Summary record of the 48th meeting : 3rd Committee, held on Friday, 23 November 1984, New York, General Assembly, 39th session.
|UN Document Symbol||A/C.3/39/SR.48|
|Convention||Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)|
|Document Type||Summary Record|
|Subjects||Rights of The Child, Right to Food, Capital Punishment, Religious Freedom, Torture and Other Cruel Treatment, Disarmament, Right To Life|
Friday, 23 November 1984
at 10.30 a.m.
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 48th MEETING
Chairman: Mr. MADAR (Somalia)
TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OP HIS EXCELLENCY MR. ALEKSEY PEDOSSEEVICH VATCHENKO, PRESIDENT OP THE PRESIDIUM OF THE SUPREME SOVIET OF THE UKRAINIAN SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC
AGENDA ITEM 95: ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE (continued)
AGENDA ITEM 96: HUMAN RIGHTS AND SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS (continued)
AGENDA ITEM 97: QUESTION OF A CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD (continued)
AGENDA ITEM 98: INTERNATIONAL COVENANTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS (continued)
(a) REPORT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE (continued) ;
(b) STATUS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS AND THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS: REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (continued);
(C) ELABORATION OF A SECOND OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, AIMING AT THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY (continued);
AGENDA ITEM 99: TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT: REPORTS OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (continued)
84-57911 7794S (E)
The meeting was called to order at 11.15 a.m.
TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF HIS EXCELLENCY MR. ALEKSEY FEDOSSEEVICH VATCHENKO, PRESIDENT OF THE PRESIDIUM OF THE SUPREME SOVIET OF THE UKRAINIAN SOVIET SOCIALIST
AGENDA ITEM 95: ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE (continued) (A/39/79 and Corr.l, 180 and Corr.l)
AGENDA ITEM 96: HUMAN-RIGHTS AND SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS (continued) (A/39/307, 422 and Add.l, $81 and Corr.1)
AGENDA ITEM 97: QUESTION OF A CONVENTION ON THE RIGHT-" OF THE CHILD (continued) (A/39/185)
AGENDA ITEM 98s INTERNATIONAL COVENANTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS (continued) (A/39/133, 360, 581 and Corr.l)
(a) REPORT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE (continued) (A/39/40, 484, 644) :
(b) STATUS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS AND THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS: REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (continued) <A/39/461)
(C) ELABORATION OF A SECOND OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, AIMING AT THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY (continued) (A/39/535)
AGENDA ITEM 99: TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT: REPORTS OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (continued) (A/39/73, 360, 480 and Add.l and 2, 499 and Add.l and 2, 506, 662; A/C3/39/L.40)
1. The CHAIRMAN paid tribute to the memory of Mr. Aleksey Fedossaevich Vatchenko, President of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Members of the Committee observed a moment of silence.
2. Mr. SOKALSKI (Poland), speaking on behalf of the Eastern European States) Mrs. YAMAZAKI (Japan), speaking on behalf of the Asian States) Mrs. ENGO (Cameroon), speaking on behalf of the African States) Mr. GE2ER (Turkey), speaking on behalf of the western European and other States) Mr. VILLAGRA DELGADO (Argentina), speaking on behalf of the Latin American states; and Ms. JONES (United States of America), speaking as the representative of the host country, expressed their condolences to the delegation of the Ukrainian Soviet socialist Republic over the death of Mr. Vatchenko.
3. Mr. POLICHTCHOUK (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) thanked them.
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4. Mr. SCHLEGEL (German Democratic Republic), speaking under item 96, said that because his country had been created in the wake of the Second World War, which had cost the lives of 55 million human beings and had left 35 million disabled, it was especially sensitive to the relationship between science and technology and the enjoyment of human rights, in particular the right to life, and had repeatedly stressed the importance of that relationship.
5. Peace was again being seriously threatened as a result of the imperialist policy of confrontation and arms buildup. with current technology, however, a new world war would result in mankind's self-destruction. In order to prevent that, all possible measures to help maintain the strategic balance must be adopted. General Assembly resolutions 37/189 and 38/113 referred to the Declaration on the Use of Scientific and Technological Progress in the Interests of Peace and for the Benefit of Mankind and highlighted the central issue of modern times: the link between the promotion of human rights and the safeguarding of peace.
6. Nevertheless, 20 to 25 per cent of all research and development funds were used for military purposes. It had been shown that less than 0.5 per cent of all military expenditure in 1980 would have been enough to make countries with a food deficit self-sufficient in food until 1990) those figures were all the more alarming because there were 1.2 billion undernourished and hungry people in the world. Resolution 1984/30 of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities was therefore extremely important; it stressed the negative consequences of the arms race for the observance of human rights.
7. with regard to international relations, he said that the economic and social progress visible today was inconceivable without the achievements of science and technology and the establishment of a new international economic order. The socialist States had repeatedly proposed, particularly at the session of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) in June 1984, that part of the funds released as a result of reductions in military spending should be channelled to the fight against hunger, illiteracy and underdevelopment. That concrete and constructive approach should be supplemented by the analysis, requested by the Commission on Human Rights, of the impact of scientific and technological developments on work and working conditions - a study which was of fundamental importance for all peoples and social systems.
8. Mr. SOKALSKI (Poland) described the efforts to promote child welfare, which had begun in the League of Nations in 1924, 60 years earlier, and had been pursued in the United Nations in 1959 with the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child contained in General Assembly resolution 1386 (XIV), and said that Poland believed It was time to bring that document up to dates: that was how the idea of a convention on the subject, the drafting of which would soon be completed, had been born.
9. International Instruments in themselves did not automatically change adverse situations or living conditions, but they were an Important means of promoting such changes. The Declaration of the Rights of the Child was certainly not to be blamed
for the fact that millions of children throughout the world were underprivileged. Ten years earlier. In 1974, the world Food Conference had proclaimed that food was
(Mr. Sokalski, Poland)
a universal human right, but millions of children still died of malnutrition every year; more than a quarter of the children in the developing world suffered from invisible malnutrition, and two thirds of those under five years of age had no access to clean water, in the poorest areas, children were ill, on the average, 160 days every year. They continued to be the victims of protracted wars and conflicts and suffered discrimination and the abhorrent practices of apartheid.
10. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the serious problems of children were confined to the developing world alone: 123 million children of school age throughout the world did not attend school. In the highly industrialized countries, the average child in the period between the ages of 5 and 15 witnessed thousands of killings on television. Many children were in bondage or exploited as child prostitutes. The children of migrant workers and illegal Immigrants were especially vulnerable to exploitation. Many poor families could not survive if the children did not work.
11. Street children were a growing problem in many cities. In recent years, there had been cases of traffic in children. United Nations documents revealed that children were being sold for prices ranging from SB to $50 in professionally organized markets that supplied factories, massage parlours and other establishments. The sale of children for adoption, generally from developing to industrialized countries, posed a separate international problem.
12. Unless new ideas and strategies were developed, several million more children would die or suffer mental and physical damage in the decade ahead. The comments on the "child survival and development revolution" made by the Executive Director of UNICEF in The State of the world's Children 1994 had had a profound impact in Poland. He joined the many others who had expressed appreciation for the comments made in that document concerning a "revolution" for children, but thought that the task of bringing it about was not the sole responsibility of UNICEF; it was a challenge for all peoples and Governments, since a country could never do enough to benefit its children.
13. The preceding summer the Polish National Committee for UNICEF had organized a seminar at which the best experts on childhood had studied the practical application of that "revolution". On the basis of those discussions, a number of specific proposals tad been submitted to the appropriate authorities and organizations. The measures which Poland was implementing as a follow-up to the seminar ranged from eliminating so-called "silent emergencies" to improving general services for children and mothers. Including the construction of a new maternal and child health centre. Poland had also decided to raise its annual contribution to UNICEF by 30 per cent and would continue increasing its support, as a demonstration of its interest in expanding international co-operation on behalf of children. In 1985 Poland would invite a group of UNICEF officials to participate in a seminar that would examine the long-tram prospects for international co-operation within the framework of UNICEF activities.
14. Just as the 1959 Declaration had been intended to embody a new conception of
child welfare, so, too, the draft convention should be viewed as a means of
(Mr. Sokalski, Poland)
stimulating the Interest of Governments and the public in children in a manner commensurate with the pressing needs of modern times. His delegation was pleased with the interest and support shown by many other delegations, UNICEF and non-governmental organisations in the deliberations on the draft convention. Notwithstanding the difficulties that had delayed the conclusion of the draft, agreement had been reached on the most difficult parts of the text. Accordingly, his delegation hoped that the General Assembly, bearing in mind the prime importance of children for the future of mankind, would adopt the convention on the rights of the child at its fortieth session.
15. Ms. HAGLUND (Sweden), referring to Item 98 (c) on the elaboration of a second optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (A/39/535), said that, notwithstanding the United Nations resolutions calling for the abolition of capital punishment, many countries continued to apply that penalty. Her Government was concerned that recourse to the death penalty was on the increase, since It was an irreversible punishment which did not allow for the correction of possible judicial mistakes.
Furthermore, it had been demonstrated that capital punishment was often used against political opponents as a means of repression, and was more likely to be imposed on victims of racial discrimination or other disadvantaged persons.
16. Her delegation considered that the United Nations should step up its efforts to abolish capital punishment and should explore all ways and means available to that end. Her delegation accordingly fully supported the initiative of the Federal Republic of Germany to elaborate a draft optional protocol to the Covenant and hoped that the Commission on Human Rights and its Sub-commission would submit a
draft proposal on the subject shortly.
17. Mrs. PANKOVA (Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic) said that, despite the efforts made since the proclamation of the International Year of the Child, the situation of children in many parts of the capitalist world still left much to be desired. Large numbers of school-age children still had to work in order to survive and many others went hungry and suffered from malnutrition as a consequence of the nefarious legacy of colonialism, which had destroyed the social and economic structures of the countries under its yoke. Even though modern medicine had made great strides in combating childhood diseases, they still brought death or physical defects to millions of children in the developing countries whose mothers had not been adequately nourished.
18. She recalled that the United Nations had accomplished a great deal in promoting the human rights of children, including the establishment in 1946 of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the proclamation, at the initiative of the Federation of Democratic women, of the universal Children's Day in 1949, and the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child In 1959. Nevertheless, the ten principles enshrined in that Declaration had not been applied in some countries, including the developed capitalist countries.
19. The wellbeing of the child and the family was a key factor for national development. Her country's Constitution guaranteed the living and working
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(Mrs. Pankova, Byelorussian SSR)
conditions needed to ensure that all citizens, including children and working mothers, could function actively and with dignity. Special medical and other types of assistance were provided free of charge to pregnant women, children of large
families and the children of single mothers or fathers. The Institute for Scientific Research on the Protection of Mothers and Children, established in 1931,
and many other hospitals provided health care for children and mothers, and specialized paediatric surgery centres and clinics for children with cardiac and pulmonary diseases had recently been opened. Education was compulsory and completely free through the secondary level, and there were many pioneer camps, summer recreation centres, parks and stadiums where children and young people could spend their free time enjoying sports and cultural and social activities.
20. In contrast to the situation prevailing in her country, her delegation was
deeply distressed at the fate of millions of children and young people who were
subject to exploitation in the capitalist countries, where - according to ILO -
they constituted 4 per cent of the work force, and of children who were the victims
of misery and oppression imposed by dictatorial or colonialist regimes or of racial
discrimination in South Africa, Namibia and other countries. The elimination of such practices and the maintenance of peace were prerequisites for children fully to exercise their rights and enjoy a happy childhood.
21. Her delegation therefore regretted that, owing to the position of certain Western states, it had not been possible to complete the formulation of the draft convention proposed by Poland, and it urged the United Nations to conclude and adopt the draft without further delay in order to accord international juridical status to the rights of the child.
22. Mrs. LOMONACO (Italy), referring to item 95, on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance, said that freedom of religion derived from the right to freedom of expression and was a fundamental human right. Religious intolerance and discrimination created serious problems in the political arena, particularly in certain countries where those practices were elevated to the status of "State philosophy". It was regrettable that in many parts of the world intolerance and religious or ideological fanaticism persisted, assuming serious and violent forms which endangered the life or dignity of persons whose ideals or beliefs were considered dissident. Such practices infringed on human rights in the fields of education, housing, employment and - when they took the form of the murder of adherents of certain religions - even on the right to life.
23. It must, be borne in mind that any violation of the right to freedom of religion was also a serious breach of the relevant international instruments. Her delegation regretted that such manifeatations of intolerance and discrimination were perpetrated by Governments which had signed and ratified the human-rights instruments in force. Accordingly, every State and the international community as a whole should adopt urgent measures with a view to ensuring the implementation of the applicable principles in that field, including measures in the constitutional, legislative, judicial, administrative, educational and cultural spheres. In addition to protecting legally recognized rights, such measures should help to create a climate conducive to religious understanding and tolerance. The adoption
(Mrs. Lomonaco, Italy)
of measures relating to education and to the mass media was particularly necessary, since intolerance was often based on religious prejudice and certain related attitudes which must be eradicated. In that regard, it was essential that children should be embed with religious awareness and tolerance.
24. Her delegation welcomed the progress made by certain countries in achieving a
better balance between lay society and religious communities in a climate of freedom and participation. She noted as well that Italy had recently signed a number of important agreements with the Holy See and the Waldenaian and Methodist churches and had ratified all international human-rights instruments. As a result of its very advanced legislation in the field of freedom of religion, Italy guaranteed the protection of religious minorities through constitutional measures, administrative practices and judicial decisions.
25. Although certain periods in Italy's history had been characterized by conflict between lay society and religious institutions, the revision of the Lateran Treaty and the Additional Protocol thereto showed how Italian society had matured and evolved in that regard, with the reaffirmation of the constitutional principle of the separation of Church and State and the elimination of the privileged status which the Catholic religion had enjoyed as the sole State religion. Although that modification did not detract from the importance of the Catholic religion as a vital force in the history and culture of the Italian people, it demonstrated the desire of Italy to establish a more balanced relationship between lay society and religious society.
26. Mrs. ASHTON (Bolivia), speaking on agenda item 99 and the draft Convention against Torture, commended the efforts of the working Group which, in spite of the difficulties that it had encountered in reaching an agreement on articles 19 and 20, had been successful in having the rest of the draft adopted by consensus. Her Government expressed its concern that, in recent decades, dictatorial Governments, wielding such Fascist-like doctrines as national security, had on the pretext of serving higher government purposes, sought to impose the will of dictators and their paid assassins to the detriment of their people's sovereignty. A study of the victims of torture would reveal that the majority of them were workers, students and intellectuals who, in general, were demanding more human conditions and criticizing the injustice of the established order.
27. Democratic regimes based on the sovereign will of the people rejected torture, which was a shameful burden on all mankind. It was one of the gravest violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It was therefore vitally important that international legal instruments should provide the most effective mechanisms for its prevention. It should be clearly established that the international community could not be content solely with the Declaration on the Protection of All Persona from Being Subjected to Torture. The adoption of a convention which took all legal, social and humanitarian aspects into account would therefore meet an urgent need, and it was necessary to ensure, in that context, that torturers were brought to justice and punished, in the framework of a modern conception of universal jurisdiction.
28. Miss BROSNAKOVA (Czechoslovakia), speaking on agenda items 96, 97, 98 and 99, said that, particularly in recent years, the international community had seen that science and technology were more and more often used for military purposes. That lethal trend in the orientation of science and technology did not stem from a spontaneous, uncontrollable development; on the contrary, human intent and will had come into play.
29. It was not exaggerated to say that mankind was currently on the verge of a nuclear abyss and that the blame lay with the most aggressive forces of imperialism, originating primarily in the irresponsible behaviour of Governments, whose decision-making was strongly influenced by the profits of the military-industrial complex. The representatives of such States therefore refused to discuss the real nature of the relationship between human rights and scientific and technological development. It was essential to emphasise the fact that consideration of that relationship was fully justified and extremely significant, because it Involved, among other things, the most important human right, namely, the right to life. It was a fact that various disarmament Issues were dealt with by the relevarat todies both within and outside the United Nations, but none of them considered the problem and its consequences within the whole complex of human rights. Unless the current International situation improved and a solution was found to the pressing Issues of disarmament, it would hardly be possible to note any significant progress with regard to the international protection of human rights. Almost 20 years after their completion the two International Covenants on Human Rights were still far from constituting a norm of conduct for all States in the area of human rights, but provided possibilities for further improving the International protection of those rights. Unfortunately, a number of politically and economically significant States had not yet acceded to those Covenants.
30. Her country had participated in the drafting of the two Covenants and also co-operated with the relevant organs of the United Nations and submitted the required reports, with regard to views expressed on the effectiveness of the functioning of the two bodies established to monitor implementation of the Covenants in the states, her Government had no objection in principle to increasing
the effectiveness of various United Nations bodies. However, changes could be made only when they were not detrimental to the functioning of those bodies, and when they strengthened the system of international protection of human rights and reflected the broadest consensus among States. The adoption of international legal instruments was the only effective method to be applied in such a sensitive field as that of human rights. Such instruments not only reflected the common will of the States Members of the United Nations but, as they were legally binding on all States parties, could also have practical effects. However, the fact that their elaboration could take years should not result In the incorporation of intentions which did not fall within the scope of the main purpose being pursued. Her delegation's approach to the draft convention against torture was based on that point of view. Moreover, it was also important to accord priority attention to the draft convention on the rights of the child.
31. Mr. RATHORE (India), speaking on agenda item 99, said that the right to freedom from torture stemmed from the principle of the Inherent dignity and inviolability of the human person, which was recognized in relevant international instruments. The international community and the United Nations had tried to establish standards to ensure that that right was duly protected nationally and internationally, in 1975, the major step towards International legislation on torture had been taken when the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
32. His country had always supported the initiatives to elaborate international Standards to ensure protection against torture and, during the thirty-second session of the General Assembly, had sponsored draft resolutions 32/62 and 32/64. A representative of India had also been the first Chairman of the working group on a draft Convention against Torture. His delegation stressed the importance of the adoption of a draft convention by consensus. Any international legal instrument must, in so far as possible, receive the widest possible acceptance and adherence since only then could it have universal application. In that connection, he welcomed the efforts of the representative of the Netherlands to hold a series of informal consultations.
33. It was an indisputable fact that every Member state was opposed to torture. However, many delegations, including his own, had experienced difficulties with some specific provisions of the draft, particularly with articles 19 and 20. It was essential to arrive at a generally acceptable text, which could be achieved through a slight amendment In the language of article 19. with regard to article 20, the United Nations system had already devised such instruments as a protocol or declaration to accommodate the wide variety of existing legal systems and political ideologies. They had worked quite effectively with other legal instruments and should be seriously considered.
34. Mr. de la SABLIERE (France), speaking on agenda item 98, said that his country had acceded to the international Covenants on human rights and had recently ratified the optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It had also recognized the competence of the Human Rights Committee to receive communications from individuals under French jurisdiction who alleged that they were victims of violations of any of the rights referred to in the Covenant. His country had thus reinforced and expanded its commitment to the respect for human rights.
35. The Covenants marked a new stage in United Nations efforts to promote and defend human rights and reflected the international community's determination to establish identical standards for all in that area, while respecting the principle contained in the last paragraph of the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, A common characteristic of the covenants was that they had entrusted
newly established or existing bodies with consideration of the periodic reports submitted by the States parties. Although the obligation to submit periodic reports was clearly a burden for Governments, France considered it essential to comply with that established procedure.
(Mr. de la Sabllere, France)
36. with regard to the report of the Meeting of Chairmen of the Commission on Human Rights and other bodies responsible for implementing the international instruments on human rights (A/39/464), his country was in total agreement with the comments made at the meeting on delays in submission of reports and even the failure to submit them. It shared the concern of the Chairmen who had rejected the suggestion that those delays could be dealt with by extending the period for reporting, as that solution would not improve the situation and would also weaken the existing means of control. A way must be found to comply with the established deadlines.
37. His delegation supported the co-ordination of guidelines for the submission of reports, provided that the specific nature of each instrument was respected and the necessary technical assistance in the preparation of reports was provided to those States desiring it. It bad therefore sponsored resolution 1984/44 of the Commission on Human Rights and considered that the Secretary-General should submit a programme of advisory services to the Assembly. However, from a purely technical point of view, his delegation doubted that the measures proposed in that connection at the Chairmen's Meeting could be effective and was sceptical that such a far-reaching programme (seminars, drafting of a manual, fellowships, etc.) could achieve such a specific objective.
38. For the delegation of France, the special problems encountered by the Sessional working Group of Governmental Experts on the Implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights were a matter for concerns that Group had rarely reached a quorum in its meetings, which demonstrated the need to adopt measures to ensure better organization of the continued implementation of the Covenant. He welcomed the suggestion that the experts of the Group should meet at other times of the year, on condition of course, that the session of the Group in any year would be convened before the Spring session of the Economic and social Council. In order to take a position on that and other problems - for example, whether the experts would have alternates or would be elected in future like members of the Human Rights Committee - his delegation would await the comments of the Group and of the Secretary-General with a view to the preparation of the discussions to be held in 1985, when the Economic and Social Council would, in accordance with its resolution 1982/33, begin consideration of the membership, organization and administrative arrangements of the working Group.
39. On the subject of an observation on nuclear arms made by the Human Rights Committee during Its most recent session under article 6 of the Covenant (contained in document A/39/644), his delegation noted that recently, in various organs established under the Conventions on human rights, the experts had tended increasingly to exceed their mandate. Such a tendency was regrettable and surprising since the experts responsible for monitoring the implementation of the conventions should especially watch the area of application of the articles of those international agreements which concerned them directly. Items relating to nuclear arms and disarmament did not fall within the competence of the Human Rights Committee and, in the opinion of his delegation, adoption of that document would set a regrettable precedent for the Committee, whose observation was totally unacceptable to his delegation.
40. Mr. YAKOVLEV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) said that, in the face of the increasing threat of nuclear conflict, the United Nations and all States Members should adopt measures, which could not be postponed, to guarantee the right to life, the most important of the human rights. On the eve of the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the victory over Hitler an fascism, it was particularly necessary to avoid a nuclear catastrophe and to relieve the world of the heavy burden imposed by the arms race.
41. Scientific and technological progress had opened up enormous new horizons and perspectives for development. With the discovery of new sources of energy, the conquest of space, utilization of the resources of the oceans, etc., there were now considerable means available to put an end to hunger, sickness, poverty, illiteracy and other problems of humanity.
42. His delegation stressed the urgent need for all States to observe the provisions of the Declaration on the Use of Scientific and Technological Progress in the Interests of Peace and for the Benefit of Mankind, adopted by the General Assembly in 1975. in accordance with those provisions, it was Important that all States utilized scientific and technological progress in the interests of peace and for the benefit of mankind in order to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms. Humanity was, however, going in a different direction and there was great resistance to complying with the provisions of the Declaration, especially from those who were interested in the arms race in order to obtain nuclear supremacy. The alms of the Declaration were being impeded by the enormous extent of the nuclear arsenals, which were like a bomb about to explode; the achievements of genetic engineering and biology, as well as of molecular biology, which could be applied to all kinds of negative effects, including irradiation from space; the
continuing refinement of chemical weapons} including binary chemical weapons and the transformation of outer space into an arena of military rivalry for some countries. All those activities were accompanied by strategies and plans to justify a war and a nuclear victory which would be the worst catastrophe in the history of mankind. The First world War claimed 9.4 million lives, the Second World war 50 million) a third World War could put an end to humanity.
43. Respect for the right to life was the essential basis for the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, which stated: "We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind ...", and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments of human rights, such as the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights or the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. The incompatibility between the right to life and the preparations for a third World war was clearly set out in many General Assembly resolutions, especially resolution 36/75 of 15 December 1983, in which alarm was expressed at the growing threat of nuclear war, which could lead to the destruction of civilization on earth, and resolution 38/113 of 16 December 1983, in which it was reaffirmed that all peoples and all Individuals had an inherent right to life and that the safeguarding of that cardinal right was an essential condition for the enjoyment of the entire range of economic, social and cultural, as well as civil and political rights.
(Mr. Yakovlev, USSR)
44. His delegation and the entire Soviet people, which had lost 20 million of its
members in the Second world war, did not want a repetition of that kind of
aggression, strongly supported the work of the Human Rights Committee in that area,
and hoped that It would continue striving to guarantee those rights and to fight
against nuclear war. As the Secretary-General of the Supreme Soviet had said, the
Russian people, which did not have classes or sectors which were interested in war
or profiting from war, understood very well that there was a crisis of life and
death. The most important task of the United Nations was to preserve the human
race. His delegation therefore supported the decisions of the Third committee which were designed to reinforce and guarantee the right to life.
45. in conclusion, and referring to the appeal by the Indian delegate, in relation
to the draft Convention against Torture, he requested that the matter should be
given serious consideration and that no obstacles should be created to the adoption
of the Convention during the current session. He agreed with the proposals made by the Indian delegation, especially, where articles 19 and 20 were concerned, if the spirit in which the Convention had been prepared and the appeal made by India were understood, there should be no difficulties in adopting the Convention which his, and many other delegations, supported.
46. Mrs. DOWNING (Secretary of the Committee) announced that the following. delegations had become additional sponsors of the draft resolutions: of draft resolution A/C.3/39/L.24/Rev.l, New Zealand; of draft resolution A/C.3/39/L.32, the Syrian Arab Republic and Samoa; of draft resolution A/C.3/39/L.33/Rev.l, the Federal Republic of Germany; of draft resolution A/C.3/39/L.36, Mexico; of draft resolution A/C.3/39/L.41, Honduras, Japan, Pakistan and the Federal Republic of Germany.
47. Mrs. IDER (Mongolia) said that Bangladesh should be added to the list of sponsors of draft resolution A/C.3/39/L.27.
48. Mr. LALEYK (Benin) said that his delegation wished to become a sponsor of draft resolutions A/C.3/39/L.34, A/C.3/39/L.37 and A/C.3/39/L.42.
The meeting rose at 1.15 p.m.