draft resolution III on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, approved without a vote on 9 November, would have the Assembly welcome UNHCR initiative to convene an intergovernmental event to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.  It would re-emphasize that the protection of refugees and internally displaced persons, and the prevention and reduction of statelessness, are primarily the responsibility of States.  UNHCR would be encouraged to continue strengthening its capacity to respond to emergencies.  The Assembly would “note with appreciation” progress made at UNHCR in implementing structural and management reforms.  It would go on to strongly condemn attacks on refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons, and express deep concern about an increasing number of attacks against humanitarian aid workers and convoys.  Concern would also be expressed about the particular difficulties faced by millions of refugees in protracted situations. (Press release GA/SHC/3995)

Human Rights Council

The Committee’s report on the report of the Human Rights Council (document A/65/451) contains two draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I on the report of the Human Rights Council, which was approved on 18 November by a recorded vote of 119 in favour and 2 against (Israel and Marshall Islands), with 55 abstentions, would have the Assembly take note of the report and acknowledge the recommendations contained therein.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3998)

Draft resolution II on the Proclamation of 24 March as the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, approved without a vote on 11 November, would have the Assembly — recognizing the importance of promoting the memory of victims of human rights violations and the importance of the right to truth and justice — proclaim 24 March as the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.  Recognized in particular would be the work of Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero of El Salvador, who was actively engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights in his country. (Press release GA/SHC/3996)

Promotion, Protection of Children’s Rights

The Committee’s report on the rights of children (document A/65/452) contains one draft resolution and one draft decision.

Draft resolution I on the rights of the child, approved without a vote on 23 November, would have the Assembly call upon States to ensure the enjoyment by children of all their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, and reaffirm previous resolutions on the rights of the child on such issues as elimination violence against children; prevention and eradication of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; and children affected by armed conflict.  It would call on States to make good their commitment to eliminate child labour likely to be hazardous or to interfere with a child’s education.  The right of children to express their views freely in all matters affecting them would be reaffirmed.  The primary responsibility of the family for the upbringing and development of young children would be recognized, with the State and the community as a whole supporting parents, families, legal guardians and caregivers to care for early childhood.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4001)

By the related draft decision, the Assembly would take note of the report of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Indigenous Issues

The Committee’s report on indigenous issues (document A/65/453) contains one draft resolution.

The draft resolution on Indigenous issues, approved on 16 November without a vote as orally corrected, would have the General Assembly approve the expansion of the mandate of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations in order to facilitate the participation of representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations in sessions of the Human Rights Council and of human rights treaty bodies.  It would also decide to organize, under the auspices of the United Nations, a world Indigenous Peoples’ Conference in 2014, to adopt measures to pursue the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and invite the President of the General Assembly to begin consultations with Member States to determine the modalities of the conference.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3997)

Elimination of Racism and Racial Discrimination

The Committee’s report on elimination of Racism and Racial Discrimination (A/65/454) contains three draft resolutions and one draft decision.

Draft resolution I on Inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, approved as orally revised on 16 November by a recorded vote of 118 in favour and one against (United States), with 55 abstentions, would see the Assembly express deep concern about the glorification of the Nazi movement and former members of the Waffen SS organization.  It would express concern at attempts to desecrate or demolish monuments erected in memory of those who fought against Nazism during the Second World War, as well as to unlawfully exhume the remains of such persons.  It would note with concern the increase in racist incidents in several countries and the rise of skinhead groups.  It would call for increased vigilance, and call upon States to take more effective measures in accordance with international human rights law to combat those phenomena and the extremist movements, which pose a real threat to democratic values.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3997)

Draft resolution II on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, approved as orally revised without a vote on 18 November, would have the Assembly would take note of the reports of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and call upon States parties to fulfil their obligation under the Convention to submit their periodic reports on measures taken to implement the Convention in due time.  It would also encourage States parties to include information on measures to prevent and combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in their national reports to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the Human Rights Council.  Noting the backlog of reports of States parties awaiting consideration, it would decide to extend the authorization of the Committee to meet, on a temporary basis, starting from 2012 until the end of 2013, an additional week per session.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3998)

Draft resolution III entitled 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, approved as orally revised on 23 November by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 19 against, with 35 abstentions, would see the Assembly express grave concern that universal ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination has not yet been reached, despite commitments under the Declaration.  It would go on to recognize with deep concern the increase in anti-Semitism, Christianophobia and Islamophobia in various parts of the world.  The Assembly would decide to convene on 21 September 2011, a high-level meeting of the General Assembly to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration, at the level of Heads of State and Government, in order to adopt a short and concise declaration aimed at mobilizing political will for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration.  It would ask the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Department of Public Information of the Secretariat to launch a public information campaign to mark the anniversary.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4001)

By the draft decision, the General Assembly would take note of related reports by the Secretary-General and Special Rapporteur.

Rights of Peoples to Self-Determination

The Committee’s report on the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/65/455) contained three draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I, entitled Universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, approved without a vote on 11 November, would have the Assembly 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 guarantee and observance of human rights.  It would declare its firm opposition to foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation, and call upon those States responsible to cease immediately their military intervention in, and occupation of, foreign countries and territories.  The Assembly would deplore the plight of refugees and displaced persons uprooted as a result of such acts, and reaffirm their right to return home.  Finally, it would request the Human Rights Council to keep giving special attention to violations of human rights, especially the right to self-determination, resulting from foreign intervention, aggression or occupation. (Press Release GA/SHC/3996)

Draft resolution II on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, approved on 22 November by a recorded vote of 174 in favour to 5 against (Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Nauru, Marshall Islands, United States), with 3 abstaining (Canada, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo), would have the Assembly express the urgent need for the resumption and accelerated advancement of negotiations within the Middle East peace process.  Affirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders, it would reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine.  It would also urge all States and the specialized agencies and organizations of the United Nations to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4000)

Draft resolution III entitled use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, approved on 23 November by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 52 against, with 6 abstaining (Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji, Liberia, Mexico, Switzerland), would have the Assembly welcome the establishment of a Working Group of the Human Rights Council to consider the possibility of an international regulatory framework for private military and security companies.  States would be urged to take legislative measures to ensure that their territories and nationals are not used for the recruitment, assembly, financing, training, protection or transit of mercenaries.  The Assembly would also encourage States that import military assistance, consultancy and security services provided by private companies to establish regulatory mechanisms for the registration and licensing of such companies.  It would call upon States to investigate the possibility of mercenary involvement whenever terrorist acts occur, and condemn any form of impunity granted to perpetrators of mercenary activities.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4001)

Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

The Committee’s report on the promotion and protection of human rights (document A/65/456) contains one draft decision that would have the Assembly take note of a number of documents considered in connection with the question of human rights.

Addendum 1 to the Committee’s report (document A/65/456/Add.1) contains two draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I on the Committee against Torture, approved without a vote on 11 November as orally revised, would see the Assembly authorize the Committee to meet for an additional week per session as a temporary measure, with effect from May 2011 until the end of November 2012 “in order to address the backlog of reports of States parties and individual complaints awaiting consideration”.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3996)

Draft resolution II, entitled Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, approved without a vote on 4 November as orally revised, would have the Assembly condemn all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including through intimidation, and state that it can never be justified.  It would emphasize that States must take persistent, determined and effective measures to prevent such actions.  Any action or attempt by States or public officials to legalize, authorize or acquiesce in such actions under any circumstances, including on national security grounds, would be condemned.  It would also call upon States to take appropriate measures to prevent and prohibit the production and trade in equipment used to inflict torture or other forms of punishment.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3994)

Addendum 2 to the Committee’s report (document A/65/456/Add.2) contains draft resolutions on human rights questions, in two parts.

Part I contains a draft resolution on the programme of activities of the International Year for People of African Descent that was adopted by the Assembly on 6 December.  (Press Release GA/11030)

Part II contains 19 resolutions.

Draft resolution I on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty, approved by a recorded vote of 107 in favour and 38 against, with 36 abstaining on 11 November, after the rejection of three written and one oral amendment, would have the Assembly welcome the decisions taken by an increasing number of States to apply a moratorium on executions, followed in many cases by the abolition of the death penalty.  States that still maintain the death penalty would be called upon to progressively restrict its use, to reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed, and to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.  States which have abolished the death penalty would be called upon not to reintroduce it.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3996)

Draft resolution II on the role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights was approved on 11 November without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly would encourage Member States to consider the creation or the strengthening of independent and autonomous Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions.  It would also encourage OHCHR to develop and support activities dedicated to existing Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions and to strengthen their role within national systems for human rights protection.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3996)

Draft resolution III on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions was approved on 16 November by a recorded vote of 165 in favour to none against and 10 abstentions.  By its terms, the General Assembly would again strongly condemn such executions, and demand that such practices be ended.  It would reiterate the obligation of all States to investigate all suspected cases of such executions, to bring to justice those responsible, to compensate victims or their families, and to adopt legal and judicial measures to end impunity.  It would urge all States to take all necessary measures to prevent loss of life during public demonstrations, internal and communal violence, civil unrest, public emergencies or armed conflicts.  It would urge States to prevent or end prisoner control of prisons.  It would go on to express its concern over vigilante killings, and encourage States to undertake systematic studies of the phenomenon, with a view to taking necessary legislative, judicial, administrative, and educative measures.  A proposed amendment to operative paragraph six, replacing the words “any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation” with the words “discriminatory reasons on any basis”, was adopted by a recorded vote of 79 in favour to 70 against and 17 abstaining.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3997)

Draft resolution IV on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, approved as orally corrected without a vote on 19 November, would have the Assembly welcome the adoption of that Convention, and declare 30 August the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, to be observed beginning in 2011.  It would request the Secretary-General and OHCHR to continue with their intensive efforts to assist States to become parties to the Convention, with a view to achieving universal adherence. (Press Release GA/SHC/3999)

Draft resolution V on Missing persons, approved on 18 November without a vote, would have the Assembly call upon States that are parties to an armed conflict to take all appropriate measures to prevent persons from going missing, account for persons reported missing and ensure the effective investigation and prosecution of offences linked to missing persons.  The right of families to know the fate of their relatives reported missing in connection with armed conflicts would be reaffirmed.  The Assembly would also reaffirm that each party to an armed conflict, as soon as circumstances permit and, at the latest, from the end of active hostilities, shall search for the persons who have been reported missing by an adverse party.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3998)

Draft resolution VI on Elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion and belief, approved as orally revised on 22 November, would have the Assembly condemn all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief, as well as violations of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief.  It would recognize with deep concern an overall rise in intolerance and violence, including by non-State actors, against members of religious and other communities in various parts of the world, including cases motivated by Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and Christianophobia.  It would condemn any advocacy of religious hatred through the use of print, audio-visual or electronic media.  It would emphasize that no religion should be equated with terrorism.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4000)

Draft resolution VII entitled Protection of migrants, approved on 18 November without a vote, would see the Assembly express concern about the large and growing number of migrants, especially women, youth and children, who place themselves in a vulnerable situation by attempting to cross international borders without the required travel documents, and recognize the obligation of States to respect the human rights of those migrants.  It would call upon States to ensure that their laws and policies, including in the areas of counter-terrorism and combating transnational organized crime, such as trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, fully respect the human rights of migrants.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3998)

Draft resolution VIII, entitled Human rights in the administration of justice, approved without a vote on 19 November, would have the Assembly take note of the most recent report of the Secretary-General to the Human Rights Council on human rights in the administration of justice, including juvenile justice.  It would call upon States to identify and promote good practices in relation to the needs and physical, emotional, social and psychological development of babies and children affected by parental detention and imprisonment.  It would also call upon OHCHR and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to reinforce their activities relating to the administration of justice.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3999)

Draft resolution IX on Human rights and extreme poverty, approved on 11 November without a vote, would have the Assembly express deep concern that extreme poverty persists in all countries of the world.  It would call upon States, United Nations bodies, in particular OHCHR and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGO) to continue to give appropriate attention to the links between human rights and extreme poverty, and encourage the private sector and the international financial institutions to do likewise.  (Press release GA/SHC/3996)

Draft resolution X on Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, approved as orally corrected without a vote on 16 November, would have the Assembly note with appreciation of the Revised principles and guidelines for the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members (document A/HRC/AC/5/2) and encourage Governments, the United Nations system, other intergovernmental organizations and national human rights institutions to give due consideration to the Principles and Guidelines in the formulation and implementation of policies and measures concerning persons affected by leprosy and their family members.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3997)

Draft resolution XI on Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights was approved by a recorded vote of 122 in favour and 53 against with no abstentions on 16 November.  By its terms, the Assembly would express concern at the negative impact of international financial turbulence, as well as rising global food, energy and climate challenges, on social and economic development and on the full enjoyment of all human rights, and at the inadequacy of measures to narrow the widening gap between the developed and the developing countries, which has contributed to deepening poverty.  It would call upon Member States, the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and civil society to promote equitable and environmentally sustainable economic growth for managing globalization, in order to reduce poverty and achieve development targets.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3997)

Draft resolution XII on Human rights and unilateral coercive measures, approved on 19 November by a recorded vote of 124 in favour and 53 against, with no abstentions, would have the Assembly urge all States to cease adopting or implementing any unilateral measures not in accordance with international law, the Charter of the United Nations and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States, in particular those of a coercive nature with extraterritorial effects.  The continuing unilateral application and enforcement by certain Powers of such measures aimed at preventing those countries from exercising their right to freely decide their own political, economic and social systems would be condemned.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3999)

Draft resolution XIII on Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, approved without a vote on 19 November, would have the Assembly emphasize the role of international cooperation in support for national efforts and in raising the capacities of Member States in the field of human rights.  Member States, the specialized agencies, and intergovernmental organizations would be called upon to continue a constructive dialogue and consultations for the enhancement of understanding and the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.  NGOs would be encouraged to contribute actively.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3999)

Draft resolution XIV on the right to development, approved on 22 November by a recorded vote of 130 in favour and 22 against with 28 abstaining, would have the Assembly call upon States to institute the measures required for the implementation of the right to development as an integral part of fundamental human rights.  It would urge developed countries that have not yet done so to make concrete efforts toward meeting their official development assistance (ODA) targets.  It would call for the implementation of a desirable pace of meaningful trade liberalization.  It would call upon the United Nations funds and programmes, as well as the specialized agencies, to mainstream the right to development in their operational programmes and objectives.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4000)

Draft resolution XV on the right to food, approved without a vote on 22 November, would have the Assembly reaffirm that hunger constitutes an outrage and a violation of human dignity that requires urgent measures for its elimination.  Recognizing that 80 per cent of hungry people live in rural areas and 50 per cent are small-scale farmholders, and that these people are especially vulnerable to food insecurity, it would state that support by States for small farmers, fishing communities and local enterprises is a key element for food security.  It would call for the early conclusion and a successful, development-oriented outcome of the Doha Round.  It would call upon Member States, the United Nations system and others to support national efforts aimed at responding rapidly to food crises across Africa, and express its deep concern that funding shortfalls are forcing the World Food Programme (WFP) to cut operations in Southern Africa and elsewhere.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4000)

Draft resolution XVI, entitled Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, approved without a vote on 22 November, would see the Assembly reaffirm that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their obligations under international law, in particular human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.  Among other measures, States would be urged to fully respect non-refoulement obligations and to refrain from returning persons, including in cases related to terrorism, to their countries of origin or to a third State if their life or freedom would be threatened.  States would also be urged not to resort to profiling based on stereotypes, and to ensure that interrogation methods used against terrorism suspects are consistent with their international obligations.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4000)

Draft resolution XVII on the Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all, approved on 19 November by a recorded vote of 118 in favour and 53 against with 6 abstaining, would have the Assembly resolve that it is convinced that the aim of creating conditions of stability and well-being is the primary international prerequisite for the material well-being, development and progress of countries and for the full implementation of the rights and fundamental human freedoms proclaimed by the United Nations.  It would reaffirm the duty of all States to use peaceful means to settle any disputes as a vital requirement for the promotion and protection of all human rights of all peoples.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3999)

Draft resolution XVIII on the Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, approved by a recorded vote of 118 in favour and 53 against with 5 abstentions on 19 November, would have the Assembly note with concern that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance may be aggravated by inequitable distribution of wealth, marginalization and social exclusion, and that the current global economic, financial, energy and food crises represent a global scenario that is threatening the adequate enjoyment of all human rights and widening the gap between developed and developing countries.  It would call upon all Member States to fulfil their commitment expressed during the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance to maximize the benefits of globalization, through the strengthening and enhancement of international cooperation to increase equality of opportunities for trade, economic growth and sustainable development, global communications through the use of new technologies and increased intercultural exchange.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3999)

Draft resolution XIX on combating defamation of religions, approved by a recorded vote of 76 in favour and 64 against with 42 abstaining on 23 November, would have the Assembly note with deep concern the intensification of defamation of religions, and incitement to religious hatred in general, including the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001.  It would express deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.  It would call upon all States to do their utmost to ensure that religious places, sites, shrines and symbols and venerated personalities are fully respected and protected.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4001)

Addendum 3 to the report contains three draft resolutions on human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives.

Draft resolution I, entitled Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, approved on 18 November by a recorded vote of 100 in favour and 18 against with 60 abstentions, would have the Assembly express very serious concern at continuing reports of systematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in that country.  It would also express very deep concern at its precarious humanitarian situation in the country.  It would strongly urge the Government to respect fully all human rights and fundamental freedoms, extend full cooperation to the Special Rapporteur on human rights in the country, and ensure full, safe and unhindered access to humanitarian aid.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3998)

Draft resolution II, entitled Situation of human rights in Myanmar, approved on 18 November by a recorded vote of 96 in favour and 28 against with 60 abstentions, would have the Assembly strongly condemn the ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Myanmar.  It would welcome the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from her arbitrary house arrest and strongly urge the Government to release all other prisoners of conscience.  It would request the Secretary-General to continue to provide his good offices and to pursue his discussions on the situation of human rights, the transition to democracy and the national reconciliation process with the Government and the people of Myanmar.  A statement submitted by the Secretary-General on programme budget implications of the draft resolution states that additional requirements of $1.2 million net ($1.4 million gross) would be required for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2011 for the continuation of the efforts of the good offices.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3998)

Draft resolution III on the Situation of human rights in Iran, was approved on 18 November by a recorded vote of 80 in favour and 44 against with 57 abstentions, after a no-action motion was rejected by a recorded vote of 91 against and 51 in favour with 32 abstaining.  By its terms, the draft would have the Assembly express deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations in Iran, including torture, the high incidence in carrying out the death penalty, including against persons under the age of 18, violence against women, persecution against ethnic minorities, and increased persecution against members of the Bahai faith.  The Assembly would express particular concern at the failure of the Government to conduct any comprehensive investigation or to launch an accountability process for alleged violations in the period following the presidential elections of 12 June 2009.  It would call upon the Government to address the substantive concerns highlighted in the report of the Secretary-General and the specific calls to action found in previous resolutions of the General Assembly, and to respect fully its human rights obligations, in law and in practice.  Additionally, it would call upon the Government to strengthen its national human rights institutions, to consider ratifying or acceding to and effectively implementing the international human rights treaties to which it is not already a party, and to seriously consider all of the recommendations put forward at its universal periodic review at the Human Rights Council.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3998)

Addendum 4 to the Committee’s report on the promotion and protection of human rights (document A/65/456/Add.4), on the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, contains no draft proposals.

Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The Committee’s report on crime prevention and criminal justice (document A/65/457) contains seven draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I concerns Realignment of the functions of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and changes to the strategic framework.  Approved without a vote on 14 October, and merging two decisions transmitted from the Economic and Social Council, it would have the Assembly take note of the report of the Executive Director of the Office on the changes required to the strategic framework and the implications for the Office, as well as the establishment of an independent evaluation unit and the sustainability of the Strategic Planning Unit.  It would also urge the Executive Director to submit a proposed budget for 2012-2013 that “appropriately reflects the financial needs of the Office” and request the Secretary-General to devote “due attention to the resource requirements” of the Office in his 2012-2013 programme budget.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3980)

Draft resolution II on Strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses to violence against women, approved without a vote on 14 October, had been recommended for adoption by the Economic and Social Council.  By the text, the General Assembly would adopt the guidelines in the updated Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Women in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which was reviewed by an expert meeting in Bangkok 23-25 March 2009 and is annexed to the resolution.  In 20 pages, it covers such areas as criminal law, criminal procedures, crime prevention measures and international cooperation.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3980)

Draft resolution III on United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules), approved without a vote on 14 October, would have the General Assembly adopt the Rules, which were developed at an expert group meeting in Bangkok 23-26 November 2009 and annexed to the resolution.  The 70 rules, intended to improve the treatment of women prisoners, cover such issues as the implementation of gender-sensitive prisoner classification and security risk assessments, the provision of gender-specific health-care services, guidance on the treatment of children living with their mothers in prison, the specific safety concerns of women prisoners, the development of pre- and post-release programmes that take into account the stigmatization and discrimination that women face once released from prison.  These are considered issues that did not receive sufficient attention in the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners adopted in 1955.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3980)

Draft resolution IV on the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, approved without a vote on 14 October, and also recommended for adoption by the Economic and Social Council, would have the Assembly express its satisfaction with the results achieved at the Congress, including the Salvador Declaration on Comprehensive Strategies for Global Challenges:  Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Systems and Their Development in a Changing World.  Endorsing that Declaration, it would request the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to establish an open-ended, intergovernmental expert group to comprehensively study the problem of cybercrime.  It would further request the Commission to establish an expert group on revising the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of prisoners in order to reflect advances in correctional science.  (Press Release GA/SHC/3980)

Draft resolution V on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, approved without a vote on 19 November, would have the Assembly note with concern that, in most African countries, the criminal justice system lacks sufficiently skilled personnel and adequate infrastructure and is, therefore, ill-equipped to manage new crime trends.  Recognizing that the Institute is a focal point for professional efforts aimed at promoting the active cooperation and collaboration in crime prevention and criminal justice, it would urge the States members of the Institute to keep making every possible effort to meet their obligations to the Institute.  It would also urge the international community to continue adopting concrete practical measures to support the Institute in the development of the requisite capacity and in the implementation of its programmes and activities. (Press Release GA/SHC/3999)

Draft resolution VI entitled Strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity, approved without a vote on 23 November, would have the Assembly express deep concern about the increasing challenge posed by transnational organized crime, as well as the connection between transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, illegal arms trafficking, money-laundering and terrorism.  It would call upon Member States to strengthen their efforts to cooperate at all levels to counter transnational organized crime, and request that UNODC enhance its efforts, within existing resources and within its mandate, in providing technical assistance and advisory services for the implementation of its regional and subregional programmes.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4001)

International Drug Control

The Committee’s report on international drug control (document A/65/458) contains one draft resolution, entitled International cooperation against the world drug problem, and was approved as orally corrected without a vote on 23 November.  It would have the Assembly express grave concern that the world drug problem remains a serious threat to public health and safety, the well-being of humanity and national security and sovereignty of States.  It would also urge UNODC to increase collaboration with other organizations involved in combating the world drug problem, as appropriate, in order to share best practices and to maximize the benefits from their unique comparative advantage.  It would urge all Governments to provide the fullest possible financial and political support to UNODC by widening its donor base and increasing voluntary contributions.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4001)

Under a draft decision, the Assembly would take note of several reports submitted under the crime prevention criminal justice agenda item.

Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly

The Committee’s report on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/65/459) contains one draft decision on the programme of work for the Third Committee for the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly.  It was approved without a vote on 23 November.  (Press Release GA/SHC/4001)

Action on Third Committee Texts

The Assembly moved to take action on the Committee’s reports, which were introduced by Rapporteur Asif Garayev (Azerbaijan).

The Committee first took up the report on Social development (document A/65/448), which contained five draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I on Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution II entitled United Nations Literacy Decade:  education for all was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution III on Cooperatives in social development was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution IV on implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution V on Realizing the Millennium Development Goals for persons with disabilities towards 2015 and beyond was adopted without a vote.

The General Assembly then adopted a related draft decision on social development without a vote.

The Assembly then took up the Committee’s report on advancement of women (document A/65/449), which contained five draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I on intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution II on supporting efforts to end obstetric fistula was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution III on International Widow’s Day was also adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution IV entitled Trafficking in women and girls was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution V on Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly also adopted without a vote a draft decision contained in paragraph 39 on related reports.

The Assembly then turned to the Committee’s report on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions (document A/65/450), containing three draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I entitled Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution II on Refugees, Returnees and Displaced persons in Africa was also adopted without a vote, as was draft resolution III on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Assembly next turned to the Committee’s report on the Report of the Human Rights Council (document A/65/451), which contained two draft resolutions.

Explaining his vote ahead of action, Turkey’s representative saidhis delegation would vote “yes” on draft resolution I, presented in report A/65/451 and its addendum.  Turkey’s explanation of vote focused on the follow-up to the report of the Independent Fact-Finding Mission of the “Gaza flotilla incident”. That mission had been tasked to investigate human rights violations during the attack on the international humanitarian convoy to Gaza, which had killed nine people and injured others.

The Fact-Finding Mission represented over 20 nationalities and was independent, he said.  It represented a meticulous study of the incident, as well as “compelling legal arguments”.  Among others, the Mission concluded that Israeli military personnel had used “disproportionate and unnecessary” violence that could not be condoned, and that had violated international humanitarian and human rights law.  On 1 September 2010, Turkey had submitted its interim report to the Commission of Inquiry, which in mid-September, was submitted to the Secretary-General.  However, some four months later, no further action had been taken.  Turkey would not let the matter rest and neither should the international community.

Draft resolution I on the Report of the Human Rights Council was adopted by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 1 against (Israel), with 55 abstentions.

Draft resolution II on the Proclamation of 24 March as the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims was adopted without a vote.

Taking up the Committee’s report on the rights of children (document A/65/452), the Assembly adopted the draft resolution entitled Rights of the child without a vote.

The related decision was also adopted.

The Committee’s report on indigenous issues (document A/65/453) contained one draft resolution.

Draft resolution I on Indigenous issues was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly turned next to the Committee’s report on elimination of racism and racial discrimination (document A/65/454), which contained three draft resolutions and one draft decision.

Speaking before action, the representative of the Russian Federation asked which delegation had requested the vote.

The General Assembly President responded that it was the Committee that had acted with a vote.

Draft resolution I on Inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance was adopted by a recorded vote of 129 in favour to 3 against (Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 52 abstentions.

Draft resolution II on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was adopted without a vote.

Action on draft resolution III, entitled 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, was postponed.

The Assembly then advanced to the Committee’s report on the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/65/455) which contained three draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I, entitled Universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination, was adopted without a vote.

Speaking ahead of action, the representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said she had voted in favour of draft resolution I, however her machine had not worked.

Draft resolution II on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination was adopted by a recorded vote of 177 in favour to 6 against (Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tonga).

Draft resolution III on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination was adopted by a recorded vote of 127 in favour to 52 against, with 5 abstentions (Colombia, Fiji, Mexico, Switzerland, Tonga).

The Assembly then took up the Committee’s report on the promotion and protection of human rights (document A/65/456), which contained a draft decision by which it would take note of reports submitted under the agenda item entitled “Promotion and protection of human rights”.  The Assembly then adopted that decision.

The Assembly then turned to addendum 1 of the Committee’s report (document A/65/456/Add.1), which contained two draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I on the Committee against Torture was approved without a vote.

Draft resolution II entitled Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment was approved without a vote.

The Assembly then turned to addendum 2 of the Committee’s report (document A/65/456/Add.2), which contained draft resolutions on human rights questions, in two parts.

The draft resolution in part I on the programme of activities of the International Year for People of African Descent was adopted by the Assembly on 6 December.

The Assembly then turned to part II, which contained 19 resolutions.

Prior to action on those drafts, the United States representative introduced an amendment (document A/65/L.53) to draft resolution III on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.  The amendment, to be added into operative paragraph (6b), sought to acknowledge that all persons had the right to be free from extrajudicial killings, especially those targeted because of their sexual orientation.  He hoped all could support insertion of that language and looked forward to seeing it in the text adopted today.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, Belgium’s representative, on behalf of the European Union, said his delegation supported the text on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions.  The amendment introduced in document A/65/L.53 significantly improved that text, as it sought to modify operative paragraph (6b) to include groups targeted for their sexual orientation.  A reference to that group had been present in previous resolutions.  The United States amendment simply reintroduced an important element already endorsed by the General Assembly.  The Union opposed all forms of discrimination.  Indeed, “LGBT” people had the same rights as all peoples.  The Union strongly supported the amendment and invited others to extend the same support.

The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, said that, as main sponsors of the resolution on extrajudicial executions, his delegation welcomed the Secretary-General’s commitment to end violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation.  The Nordic countries therefore supported the initiative of the United States to reintroduce the reference to protecting people from extrajudicial executions based on their sexual orientation.  Gays, lesbians and transgender people belonged on the long list of identities in operative paragraph (6b) of the resolution, and he was convinced that all delegations shared the core concern of that resolution, which was the need to counter extrajudicial killings in all their forms.  Finland further encouraged Member States to vote in favour of the resolution.

Canada’s representative said his delegation was deeply concerned by continued killings all over the world that were based on gender and sexual identity, as well as by continued discrimination.  Individuals should not be targeted based on their real or perceived gender identity.  He encouraged States to take action to ensure that no executions, arrests, detentions and executions took place.  Canada would therefore vote in favour of the proposed amendment.

Argentina’s representative, on behalf of Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), said his delegation supported the amendment contained in document A/65/L.53, as it was important to reinsert a reference to sexual orientation into operative paragraph (6b).  “We are talking of the gravest violations of human rights”, and the call contained in that paragraph affirmed that no State could accept execution based on discriminatory reasons.  While he recognized that every State must, at the domestic level, agree on its societal model, no country should tolerate that its citizens should be executed for their sexual orientation or gender identity.

He said that every year, all over the world, people were executed for reasons related to their sexual orientation, and the United Nations could not stand indifferent to that.  Argentina would vote in favour of the amendment proposed and urged all States to do likewise.  He also urged supporting the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions as an expression of States’ commitment to human rights and the combat of impunity.

Colombia’s delegate, recalling that his country was a co-sponsor of the draft resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, supported the amendment contained in document A/65/L.53, reiterating his firm commitment for eliminating all forms of extrajudicial executions.  He supported respect for “LGBT” communities.

Timor-Leste’s delegate reaffirmed her commitment to respecting human rights without distinction.  Reiterating her country’s 2008 position, condemning all forms of violence and harassment that undermined the inherent dignity of all people, she said such harassment for reasons of sexual orientation subverted that dignity.  To ensure all people were given full protection, she recognized the importance of operative paragraph (6b).  “LGBT” people should be included in the list.  She was disappointed that the language related to killings on the grounds of sexual orientation had been excluded from the text in the Third Committee, especially as such targeting had been documented by the Special Rapporteur.  She commended the Secretary-General for his commitment on that important issue and she would support the amendment introduced by the United States and requested all others to do so as well.

The United Arab Emirates, speaking on behalf the Group of Arab States, reaffirmed the Group’s complete commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and further reaffirmed that fundamental freedoms and universally agreed upon human rights were universal, indivisible and interlinked.  There was no single State that could claim its success in ensuring all universal human rights.

The Arab Group rejected firmly continued efforts to include in United Nations resolutions “controversial” expressions that had not been approved by the General Assembly and that had no legal basis in international agreements or conventions.  He said sexual orientation covered a wide range of personal choices that “went beyond the relationships between two consenting adults”, and should not be linked to human rights instruments.  The Arab Group expressed its “deep displeasure” that some groups went beyond respected norms and attempted to politicize human rights issues in order to further domestic causes, provoking the Assembly to discuss those concepts by offering “contorted” interpretations of human rights law.  The adoption of that resolution would necessarily be made by a vote and not by consensus until an amendment, put forward by the African Group and containing altered language, was recognized.  Accordingly, the Arab Group would vote against the language contained in draft resolution L.53, and encouraged other States to do the same.

Benin’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African States Group, said the current amendment aimed to reinterpret internationally agreed human rights instruments by equating discrimination of an undefined notion with other notions clearly codified in international human rights instruments.  The African Group believed that extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions must not take place for any discriminatory reason.  The African Group had introduced its own amendment in the Third Committee, which had been accepted by a vote.  As the Group recognized the enumerated rights in the Universal Declaration had been codified in subsequent legal instruments, he was concerned at attempts to create new rights or groups by misinterpreting the Universal Declaration.

Such attempts undermined the intent of the drafters and signatories to human rights instruments, he said, and seriously jeopardized the international human rights framework.  For such reasons, he strongly rejected any attempt to undermine the human rights system by seeking to impose an undefined concept that fell outside the internationally agreed legal framework adopted by Member States.  “The moment is crucial,” he stressed, noting that today’s choices would determine humanity’s future and the importance granted to universal human rights principles.  He urged delegates not to forget that the choice was in their hands.

South Africa’s delegate said his society was founded on the basic principles of equality and non-discrimination.  Sexual discrimination was expressly mentioned in South Africa’s Constitution as one of the bases on which discrimination was prohibited.  Last month in the Third Committee, South Africa had supported an amendment proposed by the African Group.  Guided by its Constitution and in the view that the current resolution protected a specific category of people from discrimination, South Africa would vote in favour of the amendment currently before the Assembly.  Nonetheless, it regretted that the matter remained controversial, and called for an open and inclusive intergovernmental process to review the issue and to integrate it into human rights law.

Tajikistan’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, explained his vote before the vote on amendment A/65/L.53, reaffirming that all human rights were universal, interdependent and mutually reinforcing.  In no country could it be claimed that all human rights had been fully realized at all times.  The principles of non-discrimination and equality were cross-cutting in the vast areas related to the full realization of all rights and fundamental freedoms.  They reaffirmed faith in the dignity and worth of the human person, as well as the equal rights between men and women.  He was seriously concerned at attempts to introduce undefined notions, and even more disturbed by attempts related to sexual interests and behaviour.  He was indeed alarmed that discrimination and xenophobia continued.

Such alarm had arisen, he said, because the “notion of orientation” encompassed many aspects that went beyond sexual interest.  That undefined notion should not be linked to existing human rights instruments.  People were not inherently vulnerable; rather, some were vulnerable due to their setting — especially women, children, the elderly, people living under foreign occupation and those deprived of their individual liberty — as result of intolerance against them.  He deplored all forms of exclusion, intolerance and discrimination against communities and individuals wherever it occurred, and called on States to continue to step up efforts to totally eliminate racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.  He urged States to refrain from giving priority to some individuals at the expense of other peoples’ rights.  It was for such reasons that his delegation would vote against the amendment.

Speaking next on the text related to the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief, he said the Organization of the Islamic Conference had genuinely engaged in dialogue, with objectivity and flexibility, with the text’s co-sponsors.  Despite the diverging positions, his delegation had decided not to oppose its adoption by consensus on the hope that such cooperation would be reciprocated.  However, that had not been the case and he was seriously disappointed at the “limited spirit” towards issues of vital importance to his delegation.  He was committed to engaging on such issues on the basis of cooperation to resolve differences and achieve consensus.  While committed to constructive engagement, his delegation would assess its position on various issues, based on the political stands taken on issues of importance to his delegation.  He hoped that message would lead to a genuine and constructive engagement.

Rwanda’s representative said that sexual orientation was a concept that sparked animated debate at the international level, the national level and even within families.  Debate generally related to the definition of sexual orientation as well as the criminalization of the practice.  It was a complex issue, and no international legal assessment of it had been made.  Rwanda felt that the orientation of its citizens was a very personal matter, and neither new rights nor restrictions could be introduced.

In the amendment today, however, the Assembly was being asked whether people with that identity had the very right to life.  He said the authors of the resolution had clearly wished to draw attention to high-risk groups that were vulnerable to killing and other crimes, as well as to call for the prosecution of those that committed crimes against them.  It was necessary to deal with the urgency of those matters whether their lifestyles were approved of or not, said the delegate.  Recognizing that was not a call for special rights — the right to life should not be refused for legal, ideological or political reasons.  Doing so was “hiding our heads in the sand”, he said.

The representative of Zimbabwe said sexual orientation had no place in the resolution currently before the Assembly.  What did the phrase mean? he wondered.  It was neither a human right not a universal value, and his delegation would not have it foisted upon them.  Zimbabwe could not accept the inclusion of the amendment, especially if it included such concepts such as beastiality and paedophilia.  It rejected the attempt to legislate on an international scale items that would be problematic nationally.  To take the stance, however, was not to condone extrajudicial executions.  Zimbabwe aligned itself with the statement of Benin on behalf of the African Group.  Private actions needed no address in the international setting, he said, condemning that “legal adventurism”.

Draft resolution I on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty was adopted by a recorded vote of 109 in favour to 41 against, with 35 abstentions.

After the vote, Gambia’s representative said she wrongly voted on resolution I.  She had wished to abstain.

Draft resolution II on the role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights was adopted without a vote.

Next, the amendment contained in document A/65/L.53 was adopted by a recorded vote of 93 in favour to 55 against, with 27 abstentions.

The Assembly then adopted, as amended, draft resolution III on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 1 against (Saudi Arabia), with 62 abstentions.

Draft resolution IV on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution V on Missing persons was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution VI on Elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion and belief was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution VII, entitled Protection of migrants, was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution VIII, entitled Human rights in the administration of justice, was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution IX on Human rights and extreme poverty was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution X on Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution XI on Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights was adopted by a recorded vote of 132 in favour to 54 against, with no abstentions.

Draft resolution XII on Human rights and unilateral coercive measures was adopted by a recorded vote of 131 in favour to 53 against, with no abstentions.

Draft resolution XIII on Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution XIV on the right to development was adopted by a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 24 against, with 28 abstentions.

Draft resolution XV on the right to food was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution XVI, entitled Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution XVII on the Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all was adopted by a recorded vote of 127 in favour to 54 against, with 4 abstentions (Armenia, Chile, Samoa, Singapore).

Draft resolution XVIII on the Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order was adopted by a recorded vote of 126 in favour to 54 against, with 5 abstentions (Argentina, Armenia, Chile, Mexico, Peru).

Draft resolution XIX on combating defamation of religions was adopted by a recorded vote of 79 in favour to 67 against, with 40 abstentions.

Cuba’s delegate, referring to the text on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, said respect for the right to life, freedom and security was a cornerstone of the exercise of all human rights.  Such executions were a flagrant violation of human rights and she rejected such practices, confirming the need to adopt measures to eliminate them.  Indeed, guaranteeing the right to life was a responsibility of all States.  Any act of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions could not be justified and was thus illegal.

In Cuba, reference to discrimination was included in the Constitution, she said, and no legislation penalized people for their sexual identity.  She reiterated her rejection of extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, including for reasons of sexual orientation and gender identity.  She was concerned that the issue was being used for manipulation by the United States, a country with a long history of extrajudicial execution.  The United States had again abstained, showing the manipulative nature of the amendment.

In a point of order, the United States representative said the Cuban statement should be an explanation of vote, not an attack on the United States.

The General Assembly President took note of that remark.

Libya’s representative fully supported the Arab States Group, the African States Group and Tajikistan’s statement on the amendment contained in “L.53”.  While Libya supported the majority of the resolution, it had abstained from voting due to the inclusion of operative paragraph 10, which called on States to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  The Court was a “selective body” controlled by the Security Council, and had so far ignored crimes perpetrated by Israeli forces in occupied lands.

The representative of the United States thanked countries that had stood with his delegation.  He had been deeply disappointed by the recent vote in the Third Committee.  Through today’s vote, however, the voices of the vulnerable had been heard by the international community.  He quoted Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, saying that “the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to all humans without exception”.  He added that ending prejudice in all its forms was needed to enshrine the principles in that declaration.

Tajikistan’s delegate, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, discussed the amended text on extrajudicial executions, saying his delegation deplored all forms of stigmatization, discrimination and violence directed against peoples and communities wherever it occurred.  Affirming article 29 of the Universal Declaration, he also reaffirmed that there was no internationally recognized definition of the controversial notion of sexual orientation.  His delegation was alarmed and would continue to reject attempts to misinterpret the Declaration and other treaties to include undefined notions never agreed upon by the United Nations general membership, and the enforcement of them in resolutions for political gains.  For such reasons, he had abstained from the vote.

Sudan’s representative, speaking again on A/65/L.53, supported the positions of the Arab Group, African Group and Islamic Group, saying he had voted against the amendment proposing language that was not internationally agreed upon.  Indeed, it lacked unanimity.  He regretted use of the language pertaining to sexual orientation and its inclusion in the text.  The text was now unbalanced.  It had enjoyed the support of all in the Third Committee.

Moreover, he rejected further language recognizing the supposed role and participation of the International Criminal Court, which in its first decade had not completed its first trial.  The resolution under consideration could not be an invitation to joining the Court or cooperating with it, as stated in operative paragraph 10.  It was a controversial court.  Sudan’s abstention did not signify that his country did not agree with many of the elements reflected in the resolution.  He stressed that extrajudicial, summary or arbitraSry executions should be rejected and punished, in line with Sudan’s internal laws.

Speaking in a point of order, Georgia’s delegate drew attention to developments related to item 68b, under which the Committee had heard a statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the rights of internally displaced persons.  The report had errors related to Georgia, she said, notably in section II, describing the visits of the Secretary-General to 11 States.  Various areas, including South Ossetia, which was illegally occupied, had been named among those States.  That area was of a political, rather than technical, nature.  The Special Representative had called for correction of those and other errors and Georgia supported that.  A corrigendum to the report had been issued.  Naming some of those corrections, she thanked the Special Representative for making them.  The reasons that had allowed for those errors were unclear, and she called for exercising vigilance in that regard.

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See, referring to the resolution on extrajudicial executions, said he was grateful for the strong support of the international community for ending those practices.  All persons were equal before the law and were entitled to equal protection by it.  However, the introduction of categories such as gender and sexual identities to such resolutions could raise serious uncertainties and questions, thereby undermining — instead of strengthening — those resolutions.  The resolution should focus on protecting persons, and should not be “clouded by undefined categories”.  It was therefore necessary to recognize and protect every person as a human and not as an object, he concluded.

The Assembly then turned to addendum 3 of the Committee’s report(document A/65/456/Add.3), which contained three draft resolutions on human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives.

Draft resolution I, entitled Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was adopted by a recorded vote of 106 in favour, to 20 against, and 57 abstentions.

Draft resolution II, entitled Situation of human rights in Myanmar, was postponed to allow time to consider its programme budget implications.

Draft resolution III on the Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran was adopted by a recorded vote of 78 in favour to 45 against, with 59 abstentions.

The Assembly then took note of Addendum 4 to the Committee’s report on the promotion and protection of human rights (document A/65/456/Add.4), on the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which contained no draft proposals.

The Assembly then took up the Committee’s report on crime prevention and criminal justice (document A/65/457), which contained six draft resolutions.

Draft resolution I, entitled Realignment of the functions of the UNODC and changes to the strategic framework, was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution II on Strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses to violence against women was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution III on United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules) was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution IV on the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution V on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders was adopted without a vote.

Draft resolution VI entitled Strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity was adopted without a vote.

The Assembly adopted the draft decision crime prevention and criminal justice.

The Assembly then turned its attention to the Committee’s report on international drug control (document A/65/458).  The draft resolution on International cooperation against the world drug problem contained therein was adopted without a vote.

Turning to the Committee’s report on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/65/459), which contained one draft decision on the programme of work for the Third Committee for the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly, the Assembly adopted the decision without a vote.

Finally, the Assembly took note of the report of the Third Committee’s report on programme planning (document A/65/460).

The representative of Saudi Arabia said he had intended to abstain in the action related to the text on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions.

Jamaica’sdelegate asked what would happen with the remaining voting records that had not yet been distributed.

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