Press Releases

    GA/SHC/3832
    1 November 2005

    Third Committee Approves Two Draft Resolutions on Advancement Of Women, Continues Dialogue with Human Rights Experts

    Reports Heard concerning Human Rights of Migrants, Palestine Territories, Internally Displaced Persons, Health Standards, Effects of Economic Policies

    (Issued on 31 October 2005.)

    NEW YORK, 28 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today approved two draft resolutions on the advancement of women, and heard reports from human rights Special Rapporteurs and experts, as it continued its review of human rights issues.

    The draft resolution on the improvement of the situation of women in rural areas (document A/C.3/60/L.14/Rev.1), adopted without a vote would have the General Assembly invite Member States to continue implementing the outcome of and ensure follow-up to United Nations conferences and summits and to improve national, regional and global development strategies for women's advancement.  That would include, among other things, ensuring rural women's participation in developing and monitoring macroeconomic policies and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, pursuing rural women's political and socio-economic empowerment through affirmative action and other support, and investing in basic services, education, literacy, social and health services.

    Speaking after that draft was adopted, the United States representative reaffirmed support for the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action but said it did not establish any new rights, including the right to abortion.  The United States fully supported the principle of voluntary choice in terms of maternal health and family planning, but did not recognize abortion as a method of maternal health and family planning assistance.

    The second draft resolution adopted, on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/60/L.17), would have the Assembly urge States parties to comply fully with their obligations under the Convention and the Optional Protocol, as well as urge Governments, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to disseminate information on the Convention and the Optional Protocol.  The Assembly would also encourage all relevant entities of the United Nations system to continue to build women's knowledge, understanding, and capacity to utilize human rights instruments.

    At the request of the United States representative, the Committee voted separately on operative paragraphs 14 and 15 of the draft text, as well as on the entire draft resolution.  The two operative paragraphs dealt with the sessions of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and its parallel working groups, and the United States representative stressed that the activities described in those paragraphs were not covered in the approved budget.

    In action on operative paragraph 14 of the draft resolution, the Committee adopted the inclusion of the paragraph in the text by a recorded vote of 147 in favour, 2 against (Kuwait, United States), and 6 abstentions (Brunei Darussalam, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, United Arab Emirates).  (See annex I.)

    The Committee then adopted operative paragraph 15 of the draft by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 13 against, with 7 abstentions (Brunei Darussalam, China, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Qatar, Singapore).  (See annex II.)

    The Committee than adopted the draft as a whole, by a vote of 160 in favour to 1 against ( United States), with no abstentions. (See annex III.)

    Also today, the Committee, in its continuing discussion of human rights questions, heard presentations by and engaged in discussion with Jorge A. Bustamante, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; John Dugard, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967; Walter Kälin, Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons; Paul Hunt, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Bernards Andrew Nyamwaya Mudho, Independent Expert on the effects of economic reform policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.

    The Committee also concluded a discussion with Vitit Muntarbhorn, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    In addition, the Committee heard the introduction of two draft resolutions on the basic principles and guidelines on the right to remedy and reparation for victims of gross violations on international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law (document A/C.3/60/L.24), and on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (document A/C.3/60/L.25).

    The Committee will meet again at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, 31 October, to continue its debate on human rights questions.

    Background

    The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to continue its general discussion of human rights questions.

    It heard the introduction of draft resolutions on Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations on International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law (document A/C.3/60/L.24) and torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (document A/C.3/60/L.25).

    For more background information, please see Press Releases GA/SHC/3828 of 24 October, GA/SHC/3829 of 25 October, GA/SHC/3830 of 26 October and GA/SHC/3831 of 27 October. 

    The Committee also was expected to take action on draft resolutions concerning the advancement of women, promotion and protection and the rights of children, crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control.

    A draft on improvement of the situation of women in rural areas (document A/C.3/60/L.14/Rev. 1) would have the General Assembly invite Member States to continue implementing the outcome of and ensure follow-up to United Nations conferences and summits and to improve national, regional and global development strategies for women's advancement.  That would include, among other things, ensuring rural women's participation in developing and monitoring macroeconomic policies and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers; pursuing rural women's political and socio-economic empowerment through affirmative action and other support, taking into account their perspectives in emergency and humanitarian relief; and investing in basic services, education, literacy, social and health services.  That would also entail developing assistance programmes and advisory services for rural women's economic empowerment in banking, modern trading and financial procedures and microcredit, as well as designing and revising laws to ensure rural women's equal rights to land and other property, credit, capital and technologies.

    Also, it had a draft on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/60/L.17), which would have the Assembly urge States parties to comply fully with their obligations under the Convention and the Optional Protocol, as well as urge Governments, organizations and bodies of the United Nations system and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to disseminate the Convention and the Optional Protocol.  The Assembly would also encourage all relevant United Nations entities to continue to build women's knowledge of and capacity to utilize human rights instruments, particularly the Convention and the Optional Protocol.

    In addition, it had a draft on the girl child (document A/C.3/60/L.18), which would have the General Assembly urge States to take all necessary measures and to institute legal reforms to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by girls of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to take effective action against violations of those rights and freedoms.

    Further to the text, the Assembly would urge States to promote gender equality and equal access to basic social services, such as education; nutrition; health care, including sexual and reproductive health care; vaccinations, and protection from diseases representing the major causes of mortality; and to mainstream a gender perspective in all development policies and programmes.  It would also urge States to take special measures to protect girls affected by armed conflicts, including humanitarian assistance and disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration.

    A draft on Strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity (document A/C.3/60/L.8/Rev.1) would have the Assembly request the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to continue efforts to provide Member States with technical assistance to strengthen international cooperation in preventing and combating terrorism.  The Assembly would also urge States and relevant international organizations to develop national, regional and international strategies to complement the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme in effectively addressing transnational organized crime, and urge States and funding agencies to review their funding policies for development assistance and to include crime prevention and criminal justice in such assistance.

    A draft on providing support to Afghanistan with a view to ensuring effective implementation of its Counter-Narcotic Implementation Plan (document A/C.3/60/L.27) would have the Assembly call upon the international community to provide the necessary support to the counter-narcotic objectives of the Afghan Government through continued technical assistance and financial commitment, including the eight pillars of the Counter-Narcotic Implementation Plan.  The Assembly would also urge Afghanistan to maintain illicit drug control as a high priority as stipulated in its Constitution and the Plan, in order to combat illicit cultivation of opium poppy, illicit drug production and trafficking. 

    Discussion on situation of human rights in Democratic People's Republic of Korea

    VITIT MUNTARBHORN, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, responded to questions posed by several Committee members yesterday and today.

    In response to the query from the representative of Canada on specific steps the international community could take to ensure the safety and security of refugees in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, he highlighted the food situation, stressing that people still needed multilateral food aid.  While acknowledging the Government's reports that the country's harvest would be better this year, he said a food shortage still existed.  The refugee and asylum situation remained critical.  He invited all countries to adopt a humanitarian approach toward Koreans entering their countries and refrain from pushing them back. 

    He said his next report would be even more focused on women's issues.  Most of the Korean refugees he had interviewed in Mongolia were women, and almost all of those women had said they had paid $3,000 to be smuggled into other countries.  Profiteering in relation to those women was taking place.  Some ended up the victims of sexual exploitation or forced marriages, he said, urging States to not view refugees as illegal immigrants.  Many problems could be solved if the myriad of recommendations from treaty bodies were implemented.

    Regarding how to encourage his visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, he said the Government had already invited the Committee on the Rights of Child, and that was a good gesture.  He expressed hope that they would invite the Committee again, as well as him and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.  During the 1990s, the Government did invite Amnesty International and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women. 

    Responding to the query from the United States on his efforts to start a dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and how the international community could support such efforts, he said he had sought a dialogue since his appointment last year and was "semi-officially" received mid-last year as an academic but not in his capacity as Special Rapporteur.  In fact, he did not lobby for his post, but was asked to take it up.  He had tried to acknowledge constructive developments in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea while responding to his mandate to achieve full human rights in the country.

    On what steps the country should first take to implement his recommendations, he said his recommendations were doable and would not cost very much.  The Government should implement the treaty bodies' recommendations, give him access to the country, ensure food aid, uphold the rule of law and civil liberties, and begin to open the legal system.  That would require some technical cooperation.

    In reply to the representative of Switzerland's inquiry on the usefulness of missions to other countries in the region, he said such missions were still necessary. 

    Regarding the Government's recent decision to stop food aid and humanitarian assistance by year's end, he said he had learned this week that the Government might be more flexible about that, and he encouraged them to indeed reconsider.

    Responding to queries from the representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, regarding technical cooperation between the Government and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), he said to his knowledge the OHCHR had been very open to helping and expressed hope that they would be permitted to do so.  In terms of freedom of expression, he said that while the authorities claimed that there was some freedom, there were reports of religious repression.

    As to the issue of asylum, he said the country of origin should not look at asylum granting as unfriendly and should not criticize countries offering humanitarian assistance.  Asylum was a humanitarian act.

    In terms of effective monitoring of humanitarian assistance, he stressed the importance of improving access to assistance.  In the past four years, five million people had received food and other aid in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  This year, there was a shortfall in aid.  The international humanitarian community had never been allowed to do random monitoring.  Qualitative monitoring was also needed of food security and people's access to other commodities.

    Authorities needed to implement the recommendations of the four treaty bodies, uphold the rule of law and abolish sanctions against people who had left the country illegally, which would not cost anything.  He urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea authorities to look hard and fast at that.

    In response to the query from the representative of Japan on the most difficult aspects of fulfilling him mandate and completing his report and his future plans, he said the fact that he was denied access to the country and that the Government had not accepted his mandate was a great challenge.  He noted that he had visited Mongolia and Japan and planned to visit the Republic of Korea in due course.  His role was not just to write a report but to also catalyze and respond to victims' concerns through the five "A"s -- that is to analyze information, advise and make recommendations, alert and trigger responses,  advocate urgent calls to help victims, and activate links with other groups in the pursuit of justice within the framework of human rights.

    Responding to the representative of the Sudan on the need for the Special Rapporteur to remain objective and not be influenced by various political pressures, he said during the current United Nations reform there were opportunities, as well as key challenges.  The new Human Rights Council offered the opportunity to do better.  There were efforts to improve the work of the United Nations system, including a broader roster of candidates of special procedures.

    Responding to comments from the representative of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, he said he took a constructive, polite and courteous approach to working with the Government and was always willing to inform them of what he was doing.

    In reply to a query from the representative of Venezuela on the reliability of his sources, he said his sources were very varied and included a cross-section of representatives of Government, civil society and other organizations, often with diverging views on the same issue.

    Responding to the statement of the representative of China concerning the impartiality of the Commission on Human Rights, he said he had nothing to do with creation of the Special Rapporteur mandate.  He said he was unaware of the mandate until he was asked to assume it, and he tried to be fair and impartial in his work.

    Human Rights of Migrants

    JORGE BUSTAMANTE, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, said he took up his mandate three months ago.  While serving during 1997 and 1998 as Chairman of the intergovernmental group of experts on migration of the Commission of Human Rights, the Commission had decided to set up his current mandate.  Migration was mainly seen as an issue of border control.  Migrants were treated with second-class status due to policies of containment of migration.  However, when people died trying to cross borders, and had spent their life savings and left behind their families and communities in the process, the primary concern could not be to protect borders from people attempting to migrate in the future.  Policies must be based on migrants' human rights.  States must adopt comprehensive migration policies.  As Special Rapporteur he would continue to tirelessly recommend that State's policies took human rights into account and improved the definition, understanding and application of migrants' rights.

    When he assumed his mandate, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families had not entered into force.  It was now a legally binding instrument in 34 States, and the Third Committee would examine the first report on implementing the Convention, submitted by Mali's Government, in December.  He would continue to urge States to ratify the Convention and set up mechanisms to fully monitor its implementation.  The Special Procedures of the Commission on Human Rights had developed their own working methods, which he would take into account.  In next year's report, he would emphasize the social and legal aspects of the labour market in terms of treatment of national citizens and migrants, with the aim of clarifying the relationship between human rights and international migration.  He would analyze the relationship between the labour force demand for migrant workers and the resistance to recognize that demand and violations of migrants' human rights.

    He said he would also focus on specific cases of violations of migrants' human rights brought to his attention and on his dialogue with the Governments of those countries in which the violations had occurred, particularly on the core responsibility to countries of migrants' origin.  He urged Governments to cooperate with him in that regard through constructive dialogue.  Further, he would visit countries in question to study the situation of migrants in detail and would focus on challenges and good practices to ensure migrants' rights and make specific recommendation to improve the lot of migrants through collaboration with national and international bodies.  He was already cooperating with other Special Rapporteurs and would do the same with the Committee for the Protection of Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families.  He would hold discussions with Governments, international organizations, non-governmental groups, civil society and migrants.

    The debate on migration was becoming more important and visible in the international community, he said.  The report of the Global Commission on International Migration had been made public a few days ago and he very much supported the Commission's recommendation but expressed disappointment that it did not strongly recommend ratification of the Convention.  The Commission's other recommendations and principles would stimulate the international debate during the General Assembly's High-Level Dialogue on migration and development next year.  He would actively participate in the debate and urged States to support its objectives.

    Discussion

    Responding to a request from the representative of Pakistan, Mr. BUSTAMANTE said his next report would elaborate on gender-based violence, violence against children, family reunification of migrant workers, the extent and nature of violations against migrants and the attitudes of host countries of migrants.  It would also take into account the facilities countries set up to ease the plight of migrants and enjoy basic human rights.

    Similarly, he responded to a query from the representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, concerning his mandate in terms of racism and the protection of women and minors, saying there was indeed a relationship between different groups defined as vulnerable by the United Nations, particularly women and children, and his report would focus on that relationship.

    Regarding the request of the representative of Brazil that he elaborate on paragraph 5 of his report which referred to the treatment of nationals versus non-nationals in terms of the principle of universal human rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, he said it could appear to be a contradiction that the distinction States made between the legal and social rights of migrants versus nationals was an act of State sovereignty, and that became a source of inequality between nationals and non-nationals.  His report tried to clarify the dialectic of two acts of sovereignty and supported suggestions for a format for host countries to have equal rights for citizens and non-citizens.  For example, the participation of legal immigrants in host countries' local elections led to equal respect for foreigners and nationals.

    On the same subject, he responded to an assertion from the representative of Kuwait that the suggestion that nationals and non-nationals be given equal rights was not clear and that if that hypothesis was applied to all countries, it could have a negative impact on his forthcoming report.  Mr. Bustamante said most countries had established in their Constitutions terms regarding respect for human rights with regard to national origin.  In trying to integrate migrants, he saw two categories of treatment and was trying to eliminate this difference.  In some countries like Mexico, there were very specific differences, in others like the United States there was not as great a distinction between citizenship and nationality.

    Responding to a query from the representative of Mexico on his agenda for the General Assembly's 2006 high-level dialogue on international migration and development, Mr. Bustamante said he indeed intended to participate in the dialogue and learn from other countries in the context of clarifying the question of vulnerability on international migrants as defined by the United Nations.

    Statement by Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories

    JOHN DUGARD, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied by Israel since 1967, said the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to challenge the commitment of the international community to human rights.  The past year had seen the withdrawal of Israeli settlers and forces from Gaza, but it had also witnessed the continued territorial expansion of Israel into the West Bank, with a concomitant infliction of human rights violations on the Palestinian people.  In August and September 2005, Israel had successfully withdrawn its settlers and forces from Gaza, and the Government was to be congratulated on both its decision to withdraw and on the manner in which it executed the withdrawal.  However, while Gaza might no longer be colonized, it was still controlled by Israel.   Israel controlled the borders of Gaza, its territorial sea and its airspace, and the residents of Gaza were denied free access to the West Bank and neighbouring territories.

    In the weeks following the withdrawal, Israel had subjected Gaza to intensive bombardment and sonic booms, and it had revived its practice of targeted killings of militants, he continued.  More than 650 Palestinian prisoners from Gaza were still detained in Israeli jails.  In those circumstances, and in light of the fact that Gaza was a component of the Palestinian territory that remained largely physically occupied by Israel, it was impossible to suggest that Israel had ceased to be an occupying Power.   Israel therefore remained subject to the obligations of humanitarian law, including the obligation to promote the welfare of the people of Gaza.  While it might not be able to fulfil all its humanitarian obligations in Gaza, as it no longer had a presence there, it was clearly obliged not to impede access to medical care and other resources outside Gaza.

    He said that in his report, he had predicted that Israel would drag out decisions on the future of Gaza to distract world attention from its territorial expansion in the West Bank.  Unhappily, he said, that prediction had proved to be accurate.  The wall Israel was constructing would, when completed, run for more than 700 kilometres, of which less than 20 per cent would run on the Green Line -- the de facto border between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.   Israel claimed that the wall was being constructed for security reasons, to prevent suicide bombers from entering Israel.  While the Israeli High Court accepted the right of Israel to build a wall to protect its settlers, it failed to deal with the question on whether settlements were illegal, which they were under international law.  It was surely not possible for Israel to unlawfully place thousands of settlers in the occupied West Bank, and then to lawfully build a security wall to protect them.  Furthermore, Israel was using the wall as an instrument to dramatically change the character of East Jerusalem, which it occupied illegally.

    The wall, and the occupation of the West Bank, essentially served the interests of the settlers, he said.  However, in the process, they inflicted serious human rights violations on Palestinians.  The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination was seriously undermined by the diminution and fragmentation of Palestinian territory, and personal freedom was endangered by the large-scale arrest and detention of Palestinians.  Security operations, the destruction of homes, the restrictions on freedom of movement, and the confiscation and destruction of land to build the wall had generated a humanitarian crisis.  In 2004, the International Court of Justice had held the wall to be illegal, settlements to be unlawful, and many features of Israel's occupation practices to be contrary to humanitarian law and human rights law.  It remained for the political organs of the international community to convert that legal opinion into political action but, sadly, that was not being done.  It was hard to understand how the United Nations, as a member of the Quartet, could be a party to statements that deliberately ignored the pronouncement of their own judicial body, as endorsed by the General Assembly, he added.

    Discussion

    In the discussion following Mr. Dugard's presentation, the representative of Israel said his Government had emphasized for more than a decade the problematic nature of the Special Rapporteur's mandate.  The mandate only examined one side of the conflict; prejudged key issues; was unique and extreme in comparison with the wide range of regional and thematic rapporteurs working on issues of international concern; and was in direct contrast to the current wave of United Nations reforms.  The Rapporteur, in his reports and discourses, had misused his position as a platform for promoting his personal prejudices and political agenda.  Regrettably, his report, like previous ones, was characterized by serious errors of omission and commission, as well as distortions of both fact and law, all in the cause of advancing a one-sided political agenda.

    Furthermore, the Rapporteur's report not only did nothing to advance the prospect of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, but repeatedly set itself in opposition to the framework agreed by the parties and the international community for resolving the conflict, Israel's representative said.  The Rapporteur also repeatedly had dismissed the delicate process painstakingly crafted in the Road Map document.  Whether it was on the issue of Jerusalem, settlements, or final status of negotiations, the Rapporteur seemed to envision a system where Israel made concessions without receiving anything in return, where terrorism was relegated to a non-issue at best and even justified at worst, and where Israel held all the responsibility to make peace a reality.  Those working for peace knew that progress must be built on the fulfilment of obligations by both sides, but for the Rapporteur, there were only Palestinian rights and Israeli obligations.

    In response, Mr. DUGARD said his agenda was to respect human rights and humanitarian law in the region.  He also had a political agenda, which was similar in a sense to that of the Israelis, in that he favoured the establishment of two States.  However, they disagreed as to the extent that Israel was interested in promoting that agenda.  Regarding the withdrawal from Gaza, he could see that such a withdrawal had been a great success and he offered his congratulations.   Israel's official position was that it was still the occupying Power in the region, although it had a reduced responsibility.  Regarding the wall and settlement expansion, Mr. Dugard said he feared that the construction of the wall, the expansion of settlements and the changes to Jerusalem's character had very serious implications for a two-State solution.

    Thanking the Special Rapporteur on behalf of her delegation and the Palestinian people as a whole, the observer for Palestine asked Mr. Dugard what the latest information was on 88 Palestinian homes that had been subject to demolition orders to make room for a park, as well as what steps should be taken by the international community and the United Nations to ensure Israel's compliance with the International Court of Justice's opinion.  In response to the Israeli representative's comments, she said there had been endless statements of distortion and lies by the Israeli Government.  They should be condemned and stopped, because the United Nations officials were only carrying out their mandates.  Furthermore, if there was no occupation, there would be no human rights violations, and therefore there would be no need for such a mandate as that of the Special Rapporteur's.

    Responding to the observer for Palestine, Mr. Dugard said he had visited the area to be demolished during his last visit.  His understanding was that at the present time, legal proceedings had been launched against the demolitions and that the issue was still before the courts.  Regarding the failure of the Israeli Government to heed the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, he said that the establishment of a register to record damages that had been suffered by Palestinians was inevitably something that could not be done overnight.  However, it did seem that the United Nations had been somewhat slow in establishing such a register.  When he had made any sort of inquiry on the subject, it had been suggested that the matter was still being considered, and that the proposed structure and budgetary implication of a register were being examined.  As to what more could be done, the Security Council should, as the General Assembly had done, approve the advisory opinion and make it quite clear that it did accept it.  The Quartet should do more to promote the findings of the International Court of Justice, as it seemed to ignore them completely, and should take a much more active role, he added.

    Responding to comments by the representative of the United States, who said she was disturbed that the report was polemical, one-sided and biased against Israel, as well as failed to recognize the obligations of both sides, Mr. Dugard said that as the present meeting was intended to be a dialogue, he would welcome the comments of the representative on the United States' attitude towards the advisory opinion of the Court.  He believed that many people and States had the fear or feeling that the failure on the Quartet's part to attempt to implement the opinion stemmed from the fact that the United States dictates the opinion of the Quartet.  That was a widely held assessment and he said he would appreciate it if the United States delegate would inform delegates of her Government's attitude towards the opinion.

    Turning to a question from Jordan 's representative on the applicability of human rights law regarding the responsibility of Israel in Gaza, Mr. Dugard said the area had undergone a major change as a result of the withdrawal, but Israel was obligated to promote the welfare of the inhabitants.  By obstructing the trafficking of goods in and out of Gaza, as well as by denying the people of Gaza the right to leave to obtain medical care and for other reasons, Israel clearly did not contribute to its obligation to improve their welfare.

    Mr. Dugard responded to questions and comments from the representatives of the Sudan and Libya on forcing Israel to respect international law concerning the wall, from Syria's representative -- who called upon the international community to bring pressure to bear on Israel to stop its grave violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories -- and from Egypt's representative on recommendations to improve the humanitarian situation of the Palestinian people.  He said that if the construction of the wall was discontinued and the wall that had already built was destroyed, such actions would dramatically improve the lives of Palestinians because the wall had severely interfered with their basic freedoms.  There still existed serious obstacles in the freedom of movement in the West Bank, and there were still checkpoints, which all affected the economic situation of Palestine, continued to obstruct its improvement, and continued the humanitarian crisis.

    Responding to questions from the representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, on detention conditions of Palestinian prisoners and on progress on the registration of damages, Mr. Dugard said that as a result of the Israeli Government not speaking to him about his mandate, he had had to rely heavily on reports from non-governmental organizations and interlocutors, who had informed him that prison conditions were far from desirable and that there were still allegations of torture.  Those reports were very disturbing, but he had no firsthand information, nor had he had the opportunity to consult with the Israeli Government on that matter.

    When the same representative asked him about the question of the death penalty in Palestine, Mr. Dugard said the violation of human rights by the Palestinian Authority did not fall within his mandate.  However, he said he felt compelled as a human rights lawyer to draw attention to the fact that the Palestinian Authority had been responsible for starting to execute Palestinian criminals, and he called upon the Authority to desist from such a practice, although he had not had any discussions with them on the matter.

    Responding to a question from the representative of Venezuela on the Palestinian people's access to water as a result of the construction of the wall, Mr. Dugard said access to water was one of the most important issues in the Middle East.  The Closed Zone, which was between the Green Line and the wall, did include many wells, and that meant that the Palestinian access to water had been substantially reduced, although the people in Gaza did now have access to those resources.

    Turning to a question from the representative of Cuba on what other bodies and organizations should be involved in solving the problem of the construction of the wall, Mr. Dugard said that civil society had an important role to play in the whole procedure.  Similarly, responding to a question from China's representative on his contact and cooperation with civil societies, Mr. Dugard said he had received excellent cooperation from many non-governmental organizations, both Palestinian and Israeli.  Much of the information contained in his report was based on information received by Israeli non-governmental organizations, which had been most helpful, he added.

    Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons

    WALTER KÄLIN, Representative of the Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, said it was sad to realize that, despite all efforts, the past year had not seen a substantial reduction in the number of conflict-induced internally displaced persons.  Darfur had been highlighted in the media, as was Northern Uganda, but there were many other situations that tended to be overlooked by the media, or had been forgotten.  Those included countries such as Nepal, which had an incipient internally displaced person problem that had not yet been fully recognized by the Government or the international community, or others such as the Balkans, southern Caucasus or Peru, where persons displaced a long time ago tended to be forgotten.  While the international community had been slow or reluctant to recognize people displaced by natural disasters as internally displaced persons, there was an emerging acknowledgement that their human rights might be jeopardized and their protection needs were long-term.

    The past year had shown several changes in the humanitarian response landscape, he said, which should prove advantageous for the assistance and protection of internally displaced persons.  The cluster approach adopted by the Interagency Principals on 12 September, 2005 should help to fill the various gaps that had been identified in the Humanitarian Response Review.  In accordance with his mandate, his activities this past year had been focused on dialogues with Governments and other relevant actors on how to best improve the protection of the rights of internally displaced persons, as well as on how to mainstream their human rights in the United Nations system.  Concerning his dialogue with countries, he had conducted missions and working visits to Bosnia; Croatia; Nepal; Serbia and Montenegro, including Kosovo; southern Sudan; Turkey; and the region affected by the tsunami this year.  He was also in contact with relevant authorities to travel to Azerbaijan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Maldives and Nigeria in the coming year, as well as possibly Western Africa.

    To date, his mandate had been well received by the countries with which he had engaged in dialogue, as well as by the various international agencies engaged in protection and assistance to internally displaced people.  He said he had consistently tried to involve the United Nations system in the preparation and follow-up to his missions and country visits, in order to ensure a more coherent approach to the challenges of internally displaced persons.  He was in constant contact not only with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, but also with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, particularly its Internal Displacement Division, and now the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as with United Nations country teams and field presences.

    Highlighting recommendations based on his missions and dialogue over the past year, he said the effectiveness of the new humanitarian architecture remained to be proved.  Timely implementation of the cluster approach, the allocation of appropriate resources, together with rapid decisions concerning what countries should be the pilots for that approach, would provide the means to assess whether internally displaced persons would be better protected and assisted.  Achieving full integration of a rights-based approach into the work of the range of United Nations agencies and partners involved in the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons, entailed changing certain operational and donor mindsets, and therefore constituted a further challenge, he added.

    Discussion

    In the ensuing discussion with Mr. Kälin, questions were asked by the representatives of Azerbaijan, Nepal, Turkey, Georgia, Serbia and Montenegro, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Sudan and Switzerland. In response, Mr. KÄLIN thanked the representatives of Nepal and Turkey for providing overviews of actions taken in their countries regarding internally displaced persons, and also thanked the representatives of Georgia and Nigeria for extending invitations to visit their respective countries.

    In response to several questions on his assessment of the ongoing discussions on reforms regarding a collaborative approach on internally displaced persons, Mr. Kälin said it had been decided that within the framework of the collaborative approach, responsibility for sectors should be assigned to specific agencies so that, for instance, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees would take responsibility for sectors such as camp management and protection.  It was necessary to realize that situations of displacement were very complex but also very diverse.  Some were newly emerging, while others were entrenched, long-standing situations, and no one single agency could be able to address all of the problems faced by internally displaced persons.  Up until now, the system had been lacking predictability, as well as the ability to respond quickly, because whenever a new situation came up, a big discussion started on who should do what.  That gave room for opting in or opting out and, in several situations, had resulted in action taking too long.

    However, he did not feel that that meant that the designated agency had to carry out all of the activities, he said.  Of course, there were many organizations, including United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, that could contribute, but it would be the responsibility of the designated agency to make sure that the activities were carried out in a coordinated manner.  He said he was confident that it was an important step forward, although it would not be possible to apply the model to each and every situation.

    Concerning whether such an approach could be used in each and every situation, he said it would be necessary to start by gaining experience with the new approach.  The approach should be limited for the time being to a few countries and situations to see how it was working, he added.

    One of the major challenges was the need to look at displacement by natural disasters, he continued.  It was important for Governments to clearly identify the protection and needs of internally displaced persons, which were different from the needs of the non-displaced population, as they often faced different problems.  It was also necessary to make the guiding principles on the internally displaced operational.  Among the challenges included ensuring that internally displaced persons were consulted, and that they could participate in decisions affecting their situation, as they should remain active subjects of their fate and not just objects.

    Furthermore, he said it was necessary to allocate adequate resources to implement activities regarding dealing with natural disasters.  It was important to realize that while no Government was out to consciously violate the rights of those displaced by natural disasters, such people might still face serious human rights problems.  Some might be neglected or be put in very vulnerable situations, and it was necessary to realize that possibility.  He encouraged Governments to take into consideration that the guiding principles on internally displaced persons did provide good guidance for situations affected by natural disasters.

    Introduction of Draft Resolutions

    The Committee then heard the introduction of draft resolutions related to implementation of human rights instruments.

    The representative of Chile introduced a draft on basic principles and guidelines on the right to a remedy and reparation for victims of gross violations of international human rights laws and serious violations on international humanitarian law (document A/C.3/60/L.24).  He expressed hope that the principles in the text would be a useful tool for victims, their representatives and States.  The principles, which were flexible in order to give States sufficient room for application, had been adopted unanimously by the Commission on Human Rights in April and by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July.

    The representative of Denmark, speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, informed the Committee that the draft on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment (document A/C.3/60/L.25) was not ready for adoption and that a revised draft would be issued later. 

    Action of Draft Resolutions

    The Committee then took action on draft resolutions concerning the advancement of women.

    The Committee adopted, without a vote, as orally revised, a draft on improvement of the situation of women in rural areas (document A/C.3/60/L.14/Rev.1). 

    After the Committee took action, the representative of the United States said her country had devoted substantial monetary resources to improve the social, economic and political lot of women.  She reaffirmed support for the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action based on several understandings, saying the Declaration and Platform were a basic policy framework that did not constitute international legal rights or legally binding rights.  It did not establish any new rights, including the right to abortion.

    The United States fully supported the principle of voluntary choice in terms of maternal health and family planning; however, it did not recognize abortion as a method of maternal health and family planning assistance, she stated.  Reproductive rights did not include abortion.  She supported the treatment of women due to abortion illnesses but did not place such treatment among abortion services.  Operative paragraph 2 in subsection E did not constitute abortion rights. 

    The representative of Venezuela then reaffirmed her commitment to incorporate a gender perspective in short-term and long-term social and economic policies.  Despite Venezuela's huge interest in the resolution, it had not sponsored it because preambular paragraph 3 and operative paragraph 6 referred to the World Summit Outcome Document, which Venezuela had already deemed null and void. 

    The Committee then took action on a draft resolution on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/60/L.17).  At the request of the United States representative, the Committee voted separately on operative paragraphs 14 and 15 of the draft text, as well as on the entire draft resolution.

    In action on operative paragraph 14 of the draft resolution, the Committee adopted the inclusion of the paragraph in the text by a recorded vote of 147 in favour, 2 against (United States and Japan), and 6 abstentions (Brunei Darussalam, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore and United Arab Emirates).  For more information, see Annex I.

    Explanation of Vote Before Vote

    Before the action, the representative of Norway, the draft resolution's main sponsor, said the resolution would authorize the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to hold extra sessions, as well as enable the Committee's members to work in parallel working groups for part of the session in order to deal with the backlog of reports.  The sponsors believed it was vital to give the Committee the necessary tools for performing the task assigned to it.

    Also speaking before the action, the representative of United States requested a recorded vote on operative paragraph 14, as well as a separate vote on operative paragraph 15, to be followed by a vote on the resolution in its entirety.  The two operative paragraphs dealt with the sessions of the Committee and the parallel working groups.

    In response, the representative of Norway said that as a recorded vote had been requested, she appealed to all Member States to vote with the sponsors and to reject the proposed deletion of the two operative paragraphs in order to maintain the text as it was.  She expressed hope that Member States would vote in favour of the draft resolution as a whole.

    In response to a request from the representative of Cuba who asked for clarity as to what States were being asked to vote on, the Secretary of the Committee said the United States representative had requested separate votes regarding the deletion of paragraphs 14 and 15 of the draft resolution, as well as a third vote on the resolution in its entirety.

    The United States representative said the activities of the Committee described in paragraph 14 were not within the approved budget.  As the United States was already supplying 22 per cent of the budget, the proposed increase was unacceptable to her delegation.

    New Zealand 's representative said it was necessary to face the reality that more efficient working methods were only a partial solution and that the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women needed more resources and time to carry out its task.  Support for the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women must translate to support to the Committee of the Convention.  Calling on all States to support the text, he said the two paragraphs of the draft resolution would be an empty measure without such support.

    Explanation of Vote After Vote

    Speaking after the vote on operative paragraph 14, the representative of Japan said his delegation had abstained from voting on operative paragraph 14 because while it supported the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and shared its concerns about the serious backlog of reports awaiting consideration, it would not accept an increase in the regular budget as a whole.

    Explanation of Vote Before Vote

    The representative of the United States said she would not vote in favour of operative paragraph 15 of the draft on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/60/L.17)because her country was not a State party to the treaty and because the increase in cost involved in changing the working method was unacceptable.

    The representative of Pakistan said the idea of dividing the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women into two groups was contrary to its mandate to examine the reports in plenary sessions.   

    The representative of Kuwait said Kuwait was party to the Convention, but that amendments had to be discussed between State parties and not within the General Assembly.  The delegate asked how it was possible to accept amendments to the working method of human rights treaty bodies and also questioned the urgency of adopting a draft on this precise issue.  Since the General Assembly's Fifth Committee was discussing budgetary reform, she questioned how the Committee could adopt an amendment on the budget when the Fifth Committee might not in fact adopt the budget during its current term.   Kuwait would vote against operative paragraphs 14 and 15. 

    The representative of Cuba said dividing the Committee into two parallel groups would go against its committee's mandate, and such a decision should have been discussed among States' parties.  Such a decision would endanger the principle of equitable geographic distribution. 

    The representative of India said she would vote in favour of operative paragraph 15 because the measure was of an exceptional and provisional nature. 

    The Committee then adopted operative paragraph 15 of the draft by a recorded vote of 128 in favour, 13 against and seven abstentions ( Brunei, China, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Qatar and Singapore).  (For more information, see Annex II.) 

    Explanation of Vote After Vote

    The representative of Libya said that he supported the draft's objectives but that he had voted against operative paragraph 15 because parallel meetings in 2006 and 2007 would create an imbalance in the geographical distribution of the two groups.

    The representative of Japan said his reasons for voting against operative paragraph 15 were the same as for operative paragraph 14.

    The representative of Algeria said he voted in favour because it was a provisional measure that did not create any precedents. 

    The representative of Egypt said he voted in favour of the draft as a whole but against operative paragraph 15 because the Committee should not be divided and that doing so would have run counter to the General Assembly statutes and would eliminate equitable geographic distribution and neutrality when it discussed reports.  In 2004, no African Group members had been elected to any of the Committee's 11 posts.   The Committee should be able to review the need to create a working group prior to taking up its work and the possibility of reducing the number of issues discussed, making better use of the time allocated and streamlining expenditures of working meetings.  

    The representative of China said he had abstained because the Committee should not be divided into parallel working groups and that there were other ways to resolve the backlog of work.

    The representative of Uganda said she voted in favour of operative paragraph 15 based on the understanding that it did not create a precedent for the future working methods of the Committee.  Since there were no new African members elected to the Committee, the issue of equitable geographical distribution did not arise, and therefore operative paragraph 15 stood by itself.  For the sake of consensus, however, Uganda had voted in favour of operative paragraph 15 and would vote in favour of the resolution as a whole.

    The representative of Burkina Faso said Burkina Faso voted in favour of operative paragraphs 14 and 15, but asked to be withdrawn from the list of co-sponsors of the text.

    The representative of Venezuela said Venezuela had voted in favour because the measures were provisional.

    Explanation of Vote Before Vote

    The representative of the United States said her country would not ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and could not accept the call for States to ratify it.

    The Committee then adopted the draft as a whole (document A/C.3/60/L.17), by a vote of 160 in favour, to one against ( United States), with no abstentions. (For more information, see Annex III.)

    Explanation of Vote after Vote

    The representative of Norway, speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries, thanked all the co-sponsors and said the measures would enable the Committee to better fulfil its mandate.

    Human Rights and Physical and Mental Health

    PAUL HUNT, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, said the right to health could be understood as a right to an effective and integrated health system, encompassing health care and the underlying determinants of health, which was responsive to national and local priorities, and accessible to all.  In other words, the health system must encompass both health care and the underlying determinants of health, such as adequate sanitation and safe drinking water.  The health system must be accessible to all, including disadvantaged individuals and communities.  Furthermore, it must be responsive to both national and local priorities and be effective and integrated.  It could not consist of little more than a bundle of loosely coordinated vertical interventions for different diseases.

    One of the most striking features of the Millennium Development Goals was the prominence they gave to health, including reducing child and maternal mortality; controlling HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis; and providing access to sanitation and safe drinking water.  Moreover, the first Millennium Development Goal -- to reduce by half the proportion of the population living in extreme poverty -- could not conceivably be accomplished if the health goals were not achieved, he said.  Societies burdened by large numbers of sick and dying individuals could not escape from poverty.  The Goals could not be achieved without effective health systems that were accessible to all.  Both the Millennium Declaration and the 2005 World Summit were clear that developing and developed countries had a crucial role to play in establishing effective, inclusive health systems in developing countries.

    Urging Ministers of Health in low-income and middle-income countries to prepare health programmes that were bold enough to achieve the health Goals, he stressed that carefully prepared national programmes should reflect what was actually needed to develop effective, integrated health systems accessible to all.  The programmes should not reflect what donors said could be paid for, but should identify what was really financially needed to achieve the internationally agreed health Goals.  Those national health programmes should then form a central part of the development strategies mandated by last month's World Summit for adoption in 2006.

    An effective health system depended on health professionals, he continued.  In many countries, health workers were in a precarious condition.  HIV/AIDS increased the work burden, and sickened and killed health workers.  In addition, the skills drain was hitting many developing countries hard, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.  The skills drain raised numerous human rights issues, such as the freedom of movement and labour rights of health professionals.  Any policy response to the skills drain must respect those human rights.  Possible policy responses to the skills drain included an obligation of developed countries to respect the right to health in developing countries.  It was time to grasp the fact that an effective health system was a core social institution, no less than a court system or a political system.  The right to health underpinned the call for effective health systems accessible to all, he added.

    Discussion

    In the discussion that followed, the representative of New Zealand asked Mr. Hunt about the doctrine of progressive realization of the right to health, and the implications for the doctrine, the skills drain and international assistance and cooperation.

    Mr. HUNT said, as suggested in his report, that developed countries had responsibilities to not create obstacles to the rights of developing countries.  Developing countries had to take concrete measures to realize the right to health, and it was inconsistent for rich and powerful countries to put obstacles in the way.  The obligation to the right to health arose from the United Nations Charter, as well as from some human rights treaties.

    In response to a question on the Commission on Social Determinants by the United Kingdom 's representative, who spoke on behalf of the European Union, Mr. Hunt said his contact with the Commission thus far had been with members of the Secretariat, and he had indicated his willingness to cooperate with them.  He planned to be in contact with them again to ascertain the degree to which they were taking into account the rights of health in particular.

    Answering another question from the same representative on human rights education in the training of health professionals, Mr. Hunt said there were some scattered best practices. The record was weak, but there were many good practices of the treatment of ethics for health-care professionals, and human rights needed to be introduced in that area.

    Responding to another question from the United Kingdom 's representative on the skills drain and how a fair balance might be struck, Mr. Hunt referred to the push and pull factors for the skill drain that he had mentioned in his report.  A key push factor for the skill drain related to the fact that it was crucial that the health system improved in countries of origin and that the terms and conditions of health-care professionals in countries of origin improved.  Pull factors included the insufficient number of domestic trained health-care professionals in some developed countries, and it was necessary to increase the capacity for domestically training health-care professionals.

    Turning to a question from the representative of China on the distribution of drugs for Avian Flu, Mr. Hunt said that a human rights approach to that important issue demanded that account be taken of vulnerable groups.  It must not just be the wealthy people who had access to drugs for Avian Flu, or to other pharmaceuticals.  Some good practices in that regard, which could be obtained from the context of HIV/AIDS, was that some countries had been able to devise fair ways for the disbursement of those drugs, and it would be helpful to look at that practice.

    Responding to questions from the representatives of Brazil and Switzerland dealing with international cooperation on health, global health inequality, and the monitoring of the right to health, Mr. Hunt pointed to private discussions that had originated with pharmaceutical companies by the non-governmental Ethical Globalization Initiative, which was headed by Mary Robinson.  He had been invited to the last three of those meetings, which had been focused and extremely constructive, as experts had been able to frankly talk about the right-to-health responsibilities of pharmaceutical companies.  He said that it sometimes seemed to him that unrealistic expectations were made of them regarding the right to health.

    It had been acknowledged during the World Summit that the Millennium Development Goals demanded effective health systems, he continued.  Mortality could not be reduced, and access to drinking water and sanitation could not be improved without an effective health system, and that was now at centre stage.  He added that it was also necessary to identify a mechanism that would independently monitor what States were doing in relation to the right to health in their own countries.

    Effects of Economic Reform, Debt on Human Rights

    BERNARDS MUDHO, Independent Expert of the Commission on Human Rights, on the effects of economic reform policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, said the Commission on Human Rights had entrusted him with two main tasks.  The first was to monitor how the burden of foreign debt affected the capacity of developing countries to implement policies for economic, social and cultural rights; and the second was to recommend actions that could be taken to alleviate such effects, especially in the poorest and heavily indebted countries.  In considering the challenges of debt and structural reforms from human rights perspectives, all stakeholders must consider how developing countries could formulate and implement national development policies aimed at improving all their citizens' human rights.  Considerations of principles such as equality, non-discrimination and participation needed to be integrated into all stages of national processes that were linked to debt relief and structural reforms.

    For decades, heavily-indebted developing countries had been spending significant amounts of revenue on servicing external debts, at the cost of providing more basic services and protections that would enable people to develop and attain their human rights.  Despite those payments, the debt stock of developing countries had quadrupled during the last two decades, with the trend accelerating since 1997.  Of the initiatives launched by the international community to relieve or resolve the debt distress, the Group of Eight debt cancellation for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) deserved the fullest support of the donor community in addition to the current level of official development assistance (ODA).  Hopefully, that debt relief could be widened beyond those 18 HIPC countries and could include debt owed to other multilaterals, such as the Inter-American Development Bank. 

    Alternative approaches were needed for estimating the debt sustainability of developing countries and for making decisions to grant relief or new loans, he said.  There was no clear answer to the question of what the sustainable level of debt should be for a country.  The present macroeconomic approach to debt sustainability analysis had clearly proven inadequate.  Alternative approaches should take into account the pursuit of the Millennium Goals and the corresponding obligations of Governments concerned with protecting the human rights of their people. 

    He noted that in April he had submitted to the Commission a report identifying some elements for consideration in elaborating such draft general guidelines.  For the guidelines to have practical relevance and usefulness, further in-depth dialogues with the international financial institutions were needed.  Unfortunately, to date he had received few responses from Member States on their views and suggestions regarding the guidelines.

    Discussion

    In the ensuing discussion, Mr. MUDHO, responded to a question from the representative of Cuba on his experience with international financial institutions and their actions to resolve the external debt crisis of developing countries.  He said the World Bank had had altered its structural adjustment polices from a one-size-fits-all model to lending polices in which the countries themselves, through Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, devised ways of assistance.

    Regarding how international financial institutions could minimize the negative impact of their policies on developing countries in particular, he said different debt sustainability approaches were necessary.  Thus far credit institutions had dictated those terms.  The focus had been on microeconomic stability at the expense of the borrowers' socio-economic situations and needs.  A new approach to debt sustainability analysis was necessary so that developing countries could undertake the analysis themselves.

    Responding to a query of the representative of Tunisia on other ways such as informal meetings with certain State representatives to forward his proposal to extend debt relief for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries to debts owed to the Inter-American Development Bank and other multilateral institutions, he said he had been able to visit several countries, including the United Kingdom in July, to discuss the Group of Eight's initiative, and would indeed be interested in meeting with Member States to learn from their experience on how to best address these concerns.

    (annexes follow)

    ANNEX I

    Vote on Paragraph 14 of Women's Convention Draft

    Paragraph 14 of the draft resolution on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A.C.3/60/L.17) was adopted by a recorded vote of 147 in favour to 2 against, with 6 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Against:  Kuwait, United States.

    Abstain:  Brunei Darussalam, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, United Arab Emirates.

    Absent:  Afghanistan, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu,

    (END OF ANNEX I)

    ANNEX II

    Vote on Paragraph 15 of Draft Resolution on Women's Convention

    Paragraph 15 of the draft resolution on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/60/L.17) was adopted by a recorded vote of 128 in favour to 13 against, with 7 abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia.

    Against:  Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, United States, Yemen.

    Abstain:  Brunei Darussalam, China, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Qatar, Singapore.

    Absent:  Afghanistan, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Haiti, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Nauru, Nepal, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

    (END OF ANNEX II)

    ANNEX III

    Vote on Draft Resolution on Women's Convention

    The draft resolution on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as a whole (document A/C.3/60/L.17), was adopted by a recorded vote of 160 in favour to 1 against, with no abstentions, as follows:

    In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

    Against:  United States.

    Abstain:  None.

    Absent:  Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Iran, Kiribati, Lesotho, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

    * *** *