Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York

22 November 2004


Nine Recorded Votes Taken Related to Two Texts



The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to continue taking action on draft resolutions related to the wide range of issues before it, including on issues related to extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, elimination of all forms of religious intolerance and the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Action on Drafts


The Committee then turned to a text on Elimination of all forms of religious intolerance (document A/C.3/59/L.59), which would have the General Assembly urge States to ensure that their constitutional and legal systems provide effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.  Also urging States to ensure that no one within their jurisdiction is deprived of their right to life, liberty and security of person, the right to freedom of expression, the right not to be subjected to torture and the right not to be arbitrarily arrested and detained because of their religion or belief, the Assembly would urge States to combat hatred, intolerance and acts of violence, intimidation and coercion motivated by intolerance.

Calling upon all States to recognize the right of all persons to worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief, the Assembly would express grave concern at all attacks upon religious places, sites and shrines.  The text would invite States, religious bodies and civil society to undertake dialogue at all levels to promote greater tolerance, respect and understanding of freedom or religion or belief, and to promote those values through the educational system.

The representative of the Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union, introduced revisions to the text.

An Amendment to that text was then proposed by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), who said he wished to make the text more consistent with the Durban Declaration.  In that regard, he proposed changing operative paragraph 9 to include “and other” before “communities” and to add the words “Christianophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism” after the words “including cases motivated by” so as not to suggest that any particular group was more vulnerable than the rest.

In explanation of vote, the representative of the Netherlands said that the European Union opposed the amendment because it would skew the paragraph, as it was intended to counter religious intolerance only.  As for paragraph 9, the new order made no sense.

The representative of Mali then announced the withdrawal of his delegation’s sponsorship of the resolution on elimination of religious intolerance.

The representative of Cameroon also announced the withdrawal of his delegation’s sponsorship.

Making a general statement on the proposed amendment to the draft on religious intolerance, the representative of Malaysia said her delegation would vote in favour of the amendment, on the understanding that it was the European Union that had called for the vote.

The representative of the Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the European Union, reiterated his call for all delegations to vote against the proposed amendment.

The proposed amendment to the draft on religious intolerance was then rejected by a recorded vote of 45 in favour to 85 against, with 29 abstentions.  (See annex VII.)

The Committee was then informed that a recorded vote on operative paragraph 9 of the text on religious intolerance had been requested.

Speaking in explanation before the vote, the representative of Malaysia said that her delegation would be voting against the paragraph, as a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The representative of the Sudan also noted that her delegation would vote against operative paragraph 9.

Operative paragraph 9 was then approved for retention by a recorded vote of 99 in favour to 33 against, with 22 abstentions.  (See annex VIII.)

Before the vote on the resolution itself, the representative of the Netherlands expressed regret over the need to vote on the resolution, saying that the lack of consensus defeated its very purpose.

The draft resolution was approved, as revised, by a recorded vote of 177 in favour to none against, with no abstentions.  (See annex IX.)

The representative of Indonesia affirmed his vote in favour.

The representative of Niger said he voted for the text, but he would have preferred that the amendment of the OIC had been accepted.

Israel’s representative said that, in order to fight against religious intolerance, one could not engage in platitudes and could not be silent in the face of emerging threats.  She was pleased to support the resolution; this year’s text took into account the resurgence of anti-Semitism, a phrase that was coined to refer to hatred of people of the Jewish faith.  The motives to revise paragraph 9 were transparent and themselves shown the need for strong condemnation of anti-Semitism.  She recalled the Secretary-General’s words that supported such condemnation.

The representative of Malaysia said that elements relating to racial discrimination did not fit in the resolution, since the text concerned religious discrimination.  “Anti-Semitism” related to race, she said.  It was in that context that she had voted in favour of the resolution.


Vote on Amendment to Draft Resolution on Religious Intolerance

The amendment proposed by Pakistan (OIC) to operative paragraph 9 of the draft resolution on the elimination of religious intolerance (document A/C.3/59/L.59) was rejected by a recorded vote of 45 in favour to 85 against, with 29 abstentions, as follows:

In favour:  Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Cameroon, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Against:  Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Abstain:  Angola, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Guyana, Honduras, Iraq, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago.

Absent:  Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Botswana, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Fiji, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Myanmar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, Zambia.


* *** *
For information media - not an official record