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    For information only - not an official document.
      UNIS/GA/SHC/303
        13 October 2000
      Third Committee Approves Draft Text on Concerted Action 
    Against Drug Scourge

    Committee Also Approves Fire Crime-Related Draft Resolutions

      NEW YORK, 12 October (UN Headquarters) -- International cooperation against the world drug problem would be outlined by a four-part, 95-power draft resolution approved this afternoon without a vote by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) as it met to continue considering the rights of children. 

     That resolution was one of six approved by the Committee this afternoon. It would have the Assembly call for national, regional and international strategies to reduce the demand for, production of and trafficking in illicit drugs. By its terms, the Assembly would emphasize a focus on preventing drug abuse by youth. It would call for implementing measures such as national legislation to implement the outcome and goals of last year's special session on drugs. 

     The other resolutions also adopted without a vote concerned the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice; follow-up to the Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders; a legal instrument against corruption; the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders; and finally, strengthening the United Nations crime programme. 

     Then, as the Committee continued its debate on the rights of the child, the representative of Iceland said the growing drug problem prevented children's enjoyment of their rights. Drugs destroyed children's lives and those of their families. Drugs facilitated atrocities and made rehabilitation difficult. Drugs were used to lure children into becoming child soldiers or prostitutes. The use of drugs at home drove children into the streets, where they fell prey to ills. Vigorous preventive and rehabilitation measures were called for.

     The representative of Viet Nam stressed her country's focus on enhancing society's fight against the social evils harmful to children. Those included sexual abuse and exploitation, drug abuse and trafficking. The strategy included legislative and prosecutorial measures, preventive campaigns to raise awareness and regional initiatives. 

     The representative of Liberia called for a concerted global effort to mobilize the technical, human and financial resources to address the root causes of conflict, which she said were social ills. Her country's post-conflict situation gave it first hand experience with children and armed conflict. Yet help to deal with the situation was stalled, withheld or withdrawn as a conflict resolution method. That undermined efforts and exacerbated the suffering of vulnerable groups, children foremost among them.

     Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Morocco, Ethiopia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Burkina Faso and Fiji.

     The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 13 October, to continue discussing the protection and promotion of the rights of children. 

    Committee Work Programme

     The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this afternoon to continue its deliberations on promoting and protecting the rights of children.

     The Committee also had before it a number of draft resolutions on which action was expected.

     By a resolution on the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice: Meeting the Challenges of the Twenty-first Century (document A/C.3/55/L.3), the General Assembly would endorse the Declaration adopted at the high-level segment of the Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held in Vienna from 10 to 17 April. The Declaration is contained in an Annex to the resolution. 

     By the Declaration, Member States gathered at the Crime Prevention Congress decided to take more effective concerted action, in a spirit of cooperation, to combat the problem of world crime. Member States stressed that a fair, responsible, ethical and efficient criminal justice system was an important factor in the promotion of economic and social development and human security. They also accorded high priority to completion of negotiation of the United Nations convention against organized crime and the protocols thereto. Member States also recognized the importance of taking steps to incorporate measures to combat racial discrimination and other related forms of intolerance into international crime prevention strategies. 

     By a resolution on follow-up to the Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (Vienna, 2000)(document A/C.3/55/L.4), the Assembly would urge governments to follow guidelines of the Tenth Congress in managing criminal justice systems and fighting crime, especially transnational crime. It would also request the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to continue considering the recommendations of the Vienna Declaration issued from the Congress, and would request the Secretary-General to prepare draft plans of actions for specific measures to implement commitments to the Declaration.

     By a resolution on an international legal instrument against corruption (document A/C.3/55/L.5), the Assembly would decide to begin elaborating the instrument at the Vienna headquarters of the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention of the Office for Drug Control and CrimePrevention. The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to prepare and submit a report on the matter to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at an inter-sessional session. It would ask him to convene an intergovernmental open-ended working group to prepare draft terms of reference for negotiating the instrument.

     That draft, according to the resolution, would be submitted for adoption by the Assembly at its fifty-sixth session. Thereupon, an ad hoc negotiating committee would be established to elaborate the instrument in Vienna. Throughout the process, donor countries would be invited to assist the United Nations in ensuring participation by developing countries, particularly with travel and local expenses. An annex contains an indicative list of instruments, documents and recommendations against corruption.

     A draft on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/55/L.7*) is sponsored by Lesotho on behalf of Member States that are members of the Group of African States. By that draft, the Assembly would reiterate the need to strengthen the capacity of the Institute to support national mechanisms for crime prevention and criminal justice in African countries. It would urge States members of the Institute to meet their obligations and would call for the adoption of concrete practical measures to support the Institute in developing its capacity and implementing programmes. It would call upon the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) to work with the Institute and would request the Secretary-General to deploy efforts to mobilize resources and promote regional cooperation in the fight against crime, especially in its transnational dimension, against which national action alone was inadequate.

     The Committee also had before it a 38-power draft resolution on strengthening of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity (document A/C.3/55/L.9). The text would have the General Assembly urge States and funding agencies to review their funding policies for development assistance and include a crime prevention and criminal justice component in such assistance. 

     The Assembly would invite all States to support, through voluntary contributions to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund, the operational activities of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme. It would also invite States to make adequate contributions to the Fund to strengthen the Centre for International Crime Prevention to provide technical assistance to States in order to implement programmes designed to combat and prevent the trafficking in human beings, the smuggling of migrants, and corruption, and to study and bring about action to combat and prevent transnational organized crime.

     Further by the text, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to take all necessary measures and to provide adequate support during the biennium 2002-2003 to enable the Centre to promote the speedy entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the protocols thereto.

     The text is sponsored by Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States. 

     The Committee had before it a 95-power draft resolution on international cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/C.3/55/L.10). The draft would have the Assembly consider various actions to conquer the world drug problem through full and balanced application of national, regional and international strategies to reduce the demand for, production of and trafficking in illicit drugs. 

     By Part I of the draft, the Assembly would call on all States to take further action to promote effective cooperation at the international and regional levels to counter the world drug problem. It would urge all States to ratify or accede to and implement all the provisions of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, as amended in 1972 by the Protocol, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. 

     By Part II of the draft, the Assembly would urge competent authorities at the international, regional and national levels to implement the outcome of the twentieth special session on the world drug problem, with regard to time frames, in particular the high-priority measures indicated in the political declaration. The Assembly would further urge all Member States to implement the Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand in their national, regional and international actions. It would also urge States to strengthen their national efforts to counter the abuse of illicit drugs among their respective populations, particularly among children and youth.

     The Assembly would call upon States to adopt effective measures, including national laws and regulations, to implement the mandates and recommendations of the Global Programme of Action and the outcome and goals of the special session. It would call upon the relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and international financial institutions, and other concerned actors to continue close cooperation with governments in their efforts to implement the Plan of Action. 

     By part III of the draft, the Assembly would urge specialized agencies, programmes and funds, including humanitarian organizations, and invited multilateral financial institutions to include action against the world rug problem in their programming and planning processes.

     By part IV of the draft, the Assembly would request the UNDCP to strengthen cooperation with Member States and other United Nations programmes and agencies, as well as to allocate adequate resources to allow it to fulfil its role in implementing the Plan of Action on reduction of drug demand. The Assembly would also request the UNDCP to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with multilateral development banks and with international financial institutions.

     The draft resolution is sponsored by Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgystan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Thailand, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

    Action on Drafts

     The Committee took up the resolution on the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice: Meeting the Challenges of the Twenty-first Century (document A/C.3/55/L.3), which had been recommended for adoption by the Economic and Social Council. The resolution was approved without a vote.

     The Committee then took up the draft on follow-up to the Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (Vienna, 2000)(document A/C.3/55/L.4), which had also been recommended for adoption by the Council. The Committee approved the resolution without a vote.

     Then another draft recommended for adoption by the Council was taken up, that on a legal instrument against corruption (document A/C.3/55/L.5). The resolution was approved without a vote.

     The Committee took up a resolution on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/55/L.7*). The resolution was approved without a vote.

     A resolution on strengthening the United Nations crime programme (document A/C.3/55/L.9) was taken up. The 38-power draft was sponsored by Italy. The following became co-sponsors when the draft was introduced: Bangladesh, Belarus, Bulgaria, Egypt, Fiji, Georgia, Lesotho, Monaco, Norway, Russian Federation, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

     Australia, Croatia, Ecuador, Philippines, Madagascar and Malawi also became co-sponsors before the Committee approved the draft as orally amended without a vote. 

     And finally, a draft resolution on international cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/C.3/55/L.10) was taken up (document A/C.3/55/L.9). The 95-power draft was sponsored by Mexico. Armenia, Bangladesh, Botswana, Cameroon, Croatia, Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Israel, Liberia, Laos, Malawi, Togo and Uzbekistan became co-sponsors when the draft was introduced.

     Tanzania, Eritrea, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Uganda and the Congo also became co-sponsors. The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.

     MUN JONG CHOL, (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) said that while there had been many advances in protecting the rights of the world’s children, it was impossible to overlook the reality that nearly 130 million school-age children were illiterate, one million children suffered from AIDS, and untold millions were trapped in unfair labour situations. He hoped that the upcoming General Assembly special session on children would be an occasion to review the goals of the World Summit and identify new strategies to overcome the challenges ahead.

     He said that there were some specific areas that required immediate action in order to ensure implementation of the tenets of the Convention. Of utmost importance here was the universal lowering of infant mortality rates, the elimination of family violence, the strengthening of international cooperation, and strict adherence to international norms for protecting the rights of children. He also said that national, regional and international cooperation should continue in order to root out and punish all perpetrators of child trafficking. Every country should provide social policies which contributed to the development of children, he said. The Government of his country regarded children as “kings”, and observed a policy that placed high priority on children’s issues. The Government had also introduced relevant legal mechanisms for the protection and care of children.

     MONICA MARTINEZ (Ecuador) said that poverty was a phenomenon that grievously affected human rights. That was particularly true in the case of children. Among the many faces of child poverty, one of the worst was the persistence of children as cheap labour. In many countries, the practice of child labour was the main factor that hindered children’s development. For its part, Ecuador’s Government was working towards elimination of those practices, and had gradually raised the working age. She welcomed the International Labour Organization (ILO ) Convention on the worst forms of child labour. And she looked forward to the upcoming special session on children as an opportunity for world Governments to identify further actions to help combat the problem, as well as all other forms of exploitation of children. 

     While Ecuador was a country that lived in peace, its people were no less affected by the painful situation of children caught in protracted conflict situations. The horror of child torture and the death of children as a result of conflict affected all nations. It was the responsibility of the international community to closely study the work of the Olara Otunnu, Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, when formulating strategies aimed at tackling the issue. His expertise would serve as a valuable tool in identifying aspects that deserved immediate attention. The work of Ofelia Calcetas-Santos, the Special Rapporteur on the sexual exploitation of children, was also praiseworthy. Their combined efforts, along with those of the United Nations community, would help ensure that the rights of children in difficult situations were protected.

     AICHA AFIFI (Morocco) said that while some progress had been achieved in the years following the World Summit for Children, there had also been failures. In the international arena, those failures were mainly due to inequities brought on by such factors as widening poverty, the persistence of armed conflict and the spread of the AIDS virus. Here it was important to note that if the current trend continued, nearly 13 million children could lose at least one parent to HIV/AIDS.

     Nevertheless, the world had seen profound changes that marked a new respect for human rights as the primary component of sustained economic and social development. International and regional solidarity had led to a change in behaviour towards a more favourable climate for promoting the rights of children. Indeed at the Moroccan national level, the issue was now on the agenda. That new awakening had been spurred in many ways, among them the near-universal endorsement of the Convention and its two optional protocols. Her country adhered to the provisions of those instruments and welcomed the special attention paid to addressing the rights of children in peacekeeping operations.

     She said that Morocco’s abiding interest in protecting the welfare of children stemmed from its deep cultural beliefs and traditions. Her country was committed to a national policy on the protection and promotion of the rights of children, drafted in the spirit of the Convention and the outcome of the World Summit. The main focus was on reduction of mortality rates for children under five. Morocco’s royal family had enlisted the help of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other actors to further efforts at broad collaboration on all issues concerning the rights of children. Of Morocco’s many successful initiatives, a few had met with difficulties. Among those that deserved greater attention were programmes aimed at combating the problems of illiteracy, street children and other children in difficult situations. 

     THORSTEINN INGOLFSSON (Iceland) said that universal adherence to the Convention demonstrated the general agreement on the human rights of the child. Compliance at the national level, however, should be reinforced through legislation and law enforcement. The optional protocols should not be allowed to distract from the Convention itself, which was the main legal foundation for the rights of the child.

     He touched on facets of the tragedy that the HIV epidemic was wreaking on the lives of children, adding that poverty was one of the root causes preventing children from fully enjoying their rights. That had been recognized at the Millennium Summit, where world leaders had pledged to address the problem within a specific timeframe.

     The promotion and protection of the rights of children depended on the fight against the growing drug problem, he said. Wherever children in the world were exposed to drugs, their lives and those of their families were destroyed. Drugs also facilitated other atrocities visited on children and made rehabilitation difficult. Drugs were used to lure children to become child soldiers or into activities such as prostitution. It was the use of drugs at home that often drove children into the streets, where they were prey to other ills. Vigorous measures for prevention and rehabilitation should be implemented.

     SELAMAWIT ALI (Ethiopia) said the future of any country depended on the upbringing of its children. It was unthinkable for developing countries to expect success and development without due attention to the welfare of children. The big challenges were to eradicate malnutrition, disease, illiteracy, child-labour and the scourge of conflicts that eroded unity and cohesion while undermining development efforts.

     Numerous initiatives had been taken in her country on behalf of children's welfare, she said, as she outlined implementation and monitoring mechanisms for the children's rights Convention. Juvenile delinquency, for example, was being treated in special courts, with special training provided to police. In addition, the Government was redoubling efforts to bring significant changes to the lives of children under difficult circumstances. Those initiatives centred on sensitizing the society on children's rights, building the capacity of institutions dealing with children's issues, and establishing information centres. She called upon the international community to contribute its help as well.

     NGUYEN THI THANH HA (Viet Nam) said that providing for the welfare of children was at the heart of her Government's plan for socio-economic development. Her country had been among the first in Asia to become party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. During the Millennium Summit, the Foreign Minister had signed the two optional protocols.

     In addition to macro policies ensuring children's fundamental needs, she said, the Government focused on enhancing society's fight against the social evils that had harmful effects on children. Those included sexual abuse and exploitation, drug abuse and trafficking of children. Legislative and prosecutorial measures were being taken, preventive campaigns were raising awareness, and regional initiatives were being implemented. 

     SARAH PATERSON (New Zealand) said that political commitment from governments was required not only to address the needs of child combatants, but the needs of all children impacted by protracted conflict. She welcomed the initiative of the Canadian Government in convening the International Conference on War-Affected Children last month in Winnipeg. She hoped the event would be a first step in the international community’s efforts to address that important issue. Further commitment was also required of the United Nations system. The Organization should strive to address the issue of children in armed conflict throughout the range of its work. It was important to note that the Security Council had taken constructive steps in that regard by appointing child-protection advisers for peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone (United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL)) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC)). Also deserving of attention was the role of NGOs in promoting the optional protocol on child soldiers. Those groups could be most effective in raising awareness.

     She added that the Convention’s optional protocol on the sale of children had been crafted to offer enhanced protection from cross-border exploitation. She hoped that it would prove to continue to be a durable weapon against the pervasive evils of sexual exploitation, child sex tourism, child pornography and trafficking. Addressing the root causes of exploitation was an important factor in promoting and protecting the human rights of children. It was well known that poverty was one of the major causes of exploitation, and the link between the two had been crystallised in the International Labour Organization’s Convention on the worst forms of child labour. Her delegation welcomed that Convention as a positive step in the global movement to protect the rights of children. 

     HYO-EUN JENNY KIM (Republic of Korea) said that despite progress since the World Summit for children, the international community still had a long way to go to ensure the full protection of children’s rights. The statistics on the situation for children around the world were well known -- 130 million living in developing countries lacked access to basic education, 600 million globally living in extreme poverty -– and those figures should provide the international community with fresh momentum for this new millennium. Her delegation hoped that the upcoming General Assembly special session on children would provide an opportunity to translate the commitments already made into action.

     Turning to the work of the United Nations, she was pleased to note the efforts throughout the Organization and in its specialized agencies to regularly and systematically include a children’s rights perspective in the implementation of their respective mandates. She strongly urged all relevant organs to strengthen their cooperation, as that was the only way to ensure effective promotion and protection of children’s rights. In that regard, she welcomed the work of NGOs. She also applauded efforts by the Security Council to integrate the protection of children into peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations.

     ZOUANSO SOULAMA-COULIBALY (Burkina Faso) said that each nation, community and family must grant high priority to the respect children rights. Unfortunately, problems such as poverty, exploitation and armed conflict hampered full realization of children’s rights. There was now a serious need to address the situation of displaced children and refugees.

     Confronted with those worrying issues, she said, the international community had of course mobilized. That had not been enough. There was a greater need than ever to stress broad cooperation among civil society, governments, organizations, NGOs and other actors to translate policies and programmes into concrete action. It was also necessary to strengthen national capacities to ensure that long-term measures could be implemented to positive effect. Examples of such cooperation in her own country included a programme for basic education, drafted with the help of UNICEF and several Member States, and a programme aimed at poverty reduction drafted jointly with the Bretton Woods Institutions. She hoped that the upcoming special session on children would provide opportunities for assessment, and lead to the creation of a true plan of action for the future development of the world’s children.

     RUTH CEASAR (Liberia) said that as a post-conflict country, Liberia had first-hand experience with the situation of children in armed conflict. The relevant protocol to the Convention on children's rights was not only a means of protecting rights but an instrument of intervention.

     Her country's programme for protecting children and the family was based on the Convention, she said. It included a national plan for action, public dissemination of the Convention, and the training of juvenile justice workers in the Convention's norms. Special interventions and programmes offered to all war-affected Liberian children focused on literacy and education issues, health, and displacement. However, the root causes of conflict were adverse social, economic and political conditions. Curing those would require a concerted global effort to mobilize technical, human and financial resources.

     Instead of that mobilization, she said, there was a tendency to stall, withhold or withdraw assistance in an attempt to use it as a conflict resolution method. That undermined efforts to address other root causes of conflicts, such as lack of respect for rights and poor governance. It also exacerbated the suffering of vulnerable groups, children among them.

     ASENACA ULUIVITI (Fiji) reiterated concerns already voiced about the report on her country, prepared by the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. She said it belied the many initiatives and legal reforms her country had undertaken to protect its children against the vices to which geographical conditions laid them open.

     While not making excuses for itself, she said Fiji was a small country with limited resources, particularly with respect to reporting responsibilities to the many human rights conventions with which it aspired to comply. Its coordinating office, for example, was at present without resources. There were gaps in regimes, but it was working to meet the standards. It had willingly hosted the Special Rapporteur and had offered further clarifications on seeing her report. Those had not been noted -- and that had put Fiji into a difficult position.

     Fiji had been singled out for examination by the Special Rapporteur, she said, not because of its rampant child trafficking problems but because its geographical location was expected to yield data useful for regional study. Weaknesses that had come to her attention were being addressed with due integrity and in consultation with relevant stakeholders. Regrettably, that had not been reflected in the report.
     

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