Text Recommending Adoption of Protocol to Child Rights Convention Establishing Communications Procedure for Individual Complaints Approved By Third Committee

15 November 2011
GA/SHC/4029

Text Recommending Adoption of Protocol to Child Rights Convention Establishing Communications Procedure for Individual Complaints Approved By Third Committee

15 November 2011
General Assembly
GA/SHC/4029
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Third Committee

44th Meeting (AM)

Text Recommending Adoption of Protocol to Child Rights Convention Establishing

Communications Procedure for Individual Complaints Approved By Third Committee

13 Other Texts Approved on Such Issues as Combating Religious Intolerance,

Disabilities Convention, Human Rights Learning, Human Rights Council Report

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today approved a draft resolution that would have the General Assembly adopt a new, third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child establishing a communications procedure, which would allow the Committee overseeing the Convention’s implementation to receive and examine individual complaints from children and to organize country visits to investigate cases of grave and systematic violations of children’s rights.

With the text’s approval, the representative of the Maldives stressed the international community was demonstrating a high level of commitment to strengthening child protection mechanisms around the world.  In particular, the new communications procedure would improve the remedy mechanisms for children around the world.

The draft text — which would recommend that the Optional Protocol be opened for signature in 2012 and enter into force after its tenth ratification or accession — was one of 10 approved today without a vote.  Recorded votes were taken on four other proposals.

Acting again without a vote, the Committee approved a new draft on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence against persons, based on religion or belief, which was tabled by the United Arab Emirates, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The Assembly would, by that text, strongly deplore all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, as well as all attacks on and in religious places, sites and shrines in violation of international law, in particular human rights law and international humanitarian law, including any deliberate destruction of relics and monuments.

It would, in that regard, welcome all international, regional and national initiatives aimed at promoting interreligious, intercultural and interfaith harmony and combating discrimination against individuals on the basis of religion or belief.  Among other things, States would also be called on to make a strong effort to counter religious profiling, which is understood to be the invidious use of religion as a criterion in conducting questionings, searches and other law enforcement investigative procedures.

Highlighting the “landmark consensus” enjoyed by the text, first in the Human Rights Council in Geneva and now in New York, the representative of the United States said his country hoped it would be a blueprint for further action.  He noted that, in the past, the United States was unable to support such resolutions, because they sought to restrict expression, which was counterproductive and exacerbated the problems they sought to address.  Today’s resolution, however, provided for criminalization in only one circumstance — incitement of imminent violence — and upheld respect for universal human rights.

By the consensual draft resolution on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto, the Assembly would decide to authorize an additional week of meeting time per year for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to be used consecutive to an existing regular session.

A text on follow‑up to the International Year of Human Rights Learning, which was approved without a vote, would have the Assembly welcome the adoption by the Human Rights Council of the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, stressing the complementarity of human rights learning and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training.  It would also invite relevant treaty bodies to take human rights learning into account in their interaction with States parties.

A recorded vote was required to approve a draft resolution by which the Assembly would note the report of the Human Rights Council, its addendum and its recommendations.  While the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania, on behalf of the African Group, orally revised the text at the last minute, delegations diverged on the legitimacy of country‑specific actions by the Council, as well as the Committee’s authority to approve the Council’s recommendations and even note its report.

The text was ultimately approved by a vote of 95 in favour to 4 against (Belarus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Syria), with 60 abstentions.  Nevertheless, a number of the States that abstained or even voted in its favour voiced strong opposition to country‑specific resolutions, with some expressing concern about possible politicization of the Council.

Others said that the resolution ignored the agreement regarding that report’s consideration by the Assembly and the Committee, with the representative of Liechtenstein arguing that the recently concluded review of the Council’s working methods — which his delegation oversaw with Morocco — clearly stated that it was up to the plenary to note the report.

The draft resolution on the promotion of equitable geographical distribution in the membership of human rights treaty bodies was approved by a vote of 119 in favour to 52 against, with 2 abstentions ( Chile, Nigeria).  The draft resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures was approved by a vote of 121 in favour to 52 against, with 1 abstention ( Democratic Republic of the Congo).  The draft resolution on globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights was approved, as orally revised, by a vote of 125 in favour to 52 against, with no abstentions.

Other texts approved without a vote today addressed:  follow‑up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing; improvement of the situation of women in rural areas; the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; effective promotion of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities; elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief; and protection of migrants.

Also today, Morocco’s representative introduced the draft resolution on the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training.

The representatives of Belarus, Syria, Poland (on behalf of the European Union), Russian Federation, Iraq, Canada, Venezuela, Chile, Israel, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Cuba, Nicaragua, China, Switzerland (also on behalf of Norway), Costa Rica, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Colombia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Australia spoke during action

The Committee will reconvene at 3 p.m. Thursday, 17 November, to take action on a number of outstanding draft resolutions.

Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to hear the introduction of a draft resolution on the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (document A/C.3/66/L.65) and to take action on a number of draft texts.

Introduction of Draft Resolution

Introducing the draft text on United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (document A/C.3/66/L.65), Morocco’s representative said the text was a formal one, by which the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, which was adopted by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 16/1 of 23 March 2011, would be adopted by the General Assembly.

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on follow‑up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/C.3/66/L.13/Rev.1), which was introduced by Argentina’s delegate on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, who stressed that the exploitation, discrimination and mistreatment of older people around the world must be addressed.

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

By that text, the Assembly would reaffirm the Political Declaration and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002, and encourage Governments to pay greater attention to building capacity to eradicate poverty among older persons, in particular older women.  It would also encourage them to place particular emphasis on choosing national priorities that are realistic, sustainable and feasible and have the greatest likelihood of being achieved in the years ahead and to develop targets and indicators to measure progress.

Further to the text, the Assembly would call upon Governments to ensure, as appropriate, conditions that enable families and communities to provide care and protection to persons as they age.  States would also be called on 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 and implementing more effective prevention strategies and stronger laws and policies to address these problems and their underlying factors.  In addition, it would decide to designate 15 June as the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on improvement of the situation of women in rural areas (document A/C.3/66/L.19/Rev.1), presented by Mongolia’s representative.

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

By that text, the Assembly would urge States, with the organizations of the United Nations and civil society, as appropriate, to attach greater importance to the improvement of the situation of rural women, including indigenous women, in their national, regional and global development strategies by, among other things:  ensuring systematic attention to their needs, priorities and contributions; pursuing the political and socio‑economic empowerment of rural women and supporting their full and equal participation in decision‑making at all levels; promoting sustainable infrastructures, access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation and safe cooking and heating practices, to improve the health of rural women and children; investing in infrastructure and in time- and labour‑saving technologies, especially in rural areas, benefiting women and girls by reducing their burden of domestic activities, affording the opportunity for girls to attend school and women to engage in self‑employment or participate in the labour market.

States would be further urged to develop strategies to decrease women’s vulnerability to environmental factors while promoting their role in protecting the environment and to promote education, training and relevant information programmes for rural and farming women through affordable and appropriate technologies and the mass media.

By further provisions, the Assembly would strongly encourage States, United Nations entities and all other relevant stakeholders to identify and address any negative impact of the current global crises on women in rural areas.  It would invite Governments to promote the economic empowerment of rural women, to adopt gender‑responsive rural development strategies, including budget frameworks.  In addition, it would encourage Governments and international organizations to integrate the perspective of women in rural areas, including indigenous women, into the preparations for and outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012.

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the Report of the Human Rights Council (document A/C.3/66/L.64/Rev.1), which was presented by the representative of the United Republic of Tanzania on behalf of the African Group.  She noted that the Group had agreed to a revision in operative paragraph one, which would strike the words “some of.”  Thus, that paragraph would read, “Notes the report of the Human Rights Council, its addendum and its recommendations.”

The representative of Belarus said her Government could not agree with the Human Rights Council and what it had observed concerning politicized resolutions based on non‑objective approaches to human rights situations.  The Council was making the same mistakes that led to the dissolution of its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights.  Her delegation condemned the Council’s assessment of the situation in her country and stressed that the document before the Committee did not reflect the opinion of the international community.  Politicization by some States devalued the mechanisms of the Universal Periodic Review.  Moreover, the Council’s adoption of the resolution on Belarus undermined the institution‑building package, which was approved by the Council and the Assembly and called for the removal of the consideration of the issue of Belarus by the Council.  Belarus, therefore, called for a recorded vote on the draft resolution.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, Syria’s representative said it was lamentable that the Council had adopted resolutions S/17/1 and S/16/1, both of which were founded on misleading media reports.  Their articles were consequently formulated in an unprecedentedly hostile language never seen before in the Council.  Moreover, the resolutions conveyed a strong message of terrorism.  Syria had been surprised by the non‑objective approach by the Council, which would lead to support for the terrorist actions carried out by armed groups inside Syria.  Billions of dollars had been smuggled into Syria and distributed without limits to extremists, arms dealers and armed terrorist groups, which were supported by the United States and other countries.

The representative of the United States reminded the delegate of Syria to remain within the appropriate decorum within the body.  The United States delegation strongly objected to the statements made by Syria’s delegate.

Resuming, Syria’s representative said numerous criminals had confessed to murders, planting explosives and abusing citizens who opposed their criminal practices.  That information had not been included in the High Commissioner’s report, despite his Government’s requests.  His delegation would vote against the resolution.  That did not change his delegation’s firm support for the Council’s recommendations condemning Israeli actions against the Palestinian people.  He reaffirmed the interference of any country in the internal affairs of others under the guise of protecting the human rights of others.  It also rejected country‑specific resolutions

Making a general statement before the vote, Poland’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the bloc had long had concerns about the action being taken today.  By asking the Committee to take note of the Report of the Human Rights Council, the resolution ignored the agreement regarding that report’s consideration by the Assembly and the Committee.  The Union was disappointed that the resolution continued to disregard that agreement and believed it was enough to consider the report in the plenary of the Assembly, where it welcomed the opportunity to consider the position of all delegations.  Thus, the European Union would abstain on the resolution as orally revised.

Voicing support for the draft text, the representative of the Russian Federation nevertheless expressed concern about a number of resolutions adopted by the Council, which contradicted the spirit of that body, as well as the letter of the relevant General Assembly resolution.  He stressed that the decision to establish the Council was based on the goal of creating a mutually respectful conversation on human rights.  Recent developments showed a negative trend in the Council, which sought to divide Member States.  The Russian Federation did not support the Council’s decisions on the human rights situations in Belarus, Iran and Syria nor on so‑called sexual orientation issues.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution by a vote of 95 in favour to 4 against (Belarus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Syria), with 60 abstentions.

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of the United States said his delegation did not see the benefit of the resolution.  For that reason, it had abstained.  While the United States remained concerned about the Council’s disproportionate focus on Israel, it noted a number of favourable actions recently taken by the Council.  Those included a historic resolution on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons; a consensus resolution sponsored by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that promoted religious tolerance; and the establishment of commissions of inquiry in Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others.

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, the representative of Iraq said his delegation abstained from voting, but it had not been reflected in the count, and requested that it be counted.

The Secretary said Iraq’s vote would be corrected.

The representative of Iran said his country abstained from the vote, because the report of the Council pursued politicized objectives well beyond human rights causes.  Country‑specific resolutions would lead the Human Rights Council to take the same futile approach as the human rights commission, which led to its dissolution, he said.

The representative of Canada said concern about the procedure of the vote, creating the false impression that the Council was subservient to the Third Committee, had caused her country to abstain.  She also said the report of the Council devoted disproportionate attention to Israel.

Venezuela’s representative said her country voted in favour of the resolution, given the importance of the topics contained in the Council’s report.  However, her delegation did not support resolutions in the report that maintained selective initiatives against developing countries such as Belarus, Iran and Syria.  Venezuela supported the impartial, constructive work of the Council, but would oppose any attempt to pass selective and disproportionate resolutions about any country.

The representative of Chile said his delegation voted in favour of the resolution, but had doubts regarding procedures.  He would have preferred that the resolution be voted on in the plenary.  Chile supported the work of the Council, which had always worked under the principles of non‑selectivity.  He expressed hope that next year the resolution would be open to rigorous informal consultations that would involve the entire Membership.

Israel’s representative said the report offered a comprehensive picture of the work of the council, and her country welcomed much of it, but the seven anti‑ Israel resolutions it contained showed it remained fixated on her country, undermining the Council’s credibility.  That disproportionate attention should deeply concern anyone interested in promoting the human rights agenda.  For that reason, Israel abstained from the vote, she said.

The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said his delegation voted mistakenly against the resolution, and wished instead to abstain from the vote.

Pakistan’s representative said his country voted in favour of the draft resolution, despite disagreements on various resolutions in the Council itself, particularly the resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity and new selective country‑specific resolutions.  Pakistan looked forward to working with the Council in a non‑selective manner in the future.

The representative of Cuba said her delegation had voted in favour of the resolution, as it had in previous years.  However, Cuba remained concerned about the negative trend of selective and discriminatory criticism about developing countries and ignoring the situations in developed countries.

The representative of Nicaragua said her delegation had voted for the resolution based on its belief that the Human Rights Council was a legitimate body addressing human rights issues and its assessment that the Universal Periodic Review was an effective tool.  Her delegation, however, fully rejected the practice of passing resolutions on specific countries, which was a double standard.

China’s representative noted that her Government had always fully supported the Council’s work and had voted in favour of the draft text.  At the same time, however, China was firmly against all country‑specific resolutions that targeted certain countries in the name of human rights.

The representative of Switzerland, speaking also on behalf of Norway, said that the two delegations had abstained on purely technical grounds based on its belief that the consideration of the report was the purview of the Assembly, not the Third Committee.

Costa Rica’s delegate expressed full support for the work of the Human Rights Council, its reports and its recommendations.  Costa Rica was deeply concerned by the motives on which the vote had been called.  While her delegation supported the oral revisions by the United Republic of Tanzania, it had nevertheless abstained.  Her Government believed the Assembly was the body designated to review the yearly report of the Council, not the Third Committee, which was charged only with reviewing the Council’s recommendations.  That was the basis for her country’s abstention.

Liechtenstein’s representative recalled that, with Morocco, his delegation had overseen the review of the Human Rights Council.  His delegation welcomed the decisions that the Council had transmitted to the Assembly for further action, in particular the milestone agreement on the third Optional Protocol on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Declaration of Human Rights Education and Training.  Those actions were acted on independently of the Committee’s actions in the Council’s report, in accordance with agreement reached during the Council’s review.  Indeed, that agreement made clear that there was no need for the Committee to act on the Council’s recommendations.  Should the Committee decide not to follow a recommendation, it could do so simply by not acting.

He further noted that the review had resulted in the institutionalization of the previously ad hoc compromise on the division of work between the Committee and the plenary of the Assembly when dealing with the report of the Council.  His delegation was disappointed that the present current resolution disregarded that understanding.  The review clearly stated that it was up to the plenary to note the report and it was expected to do so in the future at the time of the report’s presentation.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said his delegation had voted against the resolution, not because it did not agree with the whole of the report, but because that document included country‑specific decisions, including regarding his own.  His Government would continue to oppose all such resolutions on the basis that they represented a double standard.

Colombia’s representative said his country supported the Council’s work, but maintained concerns about the actions by the Committee regarding the Council’s report and recommendations.

The representative of Turkey said her delegation had voted for the resolution.  Noting the findings of the Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, she said her Government expected the follow‑up to the resolution to be diligently pursued.

The Committee then turned to the draft resolution on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure (document A/C.3/66/L.66), which was presented by Slovakia's representative.

Reading out a statement on the programme budget implications, the Secretary OTTO GUSTAFLIK said it was anticipated that, based on the assumption that the Optional Protocol would enter into force in late 2013 or early 2014, no programme budget implications would arise for the biennium 2012‑2013.  It was also estimated that the additional requirements of $2.190 million, including $1.582 million, under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management, $580,100 under section 24, Human Rights and $28,000 under section 29 E, Administration, Geneva would arise for the biennium 2014‑2015 and would be taken into consideration in the context of preparation of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2014‑2015.

Concluding, he said that should the Assembly adopt the draft text, it was anticipated that no additional resources would be required either under the programme budget for the 2010‑2011 biennium or under the proposed programme budget for the 2012‑2013 biennium.

Acting once again without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft text, by which the Assembly would adopt the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure, as contained in the text's annex.  Further recommending that the Optional Protocol be opened for signature at a signing ceremony to be held in 2012, it would request the Secretary‑General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the necessary assistance.

Speaking in explanation of position after approval, the representative of the Maldives said the international community was demonstrating a high level of commitment to the strengthening of child protection mechanisms around the world.  The new communications procedure would improve the remedy mechanisms for children around the world.  His delegation was grateful for the text’s consensual approval.  Noting that the Optional Protocol would be opened for signing in 2012, he encouraged all States to consider signing it as soon as possible.

Next, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto (document A/C.3/66/L.29/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Sweden, who underscored the rapid rate of accession of the Convention.  It had reached 156, he said, noting that the text should be adjusted to reflect that change.

The text would have the Assembly decide to authorize for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities an additional week of meeting time per year, to be used consecutive to an existing regular session, bearing in mind the requirements of the Committee for reasonable accommodation, and without prejudice to the ongoing process of reform aimed at strengthening the treaty body system.

Further to the text, the Assembly would invite the Chair of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to present an oral report on the work of the Committee and engage in an interactive dialogue with the Assembly at its sixty‑seventh and sixty‑eighth sessions.  The Secretary‑General would be requested to continue the progressive implementation of standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services of the United Nations system and to take further actions to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in that system, including the retention and recruitment of persons with disabilities.

According to the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.3/66/L.29 (document A/C.3/66/L.58), the text’s adoption by the Assembly would require additional resources in the total amount of $2.993 million, including $213,600 under section 24, Human rights; $2.770 million under section 2, General Assembly and Economic and Social Council affairs and conference management; and $8,800 under section 29E, Administration, Geneva, of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012‑2013.  That would represent a charge against the contingency fund and, as such, would require additional appropriation for the biennium 2012‑2013 to be approved by the Assembly.

Speaking in explanation of position after action, Japan’s representative noted the urgent need to tackle the urgent backlog faced by the Committee.  For that reason, his delegation had joined consensus.  It must be borne in mind, however, that the programme budget implications of the decision to extend the working schedule of the Committee would be drawn from the regular budget.  Noting the impact of the financial crisis on State contributions to the United Nations, he stressed that the Committee should enhance its working methods.

The Committee next took up the draft resolution on promotion of equitable geographical distribution in the membership of human rights treaty bodies (document A/C.3/66/L.33), which was tabled by the representative of Cuba, on behalf of the Non‑Aligned Movement.

By the text’s provisions, the Assembly would express concern at the regional imbalance in the current composition of the membership of some of the human rights treaty bodies, and note in particular that the status quo tends to be detrimental to the election of experts from some regional groups, in particular the African, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean and Eastern European groups.

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

The Assembly would request the chairs of the human rights treaty bodies to consider at their next meeting the content of the resolution and to submit, through the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, specific recommendations for the achievement of the goal of equitable geographical distribution in the membership of the human rights treaty bodies, as well as an update on the implementation of the present resolution in their respective bodies.

It would also request the High Commissioner to submit concrete recommendations on the implementation of the present resolution, and request the Secretary‑General to submit a comprehensive report in this regard, to the General Assembly at its sixty‑eighth session.

The Chair informed the Committee that a recorded vote had been requested.

The representative of Cuba asked which delegation had requested the record of vote.

The Chair said the United States had requested the record of vote.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Poland, on behalf of the European Union, said although it recognized the principle of equitable geographical distribution, it was opposed to the draft resolution because the treaties contained provisions on elections of States Parties.  It was not up to the Assembly to modify those provisions nor should it be pushing States parties on revisions.  The European Union also strongly opposed a quota system and the call for specific recommendations; it was not for the Assembly to request the Chairpersons of treaty bodies, and it was not up to Chairpersons of treaty bodies to recommend a quota system.  If anything, that was up to States parties.  The European Union hoped for constructive discussion in the future resulting in a more acceptable document.  It would be voting against the resolution, he said.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution by a vote of 119 in favour to 52 against with 2 abstentions ( Chile, Nigeria).

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, Argentina’s delegate said it supported the principle of equitable geographical distribution and had voted in favour, in the understanding that the intermediation would be undertaken with full respect for international law and the treaty bodies.

The Committee next took up the draft resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures (document A/C.3/66/L.36), which was tabled by Cuba, on behalf of the Non‑Aligned Movement.

By that text, the General Assembly would stress that unilateral coercive measures and legislation are contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter of the United Nations and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States.  Noting the continuing efforts of the open‑ended Working Group on the Right to Development of the Human Rights Council, it would condemn the continuing unilateral application and enforcement by certain Powers of unilateral coercive measures, and reject those measures as tools for political or economic pressure against any country, in particular against developing countries, as they had been adopted with a view to preventing those countries from exercising their right to decide their own political, economic and social systems, and had a negative effect on the realization of all human rights.

It would request the Secretary‑General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Member States, and to submit an analytical report thereon to the General Assembly at its sixty‑seventh session.  The Assembly would also decide to examine the question on a priority basis at its sixty‑seventh session under the sub‑item entitled “Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

The Chair informed the Committee that a recorded vote had been requested.

The representative of Cuba asked which delegation had requested the record of vote.

The Chair said the United States had requested the record of vote.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of the United States said he had called for a vote on the resolution because it had no basis in international law.  The text of the resolution was a direct challenge to the sovereign rights of States, including the right to take actions in response to national security threats.  Unilateral and multilateral sanctions were a legitimate policy to obtain objectives and the United States was not alone in that practice.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution by a vote of 121 in favour to 52 against, with 1 abstention ( Democratic Republic of the Congo).

Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution on International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (document A/C.3/66/L.40), which was presented by Argentina’s representative, who underlined the Convention’s importance and noted that it had entered into force just five years after its adoption.

Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft text, which would have the Assembly welcome the entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance on 23 December 2010, as well as the first meeting of the States parties to the Convention on 31 May 2011, the election of the members of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances on that occasion, and the commencement of that Committee’s work.

Further to the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary‑General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue their intensive efforts to assist States in becoming parties to the Convention, with a view to achieving universal adherence.  The Chair of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the Chair of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances would be invited to address and engage in an interactive dialogue with the Assembly at its sixty‑seventh session.

The Third Committee then turned to the draft resolution on globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights (document A/C.3/66/L.41), which was presented by Egypt’s representative, who noted that more than 90 States were co‑sponsors of the text and made an oral revision to the text.

The Chair informed the Committee that a recorded vote had been requested.  Following a query by Egypt regarding who requested that vote, he informed Members that the United States had made that request.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, Poland’s representative, on behalf of the European Union and Iceland, said the bloc could not support the draft resolution.  Dealing with globalization and its effects in a comprehensive manner was high on the Union’s agenda.  The bloc acknowledged that globalization could have an impact on human rights.  Yet, as in years past, the text contended that globalization could impact all rights, which the Union did not support.  The text was also unbalanced in its focus on the negative impacts of globalization, which, as a multidimensional phenomenon, had positive effects.  For those reasons, the European Union would, as in previous years, vote against the resolution and its member States requested that other delegations do so.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution as orally revised by a vote of 125 in favour to 52 against with no abstentions.

By that text, the Assembly would reaffirm that narrowing the gap between rich and poor, both within and between countries, is an explicit goal at the national and international levels, as part of the effort to create an enabling environment for the full enjoyment of all human rights.  Recognizing that the continuing impacts of the global economic and financial crises on countries’ ability to mobilize resources for development and to address the impact of these crises, it would call upon all States and the international community to alleviate, in an inclusive and development oriented manner, any negative impacts of these crises on the realization and the effective enjoyment of all human rights.

The Assembly would further recognize that the responsible operations of transnational corporations and other business enterprises can contribute to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular economic, social and cultural rights.  It would also underline the urgent need to establish an equitable, transparent and democratic international system to strengthen and broaden the participation of developing countries in international economic decision‑making and norm‑setting.

Speaking in explanation of vote after the vote, Chile’s representative said his delegation had voted for the resolution on the understanding that globalization was a challenge for all States.  While it brought many benefits, including to Chile, it incurred many challenges that required the understanding and cooperation of all States to address.

The Committee next turned to the draft resolution on Effective promotion of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (document A/C.3/66/L.46*), which was presented by Austria’s delegate.

It then approved the text as orally revised without a vote.

By that text, the Assembly would urge States and the international community to promote and protect the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as set out in the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities.  It would also call on States to give special attention to situations and the specific needs of women and children belonging to minorities, while promoting and protecting the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.

Further to the text, the Assembly would take note with appreciation of the report of the Independent Expert on minority issues and its special focus on the role of the protection of minority rights in conflict prevention.  It would also call upon States to integrate the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as effective non‑discrimination and equality for all, into strategies for the prevention and resolution of conflicts involving these minorities.

The Committee next turned to the draft resolution on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence against persons, based on religion or belief (document A/C.3/66/L.47/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of the United Arab Emirates, on behalf of the OIC.

In the draft text, the Assembly would reaffirm the commitment made by all States under the Charter of the United Nations to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to, inter alia, religion or belief.  It would also strongly deplore all acts of violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, as well as all attacks on and in religious places, sites and shrines in violation of international law, in particular human rights law and international humanitarian law, including any deliberate destruction of relics and monuments.

In that regard, the Assembly would welcome all international, regional and national initiatives aimed at promoting interreligious, intercultural and interfaith harmony and combating discrimination against individuals on the basis of religion or belief.  It would also condemn any advocacy of religious hatred that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

The Assembly would call upon all States to take effective measures to ensure that public functionaries do not discriminate against an individual on the basis of religion or belief; to foster religious freedom and pluralism by promoting the ability of members of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society; and to make a strong effort to counter religious profiling, which is understood to be the invidious use of religion as a criterion in conducting questionings, searches and other law enforcement investigative procedures.

The representative of Poland, on behalf of the European Union, said it firmly believed in freedom of expression and thought based on religion and belief.  An ongoing dialogue about those important issues was the only way to overcome existing divergences and opinions, and the European Union remained firmly committed to that dialogue.  The regional body welcomed the positive atmosphere in which those issues had been discussed, but would like to highlight those making dialogue were individuals and that each individual had multiple sources of identity.  Religious hatred was primarily a threat to individual freedoms at national and local levels, and the European Union was concerned that the resolution considered the world as monolithic religious blocks.  The European Union condemned attacks on religious sites, but also believed the protection of individuals must be the centre of attention.  All persons belonging to religious communities and minorities should be allowed to practice their religion freely, without religions intolerance.  The resolution specifically mentions one centre for interreligious dialogue, whereas there were numerous centres around the world.  Despite those issues, the Members of the European Union were in a position to join consensus, he said.

The representative of the United States said his country was pleased to join the consensus on the resolution, which it hoped would be a blueprint for further action.  The United States was glad that the landmark consensus achieved at the Council in Geneva was also reached here in New York — it was deeply concerning that those problems persisted all over the world.  In the past, the United States was not able to support such resolutions, because they sought to restrict expression, which was counterproductive and exacerbated the problems they sought to address.  The resolution adopted today provided for criminalization in only one circumstance:  incitement of imminent violence.  It upheld respect for universal human rights, and each Members State had much work to do to turn actions recommended in this resolution into reality.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution by consensus.

Speaking after adoption of the resolution, the representative of the United Arab Emirates said it was with great satisfaction that the OIC thanked Members for their consensus.  It was a very positive development that they were happily working towards fulfilling the objectives of the resolution, which also complemented other General Assembly resolutions.

Australia’s representative said his delegation was very pleased to co‑sponsor the inaugural resolution, which was directly important to his country.  In a country as hugely diverse as Australia, any violence was a direct threat to the health of the society itself.  Nationally, Australia was trying to ensure that everyone could celebrate and practice their religions free from discrimination.  This year Australia had also launched a new multicultural policy, which it took very seriously, and was negotiating a practical joint programme of cooperation with the OIC.  It commended the OIC for its historic achievement.

Turning towards the draft resolution on elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief (document A/C.3/66/L.48/Rev.1), which was introduced by Poland’s representative on behalf of the European Union, the Committee approved that text.

By its terms, the Assembly would be deeply concerned at continuing acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief against individuals and members of religious communities and religious minorities around the world and at the limited progress made in the elimination of all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief.  The Assembly would, therefore, recognize that further intensified efforts were needed to promote and protect the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief and to eliminate all forms of hatred, intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief, as also noted at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 8 September 2001, as well as at the Durban Review Conference, held in Geneva from 20 to 24 April 2009.

The Assembly would also strongly 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 stress that the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief applies equally to all persons, regardless of their religion or belief and without any discrimination as to their equal protection by the law.  It would also strongly condemn any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, whether it involves the use of print, audio‑visual or electronic media or any other means.

The Assembly would urge States to step up their efforts to protect and promote freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, and urge all Governments to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on freedom of religion and belief.  It would request the Secretary‑General to ensure that the Special Rapporteur receives the resources necessary to fully discharge his mandate, and would request the Special Rapporteur to submit an interim report to the General Assembly at its sixty‑seventh session.  It would also decide to consider the question of the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance at its sixty‑seventh session under the item entitled “Promotion and protection of human rights”.

The Committee next took up the draft resolution on the protection of migrants (document A/C.3/66/L.52/Rev.1), which was presented by Mexico’s delegate, approving it without a vote.

By that text, the Assembly would call upon States to promote and protect effectively the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, especially those of women and children, and to address international migration through international, regional or bilateral cooperation and dialogue and through a comprehensive and balanced approach.

Expressing concern about the impact of financial and economic crises on international migration and migrants, it would, by further provisions, urge Governments to combat unfair and discriminatory treatment of migrants, particularly migrant workers and their families.  It would also strongly condemn the manifestations and acts of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against migrants and the stereotypes often applied to them.

By other terms, the Assembly would express concern about legislation adopted by some States that results in measures and practices that may restrict the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants and call upon States to ensure that their laws and policies, including in the areas of counter‑terrorism and combating transnational organized crime, fully respect the human rights of migrants.  States would be called on to end arbitrary arrest and detention and, where necessary, to review detention periods in order to avoid excessive detention of irregular migrants, and to adopt, where applicable, alternative measures to detention.

Speaking in explanation of position after action, the representative of Poland, on behalf of the European Union, said the bloc had joined consensus on the draft and remained firmly committed to protecting migrants’ rights by taking a balanced approach and applying the rule of law.  It welcomed the text’s effort to spell out norms in a human rights context.  The human rights of migrant children, particularly those who were unaccompanied, was paramount in ensuing that the best interest of the child was protected.

He said that while some migrants were not automatically granted the right to reside in the territory of European Union member States, their rights were respected.  At the same time, it was a priority for the Union to address migrant flows stemming from human trafficking networks.  He underlined concerns spelled out in operative paragraph 3 (b) regarding legislative measures and practices that effectively denied migrants the full application of their human rights and stressed that in prosecutions related to human trafficking, the right to a fair trial must be preserved.

The representative of the United States said his delegation joined consensus after substantial negotiations.  He was pleased that many countries had worked together to improve the text.  He reiterated that the well‑settled principle that all States had the sovereign right to control entry to their territory was implicit in any discussion of migration.  At the same time, States must comply with their obligation under international law, particularly international human rights law, and in that regard, the United States took its responsibility very seriously.

He also noted that the resolution addressed the migration issue on a global scale and sought to find common ground among Member States.  Nevertheless, the approach of the United Nations must not adopt an undue focus on bilateral negotiations.  Indeed, it was inappropriate to make reference to a bilateral legal matter, as the draft did in preambular paragraph 9.  That case was not the only one of that nature and referring to it alone did not promote constructive action on promoting the human rights of migrants.

He further stressed that the United States valued legal, orderly and humane migration.  Indeed, one in five migrants resided in the United States and 1 million American citizens resided outside the borders of the United States.  The country welcomed legal migrants and properly documented legal visitors.  It was also committed to ending racism and racial discrimination.  Finally, he underscored that operative paragraph 3 could not be misconstrued to restrict freedom of expression.

Finally, the Committee turned to the resolution on follow‑up to the International Year of Human Rights Learning (document A/C.3/66/L.53/Rev.1), tabled by the representative of Benin, on behalf of the African Group.

By that text, the Assembly would welcome the adoption by the Human Rights Council of the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, stressing the complementarity of human rights learning and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training.  It would invite relevant treaty bodies to take human rights learning into account in their interaction with states parties, and request the Secretary‑General to submit to the Assembly at its sixty‑eighth session a report on the implementation of the present resolution.

The Committee approved the draft resolution by consensus.

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