Press Releases

    ECOSOC/6027
    29 July 2002

    Economic and Social Council Calls for End of Occupation of Palestinian Population Centres

    By Recorded Vote, Adopts Text on Repercussions of Israeli Occupation; Total of 50 Texts Adopted

    NEW YORK, 25 July (UN Headquarters) -- Acting on the recommendation of the Commission on Human Rights, the Economic and Social Council yesterday evening adopted a resolution on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territory, including Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.

    As the Council neared the end of the first part of its 2002 substantive session, it adopted 50 texts of its own and of its functional commissions, including texts on human rights in conflict and post-conflict areas, indigenous peoples, decolonization, population and development, and the impact of globalization on human rights.

    By a recorded vote of 47 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 3 abstentions (Australia, Fiji, and Guatemala), the Council called upon Israel, the occupying Power, to end its occupation of Palestinian cities and other populated centres, to end all kinds of closures and to cease destruction of homes and economic facilities and agricultural fields. (For details, see Annex XVIII.)

    Under a related provision, the Council urged Member States to encourage private foreign investment in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, in infrastructure, job-creation projects and social development in order to alleviate the hardship of the Palestinian people and improve living conditions.

    By a recorded vote of 27 in favour to 2 against (United States, Australia), with 17 abstentions, it adopted a decision on the question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories. By so doing, it endorsed requests of the Human Rights Commission for reports from the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 to follow up on the implementation of recommendations contained in the report of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights (document E/CN.4/ 2001 /114), as well as those appearing in the report of the Human Rights Inquiry Commission (document E/CN.4/2001/121). (Annex I.)

    A decision on the human rights situation of Lebanese detainees in Israel to bring resolution 2002/10 of the Commission to the attention of the Government of

    Israel and call upon it to comply with its provisions, was adopted by a recorded vote of 25 in favour to 1 against (United States), with 22 abstentions (Annex II).

    [Resolution 2002/10 calls upon the Government of Israel to refrain holding the detained Lebanese citizens incarcerated in its prisons as hostages for bargaining purposes and to release them immediately.]

    The Council adopted another decision -- on the question of the realization in all countries of the economic, social and cultural rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights -- by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against (United States) and 4 abstentions (Australia, India, Japan and Pakistan). (Annex III.)

    Continuing to act on the recommendations of the Human Rights Commission, the Council adopted the following texts, also by recorded vote on: the right to food; globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of human rights; human rights and extreme poverty; the right to physical and mental health; authorizing dates for the working group on indigenous populations; and the composition of the staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    Also, on: "The Social Forum"; human rights and human responsibilities; organization of work of the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on Human Rights; second session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and two other related texts; and on racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, as amended.

    Acting without a vote, the Council adopted a series of country-specific human rights texts on Iraq, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, parts of south-eastern Europe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Cuba, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Myanmar.

    In a recorded vote, the Council failed to adopt a decision recommended by the Human Rights Commission concerning immediate discontinuation of the Secretariat's practice of forwarding confidential monthly lists to the Division for the Advancement of Women. Prior to taking that action, a no-action motion was suppressed.

    Under a further recorded vote, it adopted a text on implementing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and international institutions associated with the United Nations.

    Acting without a vote on its own and other resolutions and decisions of its subsidiary bodies, the Council adopted texts on: effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights; torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; all forms of religious intolerance; freedom of opinion and expression; integrating the human rights of women throughout the United Nations system; International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; and human rights of migrants.

    Additional texts adopted were on: the human rights of persons with disabilities; the right to development; assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights; enhancement of the effectiveness of the working methods of the Commission; the rights of the Child; the dates for the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on Human Rights; expiration of office-holders' terms of appointment under special procedures: inter-sessional activities of the Bureau; electronic voting system; the working group of the Commission on Human Rights to elaborate a draft declaration on the rights of indigenous people; and on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, as orally revised yesterday.

    Also without a vote, the Council adopted texts on enlarging the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; and on triennial policy review of operational activities for development.

    Also this afternoon, texts on sustainable development, human settlements and implementation of the programme of action for the Least Developed Countries for the decade 2001-2010 were introduced by the representatives of Maldives, Venezuela and Benin.

    Statements were also made by the representatives of Peru, Australia, Iraq, Libya, Cuba, Sudan, Egypt, Iran, Cuba, China, Libya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, South Africa, Burundi, Russian Federation, Angola, Iran, Suriname, Brazil, United States, Iran, Japan, Denmark (on behalf of the European Union), Israel, Argentina, Benin, Saudi Arabia, India, United Kingdom, Germany, Russian Federation and Israel. The observer of Palestine also spoke.

    The Economic and Social Council will meet again at 3 p.m. on 26 July to complete action on all texts and conclude the first part of its 2002 substantive session.

    Background

    The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) met today to consider a number of reports of its functional commissions, as well as several related draft resolutions and decisions on such items as mainstreaming a gender perspective, indigenous issues, reproductive health and human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine.

    Draft Resolutions and Decisions

    The Council was expected to take action on a number of texts, which were first introduced yesterday. For background information on drafts contained in the reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International cooperation in the field of informatics, United Nations Forum on Forests and the Statistical Commission, see Press Release ECOSOC/6026 of 24 July.

    Also contained in that release are summaries of draft decisions and resolutions E/2002/L.11, and L.15. It also contains summaries of draft decisions contained in the report of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, including E/2002/L.16, L.18, L.19 and L.20.

    The Council was also scheduled to take action on 43 draft decisions contained in the report of the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-eighth session. For details of the texts, see document E/2002/23. The drafts focus on country-specific human rights situations in various parts of the world, including Cuba, Afghanistan, Iraq and Burundi.

    The 395-page report also contains drafts on such issues as the composition of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; the relationship between human rights and responsibilities; cooperation with representatives of United Nations human rights bodies; the right to food; and the effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on the enjoyment of all human rights.

    Also before the Council are the texts contained in the report of the second session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (document E/2002/42), including its Ministerial Declaration to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. In that Declaration, the Ministers reaffirm, among other things, that sustainable forest management of both natural and planted forests is essential to sustainable development.

    The Council will also consider the report of the thirty-third session of the Statistical Commission (document E/2002/24), which details the Commission's work during its 5 to 8 March session this year. According to the report, the Commission reviewed the ongoing work of groups of countries and international organizations in various fields of demographic, social, economic and environmental statistics and on certain cross-cutting issues in statistics.

    Some of the drafts before the Council are also contained in the report of the Commission on Population and Development (document E/2002/25 and Corr.1).

    By the terms of draft decision A contained in the document, the ECOSOC would take note of the report of the Commission for its thirty-fifth session and approve the provisional agenda for the next, thirty-sixth, session of the Commission.

    A draft resolution on reproductive rights and reproductive health, including HIV/AIDS, would have ECOSOC approve the request by the Commission on Population and Development for the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) to continue its research, and for the United Nations Population Fund to continue its programming on reproductive rights and reproductive health, in close collaboration with each other and with all other relevant funds, programmes and agencies of the United Nations system.

    The Population Division would also be requested, in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other relevant funds, programmes and agencies, to strengthen its work on the demographic aspects and impact of HIV/AIDS. The Population Division would be requested to incorporate the findings for relevant research on reproductive health, including the inter-relationship with HIV/AIDS, in its contribution to the next review of the implementation of the Programme of Action on the International Conference on Population and Development, which is scheduled for 2004, as well as annual reviews of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, to the extent appropriate.

    Under the agenda item on economic and environmental questions, the Council was expected to hear introduction of draft resolutions on sustainable development, human settlements, international cooperation in the field of informatics, and review of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries.

    By the terms of the text on the report of the Committee for Development Policy (document E/2002/L.27), the ECOSOC would welcome that body's report on its fourth session, as well as its views concerning the criteria for the identification of the least developed countries (LDCs) and the importance of ensuring smooth transition for graduating countries. Following a re-examination of its recommendation to graduate Maldives from the LDC list at its next session, the Committee would be requested to submit its recommendations on the matter at the Council's 2003 substantive session.

    Further by the draft, the Council would endorse the recommendation of the Committee that country vulnerability profiles be prepared for each country close to graduation thresholds, including Maldives, stating that such profiles should be prepared by the end of 2002. In preparation of the profiles, the ECOSOC would reiterate the importance of consulting with relevant Member States and stress continuing need for transparency, objectivity and accuracy in that respect.

    The Committee would also be requested to continue its work on the methodology for the identification of LDCs and make recommendations regarding the theme for the Council's high-level segment in 2003.

    Regarding the need to harmonize and improve United Nations informatics systems, the Council would hear the introduction of the draft resolution contained in document E/2002/L.29, by which it would reiterate that high priority that it attaches to economical and unhindered access to economical and unhindered access to the Organization's databases and information systems and services for States' members, observers and accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs), provided that access of the latter does not prejudice the access of Member States or represent an additional financial burden.

    By the text, the President of ECOSOC would be requested to convene an Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Informatics for one more year in order to allow it to facilitate the implementation of recent initiatives directed at enhanced use of technology. According to the text, the work of that body should be carried out within existing resources, on the basis of its mandate, as stated in Council resolution 1995/61. The Working Group should act as a bridge between the evolving needs of Member States and the actions of the Secretariat.

    The Council would also support the efforts of the Working Group to keep intact the network of national focal points, which was established in connection with the year-2000 problem, as a vehicle for the diffusion of best practices and lessons learned.

    By the draft resolution on human settlements (document E/2002/L.30) the ECOSOC would take note of the report of the Secretary-General on coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda and call upon governments, in particular in developed countries, and international financial institutions to increase their financial contributions to the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation. Habitat would be encouraged to continue to implement the Habitat Agenda and the Declaration on Cities and other Human Settlements in the New Millennium to achieve the goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements.

    The Executive Director of UN-Habitat would be invited to establish a Habitat Agenda Task Manager System to allow better monitoring and mutual reinforcement of actions by international agencies in support of the Habitat Agenda. The Council would also encourage strengthened collaboration between UN-Habitat and the United Nations Development Group and other relevant bodies and decide to include in the provisional agenda of its 2003 substantive session the item entitled "Economic and environmental questions" and a sub-item on "Coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda".

    The draft resolution on the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the decade 2001-2010 (document E/2002/L.31) would have the ECOSOC take note of the oral report of the High Representative for the LDCs, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and welcome with appreciation the decision taken by the Executive Boards of the United Nations Children's Fund, United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Population Fund on mainstreaming the Programme of Action within their programmes of work. All other organizations of the United Nations system that had not yet done so would be invited to mainstream the implementation of the Brussels Declaration and Programme of Action in their programmes and processes.

    Also by the terms of the text, the Council would stress that further initiatives were needed on cooperation between the LDCs and other countries at the regional and subregional levels. Global follow-up to the Programme of Action should be primarily concerned with assessing economic and social performance of the LDCs, monitoring the implementation of countries' commitments, reviewing the functionality of implementation mechanisms at all levels, and policy developments at the global level. The High Representative for the LDCs would be requested to submit a comprehensive progress report on the matter during ECOSOC's 2003 session, having consulted with Member States on its appropriate format.

    Action

    The Economic and Social Council first took up matters related to social and human rights questions.

    Action on Draft Decisions in Report of Commission on Human Rights (E/2002/23)

    The Chairman drew the Council's attention to the programme budget implications of the 43 draft resolutions contained in document E/2002/L.24. He also drew attention to Part II of the report, which contained an account of action taken on all draft proposals before the Commission.

    The Council then took up a draft on the question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine, based on resolution 2002/8 of the Commission on Human Rights.

    A recorded vote was requested.

    Before the vote, the representative of the United States said the draft was one-sided, unfair and unwise, particularly as it expressed unqualified support for a Palestinian right of resistance. The text criticized Israel at length for alleged violations and ignored ongoing Palestinian attacks and violence. It also failed to take into account the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority to work to stem the violence in the region.

    The United States, she said, was actively working with others in the international community that shared the vision of two States -- Israel and Palestine -- living side by side in peace and security. Together with its partners, the United States was committed to bringing about a better future for both sides. She said the text did nothing for human rights in the region and would only make it harder to bring the two sides together. She asked the Council to support constructive efforts to bring about peace and to think again before voting for such a text.

    The draft decision was adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, two against (United States and Australia) and 17 abstentions.

    After the vote, the representative of Peru said his delegation had abstained because there were several political judgements in the text that went beyond the promotion of human rights. The protection and promotion of human rights must not be applied selectively. Peru shared the concern of the international community at the events taking place in the area and condemned acts of terrorism, particularly against civilian populations.

    The Council next took up a text on the human rights situation of Lebanese detainees in Israel, based on resolution 2002/10 of the Commission.

    A recorded vote was requested.

    Before the vote, the representative of the United States said her delegation strongly opposed the draft, which was unbalanced and failed to promote a reduction of tensions in the region. It was clearly one-sided and did not take into account established "Blue Line" agreements or relevant Security Council resolutions. The proposed text made no reference to violations of those resolutions by Lebanon. It singled out Israel for criticism and failed to identify parties inside Lebanon operating in contravention of international law and of various United Nations agreements. It also failed to mention the positive steps the Government of Israel had taken, such as allowing the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to certain areas.

    The draft decision was adopted by a vote of 25 in favour, 1 against (United States), with 22 abstentions.

    Following the vote, the representative of Australia said his delegation had abstained because the draft was unbalanced, extreme, and did not contribute to the cause of peace. Australia called on the parties to seek a solution and to allow access to detainees.

    The next draft, on assistance to Equatorial Guinea in the field of human rights, based on Commission resolution 2002/11, was adopted without a vote.

    The Council then took up a series of country-specific human rights texts.

    The draft decision on the situation of human rights in Burundi was adopted without a vote, as was the text on the situation of human rights in parts of south-eastern Europe.

    The draft on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was also adopted without a vote.

    The Council then took up a text on the situation of human rights in Iraq.

    The representative of Iraq said the European Union had submitted a draft decision which was now under consideration. It was clearly political in nature and used confrontational language. The authors of the draft were attempting to separate the embargo from Iraq's humanitarian issues. If they were truly interested in the human rights of the Iraqi people, they would have approached the issue from a humanitarian standpoint. Further, the authors would have called for an end to the criminal embargo being perpetrated against the people of Iraq.

    While Iraq still had concerns about the work of the Special Rapporteur, the authors of the text had not mentioned the positive dialogue that mechanism had had with its Government. The text merely mentioned the visit and then went on to repeat concocted allegations by States hostile to Iraq, headed by the United States and the United Kingdom. The authors should address the embargo as the most serious human rights challenge to arise from the sanction system. He added that the practice of submitting politicized resolutions, which targeted certain States, was itself a violation of the lofty objectives of human rights.

    The representative of Libya rejected the draft decision. Her delegation was particularly disturbed that the text did not mention the dire condition of Iraqi children and women as a result of the decade-long embargo. She said elements in the international community were working to marginalize Iraq, which was rich with human and natural resources. The text under consideration totally ignored the economic, cultural and political rights of the Iraqi people, which had been jeopardized by the sanctions for over a decade.

    Despite the serious discussions between the Iraqi Government and the Special Rapporteur, that mechanism did not report the positive aspects of the human rights situation in Iraq. The resolution also undermined the sovereignty of Iraq and was tantamount to an interference in that State's territorial integrity. Libya rejected the draft decision categorically, and called on its brothers in Kuwait to put an end to the plight of Kuwaiti prisoners, which continued to cloud the resolution. Libya called upon the two parties to solve their differences and work together to stop any foreign interference in the region.

    The representative of Cuba said his delegation had abstained from voting on the text in Geneva because it interfered in Iraq's domestic affairs and omitted references to the sufferings of the people of that country.

    The draft was adopted without a vote.

    The Council then turned to a draft decision on the situation of human rights in the Sudan based on Commission resolution 2002/16.

    The representative of Sudan said Sudan did not wish to dwell in length on the draft, as it was clearly prejudiced against the Government of Sudan. It was flagrantly one-sided in that it sided with the rebel movement. Some of its paragraphs undermined Sudan's sovereignty and right to dispose of its natural resources. It was important for him to inform the Council of the efforts undertaken by the African Group in Geneva to deal with the repetitive language of the draft decision. The language of the text had not changed in years, despite efforts by Sudan to refute politically motivated claims and allegations.

    The African Group in Geneva had presented the European Union with a draft of the Chairman's statement on the situation in Sudan to be considered under item 19 on the consultative services and technological cooperation in the human rights field, he said. The draft statement was delivered to the European Union in March 2002. However, the European delegation did not comment on the African draft statement. Instead the European Union presented the draft today without consultations or contact with the African Group or Sudan. The African Group and member States of the Organization of the Islamic Conference had requested a vote on the European resolution. That resolution would have been rejected had it not been for the difference of one vote.

    The best way to deal with human rights should be through dialogue, cooperation and assistance instead of confrontation and accusation, he continued. He rejected the selectivity, double standards and politicization of questions related to human rights. There was no State in the world where human rights violations did not take place in one way or another. There had been a number of developments in the field of human rights in Sudan despite the horrendous obstacles facing it. Efforts had been made to achieve permanent peace in Sudan and to end the suffering of the citizens because of the continued conflict in the southern part of Sudan. His Government disassociated itself from the consensus on the text and called on Member States to dissociate themselves also.

    The representative of Egypt said that despite the fact that Sudan had taken initiatives to bring about reform, the draft did not reflect those efforts. The best way to promote human rights was cooperation, not accusation. The European Union had overlooked the Nigerian initiative. Egypt disassociated itself from the decision.

    The representative of Iran said he could not support the decision. The monitoring machinery of the Commission on Human Rights suffered from a major flaw which allowed for manipulation and the sacrifice of human rights to national interests. A spirit of cooperation should characterize any international human rights initiative. In Sudan today, there had been drastic changes and developments in domestic governance. Sudan had finalized an agreement with the rebel movement in the South with a view to bringing about lasting peace. The constructive measures for peace in Sudan were indicative of the Government's political will and commitment to fulfil its national obligations and international commitments to improve the situation in the country. The positive approach of the African Group was rejected and the resolution adopted by a margin of one vote. Iran disassociated itself from the consensus on the text.

    The representative of Cuba said that he would not go along with the consensus on the text. Pursuing a punitive approach prevented international progress in the field of human rights.

    The representative of China said the Sudan was a least developed country. To protect the human rights of its people, Sudan had adopted a series of measures to safeguard social stability. Sudan had reached a peace accord with the relevant parties. After years of war, Sudan awaited rebuilding. The international community should support and help Sudan and not adopt a draft decision politicizing the human rights issue. China supported the position of Sudan and would not join in the consensus on the text.

    The representative of Libya endorsed the statement made by Sudan. The draft decision which accused Sudan and overlooked constructive efforts by Sudan. The European Union should have encouraged Sudan rather than accusing it. The decision confirmed the selectivity of the approach adopted by giving preference to confrontation with Sudan. He appealed to countries to prefer dialogue to confrontation as the best way to settle issues. He endorsed the statement by Sudan and would not be able to join the consensus.

    The representative of Nigeria associated itself with Sudan's statement. Nigeria had great respect for human rights as the greatest goal for humanity to meet the challenges of globalization. Nigeria was not guided not by sentiment but by fundamental principles and objectives. Nigeria's position in Geneva had been clear. Nigeria had maintained a positive position. Nigeria disassociated itself from the report.

    The Council then adopted the decision without a vote.

    On the situation of human rights in Cuba, the Council took up a draft decision based on resolution 2002/187.

    The representative of Cuba said the draft decision was not based on principles of objectivity and impartiality. Its aim was to serve as the most recent pretext for the United States to maintain the blockade against Cuba. It was an act of genocide and a flagrant violation of Cuban's human rights. The resolution was imposed on the Commission on Human Rights by a vote of 23 in favour to 21 against. That vote had been achieved by extortion and threats by the super-Power. The political motivation behind the act had failed, however, and had deceived none. Continuing a politically motivated approach damaged the interests of the international community in protecting human rights in all countries. Cuba was proud of its performance in human rights. The Cuban people had recently confirmed its support for the Constitution. Those who accused Cuba could not say the same. He reiterated his decision not to cooperate. Cuba opposed the draft and called upon the Secretariat to record that the draft did not enjoy consensus.

    The representative of Sudan said the content and objectives of the human rights enjoyed special status in his country. Sudan endorsed the statement by Cuba and rejected the idea of entering into a consensus on the decision.

    The representative of Zimbabwe regretted that he would not join in the consensus on the draft. The resolution was politically motivated and did not derive from legitimate concern for the situation of human rights in Cuba. It was not based on the principle of impartiality and non-selectivity. The approach to human rights issues must be based on the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity.

    The representative of Pakistan was among the counties that had voted against the draft decision in Geneva and disassociated itself with the text today.

    The representative of Nigeria said his delegation also disassociated itself from the text.

    The representative of South Africa said his delegation had consistently opposed politically motivated texts of this nature. The real purpose of the text under consideration was to promote the politically motivated initiatives of some States to continue the marginalization and isolation of the people and Government of Cuba. South Africa would therefore disassociate itself from the text and if there were a vote would vote against it.

    The representative of Burundi said his delegation opposed the use of double standards and the use of human rights to make an assault on the inherent dignity of weaker countries. Burundi would, as it had in Geneva, support its Cuban friends and vote against the text.

    The representative of the Russian Federation was convinced that the texts put forward year after year on the situation of human rights in Cuba had nothing to do with the real situation in the country. Russia would reaffirm the position it had taken in Geneva on thematic and country-specific subjects.

    The representative of Angola said his delegation was very cognizant of the situation in Cuba. It was also aware that the resolution adopted by the Commission and Council every year never had any direct effect on Cuba and never took into account the positive human rights developments in that country. Angola was therefore not in a position to support the draft.

    The representative of Libya said it was well known that the text targeted the Cuban way of life and challenged the right of the Cuban people to choose their own economic and political structures. It would oppose the draft and call upon the States that had authored the draft to oppose division, political motivation and double standards.

    The representative of Iran said his country was not currently a member of the Commission on Human Rights, but would make a statement today consistent with the position that promotion and protection of human rights in any country could only be achieved through dialogue, not through stereotyping, double standards and biased attitudes. The current practice of the Commission on Human Rights, ECOSOC and the General Assembly to review and adopt country-specific resolutions did more harm than good to the promotion of human rights. The process was more identified with dissent and maintaining political superiority than promoting the human rights aims of the United Nations. Iran dissociated itself with the resolution.

    The representative of China said that Cuba had been fighting for its own political and economic independence for many years in a hostile external environment and that in itself was an expression of that country's devotion to the promotion of human rights around the world. It was regrettable that some countries, instead of denouncing political motives, continued to push the Commission on Human Rights to adopt such divisive texts. China would therefore disassociate itself with the text.

    The representative of Suriname said that as the only member State of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on the Council, it would have to disassociate itself with the text and if it were put to a vote, would vote against it.

    The text was adopted without a vote.

    The Council next acted on a draft decision on the situation of human rights in Afghanistan, adopting that text without a vote.

    The text on the situation of human rights in Sierra Leone was then adopted without a vote.

    The Council then took up a draft decision on the question of the realization in all countries of the economic, social and cultural rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

    The United States requested a recorded vote on that text.

    Before action was taken, the United States opposed the creation of an open-ended working group with a view to elaborating an optional protocol to the Covenant. Further, the independent expert had not yet had the opportunity to present his conclusions. One such conclusion however had been that it was not feasible to establish a mechanism for individual violations of economic social and cultural rights.

    The representative of Cuba said the achievement of economic, social and cultural rights should be equal to that of civil and political rights. His delegation supported the text and would urge others to support it as well.

    The text was adopted with a vote of 46 in favour, one against (United States) and four abstentions (Australia, India, Japan and Pakistan).

    Following the vote, the representative of Australia said stable and prosperous societies were based on the promotion and protection of all human rights. Australia's abstention from the vote did not diminish its commitment to the Covenant, but was an expression of its concern to the creation of an ad hoc body. Indeed the continuing proliferation of new mechanisms throughout the system when there had been insufficient investigation into their practicability was a cause of great concern. Perhaps there was a more urgent need to strengthen existing mechanisms.

    The representative of Suriname said her delegation had been pleased to vote for the text and the elaboration of a Protocol could not come soon enough.

    The Council then turned to a draft on the right to food.

    A recorded vote had been requested by the United States.

    The representative of the United States said the best route to food security was through the adoption of sound policies that encouraged growth and access to markets. The primary responsibility of food security and hunger alleviation rested with each State's government. The United States was the largest food donor in the world, helping those affected by hunger. It could not support the resolution, which promoted the right to food as a justifiable right.

    The draft was adopted by a vote of 49 in favour, one against (United States) and 1 abstention (Australia).

    The Council next took up a draft decision on globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of human rights based on Commission resolution 2002/28. The text was adopted without a vote.

    A recorded vote was requested by the United States.

    The draft was adopted by a vote of 31 in favor to 20 against with no abstentions.

    The next draft decision before the Council was based on resolution 2002/29, effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.

    The draft was adopted by a vote of 24 in favour to 20 against, with seven abstentions.

    The draft decision on human rights and extreme poverty was then adopted without a vote.

    The representative of the United States said that it was her understanding that a recorded vote had been requested on the previous decision -- the effects of structural adjustment policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.

    Speaking on a point of order, the representative of Cuba said he was surprised with the request and deplored the fact that a delegation had asked for a vote. The Council could not go back to the item since a decision had already been taken.

    The Council Vice-President, GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) said the Secretariat had received a request, which had been overlooked. The Presidency had not followed the written instructions.

    The representative of Cuba said the Presidency was experienced and the Secretariat well qualified.

    The draft decision was then adopted by a vote of 24 in favour to 20 against with 7 abstentions (Argentina, Bahrain, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, and Peru).

    The Council then took up a draft decision on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

    A recorded vote on the draft had been requested by the United States.

    The representative of the United States said the United States could not support the draft decision for a number of reasons. The United States did not subscribe to the view that a new special rapporteur should be established because there were far better uses for scarce United Nations resources in the human rights area. Despite assurances of the Secretariat in its statement on the programme budget implications of the decision, the United States had concerns about the substantial costs of a new special rapporteur. In addition to budgetary and management difficulties, the proposed mandate of a special rapporteur was part of an effort to promote legal entitlements in the health field and eventually in other areas. An assertion of legal entitlements could manifest itself in the form of lawsuits for health benefits that few, if any, governments could afford to pay. The United States affirmed the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of families including food, housing and medical care as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    The representative of Brazil regretted that a vote had been requested. The main objective of the decision was to fill a vacuum in the system by appointing a special rapporteur on the right to health. Although the right to the highest attainment of medical health was enshrined in the Universal Declaration, it lacked an appropriate mechanism. Provision for the activities of the special rapporteur had been included in the 2002-2003 programme budget. Additional appropriations would not be required as a result of the draft decision.

    The draft was then adopted by a vote of 49 in favour to 2 against (Australia, United States), with no abstentions.

    The representative of Japan said Japan had supported the draft, as it believed in the general concept of that right. The necessity for establishing a new rapporteur, however, should be carefully examined in light of the urgent challenge of streamlining the human rights machinery.

    The representative of Australia supported the principle of the resolution. Australia had voted against the text, however, because of its deep concern of a new special rapporteur. Firstly, Australia had concerns about the process by which the appointment was agreed to. There had been no assessment by the Commission on Human Rights as to whether it was necessary. He noted the overlap in the mandates of other United Nations agencies. The creation of a new mandate stretched already limited resources. Australia's vote was not a vote against efforts to improve health worldwide, but reflected its concerns of the costs and the process by which the decision had been taken.

    Turning to the draft decision on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Council adopted that text without a vote.

    The draft on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance was adopted in like fashion.

    A draft decision on the right to freedom of opinion and expression was also adopted without a vote.

    The Council then took up a draft on integrating the human rights of women throughout the United Nations system, adopting that text without a vote.

    The draft on the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was then adopted without a vote.

    Acting without a vote, the Council then adopted the text on the human rights of persons with disabilities.

    It also adopted a draft decision on the human rights of migrants without a vote.

    The Council next took up a draft decision on the working group on the indigenous populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human rights and the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People.

    The United States requested a recorded vote on the text.

    The representative of the United States said the United States would abstain because while it appreciated the accomplishments of the working group, the time had come to transform its activities to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The transfer of functions to the Permanent Forum and the termination of the working group were part of justification for the establishment of the Permanent Forum. Continuation of the working group would result in duplicate activities and would represent a poor use of limited resources available. It was objectionable, moreover, that the meeting in question already had begun prior to ECOSOC authorization.

    The draft was adopted by a vote of 50 in favour to none against, with one abstention (United States).

    The Council next adopted without a vote a draft decision on the working group of the Commission on Human Rights to elaborate a draft declaration in accordance with paragraph 5 of General Assembly resolution 49/214 (on the rights of indigenous people)(1994)

    It then adopted a draft decision on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

    The Council next took up a draft decision on racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, based on Commission resolution 2002/68.

    The Chairman first drew the Council's attention to an amendment to the text that had been introduced yesterday by the representative of South Africa (document E/2002/L.21).

    The Council adopted that amendment without a vote.

    Before action was taken on the resolution as amended, the representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said the United Nations was firmly committed to transforming the World Conference against Racism into a reality. In implementing the commitments undertaken in Durban, the Union supported the follow-up as reflected in the Programme of Action and reaffirmed in General Assembly resolution 56/266. Efforts should be made to develop consensual approaches to the implementation of the Durban commitments. The Union regretted that consensus had not been reached in the Commission on Human Rights.

    The Union regretted that the text in the decision before the Council went beyond what was agreed in Durban and introduced elements that could break the consensus established there, he said. The consensus reached in Durban should have been maintained. The decision should have focused primarily on concrete steps to fight racism. While agreeing with the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, any decision on his appointment lay exclusively with the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights. The rules previously agreed upon by consensus on the limitation of terms of mandate should apply in all circumstances. For that reason, the Union would vote no on the decision.

    The representative of the United States said her country opposed racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of religious and related intolerance within her country and around the world. The United States could not support the decision under consideration as it was based on the flawed outcome of the Durban World Conference on Racism in which it did not participate, and the Durban Declaration -- the Conference's outcome document -- which it did not support.

    The representative of Cuba said that the proposals in the draft were reflective of the recommendations included in the Durban Declaration.

    The representative of South Africa said his delegation had been shocked by the intervention of the European Union, particularly that the establishment of the working groups on racism had not been mentioned in Durban. Nothing more could have been further from the truth. He added that it was important to remember that no one member of the Commission on Human Rights was bigger than the Commission itself.

    The representative of Israel drew the attention of the Council to its reservations expressed about the Durban Conference and its Plan of Action. Israel had rejected portions of the Plan and the spirit of the Conference itself. Israel had witnessed attempts to change the Durban Conference into an attack against one Member State. During the last year, there had been a rise in anti-Semitic attacks around the world. Israel opposed those attacks and called on the international community to work to put an end to such behaviour.

    The decision was adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, 17 against, with four abstentions (Croatia, Burundi, Japan and Republic of Korea).

    After the vote, the representative of Burundi said his delegation had wished to vote in favour.

    The representative of Australia said the international community could only combat racism effectively by implementing forward-looking, concrete measures. Australia's vote against the draft reflected its deep disappointment at the

    divisive political discussion during the World Conference and its deep concern about the proliferation of follow-up mechanisms. Australia could not support resolutions that endorsed new mechanisms.

    The Council next took up a decision on the right to development. The text was adopted without a vote.

    A recorded vote was requested for a draft decision on composition of the staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    The draft was adopted with a vote of 31 in favour, 18 against and two abstentions (Mexico and Croatia).

    The Council then adopted without a vote a draft decision on assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights.

    Also adopted without vote were draft decisions on enhancement of the effectiveness of the working methods of the Commission and on the rights of the Child.

    Action

    The Council first took up a draft decision based on the Commission on Human Rights decision 2002/102 on the interaction between the secretariat of the procedure established pursuant to resolution 1503 (XLVII) of ECOSOC and the Division for the Advancement of Women. [The existing procedure for sharing information between the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Division for the Advancement of Women Council, based on Council Resolution 1503 (XLVIII), provides for the forwarding of confidential monthly lists to the Division for the Advancement of Women.]

    A recorded vote on the draft decision had been requested.

    The representative of Cuba said it was a complicated issue. His preference would be to defer taking action on the draft decision so that members could consult on the real impact of the adoption of the draft. It was a confidential procedure operating within the context of the Commission on Human Rights. States against whom allegations were submitted were given an opportunity to put forward their demurrals. Many allegations were found to be false. The initiative taken by the Secretariat in resolution 1503 was not founded on legal principles. While defending the human rights of women was important, improper practices should not be continueed. Cuba had no interest in adopting a decision of such a nature. It was his view that action on the draft should be defered. Adoption of the draft would legalize a practice that ran the risk of promoting the dissemination of rumors and unfounded allegations.

    The Commission Vice-President said the representative of Cuba was formally requesting that the debate be placed under rule 50 of the rules of procedure that no action be taken on the draft.

    Speaking in favour of the motion, the representative of Pakistan said that the Commission on Human Rights, after three years of deliberation had reached the decision to stop the practice of sharing information between the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission the Status of Women. That procedure had no legal basis. The two commissions had separate mandates and different methodologies for handling information addressed to them. The existing practice was a duplication of work and should be avoided. The Council should not act hastily. More time should be given to consider the issue.

    The representative of China also supported the motion. The crux of the matter was whether the communication procedure could be applicable beyond the scope of the Commission on Human Rights. The matter had been the subject of repeated discussion in both the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on the Status of Women. All were aware of the divergence of views on the matter. It was not clear whether such a practice had a legal basis.

    The representative of Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union member countries of ECOSOC, said the European Union was against the proposal forwarded by Cuba. The Council should take action on the recommendation made by the Commission on Human Rights.

    The representative of Argentina opposed the motion to defer the debate, as it was important for ECOSOC to express its opinion on the draft submitted to it by Commission on Human Rights. It was incorrect to say that there was no legal basis for the practice. The Legal Counsel in a document circulated in the Commission on the Status of Women said that the ECOSOC resolution endorsed that practice.

    Speaking before the vote, the representative of Cuba said that perhaps there were arguments, but was there a legal reference? If so, there was no need for a vote.

    Mr. ROSENTHAL, Council Vice-President, said that according to the rules of procedure, the Council must immediately proceed to a vote.

    The Council then voted to reject the motion by a vote of 33 against to 18 in favour, with 2 abstentions (Burundi and Qatar). (See Annex XI.)

    The representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the 1503 procedure would weaken the Commission on the Status of Women communication procedure -- an important tool of the United Nations to protect the human rights of women. The argument was that the practice of sharing information would break the confidentiality of the Commission on Human Rights communication procedure. There was, in fact, no breach since the Commission on the Status of Women procedure was also confidential. The ECOSOC should play its coordination role by voting no on the decision.

    The representative of Cuba said there was no legal framework in any previous resolution to authorize continuing the practice. Cuba was acting on the basis of principle. It was not the case that allegations had been brought forth by Cuba. He thought it was a legal problem.

    The representative of Iran said there had been no allegations against Iran. He was also speaking on a matter of principle. The two commissions had totally different communication systems. In the Commission on the Status of Women there were no individual petitions. There had never been a legal basis for the sharing of information. There was a legal opinion, but it referred to regional commissions and other United Nations bodies. What was the definition of confidentiality in the 1503 procedure? Individual petitions should not go beyond the members of the Commission on Human Rights. There was no connection between the two confidentiality systems.

    The representative of China asked whether there was any legal basis for applying the 1503 procedure. What agency had agreed to that practice? It was time to clarify the issue. He also referred to the applicability of that action. The Commission on the Status of Women had its own confidential procedure on communications, and he did not think the 1503 procedure should be used. The 1503 procedure had been formulated by the Commission on Human Rights, and there was a strict set of rules on using it. The key issue was that members of the Commission on the Status of Women were different nationalities than members of the Commission of Human Rights. Therefore, it was inappropriate to use the 1503 procedure for other agencies.

    The representative of Pakistan said the two Commissions had separate mandates and separate ways of handling communication. The Commission on Human Rights was supposed to act on the communication addressed to it and ask Members States to respond. Then one of two things happened. The Commission decided that the response was good enough or reached a conclusion that the complainant had not been able to substantiate the complaint. Using the communication on which it had taken an action, it established emerging trends.

    The two Commissions worked under their own sets of rules and procedures, he said. Procedure 1503 was meant to be used by the Commission on Human Rights and should be restricted to it. Since the Commission on the Status of Women worked under a different set of rules, it should work according to its own mandate. He advised the Council not to act in haste or in an arbitrary manner. If the Council overruled the decision made by Human Rights Commission, that would mean that this unnecessary controversy would continue, which was not in the interest of Member States. He requested the Council to vote in favour of the decision taken by Human Rights Commission.

    The representative of the Sudan said that both procedures were different. Mixing the two procedures would be dangerous. As member of the Commission on the Status of Women, the Sudan questioned the legal basis for linking both procedures. The membership in both Commissions was different. She urged the Council to vote in favour of the Commission on Human Rights recommendation to discontinue the practice of linking both procedures to serve the cause of the advancement of women.

    The representative of South Africa said he voted in favour of the decision at the Commission this year and would do the same today. The practice was fundamentally flawed, and there was no legal basis for it. The Commission had discovered the practice more than two years ago, and it had acted responsibly by investigating the issue and deciding to discontinue the practice. The information shared consisted of allegations still subject to verification by States. It would not be responsible for the Council to endorse an illegal practice. He called upon the members of the Council to vote responsibly.

    The representative of Benin said the Commission on the Status of Women was a responsible organization. She knew how the Commission dealt with its communications. It was not a tribunal and did not judge women or pass sentences. The work of the Commission was to further the cause of women, and there was nothing harmful in the sharing of information. The legal basis of the procedure could not be defined at the current moment. She appealed for a closure of the debate so that the Council could move ahead.

    The representative of Egypt said there was no legal basis for information sharing between the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on the Status of Women. The practice undermined the confidentially of such a procedure. Logging complaints with procedure 1503 would result in two investigations of the same complaint. Commissions should be limited to the mandates entrusted to them. For the above reasons, she urged States parties to vote for the proposal.

    The representative of Saudi Arabia, speaking as an observer, said the practice of sending allegations to New York had no legal basis. The principle of confidentially was important.

    The Council then rejected the draft decision by a vote of 30 against to 21 in favour, and 2 abstentions (Suriname, Angola). (See Annex XII.)

    The next draft decision, based on Commission decision 2002/107, was on the Social Forum.

    A recorded vote had been requested on the draft.

    The representative of the United States said the convening of the Social Forum undermined efforts to streamline human rights mechanisms. The discussion of economic, social and cultural rights duplicated those taking place in other United Nations forums. She was surprised to see on the High Commissioner's Web site that ECOSOC had approved the convening of the Forum. She recognized that the Secretariat was now seeking to address the situation through an anticipated intervention. Despite assurances from the Secretariat that there might not be programme budget implications, she was concerned that other important human rights activities might be shortchanged to accommodate the meeting.

    The representative of the Commission on Human Rights said the meeting had been postponed until next week and had not yet taken place because of the absence of ECOSOC approval. If there were a decision to proceed with the Social Forum, it would be held within existing resources and during the session of the subcommission next week.

    The representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union, regretted that preparations for holding the forum were taken in advance of ECOSOC approving it. The Union wished to make clear that that should not be a precedent for meetings held by Commission on Human Rights that needed to be endorsed by ECOSOC.

    The representative of Cuba welcomed the efforts of the High Commissioner to ensure the effective functioning of the Forum.

    The Council decided to adopt the draft decision by a vote of 33 in favour to 3 against (Japan, United States and Australia), with 17 abstentions. (See Annex XIII.)

    The representative of Japan, speaking in explanation of vote, said it had voted against the decision and regretted that the new information about the programme budget implications had come from the Secretariat just before the decision. The information on the programme budget implications was essential to Japan's decision-making in terms of its fiscal reality. She hoped that that kind of document would be issued promptly and would be accurate next year.

    Turning to the draft decision on human rights and human responsibilities based on Commission decision 2002/110, the Council was told that a recorded vote had been requested.

    The Council adopted the draft by a vote of 29 in favour to 19 against with 5 abstentions (Argentina, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Peru, Republic of Korea). (See Annex XIV).

    The draft on the dates of the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on Human Rights was then adopted without a vote.

    The draft decision on the expiration of office-holders' terms of appointment under special procedures was also adopted without a vote.

    The Council then took up a draft decision entitled intersessional activities of the Bureau, based on Commission decision 2002/115.

    Acting without a vote, the Council adopted the draft.

    The Council then took up the draft decision on the organization of work of the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on Human Rights.

    A vote had been requested on the draft.

    The representative of the United States said her country could not support the draft decision.

    The Council then adopted the draft by a vote of 50 in favour to 2 against (Australia, United States). (See Annex XV).

    The draft decision entitled electronic voting system was then adopted without a vote.

    The decision was adopted by a vote of 50 in favour, with two against (Australia, United States).

    Following the vote, the representative of Cuba said his delegation would have voted in favour of the text.

    The representative of Japan said the delegation had voted in favour of the text, but in present circumstances, where the United Nations was attempting to enhance its efficiency, the Commission should make the utmost effort to conclude its work within the time allotted.

    The representative of Australia said his delegation's vote against the decision was not aimed at curtailing the work of the Commission, it merely wanted to encourage more efficient practices within the Commission.

    The Council adopted without a vote the draft decision on the electronic voting system.

    It then adopted two decisions without vote, a text on the situation of human rights in East Timor, and another on technical cooperation and the situation of human rights in Haiti.

    The Council next took up a draft resolution on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (document E/2002/L.16), that had been introduced and orally revised yesterday.

    The representative of Suriname said the issue of indigenous people was very dear to her country, which had a very diverse population and culture. She proposed that the Council consider appointing a Special Adviser on Indigenous Issues.

    The representative of Sweden announced that the following States had joined the text as sponsors: Australia and Ecuador. She also submitted several technical corrections to the draft and informed the Council that budget implications of the text were contained in document E/2002/L.33.

    The Council approved without a vote the resolution as orally revised.

    The representative of Japan said his delegation understood the need to establish a secretariat unit in order for the Forum to function effectively. He urged the Secretary-General to take the resolution that had initially established the Forum into account when considering the issue.

    The representative of India said the setting up of the Forum had been a landmark in international efforts to address the important cause of indigenous peoples. Now that the Forum had been established and its first meeting held, some basic questions remained unanswered, namely there was an urgent need to define the term "indigenous people" or "peoples" as the Forum's work began to pick up. Development of criteria of the Forum's representation and working methods was also urgent. While respecting the mandate of the Forum, there was a need to make sure that no initiatives were envisaged that would take place in countries without indigenous persons. Care must also be taken to see that work on behalf of indigenous people was not duplicated.

    The Council then took up a draft decision on the second session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (document E/2002/L.19) which would have it decide that the second annual session of the Permanent Forum would be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 to 23 May 2003. Programme budgetary implications in draft L.19, were contained in document E/2002/L.33.

    The representative of the United States said he would not be able to support the programme budget implications. The forum should carry out its work within existing resources. The United States looked forward to discussing the matter further when the General Assembly considered the matter. The United States would therefore abstain from the vote.

    The representative of Australia wished to reiterate concerns about the funding of the Forum, particularly the allocation for resources from the Contingency Fund. Further, those funding issues had emerged against a backdrop of what appeared to be a number of overlapping mechanisms within the Organization working on behalf of indigenous people.

    The representative of the United Kingdom said the delegation would not support the programme budgetary implications. The current budget implications for the Forum should have been sufficient. Regrettably, the United Kingdom would abstain from the decision.

    The representative of the Netherlands said it fully supported the establishment of the Forum but did not support extra-budgetary implications.

    The representative of China asked for clarification as to whether a decision on the matter had to be taken today or would it go before the Fifth Committee?

    The Committee Secretary said that indeed, the matter would come before the Assembly's financial and budgetary committee.

    The draft decision was adopted by a vote of 44 in favour, with 9 abstentions (Andorra, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Japan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States). (See Annex XVI.)

    The representative of Japan said that during the negotiations on the establishment of the Forum, all delegations had been operating under the assumption that there would be no budgetary implications. His delegation had therefore been surprised by L.33 and had no choice but to abstain from the vote. Japan did, however, support holding the second session of the Forum in New York.

    The representative of Germany said his delegation supported the Permanent Forum and the creation of a relevant secretariat unit, but abstained because of the very late submission of the programme budgetary implications.

    The Council then adopted without a vote another draft decision on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (document E/2002/L.20) which would have it ask the Secretary-General to make available related information at least six weeks before its 2003 substantive session, in order for the Council to conclude at that substantive session the review of all existing mechanisms, procedures and programmes within the United Nations concerning indigenous issues.

    It also adopted without a vote a draft decision on the secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (document E/2002/L.32), which would have the Council request the Secretary-General to submit proposals to the Assembly at its fifty-seventh session concerning the provision of the adequate resources to support such a secretariat unit.

    The Council decided that in light of the adoption of the draft proposals submitted by Sweden in L.16, L.19. L.20 and L.32 there was no need to take action on the four drafts contained in the Report of the Permanent Forum (E/2002/43 and Add.1).

    The Council next adopted without vote a draft decision on enlarging the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document E/2002/L.11), adopted and recommended to the Assembly.

    The Council then took note of the various reports and documents before it during the current session.

    Prior to taking note of the Report of the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on Human Rights (E/2002/23 part I and II) several delegations expressed concerns about the language contained a resolution adopted by the Commission on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions (Commission resolution 2002/36).

    The representative of Iran said paragraphs 12 and 6 of the resolution contained references to the highly controversial term "sexual orientation" and since that term had never been defined in any United Nations document, Iran would disassociate itself from those paragraphs in that resolution.

    The representative of Egypt said that delegation would also dissociate itself from the same paragraphs. Egypt, as well as other delegations, had long spoken out against the use of those controversial terms. The adoption of those terms in the work of the Commission was inadmissible.

    The representative of Pakistan said his delegation supported the resolution, but shared the concerns of several Islamic countries about inclusion in the resolution references to sexual orientation. The elaboration of new human rights determinations should be a matter of some discussion and negotiation among the wider membership. He also expressed profound concern that the report was made available only a few days before it was due for introduction.

    The representative of Sudan also expressed concern about the late submission of the report to the Council. The delegation had barely had time to examine it. She also supported Iran, Pakistan and Egypt with regard to paragraphs related to so-called "sexual orientation". Sudan was convinced that international instruments related to human rights had never contained any reference to that concept, which was alien to the concepts of the United Nations. Still, Sudan endorsed the resolution and the special rapporteur on the issue.

    The representative of Libya endorsed Sudan's statement on the late submission of the report of the Commission on Human Rights. Libya would also dissociate from the paragraphs of resolution L.36. Those references were not in line with its religious, moral or cultural values.

    The Council next adopted without vote a draft resolution on the progress on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 56/201 on the triennial policy review of operational activities for development of the United Nations system (document E/2002/L.18).

    Following that action, the Council turned to a draft resolution on the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples by the specialized agencies and the international institutions associated with the United Nations (document E/2002/L.15).

    A recorded vote was requested.

    The representative of the United States said the text under consideration perennially and unnecessarily linked the work of the United Nations to the granting of independence. There was no need for a resolution allowing specialized agencies to continue to the work they were already doing. The Council should not use its time addressing that extraneous matter.

    The representative of the Russian Federation said its position on the matter of independence remained immutable. It supported the right to independence, but considered the discussion of such a highly political issue in the context of the work of the Council to be inappropriate.

    The representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said his delegation would abstain from the vote on the resolution, as the issues it addressed were not under the competence of the Council.

    The draft resolution was adopted by a vote of 33 in favour to none against, with 21 abstentions. (See Annex XVII.)

    Following the vote, the representative of the United Kingdom said his delegation had abstained from the vote and was firmly of the view that the rights of non-self-governing States to participate in the work of the United Nations should be applied on the basis of equality and non-discrimination.

    The representative of Japan said his delegation supported the right to independence and self-determination. It had abstained from the vote mainly because the agenda item was of a political nature and not appropriate for the Council's consideration.

    The Council then took up the draft resolution on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied territory, including Jerusalem and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan.

    The representative of the United States said her country remained focused on advancing a plan of action. The United States would continue to consult closely with the parties, the Quartet and Arab leaders on how best to move forward. That being said, the draft before the Council was a one-sided resolution which did nothing to improve the situation in the region. The Council should focus on working together to address Palestinian needs and get the two parties back on the path to peace.

    The representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said a settlement could only be achieved through negotiations. There could be no military settlement to the conflict. The Union expressed profound regret at the loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives. Both sides had a responsibility to pave the way forward. The Union shared the vision of two States living side by side. A fair solution should be found to the complicated issue of Jerusalem and the situation of Palestinian refugees. The Union expressed concern at the mounting humanitarian problem in Palestinian areas. He stressed the need for unfettered access for United Nations personnel to provide assistance to the Palestinian people.

    The Council then adopted the draft resolution by a vote of 47 in favour to 1 against (United States) with three abstentions (Australia, Fiji, and Guatemala.) (See Annex XVIII.)

    The representative of Iran said he voted in favour of the resolution. He expressed reservation on those parts, however, which might be construed as recognition of Israel.

    The representative of Japan voted in favour of the draft. However, the agenda was essentially a political issue for discussion in other United Nations fora. In the interest of avoiding duplication, it was not appropriate to discuss the matter repeatedly in the Council.

    The representative of Australia said his delegation had abstained in the vote. Australia was committed to relieve the suffering of those affected by violence. Stopping the violence, especially terrorist attacks would do more than resolutions to transform the situation in the Middle East.

    The representative of the Russian Federation said he voted in favour of the text. Russia believed that the Council's work should be guided by General Assembly resolutions which had confirmed the inalienable right of the Palestinian people and the occupied Syrian Golan to their natural resources. Russia called on Israel not to threaten natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territory. Russia was concerned about present development of events and called upon both sides to show restraint and to avoid acts of violence that might enable extremist forces to take initiatives. The humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory was growing. He was in favour of urgent collective measures to establish peace in the Middle East.

    The representative of Israel said he also shared concern for the humanitarian problems in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. What was happening, however, was not an act of God. The current situation stemmed from the decision by the Palestinian leadership to embark on a campaign of terror against Israel. He hoped they would change their minds or that the leadership would change. Israel was taking steps to relieve the situation. It had announced it would give the Palestinian Authority some $50 million and was allowing 7,000 Palestinian labourers to enter Israel to work in spite of the great risk it posed. Israel would like to see a resolution of the conflict and an improved situation in the West Bank and Gaza and was ready to do its share to bring about an improvement in the situation.

    The observer of Palestine said that Palestinians were proud of their history and culture. The bad situation did not require charity. The Palestinians were struggling for their freedom and it was the responsibility of the United Nations to continue discussing the issue until the problem was solved. Israel continued to escalate war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem. In the predawn hours the day before yesterday, an F-16 had dropped a one-ton bomb on a building, killing 15 and wounding 150. In addition to the human devastation, three homes had been destroyed.

    The Council Vice-President said that since they had discussed the matter in the Security Council, the Council should conclude its consideration of the item.

    Introduction of Draft Resolutions

    The representative of Maldives introduced the draft resolution on sustainable development (document E/2002/L.27). He also introduced several technical amendments to the text.

    The representative of Venezuela introduced draft resolution on human settlements (document E/2002/L.30). The resolution had four preambular paragraphs and five operative paragraphs.

    The representative of Benin introduced a draft resolution on implementation of the programme of action for the Least Developed Countries for the decade 2001-2010 (document E/20002/L.31) on behalf of the least developed countries. The draft was being presented after intensive informal consultations, and it laid down the framework for the action programme.

    (annexes follow)

    ANNEX I

    Vote on Human Rights in Occupied Territories

    Draft Decision 1 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 27 in favour to 2 against with 17 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, India, Iran, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, Ukraine, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Australia, United States.

    Abstaining: Andorra, Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Peru, Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

    Absent: Bhutan, Cameroon, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Nepal, Nigeria.

    ANNEX II

    Vote on Lebanese Detainees in Israel

    Draft Decision 2 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 25 in favour to 1 against, with 22 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Argentina, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, Ukraine, Zimbabwe.

    Against: United States.

    Abstaining: Andorra, Angola, Australia, Austria, Croatia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

    Absent: Cameroon, El Salvador, Fiji, Guatemala, Nepal, Nigeria.

    ANNEX III

    Vote on Realization of Economic, Social, Cultural Rights

    Draft Decision 12 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 46 in favour to 1 against, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe.

    Against: United States.

    Abstaining: Australia, India, Japan, Pakistan.

    Absent: Cameroon, Fiji, Guatemala.

    ANNEX IV

    Vote on Right to Food

    Draft Decision 13 contained in document E/2003/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 49 in favour to 1 against, with 1 abstention, as follows:

    In favour: Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Libya, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe.

    Against: United States.

    Abstaining: Australia.

    Absent: Cameroon, Fiji, Guatemala.

    ANNEX V

    Vote on Globalization

    Draft Decision 14 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 31 in favour to 20 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Libya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

    Absent: Cameroon, Fiji, Guatemala.

    ANNEX VI

    Vote on Effects of Structural Adjustment Policies, Foreign Debt

    Draft Decision 15 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 24 in favour to 20 against, with 7 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Angola, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstaining: Argentina, Bahrain, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru.

    Absent: Cameroon, Fiji, Guatemala.

    ANNEX VII

    Vote on Right to Health

    Draft Decision 17 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 49 in favour to 2 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Libya, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Australia, United States.

    Absent: Cameroon, Fiji, Guatemala.

    ANNEX VIII

    Vote on Working Group on Indigenous Population

    Draft Decision 25 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 50 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention, as follows:

    In favour: Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Libya, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe.

    Against: None.

    Abstaining: United States.

    Absent: Cameroon, Fiji, Guatemala.

    ANNEX IX

    Vote on Racism, Xenophobia, Related Intolerance

    Draft Decision 28 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 30 in favour to 17 against, with 4 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Libya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstaining: Burundi, Croatia, Japan, Republic of Korea.

    Absent: Cameroon, Fiji, Guatemala.

    ANNEX X

    Vote on Staffing of Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights

    The Draft Decision 30 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 31 in favour to 18 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iran, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, Ukraine, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstaining: Croatia, Mexico.

    Absent: Cameroon, Fiji, Guatemala.

    ANNEX XI

    Vote on Motion Invoking Rule 50 of ECOSOC Rules

    The motion by Cuba on Draft Decision 34 contained in document E/2002/23 was not adopted by a recorded vote of 18 in favour to 33 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Bahrain, Bhutan, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Iran, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstaining: Burundi, Qatar.

    Absent: Guatemala.

    ANNEX XII

    Vote on Interaction Between Secretariat and Division for Advancement

    of Women on 1503 Procedure

    Draft Decision 34 contained in document E/2002/23 was not adopted by a recorded vote of 21 in favour to 30 against, with 2 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Bahrain, Bhutan, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Iran, Libya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstaining: Angola, Suriname.

    Absent: Guatemala.

    ANNEX XIII

    Vote on Social Forum

    Draft Decision 35 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 33 in favour to 3 against, with 17 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Iran, Libya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Australia, Japan, United States.

    Abstaining: Andorra, Austria, Cameroon, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

    Absent: Guatemala.

    ANNEX XIV

    Vote on Human Rights and Human Responsibilities

    Draft Decision 36 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 29 in favour to 19 against, with 5 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Angola, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Iran, Libya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Croatia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

    Abstaining: Argentina, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Peru, Republic of Korea.

    Absent: Guatemala.

    ANNEX XV

    Vote on Organization of Work of Commission on Human Rights

    Draft Decision 40 contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 50 in favour to 2 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Libya, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe.

    Against: Australia, United States.

    Absent: Cuba, Guatemala.

    ANNEX XVI

    Vote on Second Session of Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

    The Draft Decision contained in document E/2002/L.19 was adopted by a recorded vote of 44 in favour to none against, with 9 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, Zimbabwe.

    Against: None.

    Abstaining: Andorra, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Japan, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States.

    Absent: Nigeria.

    ANNEX XVII

    Vote on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries, People

    The Draft Resolution contained in document E/2002/23 was adopted by a recorded vote of 33 in favour to none against, with 21 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Iran, Libya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

    Against: None.

    Abstaining: Andorra, Austria, Cameroon, Croatia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

    Absent: Draft resolution was adopted by 33 votes to none, with 21 abstentions (resolution E/2002/L.15).

    ANNEX XVIII

    Vote on Economic, Social Repercussions of Israeli Occupation

    The Draft Resolution contained in document E/2002/L.22 was adopted by a recorded vote of 47 in favour to 1 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour: Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chile, China, Croatia, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Libya, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe.

    Against: United States.

    Abstaining: Australia, Fiji, Guatemala.

    Absent: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Georgia.

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