Concluding Its Session, Third Committee Approves 12 Draft Resolutions, including Texts on Occupied Palestinian Territory, Racism, World Drug Problem
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) approved 12 draft resolutions as it concluded its work today, including texts addressing the right of peoples to self-determination, racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, and the world drug problem.
A draft on the right of Palestinian people to self-determination was approved in a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 5 against (Nauru, Marshall Islands, United States, Israel, Micronesia), with 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Kiribati, Guatemala, Palau, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Togo).
By its terms, the Assembly would stress the urgency of ending the Israeli occupation and a lasting peace settlement between the two sides. It would also underscore the need to respect the territorial integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and urge States to assist the Palestinian people in the realization of their right to self-determination.
Addressing the draft, the observer for the State of Palestine said that Israel’s occupation severely impedes the Palestinian people’s exercise of the right to self-determination. She highlighted human rights violations in her territory, including forcible displacement of Palestinians, arbitrary arrests, property confiscations, annexation of Jerusalem and blockade of Gaza. “These violations must end for peace to begin,” she said, stressing the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by force.
Meanwhile, the representative of Israel disputed the political motive behind the related draft, indicating that, beginning with non-combative resolutions, Palestinians proceed to abuse such topics to promote their agenda. Asking delegations to imagine if the United Nations gave all those seeking self‑determination even a tenth of the attention it gives the Palestinians, she said the draft represents “a relic of the past”, with Israel being isolated in the Middle East and the Organization used to undermine its existence.
The Committee also approved, without a vote, a draft resolution on the universal realization of the right of peoples to self-determination. By the text, the Assembly would call on those States responsible to cease military interventions in and occupation of foreign countries and territories, as well as the brutal methods employed against the populations.
The representative of Spain said that an administering Power of the colonized territory of Gibraltar attempts to create the illusion that the colonial tie has disappeared, while “these authorities claim that the hypothetical right to self-determination continues to prevail”. He stressed the urgency of resuming dialogue between Spain and the United Kingdom to find a solution in line with the principles of the United Nations and reach an agreement on implementation of a new framework for regional cooperation.
In rebuttal, the representative of the United Kingdom, reaffirming his country’s sovereignty over Gibraltar, said the State that is sovereign over the land is also sovereign over territorial waters out to three nautical miles or the median line. The United Kingdom will uphold a range of proportionate diplomatic and naval responses to illegal incursions by Spanish State vessels, he added. The representative of Argentina said the right to self-determination is only applicable if a people is subjected to domination and foreign occupation. Further, it should be interpreted within the framework of the United Nations Charter and relevant resolutions.
In other action, the Committee adopted a text on the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, by a recorded vote of 126 in favour to 17 against, with 36 abstentions. The text would have the Assembly regret the evils inflicted on millions as a result of slavery, colonialism, apartheid, genocide and past tragedies. It would also call on States that have not already done so to dispense reparatory justice.
The representative of South Africa said racism also affects inter-State relations and many countries are frustrated by the lack of commitment to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. He added the text is not antisemitic and called for “righting the wrongs of the past”.
The Committee also approved a draft resolution on the world drug problem, by a vote of 116 in favour to 9 against (Belarus, Cameroon, Iran, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Syria and Türkiye) with 45 abstentions. By the text, the Assembly would urge Member States and other donors to continue to fund the global drug problem response to address the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic among people who inject drugs, and in prisons.
On that draft, India denounced changes in the text compared to previous omnibus resolutions, which exclude critical paragraphs, including those relating to the International Narcotics Control Board. Many delegates echoed such concerns, noting the text became far from comprehensive and balanced, despite its title, or that the negotiating process was rushed and not transparent.
The representative of the Russian Federation underscored that the draft fails to mention the elimination of poppy cultivation, stressing that the world drug problem poses a threat to the national security of many States, including his own. The representative of Mexico expressed regret that Moscow set a precedent by calling for a vote on the text, which reflects 25 hours of negotiations.
In closing remarks, Chair José Alfonso Blanco Conde (Dominican Republic) expressed his sincere gratitude to the commitment, contributions and the work of Committee members, underlining the importance and crucial nature of matters it considers, including children’s rights, crime prevention and criminal justice. In this first in-person session after the pandemic, he expressed confidence that better results were reached with face-to-face meetings. “We must keep bridges and doors open; each of you can make a difference,” he said.
The Committee also approved draft resolutions on social development; ageing; the family; Human Rights Council report; human rights instruments; the role of Ombudsman and mediator institutions; and violence based on religion or belief.
In addition, the Committee approved its provisional work programme for the seventy‑eight session.
The Committee concluded its seventy-seventh session with delegates from the United Kingdom, Syria, Egypt and the Chair reciting self‑penned poems about themes that dominated its discussions.
Action on Draft Resolutions
The Committee next took up the 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 /Rev.1), which the Chair noted contained no programme budget implications.
The representative of Pakistan, introducing the draft on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said it presents updated recommendations on the World Summit for Social Development’s outcome, with a focus on eradicating poverty, eliminating inequality and improving access to education. Social development is facing serious challenges, such as the rise of extreme poverty, food insecurity, lack of access to education, energy, unemployment, he said, urging the international community to respond to these pressing issues. The significance of social development remains as relevant as it was in 1995 and unity and solidary of the international community is required more than ever. He called on all Member States to vote in favour of the draft.
The representative of the United States voiced disappointment that the text also addresses issues beyond the scope of the Committee, but said he will not block consensus in the spirit of cooperation. However, he disassociates from preambular paragraph 22, operative paragraph 32 and 63. The text does not appropriately capture agreed language of World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Doha agreements on the latter rights and public health. On preambular paragraph 22 and its reference to foreign occupation, he reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to a two‑state solution for the Israeli Palestinian conflict and to improve the lives of Palestinian people, including through sustainable development. On operative paragraph 31, the United States believes that the United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights provide an important global framework and apply to all forms of business enterprises. It is inappropriate for the United Nations to call on international financial institutions to provide debt relief. On operative paragraph 63, he said that the phrase “the international community shall increase market access” is wholly unacceptable, as such language is only appropriate in binding texts.
The representative of the United Kingdom said that the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights, including on health, lies with the State. International cooperation must be viewed in support of State efforts, not as a substitute, nor as a condition for guaranteeing human rights. Each State has the responsibility to protect human rights of persons in its territory. For that reason, the United Kingdom interprets “serve” in preambular paragraph 42 to mean “can benefit,” rather than “is necessary for”. Despite these concerns, the United Kingdom will join consensus on the draft.
The Committee then approved, without a vote, draft “L.14/Rev.1”.
By its terms, the General Assembly would express deep concern over the persistent feminization of poverty that increases vulnerability to trafficking in persons in least developed countries. It would also express deep concern that the COVID‑19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on sustainable development, and disproportionately affects people in vulnerable situations. By further terms, the Assembly would urge Member States to strengthen social policies, paying attention to needs of marginalized social groups, including people living with HIV/AIDS, Indigenous Peoples, and refugees. The representative of Mexico said her delegation joined consensus and provided several contributions to the text, including on the digital divide and investment in women and children to reduce poverty, inequality, and hunger. Preambular paragraph 6 contains a factual error, as it preemptively indicates what the outcome of the World Summit on Social Development in 2025 should be. Discussions on the scope and outcome of the Summit should take place in open, inclusive, and transparent consultations, with facilitators explicitly appointed for it. Surprisingly, the sponsors of the draft did not correct this error. As such, Mexico dissociates from preambular paragraph 6.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing” (document A/C.3/77/L.10/Rev.1) which the chair noted contains no programme budget implications.
Introducing the draft, the representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said it focuses on two important issues - access to information technologies and housing for ageing persons. Calling on the international community to close digital divides, he encouraged Member States to promote digital literacy, without any discrimination relating to socioeconomic status, race or language. Further, the draft includes language emphasizing the importance of access to justice for older persons to protect them against harmful practices, such as forced eviction. He invited States that have not yet done so to co-sponsor the text.
The text “L.10/Rev.1” was then approved by consensus.
By its terms, the Assembly would be concerned that health systems are not prepared to respond to the needs of the ageing population and that older persons’ rate of poverty has increased as a result of global economic crises. It would also be concerned that older women are at greater risk of physical and psychological abuse and violence and would reiterate that their needs and perspectives must be considered in disaster risk reduction. The Assembly would further urge Member States to develop and strengthen programmes promoting healthy and active ageing as well as the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases for older persons.
The Representative of Argentina, acknowledging the importance of access to information technologies for older persons, stressed that digital literacy must be prioritized for them. As the number of older persons will surpass that of children in the world in 2050, all sustainable development policies must include them as active participants, she said, calling for a legally binding instrument for older persons as States have done for children.
The representative of Hungary said his delegation joined consensus to foster more inclusive societies but noted that the country’s legislation interprets gender and sex as the same, with most references meaning “biological sex” and would therefore interpret operative paragraph 38 mentioning “transgender” accordingly.
The representative of the United Kingdom said that older persons are more likely than any other age group to have disabilities. The United Kingdom will continue its consultations with the open-ended working group to establish a multilateral instrument on older persons. Welcoming language in the text on technology, he said increased access to it for 2.5 billion people in need will contribute to development through inclusion in the workforce and education. He expressed support for language in operative paragraph 37 on the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that older persons face, as older persons with disabilities are the most likely to be left behind in societies.
The representative of the Russian Federation, expressing concern for ageing populations, pointed to the solid foundation set out for them by the Madrid National Plan of Action. He expressed concern about operative paragraph 63, adding that changes to the working group will be premature and threaten its outcome. He disassociated from the paragraph.
The representative of Malaysia said his delegation joined the consensus but disassociates itself from the term “multiple and intersecting forms”, as it is inconsistent with his country’s position.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Preparations for and observance of the thirtieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family” (document A/C.3/77/L.15/Rev.1), which the Chair noted contains no programme budget implications.
Introducing the text, the representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that it focuses on mega-trends, including urbanization, climate change and migration. Underscoring the importance of digital literacy, the text also calls for evidence-based research on the effects of technology and artificial intelligence on family balance and parental education. He welcomed the International Year of the Family as an opportunity to raise awareness and take action to strengthen development.
Speaking before the draft’s approval, the representative of the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of the European Union in its capacity as observer, welcomed elements on early, child and forced marriage in the COVID‑19 context as well as bridging the gender digital divide and cyberbullying. He expressed regret, however, that many of the bloc’s proposals for the text were not accepted, including measures to fight sexual and gender-based violence, intimate partner violence and multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. He also noted that the deletion of language on childcare from the text is a step backwards in ensuring women’s participation in the labour market. He stressed that the European Union recognizes that, in different political, cultural and social systems, various forms of the family exist. References to “family functioning” is unclear and problematic, he said, reiterating that States have the primary responsibility to provide support to families and expressing regret that States claiming to support families tried to undermine Member States’ commitments to policies.
The draft “L.15/Rev.1” was then approved without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would call on Member States to offer support to working parents through, inter alia, expanded child and family benefits and paid family leave and sick leave. It would also request that the focal point on the family be the Department of Economic and Social Affairs to enhance collaboration with regional commissions, funds and programmes. Further, the Assembly would call on Member States and United Nations bodies to provide information on their activities, including good practices at the national level. It would request the Secretary-General to submit a report to the General Assembly at its seventy-eighth session on the implementation of the present resolution.
The representative of Uruguay welcomed references in the draft to social protection systems and public services. He added that references to gender‑based violence should be underscored when discussing the family, as it often occurs internally and between intimate partners. The family should protect children and family members from gender‑based and intimate partner violence. His country recognizes families in all their diversities, which are often a source of discrimination. He said resolutions of this issue should consider various types of families globally, including those led by single parents and members of the LGBTQI community.
The representative of the United States voiced concerns that the draft promotes “narrow visions” of the family, which impede gender equality, undermine the rights of women and girls and exclude Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) persons. Adding that diverse families exist everywhere in the world, which is “not a normative statement, it is a fact”, he said States should recognize and support them globally.
The representative of Mexico said her State identifies and protects various forms of families, adding that, since October, the marriage of people of the same sex is legal in the country. She regretted that the resolution does not go deeper on the various forms of family that exist worldwide. Refusing to recognise the existence of sexual and gender‑based violence in a family context, primarily against women and girls, is a serious stumbling block when it comes to fighting this problem, she said. Her delegation interprets “family” through the lens of diversity, and forms of violence within families to include sexual and gender‑based violence.
The representative of the United Kingdom expressed disappointment that, year after year, States are unable to make progress on this text and update language. She stressed the importance of recognizing the value of intergenerational interaction and cooperation, adding that policies must be inclusive and responsive to the changing needs and expectations of families. Noting that the make‑up of families has changed and continues to change worldwide, she said her country respects that families can have many different compositions, all deserving equal societal support and respect.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Report of the Human Rights Council” (document A/C.3/77/L.53), which the Chair noted contains no programme budget implications.
Introducing the draft, the representative of South Africa, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the mandate of the Human Rights Council can only be implemented effectively if it is applied based on the principles of non-politicization, non-selectivity, objectivity, transparency, and international cooperation. Her Group remains convinced that the Universal Periodic Review is the sole mechanism for the Council’s work in fulfilling States’ human rights obligations and improving the human rights situation globally, she said. Reaffirming the Group’s principled position on the notion of justiciability of economic, social, and cultural rights, she said their progressive realization is informed by a recognition that “extreme poverty and social exclusion constitute a violation of human dignity” and that urgent steps are necessary to achieve better knowledge of extreme poverty and its causes, through the realization of the right to development. Adding that it is imperative the Council reports annually to the General Assembly, she said the text takes note of the reports of the Council, its addendum and recommendations, inviting States to support the draft.
A recorded vote was requested on the draft “L.53”.
The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of the European Union and candidate countries in its capacity as observer, noted that States are already able to follow-up on recommendations of the Human Rights Council individually, adding that the bloc does not deem it necessary to note Council resolutions in a generic manner by the Third Committee. Further, since the Review of the Human Rights Council institutionalized the compromise previously reached in the General Assembly General Committee, it is the bloc’s understanding that the Committee will not consider any further resolutions on the Council report. Highlighting consideration given to the Report on 2 November in the General Assembly, he said the bloc will abstain from the draft.
The representative of Venezuela stressed the growing importance of the Human Rights Council amid current crises, including recovery from the COVID‑19 pandemic, politicization of human rights and the negative impact of unilateral coercive measure on the human rights of more than a third of humankind. Noting that his country co-sponsored the text, he pointed to “many threats” to the Council, stressing the need to work in a balanced, democratic and impartial way.
The representative of Nicaragua categorically rejected the biased report of the Human Rights Council and opposed its instrumentalization by Western countries aimed at undermining the sovereignty of developing countries. He demanded that the Council respect the principle of non‑interference in the domestic affairs of States to eliminate double standards. Rejecting all attempts to undermine his country’s sovereignty, he opposed the use of illegal and inhumane unilateral coercive measures. Nicaragua will vote against the draft, he said.
The representative of Sri Lanka, noting that human rights are interdependent, said that people in his country have remained resilient, while upholding their democratic values. In this context, he stressed the importance of his country’s economic recovery.
The representative of the United States, noting that his delegation will abstain, objected to the Council’s disproportionate focus on Israel, including the establishment of the open‑ended Commission of Inquiry on the situation in Israel.
The representative of Lichtenstein, speaking also on behalf of other countries, expressed disappointment that the draft continues to disregard the understanding reached by taking note of the report of the Council. This undermines the Council’s mandate, he added.
The Committee then approved draft resolution “L.53” by a recorded vote of 113 in favour to 4 against (Belarus, Nicaragua, Israel, Eswatini), with 59 abstentions.
By its terms, the General Assembly would take note of the report of the Human Rights Council, including the addendum thereto, and its recommendations.
The representative of Israel noted that his delegation voted against the draft due to strong reservations on the merit of the Council and its ability to provide objective recommendations. He criticized the Council’s disproportionate focus on Israel.
The representative of Iran opposed politicization of human rights in line with a narrow interest of certain self‑proclaimed champions of human rights. The references to country‑specific resolutions in the report of the Council are a cause for serious concern, he said, criticizing the policy of confrontation and naming and shaming. His delegation abstained, as it did not support the parts of the report on human rights in Iran as well as other country‑specific resolutions.
The representative of China, noting her delegation voted in favour of the draft, expressed deep concern that some Member States are politicizing the work of the Council, provoking confrontation, and trying to push through country‑specific resolutions without the consent of countries on the receiving end. “How come all countries named at the Council are developing countries?” she asked, calling on certain countries to stop politicizing human rights issues.
The representative of Cuba stressed that his delegation voting in favour should not be construed as recognition of the selective politically motivated exercises conducted against developing countries. She rejected the mandates and resolutions adopted within the Council against countries, including Nicaragua, Venezuela, South Sudan, and Sri Lanka. Such practices are only used against developing countries, she asserted, noting that double standards and politicization of work generates confrontation and mistrust.
The representative of Ethiopia voiced concern over the growing selective approach and double standards of human rights issues, contrary to the universal principles of non‑selectivity and impartiality. Such a selective approach undermines the legitimacy of the Council’s work, she said, disassociating from the segment of the report on human rights in Ethiopia.
The representative of Syria, noting that his delegation abstained, criticized the practice of targeting countries by using mechanisms that have no connection with international human rights instruments. Rejecting selectivity and confrontation, he opposed sections of the report, especially those on Syria.
The representative of Eritrea noted that her delegation voted yes. However, her country does not endorse the entire report of the Council, as it contains politically motivated initiatives, she said, reiterating her country’s position against all country‑specific resolutions, which are not based on genuine considerations of human rights in the countries concerned. She disassociated from parts of the report on the human rights situation in Eritrea.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “A global call for concrete action for the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action” (document A/C.3/77/L.23/Rev.1), which the Chair noted contains no programme budget implications.
The representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, introduced the draft, underpinning its concern over the resurgence of racism and related phenomena in all walks of life and calling on States to oppose antisemitism and Islamophobia. New updates include recognition that the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action serves to eliminate all forms of discrimination, including religious discrimination; acknowledgement of the importance of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent in addressing discrimination that African diaspora face in their respective societies; and the need for equal resource distribution. The technical update included an update on the name of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent to correct confusion, that children are subject to institutional and systemic consequences of racism and concerns regarding the lifetime appointment of Durban Declaration experts. He invited all States to co-sponsor and vote in favour of the draft.
The representative of South Africa lamented that entrenched racism and racial discrimination are heinous elements of society, affecting all aspects of life, including inter-State relations. For 21 years, with the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, the global community has tried to address this affliction, but, sadly, it has been conveniently ignored and actively undermined at times, he said. Many countries are frustrated by some States’ lack of commitment to implement the Durban Declaration by stating that it is antisemitic, which is untrue. Others argue that legal accountability does not extend to the past if a crime was not illegal under international law at the time, but that does not exempt States from moral and political responsibility, he said. He called for “righting the wrongs of the past”. This text should be approved by consensus because there should be no disagreement in the fight against discrimination and racism, he said, urging States to take the enlightened moral and legal position and commit to the fight.
The representative of Israel said her country is fully committed to the struggle against all forms of racism and racial discrimination. However, the Durban Declaration was stained by antisemitism, holocaust denial and anti-Israel bias. The 2009 Durban Declaration Review Conference showed that no lessons have been learned since 2001. She reminded the Committee that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a known holocaust denier, used his opening speech to blame the world’s ills on world Zionism. The Durban Declaration was highjacked, making the fight against racism much harder to win. Israel will vote “no” on this draft, she said, urging the world to face the fight against racism together, not apart. This fight should not be another battleground, but should unite the world, she said.
The representative of the United States said his country is profoundly committed to eliminating discrimination, racism, and xenophobia in all its forms at home and abroad. In August, it presented a report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva, which highlighted many actions taken across the entire Government. The international Covenant on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is the strongest multilateral agreement on this issue, he said, welcoming recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues. Concerned by the text’s support for the Durban Declaration, which contains antisemitic references, double-standards, and singles out Israel, he said the United States will vote against the draft.
The representative of the United Kingdom voiced commitment to the fight against xenophobia and racism at home and abroad, which has no place in society. Regarding this text, she did not agree with the reference to the Durban Declaration and its Review Conference. The United Kingdom has repeatedly, including at the Human Rights Council, stressed the importance of finding a new approach to work together in fighting the scourge of racism. However, this text does not offer a new approach, and, as such, she will vote against it.
The Committee approved “L.23/Rev.1” by a recorded vote, by 126 in favour to 17 against, with 36 abstentions.
By its terms, the General Assembly would express profound regret over the evils inflicted on millions as a result of slavery, colonialism, apartheid, genocide and past tragedies, and call on States that have not already done so to dispense reparatory justice. It would also request the Secretary-General to include in his report on implementation of this resolution a section on progress in revitalizing the trust fund for the Programme for the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination as well as to encourage contributions.
The representative of Uruguay, in an explanation of vote after the vote, said that as a member of the Group of 77 and China, the country supported the draft. In particular, the delegation supports actions designed to ensure the rights of Afro‑descendant persons, highlighting the important role that Uruguay’s Afro‑descendent population plays in the development of Uruguayan culture. He then disassociated his delegation from several preambular and operative paragraphs.
The representative of the Czech Republic, speaking on behalf of the European Union and a group of countries in its capacity as observer, said the bloc is committed to eliminating racism by taking effective measures at national and regional levels as well as implementing the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Highlighting his country’s commitment to the Durban declaration and Programme of Action, he expressed appreciation that a paragraph on stereotypes, stigmatization and identity assignment based on race is included in the text. He said the text and its mentioned mechanisms were not discussed thoroughly enough by the Committee, adding that his delegation could not support consensus.
The representative of New Zealand said that racism is unacceptable in all its forms. Recalling that her country’s 1840 Treaty of Waitangi guarantees reciprocal rights between the Māori and the Government, she noted that the country has fallen short, and impacts of colonization are still felt through structural racism and poor outcomes for Māori. New Zealand is committed to addressing these inequities at home as well as at the United Nations.
The representative of Iran said her delegation rejects racism in all its forms. Iran hoped the draft would be approved by consensus, but a vote was called. No amount of deception will conceal the fact that Israeli policies of intimidation and occupation continue to be a source of instability in the Middle East and beyond, she said. Noting that illegal settlements and racism persist among millions of civilians taken hostage by the last apartheid regime of the world, she said: “This level of human rights violation for the twenty‑first century is appalling. Therefore, Iran voted in favour of this important resolution,”.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Universal realization of the right of peoples to self‑determination” (document A/C.3/77/L.48), which the Chair noted contains no programme budget implications.
Introducing the draft, the representative of Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that self‑determination is a principle common to the United Nations Charter, various covenants and the Declaration on Decolonization. Almost all former colonies and subjugated peoples that are today represented as sovereign countries at the United Nations have exercised their right to self‑determination, he added. Noting that peoples still struggling to realize the right are subjected to military action, arbitrary detention, intimidation, curfews and demographic changes by the occupying power, he said he hoped the draft resolution would be approved by consensus.
The representative of Argentina expressed support for peoples under foreign occupation and domination, noting that the right to self‑determination must be interpreted within the framework of the United Nations Charter and relevant resolutions. Adding that the right is only applicable if a people is subjected to domination and foreign occupation, she said the absence of such a situation does not apply to the right to self‑determination. Further, this draft must be interpreted through the framework of relevant adopted resolutions by the General Assembly and the Special Committee on Decolonization.
The representative of the United Kingdom said that respect for the right to self‑determination is an important pillar of the international system and is related to human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Self‑determination also requires free, regular and fair elections within a democratic framework. The scope of the current draft is too narrow, he said, citing inaccuracies in international law, such as self‑determination attaching to nations instead of peoples, as well as the suggestion that self‑determination is a pre‑condition for the enjoyment of human rights. Further, his delegation would have liked to see the right of return included in the text. Despite reservations, the United Kingdom will join consensus, he said.
The representative of India said his country, as a former colony, understands the importance of the principle of self-determination, which cannot be abused to undermine States and should always be seen in historical perspective. The right to self-determination refers to the rights of peoples that have been colonized or continue to be under foreign domination, and peoples of non-self-governing or trust territories, he said. He called “unacceptable” attempts to “reinvent some of the basic principles of the United Nations Charter, such as self-determination, and to apply them selectively for narrow or domestic political ends”.
The representative of the United States, noting that his country will join consensus on the draft, emphasized that the resolution contains many misstatements of international law and is inconsistent with current State practise. He further referred to his country’s Third Committee General Statement.
Without a vote, the Committee then approved “L.48”.
In its terms, the Assembly would be deeply concerned about acts of foreign military intervention and occupation to suppress the right to self-determination of peoples and nations. It would express grave concern that millions of people have been or are being uprooted from their homes as refugees and displaced persons as a result of such interventions. It would call on those States responsible to cease military interventions in and occupation of foreign countries and territories as well as the brutal methods employed against the populations.
The Assembly would further deplore the plight of millions of displaced persons and reaffirm their right to return to their homes in safety. It would request that the Human Rights Council continue monitoring violations to the right to self-determination and request that the Secretary-General report on this question to the General Assembly at its seventy-eighth session.
The representative of Spain noted cases in which colonization attacks the right of a State to retain its territory intact. Asserting that this is the case for Gibraltar, he said the right to self-determination cannot be used to justify colonial situations or undermine the territorial integrity of States. In Gibraltar, “an administering Power of a colonized territory attempts to create the illusion that the colonial tie has disappeared”, he said. At the same time, “these authorities claim that the hypothetical right to self-determination continues to prevail”, he said, noting that the original population was obliged to abandon the colonized territories. Citing General Assembly resolution 2353 (2017), he said the colonial situation of Gibraltar violates his country's territorial integrity. His State considers it “urgent to resume dialogue between Spain and the United Kingdom to find a solution in line with the principles of the United Nations” and reach with that country an agreement on implementation of a new framework for regional cooperation.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “The right of the Palestinian people to self‑determination” (document A/C.3/77/L.50), which the Chair noted contains no programme budget implications.
Introducing the draft, the representative of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said the international community still falls short in operationalizing the basic right of the Palestinian people to self‑determination, as they “continue to suffer under occupation”. She said her group supports realization of this right through establishment of the Palestinian State based on the borders of 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Further, it reaffirms the internationally recognized terms of reference of the peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and calls for an end to the Israeli occupation and violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people. The draft aims to reaffirm the right of the Palestinian people to self‑determination, and support the preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity, and integrity of all the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, she said, urging States to support the text.
A recorded vote was requested.
Speaking before the vote, the observer of Palestine said the right to self‑determination of the Palestinian people is inalienable and its fulfillment the only path towards achieving peace in the Middle East. The Israeli occupation severely impedes the Palestinian people’s exercise of their right to self‑determination, she said. Human rights violations committed by Israel include settlement activities, annexation of Jerusalem, blockade of Gaza, forcible displacement of the Palestinian people, property and land confiscation, exploitation of natural resources, and arbitrary arrests. These are “grave breaches” of international law, she said, underscoring the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by force and the right of the Palestinian people to self‑determination, adding that “these violations must end for peace to begin”. She called on States to vote for the text.
The representative of Israel said his country does not dispute the right of people to self-determination, stressing that every year it joins consensus on the parallel resolution on the universal realization of this right. However, she disputed the political motive behind this resolution. She noted a pattern that begins with adoption of non‑selective resolutions by consensus, then moves to Palestinians abusing these topics to push their agenda through political resolutions. Imagine if the United Nations gave all those seeking self‑determination even a tenth of the attention it gives the Palestinians? she asked. The draft is about the United Nations acting as a partner for peace, not about “allowing authoritarian regimes such as those in Damascus and Tehran to pose as defenders of Palestinian rights, while violating the same rights of their own populations back home”, she said. This resolution represents “a relic of the past, when Israel stood alone in the Middle East”, and “when the United Nations was simply used as a tool to undermine Israel’s very existence”, she added. Saying that her delegation requested a recorded vote and will vote against, she called on States to do the same, adding that terrorist attacks are not a way to promote peace.
The representative of the United States opposed one‑sided language in the text unfairly targeting Israel. This draft does not create conditions that promote negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians towards the two‑State solution, he said, adding that his delegation will vote against the draft.
A recorded vote was requested on the draft.
The Committee then approved draft resolution “L.50” by a recorded vote of 167 in favour to 5 against (Nauru, Marshall Islands, United States, Israel, Micronesia), with 7 abstentions (Cameroon, Kiribati, Guatemala, Palau, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Togo).
By its terms, the Assembly would stress the urgency of ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 as well as a just, lasting peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, based on relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the Madrid terms of reference, including the Arab Peace Initiative and Quartet Road map to a permanent two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It would also stress the need to respect the territorial integrity of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. Further, the Assembly would urge all States and the United Nations to continue to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.
The representative of Australia, noting that her delegation voted in favour of the draft, recognized the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future State. The two‑State solution can only be achieved through a negotiated outcome between the parties, she said, adding that Australia will continue to oppose anti‑Israel bias.
The representative of South Africa underscored that this issue has been established through numerous resolutions in the General Assembly and the Security Council. His country recognizes the reality as it stands: Palestinians are being denied their right to self‑determination by Israel. The continued colonial occupation is a violation of international law, he asserted, adding that Israel’s actions are amounting to annexation. He stressed that the international community continues to fail to take concrete action against this crime of colonial apartheid.
The representative of Argentina, noting that her delegation voted in favour of the draft, supported the right of the Palestinian people to self‑determination and to an independent State of Palestine. To this end, she stressed the need to foster a negotiating process.
Right of Reply
The representative of the United Kingdom, responding to Spain in exercise of the right of reply, recalled his country’s sovereignty over Gibraltar and the territorial waters surrounding it. He reaffirmed that the people of Gibraltar enjoy the right to self‑determination. Gibraltar has a democracy of its own and its Government is responsible for all policy areas, apart from foreign affairs, defence, and internal security, he said, reiterating his country’s commitment to safeguard Gibraltar, its people and economy.
The representative of Spain, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, stressed that the colonial state of Gibraltar is governed by the principle of territorial integrity, not self-determination. Gibraltar is a colony included on the list of non‑self‑governing territories, he said, recalling that the waters around Gibraltar are sovereign Spanish waters.
The representative of the United Kingdom, in exercise of the right of reply, said the country refutes allegations that it illegally occupies waters surrounding Gibraltar. Under international law and established by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, territorial water flows from sovereignty over the land. The State that is sovereign over the land is also sovereign over territorial waters out to three nautical miles or the median line. As such, he is sure of his country’s sovereignty over Gibraltar territorial waters. To uphold this sovereignty, the United Kingdom will uphold a range of proportionate diplomatic and naval responses to illegal incursions by Spanish State vessels.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Human rights treaty body system” (document A/C.3/77/L.40), which the Chair noted contains no programme budget implications.
The representative of Iceland, on behalf of Belgium, Slovenia, and the Nordic countries, introduced “L.40”, noting its importance in strengthening the functioning of the human rights treaty body system. The 2014 resolution on the topic, despite significant challenges, was an important step in addressing critical elements and putting in place measures to support State party reporting, he said. This year, the draft is updated to include acknowledgement of the effect of the COVID‑19 pandemic on the work of the human rights treat body system and build on lessons learned, including in relation to contemporary digitalization.
The Committee approved “L.40”, without a vote.
By its terms, the General Assembly would invite the Chairs of the human rights treaty bodies to engage in an interactive dialogue with it at its seventy‑eighth and seventy‑ninth sessions. It would encourage all stakeholders to continue their efforts for full implementation of resolution 68/268 on “Strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system”. Also by the text, the Assembly would note that the COVID‑19 pandemic showed the need to strengthen the capacity of treaty bodies to interact online as well as the potential of digitalization for the improved efficiency of such bodies and interaction with stakeholders. It would also encourage them to continue their efforts to further the use of digital technologies in their work, while stressing that in-person interaction remains a crucial component.
The representative of El Salvador said her delegation joined consensus on the draft. She regretted that operative paragraph 23 of A/RES/68/268 (2014) was not included in this iteration and called on the Office of the High Representative of Human Rights to ensure that countries, when a report on them is being considered, are able to participate via videoconference to facilitate the greatest level of participation.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “The role of Ombudsman and mediator institutions in the promotion and protection of human rights, good governance and the rule of law” (document A/C.3/77/L.39), as orally revised, which the Chair noted contained no programme budget implications.
The representative of Morocco introduced the draft, urging Member States to support and scale up efforts already in place, particularly those related to Ombudsman and mediator institutions’ independence, in line with the Venice Principles. Given yesterday’s late and unplanned reception of programme budget implications, her delegation circulated an email indicating the repression of the first part of operative paragraph 12 on programme budget implications, which reads “and to the Human Rights Council, at its 54th Session”.
The Committee approved “L.39” as orally revised, without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would note with serious concern that Ombudsman and mediator institutions experience threats to their autonomy or security. It would stress the importance of the financial and administrative independence of these institutions, and that they play an important role in advising Governments’ national policies, bringing them in line with their international human rights obligations. The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the present resolution to the General Assembly at its seventy‑eighth session and to the Human Rights Council at its fifty‑fourth session.
The representative of Japan welcomed the draft’s approval by consensus and appreciated the facilitator’s decision to orally amend the draft before the vote. He reiterated that Member States should be informed of additional costs to the programme budget during consultations.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief” (document A/C.3/77/L.47), which the chair noted contains no programme budget implications.
Introducing the text, the representative of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said it is in times of travesty that extremist ideology and discourse increase, creating a breeding ground for hate speech, discrimination and violence based on religion or belief. She expressed deep concern at the rise of discrimination and incitement to violence based on religion or religious belief and the facilitation of these by the internet. Underscoring the role of inter-religious and cultural dialogue to combat hatred, she stressed that States have an obligation to adopt preventive approaches to eliminate intolerance and violence against persons based on religious belief on and offline. She called on the Committee to approve the draft by consensus.
The committee then approved the text of “L.47” without a vote.
By its terms, the Assembly would condemn criminal acts committed by extremist groups against persons based on their religion or belief and would deeply regret attempts to link such acts to any one specific religion or belief. It would be deeply concerned about discrimination and violence against persons based on their religion and about the prevalence of impunity by perpetrators. Further, the Assembly would express concern over increasing intolerance based on religion or belief generating hatred among individuals from and within different nations.
Also by the text, the Assembly would express deep concern at continued instances of derogatory stereotyping and stigmatization of persons based on their religion or belief, as well as agendas pursued by extremist individuals and organizations perpetuating negative stereotypes about religious groups, especially when condoned by Governments. It would further condemn any advocacy of religious hatred inciting hostility or violence in any media and call on States to adopt policies to protect places of worship, cemeteries and shrines if they are vulnerable to vandalism or destruction.
The Committee next took up the draft resolution titled “Addressing the world drug problem through a comprehensive and balanced approach” (document A/C.3/77/L.13/Rev.1), which the Chair noted contained no programme budget implications.
The representative of Mexico, introducing “L.13/Rev.1”, said the world drug problem is far from resolved and increases annually. This challenge poses huge costs for the public sector, including on health, penitentiary system, and judicial system, as well as on individuals, their families, and society. Statistics on deaths from overdoses are shocking, despite the world’s effective measures to prevent them. She showcased the undeniable link between drugs, weapons and organized crime, underlining the importance of a multisectoral approach addressing human rights, health, and national security, in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UN-Women, and civil society. With this text, the Committee addresses causes and consequences and minimizes the cost of life.
The Czech Republic’s representative, on behalf of the European Union in its capacity as observer, said that addressing the world’s drug situation is a major priority for his bloc, which places high importance on achieving a balance between criminal justice and international cooperation as well as the perspectives of victims and the negative effect of drug use on society, while taking a human rights‑based approach. He deeply regretted that no consensus was reached this year. Legitimate concerns were heard, most on the text being too narrow. However, this resolution sends a strong signal to the victims of drug trafficking that their perspectives do not go unseen. The European Union will vote in favour of the draft, he said, urging others to do the same.
In his national capacity, he thanked the Chair for his work during the session.
The representative of Guatemala reiterated her firm commitment to combatting drug trafficking, which threatens constitutional rule of law. This scourge can be halted through international cooperation, stronger institutions, and full respect for human rights. Guatemala cosponsored the draft, which reiterates concepts expressed in all the omnibus resolutions and establishes a balance between the law, administration, criminal justice, public health, human rights, and the prevention of addiction. An integral approach must be the point of departure to ensure access to controlled substances for medical purposes. Any approach to criminal justice must also promote the health of individuals, without promoting stigmatization.
The representative of India expressed concern that the text has been changed compared to previous omnibus resolutions. The text has become unbalanced and non‑comprehensive, excluding many critical paragraphs, in particular language on the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in monitoring States’ implementation of the three international drug control conventions. Moreover, the role of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has been reduced as well as references to tools developed by the International Narcotics Control Board. He proposed reinstating paragraphs with agreed language, which would have helped in bringing the Committee closer to consensus. The Committee should refrain from encroaching on the mandate of Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the International Narcotics Control Board, for which the appropriate forums are in Vienna. Therefore, India will abstain from voting.
The representative of Jamaica warned about the threat drug use and trafficking has on public health and socioeconomic development. International cooperation and synergies are critical in the fight against illicit drugs, which is why her delegation will vote in favour. It was unfortunate that she was unable to co‑sponsor this year because the omnibus draft was forgone and a draft limited in scope was presented. Key elements are lost, she said, referring to the recontextualization of agreed technical language and the role of stakeholders, as well as Member States commitments, and the role of the International Narcotics Control Board and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in ensuring governments meet their obligations, despite efforts and flexibility of Member States. She concluded that a draft with a new title and new focus should be considered as a new text, as it does not reflect consensus.
The representative of Egypt said that this draft is, despite its title, very far from “comprehensive and balanced.” To present something concise and readable, the drafter does away with the criminal justice system and law enforcement, undermining the whole international drug system. The summarizing does not stop there as agreed language on United Nations bodies is severely cut and diluted. Moreover, the negotiating process was not transparent, and delegations were not provided with information on the draft’s status. Misinformation and incorrect messages were communicated throughout the process, which is why her delegation will abstain from voting.
The representative of Colombia called on the international community to generate responses to the broader problem of drug trafficking and related crimes. He highlighted explicit mention in the text of the need to step up efforts to combat manufacture and elicit trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances. In tackling the global drug problem, he stressed the importance of preventive measures and respect for human rights with no exclusions. His delegation will vote in favour of the draft, he added.
The representative of Iran, noting that all States have the responsibility to fight against the world drug problem, stressed the importance of crime prevention, punishment of offenders, effective law enforcement, and police and security cooperation. The draft rejected many important suggestions and, as a result, contains non-consensual language, she cautioned. Pointing to the situation in her country, she said armed drug traffickers with heavy machine guns are moving across the borders in convoys. Her delegation will vote “no”, she said, disassociating from all non-consensual language retained in the text.
The representative of Canada, calling for a balanced and comprehensive approach, said that the resolution contains strong language that reflects the consensus reached within the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. He underscored the need to implement scientific and evidence-based practices as well as the importance of cooperation with relevant entities within the United Nations system. His delegation will vote in favour, he added.
The representative of the United Kingdom underlined the need to protect the most vulnerable and help those with drug dependency to recover and turn their lives around. The text does not reduce the importance of law enforcement efforts to tackle these issues, he stressed, adding that it seeks to build on these already strong areas to enhance cooperation on a broad range of issues. Expressing regret that consensus on the text has been broken, he said his delegation will vote in favour.
The representative of Switzerland expressed deep concern about the strong opposition delegations have voiced against the basis of the document. He also voiced regret that the resolution focuses on reducing supply and demand, ignoring issues of controlled medication. Also, the draft fails to mention harm reduction as the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has advised, which could help reduce consumption and curb the HIV epidemic linked to drug use. He welcomed references to human rights in the resolution, while pointing to numerous caveats introduced in the draft. His delegation will vote in favour, he added.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that the draft bears no resemblance to the annual omnibus resolution. The issue with the draft is what it is lacking vis-à-vis the omnibus resolution adopted last year. For example, the draft fails to mention the elimination of poppy cultivation. The world drug problem is a complex phenomenon, posing a threat to the national security of many countries, including the Russian Federation, he asserted.
The representative of Sri Lanka said the more people use illicit drugs, the more people abuse them. Laws against possession and distribution of these drugs make them harder to obtain, he observed, adding that when enforced, these laws overburden the criminal justice system. The main focus of the resolution has been diluted by new provisions that are not integral, he cautioned, adding that his delegation will abstain.
The representative of Luxembourg, aligning with the European Union, said that the world drug problem requires a balance between human rights and other matters, noting that the text calls for a balanced approach combined with agreed-upon language from previous years. Expressing disappointment that a vote was called, she said her delegation would vote in favour.
The representative of Nigeria reaffirmed her country’s commitment to ratified conventions and plans of action. His delegation was unable to join consensus, she said, pointing to a rushed negotiation process, which produced a lopsided text that doesn’t reflect Nigeria’s position. Further, she expressed disappointment that language in paragraph 16, condemning racism against African people and people of African descent in the criminal justice system, was replaced with “persons who are vulnerable or marginalized”. “This is appalling, to say the least”, she said. Requesting that the omnibus resolution be submitted next year, she said her delegation will vote against the draft resolution.
The representative of Türkiye recalled a disorganized negotiation process for the text, expressing concern that it lacks the balance of previous resolutions as well as elements of international drug control and law enforcement. The text presented today is a totally different product than the resolution adopted last year, he said, adding that his delegation could not support it.
The representative of Senegal highlighted that drug production, addiction, and crime have increased in the wake of the COVID‑19 pandemic, expressing concern about the lack of access to treatment, especially for women. He said the developing world is particularly affected by the world drug problem and suggested that a zero-tolerance approach and criminalization is appropriate. Expressing regret that the text is weak on sanctions, he disassociated from non-consensual language on gender throughout the text.
The representative of Pakistan raised serious reservations about the text, including confusion about whether it is an omnibus resolution or during negotiations and the absence of language on criminal justice. Further, basic principles on international drug cooperation are revised, she said. Pakistan considers this resolution a precedent meant to undermine other omnibus approaches and will vote against the draft.
The representative of Libya said that addressing the drug problem is a matter of national security and can only succeed by including law enforcement and human rights. Changing the substance from the omnibus resolution to focusing on human rights makes the text unbalanced, he said, adding that his delegation will abstain from the vote.
The representative of France expressed regret that a vote was called, but said his delegation will vote in favour of the draft, encouraging other countries to do so.
The representative of Mexico said it is unfortunate that the Russian Federation delegation failed to mention its intention in a timely manner, as is customary, adding that the Committee suffers from a trend of disinformation. The resolution is a product of 25 hours of negotiations and compromise, she said, expressing regret that the Russian Federation set a precedent in calling for a vote. She rejected the idea that incorporating human rights language negates human rights instruments and invited countries to vote in favour of the draft and in favour of human rights.
The Committee then approved the draft by a vote of 116 in favour, 9 against (Belarus, Cameroon, Iran, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Syria and Türkiye) with 45 abstentions.
By its terms, the General Assembly would condemn any discriminatory or violent practices perpetrated by law enforcement officials against marginalized persons, including systemic racism in law enforcement and criminal justice systems. It would express deep concern that drug traffickers are heavily armed with firearms obtained through trafficking, exposing people to a significant level of violence and harm. Further, it would express concern that illicit cultivation of drug crops can cause serious harm to the environment, deforestation and groundwater contamination.
Also by the text, the Assembly would urge Member States and other donors to continue to fund the global drug problem response to address the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic among people who inject drugs, and in prisons. It would request UNODC to continue assisting Member States in strengthening reporting mechanisms through data collection and analysis at the national level, which might highlight the links between drug trafficking and firearms trafficking. Finally, it would call on Member States to adapt their drug policies to respond to the specific needs of members of society in situations of vulnerability.
The representative of Malaysia said the three drug conventions are paramount in addressing the global drug problem, as a multidimensional approach is key. However, he expressed concern that the draft is neither comprehensive nor balanced, contrary to its title. The text is severely limited on international cooperation and law enforcement, but places excessive emphasis on the human rights dimension, without mentioning the goal of a world free of drug abuse. The role of bodies like the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the International Narcotics Control Board, and UNODC is limited in the draft. Moreover, the process was plagued with ambiguity and decisions were not clearly communicated, he said, adding that his delegation abstained from voting on the text.
The representative of Cuba said her country remains firmly committed to the international legal framework on drugs control, including the three conventions on drugs, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the International Narcotics Control Board. A multisectoral approach is needed, she said, adding that her delegation objects to priorities for a human rights approach. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs is the main United Nations body to deal with this topic. Moreover, the Committee should not use terms that are unclear, noting that her delegation abstained from the vote.
The representative of Venezuela said that, in countering the world drug problem the international community should foster a vision drawing on common, consensual principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities. The global approach on this topic should be based on international cooperation and technical assistance, while respecting sovereignty. The final text does not strike the right balance for all parties, he said, expressing hope for consensus in the future. The role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the three conventions on drugs and the General Assembly should be better reflected as well as the importance of compliance with the law and other elements from omnibus resolutions.
The representative of Saudi Arabia, on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said she abstained from voting this year. Drastic changes introduced require more time for national competent bodies to fully understand the ramifications. The drug problem jeopardizes the future of all countries, and the international community should rely on international cooperation and United Nations agencies to solve problems and find solutions.
The representative of Nicaragua noted that the facilitators did not include previously agreed language, moving away from consensus on omnibus resolutions. For example, this time there were only four paragraphs on implementation of the law, instead of 15. He called for efforts to bolster international cooperation with greater financial resources for drug transit countries. His country is sacrificing resources that should have gone to housing or education. Nicaragua functions as a “containment wall” against drug trafficking, contributing to regional security. He warned that principles of international cooperation are being replaced with notions of human rights, while countering the scourge of drugs related to international security. For those reasons, he voted against the draft.
The representative of Singapore said her delegation joined consensus on the omnibus resolutions to counter the world drug problem. However, she has serious concerns about this text, as it is imbalanced and does not adequately reflect the drug problem’s severity, cherry picking language from previous omnibus resolutions and omitting key elements. Moreover, there should be more focus on dealing with the harm that drug abuse and trafficking inflicts on societies, instead of undue emphasis on drug abuse at the expense of equally important elements like criminal justice, law, and cooperation. There were also procedural issues, as the facilitator did not inform delegations beforehand that it was not updating the omnibus but was instead introducing a new draft. For these reasons, her delegation abstained from voting.
The representative of Iraq called for cooperation with competent United Nations agencies in tackling the world drug problem. The omnibus resolution from last year was balanced, in tandem with the three international conventions on drugs, he recalled, adding that the Third Committee is not the right forum to deliberate on the drug problem to justify such drastic changes. Her delegation decided to abstain.
The representative of Viet Nam reiterated his country’s commitment to prevent and eradicate the drug problem and minimize harm caused by drugs. Underscoring the great importance of the three international drug conventions as well as the leading role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), he stressed that the complex and expanding drug problem has been causing great challenges to all States, threatening their security and social order. The draft is unbalanced, one-sided and fails to consider the views of all delegations, he asserted.
The representative of China said his country is fully committed to promoting the rule of law in all aspects by putting in place balanced drug-control strategies. Countries should be guided by the three major drug conventions, he said, underscoring also the role of UNODC in coordinating drug control policies. His delegation will abstain, he added.
The representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis stressed that her country has experienced first-hand the impact of the world drug problem, including the illicit flow of small arms and light weapons. The world drug problem is a national security and criminal justice issue and should be treated as such, she underscored, voicing dissatisfaction with the manner that this agenda item has been handled this year. The confusion that has plagued this agenda item is unfortunate, she said, noting that all processes must be conducted in a transparent manner.
The representative of Eritrea said that combatting the drug problem is a challenge that requires multilateral cooperation. The text approved today failed to recognize drug problems that nations across the world face and various interventions needed to address it, she said.
The representative of the United States, voicing regret over the call for today’s unprecedented vote, reiterated his country’s commitment to more constructive work, with a view of returning this text to consensus.
The representative of Indonesia stressed the need to prevent the drug problem through national policies. Her country has consistently advocated for the rights of individuals for good welfare, she said. The facilitator ignored a large number of proposals of Member States to strike balance. The text should avoid politicization of human rights to promote certain views, she stressed.
The representative of Mongolia said his Government has always emphasized its commitment to combating the world drug problem. While his delegation has co-sponsored the draft in the past, this year it did not due to the negotiation process. He called for more negotiation among Member States and pledged Mongolia’s cooperation in future.
The representative of Lebanon welcomed the draft, specifically on language about human rights. Adding that the order of paragraphs in the text was not ideal, she reiterated Lebanon’s commitment to all efforts in combating drugs.
The representative of Syria said his country has a zero-tolerance policy for drugs, expressing disappointment that, although the text was approved by consensus, another resolution seemed to be lost in the process. The text is unbalanced and does not reflect all Member States’ input, he said, adding that his delegation voted against it.
The observer for the Holy See said his delegation supports initiatives fighting the evils of drug-use, which shatter lives and families. He said the drug problem should be addressed without legalizing drugs and efforts should focus on prevention instead. Adding that the text is unbalanced, he expressed concern that its restricted scope will limit its impact. His delegation hopes for a different approach next year, he said.
The Committee then took up a text on “Draft programme of work of the Third Committee for the seventy-eighth session of the General Assembly” (document A/C.3/77/L.67), approving it by consensus.
Speaking after the approval, several delegates, including representatives of El Salvador, Federated States of Micronesia and Australia raised the issue of organization with the Chair, asking for clearer, more streamlined calendars so that smaller delegations do not have to choose between meetings next year.
JOSÉ ALFONSO BLANCO CONDE (Dominican Republic), Chair of the Third Committee, then focused on programme planning, noting that on 12 October a meeting was convened to consider international drug control, crime, terrorism prevention and criminal justice, human rights and international protection, durable solutions and assistance to refugees for the proposed programme budget for 2023. In a letter addressed to the Chair of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) on 26 October, he transmitted a summary of the meeting so that views could be taken into consideration on programmes 13, 20 and 21 by the Fifth Committee. The Chair expressed his sincere gratitude to the commitment, contributions, and work of the members of the Committee, underlining the importance and crucial nature of matters it considers, including children’s rights, crime prevention and criminal justice. In this first in-person session after the pandemic, he expressed confidence that better results were reached with face-to-face meetings. During these eight weeks, the Committee engaged in 54 plenary meetings, heard 627 statements in the general debate — the highest in 10 years — held interactive dialogues with 71 special procedure mandate holders — a record — heard 1,338 statements by delegations — also the highest number in 10 years – and held 327 informal consultations of one and a half hours each. The Committee approved 51 resolutions, 1 decision and 14 amendments, with a total of 28 recorded votes.
He also thanked the Group of Latin America and Caribbean countries for allowing him to take on the role of Chair this year, as well as the Bureau, the Vice-Chairs, Special Rapporteur and the Secretariat. He thanked all people involved in bringing the session to a successful close, including sound engineers, interpreters, conference officers, press officers and finally his team from the Dominican Republic. “We must keep bridges and doors open, each of you can make a difference,” he concluded.
In points of order, the representatives of the United Kingdom, Syria, Egypt, and the Chair recited humorous poems.