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Summary record of the 21st meeting : 3rd Committee, held on Tuesday, 2 November 1993, New York, General Assembly, 48th session.

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/48/SR.21
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 48th
Type Document

8 p.

Subjects Drug Traffic, Drug Control, Self-Determination of Peoples, Persons with Disabilities

Extracted Text

General Assembly
Official Records
21st meeting
held on
Tuesday, 2 November 1993
at 10 a.m.
New York
Chairman: Mr. KUKAN (Slovakia)
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.
22 November 1993
93-82032 (E) /...
Page 2
The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.
286, 291, 327, 329 and Corr.1, and 353; A/C.3/48/2 and 5)
1. The CHAIRMAN recalled that, in accordance with its decision taken on
24 September 1993, the General Assembly had held a number of high-level plenary
meetings to examine the status of international cooperation in the field of drug
control. At the conclusion of that debate, on 28 October the Assembly had
adopted resolution 48/12 on measures to strengthen international cooperation in
that field.
2. Mr. JUPPIN de FONDAUMIERE (United Nations International Drug Control
Programme (UNDCP)) said that the adoption of General Assembly resolution 48/12
had reaffirmed the Member States’ commitment to the fight against drug abuse.
The international community had an effective arsenal at its disposal, including
a common strategy, a blueprint for action and the required institutional
machinery. The time had come to shift the emphasis to action.
3. At the national level, countries must promote the active involvement of
local, regional and national governments, community groups and non-governmental
organizations. To that end, the Programme had sought to nurture the
participation of a wide spectrum of partners in the fight against drug abuse.
The private sector had recognized the need for a broad-based effort in drug
control, and promising initiatives had also been launched with the media, city
administrations and sports organizations. Governments should fully incorporate
their drug-control priorities and strategies into their overall socio-economic
development plans, ensure adequate internal coordination between the various
sectors involved and develop institutions to meet the challenge.
4. UNDCP advocated the formulation of drug-control master plans by each
country. Such plans would provide a comprehensive picture of the drug-abuse
situation and enable external partners to assist better in their implementation.
Those plans were important elements that should be incorporated into the country
strategy. UNDCP had also set up a country-programme framework to facilitate
assessment of control requirements. Internal coordination was essential at the
national level. A drug-control focal point could ensure the necessary
coordination and communication links and facilitate contacts with bilateral and
multilateral partners. All Governments should ratify and fully adhere to the
international drug-control conventions so that the necessary legal framework
could be established.
5. The ability of drug traffickers to redirect operations to other countries
underscored the need for close cooperation among States on a regional and
subregional basis. Due to the vast increase in cross-border exchanges, random
border-checks were rapidly losing their effectiveness. Exchange of information
and intelligence must replace earlier control mechanisms as the foundation for
an effective international control system. That required a fundamental
rethinking of the goals of inter-State cooperation. In addition to
intraregional communication, there was a need for joint implementation of drugcontrol
activities. The pooling of resources was a prerequisite for progress in
such areas as alternative development.
Page 3
(Mr. Juppin de Fondaumière, UNDCP)
6. Regional arrangements were rapidly evolving into a nucleus of action for
multilateral drug control. Intercountry arrangements in south-east Asia were
becoming a model for the rest of the world. With their specificity and focus,
regional organizations had an unequalled potential to play a unifying role in
drug control. In view of the need to link national efforts to regional
arrangements and incorporate regional efforts into a global framework, the
Programme looked forward to further cooperation with regional bodies. The
United Nations regional economic commissions and other regional bodies had a
tremendous comparative advantage in fostering regional cooperation in drug
control under UNDCP leadership.
7. The United Nations system collectively had the capacity to tackle the drug
problem on all fronts. Nevertheless, it was essential to ensure that all United
Nations agencies allocated an adequate level of resources to that effort. While
UNDCP was at the vanguard of the interagency effort, it could not be expected to
shoulder the entire burden. At the global level, the Programme had made gradual
but encouraging progress while working with the World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, WHO,
ILO, FAO, UNESCO and other agencies.
8. United Nations bodies should reflect the drug dimension in their programme
activities. Interagency efforts in drug control must be fully coordinated with
UNDCP. All Governments must raise drug-control concerns in the governing bodies
of the other United Nations entities, which was the pivotal element of the
interagency effort. Despite the broad support for the system-wide effort,
comprehensive interagency efforts had been slow in reaching the desired level.
The need to bridge the gap between principle and practice must be considered at
the meetings of governing bodies and other decision-making forums. By placing
drug control on the agendas of such gatherings, Member States could take the
next step towards developing the system-wide effort in drug control.
9. The Programme’s primary objective at the global level was to achieve a
balanced approach in which illicit production, consumption and trafficking were
all addressed as a single phenomenon. At the current time, that required
greater emphasis on demand reduction, particularly in the area of prevention and
education. It was very reassuring that Member States fully supported the
various strategic orientations devised by the Programme over the past year.
UNDCP would step up its efforts to promote action in all areas of priority for
Governments and looked forward to enlisting the support of non-governmental
organizations, professional and business organizations, the academic world, the
mass media, schools and sports movements to that end.
10. Mr. HART (Australia) expressed appreciation for the statement by the
representative of UNDCP and hoped that all delegations would give it the
attention that it deserved.
(A/48/147 and Add.1)
11. Mr. ARZOUMANIAN (Armenia) said that the uneasy tension that had emerged
between the principles of self-determination and territorial integrity often
Page 4
(Mr. Arzoumanian, Armenia)
complicated the search for solutions. A balanced and flexible approach should
be taken to the implementation of those principles. Many of the current selfdetermination
claims outside the context of decolonization needed an operational
framework that could help to determine their legitimacy and levels of
realization. Some of those claims had escalated into long-standing conflicts or
civil wars that presented a challenge to the international community both in
terms of maintaining peace and stability and of the realization of human rights.
Preventive measures could help to attain those goals. In that connection, the
Liechtenstein initiative put forward in documents A/48/147 and Add.1 was very
valuable, especially the important distinction it made between the concepts of
"minority" and "community".
12. Realization of the right of self-determination through autonomy was a
highly useful concept which could help to reconcile the right to selfdetermination
with the principle of territorial integrity. Though the right to
self-determination was a fundamental principle, its realization would require
the elaboration of differentiated approaches to concrete self-determination
claims, as no single pre-determined solution was suitable for all cases.
Consideration could be given to the establishment of an impartial body to look
into self-determination claims. Such a body could be instrumental in preventing
outbreaks of ethnic conflict and civil strife and facilitating post-conflict
confidence-building measures. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia had
proposed the transformation of the Trusteeship Council into such a body.
Alternatively, a special Security Council committee could be set up to monitor
self-determination movements and to alert the Council whenever a specific
situation was likely to escalate into a threat to peace. In view of the
potential for unsettled self-determination claims to escalate into open
conflicts, his delegation would support all initiative aimed at the creation of
either body.
13. Mr. CASTRO (Philippines) said that the framers of the Charter of the United
Nations had been very careful in charting the course of dependent peoples
towards self-government or independence. While external self-determination was
the ideal for all peoples, there might be cases where "peoples", in exercising
their right to internal self-determination, had decided to remain within the
body politic of which they were an integral part, thus upholding the national
sovereignty and territorial integrity of their State. Democratic traditions and
structures were an expression of the right to self-determination. The Vienna
Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human
Rights in June 1993 had clearly stated that the right to self-determination
should not be construed as authorizing any action which would impair the
territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States.
The extent of the autonomy that various groups should enjoy within nation States
should be determined by such States within the framework of their national
constitution and fundamental laws through democratic and peaceful means. It was
in that context that the Philippines viewed the Liechtenstein initiative
(A/48/147 and Add.1).
14. The principle of self-determination needed to be studied further in view of
its many unforeseen ramifications; the numerous regional conflicts that had
erupted since the end of the cold war were largely the result of a confusion in
the appreciation of the actual dimensions of the right to internal self-
Page 5
(Mr. Castro, Philippines)
determination as opposed to the right to external self-determination. Indeed,
in the previous year, his country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs had proposed
the revision of the United Nations Charter in order to refine further the
principles and norms of collective action not only to respond to new situations
as perceived by Liechtenstein but also to provide for new contingencies in the
forthcoming millennium.
15. Mr. ROSENBERG (Ecuador) said that Ecuador had always been committed to the
principle of self-determination for peoples under foreign domination. While the
campaign waged by the United Nations on behalf of those peoples was one of the
noblest and most satisfying, the scope of the right to self-determination ended
with the achievement of decolonization, which was the extent of the
Organization’s mandate under its Charter. The principle of self-determination
could not run counter to the equally inalienable principle of respect for the
territorial integrity of States. To violate the latter principle would be to
threaten further the already fragile international peace and produce the
opposite effect of the Liechtenstein initiative.
16. However, that initiative could be used to improve and implement the concept
of governance; it could help to develop methods that would assist Member States
in their efforts to bring about the full advancement of the various components
of their societies. As many conflicts today stemmed from the frustration of
groups within societies, his Government had given increasing decision-making
powers to local authorities in order to foster regional development, thereby
eliminating such frustrations, and to help the State to adopt mechanisms that
addressed the legitimate aspirations of the different communities.
17. While the topic deserved further consideration, it did not fall within the
competence of the Third Committee. It related more to the technical cooperation
programmes implemented by the operational bodies of the United Nations system
such as the United Nations Development Programme, since it related to efforts to
restructure States and improve public administration. Should the General
Assembly decide to continue consideration of the issue, the best forum would be
the Sixth Committee, which might be able to come up with appropriate legal
recommendations to satisfy the legitimate concerns of Liechtenstein and of many
other Member States.
18. Mr. GAMBARI (Nigeria) said that the question of self-determination must be
part of the global effort to save succeeding generations from the scourge of
war. Initiatives such as self-determination through internal autonomy provided
for under the Charter needed the collective consideration and support of the
entire international community in order to forestall wars, human suffering and
anarchy resulting from the new phenomenon of "failed" nation States incapable of
sustaining themselves.
19. However, while the instrument of self-determination had helped to bring
down empires and force colonial Governments to be more responsive to the
governed, a new, positive role for that right needed to be defined in order to
assist democratic development in non-democratic States while strengthening
democracy in the democratic ones. Without tolerance between distinct
communities, the break-up of existing States would only lead to further schisms
Page 6
(Mr. Gambari, Nigeria)
and ethnic strife. In order to avoid such chaos, the international community
should encourage groups to work out their differences within existing national
20. Realization of the right of self-determination through autonomy was a
concept familiar to the experience of his own country with its multitude of
ethnic groups, religions, cultures and languages; the federal and local
government system in Nigeria had been created with a view to achieving national
unity by decentralizing power and promoting tolerance and harmony among the
various autonomous communities, thereby safeguarding the rights of minorities in
addition. The resulting sense of belonging thus engendered had helped to
maintain peace and facilitate the collective effort in building the nation.
21. His delegation believed that self-determination through autonomy was a
credible alternative to the current tendency towards the fragmentation of
States, and could be used constructively to encourage the internal and
non-violent resolution of conflicts by reforming government structures with the
emphasis on achieving greater responsiveness through decentralization. It
therefore supported the informal draft resolution being circulated by
Liechtenstein, which would warrant more thorough discussion at the forty-ninth
22. Mr. TÜRK (Slovenia) said that respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms continued to form the basic criterion for realization of the right to
self-determination, the unpredictable consequences of which were often feared.
Self-determination, however, was also a source of great hope, and should be
judged by its potential rather than by the recent instances of its misuse.
While the right of all peoples to self-determination was a basic human right and
a fundamental principle of international law, the notion of political status
remained undefined; any analysis of claims to self-determination should
therefore take into account all the varying factual circumstances of the
particular people concerned.
23. While internal self-determination was undoubtedly a successful vehicle for
satisfying claims to self-determination, a widely held view was that such claims
were internal political matters which should not be pursued at international
level. A challenge to that cautious approach was now overdue; as a basic
precept under the United Nations Charter, the notion of self-determination
should be re-examined to encompass new situations, taking into account the
historical and current development of the right to self-determination on the
basis of United Nations instruments. In addition, means of introducing social
and political change, including autonomy, should be explored with a view to
preventing the escalation of tensions into open conflicts which could also
threaten international peace and security.
24. The United Nations was faced with the serious challenge of developing
appropriate methods of preventive diplomacy to deal with conflicts and avoiding
more dangerous and costly methods - such as peacemaking and peace-keeping. The
initiative proposed by Liechtenstein (A/48/147 and Add.1) had considerable
potential and merited in-depth discussion at the forty-ninth session. His
delegation was prepared to participate actively in that process.
Page 7
25. Mr. ALI (Iraq) said that, with the end of imperialism, erroneous attempts
had been made to reinterpret the principle of the right to self-determination as
the right of all ethnic, linguistic and racial groups to rebel or secede from
the State, which contravened the spirit of the United Nations Charter and
encouraged the fragmentation of States, particularly in the developing
countries. With a view to avoiding any escalation of tension and conflict, that
right should not be construed in a manner which enabled ethnic minorities to
threaten territorial integrity or the political and geographical unity of States
in the pursuit of their own narrow interests.
26. The realization of the right to self-determination involved granting
political and cultural rights to minorities within one State through open
dialogue. As an example, he cited the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan,
where legislative and executive power was vested in elected members of the
Kurdish community under a pioneering law. The Kurds also enjoyed social and
cultural rights; they had Kurdish-language media, while the Kurdish language was
a compulsory subject in schools and universities. Despite external and local
attempts to thwart the continued progress of its unique experiment, Iraq
remained committed to Kurdish autonomy as the means of enabling the Kurdish
people of Iraq to achieve its aspirations. Autonomy and the right to selfdetermination
were, however, two separate issues, and any attempt to establish a
link between them would be to misconstrue the two concepts.
(continued) (A/C.3/48/L.7/Rev.1 and L.11)
27. Mr. CASTRO (Philippines), introducing, on behalf of the sponsors, draft
resolution A/C.3/48/L.7/Rev.1 on the integration of persons with disabilities
into society, announced that Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Iceland, Norway, and the
Russian Federation had decided to join the sponsors. He informed the Committee
that a subparagraph had been added after paragraph 3(c) which read, "Encouraging
the activities of the United Nations Children’s Fund in promoting prevention and
early detection, public awareness and community-based rehabilitation in respect
of childhood disability;". That subparagraph would be numbered 3(d), and
subparagraphs should be renumbered accordingly.
28. Throughout the world, more than 500 million people suffered from some type
of disability. Thus, in most countries, at least one out of 10 persons was
afflicted by a physical, mental or sensory impairment, and that number increased
annually. Thousands had been rendered disabled by natural and man-made
disasters, disease, wars and civil strife. The draft resolution was thus of
signal importance.
29. The sponsors had found it invidious to try to list all specific causes of
disability in the draft resolution, and had decided to treat the issue in a
broad, comprehensive manner. The text took note of the various encouraging
developments in the areas of disabilities that had taken place since the
adoption of General Assembly resolution 47/88. It was the hope of the sponsors
that the revised draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.
Page 8
30. Mr. MAQUIEIRA (Chile), introducing, on behalf of the sponsors, draft
resolution A/C.3/48/L.11 on the World Summit for Social Development, announced
that the following delegations had joined the list of sponsors: Angola,
Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic,
Chad, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Madagascar, Mexico,
Nicaragua, the Niger, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Romania, the Russian
Federation, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Togo, Tunisia,
Viet Nam and Yemen. At the suggestion of several delegations, in paragraph 8
the words "and the relevant regional organizations" had been added following
"regional commissions".
31. He said that, firstly, the draft resolution involved procedural matters
that had arisen during the organizational session of the Preparatory Committee.
Secondly, it called on the General Assembly to take decisions on unresolved
issues pending from the Preparatory Committee. The sponsors expected that it
would be adopted by consensus.
(A/C.3/48/L.8 and L.9)
32. Mrs. PILOTO (Zimbabwe), speaking on behalf of the States Members of the
United Nations that were members of the Group of African States, introduced
draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.8 entitled "United Nations African Institute for the
Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders". She emphasized the complex
nature of the work of transnational institutions in tackling crime, and said
that the draft resolution called on Governments, intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations to provide financial and technical support to the
33. Mr. KUEHL (United States of America) said that his delegation wished to
defer introducing draft resolution A/C.3/48/L.9 to a later meeting, at which
time it would submit a revised text that took into account the suggestions of
various delegations.
The meeting rose at 12.10 p.m.