General Assembly Will Declare 30 August International Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearance, in Resolution Approved by Third Committee

19 November 2010
GA/SHC/3999

General Assembly Will Declare 30 August International Day for Victims of Enforced Disappearance, in Resolution Approved by Third Committee

19 November 2010
General Assembly
GA/SHC/3999
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Third Committee

49th Meeting (AM)


General Assembly Will Declare 30 August International Day for Victims of Enforced


Disappearance, in Resolution Approved by Third Committee

 


Other Texts:  Ageing, Equitable Order, Coercive Measures, Social Summit, Peace

Promotion, Human Rights Cooperation, African Institute, Administration of Justice


Resolutions that would have the General Assembly declare an International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, as well as establish an open-ended working group to strengthen the protection of human rights of older persons, were among the nine texts approved today by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).


By the draft resolution on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, approved without a vote, the General Assembly will declare 30 August International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, to be observed beginning in 2011, and will call upon Member States, the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as the civil society, to observe the Day.


The representative of Argentina, speaking on behalf of fellow co-sponsors Morocco and France, said 30 August was not chosen by chance, but by civil society and the families of victims, and was already observed by many countries around the world


The resolution would express deep concern at the increase in enforced or involuntary disappearances in various regions of the world, including arrest, detention and abduction, and by the growing number of reports concerning harassment, ill-treatment and intimidation of witnesses of disappearances or relatives of persons who have disappeared.


It would also reaffirm the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, recalling the right of victims to know the truth regarding the circumstances of the enforced disappearance, the progress and the results of the investigation and the fate of the disappeared person.


Noting that four years had passed since the adoption of the Convention, he added that it was the first binding legal instrument of a universal nature addressing the issue of enforced disappearance and the right of States to investigate and sanction perpetrators of such crimes, and that 87 States had signed the Convention to date.


The Committee also approved the draft resolution on the follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing without a vote, by which the General Assembly will establish an open-ended working group, open to all States Members of the United Nations, to consider the existing international framework of the human rights of older persons and identify possible gaps and how best to address them, including by considering as appropriate, the feasibility of further instruments and measures.


Under the terms of the text, the working group will meet at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and decide on its calendar and programme of work by consensus at an organizational meeting early in 2011.


The representative of Yemen (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China) said the working group was a historic step in the right direction.  He noted a growing consensus that more needed to be done on the issue of ageing, which, for too long, had not received the attention it deserved.


The draft resolution also encouraged Governments to pay greater attention to building capacity to eradicate poverty among older persons, in particular older women, by mainstreaming ageing issues into poverty eradication strategies and national development plans, and to include both ageing-specific policies and ageing-mainstreaming efforts in their national strategies.


Recorded votes were taken on several resolutions today.  The draft resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures was approved by a vote of 124 in favour to 53 against, with no abstentions.  The draft resolution on the promotion of peace was approved by, a vote of 118 in favour to 53 against, with 6 abstaining (Armenia, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Maldives, Samoa, Singapore).  The draft resolution on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order was approved by a vote of 118 in favour to 53 against, with 5 abstentions ( Argentina, Armenia, Chile, Mexico, Peru).


Other texts approved today without a vote concerned human rights in the administration of justice, enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders and implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development, and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly.


Also making statements and explanations of vote today were representatives of:   Bahrain; Austria; United States; Cuba; Belgium (on behalf of the European Union); Uganda (on behalf of the African Group); Japan; United Kingdom; and the Russian Federation.


The Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m., Monday, 22 November, to take action on more draft resolutions.


Background


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to take action on the following draft resolutions:  Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/65/L.11/Rev.1); Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/C.3/65/L.8/Rev.1); the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (document A/C.3/65/L.30); Elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief (document A/C.3/65/L.32/Rev.1); Human rights in the administration of justice (document A/C.3/65/L.35/Rev.1); Human rights and unilateral coercive measures(document A/C.3/65/L.39); Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights(document A/C.3/65/L.40); Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all (document A/C.3/65/L.44); Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (document A/C.3/65/L.45); and the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/65/L.14).


Action on Texts


The representative of Bahrain stated that there had been a mistake in the vote regarding the situation of human rights in Myanmar (L.48/Rev.1) and that Bahrain’s vote should have been reflected as an abstention.  Bahrain asked that it be reflected in the official records.


The Chair of the Committee, then, stated that they would delay action on the first two draft resolutions on the World Summit for Social Development (L.11/Rev.1) and the Second World Assembly on Ageing (L.8/Rev.1) — pending clarification.


The Committee then took up the draft resolution on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (document A/C.3/65/L.30).


By its terms, the General Assembly would 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 also request the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue with their intensive efforts to assist States to become parties to the Convention, with a view to achieving universal adherence.


The representative of Argentina, on behalf of Morocco and France, said that four years had passed since the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and all Member States that had not yet signed the convention were encouraged to do so.  It was the first binding legal instrument of a universal nature addressing the issue and its adoption filled a gap regarding the prevention of that human right and the right of States to investigate and sanction perpetrators of such crimes.  The draft recommended by the Human Rights Council urged that 30 August be considered the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearance.  That date was not chosen by chance, but by civil society and the families of victims.  It was already celebrated in several countries around the globe.  An oral technical correction was also made, noting that, since submission, there had been additional signature to the convention, so, in operative paragraph two, it should read that 87 States, instead of 86, had signed.  Thanks were conveyed to all participants for their support and constructive comments.  It was trusted that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.


The Committee then approved the draft on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances (A/C.3/65/L.30) without a vote.


Next, the Chair stated that they would have a slight delay on taking action on draft resolution L.32/Rev.1 and would move to draft resolution L.35/Rev.1.


The Committee then took up the draft resolution on the Human rights in the administration of justice (document A/C.3/65/L.35/Rev.1).


Under the draft, the Assembly, reaffirming that the best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all decisions concerning children in the administration of justice, including in relation to pre-trial measures, would 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, and to improve the collection of information on children within the criminal justice system, and on the reasons leading to their placement in justice and care institutions, as well as consider the establishment of an independent monitoring mechanisms to safeguard their rights and address their complaints.


It would also call upon the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to reinforce their activities relating to national capacity-building in the field of the administration of justice, as well as upon relevant special procedure mandate holders of the Human Rights Council to give special attention to questions relating to the effective protection of human rights in the administration of justice.  Additionally, it would decide to continue its consideration of the question of human rights in the administration of justice at its sixty-seventh session under the item entitled “Promotion and protection of human rights”.


The representative of Austria, the main sponsor, recalled her country’s strong belief in the importance of an independent and impartial judiciary as a prerequisite for protecting the rule of law.  It was heartening that so many delegations shared that conviction.  Key recent developments had been taken into account in the draft, including the outcome of the twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and adoption of the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules).  A number of oral amendments had been made.


The Committee then approved the draft resolution, as orally revised, without a vote.


The representative of the United States said his country was pleased to join consensus on the draft.  It welcomed its focus on issues related to women and children in the justice system; their vulnerability should be addressed.  However, the United States had concerns about sections of the draft that called upon States to adhere to principles that it had not accepted.  For instance, the draft called for life imprisonment not to be imposed on persons under the age of 18; that was not an obligation imposed by customary international law, but rather a treaty obligation that the United States had not agreed to.


The Committee then took action on a draft resolution on Human rights and unilateral coercive measures (document A/C.3/65/L.39).


By its terms, it would have the General 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 all their extraterritorial effects, which create obstacles to trade relations.  States would also be urged not to adopt any unilateral measures that impede the full achievement of economic and social development by the population of the affected countries.  The General Assembly would strongly object to the extraterritorial nature of such measures, which threaten the sovereignty of States, and call upon all Member States neither to recognize those measures, nor to apply them.  The continuing unilateral application and enforcement by certain Powers of unilateral coercive measures aimed at preventing those countries from exercising their right to freely decide their own political, economic and social systems would be condemned.


The representative of Cuba, the main sponsor, said there was a slight oral amendment to the draft resolution, whereby the word “education” was included in the phrase “right to nutrition, medical care, education and necessary social services”.  The draft resolution reflected the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights.  However, not all countries shared Cuba’s views.  This text was annually submitted to the Third Committee.  Unilateral coercive measures, in particular those with extraterritorial impact, created obstacles to trade, hampering the achievement of universal human rights.  In adopting this resolution, they would object to extraterritorial measures threatening States.  The Assembly would condemn the Powers that used unilateral measures for pressure, particularly on developing countries, aimed at keeping them from freely determining their economic and political systems.  Countries were called upon to cease those measures and obey their responsibilities regarding human rights instruments and agreements, which reasserted that goods, like food and medicine, should not be used as means of coercion.  The Non-Aligned Movement expressed its desire that the draft resolution be adopted with the broadest support.


The Chair said a recorded vote had been requested.  The representative of Cuba asked who had made the request.  The Chair replied that it had been requested by the United States.


The draft was then approved, as orally revised, by a vote of 124 in favour to 53 against, with no abstentions.


The Committee then took up a draft resolution on Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights(document A/C.3/65/L.40).


By its terms, the General Assembly would reaffirm that the promotion, protection and full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms should be guided by the principles of universality, non-selectivity, objectivity and transparency, in a manner consistent with the purposes and principles set out in the Charter of the United Nations.  It would 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.  Non-governmental organizations would be encouraged to contribute actively.  The Secretary-General — in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights — would be asked to consult States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations on the enhancement of international cooperation and dialogue in the United Nations human rights machinery, including the Human Rights Council.


The representative of Cuba, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the purpose of the text was to acknowledge that international cooperation in human rights was essential in order for the objectives of the United Nations in the field of human rights to be attained.


The draft was then approved without a vote.


The Committee then took up the draft resolution on Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all (document A/C.3/65/L.44).


The draft would have the Assembly resolve that it is convinced of the aim of creating conditions of stability and well-being, which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, as well as that life without war 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.  Also resolving that international cooperation in the field of human rights contributes to creating an international environment of peace and stability, it would reaffirm the duty of all States to use peaceful means to settle any dispute to which they are parties and the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, as a vital requirement for the promotion and protection of all human rights of everyone and all peoples.  It would also decide to continue consideration of the question of the promotion of the right of peoples to peace at its sixty-seventh session under the item entitled “Promotion and protection of human rights”.


The representative of Cuba, the main sponsor, said the draft resolution was co-sponsored by a large number of States.  As they formally considered the draft, Cuba wished to remind the Committee of the continuity of this issue in New York and Geneva.  The draft asserted that all people had the right to peace and that preserving this right was a fundamental obligation of States.  Likewise, it encouraged States to implement the principles of the United Nations Charter in relation to other States, without distinction regarding their economic and social systems.  The resolution also emphasized the core importance of education as a tool to ensure that people had the right to peace, and urged civil society to contribute to that purpose.  Cuba urged other Members States to cosponsor the draft resolution and lend support, so that it might be adopted with broad support and send a strong message of commitment to the right of peace.


The Chair then noted that a recorded vote had been requested.  The representative of Cuba asked who had requested this recorded vote, and the Chair stated that it was the European Union.


Making an explanation of the vote before the vote, the representative of Belgium, on behalf of the European Union, said the draft resolution showed linkages between peace and human rights.  It said that peace was necessary for human rights.  However, it only considered the relationship between States in promoting peace and not States towards its citizens, which was the core mandate of the Third Committee and the General Assembly.  Therefore, the European Union would vote against the draft resolution.


The Committee then approved the draft resolution on the promotion of peace (A/C.3/65/L.44) by a recorded vote of 118 in favour to 53 against, with 6 abstaining.


The Committee then took action on a draft resolution on Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (document A/C.3/65/L.45).


The draft 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.  Resolving to take all measures within its power to secure a democratic and equitable international order, the draft would call upon all Member States to fulfil their commitment expressed in Durban, South Africa, 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 through the preservation and promotion of cultural diversity.  The draft would also call upon the Office of the High Commissioner to build upon the issue of the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, as well as decide to continue consideration of the matter at its sixty-sixth session under the item entitled “Promotion and protection of human rights”.


The representative of Cuba, the main sponsor, said the draft was brought annually before the Third Committee, given the importance of a democratic and equitable international order against the backdrop of the global economic and financial crisis.  It reasserted how such an order could foster the enjoyment of human rights by all.  Amendments this year referred to the contributions that could be made through dialogue between religions and civilisations at all levels.


The Chair said that a recorded vote had been requested.  Asked by the representative of Cuba who had made the request, he said the European Union.


The representative of Belgium, on behalf of the European Union, said the Union fully recognized the importance of the issues raised in the draft.  However, the draft contained a number of items that were outside the scope of the Third Committee.  The duties and obligations of States with regard to globalization were omitted.  The European Union would vote against the draft.


The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 118 in favour to 53 against, with 5 abstentions ( Argentina, Armenia, Chile, Mexico, Peru).


The Committee took up the draft on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/65/L.14).


That draft would have the Assembly note with concern that, in most African countries, the existing criminal justice system does not have sufficiently skilled personnel and adequate infrastructure and is, therefore, ill-equipped to manage the emergence of new crime trends.  Recognizing that the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders is a focal point for all professional efforts aimed at promoting the active cooperation and collaboration of Governments, academics, institutions and scientific and professional organizations and experts in crime prevention and criminal justice, it would urge the States members of the Institute to continue to make 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 aimed at strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice systems in Africa.


It would also call upon the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to continue to work closely with the Institute, as well as request the Secretary-General to enhance the promotion of regional cooperation, coordination and collaboration in the fight against crime, and to continue making concrete proposals, including for the provision of additional core professional staff, to strengthen the programmes and activities of the Institute.


The representative of Uganda, on behalf of the African Group, said that Institute was useful for assisting countries in mobilizing their potential with a view to promoting self-reliance while responding to crime problems with dynamic programmes.  The programmes were driven by States, in accordance with the Institute, and were discussed by its members throughout the year.  Despite the commitment to crime prevention, there continued to be challenges because of a lack of awareness and mobilization.  The Secretary-General’s report noted the escalation of crime in Africa and approved a review of the Institute in order to determine needs in the face of current challenges.  The review would centre on objectives, financing and reporting, with a view towards improving visibility.  The African Group was grateful for the contribution of States in the form of exchange programmes, grants, and others.  It remained the hope of the African Group that this draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.


The Committee, then, approved the draft resolution on the African Institute (A/C.3/65 L.14) without a vote.


Next, the Chair told the Committee that he had been informed that action on draft resolution L.32 would be delayed until Monday.


The Committee took up the draft on the Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/65/L.11/Rev.1).


That draft would have the Assembly recognize that social inclusion is a means for achieving social integration and is crucial for fostering stable, safe, harmonious, peaceful and just societies and for improving social cohesion so as to create an environment for development and progress.  Expressing deep concern that the world financial and economic crisis, the world food and energy crisis, and continuing food insecurity and climate change, as well as the lack of results so far in the multilateral trade negotiations and a loss of confidence in the international economic system, have negative implications for social development, it would call upon donors and international financial institutions to support developing countries, in line with their national priorities and strategies, in achieving their social development by providing debt relief and refraining from imposing conditions that restrict the policy space of national Governments, in particular in the area of social expenditure and social protection programmes.


It would also call upon the organizations of the United Nations system to commit to mainstreaming the goal of full and productive employment and decent work for all in their policies, programmes and activities, as well as urge Governments to develop systems of social protection.  It would urge developed countries that have not yet done so, in accordance with their commitments, to make concrete efforts towards meeting the targets of 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) for official development assistance (ODA) to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.2 per cent of their GNP to least developed countries.  Additionally, it would decide to include in the provisional agenda of its sixty-sixth session the sub item entitled “Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly”.


The representative of Yemen, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that more than decade and half after the Copenhagen summit on social development, much remains to be done.  Poverty still existed in many parts of the world, and millions of young people were waiting for employment opportunities.  Gains made in past years were being undermined by the economic, financial, food and fuel crises.  Mindful of that and other challenges, this year’s text incorporates important elements in social development.


The draft was then approved without a vote.


The representative of Belgium, on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union was fully committed to issue of social development.  The international community and national Governments needed to keep working on the poverty eradication, full employment, and fostering social integration.  The great importance that the European Union attached to the resolution had been reflected by the fact that its Member States had been traditional co-sponsors.  However, he regretted that the outcome of negotiations had not fully met expectations, despite many bilateral consultations with members of the Group of 77 aimed at making small changes.


Two paragraphs exceeded the scope of the draft and the Third Committee, he said.  The reference to agricultural policy and the food crisis in preambular paragraph 13 was an issue for other forums, such as the Second Committee.  Other discussions in other forums should not be pre-empted by it.  Operative paragraph 6 wildly exceeded the scope of the resolution; there was no value in singling out debt relief as a means to contribute to social development.  It was the belief of the European Union that when debt relief is referred to as an instrument to support social development, it was with the understanding that such debt relief should be provided through existing frameworks.  The outcome of discussions in other forums could not be predetermined by operative paragraph 6.


The representative of the United States said a better balance could have been struck.  It was hoped that, in future years, the concerns of all countries would be taken into account in a more inclusive manner.  Many of the concerns of the European Union were shared by the United States.  The primary responsibility for social and economic development rested with Governments, and while development could be affected by external factors, domestic policies were of primary importance.


The representative of Japan welcomed the approval of the draft and supported its objectives, but it regretted that his concerns regarding operative paragraph 6 had not been incorporated into the text.  That paragraph dealt with an issue that should be discussed in the appropriate forums.


The Committee took up the draft on the Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/C.3/65/L.8/Rev.1).


That draft would have the Assembly reaffirm the Political Declaration and the Madrid Plan of Action, calling upon Governments to ensure conditions that enable families and communities to provide care and protection to persons as they age and to evaluate improvement in the health status of older persons, including on a gender-specific basis, and to reduce disability and mortality.  It would also call upon Member States to develop their national capacity for monitoring and enforcing the rights of older persons, to strengthen and incorporate a gender perspective into all policy actions on ageing and to address the well-being and adequate health care of older persons, as well as any cases of neglect, abuse and violence against older persons, by designing more effective prevention strategies and stronger laws and policies to address these problems and their underlying factors.  The Assembly would also decide to establish an open-ended working group, open to all States Members of the United Nations, for the purpose of considering the feasibility of an international convention on the rights of older persons, and request the Secretary-General to provide all necessary support in this regard.


The Secretary of the Committee, then, read out an oral statement about program budget implications.  In sum, there would be none.


The representative of Yemen, the main sponsor, said that he wished to flag that the statement regarding the financial implications was not what had been agreed upon, for regard.  Therefore, he asked to postpone consideration of the draft resolution until the matter was clarified.


The Chair of the Committee confirmed that they would postpone action, and the Secretary of the Committee noted that the statement he read out stipulated the number of sessions and meetings, which was the point they needed to clarify and would be answered on Monday.


Next, the representative of the United Kingdom was given the floor and said that, yesterday, the head of the Iranian delegation had made a “bizarre allegation” that Britain was responsible for the death of Neda Agha-Soltan.  That allegation was a crude attempt by the Government of Iran to cover up its own misdeeds and brutality towards its own citizens, as well another in a series of slurs directed at the United Kingdom.  The outcome of the resolution on human rights in Iran showed that such allegations would do nothing to divert attention from Iran’s human rights record.


After a brief pause in proceedings, the Committee returned to the draft resolution entitled follow up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing.  The representative of Yemen noted a growing consensus that more needed to be done on an issue that for too long had not received the attention that it deserved.  An open-ended Working Group on older persons would be established through the draft.  As noted by the Secretary in his statement, there would be no programme budget implications.  A number of points had been agreed to guide the Working Group.  It would function within existing resources, and it would be a permanent forum; rather, it would focus its discussions on issues outlined in the draft.  An organizational meeting would be held in New York in early 2011 where its calendar and organization of work would be decided by consensus.  Meetings would be held at times when no other major meetings were taking place, and interpretation would be provided on an as-available basis at times when interpretation was available.  Needs for documentation would be provided by the Secretariat on basis of available resources.  All delegations were thanked for their positive spirit.


The draft was then approved without a vote.


The representative of Yemen said a positive signal had been sent that States supported the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons.  While it remained to be seen what the outcome of the Working Group would be, all delegations could be proud that an historic step in the right direction had been taken.


The representative of Belgium, on behalf of the European Union, said more people than ever before were able to live longer, healthier lives.  Longevity posed challenges, however, including the question of human rights as they affected older persons.  The European Union looked forward to contributing to the Working Group.  The potential offered by the existing human rights framework should be fully explored.  To do so could identify both gaps in that framework and a range of approaches that could serve as best practices in realizing the rights of older persons.


The representative of the Russian Federation welcomed the decision to set up an open-ended Working Group.  References in operative paragraph 23 to the International Institute on Ageing in Malta and the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna were understood by his delegation to be examples of structures which dealt with issues concerning older persons.  It did not mean that special status was being granted to them by the General Assembly.


At the conclusion of the meeting, the Secretary said that, subject to the outcome of a meeting of the Bureau of the Third Committee in the afternoon, the Committee would hear the introduction of one draft resolution and take action on several others at its next meeting on Monday afternoon, 22 November.


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