While Approving 14 Draft Resolutions without Vote, Third Committee Tackles Four Texts on Human Rights, Peace, International Democracy, Mercenaries

GA/SHC/4126
25 November 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 53rd & 54th Meetings (AM & PM)

While Approving 14 Draft Resolutions without Vote, Third Committee Tackles Four Texts on Human Rights, Peace, International Democracy, Mercenaries

As the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) approved 18 draft resolutions, with 14 without a vote, delegations voiced concerns regarding four texts including one on the report of the Human Rights Council, debating whether that body had been politicized, thus undermining its legitimacy and credibility.

By the text, the General Assembly would take note of the report of the Human Rights Council, including the addendum thereto, and its recommendations; and decide to remain seized of that priority issue.

The representative of Belarus said the Council had been turned into a platform for artificial confrontation of different countries on issues related to human rights.  Noting that the Council’s voting mechanism was being used to push forward processes that had not been agreed by all countries, she called for a vote on the draft resolution, which was approved by a recorded vote of l15 in favour, 3 against (Israel, Belarus and Tuvalu), with 56 abstentions.

The representative of Colombia, emphasizing that her delegation always supported the work of the Council and its resolutions, called it the guiding body for the promotion and protection of human rights.

However, Nigeria’s representative said sexual orientation and gender identity was not and would never be a human rights issue in his country.  Further, he said the Council should remain within the boundaries set by the treaty bodies.

As well, the representative of Bangladesh, while voicing support for the text, said he was disturbed by controversial issues, which had no legal foundation.

The representatives of Switzerland and Canada both stressed that the report undermined the division of labour between Main Committees, pointing out that it was up to the plenary session of the General Assembly, not the Third Committee, to take action on the issue.

Nonetheless, Djibouti’s representative, speaking for the African Group, said the discussion on the draft text allowed all delegations to express their views on the work of the Human Rights Council, as well as to show their support for it.

The Committee also approved by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 51 against, with 5 abstentions (Colombia, Fiji, Kenya, Mexico and Switzerland) a draft resolution on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination.

Among the terms of the text, the Assembly would urge all States to take legislative measures to ensure that their territories and other territories under their control, as well as their nationals, were not used for the recruitment, assembly, financing, training, protection or transit of mercenaries.

The representative of Italy, speaking for the European Union, said mercenaries could not be put at the same level as private military groups, underscoring the ongoing separate process to assess them.

Reflecting another perspective, Argentina’s representative pointed out that the right to self-determination required an active subject, namely a people under occupation and foreign domination.  In the absence of such a subject, there could be no “right to self-determination”.

Approving a draft resolution, without a vote, titled “Right to privacy in the digital age”, the Committee would have the General Assembly call upon all States to respect and protect the right to privacy, including in the context of digital communication.  States would also be called upon to take measures to put an end to violations of those rights.

Brazil’s representative said that surveillance programmes should be necessary and proportionate to the pursuance of legitimate aims.  As some Member States were not in a position to acknowledge those basic principles of international law, the resolution could not reaffirm those in the text.

The representative of New Zealand, voicing his support for the resolution, said the digital age and the growth of cyberspace was one of the most important tools for the coming years.

Along the same line, Australia’s representative said that the technological advancements could affect development, education and human rights.  Therefore, it was fundamental that the same rights that people enjoyed offline were also protected online.

As well, two additional texts, one on the promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all, and the other on promotion of a democratic and equitable international order were approved by a recorded vote.

In addition, the Committee approved, without a vote, draft resolutions on the Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing; intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations; Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly; Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa; and the Rights of indigenous peoples.

Approved without a vote, as well, were texts on the global call for concrete action 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; protection of migrants; the role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights; the right to food; Missing persons; migrant children and adolescents; strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity; and international cooperation against the world drug problem.

Also speaking today were representatives of Albania, Japan, Norway, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Israel, Syria, Cuba, Costa Rica, United States, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Bolivia, South Africa, Netherlands, Egypt and United Kingdom.

The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 26 November, to take continue to take action on a number of draft resolutions.

Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to take action on several draft resolutions, including: follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/C.3/69/14/Rev.2); intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations (document A/C.3/69/L.22); follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/69/L.67); assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/69/L.61); report of the Human Rights Council (document A/C.3/69/L.65); and rights of indigenous peoples (document A/C.3/69/L.27).

The Committee would also take up draft resolutions concerning: a global call for concrete action 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.3/69/L.59); and use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/C.3/69/L.53).

Also before the Committee were draft resolutions addressing the promotion and protection of human rights, including: the right to privacy in the digital age (document A/C.3/69/L.26/Rev.1); protection of migrants (document A/C.3/69/L.29/Rev.1); the role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights (document A/C.3/69/L.30); the promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all (document A/C.3/69/L.41); the right to food (document A/C.3/69/L.42); promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (document A/C.3/69/L.43); missing persons (document A/C.3/69/L.49/Rev.1); and migrant children and adolescents (document A/C.3/69/L.52/Rev.1).

It would also take action on draft resolutions on: strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity (document A/C.3/69/L.16/Rev.1); and international cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/C.3/69/L.15/Rev.1).

The Committee would then take action on the tentative programme of work of the Third Committee for the seventieth session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/69/L.68).

Action on Draft Resolutions

The Committee took action on 18 draft resolutions, first approving a text on the follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/C.3/69/14/Rev.2), without a vote, as orally revised.

In explanation of position after the action, the representative of Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said ageing was one of the main challenges of that century.  The draft underlined the willingness of Member States to contribute constructively.

Canada’s representative said the draft resolution created an opportunity to reaffirm the protection of human rights of older persons.  Actively participating in the negotiations, his delegation was pleased with the comprehensiveness of the draft.

The representative of Albania, noting his delegation had constructively engaged in the discussion, said he looked forward to take part in the next session of the working group to discuss policies and implementations.

Japan’s representative said that, while fully agreeing with the draft text, existing gaps in the current approach and frameworks should be addressed.

The Committee then took up a text on intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations (document A/C.3/69/L.22).

Speaking on a point of order, the representative of Norway said it was difficult to follow the oral revision.  Taking action on content that was not clear would not be possible.

Italy’s delegate, also speaking on a point of order, asked for additional time to read through the revisions, and requested a postponement of action.

The Chair suspended the meeting for 5 minutes.

At the resumption of the meeting, Burkina Faso’s representative said the procedural paragraph 15 would remain as he had orally revised it.  By the terms of that text, the General Assembly would note with disappointment the continuing need for information requested in its resolution 67/146, which had not been provided, and which concerned the root causes of and contributing factors to the practice of female genital mutilation.

The text was then approved without a vote, as orally revised.

In explanation of position after the action, the representative of Burkina Faso, on behalf of the African Group, said that, together, delegations could make great steps towards eliminating female genital mutilations.

Italy’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the approved text demonstrated international cooperation towards eliminating female genital mutilations, and was a critical instrument to achieve that common goal.  The Union would have preferred a more comprehensive and balanced language in procedural paragraph 15, he added, as well as more information regarding the phenomena.

The representative of Norway said female genital mutilations violated the human rights of women and girls, and was motivated by the misconception of what constituted sexual behaviour.  Recognizing the fundamental principles of women and girls to decide on matters regarding their sexuality, she regretted the wording of procedural paragraph 15, calling on States to submit their national reports, when requested.

The Committee took action on a draft resolution titled Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/69/L.67).  The text was approved without a vote.

The Committee then considered the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the summary report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the panel discussions on gender stereotyping and on women’s human rights in the context of the sustainable development agenda (document A/69/369).

The Committee took up a text on Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/69/L.61).

The representative of Liberia asked for a deferral of action to the afternoon.

The Committee then took action on a draft titled Report of the Human Rights Council (document A/C.3/69/L.65).

The representative of Djibouti, speaking on behalf of the African Group, made an oral revision to the text.

The representative of Belarus noted that the Human Rights Council had been turned into a platform for artificial confrontation of different countries on issues related to human rights.  Voting mechanisms of the Council were used to push forward processes not agreed by all countries, in an atmosphere of politicization, confrontation and polarization of human rights, which countered the United Nations principles.  That voting mechanism was used to slow down or block decisions and to bear in mind the interests of developed countries by pushing for country-specific resolutions.  She then called for a vote on the draft resolution.

In explanation of position before the action, the representative of Israel said the Human Rights Council was a platform to delegitimize Israel.  There were more resolutions against Israel than any other country.  By persistently focusing on Israel, the Council had eroded its credibility.  Meanwhile, other countries, such as Cuba, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, were violating human rights.  Out of the 22 special sessions held by the Council, seven had irrationally targeted Israel.  In the draft resolution’s 1725 words nowhere was Hamas mentioned, which was responsible for the killing, kidnapping and murder of many Israelis, as well as for using its own people as human shields.  Calling on the Council to set aside its politically motivated agenda against Israel, he said he would vote against the draft text.

Italy’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Committee should take action on individual recommendations made in the report, and expressed his disappointment that the draft text disregarded that common understanding.  He also voiced regret regarding the impossibility of discussing the procedures of the draft text, announcing the Union’s abstention from the vote.

Making a general statement, the representative of Syria expressed her regret that the report included decisions made on Syria.  The delegation would abstain from voting, she added, underlining that it would not change the position against Israel.

Nigeria’s representative said sexual orientation and gender identity was not and would never be a human rights issue in his country, stating serious concern about the growing number of resolutions which did not reflect the integrity of the Human Rights Council.  Accordingly, he said the Council should remain within the boundaries set by the treaty bodies.

The representative of Cuba, thanking the African Group for their important initiative, said his delegation would continue to support the Human Rights Council and would vote in favour of the draft resolution.  However, there was concern that the body was becoming politicized.

The text was approved by a record vote of 115 in favour, 3 (Israel, Belarus, Tuvalu) against, with 56 abstentions.

In explanation of position after the vote, the representative of Switzerland said she was compelled to abstain from voting.  It was up to the plenary session of the General Assembly, not the Third Committee, to take action on the issue.  The Third Committee should consider the recommendations coming from the Council.

The representative of Costa Rica said her delegation fully supported the Council’s work, and thanked the main cosponsors for their oral amendments.  However, her delegation had to abstain from voting for procedural reasons.

The representative of Canada said the report should take place in the General Assembly and not the Third Committee, as it undermined the division of labour.  For that reason, she had abstained from voting.

The representative of the United States said the Council had disproportionately focused on Israel.  Her delegation was proud to work with other countries on various issues.

The representative of Iran, noting his abstention, said that despite the existence of cooperative mechanisms, certain countries continued to politicize issues, severely undermining the legitimacy and credibility of the Council.

The representative of Libya said there was no international consensus on cultural pluralism.  She said she disassociated her delegation from the paragraph related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and requested her statement to be reflected in the records.

The representative of Bangladesh voiced support for the text; however, he said he was disturbed by controversial issues which had no legal foundation.

The representative of Colombia said her delegation supported the work of the Council and its resolutions, as it was the guiding body for the promotion and protection of human rights.  Her delegation had voted in favour of the text; however, she said it was desirable to have negotiations on the issue in the future.

The representative of Sudan, aligning his delegation with the African Group, said he disassociated his delegation from the text, as the Council had tackled issues that had not been agreed upon by the international community.

The representative of Djibouti, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the discussion on the draft text allowed all delegations to express their views on the work of the Human Rights Council, as well as to show their support for it.

The Committee then took up a draft text on the Rights of indigenous peoples (document A/C.3/69/L.27).

The representative of Bolivia made oral revisions.

The Secretary requested that because the budget implication was not clear, action be deferred to the afternoon.

The Committee then took action on a text on the global call for concrete action 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.3/69/L.59).

The representative of Bolivia requested the action to be deferred to the afternoon.

The Committee then took up a text on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/C.3/69/L.53), for which the United States representative requested a recorded vote.

In explanation of position before the action, Italy’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he regretted the lack of clarity of the draft resolution.  Mercenaries could not be put on the same level as private military groups, he said, underscoring the ongoing separate process to assess them.  If the draft resolution were adopted, it would undermine the importance of that separation.  His delegation would vote against it.

The text was approved by a recorded vote of 123 in favour, 51 against, with 5 abstentions (Colombia, Fiji, Kenya, Mexico, and Switzerland).

Speaking after the action, the representative of Argentina said he fully supported the right to self-determination, which required an active subject, namely a people under occupation and foreign domination.  In the absence of such a subject, there could be no "right to self-determination".  It was therefore important to read the draft resolution in the light of relevant resolutions of the Special Committee on Decolonization.

The Committee then took up a text on the right to privacy in the digital age (document A/C.3/69/L.26/Rev.1), approving it without a vote.

Speaking after the action, the representative of South Africa stated that her delegation had serious concerns regarding the issues raised in operative paragraph 5 that addressed the establishment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.  There was also concern about the conflation of right to privacy with internet governance, she said, adding that she had consistently cautioned against mandate creep.  Therefore, her delegation dissociated itself from the text.

The representative of Switzerland, speaking also for Austria, Liechtenstein, Mexico, and Norway, said that she appreciated that the international community unanimously addressed surveillance and data collection activities through the resolution.  The text addressed some of the most pressing issues of the day.  Further analysis was needed regarding the impact of the surveillance on right to privacy.  The resolution emphasized that surveillance and interception of data undertaken on a mass scale violated the right to privacy.  There was no doubt that States had human rights obligations, while conducting surveillance activities outside their borders.

Brazil’s representative said that surveillance programmes should be necessary and proportionate to the pursuance of legitimate aims.  As some members were not in a position to acknowledge those basic principles of international law, the resolution could not reaffirm those in the text.  The fight against terrorism had been offered as justification.  Such reasoning crossed dangerous thresholds.  If allowed to flourish, it could pave the way to a situation of exception, undermining the rule of law.

The delegate of Canada welcomed the resolution, and said that his country had a robust framework in place for protecting the privacy of individuals, including in the realm of digital communications.  To tackle the unique challenges of the digital age, the international community needed to study the inter-linkages between privacy and other rights, not just surveillance and other rights.  “We need to move beyond suspicion and work towards fostering trust,” he said.  Therefore, he said he regretted the preoccupation of the text with surveillance on a mass scale.  The conversation about privacy in the digital realm required the collective expertise of Governments, civil society, and industry.

The representative of New Zealand, voicing his support for the resolution, said that his country had comprehensive legislation in place to protect the privacy of its people.  It was important that the resolution today was in line with international laws.  He said he looked forward to continuing discussions and building a shared understanding of such a complex issue.  The digital age and the growth of the cyberspace was one of the most important tools for the coming years.

Australia’s representative said that the technological advancements could affect development, education and human rights.  Therefore, it was fundamental that the same rights that people enjoyed offline were also protected online.  Surveillance tools must not be used by States to arbitrarily target individuals under their protection.  Governments also had a duty to ensure the safety and security of people.  Lawful surveillance, subject to oversight, could be an important tool in that.

The delegate of the Netherlands said that the resolution recognised the need to effectively address the challenges to the right to privacy in the context of modern digital technology.  She said she hoped that the resolution would be a valuable contribution to the international debate on the protection of the right to privacy.

The representative of Egypt said that his delegation regretted that “some international elements, especially on extra-territoriality” were omitted from the text.  The right to privacy should be provided to everyone, and future draft resolutions should acknowledge that.

The United States’ representative underscored that the human rights reaffirmed by the resolution were pillars of democracy, not only in her country, but globally.  It was imperative that human rights defenders could use the internet freely.  Further discussion should include the arbitrary use of surveillance to harass human rights defenders.

The representative of the United Kingdom stated that her delegation was fully committed to upholding the right to privacy.  The challenge facing States was to ensure that the right to privacy was protected, while fulfilling the States’ obligations to protect citizens from terrorist and criminal activity.  Law enforcement agencies needed to keep pace with technological advances.  At the same time, it was vital that State response be necessary and proportionate.

The Committee took action on a draft resolution on the protection of migrants (document A/C.3/69/L.29/Rev.1), approving it without a vote, as orally revised.

The representative of the United States said States had the primary responsibility to protect the human rights of all its peoples, including migrants.  She then reiterated the principle of the sovereign right of States to control admission and expulsion of foreign nationals.  Mentioning bilateral legal matters in the draft text was inappropriate, she added, underlining that the operative paragraph 3 should not inhibit freedom of expression.

The Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft resolution titled the role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights (document A/C.3/69/L.30).

The Committee took up a text on the promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all (document A/C.3/69/L.41).

In explanation of position before the vote, the representative of Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the absence of peace could not justify the violation of human rights.  The draft text only elaborated on the relations between States to promote peace without touching upon the States’ responsibility to respect peace.  There was an absence of international consensus on the right to peace in international law.  Saying it was potentially inconsistent with international norms, such as the United Nations, he emphasized his delegation would vote against the draft text.

 

The text was then adopted, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 122 in favour, 53 against, with 1 abstention (Singapore).

The Committee then took action on a draft resolution entitled the right to food (document A/C.3/69/L.42).  Oral revisions were made on the draft text, before the Committee approved it without a vote.

In explanation of position after action, the representative of the United States underscored that her delegation had joined the unanimous approval because of its commitment to global food security.  However, the resolution employed language that distracted from larger issues.  Referring to the terms on trade and trade negotiations, she added that those were beyond the expertise and subject matter of the Third Committee.  The resolution would not modify the commitments of the United States to ongoing trade agreements or negotiations.  However, the resolution emphasized the links between empowerment of women and global food security, which was welcomed.  The United States was the world’s largest food aid donor and remained committed to incorporating gender perspective into food and nutrition issues worldwide.

The representative of Canada stated that her delegation had some concerns regarding operative paragraph 31.  There was nothing in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement that prevented States from pursuing the right to food.

The Committee also had before it a draft text on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (document A/C.3/69/L.43).

The representative of Italy requested a recorded vote.

Speaking before the vote, the representative of United States said the draft text inappropriately challenged the sovereign right of States to choose freely their economic relations.  She also noted that the existence of a right to development had no agreed international consensus.  Development assistance was aimed at assisting countries in attracting private capital flows.

Italy’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union, acknowledged the necessity of a democratic and equitable international order.  However, the significant number of resolutions extended the scope of the human rights agenda, which the Union could not support.  Therefore, he would vote against the draft text.

The text was then approved by a recorded vote of 120 in favour, 52 against, with 6 abstentions (Armenia, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru and Samoa).

The Committee then approved a draft resolution titled Missing persons (document A/C.3/69/L.49/Rev.1) without a vote, as orally revised.

The Committee also took up a text, titled migrant children and adolescents (document A/C.3/69/L.52/Rev.1), approving it without a vote.

Before the Committee were several documents, including the report of the Human Rights Committee (document A/69/40 (Vol.I) and A/69/40 Vol.II Part One and Two); report of the Committee against Torture (document A/69/44); report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Torture (document A/69/296); report of the Secretary-General on the status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto (document A/69/284); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Chairs of the human rights treaty bodies (document A/69/285); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the interim report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (document A/69/387); and the report of the Secretary-General on the Special Fund established by the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (document A/69/289).

It also considered the report of the Secretary-General on the right to development (document A/69/121); a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (document A/69/263); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (document A/69/259); protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons (document A/69/295); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants (document A/69/302); and note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the independent expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights (document A/69/273).

In addition, it took up a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to non-discrimination in this context(document A/69/274); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education (document A/69/402); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence (document A/69/518); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers (document A/69/294); right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (document A/69/299); and a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression (document A/69/335).

The Committee also considered a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children (document A/69/269); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (document A/69/365); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights (document A/69/286); note by the Secretariat referring to the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right to privacy in the digital age (document A/69/276); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity (document A/69/366); note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (document A/69/301); and a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus (document A/69/307).

The Committee then approved, without a vote, a draft resolution titled strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity (document A/C.3/69/L.16/Rev.1), as orally revised.

Speaking after the action, Belarus’s representative said that the resolution would be an important step in improving the work of the United Nations in crime prevention.  However, the appropriate provisions for strengthening the United Nations’ coordination in activities to prevent trafficking in human beings had not yet been fulfilled.

The representative of Armenia, thanking the main sponsor of the resolution for facilitating an open dialogue, said he fully understood the importance of the crime prevention programme.  However, his delegation was unable to support the new language in preambular paragraph 31, which referred to the Arms Trade Treaty.  Therefore, he withdrew Armenia from the co-sponsors list.

Iran’s delegate said that his country was committed to strengthening the Organizations’ crime prevention efforts.  While a number of concerns had been accommodated, a major concern shared by like-minded countries regarding operative paragraph 22 and its reference to the Financial Action Task Force remained.  With the understanding that the language would be addressed in the future, he said he was participating in approving the draft without a vote.

The representative of United States voiced her appreciation for the leadership of the co-sponsors and the focus on rule of law in the resolution, adding that “Where leaders govern responsibly, positive outcomes can be achieved.  Where those conditions are absent, it was difficult to sustain progress”.

Belgium’s representative asked to recess the meeting to assess the call for voluntary contributions read out by the Secretary.

At the resumption of the meeting, the delegate of Belgium requested that action be deferred so that he could discuss the statement read out by the Secretary with his Government.

The representative of Italy, as the main sponsor of the draft resolution, said they were ready to take action on the draft.

United Kingdom’s representative supported the comments made by Belgium, as the draft text did not refer to any voluntary contributions.

The delegate of the Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic asked to withdraw from the co-sponsorship of the draft resolution.

The representative of Norway, making a point of order, asked whether the work of the Committee would be concluded.

The Secretary said a delegation had to formally suspend the action, under the Committee’s rules of procedure.

United States’ delegate, associating her delegation with the statements made by Belgium and United Kingdom, expressed confusion over the potential programme budget implications, and asked for additional time to secure her sponsorship.

The representatives of Iceland and Morocco asked respectively whether the work of the Committee would continue.  If a suspension was sought, a formal request needed to be made, under the rule of procedure of the Committee.

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

The Committee then took note of a report of the Secretary-General on the follow-up to the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/69/89).

Other documents taken up by the Committee were notes by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on its fifth session (document A/69/86) and the report containing the outcome of the meeting of the open-ended intergovernmental expert group on the development of a draft set of model strategies and practical measures on the elimination of violence against children in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice (document A/69/88).

The Committee then approved a draft entitled international cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/C.3/69/L.15/Rev.1), without a vote.

For information media. Not an official record.