General Assembly Will Hold ‘World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ in 2014, under Terms of Resolution Recommended by Third Committee

16 November 2010
GA/SHC/3997

General Assembly Will Hold ‘World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ in 2014, under Terms of Resolution Recommended by Third Committee

16 November 2010
General Assembly
GA/SHC/3997
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Third Committee

46th Meeting (AM)

General Assembly Will Hold ‘World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ in 2014,

Under Terms of Resolution Recommended by Third Committee

 

Also Approves Five Other Texts on Extrajudicial Executions, Leprosy,

United Nations Refugee High Commissioner, Practices Fuelling Racism, Globalization

Concerned about the extreme social and economic disadvantages that indigenous peoples have faced, the Third Committee approved a draft resolution today that would have the General Assembly organize a high-level plenary meeting in 2014 — to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014 -- to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of indigenous peoples’ rights.

Approved without a vote, the document would invite the President of the General Assembly to determine the modalities for the high-level meeting, including indigenous peoples’ participation at the Conference, through open-ended consultations with Member States, indigenous people’s representatives in the framework of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

The Assembly would also expand the mandate of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations, so that it could assist representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations and communities to participate in sessions of the Human Rights Council and human rights treaty bodies.

The draft resolution on indigenous issues was one of six that the Committee took action on this morning, addressing such issues as extrajudicial executions, contemporary forms of racism, discrimination against persons affected by leprosy, globalization’s impact on the enjoyment of human rights and the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

During action on the draft resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Committee engaged in a debate over and ultimately approved by a vote of 79 in favour to 70 against with 17 abstentions an amendment removing “sexual orientation” as one of the discriminatory reasons that killings had been committed and warranted investigation.

The representative of Benin, on behalf of the African Group, the main sponsor of the amendment, said that sexual orientation had no legal foundation in any international human rights instruments and there was no legal justification to highlight it.  St. Lucia stated that listing specific groups was dangerous because it could lead to the omission of some people and legal manipulation by following the letter of the law in an unintended way, while Morocco asserted that such selectivity should be avoided because it accommodated particular interests and groups over others.  South Africa added that a formal process to define sexual orientation and its parameters under human rights law was needed to prevent future division on the issue.

On the other hand, the representative of Sweden stated that sexual orientation had often been the motive for extrajudicial killings, and the deletion of the reference would amount to the Committee looking the other way concerning arbitrary executions based on sexual orientation.  Both Finland and France noted that the reference to sexual orientation had been included in the resolution since 1999, based on the Special Rapporteur’s concern for homosexuals that had been victims of such crimes – a concern that still persisted.  Switzerland pointed out that homophobic violence was still a reality caused by law enforcement forces in many countries.

In the end, the draft resolution, by which the General Assembly would strongly condemn all extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions that continued throughout the world and demand that all States ensure the practice of such executions be brought to an end, had sufficient agreement to be approved by a vote of 165 in favour to 0 against, with 10 abstentions.

The Committee approved the draft resolution on the inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance by a recorded vote of 118 in favour to 1 against, with 55 abstaining.  The draft resolution on globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights was approved by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 53 against, with 0 abstaining.  The draft resolutions on enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members were adopted without a vote.

During action on draft resolutions, statements and explanations of vote were also made by the representatives of Bolivia, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Belarus, Benin, Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), United States, Switzerland, Sudan, Cuba, Iran, Jamaica, Norway, Japan, Egypt, Brazil and Chile.

Also, a draft resolution on follow-up to the Durban Declaration was introduced by the representative of Yemen (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China).

Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to hear the introduction of a draft resolution 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 (document A/C.3/65/L.60).

It was also expected to take action on the following draft resolutions; Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/65/L.24/Rev.1); Indigenous issues (document A/C.3/65/L.22/Rev.1); Inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/C.3/65/L.50); Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (document A/C.3/65/L.29/Rev.1 and an amendment thereto contained in document A/C.3/65/L.65), Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members (document A/C.3/65/L.37) and Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights (document A/C.3/65/L.38).

Introduction on Draft Resolution

The Committee first heard the introduction of a draft resolution 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 (document A/C.3/65/L.60), by the representative of Yemen, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

He said that, throughout the past 10 years, the world community had witnessed difficult progress in the implementation of the Durban Declaration to eradicate the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  New manifestations of racism were being seen and they must be confronted.  In the current session, document L.60 was being presented to the Committee, with a focus on the forthcoming 10th anniversary of the 2000 World Congress against Racism, to be held in New York in September 2011.  The event provided a timely opportunity to mobilize the political will of heads of States. The co-sponsors would like to see the 10th year commemoration celebrated in a different manner, with the culmination and being adoption of an outcome showing global resolve to end racism.

The text incorporated general principles that guided the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, he said.  It included the issue of racism in sports, shown through the “Say No to Racism” campaign during the recent FIFA World Cup.  That legacy started in Germany and was encouraged to continue in Brazil and the 2014 World Cup.  The work of the Special Rapporteur and some of his recommendations had been included in the resolution, to ensure that there was a follow-up on the matters he raised. Work on the Durban follow-up mechanisms was also included.  The practical implementation of the Durban Declaration could be seen in the decision to erect a monument to the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, and there was a call for financial support to finalize that decision.  The co-sponsors hoped the resolution would be adopted by consensus, and they would show flexibility by not tabling a separate resolution concerning the high-level event to commemorate the 10th anniversary, with the understanding that a facilitator would be appointed to carry out that task.

Action on Resolutions

The Committee then took action on a draft resolution regarding Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/65/L.24/Rev.1).

It would have the General Assembly decide to increase the number of members of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 79 to 84 States, and request the Economic and Social Council to elect the additional members at its resumed organizational session for 2011.

The draft was approved without a vote.

The Committee then took action on a draft resolution on Indigenous issues (document A/C.3/65/L.22/Rev.1).

By its terms, the General Assembly would 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.  The Assembly 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.

The representative of Bolivia summarized the contents of the draft resolution and made an oral amendment.  It was a great honour to announce that the list of co-sponsors now included the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Brazil.  Bolivia very respectfully invited other delegations to consider joining the co-sponsors.

The draft was then approved as orally revised without a vote.

The representative of the United Kingdom expressed support for the draft on the understanding that the rights of indigenous peoples were as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  The concept of collective law in international law, apart from the right of peoples to self-determination, was not recognized by the United Kingdom, which considered it important that individual rights not be superseded by collective rights. Collective rights could be granted only as a matter of national law.

The Committee then took action on a draft resolution on Inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/C.3/65/L.50).

By its terms, the General Assembly would express deep concern about the glorification of the Nazi movement and former members of the Waffen SS organization, including by erecting monuments and memorials and holding public demonstrations in the name of the glorification of the Nazi past, the Nazi movement and neo-Nazism, as well as by declaring or attempting to declare such members and those who fought against the anti-Hitler coalition and collaborated with the Nazi movement participants in national liberation movements.  It would also express concern at recurring attempts to desecrate or demolish monuments erected in remembrance of those who fought against Nazism during the Second World War, as well as to unlawfully exhume or remove the remains of such persons.  It would note with concern the increase in racist incidents in several countries and the rise of skinhead groups, which have been responsible for many of these incidents, as well as the resurgence of racist and xenophobic violence targeting members of ethnic, religious or cultural communities and national minorities.

The Assembly would stress that such practices do injustice to the memory of the victims of crimes against humanity committed in the Second World War, while at the same time fueling racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and contribute to the multiplication of extremist political parties, movements and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups.  In that regard, it would call for increased political and legal 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.

The representative of the Russian Federation, the main sponsor, who made an oral amendment to the draft, said this year was the sixty-fifth anniversary of the victory in the Second World War, as well as the Nuremberg trials.  Sixty-five years had also passed since “our fathers and grandfathers” united against the forces of evil and called themselves the United Nations.  They had come together for the future; why should their example be rejected?  At issue was not political correctness, but the horrors of National Socialism and the rise of extremist groups, including neo-Nazis and skinheads, who often found inspiration in practices that the United Nations had been created to combat.  During negotiations on the text, some had insisted that victory in the Second World War was unrelated to international human rights standards and that glorifying Nazism has nothing to do with human rights.  That argument could not have been made 20 or 30 years ago, when veterans of the Second World War were still alive; how could it possibly be made now?  Adoption of the resolution with the broadest possible support would contribute to combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance.

The representative of Belarus noted the urgency of the resolution.  It would provide the young generation with a moral reference point.  Events linked to Nazism were still remembered in his country, which lost about a third of its people in the Second World War.  As a famous Russian poet had said, this was not for the dead, but for the living.  Belarus would vote in favour of the draft.

The Chair, MICHEL TOMMO MONTHE ( Cameroon) said a recorded vote had been requested.  When asked by the representative of the Russian Federation which delegation had asked for the vote, the Chair replied the United States.

In an explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Belgium, on behalf of the European Union, called neo-Nazism an abhorrent manifestation of racism and racial discrimination.  Its threat had to be confronted at local, national and international levels.  Neo-Nazism sought to undermine the core values of the United Nations.  However, the fight against all manifestations of racism and xenophobia should not be used for extraneous purposes.  Despite its desire to contribute to making the draft a comprehensive and credible response to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, some of its most serious concerns had not been addressed.  As in past years, the draft was selective; it also contained language that would undermine a comprehensive approach, under which the Special Rapporteur on the issue would report to Human Rights Council and the General Assembly regularly.  The European Union remained strongly committed to fighting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance and it remained ready to work on a text that would make a strong contribution in that regard.  It would abstain from voting on the draft.

The representative of the United States said that his country had a deep commitment to honouring the memory of the lives lost in the Holocaust.  However, it remained concerned that the resolution failed to distinguish between actions and statements that, while offensive, were protected by freedom of expression.  The United States shared concern over the growing number of racist expressions; however, it did not believe in curtaining the freedom of expression.  Individual freedom of speech should be robustly protected, even when ideas were full of hatred.  Hateful ideas would fail because of their lack of merit.  Offensive speech should not be criminalized.  Instead, there should be measures such as proactive government outreach to minority groups and the vigorous defence of freedom of speech and religion.  For those reasons, the United States would vote against the resolution.

The Committee then, approved the resolution on practices that fuel racism (A/C.3/65/L.50) by a recorded vote of 118 in favour to 1 against ( United States) with 55 abstaining.

After the vote, the representative of Switzerland said it regretted there had been only one informal meeting and that the concerns of some countries were not taken into account.  Switzerland had abstained, because the resolution only referred to some forms of racism, and it believed that issues that fuelled racism were not limited to one historical period, but could be found throughout history.

The Committee then took action on a draft resolution on Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (document A/C.3/65/L.29/Rev.1).

By its terms, the General Assembly would again strongly condemn all the extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions that continue to occur throughout the world, and demand that all States ensure that the practice of such executions is brought to an end and that they take effective action to prevent, combat and eliminate the phenomenon in all its forms and manifestations.  It would reiterate the obligation of all States to investigate all suspected cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, to bring to justice those responsible, to grant compensation to the victims or their families, and to adopt legal and judicial measures to put an end to impunity and to prevent the further occurrence of such executions.

In addition, the Assembly would urge all States to take all necessary and possible measures, in conformity with international human rights law and international humanitarian law, to prevent loss of life, in particular that of children, during public demonstrations, internal and communal violence, civil unrest, public emergencies or armed conflicts.  It would also urge States to prevent and, where such situations exist, to end prisoner control of prisons, and call upon those States that are under an obligation to cooperate with the International Criminal Court to provide such cooperation and assistance in the future, in particular with regard to arrest and surrender, the provision of evidence, the protection and relocation of victims and witnesses and the enforcement of sentences.  It would go on to express its concern over the occurrence of vigilante killings and encourage States, in order to support efforts to prevent and end such killings, to undertake or facilitate systematic studies of the phenomenon, with a view to taking necessary legislative, judicial, administrative, and educative measures.

A proposed amendment (document A/C.3/65/L.65) would, in operative paragraph six, replace the words “any discriminatory reason, including sexual orientation” with the words “discriminatory reasons on any basis”.

The representative of Finland, the main sponsor, said the list of co-sponsors had grown to 58 countries.  However, it had not been possible to reach consensus on a reference to sexual orientation.

The Chair drew attention to the proposed amendment.  The representative of Benin, its main sponsor, on behalf of the African Group, said the Group had repeatedly asked during informal negotiations for language that would bring needed comprehensiveness to the draft resolution.  Sexual discrimination had no legal foundation in any international human rights instruments and there was no justification to highlight it.  It was in the spirit of reaching consensus that the amendment, phrased in generic language, was being put forward.  Comprehensiveness rather than selectivity was the key to ensuring the commitment of the international community against extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.  If the international community wanted to discuss sexual orientation, it should do so in a direct way, in an agreed format, on another occasion.

The representative of Finland said the proposed amendment was unacceptable. She requested a recorded vote.

The representative of Morocco, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the Group was seriously concerned by controversial and undefined notions that had no foundation in international human rights instruments. Intolerance and discrimination existed in cases of colour, race, gender and religion, to mention only a few.  Selectivity intended to accommodate certain interests over others had to be avoided by the international community.  Such selectivity would set a precedent that would change the human rights paradigm in order to suit the interests of particular groups.  An attempt to create new rights was a matter of concern for the Group.  All Member States were urged to continue to devote special attention to the protection of the family as the natural and fundamental unit of society.

Wishing to make a general statement before the vote, the representative of Sweden said that, as one of the main sponsors, Sweden objected to the proposal to amend the resolution, by deleting the term “sexual orientation”.  Sexual orientation had often been the motive for extrajudicial killings. The deletion of the reference would amount to the Committee looking the other way concerning arbitrary executions based on sexual orientation.  States would not live up to their obligation to investigate and bring to justice those who committed such crimes.  Denying the right to life and disregarding those in a vulnerable situation would not be acceptable to Sweden, so it would vote against the amendment.  Sweden appealed to others to show that they did not condone unlawful killings and also to vote against the amendment.

As a traditional co-sponsor of the resolution, Switzerland said that it would vote against the amendment.  Protection of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals was important.  It was not an issue of protecting a specific group, but that a group would not be protected.  Switzerland could not accept that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals would not be covered.  The reference to sexual orientation was not a general reference with regard to commitment. Switzerland believed that the reference was particularly important in this context and that people who were particularly threatened should be included.  It was important to point out that homophobic violence was a reality caused by law enforcement forces in many countries throughout the world.  The number of people killed on the basis of sexual identity had reached new levels, which was a major concern for all.  That was a subject of concern for the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, who had been following the issue for more than 10 years. Switzerland called on States to vote against the amendment.

The representative of Finland noted that the reference to sexual orientation was first introduced a few years ago and a vote had been often called for, but always remained in the text.  It was included in 1999 following the Special Rapporteur’s comments concerning execution and people at risk.  That risk still persisted.  The Special Rapporteur had continuously raised the risk in his report and in appeals to Member States.  No one was claiming that one category was more worthy of protection than another.  The purpose of including the reference was to alert States to arbitrary executions.  The term “discriminatory racism” would include sexual orientation, but not everybody would understand, so it needed to be spelled out in the resolution, just as the Committee spelled out killings that were racially motivated or killings of national or linguistic minorities.  The inclusion of sexual orientation in this list aimed to protect against execution on this basis – nothing more, nothing less.  The main sponsor could not accept the amendment and would be voting against it.  Finland asked others to do the same.

The representative of the United Kingdom said that the need for prompt investigation of all killings, including on the basis of sexual orientation, existed because of the continuing cause for concern.  The list in the resolution could not be considered exhaustive and reflected abhorrent killings that the Special Rapporteur continued to identify in his reports, whether they be racially motivated killings or of human rights defenders.  It was right that the resolution identify those at risk and call for appropriate action to be taken in that regard. Descriptive lists were getting longer and the instinct was to streamline them, but, sometimes, the attempt to streamline could suppress something that needed to be highlighted, and more was needed.  The United Kingdom believed the current instance was one of those cases.  To accept the amendment was to accept that these people did not need mention, and was an affront to human dignity.  Like the main sponsor, the United Kingdom could not accept that and would be voting against the amendment.

The representative of St. Lucia, first, recognized the importance of the resolution and underscored the country’s commitment to human life and the dignity of each person.  St. Lucia reaffirmed its commitment to the prompt investigation of killings of humans, so that all persons had equal protection under the law.  St. Lucia expressed its belief that specific groups should not be listed, as lists had the danger of leaving some groups out and the danger of misinterpretation. That led to legal manipulation, by following the letter of the law in an unintended way.  In the attempt to list individuals, undefined terminology was used.  To ensure that all individuals received equal protection, it was imperative that the terms used be clear.  The term proposed by the African Group was comprehensive and, for that reason, St. Lucia would vote in support of the African Group’s amendment.

The representative of the United States strongly opposed the amendment, finding without merit the argument that deleting the reference somehow reinterpreted the right to life, or that bringing attention to abhorrent practices somehow made that less inclusive.  The United States urged all States to vote against the amendment.

The Committee then approved the amendment to operative paragraph 6 by a recorded vote of 79 in favour to 70 and 17 abstaining.

Providing a statement in explanation of the vote after the vote, Brazil said that, by adopting the amendment that deleted the reference to extrajudicial executions committed based on sexual orientation, the organization would not be sending a positive message.  For that reason, the country had not supported the amendment.  It also wished to note that possible improvements of the text could come in the form of incorporating references to other forms of discrimination that motivated killings, such as racial discrimination and xenophobia.  There was a need to promote dialogue and understanding in order to bridge differences.

The representative of South Africa said that, with regard to the amendment proposed by the African Group to provide comprehensive non-discrimination, South Africa voted based on its belief in the principle of non-discrimination on any grounds, including sexual orientation.  South Africa was conscious of the fact that there was no international agreement regarding the definition of sexual orientation, and believed that there needed to be a formal process on the issue. South Africa believed that they should define sexual orientation and establish parameters under human rights law.  Until there was such a discussion, there would be division, which had characterized the issue over past years.

The representative of Cuba said that it maintained its traditional position against any form of discrimination and that Cuba had voted for the amendment proposed by the African Group, which was sufficiently general and comprehensive.  It related to all killings, including executions on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Then, making a general statement, Morocco said that it had the honour to inform that it would join the consensus on the resolution provided with the amendment adopted.

The Committee then took action on the draft resolution entitled Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (document A/C.3/65/L.29/Rev.1), as a whole as amended.

The representative of Finland said there was widespread agreement that this was an important issue.  The draft resolution captured what delegations wanted to put into it.  Her delegation would vote in favour.

The representative of Benin on behalf African Group said the Group could support the text as amended.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Sudan said his delegation had voted in favour of rejecting the attempt to inject the idea of sexual orientation into the draft resolution.  It rejected repeated attempts by some delegations to introduce some ideas that had not been internationally accepted.  However, Sudan would abstain from voting on the draft resolution as a whole, despite its firm belief in the importance of the issue that it addressed.  It believed that the responsibility for combating racism fell within the responsibility of States within the framework of their international commitments.  Regarding operative paragraph 10, which referred to the International Criminal Court, there was no obligation by States that had not joined that Court to implement its decisions.  The role of the Court had been extremely exaggerated; in the 10 years since its foundation it had not even finished its first trial.  Much ambiguity surrounded its work, including its relationship with the Security Council.  The Court had also proven that it sought to politicize justice.  Operative paragraph 10 was not welcomed by Sudan, which rejected it.

The representative of Morocco asked the Chair who had requested a recorded vote.  The Secretary of the Committee, OTTO GUSTAFIK, explained that under Rule 130 of the Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly, when one or more amendments to a draft resolution were adopted, then the amended text shall be voted upon.

The Committee then approved the draft on extrajudicial executions (document A/C.3/65/L.29/Rev.1), as revised, by a vote of 165 in favour and 0 against, with 10 abstentions.

In an explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of France welcomed the approval of the draft.  Several categories of persons particularly vulnerable to extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions had been covered in operative paragraph 6(b).  The reference to sexual orientation had been made since 1999 by the Special Rapporteur, who had repeatedly and explicitly underlined that homosexuals had been victims of such crimes.  The General Assembly had recognized as much in 2008 and it was regrettable that such an explicit mention would not be made this year, even as many people were still victims of murder and violence due to their sexual orientation.

The representative of Iran said his country condemned extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions.  His delegation had joined the Organization of the Islamic Conference position on the amendment, but it had reservations regarding operative paragraph 5, which refers to the death penalty. 

The representative of the United States agreed that it was the obligation of all States to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Countries such as hers which applied capital punishment should abide by their international obligations and use the death penalty only in cases of the most serious crimes.  The United States agreed with efforts to retain the language condemning executions of members of the “LGBT” community and it was dismayed that the reference could not survive an unfriendly amendment.  Additional concerns meant that the United States had been unable to vote for the draft as a whole. 

The representative of Jamaica, which voted in favour of the draft, was disappointed that operative paragraph 5 had not been further amended.  The way in which the text had been drafted implied that the use of the death penalty automatically amounted to extrajudicial execution.  The suggestion was that they were one and the same.  Jamaica did not share that interpretation.  Regarding operative paragraph 6(b), a more holistic approach was required.  It was cumbersome and unwieldy; several categories of vulnerable persons could have been included.  It was hoped that, in future, the co-sponsors would consider a more general reference to all vulnerable groups, without discrimination.

The representative of Norway regretted that the amendment deleting the reference to sexual orientation had been adopted.  The vulnerability of persons in that group had been note by the Special Rapporteur.

Making a general statement, the representative of the United Kingdom recalled the application of international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict.

The Committee then took action on a draft resolution on the Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members (document A/C.3/65/L.37).

The text would have the General Assembly take note of the work of Human Rights Council Advisory Committee on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members.  Also taking 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), it would 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 their policies and measures concerning persons affected by leprosy and their family members.  It would encourage all relevant actors - including hospitals, schools, universities, religious groups and organizations, business enterprises, newspapers, broadcasting networks and other non-governmental organizations - to give due consideration to the Principles and Guidelines, in the course of their activities.

The representative of Japan, the main sponsor, by way of an oral revision, made a “technical correction” to the draft.

The Committee then approved the draft without a vote, after which the representative of Japan expressed sincere appreciation to all delegations that had supported it.

The Committee then took action on a draft resolution on Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights (document A/C.3/65/L.38).

The draft would have the Assembly emphasize the need to fully implement the global partnership for development, enhance the momentum generated by the 2005 World Summit and reaffirm the commitment to promote fair globalization and the development of the productive sectors in developing countries to enable them to participate more effectively in, and benefit from, the process of globalization.  It 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 deepen poverty.  It would call upon Member States, relevant agencies of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations and civil society to promote equitable and environmentally sustainable economic growth for managing globalization, so that poverty is systematically reduced and the international development targets are achieved.

The representative of Egypt, the main sponsor, said that the fact that 86 States had co-sponsored the resolution gave wider recognition to the belief that the benefits of globalization were not limited to one region or another.  They were attempting, through international cooperation, to maximize opportunities and overcome challenges.  However, the challenges of globalization were not to the favour of developing countries.  The resolution emphasized the need to address crucial challenges with a view towards minimizing the impact, thus enabling States to mobilize resources towards the protection of all human rights.  It highlighted even and fair distribution by all relevant actors and the importance of respecting the differences of members of the international community to enrich their common human heritage.  That endeavour was exactly what the international community emphasized through the outcome of the documents.  Unfortunately, certain States categorically refused to engage in constructive dialogue, despite attempts to engage through informal meetings over past two months.  The co-sponsors regretted such an approach regarding issues affecting the whole world, but looked forward to more engagement by partners.  It was hoped that the resolution could be adopted by consensus.

A recorded vote was requested by the United States.

In a statement in explanation of the vote before the vote, the representative of Brazil said that, in recognition of the positive developments of the proposal, Brazil would support it.  The country valued the importance attributed by the resolution towards international cooperation in the field of human rights.  It valued the recognition that globalization affected countries differently, and that globalization offered both risks and rewards.  Brazil welcomed the focus of the text – which was in line with the resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council – that, without boosting international partnership, they would not be able to ensure enjoyment of the benefits and, thus, social rights for all.  Brazil called on States to alleviate any negative impacts of the global financial crisis, in order to realize the effective enjoyment of all human rights. The country reiterated its conviction that, while national and regional particularities must be kept in mind, it was the duty of States, regardless of their economic, political and cultural systems, to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The representative of Belgium, on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union could not support the draft resolution.  The European Union regretted that the text remained the same as last year, so it could not change its position.  Dealing with globalization and its effects was high on the European Union’s agenda.  Globalization was a multidimensional phenomenon, and its challenges were of a global nature.  Globalization could tackle more acute problems, like poverty.  The European Union acknowledged that benefits were not evenly shared, but, at same time, globalization could produce growth and prosperity and wield positive influence on human rights.  Globalization could have implications concerning human rights, but the draft resolution inaccurately stated that it affected all rights - a generalization to which the European Union could not subscribe.  The European Union was not convinced that globalization affected all human rights.  This relationship had to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Thus, the European Union would vote against the resolution, and respectfully asked others to do the same.

The Committee proceeded to a recorded vote.  The electronic voting machine registered 122 as “yes,” 53 as “no” and 1 as abstaining; however, it was noted that, because of technical errors, the vote of Benin had not been recorded by the machine and would be recorded as a “yes” vote.  The resolution was adopted.

Giving a general statement after the vote, the representative of Chile said the delegation endorsed the resolution, given the inclusion of elements important for the country.  Globalization held challenges, but also opportunities.  Chile believed there was no reason for human rights and individual freedoms to be affected, but recognized that, amongst the challenges, were those particularly pertaining to economic and social rights.  This was one of the issues that the country believed needed to be faced.

Statement by the Chair

The Chair, Mr. TOMMO MONTHE ( Cameroon), said action remained to be taken on 29 draft resolutions.  The Bureau would be meeting in the afternoon to prepare a list of drafts that would be acted upon on Thursday and Friday, 18 and 19 November.  After this week, three more plenary meetings were scheduled.  It was his intention to conclude the work of the Committee on Tuesday, 23 November as scheduled.

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