Concluding Intense Session, Third Committee Approves 5 Draft Resolutions on Children’s Rights, Assistance to Refugees, Persons with Disabilities

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) concluded its seventy second session today, approving five draft resolutions on the rights of children, assistance to refugees, persons with disabilities, social development and terrorism.

The role of parents and legal guardians in the education of children, particularly regarding sexual and reproductive health, and opposition to the International Criminal Court once again came to the fore as the Committee took up a draft resolution on the rights of children.

After its introduction, Egypt's representative, speaking for the African Group, said the draft was unbalanced as it did not include references to the role of parents, presenting an amendment to reflect such guidance. South Africa's delegate proceeded to disassociate from Egypt's statement, resulting in the amendment being considered as introduced by all African States except South Africa.

Uruguay's representative, speaking on behalf of the draft's sponsors and urging States to vote against the amendment, said education was a fundamental element for society. Knowledge about human rights, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health was a basic tool for preventing and combating all forms of violence against children.

Several Member States reaffirmed their belief that parents must play a central role in education, with Singapore's delegate stressing that the upbringing of children was best done by parents and legal guardians, and that she would thus vote for the amendment. The representative of the Russian Federation called the proposed changes reasonable.

The Committee approved the amendment by a recorded vote of 90 in favour to 76 against, with 8 abstentions (Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Maldives, Nepal, Solomon Islands and Sri Lanka).

Sudan's delegate, stressing that the International Criminal Court had obstructed stability in her country, called for references to the Court to be deleted from the draft, a revision that Sudan had proposed for other drafts.

Delegates defended the Court's role as a force for justice, with Estonia's representative, on behalf of the draft's sponsors, saying language on the Court was balanced. Lichtenstein's representative, on behalf of several States, assured delegates that the Court had a vital role where national courts were unable or unwilling to exercise jurisdiction.

The Committee proceeded to reject Sudan's proposed amendment by a recorded vote of 19 in favour, 102 against and 39 abstentions. It then unanimously approved the draft as a whole, as amended, in a recorded vote. By its terms, the Assembly would take actions related to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, non discrimination, violence against children, and follow up on various matters concerning family relations, economic and social well being, child labour, the rights of children in particularly difficult circumstances, and migrant children, among other matters.

Debate over the role of parents and guardians, this time in relation to women's and girls' access to sexual and reproductive health, resurfaced when the Committee took up a draft on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Nigeria's delegate, on behalf of 43 African countries, proposed an amendment that would reflect the role of parents and legal guardians in providing guidance to their children. As was the case earlier in the day, the Committee approved the amendment, this time by a recorded vote of 82 in favour to 78 against, with 9 abstentions (Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Tuvalu). Many of those objecting to the amendment, including New Zealand's delegate, decried that it upset carefully achieved compromise wording, with Argentina's delegate, among others, stressing it also suggested the rights of girls and women with disabilities were not equally protected, and thus, could not set a precedent.

The Committee then unanimously approved the draft in a recorded vote that saw 176 States voting in favour. The text would have the Assembly encourage States to review and repeal any law or policy that restricted women with disabilities from their full and equal participation in political and public life.

As the meeting opened, the Committee approved � by a recorded vote of 170 in favour, 2 against (Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Armenia) � a draft on the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty fourth special session of the General Assembly.

The text would have the Assembly recognize the need to formulate social development policies in an integral, articulated and participatory manner, recognizing poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon. It would urge States to strengthen social policies, paying particular attention to the specific needs of disadvantaged social groups and inviting them to address the structural causes of poverty.

Delegates expressed regret that the United States had requested a recorded vote on the draft, typically approved by consensus, from a belief that it went beyond the Committee's purview and would result in a misuse of resources. China's delegate, noting his withdrawal of an amendment, said the United States was too sensitive and must learn from Beijing's commitment to compromise.

The Committee also approved by consensus a draft on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa, introduced by Madagascar's delegate, on behalf of the African Group, with extensive oral revisions. Under its terms, the Assembly would request the Secretary General to submit a report to its seventy third session, taking into account efforts made by countries of asylum and those aimed at bridging funding gaps.

In final action, the Committee approved a draft on terrorism by a recorded vote of 104 in favour to 1 against (South Africa), with 63 abstentions. By its terms, the Assembly would strongly condemn all terrorist acts as criminal and unjustifiable while also urging States to protect persons within their territory and subject to their jurisdiction by preventing and countering terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Having taken note of its tentative work programme for the seventy third session, the Committee concluded its work on a lighter note as representatives of the United Kingdom and Egypt took the floor to recite silly poems about the body's work over the past weeks.

World Summit for Social Development

The representative of Ecuador, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, introduced a draft resolution titled Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty fourth special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/72/L.12/Rev.1). The draft aimed to solve the problem of inequality beyond countries, he said, and spoke to the indivisibility of economic and social rights.

After the Chair noted that a recorded vote had been requested on the resolution, the representative of Ecuador asked which delegation had asked for the vote, and was informed by the Chair that it was the United States.

The representative of the United States, in explanation of vote, said issues remained in the draft that were not linked to social development or the work of the Third Committee, which was a misuse of resources. Thus, the United States called for a vote and would vote no, urging others to do the same. Regarding the draft's reference to foreign occupation, the United States reaffirmed its binding commitment to a solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. On operative paragraph 27, she said the United States understood the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to be consistent with the resolution. Demands that the international community provide market access or debt relief were unacceptable in a Third Committee draft, she said, noting that terminology, such as the word shall, was only appropriate in binding texts.

The representative of Ecuador, in a general statement, said the Group of 77 and China regretted that the draft resolution would not be adopted by consensus, noting that it had no programme budget implications. The goals of eradicating poverty and achieving social inclusion deserved support, he said, urging all to vote in favour of the draft.

The representative of China said that in the last two days, the United States delegate had mentioned China, thanking her for paying attention to the Chinese idea, which was in line with the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter. The United States might be too sensitive, he said, expressing hope for a more open and inclusive attitude. China had withdrawn its amendment for the benefit of the Group of 77 and the Third Committee, he said, and the United States delegate should learn from China. All should make concessions and sacrifices. The United States delegate should reflect on that point.

The representative of the Russian Federation said international cooperation was a key factor in ending poverty. She expressed disappointment that the draft had been put for a vote, adding that the Russian Federation would vote in favour.

The representative of Brazil, in a general statement before the vote, urged support for the draft, explaining that it was crucial to find consensus on issues of social development and poverty.

The draft resolution was then approved by recorded vote of 170 in favour to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 1 abstention (Armenia).

By its terms, the Assembly would recognize the need to formulate social development policies in an integral, articulated and participatory manner, recognizing poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon. It would urge States to strengthen social policies, paying attention to the specific needs of disadvantaged social groups, and invite them to develop comprehensive and integrated strategies to address the structural causes of poverty and inequality.

The representative of Mexico, in explanation of the vote, said he had voted for the draft, reiterating his country's commitment to sustainable development, underscoring the need to focus on bringing United Nations entities together to achieve the draft's objectives and avoid duplication of efforts.

The representative of Ecuador called the draft's adoption important, underscoring the Group's commitment to work with the Secretariat and Member States to achieve the objectives of the draft.

The Committee then took note of a Secretariat note on the World Social Situation 2017 (document A/72/211).

Report of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The representative of Madagascar, speaking on behalf of the African Group, introduced a draft resolution titled Assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa (document A/C.3/72/L.61). She expressed grave concern over the rising number of refugees and displaced persons in Africa due to conflict, which in turn, triggered violence and food insecurity. As reported by the Secretary General, by the end of 2016, the number of refugees and displaced persons in Africa had risen to more than 5 million and more than 11 million, respectively.

The deplorable situation had been worsened by funding shortfalls, she said, noting that Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and World Food Programme (WFP) budgets for Africa were among the most underfunded. The draft highlighted the rising number of refugees and displaced people, stressing the importance of addressing funding gaps. It also had been updated with initiatives taken during the past year, including the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, which called on donors and partners to fulfil their commitments.

She then read out numerous oral revisions to the draft, amending preambular paragraphs 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13 and 19. She also read revisions to operative paragraphs 5, 8, 9, 11, 14, 16, 24, 28, 30, 33 and 34.

The Committee then approved the draft resolution without a vote.

By its terms, the Assembly would take note of the reports of the Secretary General and UNHCR, requesting the former to submit a report on assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa to the Assembly at its seventy third session, taking fully into account efforts made by countries of asylum and those aimed at bridging funding gaps.

The representative of the United States, referring to preambular paragraph 19 on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, said trade related language had been overtaken by events and was immaterial, and that any reaffirmation of the outcome document had no standing. The United States dissociated from language on the New York Declaration, underscoring that no language should prejudge or prejudice upcoming negotiations on safe, orderly and regular migration.

The representative of Mexico, also speaking on behalf of Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Uruguay and Costa Rica, called attention to the draft's lack of reference to the New York Declaration. African countries were hosting millions of refugees, he said, adding that a more equitable distribution of the burden should be sought.

Rights of the Child

The representative of Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union and other countries, introduced a draft resolution titled Rights of the child (document A/C.3/72/L.21/Rev.1). She made a series of oral revisions to preambuluar paragraphs 11, 17, 19 and operative paragraphs 6, 17, 21, 23, 26, 30, 35, 36, and 37. The draft resolution was focused on eliminating all forms of violence against children. Current trends had shown that an estimated 2 million children could be killed by violence from now until 2030 and she called on States to adopt the draft as orally revised.

The representative of Barbados, on behalf of Caribbean Community (CARICOM), accorded high priority to the promotion and protection of children's rights, stressing that respect and compromise should guide negotiations and calling on States to adopt the draft by consensus.

The representative of Egypt, on behalf of the African Group, expressed deep commitment to protecting children's rights. The African Group had participated in negotiations. However, it found that the text was not balanced as it did not include reference to parental guidance. The Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulated clearly that State parties should respect local customs and the responsibility of parents in raising their children.

The representative of Egypt, in her national capacity, called for operative paragraph 36(k) to be amended to reflect the role of parents in guiding their children.

The representative of Sudan said the International Criminal Court had been an impediment to the peace and stability in her country, in Africa and in many parts of the world. She called for references to the Court to be deleted from the operative paragraph.

The representative of South Africa disassociated from the African Group statement read by Egypt's representative, noting that her country would support the text as amended by the co sponsors.

The Secretary noted that three African countries had co sponsored the original text.

The representative of Guinea Bissau withdrew her country's co sponsorship of the draft resolution.

The Secretary noted the withdrawal.

The representative of Lesotho withdrew as a co sponsor of the draft resolution.

The Secretary noted the withdrawal from L.21/Rev.1 as orally revised.

The representative of Estonia, on behalf of the sponsors, said operative paragraph 16 addressed children and armed conflict, reading the paragraph in full. The language on the International Criminal Court was well balanced, she said, and the European Union was committed to preventing serious crimes falling under the Court's jurisdiction. She would call for a vote on that amendment.

The representative of Uruguay, also speaking on behalf of the main sponsors, requested a vote on the African Group's proposed amendments, saying that education was a fundamental element for society. Knowledge on human rights, gender equality, sexual and reproductive health was a basic tool for preventing and combating all forms of violence against children. The wording in operative paragraph 31 regarding the promotion of comprehensive education was an essential part of the text and she urged all to vote against the amendment.

The Committee would first vote on the oral amendment proposed by Sudan's delegate on operative paragraph 16.

The representative of Liechtenstein, also speaking on behalf of Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway in explanation of vote, said the oral amendment was unfortunate, as it sought to change agreed language. Operative paragraph 16 recognized the efforts taken to end impunity by punishing perpetrators. The International Criminal Court had a key role where national courts were unable or unwilling to exercise jurisdiction. He called on all delegations to vote against the amendment.

The representative of Argentina, also speaking on behalf of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, said the International Criminal Court was an important achievement towards a rules based world order. The language of operative paragraph 13 relating to the Court was not only factually correct, he said, but also thematically relevant and merited being kept in the agreed text, urging all States to vote against the amendment.

The representative of the Russian Federation agreed on the need to ensure responsibility for violations of children's rights, noting that the Court's history had discredited it and shown it could not protect their rights.

The Committed then rejected the oral amendment with a recorded vote of 19 in favour to 102 against, with 39 abstentions.

The Chair then asked the Committee to vote on the amendment to operative paragraph 36(k) proposed by Egypt.

The representative of Nigeria said he would support the amendment, as discussions on children must include the role of parents.

The representative of Egypt said she had presented the amendment on behalf of the African Group.

The Secretary said the amendment could not be presented on behalf of the African Group due to South Africa's earlier statement. However, it could be presented on behalf of all African States except South Africa.

The representative of Singapore said her country was committed to protecting the children's rights. At the same time, Singapore believed the upbringing of children was best done by parents and legal guardians, and thus, would vote for the amendment.

The representative of Canada, on behalf of Australia, Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Switzerland, said the amendment would weaken agreed language on gender equality. The paragraph already included language referring to education in full partnership with parents and legal guardians, and outlined that education should be age appropriate. The qualifications already addressed sensitivities. The proposed amendment would upset the carefully balanced compromise.

The representative of the Russian Federation said the amendment was not about gender equality, but rather, the rights of children to education. Citing article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, she said any additions proposed by African Group States were reasonable and she would vote in favour of them.

The Committee then approved the oral amendment to operative paragraph 36(k) by a recorded vote of 90 in favour to 76 against, with 8 abstentions (Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Liberia, Maldives, Nepal, Solomon Islands and Sri Lanka).

The representative of Estonia expressed disappointment with the amendment, saying comprehensive education was critical for society. Adolescents had a right to learn how to stay safe and healthy, and about gender relations. Violence against children was a topic requiring the strongest possible language. Operative paragraph 36(k) was not a basis for consensus and she regretted that the vote would lead to a vote on the resolution as a whole. She urged all delegates to vote in favour of the draft resolution.

The representative of Nigeria in a general statement expressed appreciation for the Third Committee's solidarity.

The representative of Mauritania stressed the importance of human rights outlined in the most important conventions. Noting that the family was a sacred bond and the natural place for children, he said parents bore the responsibility and absolute right to teach children about the values in which they believed.

The Secretary then said the Third Committee could choose to suspend Rule 130 of the Rules of Procedure to take action on L.21/Rev.1 as orally revised and amended without a vote.

The representative of the Russian Federation asked whether a precedent would be set were the Third Committee or any other General Assembly Committee to suspend the Rules of Procedure. She asked whether it had the authorization to do so. She would like to approve the draft by consensus, but expressed concern about creating precedent and violating the Rules of Procedure.

The Secretary said the Committee could indeed suspend the rule in question without creating a precedent.

The representative of Egypt noted that the Secretary had suspended a rule earlier, and that another rule had been active at another time. She refused to consider a situation where a precedent would be set, and could not accept breaking what we are used to doing. There should be a vote and she called on the Chair to apply the Rules of Procedure.

The representative of Morocco asked for a clarification on the statement read by Estonia on behalf of the European Union.

The representative of Estonia said she had not requested a vote, but rather, she was operating under Rule 130.

The representative of Singapore called for the Rules of Procedure to be applied and for a vote to be taken.

The representative of Uruguay, in her national capacity, expressed hope the vote on the amendment had been taken out of conviction and not solidarity, as the issue was the rights of the child.

The representative of the Russian Federation noted that if the voting procedure had been begun, it would be a violation of the Rules of Procedure to interrupt it. The Russian Federation would vote for the draft resolution, and if delegates agreed to give their votes in support of it, that might be a more important signal than a consensus adoption.

The Committee then approved the draft as orally revised and amended by a recorded vote of 180 in favour to 0 against, with 0 abstentions.

By its terms, the Assembly would take a number of actions related to, among other topics, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, non discrimination, violence against children, and follow up on various matters concerning family relations, economic and social well being, child labour, the rights of children in particularly difficult circumstances, and migrant children, among others.

The representative of the United States, in a statement after the vote, expressed support for the draft resolution. However, the draft did not change his country's obligations to treaty law and other human rights instruments to which it was not a party. The United States understood the resolution to be focused on protecting the rights of vulnerable children, including those with disabilities and those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community. It also would work with relevant partners to improve the lives of the Palestinian people.

The representative of Singapore, in explanation of vote after the vote, welcomed the draft's approval, and while citing reservations to operative paragraph 11, stressing that she had nonetheless voted in favour of the text.

The representative of Sudan reiterated her country's dedication to protecting children's rights. The International Criminal Court had been unfair to Sudan, which had worked incessantly to maintain peace in the region. The draft's sponsors had not heeded suggestions made by her country.

The representative of Israel said his country was committed to protecting the children's rights and had participated in negotiations on the text. He asked that politicized language be removed from future texts.

The representative of the Holy See said violence against children undermined their rights and the well being of society. He expressed concern over the hostile amendment, a move which could have been avoided. All efforts must be made to support parents so that children could grow up in a safe environment, he said, noting that the Holy See's understanding of sexual reproductive health services did not include abortion.

The Secretary noted the Holy See's intervention would be considered as a general statement.

The representative of the Russian Federation noted the openness and inclusiveness in negotiation of the draft and expressed hope that a mutually acceptable decision would be reached next year.

The representative of Brazil dissociated from the amended operative paragraph 36(k).

The representative of Morocco, describing a lack of sexual education in school and at home, said young people were finding answers to questions about reproduction online. The Committee would gain from finding compromises on future resolutions.

The representative of Mexico dissociated from operative paragraph 36(k) as amended.

The representative of Uruguay said her country dissociated from amended operative paragraph 36.

The representative of Argentina said his country had voted in favour of the draft resolution based on its principle of supporting consensus. He expressed regret that the draft had not been adopted by consensus despite that constructive negotiations had been carried out.

The representative of the United Arab Emirates said her country voted for the resolution and would interpret it according to its national policies.

The representative of Peru disassociated from operative paragraph 36(k).

The representative of Costa Rica expressed regret that the draft had not been approved by consensus and disassociated from operative paragraph 36(k).

The representative of Guatemala expressed regret over the lack of consensus and disassociated from paragraph 36(k).

The representative of Panama disassociated from operative paragraph 36(k).

The representative of Chile disassociated from operative paragraph 36(k).

The representative of Colombia disassociated from operative paragraph 36(k).

Persons with Disabilities

The representative of New Zealand, on behalf of Mexico and Sweden, introduced a draft resolution titled Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto: situation of women and girls with disabilities (document A/C.3/72/L.18/Rev.1). He said girls and women with disabilities faced multiple barriers in life. The draft resolution focused on realizing their rights in areas such as employment, access to health care, equal recognition before the law and freedom to make their own choices. Noting that numerous open consultations had been held on the text, he made oral revisions to preambular paragraph 9 and an operative paragraph.

The representative of Nigeria, on behalf of 43 African countries, proposed amendments to operative paragraph 18 to reflect the role of parents in providing guidance to their children, as language reflecting the importance of parental guidance had been rejected by the sponsors.

The Secretary said the draft's co sponsors included Zambia, Morocco and Guinea.

The representative of Zambia withdrew sponsorship of the draft resolution.

The representative of Burundi said her country would like to co sponsor the amendment.

The representative of Madagascar said that while the country supported the amendment, it withdrew from co sponsorship.

The representative of Chad expressed support for the amendment and withdrew from the list of co sponsors.

The representative of Guinea withdrew from the list of co sponsors of the amendment.

The representative of Morocco maintained her country's sponsorship of the draft resolution.

The representative of Sierra Leone withdrew from the list of co sponsors and supported the amendment.

A Secretariat official noted that Zambia, Madagascar, Guinea, Chad and Sierra Leone had withdrawn their sponsorship of the resolution.

The representative of New Zealand, on behalf of Mexico and Sweden, said negotiations on the draft had been open and transparent, with numerous opportunities for States to engage over the last two months. The inclusion of operative paragraph 18 was important to help women and girls with disabilities enjoy their full human rights and freedoms, notably as they were more exposed to unintended pregnancies, child marriage and other harmful practices. The proposed amendment would upset the careful balance achieved and he called for a vote on it, stressing that the co sponsors would vote no and requesting others to do the same.

The representative of Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, in an explanation of vote, expressed regret that oral amendments had been introduced, saying the paragraph in question reflected a strong middle ground on issues related to persons with disabilities. Regretting the lack of a spirit of compromise, she urged all delegations to vote against the amendment.

The representative of Switzerland, also speaking on behalf of Australia, Canada, Norway and Liechtenstein, said the amendment aimed to weaken previously agreed language on gender equality. The tabled version referred to partnership with parents and guardians, and stated that education should be age appropriate. The proposed amendment upset the carefully calibrated compromise, she said, urging all to vote no.

The representative of Brazil said he would vote against the amendment. The resolution focused on the rights of women and girls with disabilities, and the paragraph presented by the co facilitators already noted the partnership with parents, guardians and health care providers. He called on all delegations to vote against the draft amendment.

The representative of the Russian Federation said the Committee was voting on the same text for the second day. The topic of human rights for persons with disabilities was a complex one deserving attention, yet unfortunately, a similar item had been included on the rights of the child resolution, and the co sponsors had decided it was also necessary to include the paragraph in a resolution on persons on disabilities. In the future, co sponsors, who understood which resolutions were problematic, should show common sense.

The representative of Nicaragua said the most important part of society was the family, adding that future resolutions should be better balanced.

The representative of Egypt associated herself with Nigeria's statement and noted that her country had been among the first to join the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The language of the paragraph was unbalanced, and delegates should be more careful with transposing language, she said, adding that Egypt would vote in favour of the amendment and calling on others to do the same.

The representative of Uruguay noted that the draft resolution included a clause on full cooperation with parents and legal guardians, and said it was necessary to vote against the amendment.

The representative of Argentina said it was concerning that the same language was being put forward on several resolutions. The language did not come from the declaration on HIV/AIDS, but from another Third Committee resolution from last year. He urged all delegates to vote against the amendment, lest they send the message that young women and girls with disabilities did not deserve the same protections as others.

The representative of Morocco said nothing prevented her from accepting an amendment to a resolution she co sponsored if she found the amendment to be an improvement to the resolution. Morocco wished to keep its co sponsorship of the draft resolution.

The Committee then approved the draft amendment to operative paragraph 18 by a recorded vote of 82 in favour to 78 against, with 9 abstentions (Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Tuvalu).

The representative of the Holy See, in a general statement, condemned all forms of violence against people with disabilities, underscoring that a commitment to consensus should be respected in the Committee even while it discussed controversial issues. He expressed reservations on the text, adding that the Holy See did not view abortion as a dimension of sexual and reproductive rights.

The representative of New Zealand, also on behalf of Mexico and Sweden, expressed disappointment that a vote had been called, as the co sponsors believed they had struck a balance in the draft resolution. By calling for a vote, the Committee sent a message to women and girls with disabilities that they did not have the same rights as others.

The Committee then approved the draft as orally amended with a unanimous recorded vote of 176 in favour.

By its terms, States would be called on to consider signing and ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto. They would be urged to review and repeal any law or policy that restricted women with disabilities from their full participation in political and public life on an equal basis with others, as well as to ensure the equal access of those women to decent work in the public and private sectors, that labour markets were open and accessible to persons with disabilities, and to take measures to both increase the employment of those women and to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability.

The representative of the United States said women and girls were most marginalized among those persons with disabilities, excluded from services such as health care and education. Countries did not have to fulfil obligations of international instruments to which they were not party, even though they had supported the resolution. The United States did not recognize abortion as a form of family planning, she said, noting that she had voted for the draft resolution to urge States to protect the rights of women and girls with disabilities.

The representative of Brazil dissociated from operative paragraph 18 as amended, as it compromised the empowerment of women and girls with disabilities.

The representative of Yemen said his country had voted for the draft resolution as women and girls with disabilities experienced discrimination. He said the fact that 176 delegates had voted for the draft had shown it addressed the concerns of many countries.

The representative of Argentina said amended operative paragraph 18 weakened the protection of women and girls with disabilities, and he thus dissociated from it.

The representative of Australia, on behalf of Canada, Iceland, Norway, and other countries, would have wanted the draft to have been adopted without a vote in its original version. She welcomed the draft's focus on women and girls with disabilities, who faced multiple challenges. She called on States to provide women and girls access to education and health care, to prevent violence and abuse towards them, and to end to practices such as abortion and sterilization. Stressing the importance of collecting disaggregated disability data, she said States had the common objective to reduce the spread of HIV and unwanted pregnancies among women and girls with disabilities. There was a need for more education on responsible family planning, she asserted.

The representative of Libya said the controversial draft on the rights of persons with disabilities should not be introduced in the future. It was important to respect different cultural practices and values.

The representative of Uruguay said all women and girls with disabilities should have equal rights and he dissociated from operative paragraph 18.

The representative of Netherlands expressed disappointment over the vote on the amendment, as his country did not see operative paragraph 18 as the basis for consensus moving forward.

The representative of Morocco, in a general statement, said the personal, sexual and private life of individuals with disabilities was important. Morocco had reviewed the provisions of paragraph 18 as drafted by the co facilitators, but in the final analysis, had decided to make an addition to the paragraph. Even if it were considered a weakness by some, she expressed hope there could be consensus on the draft resolution as a whole.

The representative of Colombia said the amended paragraph limited access of women and girls with disabilities to information, and he disassociated from it.

The representative of Costa Rica expressed regret that the draft resolution had not been adopted by consensus, saying sexual and reproductive information for young people was important, and disassociating from the amended paragraph.

The representative of Denmark attached great importance to the rights of girls and women, and did not support the paragraph amended as a basis for consensus moving forward.

Effects of Terrorism on Enjoyment of Human Rights

The representative of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the main sponsors, introduced a draft resolution titled Effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights (document A/C.3/72/L.49/Rev.1 and programme budget implications contained in document A/C.3/72/L.70). He said all human rights were universal, indivisible, and interrelated, and that terrorism hampered economic development. The draft aimed to condemn all acts of terrorism and incitement, and expressed grave concern over the effect of terrorism on human rights. The draft resolution called on States to remain alert to the use of information technology for terrorist purposes. The draft's adoption should send a strong message that the international community was united in the fight against terrorism.

The representative of South Africa introduced an amendment to the draft resolution, saying her country's democracy had been achieved in 1994 through the support of the international community and the Assembly, which had played a pivotal role in recognizing the national liberation movement by distinguishing it from terrorism. The amendment sought to recognize that the draft resolution did not distinguish just and legitimate movements from terrorist acts. The stance of the main sponsors was puzzling, given their support for national liberation movements in Africa, she said, adding that the proposed amendment brought the requisite balance to the draft resolution.

The representative of Egypt said it was unfortunate that South Africa had introduced an amendment and underscored Egypt's unwavering support for the Palestinian cause. Making such a distinction would conflate legitimate armed struggle with terrorism, he said, asking South Africa to withdraw its amendment.

The representative of South Africa, responding to the request by Egypt's delegate to withdraw her request for an amendment, said she had not heard of such a request in her 17 year experience in multilateralism and asked the Committee continue with its proceedings.

The representative of Egypt called for vote on the amendment.

The Committee then rejected the draft amendment by a recorded vote of 21 in favour to 77 against, with 42 abstentions.

The representative of Saudi Arabia said his country respected human rights while fighting terrorism. He called on delegates to support the draft resolution to demonstrate that countries were united in the fight against terrorism.

The representative of South Africa requested a vote on the draft resolution as a whole.

The representative of Egypt, in a general statement, said he was deeply disappointed by the position of South Africa's delegate and called on all States to vote in favour of the draft resolution.

The representative of South Africa said it was imperative to abide by international human rights law when fighting terrorism. South African heroes had been labelled by terrorists in the past. The persecution of South Africa's heroes was the reason why her country's foreign policy lay on self determination and statehood. She did not share the view that her intention to call for a vote on the resolution was ill founded and said her country would vote against the resolution.

The Committee then approved the draft by a recorded vote of 104 in favour to 1 against (South Africa), with 63 abstentions.

By its terms, the Assembly would reiterate that all States should take appropriate measures to deny support for terrorists and terrorist groups, particularly political, military, logistical and financial support. It would emphasize the importance of cooperation, including through technical cooperation, capacity building and the exchange of information and intelligence on counter terrorism.

The representative of Estonia, on behalf of the European Union, said the co sponsors went to lengths to accommodate the views of States which had participated in negotiations on the text. However, the bloc had abstained from the vote as it did not favour a parallel process of protecting rights when fighting terrorism.

The representative of Qatar said all terrorist acts were crimes and it was clear that terrorism shattered human rights and democracy. The international community should strengthen cooperation on the fight against terrorism, she said, underscoring the need to raise awareness and education in countering terrorism and addressing the deep roots of that phenomenon.

The representative of the United States said her country did not recognize an obligation to recognize human rights law when countering terrorism. The new report called for in the draft resolution was not an appropriate use of resources.

Having taken note of several documents read out by the Secretary, the Committee then approved its tentative agenda for the seventy third session (document A/C.3/72/L.73).

The representative of Syria, on a point of order, wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

The representative of Cuba invited everyone to the Cuban festival which would take place on 8 December.

The representative of the United Kingdom asked for the floor on a point of order to read a silly poem reflecting on the work of the Third Committee during the session.

The representative of Egypt answered with a poem of his own.

The representative of Nigeria invited all to the African Group's party.

Source: United Nations

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