UVA Law Logo Mobile

UN Human Rights Treaties

Travaux Préparatoires


Summary record of the 5th meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 9 October 2001, General Assembly, 56th session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/56/SR.5
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 56th
Type Document

6 p.

Subjects Ageing Persons, Persons with Disabilities, Youth

Extracted Text

United Nations A/C.3/56/SR.5
General Assembly
Fifty-sixth session
Official Records
Distr.: General
16 October 2001
Original: English
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 publication to the Chief of the
Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 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
01-57190 (E)
Third Committee
Summary record of the 5th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 9 October 2001, at 3 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. Al-Hinai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Oman)
Agenda item 27: Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social
Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
Agenda item 108: Social development, including questions relating to the world
social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family (continued)
Agenda item 109: Follow-up to the International Year of Older Persons: Second
World Assembly on Ageing (continued)

The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.
Agenda item 27: Implementation of the outcome of
the World Summit for Social Development and of the
twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly (continued) (A/56/140)
Agenda item 108: Social development, including
questions relating to the world social situation and to
youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
(continued) (A/56/3, A/56/57-E/2001/5, A/56/73-
E/2001/68 and Add.1, A/56/114-E/2001/93 and Add.1,
A/56/169, A/56/180, A/56/288, E/2001/104,
A/C.3/56/L.2 and L.3)
Agenda item 109: Follow-up to the International
Year of Older Persons: Second World Assembly on
Ageing (continued) (A/56/152)
1. Ms. Elafi (Netherlands), speaking as the youth
representative in her delegation, said that both the
United Nations and young people could benefit from a
close working relationship through meaningful youth
participation. Youth from all over the world had
gathered recently in Dakar, Senegal, for the fourth
session of the World Youth Forum of the United
Nations system, which had adopted the Dakar Youth
Empowerment Strategy. That document identified new
opportunities for youth empowerment and
recommendations for fighting the threats they faced,
including unemployment, environmental degradation,
diseases like HIV/AIDS, poverty, armed conflict,
illiteracy, intolerance and discrimination. The future of
the World Youth Forum had also been discussed. Her
Government was eager to enhance the value of such
gatherings, which provided an opportunity for youth
from all over the world to interact and learn from other
nations. They also provided a framework for a
collective international voice of youth. One of the most
important purposes of the Forum was to look beyond
regional problems to global issues, in an attempt to
narrow the gaps between regions. In order to increase
the effectiveness of the World Youth Forum, in the
future it should be based on a transparent structure and
a broad representative process.
2. In order for the Dakar recommendations to be
implemented, young people needed assistance from
Governments and United Nations agencies.
Governments should make a commitment to include
youth in their official delegations to the General

Assembly and other international meetings. The United
Nations system must be accessible to young people,
especially those from developing countries. States
should be encouraged to provide sufficient funding for
youth activities by contributing to the United Nations
Youth Fund.
3. Lastly, referring to the impact of the 11
September attacks, she recalled that 2001 had been
proclaimed the United Nations Year of Dialogue among
Civilizations. She commended those Governments
which had made it their aim to encourage intercultural
dialogue and openly embrace cultural diversity and
pluralism. That would help fight intolerance of the kind
experienced the world over in recent weeks in the form
of a backlash against, for example, Arabs and Muslims.
It was terrifying that some people were unable to
identify the recent attacks on the United States for what
they were: acts of terror by extremists who did not
represent true Islam or the Arab people. It had been
heartening to her personally, as a Dutch Moroccan, to
see many leading politicians in her own country and
elsewhere take a clear stand against such a backlash.
4. Tolerance and understanding could be stimulated
through intercultural learning and the international
involvement of young people in particular. They could
help eradicate misconceptions and create a society in
which diversity was valued. The international
community must commit itself to ensuring that the
battle against terrorism did not widen the gap among
people of different countries, nationalities and
religions, as well as between majorities and minorities
within individual countries.
5. Mr. Maquieira (Chile) said that, according to
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, between
7.5 and 10 per cent of the population of developing
countries suffered from some degree of disability. For
Chile, that amounted to nearly 1.4 million people;
equal rights and opportunities for persons with
disabilities were therefore priorities for his
Government. Over the past decade, Chile had changed
its approach to dealing with disabled persons, shifting
from a State which provided assistance in the form of
health benefits and social security but left the task of
integration to the private sector to a State which made
resources directly available for promoting the social,
workplace and educational integration of such persons.
Thus conceived, social inclusion benefited the entire

6. Steps had also been taken to promote a change in
cultural attitudes towards persons with disabilities,
both in the media and among educators, opinionmakers,
political leaders and others. In the legislative
area, a 1994 act had established norms for the full
social integration of disabled persons and their access
to education, transportation and telecommunications.
Civil society had played a very important role in all
such initiatives, in an effort to build a more equitable
and humane society.
7. The World Conference against Racism, Racial
Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
had adopted a Declaration and Plan of Action in which
the General Assembly was invited to consider the
drafting of an international convention to protect the
rights and dignity of disabled persons and eliminate
discrimination against them. His delegation believed
that the Commission for Social Development should
begin to consider the possibility of drafting such a
convention in order to report thereon to the next
session of the General Assembly.
8. Mr. Barg (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) said that
Libya’s experience in the field of human development
in generally, and social development in particular, was
unique inasmuch as decisions on development were
taken collectively with the participation of all segments
of society. Political decision-making in the Libyan
Arab Jamahiriya was based on direct popular rule as
exercised through the People’s Congresses, which were
the decision-making bodies, and the People’s
Committees, which were the executive bodies. In that
framework, the project for the advancement of all
segments of society was based on the achievement of
self-reliance and economic and social justice and the
rejection of exclusion and marginalization, so as to
ensure the well-being of the individual and the
community. Social justice also involved ensuring the
optimal distribution of income and wealth and
balancing the needs of present and future generations.
9. His country believed that human beings were
both the pivot and the purpose of social development.
Investment in people brought about social development
designed to improve human life and well-being through
the optimal use of resources for the benefit of all
segments of society without discrimination. Over the
past three decades, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya had
achieved great success in preparing a suitable
environment for the various areas of social
development and had given it absolute priority in

successive budgets and development plans, particularly
with regard to education, health and vocational training
10. Life expectancy at birth had increased
considerably in his country as a result of the progress
made in the development of health and nutrition
infrastructures. Great advances had also been made in
education: 67 per cent of women and 87 per cent of
men were now literate. The overall literacy rate was
77.5 per cent, as against 39 per cent in 1973. Libyan
women had made great advances: 75 per cent of Libyan
girls were enrolled in preparatory and secondary
schools, as compared with 79 per cent of boys. The
education sector had been given high priority in
successive development plans and programmes since
1969 and had accounted for 17 per cent of the general
budget during the 1990s.
11. In the housing sector, homeownership had been
promoted and an end had been put to the rental system
that had prevailed before the revolution. The
phenomenon of marginal housing and slum
agglomerations in rural and urban areas, which had
accounted for 45 per cent of housing in Libya before
the revolution, had also been eliminated.
12. One of the most important transformations had
been the reduction of the income gap among social
groups and between urban and rural areas. Despite the
negative impact of international economic
circumstances, the fall in oil prices in the 1970s and
1980s and the various embargoes imposed on the
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, implementation of the State’s
economic and social policies based on eliminating the
disparities among regions and families had
nevertheless remained a priority. Average per capita
income had increased to 8.2 times the average in the
1970s at the beginning of the revolutionary era.
13. Since the 1969 revolution, the State had created
an effective social system aimed at protecting citizens
and ensuring their security in the event of sickness, old
age or disaster and at providing social welfare to
children and to disabled and older persons with no one
to support them. Such persons enjoyed material
benefits that enhanced their role in society and afforded
them equal opportunities to obtain a livelihood. Under
that social umbrella, the State also provided basic
pensions for widows and divorced and needy women,
particularly older women.

14. His delegation stressed the need to maintain the
momentum generated by the celebration of the
International Year of Older Persons, which constituted
a step towards raising awareness of the needs and
contributions of that age group, to which Arab and
Islamic religious and moral values accorded great
status and esteem because of its important role in
ensuring continuity between generations. His country’s
concern went beyond providing the necessary care for
that group to ensuring their involvement in social,
economic and political development projects. Such
involvement should preserve them from one of two
extremes, namely, acute dependency or distressful
social exclusion. The family, in its traditional form,
was a fundamental and supportive factor in that regard.
In that connection, he expressed appreciation to the
Government of Spain for offering to host the Second
World Assembly on Ageing in 2002.
15. His country accorded similar attention to
developing the skills of young people by enabling them
to exercise their right to education, work and welfare,
thereby promoting their social, political, economic and
environmental participation in their communities.
16. The Copenhagen Declaration and the outcome
document of the twenty-fourth special session of the
General Assembly had called for the creation of an
appropriate economic, political and social climate that
would enable peoples to achieve social development.
Although many developing States had assumed
responsibility for the achievement of social
development at the national level and had made great
efforts to fulfil their commitments in that regard, those
countries had not been afforded appropriate conditions
for meeting the challenges of achieving the goals set
forth in the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of
Action. The agreed target for Official Development
Assistance had not been met and the burdens of debt
and debt-servicing were impeding the economic and
social development efforts of developing countries.
17. While full and effective implementation of the
Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action was
basically a national responsibility, it could not be
achieved without the full commitment of the
international community. At the current session, the
international community must reaffirm its commitment
to promote efforts to combat factors that posed grave
threats to international peace and security and must
renew its undertaking to eradicate malnutrition, hunger,
disease, drug abuse, foreign occupation and

international terrorism, including State terrorism. It
must take effective action to eradicate diseases such as
malaria and HIV/AIDS and practical steps to cancel the
external debt. There should be a universal resolve to
reform the international financial institutions to make
them more democratic and their decision-making more
transparent. It was also necessary to eliminate the
negative economic and social consequences of
globalization, particularly the marginalization of the
role of developing countries in the global economy.
18. The 2001 Report on the World Social Situation
showed that the economic and social situation in Africa
remained grave and that despite the efforts made by the
African States to fulfil their national and international
commitments, the international community must make
a serious commitment to promoting African peacemaking
mechanisms and to helping the continent solve
its economic and health problems by revising the unfair
conditions imposed by international and private
financial institutions, offering fair prices for their
exports of raw materials, eliminating the barriers faced
by their exports on global markets and formulating
decisive, comprehensive measures to deal with the debt
19. He hoped that the United Nations would continue
to discharge its responsibilities, particularly its
responsibility to protect the right of future generations
to a better world. In that connection, his delegation
associated itself with the statement made on behalf of
the Group of 77 and China at the Committee’s 3rd
20. Archbishop Martino (Observer for the Holy
See) said that the Holy See would continue to defend
the family as the basic unit of society. Currently, in the
face of conflict, poverty, demographic change and the
HIV/AIDS pandemic, it was necessary to realize the
important function of the family in holding society
21. Although the sad events of 11 September 2001
had caused the General Assembly to postpone its
special session on children, the promotion and
protection of the rights of children continued to
demand attention. Indeed, the Charter of the United
Nations affirmed the determination to create a better
world for future generations.
22. The Holy See also looked forward to participating
in the discussions on the forthcoming Second World
Assembly on Ageing. It was regrettable that, just as the

world began to make great advances in prolonging life,
reverence and respect for life had been lost. It seemed
impossible to believe that the taking of life had become
an acceptable alternative in some places. For many
older persons, changes in legislation or medical
practice had become a new source of anxiety and could
weaken the relationship of unconditional trust which
they had a right to place in those whose mission it was
to care for them. Persons with disabilities were also
unique individuals with equal and inviolable dignity.
Governments and civil society must work to provide
them with living conditions and opportunities such that
their dignity was recognized and protected.
23. The valuable documents before the Committee
were a reminder of the responsibility of each
Government and society to provide for the needs of all
people, especially the most vulnerable. As the United
Nations began to turn its attention to the upcoming
World Summit on Sustainable Development, it should
remember the first principle of the Rio Declaration on
Environment and Development and the need to
recognize the human person as the centre of all its
24. Mr. Al Naqbi (United Arab Emirates) said that
his delegation associated itself with the statement made
by the representative of Iran on behalf of the Group of
77 and China. He noted with regret that despite all the
collective commitments made by heads of State and
Government at the various international conferences
held over the past decade and in the Millennium
Declaration particularly with regard to social
development and poverty eradication, national,
regional and international challenges to the fulfilment
of those commitments, such as armed and civil racial
conflicts, genocide, enforced displacement, the
proliferation of drugs, organized crime and terrorism
against innocent persons were increasing in an
unprecedented manner. His delegation deplored the
current state of humankind and the fear, tension and
instability generated by the recent grievous terrorist
operations against the United States and other
countries, which had caused death, injury or loss of
income for thousands of innocent people.
25. A worldwide campaign of solidarity was needed
to meet all those growing challenges with a view to
strengthening international cooperation and
transparency based on the principles of the Charter of
the United Nations, and of international law, namely,
equality among States, non-intervention in the internal

affairs of States, the right of peoples to self-defence, to
self-determination and to oppose foreign occupation,
and respect for cultural diversity and diversity of
beliefs. His delegation called for the strengthening of
regional and international mechanisms designed to
contain conflicts and their destructive consequences,
curb the factors that led to their outbreak and prosecute
those responsible for acts involving human rights
violations, terrorism, trafficking of drugs and
prohibited weapons, organized crime and moneylaundering,
among others. That would help mobilize
human, financial, development and environmental
efforts and resources for the social development and
well-being of peoples, instead of squandering them
26. He reaffirmed his country’s full support for the
recommendations contained in the outcome documents
of the World Summit for Social Development and the
twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly,
which had enhanced the international community’s
awareness of the nature of the social and
developmental problems facing the world’s peoples,
particularly in developing and least developed
countries. It was very important that States, particularly
the developed countries and donors, should fulfil their
commitments to implement those recommendations.
Official and unofficial assistance to developing
countries must be increased, their debt burden must be
alleviated and the conditions governing their access to
technology for peaceful uses and the access of their
products to global markets must be eased to enable
those countries to carry out appropriate reforms of their
social and development institutions, diversify their
sources of national income, create job opportunities for
their nationals, provide education, health and social
welfare services and combat chronic and epidemic
diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. That would help
reduce the gap between developed and developing
countries and bridge the social, economic and
technological divide.
27. On instructions from His Highness Sheikh Zayed
Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab
Emirates, to make the individual in that State the pivot
and the purpose of national development endeavours,
the State had adopted legislation, policies and plans
aimed at developing national human resources through
the development and modernization of educational,
health and cultural institutions and the establishment of
centres to train young people and develop their

scientific and technological skills in accordance with
national development needs. It had been active in the
establishment of homes and centres for the welfare of
families, children and older and disabled persons, in
the provision of health and social insurance services for
nationals and in the creation of diversified employment
opportunities for them, in addition to making efforts to
advance the status of women and promote their
equality with men in all areas of education and
employment in a way that accorded with Arab custom
and Islamic beliefs.
28. The United Arab Emirates had also been involved
in bilateral and regional cooperation activities in the
area of human development and cultural diversity. It
had contributed to the building of schools, hospitals,
orphanages and places of worship, extended soft loans
to many developing countries and hosted numerous
conferences, symposia and training courses on social,
environmental, population and other development
29. He hoped that the Committee’s discussions at the
current session would help to promote the role of the
United Nations in designing and coordinating
development policies and programmes in developing
countries and to revitalize an approach to international
development and social cooperation that was based on
equality among peoples and the right of States to
choose their own development course and achieve a
better future for their societies in accordance with their
independent national policies and interests.
30. Mr. Kim Chang Guk (Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea), noting that social development was
a priority concern of the United Nations system, said
that the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
the Pacific (ESCAP) had made considerable efforts to
promote such development at the regional level.
Despite such endeavours, however, the world social
situation had worsened and new challenges had arisen.
31. Globalization had exacerbated the inequities of
the international economic order, plunging the
vulnerable economies of developing countries into
catastrophe. Conflicts and unilateral sanctions also
impeded the sustained development of those countries
and often encroached on their national sovereignty.
32. Sustainable economic development was a
prerequisite for social development. Accordingly, in
order to achieve the objectives spelled out by the World
Summit for Social Development, priority should be

given to addressing the challenges to economic
development. First of all, an equitable international
economic order should be established which did not
blindly impose globalization on developing countries
but instead included an equitable trading system,
reform of the international financial institutions and a
solution to the external debt problem. Secondly,
unilateral economic sanctions should be ended and
solutions sought to conflicts. Lastly, the role of the
United Nations system in finding solutions to social
development problems should be enhanced.
33. In his country, the socialist system and the
Government’s people-centred policies had enabled the
issue of social development to be addressed
successfully. Political and economic isolation and a
series of natural disasters had forced the country into
temporary economic difficulties in the 1990s, but the
Government was modernizing the economy and
carrying out large-scale infrastructure projects to help
promote economic self-sufficiency and solve the food
problem. His Government would contribute to the
international community’s social development efforts
while safeguarding its national sovereignty and
working towards national prosperity.
The meeting rose at 4.15 p.m.