2 November 2001


NEW YORK, 1 November (UN Headquarters) -- Among the six resolution approved by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) this afternoon was a text which would express the Assembly’s deep concern over continued reports of grave abuses and acts of violence committed against women migrant workers.

In that regard, the Assembly would urge Governments, particularly those of the countries of origin and destination, to further strengthen their national efforts to protect and promote the welfare of women migrant workers, including through sustained bilateral, regional and international cooperation. It would also encourage Governments to continue to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.

The Committee approved three other drafts on matters related to the advancement of women. One of those texts, on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, would have the Assembly urge States parties to the Convention to make every possible effort to submit their reports on the implementation of the Convention.

A related text on the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) would have the Assembly encourage the Fund to continue assisting Governments in implementing the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Convention in order to advance gender equality at all levels, including by reinforcing cooperation between Governments and civil society, especially women’s organizations.

A draft on the traditional or customary practices affecting the health of women and girls was also approved. That text would have the Assembly call upon States to, among other things, develop, adopt and implement national legislation, policies and programmes that prohibited such practices, including female genital mutilation. It would further urge States to prosecute the perpetrators of such practices and to establish or strengthen support services to respond to the needs of victims.

The Committee also approved two texts on matters related to crime prevention and criminal justice. One called on the General Assembly to urge States and funding agencies to review, as appropriate, their funding policies for development assistance and include a crime prevention and criminal justice component in such assistance.

That text also reaffirmed the importance of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme in promoting effective action to strengthen international cooperation and response to the global community’s needs in the face of both international and transnational criminality.

The other draft on crime prevention, concerning the need to combat the criminal misuse of information technologies, would have the Assembly express concern that significant advancements in the development and application of information technologies had created new possibilities for criminal activity. It would also decide to defer consideration of this subject, pending the work envisioned by the plan of action against high-technology and computer-related crime of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

All drafts were approved without a vote and would be forwarded to the Assembly for approval.

The Committee will meet again Monday 5 November at 3 p.m., when it will conclude its consideration of items related to the rights of peoples to self-determination.


The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) met this afternoon to consider items related to the right of peoples to self determination.

The Committee was also expected to take action on draft resolutions on items related to the International Year of Older Persons, crime prevention and criminal justice, and the advancement of women. (For details see Press Release GA/SHC/3649 of 30 October.)

The Committee had before it a resolution on the Information campaign for the Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/C.3/56/L.19), by which the Assembly describes the programme budget implications of draft resolution A/C.3/56/L.6. The resolution describes the requests contained in the draft resolution; the relationship of the request to the programme of work; the activities by which the proposed requests would be implemented; additional requirements at full cost; and action required by the General Assembly.

It would also consider another relevant draft on the Ageing Assembly (document A/C.3/56/L.6/Rev.1) by which by which the Assembly would reaffirm the necessity of ensuring that the upcoming Second World Assembly on Ageing, scheduled to be held in Madrid, Spain, from 8 to 12 April 2002, provided action oriented follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons.

Further by that text, the Assembly would also affirm that the long-term strategy and plan of action to be adopted at the Second World Assembly, should be realistic and relevant, so that its implementation could be followed up effectively. It also would reiterate that the conference should give particular attention to, among other things, the linkages between ageing and development, with particular interest to the perspectives and priorities of developing countries.

Action on Drafts

This afternoon the Committee took action on six draft resolutions on issues related to the crime prevention and criminal justice, and the advancement of women.

On crime prevention and criminal justice, the Committee approved two texts without a vote.

The first draft concerned Combating the criminal misuse of information technologies (document A/C.3/56/L.15/Rev.1) which had been orally amended by the representative of the United States at the time of its introduction.

The Committee Secretary drew the Committee’s attention to a letter from the Programme Budget Office, which noted that certain provisions included in that resolution contained programme budget implications.

The Committee next took up a resolution on Strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity (document A/C.3/56/L.17/Rev.1).

Before delegations took action, the representative of Algeria said it was regrettable that the sponsors of the draft had not used the opportunity to mobilize the international community against terrorism by reinforcing the importance of the United Nations Centre for International Crime Prevention.

The Committee then adopted the resolution without a vote.

Next, the Committee turned to matters related to the advancement of women and adopted four relevant resolutions without a vote.

The draft it considered dealt with Traditional or Customary Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Girls (document A/C.3/56/L.23).

Before the delegations took action on that text, the representative of the United States said his Government felt strongly that harmful traditional or customary practices constituted a very serious form of violence against women and girls. However, because only States could violate human rights, the United States could not agree that such practices constituted a serious violation of their human rights. Further, the Government believed it was premature to note with appreciation a draft protocol that had yet to be finalized or approved. Lastly, his Government understood that the term "reproductive health services" did not endorse or support abortion services.

That resolution, which had been introduced earlier by the representative of the Netherlands, was then adopted without a vote.

The next document approved this afternoon was a draft resolution on the United Nations Development Fund for Women (document A/C.3/56/L.25) which had been introduced earlier by the representative of Jamaica.

The Committee next adopted without a vote a resolution introduced earlier on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (document A/C.3/56/L.26).

The Committee Secretary drew the Committee’s attention to a letter from the Programme Budget Office, which detailed the budgetary implications of certain paragraphs of the resolution.

After the approval of the resolution, several delegations took the floor.

The representative of the United States strongly supported the elimination of discrimination against women. However, his Government had to disassociate itself from consensus in adopting this resolution because of the programme and budgetary implications, which would increase the cost of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women by $250,000 -- 25 per cent -- in the next United Nations budget, without providing a clear justification of the need for the added costs.

Regarding the Convention, the representative said, while it was certainly appropriate for the General Assembly to recommend that international conventions be considered by Member States, the General Assembly had to recognize that signing and ratifying those conventions was ultimately a decision of domestic governments. The draft that urged all States that had not yet ratified or acceded the Convention to do so did not recognize the sovereignty of governments. And regarding reservations to the Convention, the United States said the criteria for judging reservations to all treaties were reflected in the Vienna Conventions on the Law of Treaties.

Along the same line, the representative of Singapore said the provision in the resolution requesting all countries to annually look at its reservations with an aim to withdrawing them was counterproductive. Reservations ensured that as many as countries as possible acceded to conventions quickly, and discouraging reservations would only discourage countries from acceding to international conventions.

The representative of Japan said the Government continuously and actively supported the actions of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The workload of the Committee would likely increase, but the number of annual sessions should not be extended. Rather, drastic and durable measures should be explored. However, Japan did not want to block consensus, and it would continue working with all genuine efforts to strengthen the efforts and effectiveness of the Committee.

The final draft before the Committee on Violence against Women Migrant Workers (document A/C.3/56/L.27), which had been orally amended by the Philippines at its introduction was adopted without a vote.

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