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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/C.3/55/SR.33
24 October 2000

Third Committee

Summary record of the 33rd meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, at 3 p.m.

Chairperson: Ms. Gittens-Joseph ........................................................ (Trinidad & Tobago)


Contents

Agenda item 114: Human rights questions (continued)

(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms

(c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives

(d) Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

(e) Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.



Agenda item 114: Human rights questions (continued)


(b) Human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms (A/55/177, A/55/213 and Add.1, A/55/214 and Add.1, A/55/275 and Add.1, A/55/279, A/55/280 and Add.1 and 2, A/55/283, A/55/288, A/55/289, A/55/291, A/55/292, A/55/296 and Add.1, A/55/302, A/55/306, A/55/328, A/55/342, A/55/360, A/55/395-S/2000/880, A/55/404-S/2000/889, A/55/408; A/C.3/55/2)


(c) Human rights situations and reports of special rapporteurs and representatives (A/55/269, A/55/282-S/2000/788, A/55/294, A/55/318, A/55/335, A/55/346, A/55/358, A/55/359, A/55/363, A/55/374, A/55/400, A/55/403 and A/55/426-S/2000/913)


(d) Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (A/55/36 and A/55/438-S/2000/93)


(e) Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/55/36)

1. Ms. Robinson (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) said that it was sad to have to report that the overall human rights situation worldwide continued to be worrying and that in some areas, such as the Middle East and several parts of Africa the situation was worsening. While the crisis in the Middle East had led to the convening of a special session of the Commission on Human Rights the previous week, the worsening situation in countries such as Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo tended not to get the attention that was needed. There was a selectivity of approach and concern which should be addressed by the Committee, particularly as preparations continued for the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance to be held in South Africa in 2001.

/...

2. Despite over 50 years of constructive development of international human rights norms, standards, institutions and mandates, too little progress was being made in the prevention of gross violations of human rights and in the implementation in practical terms of knowledge and awareness of human rights at the grass-roots level. On a brighter note, the protection of human rights had been recognized as the most important task of the United Nations.

3. For her Office, that increased focus was reflected in a growing number of mandates and programmes and in an ever-larger number of requests for technical cooperation and advisory services from Governments all around the world. In order to deal with evolving demands, she had initiated a management of change process designed to strengthen the Office, particularly in the areas of performance management and strategic planning, as well as programme, financial, information and communications management. There had also been several noteworthy developments at the Commission on Human Rights. On 15 September, an informal session of the Commission had been convened to facilitate an exchange of information prior to the General Assembly’s consideration of human rights issues. A fifth special session of the Commission on Human Rights had been convened in Geneva the previous week to discuss the human rights implications of the outbreak of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories. Special emphasis had been placed on the need to put an end to violence and to restore dialogue and peace based on respect for human rights. Many delegations had welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts in the context of the Sharm el-Sheikh emergency summit. In its resolution on the issue, the Commission had decided to establish a human rights inquiry commission and had requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake an urgent visit to the occupied territories and to report to the Commission at its fifty-seventh session and, on an interim basis, to the General Assembly at its current session. Eight special procedures of the Commission had also been requested to carry out immediate missions to the occupied territories and to report their findings to the Commission and the General Assembly. The Commission had further recommended that the Economic and Social Council meet on an urgent basis in order to act on the proposals contained in the resolution.

/...

21. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine) welcomed the High Commissioner’s forthcoming visit to the occupied territories and said that she would do everything in her power to facilitate it. With regard to the establishment of a human rights inquiry commission she asked what specific action had been taken in that regard, given that the situation in the occupied territories was deteriorating daily, to the point that it jeopardized the peace and stability of the whole region. She also asked the High Commissioner to provide more details about the eight special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights.

/...

23. Ms. Al-Hajaji (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) asked whether the High Commissioner would be able to visit the occupied Palestinian territories and report back to the General Assembly at its current session, as requested in the Commission on Human Rights resolution on the issue (see document E/CN.4/S-5/L.2/Rev.1). With regard to the international human rights treaty system and the appeal made to all States in paragraph 3 of the annex to the High Commissioner’s report (A/55/36) to consider withdrawing any reservations entered under previous ratification, she said that a distinction had to be made between the universality of human rights, in which all civilizations and cultures were united in their approach to the particular issue of human rights, and globalization, which was a product of one super-Power imposed on other nations in a spirit of hegemony, colonization and racism.

/...

29. Ms. Robinson (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights), ...

31. Replying to the Observer for Palestine, she said that in paragraph 6 (a) of the resolution in document E/CN.4/S-5/L.2/Rev.1, the Commission on Human Rights had decided to establish, on an urgent basis, a human rights inquiry commission. The Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, in consultation with the Bureau, would thus have responsibility for that commission, while her Office would provide all necessary support. The six Special Rapporteurs, the Representative of the Secretary-General and the Working Group that were requested to carry out missions to the occupied territories were listed in paragraph 6 (c) of the resolution. Her Office had informed the parties concerned about the resolution and would assist them in carrying out their mandates.

/...

54. Ms. Al-Hajaji (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) asked the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions whether she planned to visit the occupied Palestinian territories and submit a report on the issue, as requested by the Commission on Human Rights. She also asked whether the Special Rapporteur intended to investigate the way in which the economic sanctions which the United Nations had imposed on some countries affected the right to life.

/...

The meeting rose at 6.10 p.m.



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