Press Releases

    GA/SHC/3683
    18 February 2002

    THIRD COMMITTEE CONSIDERS DRAFT PROPOSALS ON ELIMINATION OF RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

    NEW YORK, 15 February (UN Headquarters) -- The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this afternoon to hear the introduction of draft proposals relating to the elimination of racism and racial discrimination.

    Before the Committee were four draft resolutions, three of them -- all sponsored by Venezuela -- relating respectively to the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination; the follow-up to the World Conference against Racism; and measures to combat contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination. The fourth text -- measures against political platforms based on doctrines of superiority -- is sponsored by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Federation.

    The Committee is expected to take action on the draft resolutions at its next meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 26 February.

    Introduction of Draft Resolutions

    Adriana Pulido (Venezuela), introduced the first three drafts on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing nations and China. She said the second text (contained in document A/C.3/56/L.84) was a new one endorsing the final document of last year’s World Conference against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa. It supported the proposal by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for the establishment of an anti-discrimination Unit, and invited her Office to appoint five eminent experts to work with the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission and produce a yearly report on implementation.

    Referring to the first and third drafts (documents A/C.3/56/L.83 and A/C.3/56/L.85), she said they contained provisions similar to others adopted during the fifty-fifth session, but they had been updated in view of Durban. The draft on the Third Decade to combat racism included provisions on racial discrimination against Africans and people of African descent, as well as financing to improve their situation.

    The third draft dealt with new manifestations of racism and racial discrimination, she said. It stressed the need to recall the errors of the past with a view to condemning them; called for the criminalization of trafficking in people, particularly women and children, and contained provisions on racial profiling as well as the social and cultural rights of victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

    Anzhela Korneliouk (Belarus), speaking on behalf of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Federation, introduced the final text (document A/C.3/56/L.86), saying there was still reason for concern with respect to the emergence and widespread growth of so-called "contemporary racism". That type of racism was based on intolerance and extremism, and further threatened international peace and security, the free development of States, and the assurance of equal rights among States and their citizens. It was appropriate, once again, to ask the General Assembly to decisively condemn political platforms and activities based on doctrines of superiority.

    Summaries of Draft Resolutions

    Part I of a draft entitled Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination and the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (document A/C.3/56/L.83), reaffirms that racism and racial discrimination are among the most serious violations of human rights in the contemporary world, and expresses its firm determination and commitment to eradicate, by all available means, racism in all its forms and racial discrimination.

    That draft emphasizes the importance of full compliance by States parties with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It would have the General Assembly strongly underline the importance of education in preventing and eradicating racism and racial discrimination and of creating awareness of the principles of human rights, in particular among young people. It would have the Assembly encourage the mass media to promote ideas of tolerance and understanding among peoples and different cultures.

    Further, the Assembly would urge governments to take all necessary measures to combat new forms of racism, especially in the legislative, judicial, administrative, educational and information fields. It would call upon States to bring resolutely to justice the perpetrators of crimes motivated by racism, and call upon all those that had not done so to consider including racist motivation as an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing.

    Part II of the draft would have the Assembly request the Commission on Human Rights to consider establishing a working group or other United Nations mechanism to study the problems of racial discrimination faced by people of African descent living in the African Diaspora and make proposals for the elimination of such problems.

    The Assembly would also request States to develop and support institutional mechanisms to promote the accomplishment of the objectives and measures relating to indigenous peoples agreed in the present plan of action; and promote, in concert with indigenous organizations, local authorities and non-governmental organizations, actions aimed at overcoming racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against indigenous peoples.

    The text would have the Assembly encourage financial and development institutions as well as United Nations programmes and specialized agencies to assign particular priority and allocate sufficient funding to improve the situation of victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to include them in the development and implementation of projects concerning them.

    Those institutions, programmes and agencies are encouraged to integrate human rights principles and standards into their policies and programmes; to consider including in their regular reporting information on their contribution to promote the participation of the victims within their programmes and activities; and to examine how their policies and practices affect the victims and ensure that those policies and practices contribute to the eradication of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

    According to the draft resolution entitled Comprehensive implementation of the outcome and follow-up to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (document A/C.3/56/L.84), the Assembly would decide to hold a special session in 2006 for an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of the Conference outcome and to consider further actions and initiatives.

    Stressing the need to translate the Durban commitments into concrete actions, the Assembly would urge States to establish and implement without delay national policies and action plans to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

    Similarly, it would call upon all States to give widespread publicity to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, in order to increase, strengthen and enhance that fight.

    Under a related provision, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to appoint five independent eminent experts to follow the implementation of the provisions of the Declaration and Action Programme. It would also request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to cooperate with those five experts and report annually to the Assembly and the Human Rights Commission on implementation of the provisions of the Declaration and Action Programme.

    The Assembly also would recognize the critical importance of placing the outcome of the Durban Conference on an equal footing with previous Untied Nations world conferences that have addressed essential social and human rights issues, such as the outcomes of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, the 1995 World Social Summit for Social Development, and the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, all of which had five-year reviews.

    By a draft entitled Measures to combat contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (document A/C.3/56/L.85), the General Assembly would reaffirm the proclamation of 2001 as the International Year of Mobilization against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.

    By other terms, it would reaffirm that violence against others stemming from racism did not constitute expressions of opinion but rather offences. The Assembly would further express its profound concern about and unequivocal condemnation of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in particular all racist violence, including related acts of random and indiscriminate violence.

    Further, the Assembly would express its profound concern about and unequivocal condemnation of all forms of racism and racial discrimination, including propaganda, activities and organizations based on doctrines of superiority attempting to justify or promote racism and racial discrimination in any form.

    The Assembly would further express its profound concern about and condemnation of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against, and stereotyping of, migrant workers and members of their families, persons belonging to minorities and members of vulnerable groups in many societies.

    Also by the text, the Assembly would note with great concern that, despite the international community's efforts at various levels, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, ethnic antagonism and violence were showing signs of increase in many parts of the world, and that the number of associations established on the basis of racial and xenophobic charters was increasing.

    According to a text on Measures to be taken against political platforms and activities based on doctrines of superiority which are based on racial discrimination or ethnic exclusiveness and xenophobia, including, in particular, neo-Nazism (document A/C.3/56/L.86), the Assembly would urge States to take all available measures in accordance with their obligations under international human rights instruments to combat those phenomena.

    The Assembly would urge all States to consider the adoption, as a matter of high priority, of appropriate measures to eradicate activities that lead to violence and condemn any dissemination of ideas based on doctrines of superiority, consistent with their national legal systems and in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

    Deeply alarmed at the continued intensification of activities by neo-Nazi groups and organizations, the Assembly would again resolutely condemn political platforms and activities based on doctrines of superiority, which are based on racial discrimination or ethnic exclusiveness and xenophobia, including, in particular, neo-Nazism, which entail abuse of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to include, in his report to the next Assembly session, information on the measures taken by Member States against political platforms and activities based on doctrines of superiority which are based on racial discrimination or ethnic exclusiveness and xenophobia, in particular neo-Nazism.

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