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Summary record of the 18th meeting : 3rd Committee, held on Thursday, 28 October 1993, New York, General Assembly, 48th session.

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/48/SR.18
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 48th
Type Document

10 p.

Subjects Crime Prevention, Criminal Justice, Organized Crime, Drug Traffic, Drug Control, Criminal Law, Illegal Immigration, Persons with Disabilities, Equal Opportunity

Extracted Text

General Assembly
Official Records
18th meeting
held on
Thursday, 28 October 1993
at 10 a.m.
New York
Chairman: Ms. AL-HAMAMI (Yemen)
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member of the
delegation concerned within one week of the date of the publication to the Chief of the Official Records
Editing Section, room DC2-794, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a copy of the record.
Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each Committee.
3 December 1993
93-81915 (E) /...
Page 2
In the absence of Mr. Kukan (Slovakia), Ms. Al-Hamami (Yemen),
Vice-Chairman, took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 10.20 a.m.
(continued) (A/48/3, chap. VII.D; A/48/24, A/48/56-E/1993/6, A/48/207, A/48/289,
A/48/291, A/48/293, A/48/359, A/48/462, A/48/476, A/48/484; E/1993/50/Rev.1;
A/C.3/48/L.2, L.3, L.4)
1. Mr. HAMZAH (Singapore) stated that a country’s social progress was a
measure of the extent to which human rights were respected. There was
increasing agreement that social progress and quality of life were closely
linked to the exercise of fundamental human rights. The latter encompassed such
diverse spheres as social security, working conditions, family life,
disadvantaged groups, basic health care, housing and education. It was the
responsibility of States to ensure to their citizens an environment conducive to
the exercise of those rights. At the World Conference on Human Rights in
Vienna, the right to development had been reaffirmed as an inalienable and
universal right. Nevertheless, as the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and
Social Development had indicated in his preface to the Report on the World
Social Situation 1993 (E/1993/50), the economic crisis had prompted Governments
to reduce social spending. At the same time, poverty, unemployment and the
ageing of populations had highlighted the importance of social welfare policies.
2. Singapore had succeeded, through favourable social policies, in ensuring
social justice and stability, which had in turn promoted economic growth. That
experience nevertheless showed that such conditions were not attainable without
an effective, efficient and honest Government that could ensure security,
improved standard of living and social progress.
3. Owing to its unique historical circumstances and to its preoccupation with
Asian values, Singapore had needed to fashion an approach of its own. Its
policies were not based in welfarism, which in its view blunted the incentive to
self-reliance and personal initiative. Its social welfare programmes gave
assistance only to those truly in need. The Government of Singapore believed
that its role was to guarantee to all citizens employment, housing, basic health
care and education. Such were the preconditions for the enjoyment of basic
human rights.
4. He drew attention to the text of his speech, which had been distributed to
the members of the Third Committee, and which described in detail Singapore’s
national programmes in the spheres of education, health, housing, social
security, family and social welfare. As the Foreign Minister of his country had
remarked during the World Conference on Human Rights in June 1993, the enjoyment
of human rights and social and economic development and the exercise of good
government called for a balance between the rights of the individual and those
of the community. Such an environment fostered respect for the rights of
minorities and other disadvantaged groups.
Page 3
(Mr. Hamzah, Singapore)
5. Social progress was not, however, possible without a strong, healthy
economy: there could be no social "software" without economic "hardware".
6. Lastly, he acknowledged that while Singapore’s social and economic policies
had been successful, they were perhaps not applicable to other countries; each
society had to find its own model for social progress.
7. The CHAIRMAN said that the Committee had concluded its general debate on
item 109 and invited it to turn to item 110.
8. Mr. GIACOMELLI (Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna)
stated that, owing to the restructuring of the economic and social sectors of
the United Nations, responsibility for social development and the advancement of
women had been transferred from Vienna to New York. The crime prevention and
criminal justice programme had been kept in Vienna, under his supervision, and
his introductory remarks would address its work and the global environment in
which it performed.
9. The past year had underlined the signal importance of crime prevention and
criminal justice for good government, sustained development, the transition to
democracy and respect for human rights. It had also highlighted their direct
relevance to other ongoing United Nations concerns such as peace-keeping and
technical and humanitarian assistance.
10. Political and ethnic strife, the assassination of key officials and
ordinary banditry had taken their toll in innocent victims, including a growing
number of United Nations peace-keepers. Organized crime was undermining the
quest for development and progress towards democracy. Countries of the third
world and those in transition were particularly threatened, and deserved the
solidarity and concrete assistance of the international community.
11. Organized crime was the most nefarious manifestation of crime, since,
through related criminal activity, such as drug trafficking and corruption, it
subverted national economies and easily eluded pursuit.
12. An integrated approach to the problem was thus a prime objective of the
United Nations Office at Vienna. Such an approach called for close cooperation
with the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch and the United Nations
International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). The United Nations Office at
Vienna had also taken into consideration the priorities set by the Commission on
Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, as well as the relevant initiatives
adopted by the Economic and Social Council in resolutions 1993/27 through
13. A World Ministerial Conference on Organized Transnational Crime would
therefore be held in Italy in 1994 to map out more effective national and
international strategies for prevention and control. A conference on money
laundering would be held, also in Italy, by the International Scientific and
Professional Advisory Council (ISPAC), in cooperation with the Italian
Government, under the auspices of the United Nations. Meetings of experts on
Page 4
(Mr. Giacomelli)
other aspects of transnational crime, such as, for example, ecological crime,
would be held during the year in Vienna.
14. Those activities would contribute to preparations for the Ninth United
Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders to be
held in Africa in 1995. Its rules of procedure had been amended and, for the
first time, the Congress would offer a series of practical workshops to
facilitate the concrete exchange of expertise and experience in a number of
areas. Preparations for regional meetings were currently under way; they would
be held during the first part of 1994, so that they could report to the
Commission at its third session. United Nations regional institutes and
commissions were generously assisting. He was grateful to them, particularly
since some of them were in precarious positions.
15. The serious situation of the United Nations African Institute for the
Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders was the subject of the report
before the Committee (A/48/332). It had carried out some pioneering work, but
its potential was being stifled by the shortage of funds. He called on African
member States to remit their outstanding contributions and appealed to UNDP to
continue its support. He also urged other international funding agencies and
potential donors to consider ways of supporting the Institute and its
counterpart in Latin America so that they could render the necessary services to
their regions. He took the opportunity to express his heartfelt appreciation to
the host Governments of those and other, affiliated institutes, namely Uganda,
Costa Rica, Japan, Finland, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Canada. He was
particularly grateful to the Italian Government for its generous support to the
United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, which was an
essential component of the Programme.
16. The institutes fulfilled key training and research functions and also
assisted countries in their efforts to stem crime and modernize the
administration of justice. In accordance with the directives of the Commission
everything possible was being done to make crime prevention and the criminal
justice programme as a whole as practical as possible. With help from some
Governments the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch was carrying out
several technical assistance projects designed to upgrade national systems and
to foster collaborative initiatives taken by groups of States. It was
endeavouring to meet the needs both of developing countries (for example, by
helping the members of the Economic Community of West African States to
formulate a new convention) and of countries in transition (for example, through
an experimental criminal justice reform project in the Russian Federation).
17. The programme was also playing a significant role in United Nations
peace-keeping operations. The Chief of the Crime Prevention and Criminal
Justice Branch, while on assignment with the United Nations Transitional
Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), had taken an active part in the elaboration of a
new penal code and related dispositions. A code of conduct for law enforcement
officials had also been formulated and a training programme had been initiated.
An officer of the Branch was serving with the United Nations Protection Force
(UNPROFOR) and a United Nations handbook of criminal justice standards for
peace-keeping police had been drafted. A workshop on the role of civilian
police in United Nations operations, organized in Graz in February 1993 with
Page 5
(Mr. Giacomelli)
participants from all major peace-keeping operations, had recommended closer
cooperation between the Crime Programme and the Department of Peace-keeping
18. A meeting of experts, organized by the International Centre for Criminal
Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy in Vancouver, in cooperation with UNOV,
and another held in Oñati, Spain, under the auspices of ISPAC, had made salient
recommendations on the work of an international criminal tribunal.
19. The Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch had also led a mission to
Somalia to propose ways of strengthening law enforcement and re-establishing a
viable criminal justice system, in implementation of the plan approved by the
Security Council. It had also helped the Government of El Salvador to develop a
civilian police force and it stood ready to continue contributing to other major
peace-keeping operations, such as those in Haiti and Mozambique.
20. As countries confronted the painful dilemma of safeguarding fragile
freedoms in the face of escalating crime, they increasingly looked to the United
Nations for assistance. Realizing that they could not deal with organized crime
on their own, they were eager to work together and pool know-how and
disinterested, objective advice. UNOV had a special responsibility in that
21. The extent to which it could discharge that role depended, however, on the
level of available resources. The cost of crime was astronomical, particularly
the hidden, non-quantifiable costs, and Governments had to show they were ready
to translate their eloquent pronouncements, such as the Versailles statement of
principles and programme of action, into concrete terms. As a result of its
recent restructuring, the programme was acquiring a higher profile, but
Governments’ expectations had increased. Although a new subprogramme on
operational activities had been included in the medium-term plan and programme
budget proposals, field projects were severely hampered by the scarcity of
resources. In spite of the calls for strengthening the programme and upgrading
the Branch to a Division, contained in General Assembly resolutions 46/152 and
47/91 and Economic and Social Council resolutions 1992/22 and 1993/31, action on
a comprehensive budgetary review of the programme had once again been deferred.
While the professional dedication of the Branch personnel was inestimable,
dedication alone was not sufficient. The international community was looking to
the Commission for leadership in a challenging and ever-changing field and the
credibility of the United Nations was at stake. Crime prevention and criminal
justice were basic to the realization of the primary concerns of the United
Nations: human rights, democracy, good governance, peace and sustainable
22. Miss FOSTIER (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Community and
its member States, said that the international community was concerned about the
social and economic implications of the development and diversification of
criminal activity at both national and transnational level.
23. The European Community was convinced of the need to intensify international
cooperation and increase its effectiveness in combating organized crime. In
that connection she stressed the importance of the United Nations crime
Page 6
(Miss Fostier, Belgium)
prevention and criminal justice programme and of the new Commission on Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice established by the Economic and Social Council;
she had heard with great interest the results of its second session, held from
13 to 23 April 1993. She shared the Committee’s hope that mechanisms aimed at
determining the objectives and specific activities of the programme would be set
up. In that regard she recommended maintaining the priorities reaffirmed in
Economic and Social Council resolution 1993/34, which stressed the need to
combat national and transnational crime, particularly organized crime.
24. As for the new fields of operational activity, such as environmental crime,
crime prevention in urban areas, technical cooperation and advisory services,
the European Community recalled General Assembly resolution 47/91, which had
requested the Secretary-General to upgrade the Crime Prevention and Criminal
Justice Branch into a division of the Secretariat and to implement resolution
46/152, as well as Economic and Social Council resolution 1992/22 concerning
crime prevention and criminal justice.
25. The member States of the European Community drew the attention of the
General Assembly to the organization in Italy of a World Ministerial Conference
on Organized Transnational Crime, to take place during the third quarter of
1994, which would help promote international cooperation in combating such forms
of crime and bring about concerted action on such matters as the exchange of
general information and specific data.
26. The European Community and its member States were stepping up their efforts
to cooperate on mutual assistance in judicial, police and customs matters. They
were acquiring new means of action, for instance by setting up "EUROPOL", which
was intended to strengthen police cooperation in the Community. As to the
prevention of organized crime, a working group set up in 1992 was to report to
the ministers on the other measures that should be adopted by States members of
the Community. The Community had also started to motivate the countries of
Central and Eastern Europe which, in striving to achieve democracy, would have
to cope with an increase in criminal activities and organized crime. The
Community also contributed to work already undertaken along such lines by the
Council of Europe.
27. At their meeting of 28 September 1993, the Ministers of Justice of the
States members of the Community had adopted an important declaration stating
their intention to simplify the extradition procedure between States members of
the Community in the near future. The judicial cooperation group on criminal
matters within the Twelve was entrusted with following up that ministerial
28. The entry into force of the Treaty on European Union should add a new
dimension allowing for greater cooperation among member States in the field of
justice and home affairs. The European Community was committed to improving
cooperation in the prevention of drug trafficking and was stepping up police
cooperation among member States on drug-related and serious crime.
29. The States members of the European Community reiterated the importance of
all States ratifying the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in
Page 7
(Miss Fostier, Belgium)
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988). Furthermore, they emphasized
that it would be in the interest of States to ratify the Council of Europe
Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds of
Crime (1990).
30. In conclusion, she reiterated her appreciation on behalf of the States
members of the European Community for the work accomplished through the United
Nations in crime prevention and criminal justice matters; the rationalization of
the activities of the Organization in that area bore witness to the will of the
international community to enhance its cooperation efforts.
31. Mrs. PETERSON (United States of America) said that her Government supported
the efforts made by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at
its thirty-second session to concentrate on substantive issues rather than
organizational matters. On that occasion the Commission was expected to provide
the Secretariat with substantive guidance on certain important practical aspects
of its programme of work.
32. In its task the Commission should first of all focus its attention on
technical assistance, cooperation and on seeking practical solutions to the
problems of money laundering, compiling crime statistics, extradition and
organized crime, bearing in mind that the respect of human rights was an
integral part of criminal justice programmes. To that end the Commission had
decided to consider as a matter of priority, at its next session, the
implementation and use of five major instruments on law enforcement. However,
it should be careful to avoid any overlapping with the work of other United
Nations bodies such as the Commission on Human Rights and its Subcommission on
the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities.
33. The Commission must also take account of the financial resources available
to the Organization and, among the proposals which warranted its support, choose
only those which concerned matters of absolute priority. Before undertaking
such programmes, the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch must have the
approval of the Commission in order to ensure that the requests made by
Governments did not exceed the budgetary resources of the United Nations.
34. The United States was particularly interested in the issue of the role of
criminal law in the protection of the environment; it had sponsored a resolution
adopted during the second session in which the Commission requested the
Secretary-General "to include environmental crime as an issue for technical
cooperation" in order to assist recipient countries in formulating policies and
legislation on environmental protection and introducing effective law
enforcement procedures at national level.
35. The United States delegation also welcomed the adoption by the Commission
of a resolution on violence against women in all its forms, which was consistent
with those which the Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on the Status
of Women intended to adopt.
36. Lastly, during its current session the Commission would be considering a
resolution on the prevention of alien smuggling, an issue to which it would be
requested to accord special attention at its next session so as to encourage
Page 8
(Mrs. Peterson, United States)
international cooperation in the area. The United States considered that alien
smuggling was a global criminal problem which had reached alarming proportions.
The aliens who went along with such arrangements, which were reminiscent of the
slave trade, were subjected to dangerous and inhumane conditions during transit.
They were reduced to forced labour or driven to crime to repay their smugglers.
Moreover, alien smuggling threatened to turn public opinion against legal
immigrants and legitimate refugees. That was why the United States looked
forward to the adoption of the resolution, which invited Member States and the
relevant international organizations to treat alien smuggling as a crime and to
cooperate in bringing it to an end.
37. Mr. JAEGER (Austria) said that the report of the Commission on Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice (E/1993/32), on the one hand, reflected the
successful start of the work of the new Commission and, on the other hand, the
great importance which the States Members of the United Nations attached to the
crime prevention and criminal justice programme. By concentrating on a few
priorities, such as organized and economic crime, money laundering, juvenile and
violent criminality, as well as crime prevention in urban areas, and through
enhanced cooperation with other United Nations bodies, the programme was proving
very effective despite its limited financial and human resources. In that
connection, the Austrian Government welcomed the fact that the Commission on the
Prevention of Crime and Criminal Justice had added another priority to its
programme of work, namely, the issue of violence against women in all its forms.
38. On the international level, the programme had launched new activities on an
unprecedented scale which corresponded fully to the needs of the international
community. A World Ministerial Conference on Organized Transnational Crime as
well as an international conference on money laundering and the control of the
proceeds of crime were scheduled for 1994. Furthermore, important steps had
been taken in preparation for the Ninth United Nations Congress on the
Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders to be held in 1995. However,
Austria considered that the budget allocated to the Congress in the draft
programme budget for the biennium 1994-1995 was inadequate, particularly in
comparison with those provided for other international events.
39. In Austria, drug-related deaths had more than doubled over the past
two years, coinciding with a sharp increase of drug-related and transnational
and organized crime linked to the fact that Austria was not a producer country.
Austria therefore hoped that urgent international action would be taken to
combat the scourge.
40. She noted that the priorities chosen by the Commission on Crime Prevention
and Criminal Justice at its first session in 1992 were well justified and
increasingly important for national law systems. In the area of drug-related
crime, the Commission could profit from close cooperation with the United
Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), as recommended by General
Assembly resolution 47/102, with a view to matching efforts and avoiding
duplication. In the same spirit, Austria encouraged strengthening cooperation
aimed at combating money laundering, particularly with the Financial Action Task
Force established by the Group of Seven major industrialized countries, which
already cooperated very effectively with UNDCP.
Page 9
(Mr. Jaeger, Austria)
41. Austria stressed, however, that the Commission could not properly fulfil
its mandate if the Secretariat services working on its behalf did not have the
financial and human resources needed to respond to the growing requests from
Member States and international institutions related to crime prevention and
criminal justice. That situation was further aggravated by the fact that the
Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch of the Centre for Social
Development and Humanitarian Affairs, following the transfer to New York of the
Centre’s other services, was cooperating as a unit in its own right with UNDCP.
Moreover, at the second session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice, it was stated that the effectiveness of the programme had been
limited by the lack of resources. In section 13 of the proposed programme
budget for the biennium 1994-1995, the share allocated to the United Nations
crime prevention and criminal justice programme obviously did not correspond to
the high priority attached to it by the General Assembly. Austria therefore
hoped that the General Assembly would reassess the share allocated to the
programme with a view to implementing its policy aimed at strengthening the
programme and rendering it more operational. Such strengthening was also
particularly warranted since the democratization process, notably in the new
democracies in Central and Eastern Europe, would remain illusory without a
functioning law enforcement and criminal justice system in place. In addition,
members of the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch had been serving on
peace-keeping and peace-building missions, for example, in Cambodia, Somalia,
Nicaragua and the former Yugoslavia.
42. She also drew attention to the fact that the Commission on Crime Prevention
and Criminal Justice appeared to be the only functional commission of the
Economic and Social Council with annual meetings serviced by a unit ranked below
a division; the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council had
repeatedly requested to have the United Nations crime prevention and criminal
justice programme strengthened and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
Branch upgraded. Referring to paragraph 8 of General Assembly resolution 47/91,
she supported addressing a further request to the Secretary-General for an
immediate upgrading of the Branch to a division, without budgetary implications.
In addition to contributing to the effectiveness of the United Nations Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch, such an initiative would also facilitate
the ongoing preparations for the Ninth Congress on the Prevention of Crime and
the Treatment of Offenders.
Draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.2
43. The CHAIRMAN informed the Committee that draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.2,
entitled "Positive and full inclusion of persons with disabilities in all
aspects of society and the leadership role of the United Nations therein", had
no implications for the programme budget.
44. Draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.2 was adopted without a vote.
Draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.3
45. The CHAIRMAN stated that draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.3, entitled "Standard
Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities", had
no implications for the programme budget.
Page 10
46. Mr. BAUDOT (Director, Division for Social Policy and Development,
Department of Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development) pointed out that,
according to Part IV, entitled "Monitoring mechanism", a Special Rapporteur was
to be appointed for three years to monitor the matter. As no provision had been
made for that post in the programme budget for the biennium 1994-1995, if the
Committee adopted the draft resolution in its current form, the Secretariat
would have to find extrabudgetary funds or voluntary contributions to finance
47. Draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.3 was adopted without a vote.
48. Mr. URTASUN (Spain) welcomed the adoption of the Standard Rules on the
Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. Although not
mandatory, those Rules were particularly important in that they demonstrated a
firm moral and political will of Member States to adopt measures which would
ensure equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities in the
society in which they lived. Similarly, the emphasis which those Rules placed
on implementation measures and the monitoring mechanism was a clear sign of that
political will.
49. Spain was pleased to note that the correct Spanish terminology for disabled
persons had been used in the Rules, unlike the case with the World Programme of
Action concerning Disabled Persons, where the problems posed by terminology had
prompted countries to demand precision in the terminology used. The process of
formulating the Rules had resulted in fruitful cooperation in that respect
between the Secretariat and the Spanish-speaking delegations, thus producing a
text on which there was full consensus regarding the terminology.
50. The Rules which the United Nations proposed to adopt should be circulated
specifically with a view to encouraging their effective world-wide application.
The International Day of Disabled Persons, to be held on 3 December, would
provide an excellent opportunity for the United Nations and its Member States to
organize a series of activities in that regard.
Draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.4
51. Mrs. KAMAL (Secretary of the Committee) noted that there were corrections
to be made to the Russian version of the draft resolution; in the title, the
word "Day" should replace the word "Year", while paragraph 4, in connection with
the World Conference on Human Rights, should read "held" instead of "to be held"
at Vienna from 4 to 15 June 1993.
52. The CHAIRMAN informed the Committee that draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.4,
entitled "International Day of Disabled Persons", had no implications for the
programme budget.
53. Mr. KONKOBO (Burkina Faso) pointed out that the French version of the
document contained two paragraphs 3.
54. Draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.4 was adopted without a vote.
The meeting rose at 11.30 a.m.