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Summary record of the 9th meeting : 3rd Committee, held on Friday, 13 October 1995, New York, General Assembly, 50th session.

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/50/SR.9
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 50th
Type Document

8 p.

Subjects Persons with Disabilities, Ageing Persons, Youth

Extracted Text

General Assembly
Official Records
9th meeting
held on
Friday, 13 October 1995
at 10 a.m.
New York
Chairman: Mr. TCHERING (Bhutan)
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.
25 October 1995
95-81575 (E) /...
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The meeting was called to order at 10.25 a.m.
(continued) (A/50/3, A/50/84-E/1995/12, A/50/114, A/50/156, A/50/163, A/50/181-
E/1995/65, A/50/215-S/1995/475, A/50/254-S/1995/501, A/50/370, A/50/374,
A/50/425-S/1995/787, A/50/454, A/50/473; A/CONF.166/9).
1. Mr. BARRETO (Peru) said that, during the past five years, his country had
been carrying out a reform programme, a structural adjustment programme and a
social support project with its own resources and with assistance from
international financial institutions, the United Nations and bilateral donors.
That effort, which was fully in keeping with many of the objectives agreed at
the Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development, sought to create real
conditions for the overall development of the country on the basis of economic
and social stability, guarantee minimum conditions for the development of
individuals, families and communities and to carry out international agreements
reached at the relevant United Nations conferences.
2. The structural reform programme, begun in 1990, included a range of
measures to alleviate poverty, including social programmes for the most
impoverished, active participation on the part of the target population groups,
the allocation of greater resources for social expenditures and improved
management of those resources. The Government had developed social investment
projects designed to generate employment. By September 1995, 857,000 new jobs
had been created; and projects had been launched in the fields of education,
health care, institution-building and meeting food needs in poor urban and rural
areas. The Government sought to respond to the most urgent needs of the
population by providing essential services in those areas and building the
necessary basic infrastructure.
3. As part of the strategy to alleviate poverty, the per capita social
expenditure had increased between 1990 and 1994 by approximately 600 per cent.
Peru’s 1995 budget for meeting social needs was approximately twice as large as
its 1994 budget in that area and the target agreed upon at the Copenhagen
Summit. In general, $300 million had been allocated to primary health
programmes; 4,000 health centres were being upgraded; the infant mortality rate
had been reduced to a quarter of that for the period 1985-1990. Food aid had
been provided to 3 million persons in need and 365 secondary schools had been
constructed and equipped throughout the country.
4. Mr. TELLES RICEIRO (Brazil) said that the recent major United Nations
conferences had demonstrated that the problems facing the international
community in such areas as human rights, population, employment, hunger,
education and health, must be dealt with through an integrated approach linking
social and sustainable development. A country’s capacity to satisfy the needs
of its people depended on good social indicators, political stability, economic
competitiveness and scientific and technological progress, not military
strength. Greater emphasis should be placed within the United Nations on the
issue of development, which was the key to shaping a civilized society.
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5. His country had been directing its efforts and resources towards
unemployment reduction, housing, health priorities and education. Government
programmes in those fields had always taken into consideration the needs of the
more deprived segments of society, with special attention to the needs of youth
and families. In agriculture, plans for implementing an agrarian reform were
being carried out with renewed vigour in order to reform land tenure and
modernize production techniques. That, in turn, required more sophisticated
labour, which called for training programmes and more emphasis on primary
6. There were specific programmes to better integrate the disabled and older
persons into society, offering them a chance to improve their lives while
contributing to the social well-being of their communities. Brazil’s solidarity
community programme, for example, sought to eradicate absolute poverty through a
comprehensive approach, and lowering infant mortality and improving sanitation,
sewerage and water treatment. By developing such pilot programmes and
integrating them into existing projects which also benefited the disabled and
older persons, Brazil hoped to improve the quality of life for all its people.
7. Mr. SEPELEV (Russian Federation) underscored the need to implement the
Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Programme of Action of the
World Summit for Social Development (A/CONF.166/9), which reflected the needs of
all groups of countries, including those with economies in transition. His
Government had decided to establish a national body to assist in achieving the
goals of the Declaration and Programme of Action in the Russian Federation and
called on other States to expand cooperation in dealing with social problems.
The Commission for Social Development should play a major role in carrying out
the decisions taken at the World Summit and should be given comprehensive
support. In that connection, however, he pointed out that any changes in the
Commission’s mandate should be made on the basis of current budget allocations
and by reallocating existing resources. The United Nations specialized agencies
should step up efforts to develop and implement specific programmes on the basis
of the Declaration and Programme of Action.
8. In spite of the considerable difficulties facing it, the Russian Federation
continued to attach priority to social questions and ensure observance of basic
social rights in the belief that just and stable social development was a
prerequisite for economic prosperity. At the initial stage in its reforms, his
country’s priorities had been to prevent massive unemployment, support socially
vulnerable population groups and overcome unfavourable demographic trends. The
first signs of economic improvement and stabilization were already evident.
Priority was being given to structural reforms. Intensive privatization was
under way, and the market economy was expanding. More active assistance by the
world community in support of countries with transitional economies could
increase the pace of their democratic reforms.
9. His delegation supported United Nations activities to increase the
monitoring of the implementation of international plans and programmes of
action, including the social development objectives laid down in the
International Development Strategy for the Fourth United Nations Development
Decade, the Plan of Action on Ageing, the World Programme of Action concerning
Disabled Persons and the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for
Persons with Disabilities.
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10. His delegation was participating in the preparation of the draft world
programme of action for youth, and supported the International Plan of Action on
Ageing and the observance of the International Year of Older Persons in 1999.
The Russian Federation also supported the Organization’s activities aimed at
strengthening the role of the family and agreed on the need to draw up a
declaration and a plan of action in that area.
11. Mr. Kwang-Jae LEE (Republic of Korea) stressed the need for a spirit of
partnership between developed and developing countries in pursuing social
development goals. While the main responsibility in that area rested with
Governments, international assistance was needed to bolster the efforts of
developing countries, especially in Africa and the least developed countries.
Expanding trade and investments alone would not solve the urgent problems facing
the developing world. Assistance by developed countries would ultimately
benefit the donors themselves and thereby contribute to the socio-economic
development of the world as a whole.
12. His Government was drawing up a master plan to expand its development
support in accordance with its economic capability and to provide technical
training to more than 30,000 people from developing countries by the year 2010.
Social development efforts must focus in particular on women and children in
developing countries, who were the primary victims of poverty and social
injustice. Equal rights and opportunities for women in the areas of education,
health and family planning were essential for genuine development. For that
reason, the results of the recent Fourth World Conference on Women should be
reflected in social development programmes. As its first follow-up to the World
Summit for Social Development, his Government had hosted, with the cooperation
of the United Nations, the World Youth Leaders Conference in Seoul from 31 May
to 2 June 1995. His country welcomed the commemoration of the tenth anniversary
of International Youth Year at the current session of the General Assembly and
the draft world programme of action for youth to the year 2000 and beyond to be
adopted on that occasion. Those two initiatives should give further impetus to
world-wide youth policies and programmes.
13. In the rapidly changing world, the strength and unity of the family were
more vital than ever. The family, as the basic unit of society, played an
indispensable nurturing role and should be fostered. It was also important to
meet the needs of vulnerable groups, such as disabled persons, in social
development. The adoption of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities and the appointment of a Special
Rapporteur to monitor their implementation constituted an important part of the
United Nations disability programme.
14. Mr. MEKDAD (Syrian Arab Republic) said that social development was
essential in order to combat poverty, ignorance and social disintegration and
bring about a world governed by equality between people. If social and economic
decline were to be averted, there was no alternative to cooperation between
developed and developing countries. It was a mistake for the former to think
that economic and technical assistance to the latter was not in their own
interest, just as it was a mistake for the countries receiving such assistance
to rely upon it, rather than depending principally on their own resources to
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bring about social economic development. International cooperation should be
based on mutual respect and community of interest.
15. Despite having to commit significant resources to defend its land and
people against Israeli occupation and expansionism, Syria had achieved
impressive results in the field of social development, and had been cited in the
1992 United Nations Human Development Report as one of the 10 leading nations in
that respect.
16. In the past two decades, the Syrian Arab Republic had given development top
priority. To that end, education had been made compulsory at the primary stage
and free at all levels. Health care was free to all. Special attention was
paid to all those with special needs. In accordance with the Standard Rules in
General Assembly resolution 48/96, the Council of Ministers had passed
legislation to equalize opportunities for persons with disabilities.
17. The development policies of his country had led to a rise in the standard
of living of the majority, a country-wide increase in educational and health
services and a fall in infant mortality. Social and economic development
efforts were, however, considerably hampered by the Israeli occupation of the
Syrian Golan, which had driven nearly half a million Syrians from their lands.
That occupation constituted a flagrant violation of human rights. In all the
territory it occupied in Palestine, South Lebanon and the Syrian Golan, Israel
was seeking to eradicate national characteristics by destroying houses,
expropriating land, splitting up families and spreading poverty and frustration.
18. The international community should increase pressure on Israel to return
Arab land to its rightful owners. Israel’s current policies were not conducive
to a just and lasting peace. An end to military rivalry, foreign occupation and
feelings of racial superiority would be conducive to a world free of poverty and
injustice, in which relationships would become more democratic, humane and
19. Mr. DONOKUSUMO (Indonesia) said that the international community’s
increased attention to its social agenda and to the linkage between economic and
social development had been reflected at the World Summit for Social
Development, where countries had affirmed that the most productive policies were
those that empowered people to maximize their capacities, resources and
20. In that connection, he reaffirmed Indonesia’s support for the World
Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons. In Indonesia, under its
national programme, the number of disabled people who had benefited from
services had increased considerably. In addition, a number of organizations
were working to improve the situation of the disabled in Indonesia. He welcomed
the recommendations put forward in the report of the Special Rapporteur on
monitoring the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of
Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (A/50/374). His delegation agreed
that emphasis should be placed on advice, support and encouragement rather than
on measuring, comparing and controlling, and that developing countries should be
assisted in their implementation efforts.
Page 6
21. Indonesia was also concerned about the situation of older persons, since it
faced the prospect of an ageing population. Although the Government provided
support to poor families to supplement the traditional family- and communitybased
approach to caring for older persons, it would have to consider further
steps to accommodate the demographic transition. With respect to the programme
for the International Year of Older Persons, to be observed in 1999, the
preparation of studies on the integration of ageing into the development plans
of countries in various socio-economic and demographic situations would be
useful for the design of national policies.
22. As noted in the report on the struggle against illiteracy (A/50/181-
E/1995/65), Indonesia had participated in the Education-for-All Summit of the
Nine High-Population Countries in 1993, as one of the countries with a special
responsibility for improving literacy statistics. It was therefore pleased that
the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
had recognized the efforts of one of its national organizations to emphasize the
importance of educating women and girls. Over the past two decades, Indonesia
had reduced illiteracy by well over half in respect of both women and men, and
was committed to further reductions. Such efforts helped people to acquire
productive employment.
23. The draft framework for the 1997 Report on the World Social Situation
(A/50/84-E/1995/12) should adequately reflect the interrelationship of the
various social development issues. The final report should reflect the outcome
and follow-up of the World Summit for Social Development and the conclusions of
the other major United Nations conferences on social issues, as well as the need
for coordinated follow-up of those conferences.
24. Miss MORGAN-MOSS (Panama), speaking on behalf of Costa Rica, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, said that the recently established
Central American Integration System included a programme to promote social
development in those countries. The programme would build on past successes,
such as those achieved through the education network for Central America and
Panama (instituted as a component of the UNESCO Major Project on Education in
Latin America and the Caribbean) in terms of literacy, training of education
professionals, exchange of experiences and cooperation. Funding from the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund
(UNICEF) and cooperation agencies in North American and European countries had
been of decisive importance.
25. The Central American and Panamanian Governments looked forward to the
publication of the second report of UNESCO on the situation of education in the
world. The first such report had categorically demonstrated the need for
ongoing and special education and had guided education policies at the national
level, particularly with respect to older persons and the disabled.
26. Important strides had also been made in Central America and Panama in the
field of health, through the World Health Organization’s Pan American Health
Organization. Malaria, influenza and cholera had been controlled through
programmes of early warning, prevention and treatment.
Page 7
27. The presence of millions of land-mines in some Central American countries
as a result of armed conflicts was increasing the number of disabled persons.
The United Nations should strengthen its cooperation with non-governmental
organizations in efforts to benefit the disabled and older persons. She hoped
that the debates on the Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social
Development would encourage countries to take remedial measures commensurate
with the seriousness of the social development problems they faced, and that the
United Nations would devise appropriate methods and structures for implementing
the decisions taken.
28. Mr. ELDEEB (Egypt) said that Governments, the international community and
non-governmental organizations each had an individual role to play in
implementing the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Summit for
Social Development. His Government had already begun to adopt policies and
programmes aimed at its implementation, notably concerning the eradication of
poverty, in which connection he hoped that the international community would
lend the necessary financial and other support. The interrelated issues of the
family, children, women, youth, ageing and disabled persons and education were
also directly linked to the comprehensive development of any society.
Governments should identify the essential needs of all social categories and
create a climate conducive to production, while the international community
should implement the recommendations put forward by United Nations conferences
in recent years, which called for the deployment of financial and technical
29. His delegation wished to commend the report of the Secretary-General on
observance of the International Year of the Family (A/50/370); as the basic unit
of society, the family played an important role in social development. He
asserted that men and women should have equal responsibilities and duties within
the family, as well as equal work opportunities. Education was also a means of
development. The developing countries were able to derive mutual benefit from
sharing their often similar experiences of problems such as illiteracy. The
International Literacy Year had highlighted the means of addressing that problem
and the distinct role which the media, research institutions and
non-governmental organizations could play. The General Assembly should call for
a regular 10-year review of achievements in the struggle against illiteracy. In
that connection he referred to his own Government’s implementation of a literacy
programme in conjunction with local authorities and voluntary organizations.
30. Egypt welcomed the Secretary-General’s conceptual framework of a programme
for the preparation and observance of the International Year of Older Persons in
1999 (A/50/114), which would highlight the social and health problems suffered
by older persons, as well as means of alleviating such problems. Older persons
had a leading socio-economic role to play, particularly in rural areas, and
represented a wealth of experience from which Governments could benefit once the
necessary channels were in place.
31. On the subject of youth, Egypt had participated in the discussions at the
latest session of the Commission on Social Development, which had produced the
draft programme of action for youth to the year 2000 and beyond. He hoped that
the final draft would be ready for consideration by the General Assembly at its
imminent high-level meetings with a view to its adoption on the occasion of the
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tenth anniversary of the International Youth Year and the fiftieth anniversary
of the United Nations.
32. Egypt attached great importance to the rehabilitation and social
integration of disabled persons, through the creation of equal opportunities in
suitable education and work. Their marginalization conflicted with religious
values and violated their human rights.
33. He concluded by noting that the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations,
would revive hopes of strengthening the international peace and security that
were the foundation for social development in its widest sense for all peoples
of the world.
The meeting rose at 11.45 a.m.