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2 November 1995

Press Release


19951102 Culmination of Three Years' Preparation: Council also Approves Participation of Further 34 Organizations in Human Rights Group

The Economic and Social Council, meeting in a resumed substantive session this morning, approved and recommended for adoption by the General Assembly the draft world programme of action for youth to the year 2000 and beyond, as amended. The Council's decision came after three years of work in the elaboration of the draft programme.

The Council acted by means of a resolution, which was adopted as orally amended.

The draft programme provides a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people. It identifies 10 priority areas for action, as follows: education, employment, hunger and poverty, health, environment, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, leisure-time activities, girls and young women, and the full and effective participation of youth in the life of society and decision- making.

Before action, the Council held a protracted discussion on whether or not there was consensus on the draft. While the representatives of Egypt, Sudan, Iran and Syria called for further consultations on it, the representative of the Philippines (on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China) and several other delegations stated that the draft should be adopted and those with reservations should state them for the record.

Also this morning, the Council, acting on a recommendation of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, approved the participation of a further 34 organizations of indigenous people in an open-ended inter-sessional working group of the Commission on Human Rights that will elaborate a draft declaration on the rights of indigenous people. Those organizations do not have consultative status with the Council. The working group will begin its first session on 20 November in Geneva.

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In other matters, the Council President announced that an agreement had been signed between the United Nations and the World Trade Organization which was contained in an exchange of letters which would be distributed to Council members. He also announced that the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Michel Camdessus, would have an informal exchange of views with Council members on Monday. Also, the working group on information would start its work this month.

The next meeting of the Council will be announced in the Journal.

Action on Youth Programme of Action

The final draft of the world programme of action for youth to the year 2000 and beyond is contained in document E/1995/123 and the draft resolution recommending it for adoption by the Assembly is in document E/1995/L.69. (For a summary of the draft programme, see Press Release ECOSOC/5629, of 25 October.) The version before the Council this morning had new language in the chapter on means of implementation at the international level, concerning technical cooperation. A new paragraph 137 addresses technical cooperation to developing countries. It is stated that countries with economies in transition, where required, should also be assisted. The Council had failed to approve the draft programme when it last met, on 25 October, on the eve of the commemoration by the Assembly of the tenth anniversary of the International Youth Year.

At the outset of this morning's meeting, the representative of the Philippines, on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, requested the adoption at today's meeting of the draft programme of action on youth. She said there was agreement on the draft, which had been negotiated for the last three years. When the Council met on 25 October a delegation had requested the addition of substantive language to the document in violation of agreed procedures. Those delegations with reservations on the draft should express them from the floor but that should not prevent the adoption of the draft programme. Reopening of one paragraph would mean reopening of others.

The Council President, AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan), said his recollection was that at the last meeting, the Council Vice-President, who had conducted consultations on the draft, had reported that there was no consensus on the document. Also, in the plenary of the Assembly, the statement by the Philippines, on behalf of the Group of 77, had indicated that consensus did not exist. In view of the statement just made today, he concluded that there had been a change in that situation and consensus had emerged on the document.

The representative of Egypt said that during the commemoration of the Youth Year by the Assembly parallel consultations had been held by the Assembly President with the countries concerned, including his own. As there was no consensus, he had not put the draft for action and requested one of its Vice-Presidents to conduct further consultations, which had been held on

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Monday, 30 October. Spain, on behalf on the European Union, and Egypt, on behalf of the Group of 77, had taken part in those consultations. He expressed deep regret that the representative of the Philippines had ignored that meeting. Those consultations, however, had not been successful, as well as additional consultations held the next day. As there was no consensus, the Assembly President had concluded that further informal consultations were required. Differences were minor, he said, adding "We only ask for improvement of the text". He called on the President to convene informal consultations on the draft programme.

The representative of Sudan said that her understanding was that nothing had changed since the Council last met.

The representative of the Dominican Republic supported the request of the Philippines, adding that Egypt did not have a mandate to speak on behalf of the Group of 77. This morning the Group had met to consider the draft programme and had decided to call for action on it. She called for the adoption of the draft programme; those with reservations should state them for the record.

The representative of Spain, for the European Union, said that his understanding was that since there had been no decision in the Council on the draft, the matter would go to the Assembly for further consideration. In the version presented by the representative of Egypt of what had happened, the comments made concerning the European Union were inaccurate. The European Union did not endorse the statement that the Philippines on behalf of the Group of 77 had not attended that meeting. The European Union was in favour of adoption of the draft programme by consensus. That would be possible as soon as there was consensus in the Group of 77.

The Council President, Mr. KAMAL (Pakistan), said the Council could not abdicate its responsibilities. The issue now was to agree on how the Council would handle that matter. If there was no consensus today, ways would have to be found on how to reach it.

The representative of the Philippines said there was a lack of consensus on reopening the text. She took exception to the statement by Egypt that the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 had ignored the Assembly President's meeting. She was not informed that such a meeting was taking place.

The representatives of Nigeria, Ghana, Chile, France, South Africa, Zambia, Brazil, India, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela, Canada, Antigua and Barbuda and Peru favoured the adoption of the draft, adding that those with reservations on the text should express them.

The representatives of Iran, Syria, Sudan and Egypt favoured further consultations.

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The Council President said it was his view that most delegations would like the adoption of the draft now, and would like to see it "as is". He urged countries with difficulties with the text not to block consensus, which existed, but to enter their reservations in a clear manner. If that would not happen debate would be endless, and in the process the document would be lost and the credibility of Council would have been called into serious question. He then put the draft to Council members, and suggested that those with difficulties should register them verbally or in writing.

The representative of Egypt said he had problems with three paragraphs (56, 57 and 58), which concerned promotion of health services including sexual and reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS among young people. He wanted language in line with the outcome of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, but he would not block consensus. He had reservations concerning the rights of youth in relation to sexual health, which should be under the responsibility of the parents.

The representative of Sudan said that for the document to be applicable it would have to take into account the concerns of different religions and societies, as well as the diversity of communities.

The draft programme of action was approved by acclamation, as amended.

The representative of Sudan said she had reservations on paragraphs 8g, 49, 56, 57 and 58. In her culture unwanted pregnancies did not exist, except for medical reasons, and sexual education should be provided to youth only by their parents.

The representative of the United States said he would submit his reservation in writing.

The representative of Pakistan expressed reservations on paragraphs 56, 57 and 58.

The draft resolution recommending the draft to the Assembly was adopted as orally amended. Before action, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Nigeria joined in sponsoring the draft.

Action on NGO Committee Report

The list of organizations of indigenous people was contained in a report of the NGO Committee (document E/1995/124/Add.1). They are as follows:

Regional: Commission Internacional de Derechos de Pueblos Indigenas de Sud America (Bolivia); Finno-Ugric People's Consultation Committee (Finland); Associazione Latinoamericana de Cremona (Italy); South and Meso American Indian Rights Center (United States); Comission Coordinadora de Organizaciones y Naciones Indigenas del Continente (Panama).

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Argentina: Coordinacion de Organizaciones Mapuche `Tain Kinegetuam'.

Brazil: Movimento das Mulheres Indigenas do Estado do Sao Paolo; Comite Intertribal - Memoria e Ciencia Indigena (ITC).

El Salvador: Asociacion Nacional Indigena Salvadorena (ANIS).

France: Association des Juristes Berberes de France.

Guatemala: Escuela Maya de Derechos Humanos IXIM-CHE.

Japan: Ainu Association of Sapporo; Ainu National Congress; Ainu Association of Hokkaido.

Kenya: Ilkerin Loita Project; MAA Development Association.

Mexico: Unidad de Capatcitacion e Investigacion Educativa para la Participacion, A.C.

Morocco: Association Nouvelle de la culture et des Arts Populaires (Berberes) (ANCAP); Jeunesse Nationale Populaire (JNP).

Nepal: Nepal Indigenous Peoples Development and Information Service Centre (NIPDISC); Nepal Federation of Nationalities.

Panama: Asociacion Napguana.

Philippines: Cordillera Peoples Alliance; Legal Assistance Center for Indigenous Filipinos (PANLIPI).

Russian Federation: Association of the Shorski Peoples; Tuvinien Branch of the Public Association "Russia's Regions".

Rwanda: Association pour le Developpement des Batwa du Rwanda (ADBR); Association for the Promotion of Batwa (APB).

Ukraine: Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People.

United Republic of Tanzania: Survival for the Lepers, Poor and Needy People Society of Tanzania (SLENOT); Christian Spiritual Youth Ministry (CSYM).

United States: Ahupua'a Action Alliance.

Venezuela: Federacion de Indigenas del Estado Bolivar; Consejo Nacional Indio de Venezuela.

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For information media. Not an official record.