Press Releases

     

    GA/SHC/3761
    10 November 2003

    THIRD COMMITTEE HEARS CALLS FOR INCREASED
    EFFECTIVENESS IN OPERATIONS OF HUMAN
    RIGHTS TREATY BODIES

    NEW YORK, 7 November (UN Headquarters) -- Five Draft Resolutions Introduced on Women’s Issues, Self-Determination, Racial Discrimination

    The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today heard calls for increased effectiveness in the operations of the human rights treaty bodies and their reporting requirements, as it continued its consideration of human rights questions and the implementation of human rights instruments.

    Inadequacies in the existing reporting and reviewing mechanisms had eroded the system’s overall ability to effectively improve human rights situations around the world, delegates said, highlighting the need for better coordination among the treaty bodies and for streamlining reporting procedures.

    Harmonizing the working methods of the treaty bodies and standardizing their varied reporting requirements would do much to overcome the shortcomings of the current system, said the representative of the Czech Republic.  Those changes could help eliminate duplication in the drafting and consideration of reports of States parties to the various human right conventions.  Moreover, the non-reporting by States parties, which also seriously undermined the credibility of the entire system, could be addressed by making technical assistance available in order to assist States to cope with their reporting obligations.

    The representative of Viet Nam stressed the need for increased cooperation between treaty bodies and States parties, with the States parties’ reports serving as the basis for constructive dialogue.  There was also a need for increased transparency and objectivity in the clarification and use of information from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), she said.

    The representative of Australia, speaking also on behalf of Canada, New Zealand, Norway and Chile, said it was critical that the human rights treaty bodies operated with maximum effectiveness, since their dialogue with States parties provided the basis for achieving improvements in human rights situations at the national level.  She encouraged support for the bid of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for additional resources, particularly those elements that would strengthen support for the human rights treaty bodies.

    The growing complexity in the human rights machinery, and the corresponding burden of reporting obligations had strained the resources of Member States and the Secretariat, said the representative of China. 

    His Government supported the proposals of the Secretary-General for better coordination among treaty bodies, the consolidation of reports, and close cooperation between treaty bodies and States parties to deepen mutual understanding.

    Government representatives also highlighted the intrinsic link between human rights and development.  The right to development was also a basic human right of all peoples, said the representative of Libya, emphasizing that the protection of human rights also meant freedom from hunger and poverty.  The representative of Bangladesh said development in any society could only take place within a matrix of democracy and human rights.

    Also addressing the Committee today were the representatives of Croatia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Pakistan and Indonesia.

    Draft resolutions were introduced today on issues related to women and girls, on racism and xenophobia and on the rights of people to self-determination.

    The representative of Morocco introduced draft resolutions on the future operation of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (and on the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related Intolerance and the implementation and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action).

    Draft resolutions on the girl child and on the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination were also introduced by the representatives of Namibia and Pakistan respectively.  The representative of Egypt introduced a draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

    The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday to continue its consideration of human rights questions and the implementation of human rights instruments.

     

    Background

    The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) will continue its consideration of human rights questions and the implementation of human rights instruments.

    For further background information please see press release GA/SHC/3760 of 6 November.

    Introduction of Draft Resolutions

    Introducing a draft resolution on the future operations of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) (document A/C.3/58/L.36), the representative of Morocco, on behalf of the Group of 77, China and Mexico, said that progress had been made by the working group on the future operations of the Institute.  Nevertheless, several recommendations of the working group had not been implemented, including the appointment of a director for the Institute.  The draft resolution reiterated its request to the Secretary-General to appoint a director as soon as possible.  He said the draft also urged Members States to make voluntary contributions to the Institute in order to ensure its effective functioning. 

    The representative of Namibia introduced a draft resolution on the girl child (document A/C.3/58/L.25/Rev.1).  She said the girl child remained a victim of discrimination.  Such discrimination often involved the denial of opportunities granted to boys, as well as being subject to harmful cultural practices.  The draft urged States to implement legal reforms to protect the human rights and freedoms of the girl child, as well as to promote gender equality in all fields.   

    A draft resolution on the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination (document A/C.3/58/L.31) was introduced by the representative of Pakistan.  He said the right to self-determination was central in the United Nations Charter and had helped millions of people find freedom from colonialization, apartheid and foreign occupation.  Regrettably, in many parts of the world, such as Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir, that right remained unfulfilled.  It was hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus. 

    Introducing another draft resolution, this time on the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and related intolerance and the Comprehensive Implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/C.3/58/L.34), was the representative of Morocco on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.  The draft reiterated the will of member States to ensure the total elimination of racism and racial discrimination.  It further emphasized the responsibility of States to combat such phenomena.  He said the draft urged States to accede to human rights instruments aiming to combat racism.  

    Finally, the representative of Egypt introduced a draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (A/C.3/58/L.35), saying that his delegation was both honoured and saddened to introduce this draft.  Presenting the draft resolution year after year implied that the Palestinian people were still not enjoying the right to self-determination.  The text was exactly the same as last year, since it had the same message.  The message was that the Palestinian people had the right to enjoy this fundamental right. 

                                                                                                                                                 

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