THIRD COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT RESOLUTION URGING FULL RESPECT FOR ALL HUMAN RIGHTS BY DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Sixty-first General Assembly
48th Meeting (AM)
Texts Also Approved on Defamation of Religions, UNHCR Executive Committee,
Convention on Racial Discrimination, Torture, African Crime Prevention Institute
Expressing very serious concern at “continuing reports of systemic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) today approved a measure which would have the General Assembly urge that country’s Government to respect fully all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to grant full, free and unimpeded access to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the country.
The draft, one of six measures approved by the Committee today, passed by a vote of 91 in favour to 21 against, with 60 abstentions (See Annex II).
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea rejected the resolution as “a political plot of the United States and its satellite countries.” He argued that the main sponsors of the resolution, themselves, were the worst violators of human rights, having perpetrated aggression and wars in a number of countries, most recently in Iraq and Lebanon. He said that those human rights violations were the gravest concern of the world today, rather than “fictitious” human rights issues in his country. Later, speaking after the vote, he said that his delegation would not regard the resolution as an authentic United Nations document.
The representative of Japan said that the draft’s objective was not to name and shame but to urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to work with the United Nations system to improve the human rights of its people. He added that the issue of abductions of citizens of neighbouring countries remained unresolved and urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to respond honestly to inquiries in the matter, admit that its actions violated human rights, allow survivors to return to other countries without delay and surrender those who had perpetrated such injustice. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to take the resolution seriously and implement its measures.
As in previous years, many delegations took the floor to criticize country-specific resolutions on the grounds that they were selective, political and counterproductive. The representative of Costa Rica, echoing arguments made by Sudan, Belarus, and others, said that by continuing to deal with human rights in a country-specific way, the Third Committee was not giving the new Human Rights Council an opportunity to take a new approach. The Council must be the forum to analyse each and every situation of human rights violations brought to the Third Committee. For that reason, it had abstained on the current resolution and would do so on all similar resolutions, as well as those submitted in direct retaliation.
In other business, the Committee approved a draft resolution on combating defamation of religions, by a vote of 101 in favour to 53 against, with 20 abstentions. (See annex I.)
Several delegations, however, faulted the draft for failing to show balance in addressing all the world’s religions and instead focusing only on Islam. The representative of the United States said she would vote no for that reason and also because the draft called for excessive restrictions on freedom of expression. Criticism of a religion or faith could not automatically be characterized as defamation or incitement to hatred, she said.
The Committee also approved by consensus, drafts on the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination; torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; the enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); and the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.
The Committee will next meet on Monday, 20 November, at a time to be determined, to take further action on draft resolutions.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to take action on six draft resolutions.
The Committee had before it a draft on enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/61/L.47), by which the Assembly would decide to increase the number of members of the Executive Committee from 70 to 72 States and request the Economic and Social Council to elect the additional members at its resumed organizational session for 2007.
Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (document A/C.3/61/L.49), by which the Assembly would call upon States parties to fulfil their obligation to submit periodic reports on measures taken to implement the Convention in due time. It would further express concern that a great number of reports were overdue, and encourage those States whose reports were seriously overdue to avail themselves of the help that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights could provide. The Assembly would appeal to all States parties that were in arrears to fulfil their outstanding financial obligations to the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination and would urge all States that had not yet become parties to the Convention, to ratify or accede to it, as a matter of urgency, and to limit the extent of any reservation they might lodge.
A draft on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (document A/C.3/61/L.15) would have the Assembly condemn all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which could never be justified. It would call upon all States to implement fully the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The Assembly would condemn any action or attempt, by States or public officials, to legalize, authorize or acquiesce in torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under any circumstances, including on grounds of national security or through judicial decisions.
Under the terms of the draft, the Assembly would also urge States not to expel, return (“refouler”), extradite, or in any other way transfer a person to another State where there were substantial grounds for believing that the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture. Further, it would call upon all States to take appropriate measures to prohibit the production, trade, export and use of equipment specifically designed to inflict torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
A draft resolution on combating defamation of religions (document A/C.3/61/L.28) would have the Assembly express deep concern about the negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief still in evidence in some regions of the world. It would strongly deplore physical attacks and assaults on businesses, cultural centres and places of worship, as well as the targeting of religious symbols. It would note, with deep concern, the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001 and express its deep concern that Islam was frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.
Further to the draft, the Assembly would express its deep concern about programmes and agendas pursued by extremist organizations and groups aimed at the defamation of religions, in particular when supported by Governments. It would deplore the use of the print, audio-visual and electronic media to incite acts of violence, xenophobia or related intolerance and discrimination against Islam or any other religion and urge States to take resolute action to prohibit the dissemination of racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence; provide adequate protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion; and take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions.
The Committee was also scheduled to take up a draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (document A/C.3/61/L.37), by which the Assembly would express very serious concern at continuing reports of systemic, widespread and grave violations of human rights in that country including torture; the situation of refugees expelled or returned; severe restrictions on the freedoms of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association; and limitations on travel abroad. The Assembly would also express very serious concern about ongoing violations of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women; unresolved questions relating to the abduction of foreigners in the form of enforced disappearances; violations of economic, social and cultural rights leading to severe malnutrition and hardship for the population; and continuing reports of violations of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of those with disabilities, especially regarding the use of collective camps and collective measures that targeted disabled persons.
By the draft’s terms, the Assembly would express very deep concern at the precarious humanitarian situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, compounded by mismanagement on the part of the authorities, in particular the prevalence of infant malnutrition. It would urge the Government to respect fully all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to grant full, free and unimpeded access to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the country. It would also ask the Secretary-General to submit a comprehensive report for the next session of the Assembly, where examination of the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would continue.
A draft on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/61/L.14/Rev.1) would have the Assembly, noting that the Institute’s financial situation had greatly affected its capacity to deliver its services to African Member States, urge the States members of the Institute to make every possible effort to meet their obligations to the Institute. It would also call upon all Member States and non-governmental organizations to continue supporting the Institute in the development of the requisite capacity and the implementation of its programmes and activities. It would further request the Secretary-General to intensify efforts to mobilize all relevant entities of the United Nations system to provide the necessary financial and technical support to the Institute and to continue his efforts to mobilize the financial resources necessary to maintain the Institute with the core professional staff required to enable it to function effectively.
The Committee was also expected to take note of two reports on indigenous matters. A report on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people (document A/61/490) highlighted some concerns, which the Special Rapporteur deemed to be worthy of special and urgent attention. The Special Rapporteur’s activities had focused on a thematic investigation of issues that had an impact on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, country visits, and communications with Governments with respect to alleged violations of indigenous people’s human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the world. In the report, the Special Rapporteur referred, in particular, to the relevance for indigenous people of the adoption by the General Assembly of the draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Human Rights Council adopted at its first session.
A report on the status of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations (document A/61/376) stated that the Fund’s Board of Trustees foresaw the need to receive an additional $733,600 prior to the start of the twentieth session of the Board, scheduled to be held from 26 February to 2 March 2007, in order to be able to satisfy a sufficient number of the new applicants envisaged for 2007 and to fulfil its mandate satisfactorily. The Board of Trustees strongly encouraged Governments that had not yet contributed to the Fund to do so, and encouraged donors to contribute to the Fund, by the end of 2006, in order that the contributions may be duly recorded by the United Nations Treasurer in advance of the annual session of the Board.
The Committee was also expected to take note of the Secretary-General’s report on strengthening international cooperation and technical assistance in promoting the implementation of the universal conventions and protocols related to terrorism within the framework of the activities of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (document A/61/178), which reviewed progress made by that office in fulfilling its mandate. The report described how the UNODC’s counter-terrorism activities had grown significantly since 2003, and noted that a further expansion of its work would be necessary, as more countries sought help in strengthening their legal regimes against terrorism. To accomplish that, more money would be needed from the United Nations regular budget, which since 2003, had allocated only $1 million per year for the core functions of the Terrorism Prevention Branch -– a sum complemented by a total of $11.6 million in donor contributions from 16 countries in the three and a half years to June 2006.
The Committee was also expected to take note of a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the reports of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on its first and second sessions (document A/61/96).
Action on Drafts
The Committee approved a draft on enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/61/L.47) without a vote.
The representative of Costa Rica said that his country’s commitment to refugees was well-known. It was committed not only to defending their interests, but to ensuring that the Executive Committee would serve the best practices of administration to comply with its mandate.
Speaking on a point of order, the representative of the Russian Federation asked that a change be made to today’s Journal, which on page 19 had said that Mauritania and Ukraine had made statements on draft resolution A/C.3/61/L.48 (on racial discrimination). In fact, he said, Ukraine had spoken on A/C.3/L.47. He asked that the relevant correction be made to the summary record of the meeting as well.
The Committee then took note of the note of the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people (document A/61/490), and the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the status of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations (document A/61/376).
The Committee then took action on the draft resolution on the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (document A/C.3/61/L.49). The representative of Slovenia said her country had drafted the resolution jointly with Belgium, and recalled that it had been submitted for consideration every two years. A number of revisions were read aloud and distributed to delegations in the meeting room. It was hoped that, as in previous years, the draft would be adopted by consensus.
The draft was then adopted without a vote, as orally revised.
Speaking afterwards, the representative of the United States, referring to preambular paragraph eight, said it was her country’s position that treaty body expenses be funded exclusively by States parties, not from the regular budget of the United Nations. Referring to operative paragraph 21, which urged all States to ratify the Convention, she said that, as a matter of sovereignty, States should be asked to consider becoming a party to a treaty or a convention. The United States, a party to the Convention, strongly condemned racial discrimination, and its objection had nothing to do with its substance; rather, it was concerned about language that did more than ask States to consider becoming a party to a treaty.
Speaking on a draft on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (document A/C.3/61/L.15), the representative of Denmark said that it was important not to lose sight of the fundamental principles on which the United Nations was built. One of those was the fundamental prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Every day, people just like those assembled in the room, or their husbands and wives, were burned, electrocuted, beaten, drowned or raped, sometimes to extract information or confessions, sometimes for no reason at all. The United Nations had a particular responsibility to speak out on that issue.
The Committee then approved the draft, as orally revised, without a vote.
The Committee then took action on the draft resolution on combating defamation of religions (document A/C.3/61/L.28), with oral revisions read aloud by the Secretary.
The representative of Azerbaijan, the main sponsor, read aloud further revisions, and said that it was hoped that the draft, which was critical and timely, would be adopted with wide support.
The Chairman said that a request for a recorded vote had been made. The representative of Azerbaijan asked who had made the request. The Chairman replied the United States.
The representative of the United States said her country had been founded on the principle of freedom of religion. It believed in many of the general tenets in the draft. However, it felt the draft was incomplete. It failed to address the situation of all religions, and emphasized only one. More inclusive language would have done more to advance the topic. The draft also took a step backwards, by calling for excessive restriction on freedom of expression; criticism of a religion or faith could not automatically be characterised as defamation or incitement to hatred. On these bases, the United States would vote no.
The representative of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said a broader, more balanced and firmly rights-based text would have been best suited to addressing the issues underlying the draft. The concept of defamation of religions was not a valid one in a human rights discourse; international human rights law protected individuals in the exercise of their freedom of religion, and not religions as such. Moreover, discrimination based on religion or belief had to be addressed comprehensively; it was not confined to any one religion or belief, or to any one part of the world. The European Union would vote no.
The representative of India said his country was concerned that the draft exclusively focused on a single religion, and that it referred to Muslim and non-Muslim countries, when some countries did not fall easily into such compartments. Defamation and stereotyping were problems that concerned all religions. India would abstain.
The representative of Canada said the topic of the resolution was the protection of religions themselves, rather than the protection and promotion of the rights of the adherents of religions, including persons belonging to religious minorities. Nor did the resolution reflect balance in addressing the world’s religions. It did not address questions of the links between diversity and the fight against racism. Canada would vote no.
The draft resolution, as orally revised, was then adopted by a vote of 101 in favour and 53 against, with 20 abstentions. (See annex I.)
Explaining his delegation’s vote afterwards, the representative of Singapore said it had voted in favour, on the understanding that the resolution applied to all religions. Singapore had experienced racial and religious tension in its past; defamation could easily breed intolerance, and it could also radicalize. Irresponsible religious defamation created tension; harmful rhetoric could breed crime and intolerance. Singapore reaffirmed its support in combating discrimination.
The representative of Costa Rica, which had supported the draft, drew attention to the wording of operative paragraph nine, which was not necessarily the best way to deal with the concern expressed. Freedom of expression, like other human rights, was not absolute, but the wording that referred to national security could be improved upon. Limitations on freedom of expression were not an excuse to limit freedom of expression per se. It was hoped that, in the future, a broad and open dialogue could be had on the topic at hand, and to improve the wording in operative paragraph nine.
Speaking on a draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (document A/C.3/61/L.37), Cuba, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), reaffirmed what that Movement’s heads of State and Government had agreed upon at its recent Summit Conference, namely that exploitation of human rights for political purposes, including selective targeting of individual countries for extraneous considerations, should be prohibited. The Movement’s leaders also condemned selectivity and double standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as all attempts to exploit human rights as a pretext for political purposes. He encouraged all members of the Movement to adhere to those principles when casting their votes on country-specific draft resolutions before the Third Committee.
The representative of Finland, on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union had tried to initiate dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea regarding the resolution. Regretfully, those overtures had been rejected. In the absence of a willingness to engage, the European Union had tried to present as balanced a picture as possible. It highlighted items welcomed by the Special Rapporteur, including the country’s submission of reports to treaty bodies.
The Special Rapporteur had, however, seen a huge gap between the recognition and the implementation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said the representative. The draft, once again, drew attention to widespread abuse of human rights and the refusal to recognize or cooperate with the Special Rapporteur. So long as that Government continued to refuse the offers of advice, assistance and capacity-building from the United Nations in the field of human rights, the international community had little choice but to continue drawing attention to the deplorable situation there. Only by that means could the plight of the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea be heard.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said that he resolutely opposed and rejected the resolution, which was a political plot of the United States and its satellite countries, as well as an illegal document to debase his country’s sacred sovereignty. The draft was a typical example of politicization, selectivity and double standards. It was well known that the United States had enacted a bizarre document entitled the “North Korean Human Rights Act”, subsequently appointed a special envoy on human rights in North Korea and earmarked tens of millions of dollars for the anti-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea plot every year.
He said that Japan, which was crazy with inveterate enmity to his country and was ambitious for reinvasion, was perpetrating such ridiculous acts as a bill on North Korean Human Rights and on sanctions, as well as an appointment of an ambassador on human rights, following in the footsteps of the United States, its superior ally. On the other hand, the European Union had been supporting, on the flank, the anti-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea racket organized by the United States. The European Union should understand that its behaviour was not construed, other than as shock troops for the United States.
He said he wished to draw the Committee’s attention to the fact that the main sponsors of the resolutions were the worst violators of human rights. They had perpetrated aggressions and slaughtering wars and had cruelly violated the human rights of the people of a number of countries, century after century. The gravest concern of the world today was the worst human rights violations by the United States and other western countries, rather than the fictitious “human rights issue” of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Those countries had created such situations as the illegal United States invasion of Iraq and the massacre of civilians, the establishment of secret overseas prison camps, inhumane torture and maltreatment of detainees, and extreme discrimination against other races and migrants.
The invasion of Lebanon and the slaughtering of civilians, recently perpetrated by Israel, under the active patronage of the United States were war crimes in utter ignorance of international law and human rights, he continued. While keeping mum about those evildoings, the European Union selectively focused only on independent countries, such as his own. He asked whether such a draft resolution, tabled by “hypocrites and double-faces”, reflected the will of the international community. Human rights, which was not guaranteed by the sovereignty of States, was nothing but empty talk. Country-specific resolutions were useless and harmful. They not only politicized United Nations human rights mechanisms, but brought about confrontation and mistrust among Member States and blocked possibilities of dialogue and cooperation between the authorities concerned.
The representative of Japan asked the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to use decent language and expressions against other sovereign countries, including Japan. The subject under discussion was human rights, and it was important to maintain a dialogue in that area. He appealed to all delegations present to support the resolution, in order to improve the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The draft’s objective was not to name and shame but to urge the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to work with the United Nations system to improve the human rights of its people. He called on the country to grant full access to the Special Rapporteur and other human rights mechanisms. It was vitally important for the international community to show solidarity to that end.
He added that the abduction issue remained unresolved. Past history could not justify such a clear violation of human rights, which was of concern to the entire international community. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to respond honestly to inquiries in the matter, admit that its actions violated human rights and allow survivors to return to other countries without delay and surrender those who had perpetrated such injustice. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to take the resolution seriously and implement its measures.
The representative of Australia said that the consideration of specific serious rights situations was part of the core work of the Third Committee. Australia was deeply concerned by reports of continued human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including severe restrictions on free movement, forcible repatriation of those who crossed the border, on political and religious association, and on persons with disabilities, who were reportedly incarcerated and maltreated.
Explaining how his delegation would vote, the representative of Sudan said it rejected country-specific resolutions. Heads of State and Government at the 2005 World Summit had strongly recommended the creation of the Human Rights Council, which had been subsequently created to strengthen dialogue and to provide technical assistance, as that was the best way to promote human rights. It was everyone’s hope that the Council would deal with human rights with neutrality and objectivity, without selectivity or politicization. Countries could not be divided between those that said they had no vices, and the bad ones. There was not a country in the world without difficulties in human rights. Sudan would vote against.
The representative of Belarus said his country had consistently opposed country-specific resolutions used for political purposes, such as exerting political pressure on countries that pursued independent internal and external policies. These had been the real motives of the resolution at hand. Such resolutions had nothing to do with human rights. Such counterproductive actions had to be replaced by a different strategic approach. Such resolutions before the Third Committee undermined efforts, by the international community, to create the Human Rights Council and a mechanism of universal periodic review. Belarus would vote against the draft resolution.
The representative of Indonesia expressed regret that the unfortunate situation about country-specific resolutions had once again been faced by the Committee. There had to be deep reflection on the issue. Indonesia supported international efforts to improve human rights in all countries, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but that objective should be pursued through genuine dialogue and cooperation on basis of mutual respect. Indonesia would be voting against.
The representative of Cuba expressed great doubts about the text, which did not ensure genuine cooperation in human rights and did not aim to implement the principles in the Charter of the United Nations. It was purely politically motivated, and was thus illegitimate. It was not based on genuine concerns, and it contradicted the spirit of cooperation, the promotion of which had been sought in the creation of the Human Rights Council. Cuba would vote against.
The representative of Egypt said her delegation would vote against country-specific resolutions, despite any objective justification that might exist. Such resolutions endorsed selectivity and helped to politicize human rights issues, applying differing and non-standardized criteria. Such an approach did not help countries concerned to improve their human rights situation. Also, the method of presentation of such resolutions, without consultation and objective debate in the General Assembly, ran contrary to efforts to strengthen cooperation in the multilateral framework regarding human rights issues. She said some countries submitted resolutions in the Committee every year, while at the Human Rights Council they had voted against resolutions aimed at human rights violations in Palestine and other countries. That gave the impression of selectivity, non-objectivity and politicization of human rights. Such a situation had to be dealt with, so that a unified way of dealing with human rights questions, in various countries, could be found. Egypt would be voting against.
The representative of Venezuela said he opposed country-specific resolutions. He called attention to the fact that the countries that were trying to give lessons to others were violating human rights themselves with great sophistication. To make progress, the subject must continue to be treated based on frank and open dialogue and not on condemnation. The Non-Aligned Movement had already reaffirmed that questions of human rights must be dealt with in a global context and with a constructive approach, with objectivity, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-selectivity as guiding principles. His country would vote against the resolution.
The representative of Syria said that the draft was based on a political agenda and not aimed at respecting human rights. For that reason, she would vote against it.
The Committee then approved the draft, by a vote of 91 in favour to 21 against, with 60 abstentions. (See annex II.)
The representative of the Republic of Korea said that he had voted for the draft because there was an even greater need to focus on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea following its recent nuclear test. He shared the international community’s concerns about human rights in the country, but placed a priority on taking practical steps to improve them. He hoped that the draft would be a first step in that direction and that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea would agree to a visit from the Special Rapporteur. He called on the international community to seek a human rights dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and provide technical assistance with a view to making real progress there.
The representative of Singapore said his country had consistently abstained on such drafts because they were driven by political concerns. His abstention, however, should not be seen as pronouncing a position on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. He shared others concerns about reports on conditions there. Singapore was also deeply concerned about the country’s provocative act of testing a nuclear device. He urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to adhere to the September 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks.
The representative of Algeria said that she had voted against the draft, because the promotion of human rights came through dialogue and cooperation. Country-specific resolutions maintained a climate of confrontation, which harmed human rights.
The representative of Viet Nam said that he had voted against the draft in accordance with his country’s opposition to country-specific resolutions. Human rights should be promoted by means that were free of politicization and selectivity. Viet Nam was also concerned about issues, such as abduction, which it rejected.
The representative of China said that it was regretful that the Third Committee had again adopted the resolution. To effectively promote and protect human rights, it was important to strengthen dialogue and cooperation. China opposed exerting pressure on developing countries through country-specific resolutions. She expressed the hope that the Third Committee would become a forum for dialogue, not a place to exchange accusations.
The representative of Brazil said that country-specific resolutions were only necessary in situations of immense gravity. For that reason, he had voted in favour of the current resolution. He expressed regret at allegations of grave abuse of human rights and a lack of will to develop technical cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and encouraged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to engage in dialogue and international cooperation.
The representative of Costa Rica said that creation of the Human Rights Council had strengthened consideration of the fundamental issue of human rights. It was of concern that the Third Committee was dealing in a country-specific way, as it had in past sessions, without giving the new Council an opportunity to take a new approach. Historically, Costa Rica had supported country-specific resolutions, since that was the United Nations mechanism for that purpose. The facts in all the country-specific situations under consideration, during the present session, were irrefutable, particularly the issue of kidnappings in the current resolution. He appealed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to promptly deal with that and other important human rights issues.
He said that a change in the way human rights resolutions were considered was needed. The Human Rights Council was the mechanism to deal with human rights violations and must be forum to analyse each and every situation brought to the Third Committee. For that reason, he had abstained on the current resolution and would do so on all such resolutions or those submitted as a direct reprisal. No country could have a perfect human rights record, so the Council must have the necessary freedom to innovate its working methods.
Speaking after the vote, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea expressed deep thanks to those who had supported his country’s position. His delegation would not regard the resolution as an authentic document of the United Nations and it would not place trust in it. It was totally rejected, for the reasons given in his first statement. If a resolution of the Committee was to be respected as authentic, and if it was going to contribute to improving human rights, then it had to take up the matter of stopping the invasion of small and weak countries, and the killing of innocent people, by the United States and other western countries, in the name of democracy and war against terror.
The Committee then took action on the draft resolution on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/61/L.14/Rev.1), submitted by the Chairman on the basis of informal consultations.
Speaking before the decision, the representative of Finland, representing the European Union, said the European Union would join consensus on the resolution, but would also ask that, when considered at future sessions of the General Assembly, that it return to being an initiative of the African Group.
The Committee then adopted the draft without a vote.
The Committee then took note of the report of the Secretary-General on strengthening international cooperation and technical assistance in promoting the implementation of the universal conventions and protocols of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (document A/61/178) and the note by the Secretary-General transmitting the reports of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on its first and second sessions (document A/61/96).
Vote on Defamation of Religions
The draft resolution on combating defamation of religions (document A/C.3/61/L.28) was approved by a recorded vote of 101 in favour to 53 against, with 20 abstentions, as follows:
In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.
Abstain: Armenia, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Haiti, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania.
Absent: Botswana, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Grenada, Guinea, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nauru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Vanuatu.
Vote on Human Rights in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
The draft resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (document A/C.3/61/L.37) was adopted by a recorded vote of 91 in favour to 21 against, with 60 abstentions, as follows:
In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Comoros, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay.
Against: Algeria, Belarus, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Libya, Myanmar, Namibia, Russian Federation, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.
Abstain: Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Zambia.
Absent: Armenia, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea, Kiribati, Mongolia, Oman, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Somalia, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Vanuatu.
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