Press Releases

     

    GA/SHC/3769
    20 November 2003

    THIRD COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTION CALLING
    FOR IMPARTIALITY, OBJECTIVITY IN INTERNATIONAL
    COOPERATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

    Committee Hears Introduction of 13 Drafts on Human Rights

    NEW YORK, 19 November (UN Headquarters) -- The importance of non-selectivity, impartiality, and objectivity in international cooperation and action within the field of human rights was stressed as the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on United Nations human rights activities.

    The Committee also heard introductions on drafts related to international cooperation in the field of human rights, including on human rights and terrorism and access to medication, as well as other drafts on alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    The draft resolution approved by the Committee concerned the strengthening of United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity.  The draft would have the General Assembly reaffirm that the promotion, protection and full realization of all human rights should be guided by the principles of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity and should not be used for political ends.

    The text of the draft would also have the General Assembly express its conviction that an unbiased and fair approach to human rights issues contributed to the promotion of international cooperation as well as to the effective promotion, protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    Several draft resolutions on human rights questions were introduced today.  Among the drafts introduced was one on human rights and terrorism.  Introduced by the representative of Algeria, the draft stressed the need for international cooperation in combating terrorism.  The text further condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and profoundly deplored the increasing numbers of innocent people killed and maimed as a result of terrorism.

    The representative of Brazil introduced a draft on access to medication in the context of pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.  The draft was inspired by Brazil’s experience with free and universal access to medication that had resulted in a reduction of HIV/AIDS cases.  Failure to anti-retroviral treatment of HIV/AIDS had caused a global health emergency.  He, therefore, hoped that the draft would be approved with consensus.  This would indicate the commitment of the international community to fight pandemics.

    Introducing an amendment to a draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Israeli children, the representative of Egypt highlighted the changes made in the amendment, notably, the change of the title to “the situation of and assistance to children in the Middle East region”.

    The representative of Malaysia introduced three draft resolutions on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.  The three drafts concerned the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, human rights and unilateral coercive measures, and the right to development.  Regarding the right to development, he stressed the need for the international community to move that right from a conceptual plane towards practical implementation in order to achieve its full realization.

    Also introducing draft resolutions were the representatives of India, Norway, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Norway and the United States on national institutions, the Declaration of the right and responsibility of individuals, groups and organs of society in promoting and protecting human rights, the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, 1995–2004, the right of everyone to health, the Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa, the protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, and on strengthening the role of the United Nations in enhancing the effectiveness of the principle of periodic and genuine elections and the promotion of democratization, respectively.

                                                                                                                                                 

    Explaining their general positions on the draft resolutions today were the representatives of Switzerland, speaking on behalf of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Liechtenstein; and Cuba.

    The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 20 November, to hear introductions of further draft resolutions and take action on outstanding draft resolutions.

    Background

    The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) is expected to take action on two draft resolutions today, and hear introductions of drafts on human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    The draft on the incompatibility between democracy and racism (document A/C.3/58/L.33/Rev.1) would have the General Assembly condemn political platforms and organizations based on racism, xenophobia or doctrines of racial superiority and related discrimination, as well as legislation and practices based on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, as incompatible with democracy and transparent and accountable governance.  In addition, the General Assembly would condemn the persistence and resurgence of neo-Nazism, neo-fascism and violent nationalist ideologies based on racial or national prejudice, and state that those phenomena could never be justified in any instance or in any circumstances.

    The General Assembly would urge States to reinforce their commitment to promote tolerance and human rights, and to fight against racism and related intolerance, as a way to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and transparent and accountable governance.  Under the draft’s terms, the Assembly would recommend measures such as, introducing or reinforcing human rights education in schools and in institutions of higher education.  The Inter-Parliamentary Union and other relevant inter-parliamentary organizations would be invited to encourage action by parliaments on laws, policies and other measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

    The draft resolution on strengthening United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity (document A/C.3/58/L.47) would have the General Assembly reaffirm that the promotion, protection and full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms should be guided by the principles of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity, and should not be used for political ends.  The Assembly would also request all United Nations human rights bodies, as well as special rapporteurs and representatives, independent experts and working groups, to take into account the draft’s contents.

    By the terms of the text, the Assembly would also express its conviction that the an unbiased and fair approach to human rights issues contributes to the promotion of international cooperation, as well as to the effective promotion, protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  It would further request the Commission on Human Rights, to take into account, the present draft resolution, and to consider further proposals for the strengthening of United Nations action on human rights.

    Introduction of Draft Resolutions

    The representative of Algeria introduced a draft resolution on human rights and terrorism (document A/C.3/58/L.54).  Noting the universal foundations governing the question of human rights, he said the draft stressed the necessary cooperation that must prevail between States, in combating terrorism, and highlighted the danger of that phenomenon, which violated the right to life, threatened democracy and endangered peace and security.  He stressed that a global response was needed from the United Nations, that there could be no justification for terrorism nor any sanction provided for its perpetrators, and appealed for a consensus to approve the draft. 

    Introducing a draft resolution on national institutions (document A/C.3/58/L.55), the representative of India said national institutions had emerged as an important element in the promotion and protection of human rights.  She welcomed the growing interest in national institutions, and recognized the important role of the United Nations in supporting national institutions.

    The representative of Norway introduced a draft resolution on the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (document A/C.3/58/L.58), saying the draft reiterated the importance of the Declaration, and urged States to ensure that measures to combat terrorism were in compliance with international law and did not hinder the work of human rights defenders.

    A representative of Egypt introduced an amendment to a draft resolution on the situation of and assistance to Israeli children (document A/C.3/58/L.30/Rev.1) that can be found in document A/C.3/58/L.59, and is entitled the situation of and assistance to children in the Middle East region. 

    The representative of Brazil introduced a draft resolution on access to medication in the context of pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (document A/C.3/58/L.60), saying the draft was inspired by his country’s experience with free and universal access to medication, which had resulted in significant reduction of HIV/AIDS cases.  It underscored a balanced approach to prevention and treatment and stressed access to medication as fundamental to the full realization of everyone’s right to attain the highest level of physical health.  Failure to deliver anti-retroviral treatment of HIV/AIDS to people who needed it had caused a global health emergency.  His delegation hoped the draft would be approved with consensus, as an indication of the international community’s commitment to respond more effectively in the fight against pandemics.

    Introducing a draft on the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, 1995–2004 (document A/C.3/58/L.62), the representative of Australia stressed the importance of human rights education and its role in assisting the United Nations in its work towards peace.  She hoped that this draft would again be adopted by consensus.

    Approval of Draft Resolution

    The Committee approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on strengthening United Nations action in the field of human rights through the promotion of international cooperation and the importance of non-selectivity, impartiality and objectivity (document A/C.3/58/L.47). 

    After the vote, the representative of Switzerland, speaking also on behalf of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Liechtenstein, said the draft just approved was identical to the text adopted last year.  The work of the Committee needed to be more focused, and she urged all States to rationalize their agendas.  She hoped that next year resolution sponsors would consider whether the resolution merited less of the Committee’s attention.

    The representative of Cuba said his delegation hoped the statement made by the representative of Switzerland would be applied to other resolutions that kept coming back to the Committee for action.  He hoped international cooperation would continue, based on impartiality and non-selectivity, and that those principles would be applied to all resolutions before the Committee.

    The representative of Switzerland said her delegation’s attitude regarding this issue was a totally comprehensive and non-selective one and reiterated Switzerland’s dedication to the rationalization of the Committee’s work.

    The Third Committee this afternoon heard the introduction of several draft resolutions.

    Introduction of Draft Resolutions

    The representative of Malaysia, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, introduced three draft resolutions -- n the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights (document A/C.3/58/L.50), on human rights and unilateral coercive measures (document A/C.3/58/L.51), and on the right to development (document A/C.3/58/L.52).

    He said the draft on the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights reaffirmed that cooperation among States was essential for the achievement of United Nations purposes and for the effective promotion and protection of human rights.

    He noted that despite recommendations adopted on unilateral coercive measures by the General Assembly, unilateral actions had been continuously pursued and implemented by certain States.  This had led to negative consequences for developing countries and had created obstacles to the full enjoyment of all human rights.

    The right to development, as reaffirmed by the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, was a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of all human rights, he said.  The Non-Aligned Movement remained committed to the promotion of the right to development.

    He added that his delegation, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, would continue to hold informal consultations on the three draft resolutions in the interest of achieving as broad a support as possible.

    Introducing a draft resolution on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (document A/C.3/58/L.53), the representative of Brazil said the draft represented a significant milestone in the progressive realization of the right to health.  It was the first time that the General Assembly would have before it a draft resolution singly devoted to that fundamental human right. 

    The representative of Cameroon introduced a draft resolution on the Subregional Centre for Human Righs and Democracy in Central Africa (document A/C.3/58/L.56).  She said the Subregional Centre in Yaounde had undertaken critical work towards the promotion of human rights and democracy in Central Africa since it began operating in March 2001.  The draft requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide their full assistance for the proper functioning of the Subregional Centre.

    Introducing a draft resolution on the protection of and assistance to internally displaced persons (document A/C.3/58/L.57), the representative of Norway said that even though the attention of the international community had been drawn to the situation of internally displaced persons for some time, their situation remained precarious in many parts of the world.  The draft sought to address their situation through further international cooperation and by encouraging that further attention be placed on particularly vulnerable groups, such as women, children and older persons.  The need for more attention on the humanitarian needs of internally displaced persons was also stressed in the draft, which she hoped would be adopted by consensus.

    The representative of the United States introduced and orally amended the draft resolution on strengthening the role of the United Nations in enhancing the effectiveness of the principle of periodic and genuine elections and the promotion of democratization (document A/C.3/58/L.61).  She noted that the draft reaffirmed that electoral assistance and support for promoting democratization were provided by the United Nations only at the request of the Member State concerned. 

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