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General Assembly
GA/SHC/3840

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



Sixtieth General Assembly
Third Committee
42nd Meeting (AM)

PALESTINIAN SELF-DETERMINATION, HUMAN RIGHTS IN DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S

REPUBLIC OF KOREA ADDRESSED IN TEXTS APPROVED BY THIRD COMMITTEE

Other Texts Recommended to General Assembly Concern
Neo-Nazism, African Refugees, UN Refugee Office, Human Rights Covenants


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today approved seven resolutions on a wide range of issues, including the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, contemporary forms of racism, implementation of human rights instruments, and the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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A text on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination -- approved by a vote of 162 in favour to 4 against, with 3 abstentions -- reaffirmed the Palestinians’ right to their independent State of Palestine, and urged all States and United Nations agencies and organizations to continue to support realization of that goal (Annex II).

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The representatives of Nigeria, Finland, Egypt, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Russian Federation, Costa Rica, Ghana, Israel, Canada, Argentina, Sweden, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Barbados, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Belarus, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Zimbabwe, Estonia, Syria, Republic of Korea, Japan, Bangladesh and Nicaragua made statements, as did the Observer of Palestine also spoke.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., Friday, 18 November, to take action on nine draft resolutions under several agenda items.

Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to hear the introduction of a draft resolution under its agenda item on the elimination of racism and racial discrimination:  global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (document A/C.3/60/L.63).

The Committee also expected to take action three drafts under its agenda item on the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), questions relating to refugees, returnees and displaced persons and humanitarian questions.

The draft on enlargement of the Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (document A/C.3/60/L.61) would have the General Assembly decide to increase the number of Committee members from 68 to 70 States, and request that the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elect the additional members at its 2006 organizational session.

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Under its agenda item on the right of peoples to self-determination, the Committee was to take action on a draft on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/60/L.62), which would have the Assembly reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine, and urge all States and United Nations agencies and organizations to continue to support the Palestinian people in the early realization of that right.

Under its agenda item on implementation of human rights instruments, the Committee was to take action on a draft on International Covenants on Human Rights (document A/C.3/60/L.26), which would have the Assembly express regret at the number of States parties that had failed to fulfil their reporting obligations under the International Covenants on Human Rights, as well as urge States parties to fulfil those obligations on time, and to attend and participate in the consideration of the reports by the Human Rights Committee and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights when so requested.  The Assembly would also stress the need for improved coordination among relevant United Nations mechanisms and bodies to support States parties, upon their request, to implement the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Under its agenda item on human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Committee was to take action on a draft on the incompatibility between corruption and the full enjoyment of human rights (document A/C.3/60/L.42/Rev.1), which would have the Assembly condemn corruption in all its forms as one of the primary obstacles to economic, social and democratic development.  It would also encourage Governments to strengthen democracy through good governance as referred to in the Millennium Declaration and the Convention against Corruption.

Further, it would encourage Governments to prevent, combat and penalize corruption by, among other things, promoting the independence and integrity of the judiciary, protecting freedom of expression, promoting the widest possible public access to information about the activities of national and local authorities, and ensuring access to administrative remedies.  It would also encourage Governments to foster high levels of competence, ethics and professionalism within the civil services and to counter corrupt practices in elections.

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The representative of Egypt, the main sponsor of the draft on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.2/60/L.62), said the resolution before the Committee was the main annual document aimed at establishing the right of Palestinian people to self-determination, their own State and homeland.  He expressed hope that it would be adopted by consensus.

In a general statement before the vote, the representative of Israel then said he supported right of self-determination of people worldwide, including that of the Palestinians, and their right to a State of their own, which had been expressed by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.  However, bilateral negotiations on the issue were already in place.   Israel would vote against the resolution.  The draft did not build confidence to help the parties enable the existing Road Map to reach fruition.

The representative of the United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the European Union, reinstated his commitment to the Palestinian people to their right to a sovereign State, and welcomed the goal as set forth in the Quartet’s Road Map for a two-State solution.  Such a solution constituted the best possible guarantee for Israel’s security and for it to be accepted as an integrated part of the region and was in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the Road Map.  He welcomed the recent Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and parts of West Bank.  The right of Palestinians to self-determination included the holding of free and fair elections, he said, underlining the forthcoming elections of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Violence and terror were incompatible with democracy, he said.  He renounced all violence n the region, including that perpetrated by Hamas.   Israel must comply with its international obligations regarding East Jerusalem and must refrain from settlement building and construction of the separation barrier, which were contrary to international law.  He reiterated his strong commitment to assisting the Palestinian people in their efforts to achieve self-determination.

The Committee then approved the draft by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 4 against ( Israel, Malta, Palau, United States), with 3 abstentions ( Australia, Equatorial Guinea, Tuvalu) (Annex II).

Following the vote, the representative of Venezuela said he had supported the draft and that the Palestinian people’s right to self determination was the fundamental problem to be resolved if peace and security were to be achieved in the region.

The representative of Canada reiterated that the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice must reflect its non-binding status concerning Israel’s security concerns.

The representative of Argentina said that if the issue of occupation did not exist, then there was no right to self-determination.  Therefore, the right to self-determination must be interpreted according to the United Nations Charter.

The Observer of Palestine thanked all those voting in favour of the draft and its co-sponsors.  The denial of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination was undoubtedly at the crux of the region’s woes.  The international community’s support of the resolution was essential until Palestinian self-determination was achieved.   Israel’s negative vote was evidence that Israel rejected that right, she said, stressing that it could not accept the legitimate rights of Palestinians, and at the same time, reject their right to self-determination.

Israel’s illegal policies seriously threatened the Palestinian’s right to self determination and the foundations of the peace process, she said.  The Palestinian people would never succumb to subjugation.  Their right to self-determination was not for sale.  She said she was also puzzled by the dichotomous position of the United States, noting that on the one hand it favoured a two-State solution, but continued to cast negative vote on the draft.  She implored the United State to reconsider its vote and see the incongruence its message sent to the Palestinian people.

The Third Committee Secretary then read out a statement regarding the financial provisions of a draft on International Covenants on Human Rights (document A/C.3/60/L/26).

The representative of Sweden, that draft’s main sponsor, said several oral revisions had been made to the draft as a result of informal consultations in the past week.

The Committee then approved the text, as orally revised, without a vote.

The representative of the United States then withdrew the draft resolution on incompatibility between corruption and the full enjoyment of human rights (document A/C.3/60/L.42/Rev.1) saying that, due to the diverse views of many countries, delegations wished to continue to pursue discussion on this topic in the future.
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ANNEX II

Vote on Palestinian Self-Determination

The draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (document A/C.3/60/L.62) was approved by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 4 against, with 3 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, 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:  Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States.

Abstain:  Australia, Equatorial Guinea, Tuvalu.

Absent:  Angola, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Federated States of Micronesia, Gabon, Grenada, Kiribati, Liberia, Nauru, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Tonga, Vanuatu.

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For information media • not an official record
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