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Promotion and protection of the rights of children
Report of the Third Committee
Rapporteur: Mr. Abdulla Eid Salman Al-Sulaiti (Qatar)
1. At its 2nd plenary meeting, on 19 September 2003, the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the General Committee, decided to include in the agenda of its fifty-eighth session the item entitled “Promotion and protection of the rights of children” and to allocate it to the Third Committee.
2. The Third Committee considered the item at its 16th to 20th, 26th, 27th, 32nd, 34th, 36th, 56th, 58th, 59th, 60th and 62nd meetings, on 17, 20, 21 28 and 29 October, 4, 6, 7, 24, 26 and 28 November and 1 December 2003. At its 16th to 20th meetings, the Committee held a general discussion on the item. An account of the Committee’s discussion is contained in the relevant summary records (A/C.3/58/SR.16-20, 26, 27, 32, 34, 36, 56, 58-60 and 62).
3. For its consideration of the item, the Committee had before it the following documents:
(a) Report of the Secretary-General on the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (A/58/282);
(b) Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (A/58/546-S/2003/1053);
(c) Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the annual report of his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (A/58/328);
(d) Note by the Secretary-General drawing the attention of Member States to his report on progress towards implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, contained in document A/58/184 (A/58/329);
(e) Letter dated 4 August 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Honduras to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (A/58/272);
(f) Letter dated 2 October 2003 from the Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General transmitting the declaration and the statement on Palestine adopted by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Non-Aligned Movement at their meeting held at United Nations Headquarters on 26 September 2003 (A/58/420);
(g) Note by the Secretariat on a recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on its working methods (A/C.3/58/10).
4. At the 16th meeting, on 17 October, the Director of the New York Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund made introductory statements (see A/C.3/58/SR.16).
5. At the same meeting, the Committee engaged in a dialogue with the above-mentioned speakers, in which the delegations of Italy (on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the European Union), Switzerland, Afghanistan, Mexico, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Myanmar, Azerbaijan, Cuba and Kuwait took part (see A/C.3/58/SR.16).
6. At the 18th meeting, on 20 October, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict presented his report to the Committee (see A/C.3/58/SR.18).
7. At the same meeting, the Committee engaged in a dialogue with the Special Representative, in which the delegations of Italy (on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the European Union), the Syrian Arab Republic, the Sudan, Uganda, Cuba, Egypt, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Switzerland, Slovenia, Benin, Mexico, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Canada, Lebanon and Mali took part (see A/C.3/58/SR.18).
II. Consideration of proposals
B. Draft resolution A/C.3/58/L.24
27. At the 26th meeting, on 28 October, the representative of Egypt, on behalf of Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine, introduced a draft resolution entitled “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian children” (A/C.3/58/L.24). Subsequently, Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Indonesia, Malaysia, Namibia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa and the Sudan joined in sponsoring the draft resolution.
28. At its 34th meeting, on 6 November, the Committee was advised that the draft resolution had no programme budget implications.
29. At the same meeting, the representative of Egypt orally revised the draft resolution by inserting a new preambular paragraph after the fifth preambular paragraph, reading:
31. Also at the 34th meeting, the Committee adopted draft resolution A/C.3/58/L.24, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 88 to 4, with 58 abstentions (see para. 65, draft resolution I). The voting was as follows:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), United States of America.
Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’ Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay.
32. Before the adoption of the draft resolution, statements were made by the representatives of the United States of America, Croatia, Israel and Canada; after the adoption of the draft resolution, statements were made by the representatives of Italy (on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the European Union), the Russian Federation, Norway, Switzerland, Egypt and the observer for Palestine (see A/C.3/58/SR.34).
III. Recommendations of the Third Committee
65. The Third Committee recommends to the General Assembly the adoption of the following draft resolutions:
Draft resolution I
Situation of and assistance to Palestinian children
The General Assembly,
Recalling the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1
Recalling also the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children and the Plan of Action for Implementing the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children in the 1990s, adopted by the World Summit for Children, held in New York on 29 and 30 September 1990, 2
Recalling further the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the General Assembly at its twenty-seventh special session, 3
Concerned that the Palestinian children under Israeli occupation remain deprived of many basic rights under the Convention,
Concerned also about the continued grave deterioration of the situation of Palestinian children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and about the severe consequences of the continuing Israeli assaults and sieges on Palestinian cities, towns, villages and refugee camps, resulting in the dire humanitarian crisis,
Emphasizing the importance of the safety and well-being of all children in the whole Middle East region,
Expressing its condemnation of all acts of violence, resulting in extensive loss of human life and injuries, including among Palestinian children,
Deeply concerned about the severe consequences, including psychological consequences, of the Israeli military actions on the present and future well-being of Palestinian children,
1. Stresses the urgent need for Palestinian children to live a normal life free from foreign occupation, destruction and fear in their own State;
2. Demands, in the meanwhile, that Israel, the occupying Power, respect relevant provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child2 and comply fully with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949,4 in order to ensure the well-being and protection of Palestinian children and their families;
3. Calls upon the international community to provide urgently needed assistance and services in an effort to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis being faced by Palestinian children and their families and to help in the reconstruction of relevant Palestinian institutions.