That resolution was one of 14 approved by the Committee — six by vote — on a wide range of topics: crime prevention and criminal justice, international drug control, advancement of women, elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, right of peoples to self-determination, the promotion and protection of human rights, and country-specific resolutions on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Myanmar.
Titled “international cooperation against the world drug problem”, the draft would have the Assembly recognize that strategies for controlling crops used for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances should be based on the principle of shared responsibility. It would stress the urgent need to respond to challenges posed by links between drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime, including trafficking in human beings, trafficking in firearms, cybercrime and, in some cases, terrorism and money-laundering. The Assembly would recommend the Economic and Social Council to devote one of its high-level segments to a theme related to the world drug problem, and also to recommend that the Assembly itself hold a special session.
As noted by the representative of the Russian Federation, the resolution did not include a clear appeal to strengthen regional cooperation in and around Afghanistan. Earlier resolutions had drawn attention to the drug trade emanating from Afghanistan, which, the Russian Federation explained, was because Afghan opiates on the illegal drug market, and the proliferation of terrorist groups in that country in relation to the drug trade, was a global threat. But, in recent years, States had developed diverging opinions on whether Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation and the resulting drug trade should be an element of the text. But, because it was absent from this year’s draft, Russia had chosen not to co-sponsor the draft, though it did not oppose consensus on that text.
Also approved by consensus was the draft resolution on the right to food, which passed without a vote for the first time to a jubilant round of applause from Member States. By its terms, the Assembly would reaffirm that hunger constituted an “outrage” and a violation of human dignity and, therefore, required urgent measures at the national, regional and international levels for its elimination. It would have the Assembly express concern that women and girls were disproportionately affected by hunger, food insecurity and poverty, and would reaffirm the need to ensure that programmes to deliver safe and nutritious food were inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities. The Assembly would also recognize State support for small farmers, fishing communities and local enterprises as a key element for food security and the provision of the right to food.
That draft contained further provisions calling on members of the World Trade Organization ( WTO ) who were party to its intellectual property rights regime to consider implementing it in a manner supportive of food security. That led some States, such as Canada and the United States, to launch a defence of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ( TRIPs ), saying there was nothing preventing TRIPs-agreeing States from pursuing the right to food or food security. But, those States also voiced support for the text, which the representative of Canada said should be realized progressively as part of the right to an adequate standard of living.
The first of six resolutions voted on by the Committee was on the inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. That text was approved by a vote of 124 in favour to 1 against ( United States ), with 55 abstentions. ( See Annex I. )
The representative of the United States, responsible for requesting the vote and the sole “no” vote, said the text did not make a distinction between actions and expressions. The European Union, which abstained from the vote, expressed concern at the text’s selectivity and the way in which new paragraphs had appeared to dilute the text. The representative of Sweden, who spoke on behalf of the European Union, said the text contained an inaccurate reflection of the Nuremburg trials — one of the draft’s preambular paragraphs had the Assembly recalling the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Judgement of the Tribunal, which was said to have declared Nazi Germany’s SS organization and all its integral parts, including the Waffen SS, as responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Committee also voted on a text regarding the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, approving it by a vote of 122 in favour to 53 against, with 5 abstentions ( Fiji, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, Tonga ) ( Annex II ).
On of the provisions of that draft would have the Assembly request the Working Group on the use of mercenaries to continue the work already done by previous Special Rapporteurs on strengthening the international legal framework to regulate the use mercenaries, while taking account of the proposal for a new legal definition of a mercenary. On that point, the representative of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the elaboration of a definition fell under the competence of the Sixth Committee ( Legal ), as did any attempt to link the use of mercenaries with terrorism. The European Union voted against the draft.
Two more votes were held on texts regarding the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, approved by a vote of 121 in favour to 54 against, with 5 abstentions ( Argentina, Armenia, Chile, Mexico, Peru ) ( Annex III ), and the right to development, approved by a recorded vote of 130 in favour to 22 against, with 30 abstentions ( Annex IV ).
Country-specific resolutions on the human rights situations in the Democratic Republic of Korea and Myanmar were also put to a vote. The draft resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was approved by a vote of 97 in favour to 19 against, with 65 abstentions ( see Annex V ), while the draft resolution on Myanmar was approved by a vote of 92 in favour to 26 against, with 65 abstentions ( Annex VI ). Notably this year, the country-specific resolutions on those two countries were approved without a no-action motion.
During the voting process, numerous speakers protested against country-specific resolutions, saying they were highly divisive and that human rights issues should not be exploited for political purposes. The representative of Egypt, who spoke on behalf of members of the Non-Aligned Movement, relayed the views of their leaders at a summit meeting at Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, where they had expressed deep concern over the continuation of the selective adoption of country-specific resolutions in the Third Committee, in breach of the principle of universality, impartiality and non-selectively in addressing human rights. They, and many others with similar views, stressed that the Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the Human Rights Council was the best place to consider the human rights situation in all countries, in the spirit of constructive dialogue and transparency.
However, the representative of Japan — who, along with the representative of Sweden on behalf of the European Union, was one of the main sponsors of the draft resolution on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — argued that, under the Universal Periodic Review process, countries were only reviewed once every four years. Further, the Council had a limited membership, while all States were represented by the General Assembly. In the event of widespread violations, both the Human Rights Council and the Third Committee could address human rights issues within their respective mandates.
All remaining resolutions before the Committee were approved without a vote, including: on strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity; violence against women migrant workers; and 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.
Also approved without a vote were draft texts on: strengthening United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity; on the Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa; and on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
The representative of Zambia introduced a draft decision on the report of the Human Rights Council.
Speaking on matters relating to the various draft resolutions were the representatives of Liechtenstein, Venezuela, Russian Federation, Bolivia, Sweden ( on behalf of the European Union ), Singapore, Philippines, Belarus, United States, Switzerland, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Finland, New Zealand ( also on behalf of Switzerland ), Egypt ( on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement ), China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Bahamas, Syria, Libya, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Cuba, Nepal, Barbados, Sudan, Viet Nam, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Jordan, Myanmar, Thailand and Australia.
The representatives of the United Kingdom, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Japan spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
Several countries spoke on a draft resolution adopted on 12 November, on further steps to improve the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons. Those speakers were the representatives of the Russian Federation, Zambia ( on behalf of the African Group ), Ecuador, Sweden ( on behalf of the European Union ), Nicaragua, Norway, Japan, El Salvador and the United States.
That resolution, whose wording was approved at the Committee’s last meeting, would have the Assembly take note of a decision of the President of the sixty-third session of the General Assembly to appoint co-facilitators to start consultations and consideration of a plan of action against human trafficking. But, as observed by the representative of Sweden, some States were in favour of a global plan of action, while others were not.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday, 20 November, to act on remaining draft texts.
The Third Committee ( Social, Humanitarian and Cultural ) met this morning to hear the introduction of a draft decision on the report of the Human Rights Council ( document A/C.3/64/L.61 ).
It was also expected to continue its consideration of a draft resolution on further steps to improve the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons ( document A/C.3/64/L.11/Rev.1 ), which it adopted on 12 November, and to take action on a draft resolution on strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity ( document A/C.3/64/L.12 ), both under its agenda item on crime prevention and criminal justice.
The Committee was also expected to take action on a number of other draft texts, including, under its agenda item on international drug control, a draft resolution on international cooperation against the world drug problem ( document A/C.3/64/L.15/Rev.1 ).
It was expected to take action on two draft resolutions under the agenda item on the advancement of women on violence against migrant women workers ( document A/C.3/64/L.18/Rev.1 ) and 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.3/64/L.60 ).
Action was also expected on draft resolutions on inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance ( document A/C.3/64/L.53 ), under the agenda on the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and 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.3/64/L.57 ), under its agenda item on the right of peoples to self-determination.
The Committee was expected to act, under its agenda item on the promotion and protection of human rights, on 10 draft resolutions, including: promotion of a democratic and equitable international order ( document A/C.3/64/L.28 ), strengthening United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity ( document A/C.3/64/L.29 ), the right to food ( document A/C.3/64/L.30/Rev.1 ), Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa ( document A/C.3/64/L.40 ), International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance ( document A/C.3/64/L.42/Rev.1 ), the right to development ( document A/C.3/64/L.47 ), situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ( document A/C.3/64/L.35 ), situation of human rights in Myanmar ( document A/C.3/64/L.36* ) and its associated programme budget implications ( document A/C.3/64/L.62 ), and situation of human rights in Iran ( document A/C.3/64/L.37 ).
Statements Deferred from Committee’s Last Meeting
The Committee began the meeting by hearing statements concerning a resolution adopted at its last meeting, on improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons ( document A/C.3/64/L.11/Rev.1 ), approved without a vote.
Regarding that draft, the representative of the Russian Federation thanked the delegation of Belarus as the draft’s principal sponsor, saying the resolution addressed an important problem that required joint international effort and true political will to solve. Given the issue’s importance, the lengthy calibration process was justified. From the start, the goal had been to reach consensus, which had, indeed, been achieved. The Russian Federation would like to see the resolution more focused on practical action and results, through a global plan to combat trafficking. But, the final result must be reached through compromise, so that it was acceptable to all Members. His Government had gladly joined the list of co-sponsors, and was satisfied that the draft had been adopted without a vote, as it had been in the previous year.
The representative of Zambia, offering a general statement after action on behalf of the African Group, said the resolution should help make a difference to all victims of trafficking. The Group had been happy to co-sponsor the draft and appreciated the efforts of the delegation of Belarus for the long hours of consultations it had put into the draft to guarantee consensus. Those consultations had been difficult, demonstrating the political commitment of all parties to the cause. Trafficking in persons was a problem affecting all countries, especially Africa, whose leaders had passed a unanimous decision at the African Union summit in July, at Sharm el Sheikh, calling for a United Nations global plan of action on trafficking. Such a plan should ensure a coordinated approach to combat the scourge, and to coordinate the efforts of States, the United Nations system and other stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector, while taking account of legal mechanisms such as the Convention against Organized Crime and its Optional Protocol. Many others around the world were also supportive of a plan of action on trafficking, such as the Non-Aligned Movement, and those in Europe, Asia, North America and South America. The European Union had its own European Union global plan of action, adopted in October.
She recalled that consideration of a global plan of action had started last year, and was reflected in General Assembly resolution 63/194 directed towards the President of the Assembly, who had led thematic dialogues on the issue at the sixty-third session and had appointed facilitators. The new resolution would provide the President with a legislative mandate to continue consideration of that matter, which also provided for wide participation among States and other stakeholders. At the same time, strong commitment by the Secretary-General, the Human Rights Commissioner and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking would help take that commitment to a new level. She acknowledged the United Nations system and the good coordinating role played by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC ). While Africa was mainly an origin country, that crime did not discriminate against continents. There were victims everywhere and, as shown at a panel discussion convened by the Human Rights Commissioner last month, the race and ethnicity of victims did not matter. She said African countries had pledged to uphold their responsibility in helping victims to “fight their victimization”.
The representative of Ecuador said the fight against trafficking in persons had been a priority for his country since 2004. In that regard, its policies aimed at prevention, investigation and sanctioning, and the protection of victims. It paid attention, particularly, to the latter policy area and had, to that end, approved a plan to protect women, children, boys and girls. Underling that, under article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, no one should be committed to slavery, and his country was committed to working to ensure no new form of slavery would violate its citizens’ rights.
He noted, however, that developing countries had a particular vulnerability in two aspects: they had become ideal spaces for recruitment and exploitation of victims of human trafficking. His delegation, thus, believed the network against human trafficking must be stronger and applauded the fact that the United Nations was willing to tackle that problem. The Organization should work towards a global plan against trafficking. His delegation was willing to make all efforts towards making that plan come to fruition.
Sweden’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the Union was pleased to join consensus on the text. The Union remained fully committed to fighting trafficking and was a proud party to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. It strongly believed that the strong commitment of the international community was needed to provide more stringent monitoring of this Convention. It welcomed the elaboration of a framework of action for effective implementation of the Convention’s Trafficking Protocol and had organized plans in that respect. More needed to be done to further address all forms of trafficking, including child trafficking, and to train law enforcement personnel in the protection of human rights.
He went on to say that combating trafficking in human beings was a priority for the Union, as had been reaffirmed in the ministerial conference that took place in Brussels in October. Indeed, trafficking was a grave offence. Some States were in favour of a global plan of action, while others were not. The resolution took note of the consultations on such a plan, and the Union considered it fundamental that any potential new instrument not divert energy or focus from implementing agreements laid out in other instruments, such as the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
The representative of Nicaragua, also thanking the representative of Belarus for conducting a conciliatory negotiations process, praised that delegation for taking account of the concerns of all delegations. Nevertheless, she expressed deep regret that some States did not share the same interest in moving forward on a global plan of action, which could provide a strategic framework for applying existing international instruments in a way that complemented them and helped fill gaps. She reiterated the importance of having a global plan of action based on broad consensus, and said the resolution was a step towards that common objective. She extended an invitation to those that still rejected efforts to tackle this modern form of slavery to join the process of drafting such a plan.
The representative of Norway said his country had been pleased to join the consensus and thanked the delegation of Belarus for facilitating negotiations on that text. His Government was committed to combating trafficking in persons and was a strong supporter of the Convention on Organized Crime and its Optional Protocol, which it considered to be the principal legally binding instrument to fight trafficking. The growing number of supporters of that Convention was a sign of States’ commitment to combat that crime. Before States moved to develop new instruments, existing ones should first be put to use fully and effectively. The Conference of States Parties had been established to improve the capacity of States to promote and review the Convention and to promote its better use, including its Protocols, and was supported by an independent review of implementation mechanisms. He looked forward to implementing decision 4/1 by the Conference of Parties on a possible mechanism to review the Convention and its Protocols.
The representative of Japan said his Government was fully committed to coordinating action to combat trafficking and had been pleased to join the consensus. Due to the grave nature of the crime, Japan firmly believed in the vital need for coordination action to be effective and efficient. As described in operative paragraph 8 of the text, States needed to start to consider the most effective and efficient means of doing so, while taking into account a global plan as one possible action. He would take part in such consultations, which he hoped would be open and transparent.
The representative of El Salvador said the subject of the resolution was an important one, and she would have liked to have seen more on providing protection to victims, particularly children and women. But, given the issue’s importance, her country wished to join the list of co-sponsors, nevertheless.
The Secretary of the Committee, MONCEH KHANE, then informed the representative of El Salvador that the list of co-sponsors was closed, because the resolution had already been adopted.
The United States representative said his country appreciated the efforts of parties to reach consensus on the text and had agreed to join consensus on it. The United States did so on the understanding that it must be recognized that slavery continued to exist in the twenty-first century and much work remained to be done at all levels to combat trafficking in persons. International attention should be focused on the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. With more countries adopting strong anti-trafficking steps, there had been a reduction in trafficking. Clearly, effective enforcement of national laws was the only viable deterrent.
He further underlined that the Convention was open to accession by all States. Moreover, the rules of procedure to the Convention’s Conference allowed the participation of non-States parties as observers. In practice, there was no difference between participants and observers in terms of the decisions taken by the Conference. Thus, non-participation in the Conference was by choice. The United States remained sceptical that a global action plan would be effective, believing, instead, that that plan would be another exercise that would distract countries on what they needed to do to stop trafficking. While the United States considered international coordination important, Governments needed to do more at home. International coordination could be helpful, if it aimed to bring donors together with those seeking and in need of support.
Action on Draft Resolutions
As it moved to take action on the draft resolutions before it, the Committee turned first to a text on strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity ( document A/C.3/64/L.12/Rev.1 ).
Mr. KHANE said that adoption of the text would entail no additional budgetary implications under the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.
The representative of Italy introduced the text, which would have the Assembly reaffirm the importance of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols as the main tools of the international community to fight transnational organized crime. It would also call upon Member States to strengthen their efforts to cooperate, as appropriate, at bilateral, subregional, regional and international levels to counter effectively transnational organized crime
By further provisions, the Assembly would request the UNODC to finalize, as soon as possible, the Santo Domingo Pact and other regional programmes, as well as the Managua Mechanism document for approval by States parties, in order to start their implementation with all active partners at all levels. That Office would also be urged to continue providing technical assistance to Member States to combat money-laundering and the financing of terrorism through the Global Programme against Money-Laundering, in accordance with United Nations related instruments and internationally accepted standards.
The Assembly would further recognize the efforts made by the UNODC to assist Member States in developing abilities and strengthening their capacity to prevent and combat kidnapping and request the Office to continue to provide technical assistance in order to foster international cooperation, particularly mutual legal assistance, aimed at effectively countering that growing serious crime.
By other terms, Member States and relevant international organizations would be urged to develop national and regional strategies and other necessary measures to address effectively transnational organized crime, including trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants and illicit manufacturing of and transnational trafficking in firearms, as well as corruption and terrorism. In that regard, the text urges the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to assist Member States upon request in combating the illicit trafficking in firearms and all relevant paraphernalia.
The Secretary-General would also be requested to convene, in the framework of the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, a special high-level meeting of the Assembly on transnational organized crime and corruption in the second quarter of 2010. He would also be requested to organize a special treaty event to promote ratification or accession to the Convention and the Protocols thereto during that high-level meeting.
Speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of Liechtenstein said that, as a traditional co-sponsor of the draft resolution, her delegation had approached consultations on the text in a willing spirit. It believed that the provision of capacity-building assistance by the UNODC was paramount for post-conflict countries. There was no question that the Office was, under its rule of law programme, mandated to assist States in establishing institutions for the provision of justice and rule of law, irrespective of the crimes those bodies would address. Liechtenstein believed the text was a good one, even though it did not make explicit reference to the proposals her delegation had made during the consultations.
Acting without a vote, the Committee then approved the draft text.
Speaking in explanation of position after action, the representative of Venezuela said her delegation had joined consensus, but had reservations about the context of various preambular paragraphs that did not have a basis in relevant agreements by United Nations Member States on the fight against terrorism. Among other things, she highlighted the reference to “granting of mutual legal assistance” and the granting of extradition.
Moreover, preambular paragraph 14 said the actions of States against terrorism were a “common and shared responsibility”. Yet, that was not expressed in any of the agreements or treaties on terrorism on either the international level or the regional level. That paragraph was a distortion of the Declaration of Bangkok, which talked about improving international responsibility, but did not talk about shared responsibilities. If that was so, the situation of the terrorist who had exploded a Cuban airliner would have to be discussed. Her delegation considered the content of the paragraph in question went beyond the resolution’s scope.
Turning to the content of the preambular paragraph that established a link between organized armed crime and terrorism, she said Venezuela did not recognize such links, since every action had different motivations. Presupposing an automatic link denied this and the need to address those motivations. Moreover, those links were neither automatic nor permanent. Regarding the obstacles raised by the delegation facilitating that draft, Venezuela reiterated its willingness to raise those issues again with a view towards achieving a more satisfactory text.
Following that action, the Committee turned to the draft resolution on international cooperation against the world drug problem ( document A/C.3/64/L.15/Rev.1 ).
The Secretary, Mr. KHANE, made an oral amendment to the text to correct a punctuation error, before informing the Committee that the resolution’s adoption would not entail any additional requirements under the proposed programmed budget for the 2010-2011 biennium. He also explained the difference between a special session and a high-level meeting, saying that a special session was likely to give rise to programme budget implications, since it would require procedural arrangements on par to a regular session: the election of a President and Bureau, the preparation of a formal, self-standing provisional agenda, and so on. On the other hand, a high-level meeting could be organized without the need for such organizational decisions and would, thus, be more straight-forward to hold, irrespective of any programme budget implications. He was offering that explanation while noting that the recommendation to hold a meeting of some sort had originated from Vienna; that Office might not know the implications of holding a special session versus a high-level meeting.
The draft resolution was introduced by the representative of Mexico.
That text would have the Assembly adoptthe Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, as adopted at the high-level segment of the fifty-second session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. It would also call on States to take the measures necessary to implement the goals and targets therein.
By further terms, the Assembly would recognize that sustainable crop control strategies targeting the illicit cultivation of crops used for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances require international cooperation based on the principle of shared responsibility, as well as an integrated and balanced approach. It would also recognize that such crop control strategies include alternative development and, where appropriate, preventive alternative development programmes, eradication and law enforcement measures and that crop-control strategies should be in full conformity with article 14 of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988, appropriately coordinated and phased in accordancewith national policies.
Among other provisions, the Assembly would stress the urgent need to respond to the serious challenges posed by the increasing links between drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime, including trafficking in human beings, trafficking in firearms, cybercrime and, in some cases, terrorism and money-laundering. It would also urge the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to increase collaboration with intergovernmental, international and relevant regional organizations involved in combating the world drug problem. That Office would be requested to continue providing technical assistance to Member States so as to enhance capacity in countering the world drug problem.
The Assembly would also urge all Governments to provide the fullest possible financial and political support to the UNODC by widening its donor base and increasing voluntary contributions, particularly general-purpose contributions, to enable it to continue, expand, improve and strengthen its operational and technical cooperation activities. It would also recommend that a sufficient share of the regular budget of the United Nations be allocated to the Office to enable it to carry out its mandate in a consistent and stable manner.
Member States would be further urged to implement the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Declaration of the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction and to strengthen their national efforts to counter the abuse of illicit drugs in their populations, in particular among young people. It would also recommend that the Economic and Social Council devote one of its high-level segments to a theme related to the world drug problem, and also recommend that the Assembly itself hold a special session to address the world drug problem.
The representative of Russian Federation said his Government had chosen not to oppose consensus on the draft, but had chosen, also, not to co-sponsor it. The text once again did not include references to a policy for strengthening international cooperation in suppressing the proliferation of drugs from Afghanistan. The Russian Government attached great importance in dealing with the world drug problem and in expanding anti-drug cooperation under the aegis of the United Nations. It believed that a General Assembly omnibus resolution on the issue must be built on an objective and expert assessment of global trends and threats posed by illegal drugs, and on areas requiring special attention. Such an assessment would, in the long run, determine the effectiveness of efforts to deal with the world drug problem.
But, he said, in recent years, States had clearly diverged on the issue of whether Afghanistan’s illicit opium poppy cultivation and the illegal trade of drugs from there was an important element of the fight against drugs. Earlier resolutions had highlighted that issue, and the Russian Federation had stated, on a number of occasions, that a mention of Afghanistan was not for the purpose of highlighting the problems of an individual country or to assess the efforts of its Government to combat drugs. Rather, it had been included in the text because existence of opiates in the illegal drug market, and of the proliferation of terrorist groups in that country in relation to the drug trade, was a global threat. In Russia’s opinion, underestimating the scope of the threat posed by drugs from Afghanistan would send a counter-productive signal. Excluding a clear appeal to strengthen regional cooperation in and around Afghanistan was a step away from a balanced approached found in the omnibus resolutions of former sessions, and would hamper efforts to suppress the threat related to production and trade of Afghan drugs.
Bolivia’s representative welcomed consensus on that resolution, while pointing out that operative paragraph 7 ( c ) would call on States to account for the traditional licit use of crops where there was historical evidence of such use. Chewing of coca leaves was a traditional and legal use of that plant in his country, as backed by abundant historical data. Any resolution on that issue must bear in mind such traditional uses. His country was firmly committed to the fight against drug trafficking.
The draft was approved, as orally corrected and without a vote.
The representative of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the adoption of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem. He also noted that the initial proposal by the main sponsor was to strive for a streamlined and procedural resolution. Negotiations had resulted in a longer and more comprehensive text, which he believed could have been made even more comprehensive had negotiations continued. The European Union would have liked to have seen greater emphasis on the demand side, including HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. That explained why not all European Union States were able to co-sponsor the text.
The representative of Venezuela pointed out that her Government would have wanted to become a co-sponsor, but could not do so because of reservations about operative paragraph 9. Drawing an automatic link between different crimes was tantamount to ignoring the system of due process and the presumption of innocence that underpinned most judicial systems. Her country did not consider links between terrorism and transnational organized crime to be automatic or permanent, and needed to be analysed on a case-by-case basis. However, it believed the rest of the resolution was satisfactory.
The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on violence against women migrant workers ( document A/C.3/64/L.18/Rev.1 ), which was introduced by the representative of the Philippines, who made several oral revisions, including pointing out that the correct title of the text was “violence against women migrant workers” not “violence against migrant women workers”.
That text would have the Assembly call upon all Governments to incorporate a human rights and gender perspective in legislation and policies on international migration, labour and employment consistent with their human rights obligations and commitments under human rights instruments for the prevention and protection of migrant women from violence and discrimination, exploitation and abuse. Governments would also be called on to ensure that such migration and labour policies do not reinforce discrimination and bias against women and to consider expanding dialogue among States on devising innovative methods to promote legal channels of migration in order to deter illegal migration.
By further provisions, the Assembly would urge Governments to enhance bilateral, regional, interregional and international cooperation to address violence against women migrant workers, fully respecting international law, and to strengthen efforts to reduce the vulnerability of women migrant workers, including through sustainable development alternatives to migration in countries of origin. It would also urge Governments to account for the best interests of the child by adopting or strengthening measures to promote and protect the human rights of migrant girls to prevent their labour and economic exploitation, discrimination, sexual harassment, violence and sexual abuse in the workplace.
The Assembly would also urge Governments, in cooperation with international organizations, civil society and the private sector, to strengthen the focus on and funding support for preventing violence against women migrant workers. Among other things, they should promote women’s access to meaningful and gender-sensitive information and education on: the costs and benefits of migration; the rights and benefits to which they are entitled in the countries of origin; employment and the overall conditions in countries of employment; and procedures for legal migration. They should also ensure that laws and policies governing recruiters, employers and intermediaries, particularly in the fields of entertainment and domestic work, promoted adherence to, and respect for, the human rights of migrant workers.
Further by the text, Governments would be asked to recognize the right of women migrant workers to have access to emergency health services and to ensure that pregnancy and childbirth were not used as grounds for repatriation or deportation. States that have not yet done so would be urged to adopt and implement legislation and policies that protect all women migrant domestic workers, and to grant them access to transparent mechanisms for bringing complaints against employers.
The Assembly would also call on Governments, particularly those of the countries of origin and destination, to establish penal and criminal sanctions to punish perpetrators and intermediaries of violence against women migrant workers. Victims should have access to justice mechanisms, which should also ensure that migrant women do not suffer from revictimization, including by authorities.
State would be also be urged to adopt effective measures to put an end to the arbitrary arrest and detention of women migrant workers and to take action to prevent and punish any form of illegal deprivation of the liberty of women migrant workers by individuals or groups.
Acting without a vote, the Committee approved the draft text, as orally revised.
Speaking in explanation of position after the vote, the representative of Singapore reaffirmed his country’s commitment to protecting the rights of women migrant workers. Singapore was pleased to join consensus on the understanding that the elements in the resolution would be implemented by nations according to their individual circumstances.
The Committee then turned to a draft resolution on 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.3/64/L.60 ), which was introduced by the CHAIR.
That text would have the Assembly call on Governments and the relevant bodies of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations and civil society actors, to intensify action to achieve the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session. It would further reaffirm that States have an obligation to exercise due diligence to prevent violence against women and girls, provide protection to victims of violence and to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of such violence, and that failure to do so violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
It would, thus, call on Governments to elaborate and implement laws and strategies to eliminate violence against women and girls; encourage and support men and boys in taking an active part in the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence; encourage increased understanding among men and boys of how violence harms girls, boys, women and men and undermines gender equality; and encourage all actors to speak out against any violence against women. It would also welcome the Secretary-General’s campaign “UNiTE to End Violence against Women” and the United Nations Development Fund for Women ( UNIFEM ) social mobilization and advocacy platform “Say NO to violence against women”.
Among other provisions, the Assembly would welcome the opportunities provided in intergovernmental bodies in 2010 to accelerate progress in the achievement of gender equality and gender balance, as well as the empowerment of women. Those events would include, among others, the 15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the Assembly’s twenty-third special session at the fifty-fourth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, as well as the annual ministerial review to be held by the Economic and Social Council on the theme “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to gender equality and the empowerment of women”.
The Assembly would encourage Member States, United Nations entities and other relevant actors to fully utilize the opportunities provided in intergovernmental bodies in 2010, including intergovernmental consultations, with a view towards prompt progress as set forth in resolution 63/311, including strengthening the institutional arrangements for the support of gender equality and empowerment of women. It would also reiterate its call to all bodies of the United Nations system to increase efforts to fully mainstream a gender perspective into all issues under their consideration and within their mandates, as well as in all United Nations summits, conferences and special sessions. In that regard, the Assembly looked forward to efficient and effective support for those efforts by the consolidated gender entity, upon its establishment.
The Assembly would also call on all parts of the United Nations system to continue to play an active role in ensuring the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session, by, among other things, maintaining gender specialists in all entities of the United Nations system and by ensuring that all personnel, especially in the field, received training and appropriate follow-up for accelerated gender mainstreaming. It would further reaffirm the need to strengthen the capabilities of the United Nations system in the area of gender and call on the United Nations system to continue its efforts towards achieving the goal of gender balance, including with the active support of gender focal points.
Further to the text, the Secretary-General would be requested to provide an oral report to the Commission on the Status of Women at its fifty-fourth session and to report to the Assembly on a biennial basis, beginning at its sixty-fifth session, under the item entitled “Advancement of women”. He was also asked to include in his report on human resources management information on the status of women in the United Nations system.
The Committee then approved the draft text without a vote.
In accordance with Assembly decision 55/488, it then took note of the report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on its forty-second and forty-third sessions ( document A/64/38 ); the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report on the future operation of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women ( document A/64/79-E/2009/74 ); and the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report on the activities of UNIFEM ( documents A/64/164 and Add.1 ).
The Committee next turned to a draft on the inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance ( document A/C.3/64/L.53 ), introduced by the representative of the Russian Federation, who made oral corrections to the text.
The draft would have the Assembly express deep concern about the glorification of the Nazi movement and former members of the Waffen SS organization, including by erecting monuments and memorials and holding public demonstrations in the name of the glorification of the Nazi past, the Nazi movement and neo-Nazism, as well as by declaring or attempting to declare such members and those who fought against the anti-Hitler coalition and collaborated with the Nazi movement as participants in national liberation movements.
Further by the text, the Assembly would express concern at recurring attempts to desecrate or demolish monuments erected in remembrance of those who fought against Nazism during the Second World War, as well as to unlawfully exhume or remove the remains of such persons, and would urge States in that regard to fully comply with their obligations under article 34 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 [on remains of deceased].
Other provisions would have the Assembly note with concern the rise of skinhead groups responsible for racist incidents in several countries, as well as the resurgence of violence targeting members of ethnic, religious or cultural communities and national minorities, as observed by the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in his latest report. It would emphasize the need to act to put an end to those practices, and would call on States to take more effective measures in that regard. It would reaffirm the obligation of States parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination — among other things — to declare illegal organizations that promote and incite racial discrimination and to recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law. They were also obliged to prohibit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, from promoting or inciting racial discrimination.
Speaking in explanation of position before action, the representative of Belarus said her delegation fully supported the text. She thanked the Russian delegation for its introduction. The phenomena it addressed had to be addressed and the current resolution had an important message for today’s youth, including its important historical message. The victory in the Second World War came at a high price. The war took the lives of millions of people, and Belarus, which lost a third of its population, believed that efforts to whitewash Nazism and the events of that war must be opposed.
The CHAIR then informed the Committee that a recorded vote had been requested, and, in response to the delegate of the Russian Federation, who asked which delegation had requested the vote, said the United States had made that request.
Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of the United States said that there was much in the resolution with which her country could agree. It shared the repugnance of other Committee members towards any glorification of Nazism. But the United States was concerned that the text did not make a distinction between actions and expressions. Indeed, it did not consider the prohibition of expression an effective or appropriate means of eliminating intolerance. In a free society, hateful ideas would fail on their own merit. The best way to combat intolerance was a robust legal scheme that prohibited hate crimes and protected freedom of speech. Thus, her delegation could not vote for the text as drafted.
The representative of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the European Union, reiterated the Union’s strong commitment to the global fight against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance. Neo-Nazism had to be vigorously combated. It still existed in many countries of the draft’s co-sponsors, as well as of the European Union, and had to be tackled with all efforts to combat racism and xenophobia at the national and international levels. Indeed, the ideas that neo-Nazism tried to undermine – namely, that all men and women were born equal — was at the core of what the United Nations stood for, and its mission should serve to unite all in combating neo-Nazism. Reiterating the Union’s strong readiness to engage in negotiations with the co-sponsors to ensure that the text did this, she noted that a few of its proposals were reflected in the text. In particular, the addition to operative paragraph 8 had improved the text’s clarity.
She said, however, that, given the importance of the issue, the Union regretted that the text did not reflect all proposals submitted by all delegations, which would have led to a more acceptable text. It further regretted that a number of its own more serious proposals had not been incorporated. As in past years, the text continued to be selective. Moreover, new paragraphs were introduced that contributed to further dilute the text. The Union would have also liked to have seen the text’s inaccurate reflection on the Nuremburg trials corrected, particularly by incorporating its proposal that a direct quote be inserted into the text. Another matter of concern related to the tact taken to address those practices. The Union fully believed that, to be effective, the fight against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance had to take into account articles 4 and 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Further, the Special Rapporteur needed to address contemporary forms of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, and the request made to him in this year’s text would strongly undermine that approach.
She stressed that the Union was increasingly concerned about the approach taken in the current resolution. Its concerns from previous years remained. The text’s co-sponsors had not also taken into account the Union’s concerns related to this year’s text. For those reasons, it would abstain from voting.
The Committee then approved the text by a vote of 124 in favour to 1 against ( United States ), with 55 abstentions. ( See Annex I. )
The representative of Switzerland thanked the principal sponsor for taking account of the views of non-co-sponsors on issues that would have allowed his country to have voted in favour. But, his country had abstained from the vote, because the draft did not cover all contemporary forms of racism.
Following that action, the Committee took up the draft 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.3/64/L.57 ).
The Secretary, Mr. KHANE, informed the Committee that adoption of that resolution would not entail any additional resource requirements under the 2010-2011 programme biennium budget.
The draft was introduced by the representative of Cuba, who made several oral amendments to the text, which were being circulated on paper in the room.
By that text, the Assembly — reaffirming the grave concern posed by mercenaries to States and recognizing that armed conflict, terrorism, arms trafficking and covert operations by third Powers encouraged the global demand for mercenaries — would request States to be vigilant against the recruitment, training, hiring or financing of mercenaries by private companies. It would also request States to impose a specific ban on the intervention of such companies in armed conflicts or in actions to destabilize constitutional regimes. States that did import security services from private companies were encouraged to establish mechanisms to register and license those companies, as well as regulatory mechanisms to ensure that their services did not impede the enjoyment of human rights nor violate human rights in the recipient country.
Further by the text, the Assembly would call on States to investigate the possibility of mercenary involvement whenever and wherever criminal acts of a terrorist nature occurred and to bring to trial those found responsible or to consider their extradition, if so requested, in accordance with domestic law and applicable bilateral or international treaties. It would condemn any form of impunity granted to mercenaries and to those responsible for the use, recruitment, financing and training of mercenaries. It would urge States, in accordance with their international legal obligations, to bring them, without distinction, to justice. States would be called on to cooperate with and assist the judicial prosecution of those accused of mercenary activities in transparent, open and fair trials.
The text would have the Assembly request the Working Group to continue the work already done by previous Special Rapporteurs on strengthening the international legal framework to prevent and place sanctions on the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries, while taking account of the proposal for a new legal definition. One of the oral amendments proposed by the representative of Cuba would include a reference, here, to the “elaboration and presentation of concrete proposals on possible complementary and new standards aimed at filling existing gaps, as well as general guidelines or basic principles encouraging the further protection of human rights, in particular the right of peoples to self-determination, while facing current and emergent threats posed by mercenaries or mercenary-related activities”.
Further by the text, the Assembly would request the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner to continue supporting the Working Group, which was convening regional governmental consultations on the matter, including two to be held before the end of 2010. The Office would be asked to bear in mind that the process might lead to the holding of a high-level round table of States, under the auspices of the United Nations, to discuss the role of the State as holder of the monopoly on the use of force. Some of the objectives of that discussion would be to facilitate a critical understanding of the responsibilities of the different actors, including private military and security companies, and their respective obligations for the promotion and protection of human rights, and in reaching a common understanding on possible additional international regulations and controls that might be needed.
The Chair, NORMANS PENKE, informed the Committee that a vote had been requested. In response to the representative of Cuba, he said it had been asked for by the representative of the United States.
The representative of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the group shared the concerns of others on the dangers posed by mercenary activities, as expressed by the Working Group. It recognized the deep negative impact that such activities might have on the length and nature of armed conflicts. However, neither the Third Committee nor the Human Rights Council were the proper forums for addressing mercenary activities. While acknowledging the dangers posed, the European Union did not believe that the issue should be tackled from the perspective of human rights violations or the right to self-determination. The elaboration of a definition of mercenary activities and links between it and terrorism fell under the competence of the Sixth Committee ( Legal ). Therefore, the European Union could not support the draft and would vote against it. However, it would continue to actively participate in a dialogue to prevent threats posed by mercenaries, in the context of appropriate forum.
The draft was approved by a vote of 122 in favour to 53 against, with 5 abstentions ( Fiji, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, Tonga ) ( Annex II ).
The representative of Chile pointed out that the text as presented had deleted references to new modalities of mercenary activities originally included in resolution 63/162. Her Government understood that those modalities had not been defined by a juridical international instrument. Their deletion had enabled Chile to vote in favour of the text.
Argentina’s representative said his Government supported the right to self- determination of people living under foreign occupation, as per the relevant General Assembly resolutions. The draft resolution just approved must be interpreted and applied within the context of those resolutions, as well as resolutions passed by the Special Committee on Decolonization, which outlined the special situation of the Malvinas Islands, and which recognized the sovereignty dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom over those islands and further recognized them as the only parties to the dispute. The dispute could only be resolved upon renewal of bilateral negotiations, while accounting for the views of the population. Moreover, the exercise of the right to self-determination required an active subject living under domination, according to General Assembly resolution 1514 ( XV ). Without such a subject, there was no right to self-determination to speak of. The Malvinas Islands and the surrounding area were occupied by the United Kingdom, which expelled the local population and replaced them with their own population.
Next, the Committee took up the draft on promotion of a democratic and equitable international order ( document A/C.3/64/L.28 ), introduced by the representative of Cuba.
The SECRETARY informed the Committee that, with respect to the oral revision previously made by the Cuban delegation to capitalize the words “small island developing” States, those words were only capitalized in a title, not the body of a text.
By the terms of the text, the Assembly would affirm that a democratic and equitable international order required the realization of the right to self-determination, by virtue of which people could freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Peoples and nations had the right to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources. They also had the right to development, peace and to an international economic order based on equal participation of all States in decision-making, in the spirit of interdependence, mutual interest, solidarity and cooperation.
The draft would have the Assembly affirm, as a requirement of an equitable social order, the principle of equitable regional representation and a gender balance in the composition of the staff at the United Nations. It would also affirm the need for a balanced flow of information to and from developing countries.
Among other things, the text would affirm everyone’s right to a healthy environment, and to international cooperation that responded effectively to the needs of nations seeking to adapt to climate change, particularly in developing countries. Effective responses would involve the fulfilment of international agreements in the field of mitigation.
In addition to affirming the need for “equitable access to benefits from the international distribution of wealth”, the draft would have the Assembly affirm the shared responsibility of all nations in managing the world’s economic and social development, and managing threats to international peace and security on a multilateral basis.
The CHAIR informed the Committee that a recorded vote had been requested, and, in response to the delegate of Cuba, who asked which delegation had requested the vote, said the United States had made that request.
Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote, the representative of Sweden, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, said it was necessary to work towards a more democratic and equitable order. The Union fully recognized that the issues raised in the text were important and required careful analysis and action by nations. However, several actions called for in the text went beyond the scope of the Committee. Moreover, the text quoted the obligations of States rather selectively and randomly without placing them in their appropriate context. He reiterated the Third Committee was not a suitable forum for addressing those issues. For those reasons, the Union would vote against the draft resolution.
The Committee approved the text by a vote of 121 in favour to 54 against, with 5 abstentions ( Argentina, Armenia, Chile, Mexico, Peru ) ( Annex III ).
The Committee then took up the draft on strengthening United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity ( document A/C.3/64/L.29 ), introduced by the representative of Cuba.
Source: Media Newswire