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Seventieth Session,
45th Meeting (PM)

Third Committee Tables Four Draft Resolutions, Addressing Situation in Syria, Self-Determination, Nazism, Human Rights Centre in Central Africa

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this afternoon to hear the introduction of four draft resolutions relating to a centre in Central Africa, Nazism, the right of the Palestinian People to self-determination and the situation in Syria, with the latter triggering comments from some speakers opposed to country-specific texts.

By a draft text on the “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic” (document A/C.3/70/L.47), the Committee would have the General Assembly strongly condemn all violations and abuses of international human rights law and all violations of international humanitarian law committed against the civilian population, in particular all indiscriminate attacks, including the use of barrel bombs in civilian areas and against civilian infrastructure.  Further, the text, introduced by Qatar’s representative, would have the world body deplore and condemn in the strongest terms the continued armed violence by the Syrian authorities and affiliated militias against its own people, as well as human rights abuses by armed extremists and anti-Government groups, including ISIS/ISIL (Islamic State in Syria/Levant) and Al-Nusrah Front.

The draft would also have the Assembly call on all foreign fighters to withdraw from the Syrian territory and highlight the importance of accountability for all violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.  The text would have the Assembly address the refugee crisis.  Finally, the General Assembly would, by the text, reaffirm its commitment to international efforts to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis through a Syrian-led political process leading to a political transition.

Syria’s delegate, exercising the right of reply, strongly regretted the attempt by the delegates of Qatar and Saudi Arabia to exploit the work of the Third Committee.  Drawing attention to the situation in those countries, he noted that women in Saudi Arabia were deprived from exercising their basic human rights and that that country was not even a member of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  In Qatar, there was a power transition from father to son instead of democratic elections.  Such considerations were important to consider in order to understand the true motives of the draft resolution’s main sponsors, he said, warning all delegations to not fall into their trap.

Responding, the delegate of Qatar, exercising the right of reply, noted that the practices of terrorism had upset the peace in the region.  In that vein, he encouraged all delegations to act together to support the Syrian people and put an end to the violations against them.

Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representatives of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea opposed “L.47” in line with their principled position against country-specific resolutions.  The delegate of Iran expressed particular concern that the provisions relating foreign fighters contravened the basic principles of customary international law and the United Nations Charter. 

The Committee also heard the introduction by the Russian Federation on the agenda item relating to the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  The draft text, titled “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” (document A/C.3/70/L.59), would have the General Assembly express deep concern about the glorification of the Nazi movement and condemn any denial of the Holocaust.  Further to the text, the Assembly would underline that the roots of extremism are multifaceted and must be addressed through adequate measures such as education, awareness-raising and the promotion of dialogue. 

Turning to the Committee’s agenda item on the right of peoples to self-determination, the representative of Pakistan introduced a draft text titled “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” (document A/C.3/70/L.42).  That text would have the General Assembly reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine.  It would also urge all States and specialized agencies to continue support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of that right. 

In relation to human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Cameroon’s representative tabled a draft resolution on “Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa” (document A/C.3/70/L.53).  That text would have the General Assembly encourage the Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa at Yaoundé to strengthen its cooperation and invest in relations with subregional organizations and bodies.  The Assembly would also, by the text, request the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide resources to enable the Centre to respond positively and effectively to the growing needs in the promotion and protection of human rights and in developing a culture of democracy and the rule of law in the Central African subregion.

The Third Committee will resume its work at 3 p.m. on Thursday, 12 November.

For information media. Not an official record.