In a day filled with voting and contentious debate, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today expressed itself on human rights defenders, migrants and the safety of journalists by approving 14 resolutions on those and other topics.
A draft resolution on the girl child proved particularly divisive, with the Committee narrowly rejecting an amendment put forward by Argentina’s delegate that would have retained original wording, by a recorded vote of 73 in favour to 84 against, with 11 abstentions. Delegates ultimately approved the draft by consensus, as orally revised by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), but not before dozens had withdrawn their co-sponsorship over questions about the last-minute changes.
By its terms, the Assembly would urge States to improve the situation of girl children living in poverty, acknowledge the different needs of girls and boys, and make adapted investments that were responsive to their changing needs. The Assembly would also urge all States to enact and enforce legislation to protect girls from all forms of violence, discrimination, exploitation and harmful practices in all settings.
Another notable draft was on human rights defenders. Speaking before its approval by consensus, its main sponsor Norway called on Member States to stand firmly with human rights defenders, stressing that the principle of non-discrimination must apply to them. Yet, Estonia’s representative, on behalf of the European Union, expressed concern about qualifying language in the draft. By its terms, the Assembly would condemn all acts of intimidation and reprisal by State and non-State actors against individuals, groups and organs of society, including human rights defenders, seeking to cooperate with subregional, regional and international bodies in the field of human rights.
A draft resolution titled “Protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons” was also approved by consensus, following the defeat of an oral amendment — by a vote of 24 in favour to 105 against, with 34 abstentions — put forward by Sudan’s delegate over its reference to the International Criminal Court.
The United States delegate called for a vote on a draft resolution on globalization, saying it contained attempts by China to influence the state of multilateralism. Estonia’s representative, meanwhile, on behalf of the European Union, underscored the need to assess the impacts of globalization in a balanced manner, noting that the bloc would refrain from supporting the draft.
Approved by a recorded vote of 123 in favour to 52 against, with 3 abstentions (Greece, Haiti, Mexico), the text would have the Assembly call on States, United Nations agencies and civil society to promote inclusive, equitable and environmentally sustainable economic growth for managing globalization. It would also underline the urgent need to establish an equitable, transparent and democratic international system.
Discussion around combating racism and xenophobia was also elevated, with the Committee approving a text on follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action by a recorded 125 votes in favour to 10 against (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United Kingdom and United States), with 45 abstentions. Israel’s delegate said the 2001 World Conference where those outcomes were endorsed had been hijacked by countries which sought to demonize Israel. The United States delegate, who called for the vote, cited additional costs to the United Nations budget.
Peru’s representative introduced a text — approved by consensus — on promoting social integration through social inclusion, saying that people had been excluded from services provided by their Governments because of their gender, age, race and disabilities. A new focus, based on rights and gender equality, was needed.
A text on violence against women migrant workers, approved by consensus, would urge States to implement measures to end the arbitrary arrest and detention of those women and ensure that legislative provisions and judicial processes were in place for them to access justice. Indonesia’s representative, making oral amendments, said that with women accounting for nearly half of the 244 million migrants worldwide, States must mainstream gender into discussion of the matter.
The Committee also passed draft resolutions on the right of Palestinians to self-determination; the safety of journalists; the rights of indigenous peoples; the Second World Assembly on Ageing; the role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights; and on strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme.
The Committee will next meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 21, to continue and conclude taking action on draft resolutions.
The Committee first took up a draft resolution titled “Follow‑up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing” (document A/C.3/72/L.13/Rev.1) with a Secretariat official proposing an amendment to operative paragraph 52 of the draft.
Introducing the draft, the representative of Ecuador, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the draft would build on achievements related to ageing and the promotion and protection of the human rights of adults. Recognizing the role adults could play in advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said the text recognized the establishment of a network of United Nations bodies to share knowledge and data on the matter. He then introduced an oral amendment that would add a new preambular paragraph.
The representative of France said a technical issue had led to her country being ascribed as a co‑sponsor of the draft. While attaching great importance to the rights of older persons, she said France was not a co‑sponsor.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution as orally revised without a vote.
By its terms, the General Assembly would urge States to consider the vulnerability of older persons to poverty and economic insecurity, and encourage them to pay greater attention to building capacity to eradicate poverty among older persons, particularly older women. It would call on States to address the issues of well‑being of and health care for older persons, as well as cases of neglect, abuse and violence against them, notably by implementing more effective prevention strategies and stronger laws.
The representative of the United States underscored that General Assembly resolutions and outcome documents were non‑binding and did not create rights or obligations under international law. Regarding the 2030 Agenda, she applauded calls for shared responsibility but noted each country had its own development priorities and that Agenda’s implementation did not prejudge decisions underway in other forums. Noting the intention of the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, she called attention to language related to the Agreement across several drafts under consideration by the Committee. Her statement applied to all drafts on which the United States had joined consensus, she said.
The representative of Namibia, speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), introduced a draft resolution titled “The girl child” (document A/C/3/72/L.19/Rev.1), which focused on enjoyment of the right to education, as multiple forms of discrimination had continued to exacerbate the plight of the girl child. Negative social norms and gender‑based violence were among priorities identified by the draft. She then proposed an oral amendment to operative paragraph 11 to make specific mention of the direction and guidance of parents and legal guardians.
The representative of Argentina requested a suspension of the meeting to analyse the text as orally amended.
The representative of Namibia agreed with Argentina’s request for a temporary suspension.
The representative of Yemen called for a vote on the motion for a suspension.
The Committee then approved the motion for a ten minute suspension of the meeting by a recorded vote of 103 in favour to 25 against, with 21 abstentions.
The representative of Argentina, speaking on a point of order, withdrew his co‑sponsorship of the draft resolution as his delegation had not been consulted on the amendment just introduced.
The representative of Liechtenstein did the same.
The Secretary of the Committee then read out the names of more than two dozen countries also withdrawing co‑sponsorship of the draft resolution.
The representative of Egypt joined the list of co‑sponsors.
The Secretary of the Committee then read out the names of around two dozen other countries adding their co‑sponsorship to the resolution.
The representative of Saint Lucia welcomed the oral amendments and withdrew the three oral amendments her delegation had planned to submit.
The representative of Argentina said operative paragraph 11 as it stood was highly problematic for his delegation and presented an oral amendment reverting to the formulation of operative paragraph 11 as expressed in “L.19/Rev.1”.
The representative of Namibia called for a vote on the oral amendment just introduced by Argentina.
The representative of Gabon, on behalf of the African Group, in a general statement, recognized the role of parents and legal guardians to the well‑being of children and called on all Member States to vote against Argentina’s amendment.
The representative of Australia expressed disappointment over the last‑minute amendment proposed to operative paragraph 11 and encouraged States to vote in favour of Argentina’s amendment. The language in the paragraph as amended was well‑established.
The representative of Mexico, in explanation of vote before the vote, said he would vote in favour of the amendment, adding that the text should be acceptable for all delegations and encouraging them to support it.
The representative of Canada, in explanation of vote before the vote, expressed disappointment that an oral amendment that Canada could not accept had been proposed in the room. Canada would support the Argentinian amendment to revert to the tabled version of the paragraph, a compromise text on which countries had found consensus in the past.
The representative of Brazil, in explanation of vote, said he would vote in favour of Argentina’s proposal, and called on others to do likewise.
The representative of the Russian Federation, in explanation of vote, said she would vote against the amendment proposed by Argentina. The amendment proposed by Namibia reflected national practices in most countries around the world. It was not clear why that small change had caused such a sharp negative reaction, she said, underscoring that the resolution was dedicated to girls. The role of the family and that of parents in raising and educating children had been reaffirmed in international law and in United Nations documents. The version of paragraph 11 proposed earlier reflected the norms of international law and national legislations. The fact that the language had been agreed earlier was not something the Russian Federation saw as a problem, she noted, adding that no language should remain static and immutable for centuries. The Russian Federation would vote against Argentina’s proposed amendment and called on others to do the same.
The representative of Yemen, speaking in a general statement, said he would reject the amendment proposed by Argentina as it disregarded the importance of parents and families in enshrining the rights of the girl child.
The representative of Egypt, associating herself with the African Group, said Namibia’s amendment rebalanced the draft that previously had not mentioned important principles contained in relevant conventions, namely parental control over children. She would vote against Argentina’s amendment and urged all States to do the same.
The Committee then rejected the oral amendment proposed by Argentina by a recorded vote of 73 in favour to 84 against, with 11 abstentions.
The representative of Syria welcomed the results of the vote, noting that Namibia’s proposed changes to the draft were not politicized and were fully in line with the priorities of Member States. Quoting Socrates, he said that when one educated a man, one raised an individual, but when one educated a girl, one raised an entire family.
The representative of Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed disappointment over the changes proposed by Namibia, noting that she did not see operative paragraph 11 as amended as a basis for consensus moving forward.
The representative of Italy said last‑minute changes to operative paragraph 11 were disappointing and withdrew co‑sponsorship from the draft.
The representative of Portugal also withdrew co‑sponsorship.
The representative of Haiti, speaking on the draft as a whole, regretted that main sponsors of the crucial draft had not held preliminary discussions on the proposed amendments. To that end, he proposed that voting on the draft be suspended in an effort to find consensus.
A Secretariat official noted that no vote had yet been requested on the draft.
The representative of Norway, speaking in a general statement on behalf of a group of States, expressed “extreme disappointment” regarding revisions proposed by Namibia. Equal access to comprehensive sexual education was vital, he assured, stressing that evidence‑based programmes enabled adolescents to make informed decisions on sexual and reproductive health.
The representative of Syria, speaking on a point of order, expressed support for adopting the resolution without a vote.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution as orally revised without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would strongly call upon States and the international community to create an environment in which the well‑being of the girl child was ensured. It would urge States to improve the situation of girl children living in poverty, acknowledge the different needs of girls and boys, and make adapted investments that were responsive to their changing needs. The Assembly would also urge all States to enact and enforce legislation to protect girls from all forms of violence, discrimination, exploitation and harmful practices in all settings.
The representative of the United States, speaking in explanation of vote, said she had joined consensus and that references to trafficking and slavery must include forced sexual exploitation, among other concerns. The United States was committed to providing equal access to education and safe school environments and understood references to education in the draft to be in accordance with local authorities. References to State obligations were only applicable to the extent that States had assumed such obligations, she said.
The representative of Mexico rejected arguments which weakened both the text and girls’ rights. The amendment as proposed by the principal main co‑sponsors sent a message to tolerate violence against girls. Yet, the international community could not allow itself to move backward. Mexico disassociated itself from paragraph 11 as it had currently been adopted.
A representative of the Holy See said the dignity of children must be respected without being diverted by politicization. Parents and guardians were the guarantee of the children’s rights, he said, and they deserved the support of society to fulfil that role. Noting that language amended was highly contested, he underscored that compromise could have been reached without being threatened by a vote, amendment or the loss of co‑sponsorship. The Holy See had reservations to the concepts used in the resolution including to language referring to abortion.
The representative of Argentina said in explanation of vote that his country had joined consensus, yet expressed concern about the practice of reaching consensus through threats or the pressure of amendments, or calls for a vote at the last minute. The time for reaching consensus should be during informal consensus, he said, urging respect for consensus, which had previously been reached. Argentina disassociated from operative paragraph 11, which did not reflect the consensus previously reached in the General Assembly.
The representative of Uruguay said her country would join consensus, yet disassociated from operative paragraph 11.
The representative of Bolivia introduced a draft resolution titled “Rights of indigenous peoples” (document A/C.3/72/L.16/Rev.1), a result of broad, constructive negotiations, she said, which stressed the importance of the rights of indigenous peoples to participation and non‑discrimination. The draft focused on the role of indigenous women and girls, and the need to ensure access to justice for marginalized communities. It would allow for structural changes to guarantee the needs of indigenous peoples, she assured, urging efforts to promote the full enjoyment of rights by all indigenous peoples. She then proposed revisions to preambular paragraphs 7 and 9, and operative paragraphs 9, 19 and 28.
A Secretariat official then noted revisions were of an editorial nature and would be reflected in the final version of the draft.
The representative of Mexico, in a point of order, noted that this was the second occasion in which editorial amendments had been made and said it was the prerogative of States to indicate their preference for the drafting of the text.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution as orally revised without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would urge Governments and the United Nations to consult indigenous peoples through their representatives and institutions, and implement measures to achieve the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It would underscore the importance of implementing the outcome of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. It would also stress the need to strengthen the commitment of States and the United Nations to mainstream the promotion and protection of the indigenous peoples’ rights into development policies and programmes at the national, regional and international levels.
The representative of the United Kingdom said her country continued to work to improve the condition of indigenous peoples around the world. Recognizing that indigenous persons were entitled to full protection of their rights, she said certain groups could not benefit from rights not available to others. As such, she did not accept the concept of collective human rights in international law.
The representative of France, speaking on behalf of a group of States, said he joined consensus on the draft, noting that indigenous peoples were too often victims of rights violations. He did not recognize collective rights for any particular group and stressed the prevalence of individual rights, disassociating from references of collective rights of indigenous peoples.
The representative of Canada, speaking on behalf of a group of States, recognized that the inclusion and participation of indigenous peoples in matters that affect them was central to their human rights and development. She welcomed participation of indigenous peoples in the work of the United Nations.
The representative of Cameroon said the Assembly had been unable to adopt a resolution on the participation of indigenous peoples in the United Nations on matters affecting them. Cameroon believed minority and indigenous groups required particular attention and had focused on providing citizenship and ensuring participation. The goal of the draft was not to establish new rights and she disassociated from operative paragraph 5.
The representative of the United States said she joined consensus on the draft and referred to statements delivered earlier regarding concerns over mentions of the 2030 Agenda.
Human Rights, Including Alternative Approaches for Their Enjoyment
The representative of Mexico introduced a draft resolution titled “Protection of migrants” (document A/C.3/72/L.43/Rev.1), which had received broad co‑sponsorship from all regional groups and had been established as a biennial resolution. There had been rapid changes in the Organization’s approach to addressing migration. Presenting a technical update to the text, he said the text was based on language where the General Assembly had always spoken with one voice.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution without a vote.
Under its terms, the Assembly would call on States to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, especially those of women and children. It would call on States to respect the inherent dignity of migrants, to end arbitrary arrest and detention, and request the Secretary‑General to submit to the Assembly and the Human Rights Council at their seventy‑third and thirty‑ninth sessions, respectively, a comprehensive report entitled “Human rights of migrants”.
The representative of the United States, in a general statement, noted that States had the responsibility to protect the human rights of all persons within their jurisdiction and went on to clarify her country’s position on several aspects of the text. The United States understood that none of its provisions affected States rights under international law, she said, adding that the United States would continue to take steps to prioritize the well‑being of its people including by controlling its borders.
Referencing a bilateral legal matter, such as the case cited in preambular paragraph 11, was highly inappropriate, she said, clarifying that the United States disassociated from language on the New York Declaration in some preambular and operative paragraphs. No language in the draft should prejudge or prejudice upcoming negotiations on safe and orderly migration. The United States disassociated from other paragraphs, including one regarding migrant children, as well as from the operative paragraph on migrant smuggling, she said, noting that trafficking in persons was a crime of exploitation, while smuggled migrants were not inherently crime victims.
The representative of China said the New York Declaration reaffirmed the States’ commitment to international law. Different national realities should be taken into account and national priorities respected, he said, adding that countries had the right and responsibility to customize their policies for entry and exit administration. Migration required an integrated response, he said, adding that migrants should integrate into local communities.
The representative of Brazil, on behalf of a group of countries, expressed serious concern that some commitments in the New York Declaration had not been reflected in the resolution due to the reservations of some delegations. The non‑criminalization of migration was a key issue to be addressed.
The representative of Singapore said her delegation had joined consensus, but expressed concern over attempts to selectively cite language from the New York Declaration. Individual States varied in their capacities to respond to the issue, she said.
The Committee then took up a draft titled “Protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons” (document A/C.3/72/L.46/Rev.1), introduced by the representative of Norway, who said it built on the previous text and called on States to take steps to address the situation of displaced persons. Expressing concern over the growing number of displaced persons, the draft underlined the need for all relevant actors to work together to mitigate the challenges of long‑term displacement.
The representative of Sudan said that, in the period his Government addressed the conflict in Darfur, the International Criminal Court had been an impediment to peace. “Malignant interference” by the Court had resulted in the delayed acknowledgment of the fruits of the peace agreement by the United Nations. The Court had created serious conflicts between peace and justice, and at best, represented a threat to the stability of Sudan and Africa.
Distancing himself from the “kangaroo court”, he proposed changes to preambular paragraph 26 of the draft titled “Protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons” (document A/C.3/72/L.46/Rev.1).
The representative of Norway said Sudan had engaged during consultations but common ground had not emerged. As such, the draft presented language that had been agreed upon since 2011, she said, requesting a recorded vote of the proposed revisions.
The representative of Colombia, speaking on behalf of a group of States, said the Court was the first tribunal set up to end to impunity for serious crimes against the international community. As an instrument to guarantee that those accused under its jurisdiction were judged in an impartial manner, the Court was a vehicle for justice and peace. Citing the Rome Statute of the Court, he said the language of the draft was correct and thematically relevant, and should remain unchanged. As such, he would vote against the proposed amendment.
The representative of Canada, speaking on behalf of a group of States, said the oral amendment sought to change accepted language. The paragraph recognized efforts to end impunity and the Court played a vital role to that end. He called on all delegations to vote against the amendment.
The representative of the Russian Federation said her country was dedicated to the rule of law and fighting impunity. Yet, the Court did not work productively to that end as there were no cases where it contributed to stabilization of a crisis. As such, she would vote in favour of the amendment proposed by Sudan.
The representative of Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, expressed regret that the amendment had been tabled. Gross violations of humanitarian law were a sharp reminder of the Court’s relevance. The bloc considered the fight against impunity critical to achieving fair and just societies, and for that reason, it would vote against the amendment.
The Committee then rejected the oral amendment by a recorded vote of 24 in favour to 105 against, with 34 abstentions.
The representative of the United States said her country’s co‑sponsorship of the draft represented its concern over the plight of displaced persons worldwide. Calling for more action to assist internally displaced persons, she referred to an earlier statement regarding concerns over mentions of the 2030 Agenda.
The representative of the Russian Federation, speaking about the draft as a whole, said his country believed in combating climate change. At the same time, operative paragraph 4 made unfounded remarks regarding displacement in the context of climate issues. As such, he disassociated from that paragraph. Operative paragraph 39 also distorted existing understandings of the outcome of the World Humanitarian Summit and he disassociated from that paragraph.
The representative of Nigeria said his country joined as a main sponsor from a commitment to assist persons displaced as a result of Boko Haram’s actions. Nigeria was developing welfare programmes for displaced persons and seeking durable solutions that went beyond material needs. Immediate and long‑term assistance was being provided to improve the livelihood of internally displaced populations, he assured, adding that while the Committee argued over semantics, millions of people around the world looked at the United Nations to help end their suffering.
The representative of China said his delegation would join consensus on the draft. According to international law, States held the primary responsibility in assisting displaced persons within their jurisdiction, he said, adding that the international community should, upon request, provide assistance. He concluded by questioning the merit of the monitoring centre mentioned in the draft.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution as a whole without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would recognize that internal displacement was both a humanitarian and a development challenge, and call on States to provide durable solutions and address possible obstacles in that regard. The Assembly would also recognize that States had the primary responsibility to promote durable solutions for their internally displaced persons.
The representative of Azerbaijan welcomed the draft’s approval and said operative paragraph 42 deserved to be highlighted. He also welcomed calls for durable solutions to internally displaced persons, with voluntary return as the only viable solution to the crisis.
Human Rights Defenders
The representative of Norway introduced a draft resolution titled “Twentieth anniversary and promotion of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms” (document A/C.3/72/L.50/Rev.1). As 2018 marked the twentieth anniversary of the Declaration, the draft proposed that the occasion be used to promote the Declaration and she called on Member States to stand firmly with human rights defenders, stressing that the principle of non‑discrimination must apply to them.
She introduced a series of oral amendments to preambular paragraphs 3 and 12, and to operative paragraphs 2, 14, 15 and 17, calling on the Committee to adopt the draft by consensus.
The representative of the Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the aim of the resolution but expressed concern about qualifying language in the text. However, she added that the group would put aside its concerns. She called on all Member States to provide a safe environment for human rights defenders to operate.
The representative of China said that his Government had called for a vote two years ago, but this year it had joined consensus on the draft after oral amendments had been made and some of its proposals had been taken on board. However, he raised a number of concerns on the text, notably around preambular paragraph 9, which contained preconceived notions that the roles and activities of human rights defenders were legitimate. Also, States could not use human rights defenders to interfere in the affairs of other States. The draft resolution must be in line with the Declaration and the Charter of the United Nations.
The representative of the Russian Federation welcomed the approval of the draft resolution by consensus, as many of the Third Committee texts should be approved in that manner. States had the primary responsibility to protect human rights defenders, she said.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution with without a vote.
By its terms, the General Assembly would urge States to acknowledge through public statements, policies, programmes or laws the important and legitimate role of individuals, groups and organs of society, including human rights defenders, in the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It would also condemn all acts of intimidation and reprisal by State and non‑State actors against individuals, groups and organs of society, including human rights defenders, their legal associates or family members who seek to, are or had cooperated with subregional, regional and international bodies in the field of human rights. It would decide to devote a high‑level plenary meeting in 2018, within existing resources, to the twentieth anniversary of the Declaration.
The representative of the United States, in a general statement, said human rights defenders faced torture and death. Their work was crucial to civil society and protecting democracy, and States must combat impunity of abuses against them. The decision to join consensus should not be taken to mean the United States would implement treaties to which it was not a party, and operative paragraph 12 should not be read to shift responsibility away from the State. Preambular paragraph 15 did not create any international legal obligations, she noted, again referring to previous statements regarding concerns over the 2030 Agenda.
The representative of Japan said one objective of the proposal was to urge States to stand firmly with rights defenders. Still, given financial constraints, he asked the main sponsors and Secretariat to use existing resources to cover budgetary implications.
The representative of Turkey said he joined consensus on the draft, adding that Special Rapporteurs bore the responsibility to carry out their functions in line with the appropriate code of conduct. That meant their work must be conducted in an impartial manner. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders had failed to conform with the code and as such, he disassociated from operative paragraph 3.
The representative of Switzerland said she supported the draft resolution but expressed regret over the addition of a footnote under preambular paragraph 7.
The representative of Azerbaijan said the code of conduct for special procedure mandate‑holders stipulated that sources of information must be credible. The work of the Special Rapporteur on rights defenders did not comply with the code, as his work contained little information provided by States, he said, and instead had relied on unreliable sources. As such, he disassociated from operative paragraph 3.
The representative of Egypt introduced the draft resolution, “Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights” (document A/C.3/72/L.52), stressing that globalization was not merely an economic process, but also had social, political, environmental, cultural and legal dimensions, which impacted human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Committee Chair said a recorded vote had been requested.
The representative of the Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the effects of globalization should be seen in a complex and comprehensive manner. The draft resolution focused on the negative aspects of globalization. However, the phenomenon could stimulate prosperity and growth. He underscored the need to assess the impacts of globalization in a balanced manner, noting that the European Union would refrain from supporting the resolution.
The representative of United States, calling for a vote, said her country would vote against the draft, as it contained attempts by China to influence the state of multilateralism.
The representative of China said he was surprised by the statement by his counterpart from the United States, stressing that China’s support had nothing to do with its domestic politics and policies. The delegate of the United States should have a clear understanding of the historical background of the draft resolution before making a statement.
The draft was adopted with a vote of 123 in favour, 52 against and 3 abstentions (Greece, Haiti, Mexico).
By its terms, the Assembly would call on States, relevant United Nations agencies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society to promote inclusive, equitable and environmentally sustainable economic growth for managing globalization. It would also underline the urgent need to establish an equitable, transparent and democratic international system to strengthen and broaden the participation of developing countries in international economic decision‑making and norm‑setting.
The representative Mexico said his country had abstained from the vote, reiterating the reservations it had voiced in previous years.
The representative of Argentina said globalization was a multidimensional phenomenon which had both positive and negative effects. He urged the sponsors of the draft resolution to engage in constructive discussions with other Member States.
Role of Ombudsman, Human Rights Institutions
The representative of Morocco introduced a draft titled “The role of the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights” (document A/C.3/72/L.53). Substantive resolutions on the matter had previously been introduced by her Government and adopted by consensus. A report on the implementation of those drafts shed a positive light on Morocco’s efforts. She introduced two oral amendments to the draft to bring the name of a relevant organization up to date in operative paragraphs 2 and 6.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution as orally revised without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would encourage States to endow the Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions with an adequate constitutional and legislative framework, financial and all other appropriate means. It would encourage the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, through its advisory services, to develop and support activities for the existing Ombudsman, mediator and other national human rights institutions, as well as encourage those bodies to operate in accordance with the Paris Principles and other relevant international instruments.
Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme
Next, the representative of Italy introduced a draft resolution titled “Strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity” (document A/C.3/72/L.11/Rev.1), noting that the international community recognized crime prevention as critical to stability, and stressing that all policies upholding human rights must encompass the fight against crime.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would invite its President, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other stakeholders to hold a highlevel debate marking the fifteenth anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and to highlight emerging trends and their impact on sustainable development. It would also urge States to introduce national and international measures to prevent and combat illicit trafficking in cultural property, including publicizing legislation, global guidelines and technical background documents, and offering special training for police, customs and border services.
By further terms, it would invite Member States to make trafficking in cultural property, including stealing from and looting of archaeological and other cultural sites, a serious crime, as defined in article 2(b) of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
The Committee then took note of the Secretary‑General’s note transmitting the report of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on its eighth session (document A/72/91).
Youth, Ageing, Disabled Persons and the Family
The representative of Peru introduced a draft resolution titled “Promoting social integration through social inclusion” (document A/C.3/72/L.7/Rev.1), which recognized the importance of social integration for the most vulnerable in society. Adopting a new focus based on rights and gender equality was crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, social inclusivity was a challenge for States and he noted that people had been excluded from services provided by their Governments because of their gender, age, race and disabilities.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution without a vote.
By the text, the Assembly would stress that States bore the main responsibility for social integration and social inclusion, and should prioritize the creation of a “society for all” based on respect for all human rights and the principles of equality. It would call on States to promote more equitable participation in and access to economic growth gains, and request the Secretary‑General to submit a report during the Assembly’s seventy‑fourth session.
The representative of the United States disassociated from preambular paragraph 26 on the fulfilment of all commitments, as it was not appropriate for Third Committee resolutions to discuss trade issues. The text was a call on the United States to fulfil its commitments under the Hong Kong Declaration on duty free, quota free market access. Its wording was prejudicial to the United States negotiating position on such access and she reiterated that the responsibility of protecting vulnerable minorities rested with States. The lack of economic development could not be used as an excuse for a lack of human rights protection.
The representative of Gabon, on behalf of the African Group, said an opportunity had been missed to update the resolution in the context of the 2030 Agenda, calling on sponsors to consider the Group’s suggestions in future discussions.
The representative of South Africa strongly dissociated from Gabon’s statement on behalf of the African Group, reiterating her country’s strong support for inclusivity.
The representative of Canada, also on behalf of Argentina, said both countries supported the draft resolution, noting that the world’s most vulnerable were in need of social inclusion and would benefit from it.
Advancement of Women
The representative of Indonesia opened her introduction of the draft resolution on “Violence against women migrant workers” (document A/C.3/72/L.17/Rev.1) by presenting oral revisions to preambular paragraphs 23 and 33, and operative paragraph 22. Noting that women migrant workers made considerable contributions to countries of origin, transit and destination, she complimented States that were acceding and implementing global frameworks to protect them. With women accounting for nearly half of the 244 million migrants worldwide, States must commit to mainstreaming gender into consideration of the matter. The draft encouraged Member States to protect women migrant workers from becoming victims of trafficking, she said.
The Committee approved the draft as orally revised without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would call on all Governments to incorporate a human rights, gender‑sensitive and people‑centred perspective into legislation, policies and programmes on international migration and on labour and employment. It would also urge States to adopt and implement measures to end the arbitrary arrest and detention of women migrant workers, and ensure that legislative provisions and judicial processes were in place for women migrant workers to access justice.
The representative of the United States, decrying violence against women, said legal assistance was being provided to victims of trafficking. She disassociated from preambular paragraph 6, saying that States had the right to establish lawful immigration policies. The United States would pursue its national interests and work to prevent irregular migration in line with relevant obligations. Concerns over language referring to the 2030 Agenda had been underscored in an earlier statement, she noted.
The Committee then took note of three documents under the agenda item.
Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
The representative of Ecuador, on behalf of Group of 77 and China, introduced a draft resolution 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” (document A/C.3/72/L.63/Rev.1). The draft reflected the Group’s opposition to all forms of xenophobia and intolerance, he said, calling all forms of racial discrimination serious violations of human rights.
The representative of the Israel said the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, during which the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action were discussed, had been hijacked by a group of countries which sought to demonize Israel, which was why Israel had withdrawn from the Declaration and it would vote against the draft.
The Chair of the Committee said a recorded vote had been requested.
The representative of the United States, in a general statement, reaffirmed her country’s commitment to fighting racism and discrimination around the world. Individuals and country leaders also had a responsibility to ensure that discrimination did not take place. Stressing that it was unfair to single out Israel, she said the draft prolonged the divisions created by the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. Citing additional costs that the draft resolution would have on the United Nations budget, she would vote against the draft.
The representative of Estonia, on behalf of European Union, said not enough had been done to reach genuine consensus on the draft resolution. None of the European Union’s proposals had been included and it thus could not support the draft.
The representative of Syria said his country would vote for the draft resolution.
The draft resolution was then adopted by a recorded vote of 125 votes in favour to 10 against (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, United Kingdom and United States), with 45 abstentions.
By its terms, the Assembly would take a number of actions related to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the International Decade for People of African Descent; the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; the Group of independent eminent experts on the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; the Trust fund for the Programme for the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination; Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; and Follow-up and implementation activities.
The Committee then took note of two documents under the agenda item.
Rights of Peoples to Self-Determination
The Committee next took up a draft resolution titled “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” (document A/C.3/72/L.59*).
The representative of Israel said peace must be negotiated and not imposed. Only Israelis and Palestinians could make the difficult compromises needed to forge lasting peace. The draft targeted Israel and encouraged Palestine to take unilateral steps rather than negotiate, she stressed, adding that the solution to the conflict did not lie in New York. Calling for a recorded vote, she said she would vote against the draft.
The Committee then approved the draft by a recorded vote of 169 in favour to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, the United States), with 6 abstentions (Cameroon, Honduras, Kiribati, South Sudan, Togo, Tonga).
By its terms, the Assembly would reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine. It would also urge all States and specialized United Nations agencies to continue to support and assist Palestinians in the early realization of their right to self-determination.
The representative of Argentina, speaking in an explanation of vote, reaffirmed his country’s recognition of Palestinians’ right to self-determination. Having voted in favour of the draft, he called for a free and independent Palestinian State.
The representative of the State of Palestine, thanking States that had voted in favour of the draft, said such overwhelming support represented a reaffirmation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. That right was central to the conflict and drafts on the matter reflected the collective will to uphold international law. She expressed hope that the draft’s adoption would send a powerful message to Israel that its narrative of the situation was not accepted. It was clear that Israel opposed peace and worked to make a two-State solution impossible. Injustice had persisted for too long. The time had come to hold Israel accountable, she said, stressing that the international community had a duty to end the occupation.
Safety of Journalists
The representative of Greece introduced a draft resolution titled “The safety of journalists and the issue of impunity” (document A/C.3/72/L.35/Rev.1), noting that four years since the Assembly had proclaimed 2 November the “International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists” much remained to be done to end increasing violence against journalists. The draft incorporated the concerns of all relevant stakeholders, he assured, calling for a more gender-sensitive approach to addressing the matter.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would condemn unequivocally all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and arbitrary detention, as well as intimidation threats and harassment, including through attacks on, or the forced closure of, their offices and media outlets, in both conflict and non-conflict situations. It would call on States to tackle sexual and gender-based discrimination, including violence, against women journalists, online and offline, as part of broader efforts to eliminate gender inequality, as well as to protect — in law and in practice — the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.
The representative of the United States said freedom of the press was key to accountable governance and the press fostered active debate, particularly on behalf of marginalized communities. Journalists were often the first to uncover corruption and report from the frontlines of conflict. She noted that concerns related to the 2030 Agenda had been expressed in an earlier statement.
The representative of China said he had joined consensus of the draft but had concerns over the term “media workers”. It was ambiguous and lacked definition, and as such, would cause misunderstanding of the resolution. He had proposed that “media professional” be used instead, however that proposal had not been adopted. China would adopt the draft resolution in accordance to its national laws.
The representative of the Russian Federation said he had joined consensus, as journalists’ safety was under threat. Dozens of journalists had been placed on black lists, been denied entry visas and had their work permits cancelled. He urged co-sponsors to reflect such trends in future drafts, adding that the safety of journalists must continue to be the focus of relevant United Nations bodies.Read More