General Assembly Adopts 50 Third Committee Resolutions, as Diverging Views on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Animate Voting

Differing opinions on social and cultural issues, along with wider agreement on disadvantaged peoples' need for humanitarian assistance, animated the General Assembly today, as it adopted 50 resolutions and 8 decisions recommended by its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural).

Covering a range of issues, from the plight of migrants and other vulnerable populations, to the right to digital privacy, the Assembly adopted 35 of those resolutions without a vote.

Sexual orientation and gender identity was an underlying theme of close voting on several texts, including on the annual Report of the Human Rights Council. After narrowly rejecting a proposed amendment to the resolution � by a recorded vote of 84 against, to 77 in favour, and 16 abstentions � there was greater agreement on the text as a whole, which the Assembly adopted by a recorded vote of 106 in favour, to 2 against (Belarus, Israel) and 74 abstentions.

Delegates speaking before and after the vote outlined differing perspectives on the issue, with Burkina Faso's representative, on behalf of the African Group, saying more time was needed to address concerns around the issue of sexual orientation or gender identity, including the special mandate holder referred to in the Council report.

Other delegates underscored the important precedent-setting potential of reopening a Human Rights Council decision in the General Assembly, with Slovakia's representative, on behalf of the European Union, stressing before the vote that if the Assembly took a selective approach to deciding which Council resolutions to support, it would undermine the work of an important subsidiary body.

Brazil's representative, also speaking for Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay, said the Assembly should not reopen Council reports, which would have far-reaching implications. It was in States' common interests to protect the effectiveness of the human rights system. The United States representative, speaking forcefully against the amendment, said rights protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons were universal.

A resolution titled Trafficking in Women and Girls also attracted controversy when Sudan's representative introduced an amendment seeking to delete a preambular paragraph mentioning the International Criminal Court, as he objected to portraying that body as the only instrument handling gender-related crimes.

The representative of the Philippines, speaking before the vote on the amendment, recalled that preambular paragraph 15 had been in the resolution unchanged since the fifty-seventh session in 2002. The paragraph did not require action from Member States; rather, it was a factual statement acknowledging the inclusion of gender-related crimes in the Rome Statute.

Defeating the amendment by a recorded vote of 115 against, to 23 in favour, with 29 abstentions, the Assembly went on to adopt the resolution by consensus. By its terms, the Assembly encouraged the United Nations to mainstream the issue of trafficking in persons, especially women and girls, into its broader policies and programmes on economic and social development, human rights and the rule of law, among other issues.

In later action, the Assembly adopted a resolution titled, Moratorium on the use of the death penalty by a recorded vote of 117 in favour, to 40 against, with 31 abstentions. By its terms, it called on all States to respect international standards that provided safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, to comply with their obligations on consular relations, to progressively restrict death penalty use, to establish a moratorium on executions and to make available relevant disaggregated data.

Singapore's representative, while noting that the amended draft was an improvement to the version that had been adopted in 2014, said there was no international consensus against capital punishment, making it a sovereign matter for States. The focus of the draft had, over the years, shifted from being a moratorium to a push for abolishing the practice, and for those and other reasons, his delegation had voted against the text as a whole.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted a resolution on digital privacy, calling on States to respect and protect the right to privacy, including in the context of digital communication, to take measures to end violations of those rights and to create the conditions to prevent such violations. It called upon businesses to respect human rights, as set out in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and to inform users about the collection, use, sharing and retention of their data that might affect their right to privacy and to establish transparency policies.

As in previous years, resolutions on country-specific situations garnered contentious debate, including the text on the human rights situation in Syria, which the Assembly adopted by a recorded vote of 116 in favour, to 16 against, with 52 abstentions. Syria's representative, speaking before that action, reviewed thousands of years of Syrian history, to illustrate that, despite recurrent conflict, Syrians would prevail. In 2016, Aleppo had been emancipated, he said. The city was not an Ottoman protectorate nor would it be the capital of the Saudi regime. Iran's representative added that the resolution had blurred the line between terrorists and those who were heroically fighting them. Indonesia's representative, welcoming the Security Council's agreement earlier in the day on humanitarian access to Aleppo, said now was time for the international community and all parties in Syria to unite, save innocent lives and end the humanitarian crisis.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly also passed the Third Committee's work programme for the seventy-second session.

As the meeting concluded, several delegations expressed condolences to the Russian Federation over the death of a Russian ambassador in Turkey. Thanking them for their kind words, the Russian Federation's representative said they would be conveyed to the victim's family.

Also speaking today were representatives of Liechtenstein (on behalf of a group of countries), Philippines, Israel, New Zealand (on behalf of a group of countries), Netherlands, Thailand, Finland, France, Eritrea, Poland, Hungary, Costa Rica, Spain, Paraguay, Norway (on behalf of a group of countries),

Uruguay Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Canada, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, United Arab Emirates, Cuba, Iran, China, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Venezuela, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The General Assembly will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.

Action on Third Committee Draft Resolutions

CECILE MBALA EYENGA (Cameroon), Rapporteur of the Third Committee, introduced the following reports of that body: Social development (document A/71/476); Advancement of women (document A/71/477); Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions (document A/71/478*); Report of the Human Rights Council (document A/71/479*); Promotion and protection of the rights of children (document A/71/480); Rights of indigenous peoples (document A/71/481); Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/71/482); Rights of peoples to self-determination (document A/71/483);

She went on to present the Committee's reports on Promotion and protection of human rights (document A/71/484); Implementation of human rights instruments (document A/71/484/Add.1); Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedom (document A/71/484/Add.2*); Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives (document A/71/484/Add.3); Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/71/484/Add.4); Crime prevention and criminal justice (document A/71/485); International drug control (document A/71/486); Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/71/487); and Programme Planning (document A/71/488).

The Assembly began by taking up the report on Social development (document A/71/476), which contained five draft resolutions and one draft decision.

Acting without a vote, it adopted the following texts: Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly; Follow-up to the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond; Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing; Inclusive development for persons with disabilities; and Literacy for life: shaping future agendas. It went on to adopt a draft decision, by which it took note of a Secretariat document titled Document considered by the General Assembly in connection with the question of social development.

Next, the Assembly took up the report on the Advancement of women (document A/71/477), containing four draft resolutions and one draft decision.

Speaking in explanation of vote before action on those texts, Sudan's representative proposed an amendment to the draft resolution titled Trafficking in women and girls, which he said would delete preambular paragraph 15. He objected to singling out the International Criminal Court in that paragraph, or portraying that Court as the only instrument handling gender-related crimes and ignoring that there were other instruments to dispense justice. The Court had failed to deliver justice by its inefficiency, corruption and selectivity, directing its attention to underdeveloped and developing nations only. That was a serious flaw inherent in the Court's obligations. Further, all those indicted by the Court Prosecutor were Africans. Sudan's position on the International Criminal Court would not change, and attempts to impose such references were controversial. Despite the importance of the draft resolution, such an approach had left Sudan with no other option than to propose the amendment.

Slovakia's representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed regret that Sudan had tabled the amendment to remove preambular paragraph 15, which was a simple factual statement acknowledging the inclusion of gender-related crimes in the Rome Statute. Nothing in it compelled States to comply with the International Criminal Court. It was wrong to suggest the Court had been given special attention in the draft resolution. Peace and justice were complementary and not mutually exclusive. The European Union would vote against the amendment and called on all others, particularly the parties to the Rome Statute, to vote against the amendment.

Liechtenstein's representative, speaking on behalf of several countries, said the paragraph in question had been an element of the consensual resolution for a number of years. The vote on it had been an attempt to undermine consensus in the Third Committee on an important topic.

The representative of the Philippines said she would vote against the amendment, as gender-related crimes disproportionately targeted women and girls. Preambular paragraph 15 had been in the resolution unchanged since the fifty-seventh session in 2002, and its inclusion was now more important than ever. Taking note that membership of the International Criminal Court was fluid at present, she underscored that the paragraph did not require action from Member States, and what was before the Assembly was a factual statement acknowledging the inclusion of gender-related crimes in the Rome Statute.

By a recorded vote of 115 against, to 23 in favour, with 29 abstentions, the Assembly defeated the amendment.

The Assembly then adopted the following texts without a vote: Trafficking in women and girls; Intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilation; Intensification of efforts to end obstetric fistula; and Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls: prevention and elimination of domestic violence. It also adopted a draft decision taking note of various documents pertaining to women's advancement.

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/71/478*), which contained three resolutions.

Acting without a vote, it adopted the texts titled, Enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa.

The Assembly next turned to the report titled, Report of the Human Rights Council (document A/71/479) containing an eponymous draft resolution.

The representative of Burkina Faso, speaking on behalf of the African Group, proposed an oral amendment to defer to the Assembly's seventy-second session consideration of the draft on the Human Rights Council report. That report contained a resolution related to the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, an issue requiring more time to address a number of concerns, including the special mandate holder. The rights of the General Assembly must be recognized, including the establishment of the Human Rights Council as a subsidiary body that must be held accountable to the Assembly. As such, the African Group was submitting the amendment and would engage with all delegations to uphold respect for international law, the United Nations Charter and universal principles that recognized respect for the independence and sovereignty of all Member States. Discouraging any actions that promoted divisiveness, he said the amendment aimed at addressing issues of concern.

The representative of Slovakia, on behalf of the European Union, in explanation of position, expressed deep concern about attempts by some States to re-open decisions that had been made by the Human Rights Council. Sexual orientation and gender identity was a sensitive issue, but everyone was entitled to all rights without distinctions of any kind. If the General Assembly voted to use a selective approach on which Council resolutions to support, it would undermine that important subsidiary body. Encouraging support for the Council, he recommended that States vote against the draft amendment.

The representative of the United States, saying her delegation would vote against the draft amendment, encouraged other countries to follow suit. She expressed concern about a problematic precedent being set should the General Assembly open up a Council report to address one draft resolution. Rights protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons were universal.

The representative of Brazil, also on behalf of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay, said the establishment of the special mandate holder was fully within the Human Rights Council's rules of procedure. The Assembly should not re-open Council reports, which would have far-reaching implications. It was in States' common interests to protect the effectiveness of the human rights system. As such, he called for a vote on the draft amendment, asking delegations to vote against it.

The representative of Israel said the Human Rights Council had been biased against his country, which had a special agenda item on it, with a mandated rapporteur and endless negative reports. Those and other actions, including recent support for a boycott, reflected the Council's attitude towards Israel, he said, indicating that his delegation would vote against the amendment and the draft resolution as a whole.

The representative of New Zealand, speaking on behalf of several countries, expressed concern about the wisdom of questioning a Human Rights Council resolution. Regretting that the amendment had been proposed, she strongly urged all delegations to vote against it with a view to preserving the credibility of the United Nations.

The representative of the Netherlands said his delegation would vote against the amendment because of the unprecedented nature of questioning the appointment of a special mandate holder once he or she had assumed office. While sexual identity was a controversial topic, dialogue must continue. At the same time, all people must be protected by all human rights. His delegation supported the role of the Human Rights Council and encouraged others to vote against the amendment.

The representative of Thailand said her delegation supported the rights of Member States to question issues. However, she did not support deferring the consideration of the Human Rights Council report. As such, she would vote against the amendment.

The representative of the Finland said his delegation would vote against the amendment. The universality of human rights was set out in Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet some States were attempting to challenge that. If the Assembly voted selectively to approve or block Council reports, it would have broad negative implications. The Council's integrity must not be undermined in that way, he said.

The representative of France underscored the importance of upholding United Nations values. The expert mandate had been legally established and was part of a broader text on human rights. It was critical to uphold the protection of the rights of all people. As such, her delegation would vote against the amendment.

By a recorded vote of 84 against, to 77 in favour, with 16 abstentions, the Assembly rejected the amendment to the text titled Report of the Human Rights Council.

The Assembly then took action on the text as a whole, adopting it by a recorded vote of 106 in favour, to 2 against (Belarus, Israel) and 74 abstentions.

The representative of Eritrea, in explanation of position, expressed serious reservations about parts of the Human Rights Council report, and disassociated himself from the segments dealing with Eritrea.

The representative of Poland said his country had supported the Human Rights Council since its establishment. Regarding the independent expert in question, Poland did not support the establishment of that mandate, he said, underscoring that his country rejected attempts to discriminate against any person on any grounds, and combatted efforts to commit violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. The creation of the expert would not serve the cause of fighting discrimination, but rather, would lead to further polarization in the Human Rights Council.

The representative of Croatia stressed the importance of preserving the autonomy of the Human Rights Council. The vote should be viewed as a matter of principle of relations between the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, and not on substance to questions raised by the African Group. Sexual orientation should not be a subject for criminal prosecution, and as a member of the Human Rights Council, Croatia would insist that its scope of activities be based on international law and internationally recognized human rights.

The representative of Hungary underlined the importance of preserving the balance between the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, adding that Hungary had voted against the amendment, based on a principled approach. Hungary would follow the issues within the Council's mandate and competence, and rejected all forms of discrimination based on any grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Hungary reserved its sovereign right to define the scope of family relations in accordance with national legislation. Hungary would be attentive in the Human Rights Council that the mandate and activities carried out by the expert observed international human rights standards.

The representative of Costa Rica supported the Human Rights Council and its resolutions and recommendations. It was vital to maintain the work of the Council resulting from decisions of its elected members. The Council's report should be considered in the plenary of the General Assembly and not the Third Committee.

The representative of Spain supported the European Union position, rejecting attempts to call into question persons, mandate holders or independent experts. The expert mandate had been questioned for substantive reasons, and the argument of a lack of definition appeared to be an excuse.

The representative of Paraguay underscored his country's full support for the Human Rights Council and its resolutions and recommendations.

The representative of Burkina Faso, on behalf of the African Group, expressed respect for the outcome of vote, and regret about the confirmation of the Human Rights Council's decision to designate the Independent Expert. That did not have a legal foundation in international law. Such a decision was liable to polarize States. The African Group believed it was premature to nominate a mandate holder and had advocated a deferral for Member States to discuss the concept. Without that understanding among States, he questioned how the mandate could be carried out.

Turning to the report on Promotion and protection of the rights of children (document A/71/480), which contained three draft resolutions.

The representative of Sudan presented an oral amendment to the draft resolution titled, Rights of the Child. The amendment proposed to replace the reference to the International Criminal Court in operative paragraph 36 with text stating that the perpetrators of acts of violence against children in times of conflict were promptly brought to justice under national laws. The only purpose of having a reference to the International Criminal Court in the draft was to impose its jurisdiction on all States, including those that were not parties to the Rome Statute, he said, reiterating his delegation's rejection of the politicization of certain draft resolutions.

The representative of Slovakia, on behalf of the European Union, in explanation of position, expressed disappointment in the proposed amendment. Existing language on the Court was balanced, he said, urging others to vote against it.

The representative of Norway, speaking also for Australia, Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, said operative paragraph 36 had been agreed upon for more than a decade and the Security Council had recognized the Court's important role in ending impunity. It was disturbing that the consensus on the issue was now being attacked, she said, indicating that her delegation would vote against the amendment and urging others to join her.

The representative of Uruguay called for a vote on the amendment, asking all delegations to vote against it.

The Assembly adopted without a vote the texts titled, Child, early and forced marriage and Protecting children from bullying.

The Assembly then rejected the oral amendment to the draft on the Rights of the Child, by a recorded vote of 111 against, to 22 in favour, with 29 abstentions.

The Assembly then adopted the text titled Rights of the Child, as a whole, without a vote.

Next, the Assembly turned to the report on Rights of indigenous peoples (document A/71/481), which contained an eponymous draft resolution and a draft decision, both of which the Assembly adopted without a vote.

As the Assembly took up the report on Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/71/482), which contained three draft resolutions and one draft decision, a recorded vote was requested on a draft resolution titled, Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The Assembly adopted that text by a recorded vote of 136 in favour, to 2 against (Ukraine, United States), with 49 abstentions.

Acting without a vote, it next adopted a text titled, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

A draft titled, A global call for concrete action for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, was adopted by a recorded vote of 133 in favour, to 9 against (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United Kingdom, United States), with 45 abstentions.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, a draft decision by which it took note of related documents.

It next turned to the report titled Right of peoples to self-determination (document A/71/483), which contained three draft resolutions.

With a vote requested for a draft titled, 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 132 in favour, to 53 against, with 4 abstentions (Colombia, Mexico, Switzerland, Tonga).

It then adopted without a vote a draft titled, Universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination.

Turning to a draft titled, The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, the Assembly adopted the text by a vote of 177 in favour, to 7 against (Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States), with 4 abstentions (Cameroon, CAte d'Ivoire, South Sudan, Tonga).

Turning to the report titled Promotion and protection of human rights (document A/71/484), the Assembly adopted the draft decision contained therein, by which it took note of several related documents.

It then turned to the report on Implementation of human rights instruments (document A/71/484/Add.1), containing one draft resolution titled Human rights treaty body system, which it adopted without a vote.

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/71/484/Add.2), containing 16 draft resolutions.

Acting without a vote, it adopted draft resolution I, titled, Human rights and extreme poverty.

A vote was requested on draft resolution II titled, Moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which the Assembly adopted by a recorded vote of 117 in favour, to 40 against, with 31 abstentions.

The Assembly went on to adopt draft resolution III, Human rights in the administration of justice, without a vote.

Draft resolution IV, Declaration on the Right to Peace, was adopted by a recorded vote of 131 in favour, to 34 against, with 19 abstentions.

The Assembly then adopted draft V, titled, Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, by a recorded vote of 130 in favour, to 53 against, with 6 abstentions (Armenia, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Mexico, Peru).

Next, it adopted without a vote draft VI, titled, The right to food.

By another recorded vote � 146 in favour, to 3 against (Israel, United Kingdom, United States), with 39 abstentions � the Assembly adopted draft resolution VII, The right to development.

The Assembly then adopted draft VIII, titled, Human rights and unilateral coercive measures, by recorded vote of 133 in favour, to 54 against, with no abstentions.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted drafts IX, X and XI, respectively titled, Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights; Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief; and Freedom of religion or belief.

By a recorded 135 in favour to 53 against, with 1 abstention (Greece), the Assembly then adopted text XII titled, Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights.

In another recorded vote, the Assembly adopted draft resolution XIII, titled, Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, by a vote of 125 in favour, to 2 against (Angola, Chad), with 56 abstentions.

Acting without a vote, it adopted drafts XIV, XV and XVI titled respectively, The right to privacy in the digital age; The role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights; and Missing persons.

The representative of Papua New Guinea, in explanation of position, said the draft on the death penalty moratorium continued to be a deeply divisive issue with no global consensus. Encouraging ongoing constructive dialogue, he said death penalty opponents should not impose their will on others. The core issue in the draft was the right to life. Papua New Guinea's Constitution validated the death penalty under the penal code. The practice was not applied arbitrarily and was last carried out in 1954 under colonial occupation. The draft suffered several flaws, including the deliberate omission of the fact that, under international law, the death penalty was not illegal. The practice was an issue of the criminal justice system of sovereign independent States and its application should be determined by each State. The proposed amendment, which his delegation co-sponsored, had aimed at addressing that important issue.

The representative of Switzerland, also on behalf of Australia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and New Zealand, expressed a reservation about the draft resolution calling for a universal moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. He expressed regret that operative paragraph 1 had been included by a vote against the will of most of the draft's co-sponsors. That paragraph failed to align with the spirit of the text because it focused away from human rights and towards criminal justice, and did not reflect the fact that international law had evolved as humankind progressed. Encouraging States to interpret operative paragraph 1 using a human rights lens, he said the international law obligations referred to should be related to international human rights law in particular.

The representative of Singapore said the moratorium draft had included a reference to States' national law obligations. The amended draft was an improvement to the version that had been adopted in 2014, he said, thanking the co-sponsors for their constructive approach. There was no international consensus against capital punishment, making it a sovereign matter for States. The death penalty was an issue of criminal justice, not of human rights. Singapore was ready to engage in dialogue based on mutual respect and understanding. While welcoming the amendment, he had several reservations. The focus of the draft had, over the years, shifted from being a moratorium to a push for abolishing the practice. For those and other reasons, his delegation had voted against the text as a whole.

The representative of Kyrgyzstan said her delegation had voted in favour of the right to food. All States should define their own needs and development opportunities freely. However, stable access to water resources should not be considered to be an obligation of one State to another.

Next, the Assembly took up the report on the Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives (document A/71/484/Add.3), containing four draft resolutions.

The representative of Ukraine, in explanation of vote before the vote, thanked delegates for supporting text titled Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine), quoting [English-American writer] Thomas Paine that these are the times that try men's souls. The human rights situation on the peninsula had deteriorated sharply, and the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had described the situation in Crimea as a climate of repression against dissenting voices. The voice of the General Assembly sent a powerful message, but silence could be damaging, as it went hand-in-hand with complicity. Silence should not be what was heard in the General Assembly.

The representative of Canada, in explanation of vote, presented the draft resolution titled Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran saying it remained very serious, with an appallingly high rate of executions, including of minors. The text was the product of weeks of consultations. The human rights situation in Iran would be considered by the Assembly until it improved.

The representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea said the draft on the human rights situation in his country represented extreme politicization, selectivity and double standards. The text pursued the heinous political purpose of bringing down the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's system by following the hostile policy of the United States. Realizing that the United States could not succeed in its efforts regarding nuclear issues, that country now was focused on eliminating the Democratic People's Republic of Korea under the guise of the human rights issue. For those and other reasons, his delegation rejected the draft resolution as an illegal document.

The representative of Iran said the draft resolution revealed the lack of sincerity of the human rights champions which had submitted it. Canada had a dismal record on the human rights of its indigenous population. It was repulsive that the world's greatest human rights violator was among the sponsors of the text. Human rights were being abused as an unfair pressure tool on a nation which had chosen independence. There was no credible ground for the draft resolution, and few would buy the absurd politicization as genuine promotion of human rights. Numerous democratic elections had been held and decided the country's direction in both internal and foreign affairs. The sustained reliance on ballot boxes had encouraged democratic processes in Iranian society, but certain powers only respected peoples' choices when they aligned with their interests.

The representative of the United Arab Emirates said it was of paramount importance to end the suffering of the Syrian people. Despite calls to hold perpetrators accountable, human rights violations continued.

The representative of Syria, speaking in a point of order, said that according to the rules of procedure, countries sponsoring any draft resolution could not explain their votes.

An official from the Secretariat said that, as the Assembly was considering recommendations of the Third Committee, the intervention was permitted, giving the floor back to the representative of the United Arab Emirates.

The representative of the United Arab Emirates urged all Member States to vote in favour of the text.

The representative of the Russian Federation voiced objection to introducing draft resolutions on individual countries, initiatives which hampered development of constructive dialogue and heightened confrontation among States. The Russian Federation would disassociate from consensus on the text concerning human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and would vote against all other draft resolutions. Regarding the draft on the human rights situation in Crimea, the statement delivered by Ukraine's delegate had compelled the Russian Federation to take the floor. He expressed hope that delegates would vote against the text, demonstrate their positions in principle and focus their attention on the human rights situation in all of Ukraine, including where the Government was waging warfare with its own means.

The representative of Syria extended condolences to the Russian Federation and condemned in the strongest terms the dastardly attack which had claimed the life of the Russian ambassador in Turkey. Syria would vote against the text on human rights in Iran and in the Republic of Crimea. A number of Western States claimed they were supporting human rights, shedding crocodile tears about Syria, all of them levelling accusations against the Government. Recalling thousands of years of Syrian history, he said that in the year 540, Caesar had entered Aleppo and destroyed it, while the Tatars wreaked havoc in 1260; yet the city resurged. More recently, the Wahhabi Saudis had invaded with the help of the Erdogan regime. In 2016, Aleppo had been emancipated. Those who had killed the dreams of the Syrian people had fallen and the Wahhabi takfiri ideology had been uprooted. Aleppo was not an Ottoman protectorate and it would not be the capital of the Saudi regime. Saudis now were out of Aleppo. The work of the General Assembly was being politicized, he said, stressing that there had been no calls for emergency meetings on the situation in Yemen.

The Assembly then adopted, without a vote, the draft resolution titled Situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

By a recorded vote of 116 in favour to 16 against, with 52 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the text titled, Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic.

In another recorded vote � of 85 in favour to 35 against, with 63 abstentions � the Assembly adopted the text titled Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Next, the Assembly adopted, by a recorded vote of 70 in favour to 26 against with 77 abstentions, the draft resolution titled Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine).

The representative of Cuba urged that an opportunity be given to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, to promote the cooperation of the country concerned. Cuba could not join consensus and deny the people of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea peace, freedom of determination, and development. Opposition to that selective mandate added no value to other issues referred to the text's operative paragraph 3.

The representative of Iran said that, in line with its principled position on country-specific resolutions, his country dissociated from consensus on the resolution concerning human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The text on the human rights situation in Syria contained provisions that contravened international law, and a paragraph that blurred the line between terrorists and those who were heroically fighting them. Accusations levelled had nothing to do with the Third Committee's mandate. The General Assembly should not be exploited by countries seeking to maintain their strategic grip on the region. The people of Syria would defeat terrorists and their allies. The resolution was nothing but a reward to terrorism and those who helped them with financial and logistical resources. Those who had initiated the resolution should rest assured Iran would not be dissuaded from its fight against terrorism.

The representative of Indonesia, regarding the text on the situation in Syria, said it was imperative that all parties to the conflict respect international humanitarian law. The international community and all concerned should concentrate their efforts on ending all forms of violence, irrespective of where it originated. Welcoming the Security Council's adoption today of a resolution on humanitarian access, she said it was time for the international community and all parties in Syria to unite, save innocent lives and end the humanitarian crisis. For that reason, Indonesia had voted in favour of the resolution.

The representative of China said differences around human rights should be addressed through dialogue. Stressing that China opposed the use of pressure and country-specific resolutions, he said his delegation would not join consensus on the resolution concerning the situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The representative of Kazakhstan expressed great concern over the human rights situation in Crimea, stressing that the resolution was not aimed at solving the problem, as it was not conducive to dialogue. Calling on all to promote and protect human rights though dialogue, he said Kazakhstan was against selectivity and the use of human rights to pressure Member States for political reasons.

The representative of Armenia expressed condolences to the Russian Federation for the tragic events leading to the death of the Russian ambassador in Turkey. References to territorial integrity in the resolution concerning Ukraine went beyond the objective of that text. The text referred to a resolution Armenia had voted against. For that reason, Armenia had voted against the resolution on the situation of human rights in Ukraine.

The representative of Venezuela said country-specific texts were selective and political, constituting a violation of the United Nations Charter. He called for progress in the Human Rights Council to foster the use of the universal periodic review as an effective mechanism.

The representative of Costa Rica said her delegation had voted for the four country-specific resolutions. The Human Rights Council was the principal player in its field and its universal periodic review was the ideal mechanism to address country-specific issues. Constructive dialogue and cooperation should continue to guide the promotion and protection of human rights, she said.

The representative of Turkey said his delegation would continue to monitor progress on the draft resolutions. Emphasizing that actions taking place in Syria amounted to war crimes, he rejected the representative of Syria's statement.

The representative of Saudi Arabia expressed support for the texts, calling on all States to work together to protect the Syrian people's human rights.

The representative of Qatar said her delegation had voted in favour of the draft resolutions. For its part, Qatar would work to stamp out the scourge of terrorism.

The Assembly then took note of the report Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/71/484/Add.4), which contained no proposed action.

The Assembly then turned to the report on Crime prevention and criminal justice (document A/71/485), containing four draft resolutions and one draft decision.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the texts titled: 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; United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders; 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; and Strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity. It also adopted a draft decision taking note of various documents pertaining to crime prevention and criminal justice.

It went on to take up the report International drug control (document A/71/486), containing two draft resolutions on Promoting the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Alternative Development, and International cooperation to address and counter the world drug problem.

Acting without a vote, it adopted those texts.

The Assembly then took up the report on Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly (document A/71/487), which recommended that it adopt a draft decision on the Programme of work of the Third Committee for the seventy-second session of the General Assembly, contained therein.

Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted that draft decision.

Source: United Nations

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