General Assembly Endorses Landmark Global Compact on Refugees, Adopting 53 Third Committee Resolutions, 6 Decisions Covering Range of Human Rights

GA/12107
17 December 2018
Seventy-third Session, 55th & 56th Meetings (AM & PM)

General Assembly Endorses Landmark Global Compact on Refugees, Adopting 53 Third Committee Resolutions, 6 Decisions Covering Range of Human Rights

The General Assembly endorsed the Global Compact on Refugees today — an historic agreement aiming to forge a stronger and fairer response to refugee movements — as it adopted 53 resolutions and 6 decisions recommended by its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).

By a resolution on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, adopted by a recorded vote of 181 in favour to 2 against (Hungary, United States), with 3 abstentions (Eritrea, Liberia, Libya), the Assembly underscored the importance of the Global Compact on Refugees — as presented by the High Commissioner in part II of his annual report — as an expression of political will to activate the principle of burden- and responsibility-sharing. 

Germany’s representative, also speaking on behalf of France and the Netherlands, called the Compact a “major step” towards providing sustainable solutions to the world’s refugees and those who host them.  Hungary’s representative, explaining her vote against the resolution, said there is no need for new instruments, as existing international frameworks adequately address refugee issues.  Further, the Global Compact fails to distinguish between refugees and migrants and does not take into account the voluntary nature of responsibility sharing.  The representative of the Russian Federation, while emphasizing the importance of burden-sharing to ensure international solidarity in addressing refugee issues, stressed that the agreement is not binding and therefore does not impose any legal obligation on his country.

Covering a range of human rights issues — from the rights of children, women, peasants and indigenous peoples, to promoting fundamental freedoms of religion, peaceful assembly and free association — the Assembly adopted most resolutions without a vote, including an inaugural text on combating trafficking in human organs, as a “novel” approach to crime prevention that addresses three perspectives on which such crimes should be analysed:  human rights, health and criminal justice.

By its terms, the Assembly urged States to ensure that the removal and transplantation of human organs exclusively take place in centres authorized by national health authorities, as well as to enhance regulatory oversight and establish data registries on each organ recovery and transplant procedure.

Also without a vote, the Assembly adopted a resolution on ending obstetric fistula, which calls for intensified technical and financial support to end that condition within a decade.  States in particular are called on to improve maternal health by addressing sexual and reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.  Before its passage, Sudan’s representative put forward an amendment to remove references to the International Criminal Court, which was rejected by a recorded vote of 112 against to 17 in favour, with 32 abstentions.

Among the 20 resolutions that required a vote was a text on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, adopted by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States), with 54 abstentions.  By its terms, the Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, a landmark text passed by the Human Rights Council on 28 September 2018.  The Assembly invited Governments, United Nations agencies and others to disseminate the Declaration and promote its universal respect and understanding.  Switzerland’s delegate, explaining her vote in favour, said peasants provide much of the world’s food yet are disproportionately affected by poverty.

As in years past, the Assembly adopted a text calling for a moratorium on use of the death penalty, by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 35 against, with 32 abstentions.  It called on all States to respect international standards on the rights of those facing the death penalty and ensure that the practice is not applied on the basis of discriminatory laws or as a result of discriminatory or arbitrary application of the law.

Explaining his country’s vote against the text, the representative of Maldives said an informal moratorium has been in existence since 1954.  Noting that Islam is the basis for all laws, he said that to favour abolition of the death penalty, without preceding domestic legislation, would be unconstitutional and undemocratic.

The Assembly adopted another notable text — on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights — by a recorded vote of 129 in favour to 53 against, with 10 abstentions (Colombia, Fiji, Liberia, Mexico, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Tonga).

By its terms, the Assembly urged States to take legislative measures to ensure that their territories are not used for — and that their nationals do not take part in — the recruitment, assembly, financing, training, protection or transit of mercenaries for the planning of activities designed to impede the right of peoples to self-determination.

The Assembly deferred action on draft resolutions related to the human rights situations in Myanmar, and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, as well as a text on ending racism.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Liechtenstein (also speaking on behalf of Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland), Austria (on behalf of the European Union), Netherlands, Sweden (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Syria, Venezuela, Jordan, Chile, Burundi, Uruguay, United States, Kyrgyzstan, Monaco, Finland (on behalf of the Nordic countries), Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, China, Bahamas, Iran, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Cuba and Saudi Arabia.

The General Assembly also took up other matters, which are covered in press release GA/12108.

Action on Third Committee Draft Resolutions

KATHARINA KONZETT-STOFFL (Austria), Rapporteur of the Third Committee, introduced the following reports of that body:  Social development (document A/73/581); Advancement of women (document A/73/582); Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions (document A/73/583); Report of the Human Rights Council (document A/73/584); Promotion and protection of the rights of children (document A/73/585); Rights of indigenous peoples (document A/73/586); Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/73/587); and Rights of peoples to self-determination (document A/73/588).

She went on to present the Committee’s reports on Promotion and protection of human rights (document A/73/589); Implementation of human rights instruments (document A/73/589/Add.1); Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedom (document A/73/589/Add.2); Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives (document A/73/589/Add.3); Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/73/589/Add.4); Crime prevention and criminal justice (document A/73/590); International drug control (document A/73/591); Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/73/592); and Programme planning (document A/73/593).

The Assembly began by taking up the report on Social Development (document A/73/581), which contained six draft resolutions.

Acting without a vote, it adopted draft resolution I, “Volunteering for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, encouraging the participation and integration of all people — including youth, older persons, women, migrants, refugees, persons with disabilities, minorities and other marginalized groups — into volunteer activities.  It also encouraged Governments, in partnership with the United Nations, the private sector, civil society and others to integrate volunteerism into national development strategies.

It then adopted draft resolution II, “Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly”, by a recorded vote of 188 in favour to 3 against (Israel, Papua New Guinea, United States), with no abstentions.

By its terms, the Assembly welcomed Governments’ commitment to implementing the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Programme of Action, adopted at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development.  Against that backdrop, it outlined various actions to address inequality in access to opportunities, to basic services, to nutrition and food, to social protection, to employment and decent work, to technologies, and to infrastructure, as well as actions related to urban-rural/special inequality, environmental inequality, social development actors, international cooperation, and follow-up.

The Assembly then adopted the remainder of its resolutions without a vote, namely:  draft resolution III, “Inclusive development for and with persons with disabilities”, urging Member States and United Nations agencies, among others, to design and implement policies that fully address the rights of women and girls with disabilities, as well as to harmonize laws, policies and programmes for the equal and full participation of persons with disabilities in society, and requesting the Secretary-General to submit a follow-up flagship report on disability-inclusive Sustainable Development Goals to its seventy-eighth session;

Draft resolution IV, “Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing”, calling on States to participate in global efforts towards an age-inclusive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as to promote equitable and affordable access to basic physical and social infrastructure, such as affordable serviced land, housing, modern and renewable energy, safe drinking water and sanitation, and adequate food;

Draft resolution V, “Follow-up to the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond”, encouraging Governments to enact family-oriented policies for poverty reduction, promote work-family balance, invest in family policies that promote strong intergenerational interaction, provide universal and gender-sensitive social protection systems, support the United Nations trust fund on family activities, and strengthen cooperation with civil society in the implementation of family policies; and

Draft resolution VI, “Literacy for life:  shaping future agendas”, expressing deep concern that 750 million adults — two thirds of whom are women — lack basic literacy skills, while more than 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency in reading and mathematics.  It called on Governments to scale up literacy programmes for children, youth and adults, including older persons, with particular attention to those who are vulnerable or marginalized, to foster innovative delivery of literacy services.

Next, the Assembly took up the report on the Advancement of women (document A/73/582), containing four draft resolutions and one draft decision.

The Assembly had before it a draft amendment (document A/73/L.56) to draft resolution I, “Trafficking in women and girls”, presented by the representative of Sudan and proposing the deletion of references to the International Criminal Court.

The representative of Sudan said his delegation tried its best to do away with paragraphs that compromised consensus.  During informal consultations, Sudan insisted on the rejection of preambular paragraph 16, which refers to the International Criminal Court.  Not all Member States are party to the Rome Statute, he said, adding that the Court is a stand-alone agency which “has nothing to do with the United Nations”.  His delegation had sought to include amendments during consultations to achieve consensus, he said.  “However, all these efforts did not bear fruit and our position fell on deaf ears”, leaving his delegation no option but to propose an amendment today.  Fighting impunity has always been Sudan’s priority.  Including language on the International Criminal Court undermines the main objectives of the Third Committee, he added, urging States to vote “yes” on the proposed amendment to delete preambular paragraph 16.

The representative of Liechtenstein, also speaking on behalf of Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland, said the International Criminal Court is the world’s first and permanent international Court, with a key role to play in ending impunity.  Its work is of utmost importance and should be included in resolutions on human trafficking and human rights.  He regretted that, once again, amendments have been presented that challenge language included in the relevant text for many years.  He urged States to vote against the amendment.

The representative of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed deep regret that Sudan has tabled such an amendment.  This issue was already considered in the Third Committee, he said, calling on all States to vote “no”.

The Assembly then rejected Sudan’s amendment by a recorded vote of 112 against to 17 in favour, with 32 abstentions.

It adopted without a vote draft resolution I, “Trafficking in women and girls”, calling on Governments to put in place or enhance legislative and punitive measures to deter exploiters of trafficked persons, and to strengthen measures to eliminate sex tourism.

It then adopted without a vote draft resolution II, “Intensification of efforts to end obstetric fistula”, calling on the international community to provide intensified technical and financial support to accelerate progress towards eliminating obstetric fistula within a decade, and on States in particular to improve maternal health by addressing sexual and reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.

Turning to draft resolution III, “Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls:  sexual harassment”, the representative of the United States requested a separate recorded vote on operative paragraphs 8(d) and 11.

The representative of the Netherlands expressed surprise at that request, as delegates had not been informed about such a vote.

The Assembly then voted to retain paragraphs 8(d) and 11 by a recorded vote of 130 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 31 abstentions.

It then adopted without a vote draft resolution III, “Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls:  sexual harassment”, as a whole, urging States to address structural and underlying causes of sexual harassment, notably by modifying social and cultural patterns, and to implement legislation to prevent such abuse in the public space, on the way to and from and at school and in the workplace.

The Assembly adopted without a vote draft resolution IV, “Intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilation”, calling on States to place a stronger focus on implementing comprehensive prevention strategies and complementing punitive measures with awareness raising and educational activities designed to end female genital mutilation.

Finally on this topic, the Assembly adopted a draft decision titled “Documents considered by the General Assembly in connection with the item ‘Advancement of women’”, without a vote.

The Assembly then turned to the “Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions” (document A/73/583), which contained two draft resolutions.

Speaking before the vote on behalf of the Nordic countries, the representative of Sweden emphasized that this text is humanitarian and non-political, and will benefit refugees and other persons of concern.  The Global Compact on Refugees will serve as a toolkit to deliver more effective responses to the world’s refugee issues.  Commending UNHCR for the consultation process that led to the Global Compact, she underlined the importance of its implementation to strengthen international solidarity.  Recalling that there had never been votes on this resolution, she recalled that an overwhelming majority of delegates supported it in the Third Committee and encouraged all Member States to vote in favour.

The representative of Germany, also speaking on behalf of France and the Netherlands, said the Global Compact is a major step towards providing sustainable solutions to the world’s refugees and those who host them.  Calling the Global Compact a great opportunity to modernize and enhance refugee responses and build new partnerships, he said its capacity to mobilize more States and stakeholders to address needs at national and regional levels is an added value.  Recalling that the Global Compact’s development was inspired by the comprehensive refugee response framework, he stressed that current refugee movements can only be addressed effectively through cooperation and solidarity.

The representative of Syria said the Global Compact on Refugees is the outcome of consultations, not negotiations.  Stressing that is not binding for Member States, he warned against politicization.  UNHCR should make efforts to facilitate the voluntary return of refugees, he stated, calling for an end to racial discrimination against refugees, including Syrians.

The representative of Venezuela said much work remains to be done to integrate the concerns of developing and host countries in the implementation of the Global Compact.  It is paramount that its implementation adheres to the Charter of the United Nations and avoids politicization.  The Global Compact must not be used as a tool for intervention and UNHCR’s mandate must be respected, she stated.

Adopting without a vote draft resolution I, “Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa”, the Assembly noted with great concern that the situation of refugees and displaced persons in Africa remains precarious and the number of refugees and internally displaced persons has dramatically increased.  It called on States and other parties to armed conflict to observe “the letter and spirit” of international humanitarian law, and on States in particular to ensure that the civilian and humanitarian nature of refugee camps is not compromised by the presence of armed elements or used for purposes incompatible with their civilian character.

By a recorded vote of 181 in favour to 2 against (Hungary, United States), with 3 abstentions (Eritrea, Liberia, Libya), the Assembly then adopted the draft resolution titled “Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees”, re-emphasizing that refugee protection is primarily the responsibility of States, as is the prevention and reduction of statelessness.  It underscored the importance of the Global Compact on Refugees, as presented by the High Commissioner in part II of his annual report, as an expression of political will to activate the principle of burden- and responsibility-sharing.

By other terms, the Assembly urged States to uphold the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps, calling on them to consider solutions through humanitarian admission or transfer, family reunification, skilled migration, labour mobility, scholarships and education mobility.  It also called on States to process asylum applications by identifying those in need of international protection.

The representative of Hungary, explaining her country’s position after the adoption, reiterated her support for UNHCR.  While expressing support for the implementation of the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, she said the Government will not join the Global Compact on Refugees.  As the existing international framework adequately addresses refugee issues, there is no need for new instruments.  What is more, the Global Compact fails to distinguish between refugees and migrants and does not take into account the voluntary nature of responsibility sharing, she noted.

The representative of the Russian Federation said the effective work of UNHCR is relevant and necessary.  The Global Compact on Refugees will facilitate the protection of the rights of refugees and strengthen UNCHR’s work within its existing mandate.  While emphasizing the importance of burden-sharing to ensure international solidarity in addressing refugee issues, he said environmental and climate degradation cannot be considered as a motive for asylum under international law.  The Global Compact is not binding and therefore does not impose any legal obligation on his country, he added.

The representative of Jordan said the Global Compact on Refugees, the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework are important to operationalize the international community’s solidarity.  However, nothing in the Global Compact can be interpreted as altering the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, she said.  Further, nothing in the Global Compact on Refugees, the New York Declaration and Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework can change the scope or definition of refugees or redefine the principle of non-refoulement.  Jordan does not consider itself bound to documents to which it is not party, including instruments on statelessness and migration.  States must readmit returning nationals without undue delay, she said, stressing the importance of addressing the root causes of flight.

The representative of Chile reiterated his country’s commitment to contribute to the global response to refugee movements and the Global Compact on Refugees within available financial resources and in line with domestic law.

The Assembly next turned to the report titled “Report of the Human Rights Council” (document A/73/584) containing an eponymous draft resolution.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 4 against (Belarus, Israel, Myanmar, United States), with 60 abstentions, taking note of the report of the Human Rights Council, including the addendum thereto, and its recommendations.

The representative of Venezuela said he voted in favour of the text, but rejected the selective and politically motivated treatment of the human rights situation in certain countries.  He welcomed positive progress made by the Human Rights Council, and as a formula for cooperation to address human rights.  The selective adoption of resolutions must end, he added.

The representative of Burundi expressed concern over aspects of the report for singling out certain countries, stressing that any progress on human rights must be accomplished through dialogue and cooperation.

Turning to the report on “Promotion and protection of the rights of children” (document A/73/585), which contained three draft resolutions and a draft decision, the Assembly first took up draft resolution I, titled “Child, early and forced marriage”.

The representative of Sudan said the inclusion of language relating to the International Criminal Court seriously jeopardizes ongoing peace efforts in her country.  The Court is an impediment to peace and its interference has always been malignant.  Referring to amendment “L.59”, regarding operative paragraph 51 of the draft resolution, she requested deletion of the phrase “and calls upon the international community to hold those responsible for violations accountable, inter alia, through the International Criminal Court” and urged delegates to vote for that amendment.

The representative of Uruguay said operative paragraph 51 has been in the text for over 10 years.  It urged States to guarantee children affected by conflict receive humanitarian assistance in an effective manner.  He called on the international community to take responsibility for violations of international law.  The International Criminal Court has the potential to protect children and its reference in the resolution is vital.  For such reasons, he urged States to vote against the amendment.

The representative of the United States requested a single separate recorded vote to delete preambular paragraph 23, and operative paragraphs 14, 17 and 18 of draft resolution I, “Child, early and forced marriage”.

The Assembly then voted to retain the paragraphs by a recorded vote of 134 in favour to 2 against (Nauru, United States), with 32 abstentions.

Adopting draft resolution I without a vote, the Assembly called on States — with the participation of women and girls, men and boys, parents and teachers, religious leaders and others — to eliminate child, early and forced marriage.  It urged States to enact, enforce, harmonize and uphold laws to prevent, respond to and end that practice, as well as to tackle poverty and entrenched economic incentives, as drivers of it.  They should also remove barriers to education, formulate national strategies to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, and ensure access to justice.

The Assembly then took up draft resolution II, “Protecting children from bullying”, adopting it without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly called on Member States to protect children from bullying by promptly responding to such acts, and to continue to invest in education that fosters tolerance and respect for dignity.

The Assembly then turned to draft resolution III, “Rights of the child”, voting first to reject Sudan’s draft amendment (document A/73/L.59) by a recorded vote of 116 against to 15 in favour, with 30 abstentions.

The Assembly then adopted draft resolution III, as a whole, without a vote, outlining various actions to be taken related to, among other topics:  the Convention on the Rights of the Child, non-discrimination, child labour, violence against children, protecting children in difficult situations, and ending the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

The Assembly then adopted the draft decision, “Document considered by the General Assembly in connection with the promotion and protection of the rights of children,” without a vote.

The representative of the United States expressed regret that her delegation’s proposal to delete the paragraphs did not pass and disassociated from them over concerns about wording on reproductive health care.  The United States is committed to provisions outlined in the Beijing Declaration and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action, she said, noting that those instruments do not create any new rights, including to abortion.  The United States fully supports the principle of voluntary choice and does not recognize abortion as a family planning method.  The United States understands that General Assembly resolutions do not change current customary law and that any reaffirmation of prior documents applies to only States that have already affirmed them.

The representative of Chile disassociated from preambular paragraph 8 and operative paragraphs 35, 36, 37 and 38 in draft resolution III.

Moving on, the Assembly took up the report titled “Rights of indigenous peoples” (document A/73/586), containing an eponymous draft resolution, which it adopted without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly encouraged Member States to give due consideration to all the rights of indigenous peoples in fulfilling the 2030 Agenda commitments.  It stressed the importance of promoting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and further, decided to convene a high-level event in 2019, organized by the President of the General Assembly, for the conclusion of the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

The representative of Chile said he wished to “preserve” his country’s position on preambular paragraph 7 of the resolution.

Turning to its report titled “Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” (document A/73/587), the Assembly adopted the draft resolution I, “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, contained therein by a recorded vote of 129 in favour to 2 against (Ukraine, United States), with 54 abstentions.

By its terms, the Assembly expressed alarm over the spread around the world of various extremist political parties, movements and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups, as well as racist extremist movements and ideologies — and further — over the fact that this trend has resulted in discriminatory measures, policies and bills at local or national levels.  It called for the universal ratification and implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and urged those States parties that have not yet done so to consider making the declaration under its article 14.

It next turned to the report titled “Right of peoples to self-determination” (document A/73/588), which contained three draft resolutions.

With a vote requested on draft resolution I titled “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”, the Assembly adopted that text by a recorded vote of 172 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 11 abstentions.

By its terms, the Assembly reaffirmed the right of Palestinians to self‑determination, including to an independent State of Palestine, and urge all States and United Nations agencies to continue to support Palestinians in the early realization of that right.

Turning next to draft resolution II, “Use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self‑determination”, the Assembly adopted that text by a recorded vote of 129 in favour to 53 against, with 10 abstentions (Colombia, Fiji, Liberia, Mexico, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Solomon Islands, Switzerland, Tonga).

By its terms, the Assembly urged all States to exercise utmost vigilance against the menace posed by mercenary activities and to take legislative measures to ensure that their territories are not used for — and that their nationals do not take part in — the recruitment, assembly, financing, training, protection or transit of mercenaries for the planning of activities designed to impede the right of peoples to self-determination.  It condemned recent mercenary activities in developing countries and the threat they pose to exercising the right to self‑determination.  The Assembly recommended that all Member States — as contracting States, States of operations, home States or States whose nationals are employed by a private military or security company — contribute to the work of the open-ended intergovernmental working group.

The Assembly then adopted without a vote draft resolution III, “Universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination”, reaffirming that such universal realization is a fundamental condition for the guarantee and observance of human rights.  The Assembly declared its firm opposition to foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation, and called on those States responsible to immediately cease such activities in foreign countries and territories, and all acts of repression, discrimination, exploitation and maltreatment.

The representative of Kyrgyzstan said his country is committed to the respect of international law, including the right to self-determination.  While recalling that Kyrgyzstan has consistently supported this resolution, an important symbolic document, he said the principle of self-determination should not be interpreted as encouraging any actions that undermine the territorial integrity or the political unity of sovereign and independent States.

Turning to the report titled “Promotion and protection of human rights” (document A/73/589), the Assembly adopted without a vote a draft resolution contained therein on “World Braille Day”, and thus, invited all Member States and United Nations entities to observe that Day on 4 January by raising awareness of braille as a means of communication.

The Assembly then adopted a draft decision titled “Documents considered by the General Assembly in connection with the question of the promotion and protection of human rights,” without a vote.

The report titled, “Promotion and protection of human rights:  implementation of human rights instruments” (document A/73/589/Add.1) contained a draft resolution on “Human rights treaty body system”, which the Assembly adopted without a vote, recognizing the unique contribution of each human rights treaty body in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  The Assembly reiterated its request that the Secretary-General submit a comprehensive report on the status of the treaty body system.

Next, the Assembly took up the report titled “Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms” (document A/73/589/Add.2), containing 17 draft resolutions.

The representative of Sudan submitted two draft amendments included in “A/73/L.57” and A/73/L.58”, to delete preambular paragraph 15 and operative paragraph 13 in draft resolution X, titled, “Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions”.  Not all Member States are party to the Rome Statute, he said, adding that corruption in the International Criminal Court discourages Governments from taking it seriously.  Since its founding, the Court has proven itself notorious and confidence in it is dwindling.  It is essential to align the international criminal system with what the founders of the United Nations in 1945 set out to do.  “No one predicted the system would become so deplorable,” he said, stressing that the Rome Statute is not impartial.

The representative of Monaco said her delegation would like to co-sponsor the resolution titled “Terrorism and human rights”.

The representative of Finland said Sudan’s amendments were defeated in the Third Committee.  On behalf of the Nordic countries, he expressed support for the resolution and all its language referring to the Court.  Recalling that the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute the most serious crimes remains with the State, he said a key element in the Rome Statute is its equal application.  The Court has given millions of people the hope of justice and he urged all Member States to vote against the amendments.

The representative of the Maldives, in explanation of vote on the draft resolution titled “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty”, said an informal moratorium has been in existence since 1954.  Article 10 of its Constitution outlines that Islam should be the basis for all laws in the country.  Legal measures in Islamic Sharia law regarding such punishment must be strictly examined to ensure that this act is not arbitrarily practiced.  The new Government will ensure reform is carried out without delay, in line with an independent, impartial judiciary that has the public’s trust.  To favour abolition of the death penalty, without preceding domestic legislation, would be unconstitutional and undemocratic.  The death penalty “remains on the books” and the Maldives will uphold its existing moratorium on its use, in tandem with domestic and international partners to bring about meaningful changes to the judiciary.  The Maldives voted against the draft in the Third Committee and will maintain this position today.

The representative of Switzerland, in explanation of vote on the draft resolution titled “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas”, said peasants produce much of the world’s food and yet are disproportionately affected by poverty.  Switzerland is committed to maintaining small-scale agricultural systems, and as such, supported the declaration’s creation.  The declaration, contained in the resolution’s annex, seeks to raise awareness of peasants’ circumstances.  It is not legally binding and existing norms are not called into question.  The process was largely constructive and led to a positive, balanced result.  Switzerland voted yes in the Human Rights Council however its preferred wording did not prevail.  Nevertheless, Switzerland will vote in favour of the draft resolution, she said, noting that article 9 of the declaration contains problematic provisions regarding intellectual property, which Switzerland will interpret in line with national law.  The declaration also does not sufficiently reference the international environmental regime and incorporate sustainable development.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said he totally rejects the draft resolution titled “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, a text which has nothing to do with human rights.  It is an attempt to discredit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, where dignity and human rights are most valued.  He expressed concern that Japan, which has committed grave and mass violations of human rights, is discussing the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Pyongyang will not recognize nor accept this resolution and does not feel the need to call for a vote.  It also rejects any resolutions against the Russian Federation, Iran and Syria on the principle of double standards.

The Assembly President, noting that the delegate of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is referring to a different item, said nonetheless his statement will be included in the meeting’s record.

The representative of Syria expressed support for Sudan’s proposals related to the resolution on “Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions”.

The representative of Ethiopia, in explanation of vote on the draft resolution titled “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas”, said his country’s constitution recognized the right of peasants and pastoralists to have access to free land for grazing and cultivation.  However, he could not accept the expanded scope of the declaration’s article 7 and 21, relating to transboundary and water-related issues, which should be limited within State territory and exclusively subject to its jurisdiction.  The current and future national laws of Ethiopia and its international commitments prevail over the declaration, he said.  As such, Ethiopia will abstain from the vote on the draft resolution.

The Assembly first turned to draft resolution I, “Human rights and extreme poverty”, adopting it without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly reaffirmed that extreme poverty, deep inequality and exclusion constitute a violation of human dignity and that urgent national and international action is required to eliminate them.  It took note of the guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights, adopted by the Human Rights Council, as a useful tool for States in the formulation and implementation of poverty reduction and eradication policies.

The Assembly then adopted draft resolution II, “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief”, condemning any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, whether involving the use of print, audiovisual or electronic media or any other means.  It called on all States to foster religious tolerance by creating a Government mechanism to identify and address potential areas of tension between different religious communities.

By a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 8 against (Australia, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States), with 54 abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft resolution III, “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas”.  By its terms, the Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, a text passed by the Human Rights Council on 28 September 2018.  It invited Governments, United Nations agencies and others to disseminate the Declaration and promote its universal respect and understanding.

By another recorded vote — 148 in favour to 11 against, with 32 abstentions — the Assembly adopted draft resolution IV, “The right to development”, recognizing that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions is among the critical elements in realizing that right.  The Assembly urged States, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other relevant specialized agencies, funds and programmes to provide the Special Rapporteur on the right to development with all the assistance and support necessary.

By a recorded vote of 133 in favour to 53 against, with 3 abstentions (Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Palau), the Assembly then adopted draft resolution V, “Human rights and unilateral coercive measures”, strongly urging States to refrain from applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures that impede the full achievement of sustainable economic and social development.  It condemned the inclusion of Member States in unilateral lists under false pretexts — including false allegations of terrorism sponsorship — and strongly objected to the extraterritorial nature of those measures which threaten State sovereignty.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft resolution VI, “Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights”, urging States to enhance bilateral, regional and international cooperation aimed at addressing the adverse impact of global financial, food, and climate change crises on the full enjoyment of human rights.  It also requested the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights consult States on the challenges to enhancing such cooperation in the United Nations human rights machinery, including the Human Rights Council.

By a recorded vote of 131 in favour to 53 against, with 7 abstentions (Armenia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru), the Assembly adopted draft resolution VII, “Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order”.  By its terms, the Assembly affirmed that such an international order requires, among other things, realization of the right to self-determination, to permanent sovereignty over natural wealth and resources, and to development.  Reaffirming the need for universal adherence to the rule of law, the Assembly urged States to enhance cooperation towards the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

By a recorded vote of 135 in favour to 53 against, with 1 abstention (Tonga), the Assembly adopted draft resolution VIII, “Promotion of peace as a vital requirement for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all”, reaffirming that “the peoples of our planet” have a sacred right to peace, the preservation and promotion of which demands that State policies be directed towards eliminating the threat of war.

By a recorded vote of 188 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with no abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft resolution IX, “The right to food”, calling on States to reduce and eliminate preventable mortality and morbidity due to malnutrition among children under 5 years of age.  Calling for a development-oriented outcome to the World Trade Organization’s Doha Development Round of negotiations, it urged States to give priority in their development strategies and expenditures to realizing the right to food.

Next, the Assembly turned to draft resolution X, “Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions”.

The Assembly rejected the draft amendment contained in document A/C.3/73/L.57, by a recorded vote of 100 against to 25 in favour, with 37 abstentions, as well as the draft amendment contained in document A/C.3/73/L.58 by a recorded vote of 99 against to 22 in favour, with 35 abstentions.

The Assembly then turned to draft resolution X, as a whole, adopting it by another recorded vote — 125 in favour to none against, with 60 abstentions.  By its terms, the Assembly called on all States to ensure that such practices are ended, and to pay greater attention to the work of national commissions of inquiry into such crimes.  It also urged States to ensure protection of the right to life of all persons; to conduct prompt, exhaustive and impartial investigations into all killings; to bring those responsible to justice before a competent, independent and impartial judiciary at the national or international level; and to ensure that such killings are neither condoned nor sanctioned by State officials or personnel.

The Assembly then adopted draft resolution XI, “Promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of association”, by a recorded vote of 154 in favour to none against, with 35 abstentions.

By its terms, the Assembly called on States to prevent and end the arbitrary arrest and detention of peaceful protesters and human rights defenders.  It urged the release of persons detained or imprisoned, in violation of State obligations under international human rights law, for exercising their human rights and freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, including in relation to cooperation with the United Nations.  It further called on States to protect these rights online and offline, notably by not shutting down the Internet.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft resolution XII, “Terrorism and human rights”, reaffirming that States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with their international law obligations.  It called on them to adopt rehabilitation and reintegration strategies for returning foreign terrorist fighters that include the development of national centres for counsel and the prevention of radicalization to violence.  The Assembly invited United Nations bodies to focus on alleged violations related to efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism, and to report regularly to the Human Rights Council.

The Assembly then turned to draft resolution XIII, “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty”, adopting it by a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 35 against, with 32 abstentions.  By its terms, the Assembly expressed deep concern over the use of the death penalty.  It called on all States to respect international standards on the rights of those facing the death penalty — in particular the minimum standards set out in the annex to Economic and Social Council resolution 1984/50 — and ensure that the practice is not applied on the basis of discriminatory laws or as a result of discriminatory or arbitrary application of the law.

By draft resolution XIV, “Freedom of religion or belief”, adopted without a vote, the Assembly urged States to better protect and promote freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief.  It further called on them to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, to respond favourably to his requests to visit their countries and to provide all information and follow-up necessary for the effective fulfilment of his mandate.

The Assembly then adopted draft resolution XV, “Human Rights in the administration of justice”, appealing to States to apply individual criminal responsibility and refrain from detaining persons based solely on their family ties with an alleged offender.  It called on them to ensure a proper file and data management system on prisoners and pay special attention to the conditions of detention or imprisonment of persons who are in vulnerable situations or marginalized as well as to their particular needs.

The Assembly then adopted draft resolution XVI, “Missing persons”, calling on States to prevent persons from going missing in connection with armed conflict.  It called on States parties to an armed conflict to take all measures to determine the identity and fate of persons reported missing, and to provide their families with all relevant information.  The issue of missing persons must be addressed as a part of peacebuilding processes, on the basis of transparency, accountability and public involvement and participation.

The Assembly then adopted draft resolution XVII titled “The right to privacy in the digital age”, calling on all States to end violations of the right to privacy and to prevent them by ensuring that relevant national legislation complies with international human rights law.  It also called on businesses to inform users in “an intelligible and easily accessible way” about the collection, use, sharing and retention of their data that may affect their right to privacy, and to establish transparency policies, as appropriate.

The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of position, said paragraph 8 of resolution XII is important to ensure access to justice and accountability within applicable international law.  Noting that States taking measures to address terrorism must act in accordance with international law, she stressed that nothing in the resolution alters States’ international obligations, including those stemming from Security Council resolutions.  She disassociated from the text’s excessively broad call on States to ensure that counter-terrorism efforts do not impede on humanitarian aid.  While expressing support for the work of humanitarian actors, she said there is no obligation to allow the unrestricted delivery of humanitarian assistance to terrorist groups or individual terrorists.  The resolution has no impact on the binding obligations for Member States to refrain from providing funds to terrorist groups or individual terrorists, and to prevent actors within their territory from doing so.  She also disassociated from paragraph 30, noting that it introduces new language that could be used to support excessive restrictions on speech, particularly online.

The representative of Sudan, while reiterating support for the resolution on extrajudicial sentences, abstained because some of its provisions touch on contentious issues and ideas without any ground in international law, namely sexual orientation and sexual identity.  These concepts are not present in any international treaty on human rights.  Some resolutions referred to the International Criminal Court, and that is why Sudan requested a vote, he added.

The representative of China said he was unable to vote on the draft resolution titled “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas”, expressing support for the text.

The representative of the Bahamas also said she was unable to vote on the draft resolution titled “Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls:  sexual harassment”, requesting that her country’s support be included in the meeting’s record.

Moving on, the Assembly then turned to the report titled, “Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives” (document A/73/589/Add.3), containing five draft resolutions.

Action on two draft resolutions titled, “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine” and “Situation of human rights in Myanmar”, was postponed to allow time for the review of the programme budget implications by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).

The representative of Syria reiterated his strong rejection of the draft resolution regarding his country, adding that the key co-sponsor, Saudi Arabia, has no business sponsoring a text that deals with human rights.  He rejected the politicization of human rights and the fact that some countries use resolutions to target certain States by distorting facts.  “The royal family rules Saudi Arabia by gunpoint,” he continued, adding that Saudi Arabia just recently killed and dismembered a dissident.  He urged Member States to refrain from engaging in this “farce”.  Saudi Arabia has contempt for women and beheads people in its streets.  The adoption of this Saudi draft resolution will set a concerning precedent, he said, urging Member States to be cautious.  A vote for the text will be considered an act of aggression against Syria, he said, requesting a recorded vote.

The representative of Sudan said some States including members of the European Union have eroded consensus and fostered polarization by including references to the International Criminal Court in the resolution.  This coincided with attempts by the Court to target Africa, he said, emphasizing that it acts in a selective manner and demonstrates flagrant political biases.  The Court poses a danger to social peace and national unity in developing countries, he stated, urging delegates to vote in favour of the amendment.

The representative of Iran said the resolution on the human rights situation in Iran has only one objective, namely to place political pressure on people in his country.  The biggest threats to human rights are hypocrisy, double standards and politicization.  Canada must realize that tabling this resolution is a pointless exercise.  The fact that some States threatened to cut development funds in order to obtain support only exposes their hypocrisy.  Stressing that Iran recognizes the promotion and protection of human rights is a paramount requirement for national security, he assured that Iranians will never give up their commitment to human rights and democracy.  However, it is not for those who supported racism, colonialism, apartheid and preventive wars, amongst others, to lecture Iran on human rights.  Some countries are weaponizing food, drugs and medicine by imposing sanctions on the people of Iran and other countries.  Emphasizing that voting against this resolution is a step in the right direction, he reiterated his country’s belief in promoting and protecting human rights through dialogue, respect and mutual understanding.

The representative of Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said it is regrettable that Sudan tabled yet another amendment on the International Criminal Court.  Recalling that this topic has already been discussed in the Third Committee and earlier today, he emphasized that peace and justice are complementary, not mutually exclusive.  The Court has played a key role in assisting victims in seeking justice when it is not possible at the national level.  It has given millions of victims, many of whom are African, hope that justice can be achieved, he stated, calling on all States to vote against the amendment.

The representative of the Russian Federation said he did not support country-specific resolutions on human rights, which are often based on inaccurate information.  Such blatantly political resolutions discredit efforts to establish cooperation.  He said he will vote against the draft resolutions on the human rights situations in Iran, Myanmar and Syria and disassociate from the draft on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The representative of Liechtenstein, speaking on behalf of several countries, welcomed the call for accountability in the draft resolution on Syria’s situation.  Noting that the Assembly took a much-needed first step to close the impunity gap in Syria with the establishment of the International Impartial and Independent Mechanism, he called on all States to vote in favour of the draft and against all attempts to alter it.

The representative of Trinidad and Tobago said his country was committed to upholding the rule of law at both national and international levels.  He condemned all violations of human rights.  The Human Rights Council and human rights treaty bodies contribute greatly to addressing violations, he said, expressing concern over attempts to politicize the human rights situations of certain countries.  For such reasons, Trinidad and Tobago will abstain from voting on the forthcoming resolutions.

The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, recalling his earlier statement, reiterated his total rejection of the draft resolution concerning his country, which aims to disgrace its image.  He neither recognizes nor accepts the resolution nor feels the need to call for a vote.

The representative of Venezuela, citing drafts on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran and Syria, rejected any attempts to selectively address these issues for political purposes.  The continued practice of selectivity in relation to such situations violates the principles of non-selectivity and universality with which the United Nations should address human rights.  He expressed support for the position of the Non-Aligned Movement on this matter, stressing that Venezuela will vote against the drafts resolutions put to the vote, and disassociate from the draft on Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The representative of China said human rights differences should be resolved through constructive dialogue and cooperation based on mutual respect.  He rejected the exertion of pressure on other countries under the pretext of human rights.

The Assembly then turned to draft resolution I titled “Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, first taking up the draft amendment (A/73/L.60).

It rejected that amendment by a recorded vote of 95 against to 19 in favour, with 43 abstentions.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, draft resolution I as a whole, condemning long-standing and ongoing systematic gross rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

By a recorded vote of 84 in favour to 30 against, with 67 abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft resolution II, “Situation of human rights in Iran”, expressing serious concern over “the alarmingly high frequency” of death penalty use, and urging Iran to eliminate, in law and practice, all discrimination and rights violations against women and girls.

By a recorded vote of 111 in favour to 15 against, with 55 abstentions, the Assembly adopted draft resolution IV, “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic”, urging States, especially members of the International Syria Support Group, to create conditions for negotiations on a political solution to the conflict, and demanding that the Syrian regime adhere fully to its international obligations, including to declare in full its chemical weapons programme.  It further demanded that Syrian authorities immediately cease any attacks on civilians and any indiscriminate weapons use in populated areas.

The representative of Tunisia, in explanation of vote, said her delegation abstained from voting on the Syria resolution.  Reaffirming Tunisia’s rejection of all rights violations, she called for the provision of the protection for civilians and stressed that all perpetrators of rights violations must be held accountable.

The representative of Iran said the resolution on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea contravenes the principles of universality, objectivity and non-selectivity.

The representative of Cuba disassociated from consensus on the resolution on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  It is only through genuine impartiality, non-selectivity and objectivity that human rights can be adequately promoted and protected.  He reiterated the importance of the Universal Periodic Review to stimulate respectful cooperation, stressing that this resolution is counterproductive and involves the Security Council in matters that do not affect international peace and security.

The representative of Saudi Arabia, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said Syria’s representative made mendacious allegations.  Syria’s Government has violated moral principles and international law.  Emphasizing that the heinous crimes committed against the Syrian people amount to a tragedy, he said his country is hosting numerous Syrians displaced by the conflict.  Remarks by Syria’s representative are an attempt to hide the truth.

The representative of Syria said Saudi Arabia is not party to human rights instruments, beheads people — similarly to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) — and kills innocent children in Yemen and Syria.  What is more, Saudi Arabia has issued fatwas calling for murders, contravening the principles of humanism.

The representative of Saudi Arabia, recalling his country’s official name, said he refuses to lower himself to Syria’s level.

Under the agenda item of “Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action”, the Assembly took note of the eponymous report of the Third Committee.

The Assembly next took up the report titled “Crime prevention and criminal justice” (document A/73/590) containing nine draft resolutions.

Turning to draft resolution I titled “Enhancing the role of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, the Assembly adopted it without a vote.  In so doing, it invited Member States and United Nations entities, among others, to provide the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice their views on how it can contribute to the review of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Adopting without a vote draft resolution II, “Follow-up to the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice”, the Assembly decided to hold the Fourteenth Congress in Kyoto, Japan, from 20 to 27 April 2020, with consultations held on 19 April 2020.  It also decided that the high-level segment would be held during the first two days, and that a declaration would be adopted and submitted to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

The Assembly then adopted without a vote draft resolution III titled “The rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals”, urging States to continue to recognize the cross-cutting nature of the rule of law, crime prevention and criminal justice and development, and to mainstream crime prevention strategies — with a gender perspective — into all social and economic policies and programmes.  The Assembly encouraged States to counter trafficking in wildlife, poaching, and illicit trafficking in forest products.

By draft resolution IV titled “Strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity”, adopted without a vote, the Assembly urged States that have not yet done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the international conventions and protocols concerning transnational organized crime, narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, corruption and terrorism.  It also urged States and international organizations to develop national, subregional, regional and global strategies to address transnational organized crime, calling on States to address the threat posed by radicalization to terrorism in prisons.

The Assembly then adopted, by a recorded vote of 94 in favour to 59 against, with 33 abstentions, draft resolution V titled “Countering the use of information and communication technologies for criminal purposes”.  In so doing, the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to seek States’ views on the challenges of countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes, and to present a report based on those views at the seventy-fourth session.  It decided that any additional costs arising in this regard should be met from voluntary contributions.

Next, the Assembly adopted without a vote draft resolution VI, “United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders”.  By its terms, the Assembly reaffirmed the need to strengthen the Institute’s capacity to support national crime prevention and criminal justice mechanisms.  It urged States members of the Institute that have failed to meet their financial pledges to pay all or part of those outstanding arrears, and requested the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to continue to work closely with the Institute.

The Assembly then adopted without a vote draft resolution VII, “Strengthening and promoting effective measures and international cooperation on organ donation and transplantation to prevent and combat trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal and trafficking in human organs”, urging States to consider strengthening legislative frameworks to criminalize human trafficking for the purpose of organ removal and trafficking in human organs, as well as adopt legislative measures guaranteeing that organ donation is guided by clinical criteria and ethical norms, based on donors’ informed and voluntary consent.

By other terms, the Assembly urged States to ensure that the removal and transplantation of human organs exclusively take place in centres authorized by national health authorities, as well as to enhance regulatory oversight, and establish data registries on each organ recovery and transplant procedure.  States should develop effective and properly resourced organ donation and transplant systems, and provide technical assistance for their implementation in requesting countries.

The Assembly then took up draft resolution VIII titled “Preventing and combating corrupt practices and the transfer of proceeds of corruption, facilitating asset recovery and returning such assets to legitimate owners, in particular to countries of origin, in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption”, adopting it without a vote.  By its terms, the Assembly condemned corruption at all levels and in all its forms, including bribery and the laundering of corruption proceeds.  It urged States to penalize corruption and the laundering of corruption proceeds.  States parties to the Convention against Corruption should designate a central authority for international cooperation and appoint focal points to ensure mutual legal assistance in asset recovery.

The Assembly then adopted without a vote draft resolution IX, “Special Session of the General Assembly against Corruption”, deciding to convene in the first half of 2021 a special session on challenges and measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation.  At the special session, the Assembly will adopt a political declaration.  Requesting the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to provide substantive expertise and technical support, the Assembly further decided to conduct the special session and its preparatory process from within existing resources.

The General Assembly then took note of the Secretary-General’s reports on:  the follow-up to the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; on technical assistance in implementing the international conventions and protocols related to terrorism; and a note transmitting the report of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on its seventh session.

Moving on, the Assembly took up a report titled “International drug control” (document A/73/591), containing one draft resolution titled, “International Cooperation to address and counter the world drug problem”, which it adopted without a vote.

By its terms, the Assembly encouraged Member States to enhance North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation to counter the world drug problem.  It urged them to ensure non-discriminatory access to health care and social services in prevention, primary care and treatment, including in prison or pretrial detention, and to ensure that women have access to adequate health services and counselling, notably during pregnancy.  The Assembly further called on Member States to respond to the challenges posed by the links between drug trafficking and other crimes — such as trafficking in persons and in firearms, cybercrime, money-laundering and terrorism — through a multidisciplinary approach.

The Assembly then took up the report on “Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly” (document A/73/592), adopting without a vote the draft decision therein on the “Programme of work of the Third Committee for the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly”.

The Assembly took note of the report “Programme planning” (document A/73/593), which contained no proposed action.

For information media. Not an official record.