Summary record of the 41st meeting, held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Wednesday, 7 April 2004 : Commission on Human Rights, 60th session
|UN Document Symbol||E/CN.4/2004/SR.41|
|Convention||Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities|
|Document Type||Summary Record|
|Subjects||Rights of The Child, Displaced Persons, Persons with Disabilities, Child Welfare, Prisoner Treatment, Capital Punishment, Juvenile Offenders, Disappearance of Persons, Street Children, Child Abuse, Children in Armed Conflicts, Abduction, Socially Disadvantaged Children, Educational Policy, Sale of Children, Child Soldiers, Juvenile Justice, Sexual Minorities, Child Migrants|
Economic and Social
9 December 2005
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 41st MEETING
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva,
on Wednesday 7 April 2004, at 3 p.m.
Chairperson: Mr. AL-FAHINI (Bahrein)
RIGHTS OF THE CHILD (continued)
SPECIFIC GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS:
(a) MIGRANT WORKERS
(c) MASS EXODUSES AND DISPLACED PERSONS
(d) OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS
This record is subject to correction.
Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth
in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one
week of the date of this document to the Official Records Editing Section, room E.4108, Palais
des Nations, Geneva.
Any corrections to the records of the public meetings of the Commission at this session will
be consolidated in a single corrigendum, to be issued shortly after the end of the session.
The meeting was called to order at 3 p.m.
RIGHTS OF THE CHILD (agenda item 13) (continued) (E/CN.4/2004/9 and Add.1 and 2;
E/CN.4/2004/67, 68, 69, 70; E/CN.4/2004/NGO/4, 74, 81, 85, 96, 105, 136, 147, 241;
1. Mr. TRUONG TRIEU DUONG (Observer for Viet Nam) said that Viet Nam, a party to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols, had always attached great
importance to the promotion and protection of the rights of the child. Because of economic and
social progress, Viet Nam could now devote more resources to children. Following the success
of the Programme of Action for Children for the period 1991-2000, the Government was now
implementing the Programme of Action for Children for the period 2001-2010, which set new
goals such as the development of pre-school education, improvement in the quality of primary
and secondary education and better prevention of HIV/AIDS. The increase in Government
spending on social sectors (accounting for almost 30 per cent of the budget in 2000) meant that
all children, including disadvantaged children, had easier access to health care, education and
2. Viet Nams achievements in the protection and education of children had been
acknowledged by the international community. Viet Nam had been one of the few countries to
achieve the goals set by the World Summit on Children. There was, however, no room for
complacency. In the context of globalization, child-related problems were increasingly becoming
world issues, and international assistance and cooperation must be strengthened.
3. Mr. VAROPHAT (Observer for Thailand) stated that under the Child Protection Act, which
had entered into force on 30 March 2004, every child under the age of 18 was protected by the
State. A child protection committee composed of representatives of Government agencies, NGOs
and experts in childrens issues would be set up at the national and local levels to implement the
Act. A bill on the elimination of domestic violence was now under consideration. The Criminal
Code provided penalties for child abuse. A law had been passed allowing children under the age
of 18 to testify on videotape behind closed doors and in the presence of a psychologist or social
worker, with the judges consent. In addition, the Government intended to set up juvenile courts
and observation and protection centres in every province before the end of 2004 and to improve
living conditions in existing institutions. It was working on a restorative justice system
emphasizing prevention and addressing the root causes of juvenile delinquency, and was
considering the possibility of no longer putting children under the age of 16 in prison.
4. With respect to child labour, the Government had decided in October 2003 to ratify ILO
Convention No. 138 concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment. The Thai
authorities also wished to ensure the participation of children in matters affecting them; the report
to be submitted by the Government to the Committee on the Rights of the Child would be
accompanied by a report prepared by children. The Government had also organized a National
Assembly of Children and, in cooperation with non-governmental organizations, a forum for
children to discuss their needs and expectations. Thailand would continue to work closely with
the international community in improving the situation of children.
5. Ms. NADIPOUR (Observer for the Islamic Republic of Iran) said that she first wished to
thank all countries that had provided assistance to the children injured and orphaned following
the Bam earthquake. Many countries had adopted comprehensive laws on the rights of the child
in implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and considerable progress had
been made in establishing an international legal framework to protect the rights of children.
Despite those efforts, however, millions of children throughout the world were still faced with
poverty, famine, disease, displacement, armed conflict, violence, prostitution and exploitation.
Sexual exploitation of children was closely linked to social problems such as poverty and
exclusion. Some violations of childrens rights, such as trafficking, sexual tourism and Internet
child pornography clearly required cooperation between countries and international bodies.
6. For its part, the Iranian Government devoted a considerable part of the annual budget to
realization of the objectives set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Positive
measures relating to juvenile crime had been taken and a bill on the establishment of childrens
courts had been put before Parliament.
7. Ms. SOLTANI (Algeria) expressed satisfaction that, of all international instruments, the
Convention on the Rights of the Child had been most widely and rapidly ratified, but said that the progress made was derisory in relation to the hundred of millions of children still living daily
tragedies throughout the world. Children were often victims of poverty and might be affected by
its consequences for the rest of their lives. Trapped in a circle of inevitability, that heritage
of poverty would be all they would have to pass on to their descendants.
8. It was therefore essential to place the realization of childrens rights in the broader context
of realization of the right to development. Children were the first victims of economic crises and
all the problems faced by societies. Infant mortality, malnutrition, illiteracy, child labour,
recruitment of child soldiers and sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes were
almost always corollaries of underdevelopment. Debt relief measures would, by improving the
economic prospects of heavily indebted countries, make it possible to ensure that children
enjoyed the right to be given proper food, grow up healthy and receive an education. For that
reason, the defence of childrens rights required solidarity among peoples.
9. Mr. NYUN (Observer for Myanmar) said that Myanmar gave priority to the rights of the
child. It had submitted its first periodic report on the implementation of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child in 1996 and would submit the second in 2004. On the question of child
soldiers, Myanmar had some reservations concerning the annual report of the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for children and armed conflict (E/CN.4/2004/70) and in particular Annex II entitled Other parties to armed conflict that recruit or use children in armed conflict, in whichthe Special Representative included the Government army (Tatmadaw Kyi). In fact, the armed forces in Myanmar consisted solely of volunteers and no one could enlist in the army before the age of 18. There was neither a draft system nor forced conscription. Myanmar had the legal means to prevent recruitment of child soldiers through the Myanmar Defence Services Act
of 1947. The War Office Councils Instruction No. 13/73, dated 3 January 1974, clearly stated
that new recruits must be over 18 and under 25 years of age. In addition, the Government had
adopted strict measures to ensure that persons enlisted in the armed forces fulfilled recruitment
conditions. To ensure effective implementation of the law, a committee for the prevention of the
recruitment of child soldiers had recently been established.
10. The Government of Myanmar fully shared the view of the international community on the
need to protect children, particularly in situations of armed conflict. The promotion of human
rights, particularly the rights of children, should be achieved through cooperation. It was in that
spirit that the Government of Myanmar had invited the Secretary-Generals Special
Representative to visit Myanmar.
11. Mr. MAHOUVE (Observer for Cameroon) said that the main evils undermining the
realization of childrens rights were continuing poverty, poor socio-economic conditions in an
increasingly globalized economy, the AIDS pandemic, natural disasters, illiteracy, hunger and
armed conflicts. He welcomed the cooperation that had been established between UNICEF, other
agencies in the United Nations system and NGOs in promoting the rights of the child and the
adoption of the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale
of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and children in armed conflict, respectively. The Cameroonian delegation emphasized in particular the importance of education for the implementation of childrens rights.
12. Free primary education, including for refugee children, had been introduced in Cameroon,
and the competent authorities were working to create an environment conducive to equality
of opportunity for boys and girls. Cameroon was a party to virtually all international legal
instruments, both global and regional, relating to child protection, and its domestic legislation
in that area was copious and reflected the bi-cultural nature of Cameroonian law, which drew on
sources from Romano-Germanic law and common law without repudiating traditional values.
The Ministry of Justice, aware of the importance of training, had arranged for multi-disciplinary
seminars on juvenile justice to be held until 2007. Lastly, appreciable progress had been
achieved in implementing the commitments undertaken at the World Summit for Children
in 1990 and reaffirmed in May 2003 at the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children.
Nevertheless, much remained to be done.
13. Ms. FORERO UCROS (Observer for Colombia) said that the protection of childrens
economic, social and cultural rights was a central feature of the National Development Plan. The
Government intended to ensure the progressive realization of those rights subject to available
resources. Efforts were being made, through programmes for the prevention and monitoring
of domestic violence, to prevent and punish ill-treatment of children and sexual abuse. In
addition, the Colombian Family Protection Institute worked with abandoned and street children.
The Ministry for Social Protection had, with the help of ILO, prepared the third National Plan for
the Elimination of Child Labour. The País Plan contained strategies, policies and activities to
ensure the protection of pregnant or lactating women and young children.
14. Acts of violence committed by illegal armed organizations had increased the vulnerability
of the child population. The High Commissioner for Human Rights and NGOs had condemned
the forced conscription of children 15,000 according to UNICEF by illegal armed groups and
the violence and barbaric acts to which they were subjected. According to the Restrepo Barco
Foundation, 50 per cent of displaced persons were under 18 years of age and a child had been
abducted virtually every day in 2003. The Government was using all the means at its disposal to
address those tragic situations with the support of the local community. Since March 2001, the
International Organization for Migration, in cooperation with the Colombian Family Protection
Institute, had been helping children who had left armed combat under a programme with a budget of US$ 6.5 million paid by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). A campaign designed to prevent the involvement of children in armed conflicts had been launched on 28 January 2004 with the help of the Colombian Family Protection Institute, the Peoples Defence Service, UNICEF and ILO. The armed forces did not recruit juveniles.
15. Ms. LO (Observer for Senegal) said that the promotion and protection of childrens rights
had always been at the heart of the actions taken by the Senegalese Government, which had
ratified the principal instruments relating to the rights of the child. The new Senegalese Basic
Law of 22 January 2001 had enshrined the rights of the child by including the Convention on the
Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols in its preamble. Senegal had followed the
commitments it had undertaken under the Convention and the final documents of the Special
Session of the General Assembly held at New York in 2002 with specific action. On the initiative of the Head of State, child-care structures had been established to provide education, training and health care and combat poverty. The Governments action had taken the form of the
establishment of the Young Childrens Cabin for small children, modernization of Quranic
schools (daara ) and targeted action to help the poorest families and young people in difficulty.
16. At the regional level, Senegal, together with UNICEF and the Community of West African
States, had hosted in Dakar from 4 to 6 September 2003 a ministerial meeting on the
establishment of strategies to improve the situation of children in West Africa, where they were
faced with many difficulties, especially in the areas of education, access to drinking water and
health. Children were often the main victims of conflicts from which they emerged wounded
both physically and mentally.
17. Ms. GEZELIUS (International Save the Children Alliance), speaking also on behalf of the
International Council for Women, the International Alliance of Women, the International
Federation of Social Workers, the International Catholic Child Bureau, Casa Alianza, Defence for Children International and Plan International Sweden, expressed the hope that the study on
violence against children would help to improve the lives of girls and boys and welcomed the fact that the independent expert, in his concept paper annexed to the Secretary-Generals progress report on the study on the question of violence against children (E/CN.4/2004/68), had
emphasized his intention to give prominence to childrens strategies and actions. The
consultations with children during the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children and
the Yokohama Conference had shown that children throughout the world were extremely worried by violence and that they wanted their experiences and suggestions to be taken into account in national and local plans of action. In that connection, she quoted the testimony of three children regarding the violence to which they had been subjected.
18. As a preliminary contribution to the independent experts study, Save the Children, a
member of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, had produced a toolkit
to help children participate in research and consultations. It was known from experience that
when children had easy and safe access to child protection mechanisms hidden or unknown
instances of violence were brought to light. Moreover, it was not rare for children themselves to
seek and find means of making themselves heard, for instance by participating in school panels,
village committees or clubs. The independent experts study provided an opportunity to involve
children in programmes to combat violence in schools and in the community at large. Such
participation was essential both to understand the extent and characteristics of violence affecting
children and to design effective reporting systems that children could trust.
19. The Commission on Human Rights should therefore urge all States to inform children, and
the public at large, of the progress of the study so as to help create broad public discussion, to
emphasize the campaign against violence against children in national plans of action and to
provide financial support to the study secretariat.
20. Ms. SALANUEVA (Federation of Cuban Women), speaking also on behalf of the
International Democratic Federation of Women and the Solidarity Organization with the Nations
of Africa, Asia and Latin America, demanded the right of her daughter, who had been born in the
United States, to visit her father, who was unjustly imprisoned for having fought against
terrorism. She condemned not only the sentencing of five Cubans to heavy punishments for
trying to prevent terrorist acts organized and financed on the territory of the United States with
the complicity of its Government, but also the fact that hatred of the Cuban revolution had been
turned against their families, and in particular their children, who were too young to understand.
It was for adults to defend the rights of the children of the five Cubans detained in the United
States, who were being prevented from visiting their fathers in prison as a reprisal and an attempt
to stifle the spirit of resistance so often shown by their fathers, heroes of the Cuban Republic.
One day men would not have to sacrifice their lives and those of their children to protect an entire people against terrorism. She demanded the right of the children of Cuban detainees to grow up alongside their fathers.
21. Ms. GUERRERO BORREGO (Centro de estudios sobre la juventud), speaking also on
behalf of the National Union of Cuban Lawyers, said that children constituted one-fifth of the
population in Cuba and a large part of the national budget was devoted to them. They were the
beneficiaries of social programmes, whereas elsewhere in the world 135 million children between the ages of 7 and 18 received no education. If the world contribution to measures to prevent AIDS did not increase, 45 million people in 126 countries would be infected in 2010. Every year more than 5 million persons became HIV-positive, half of them between the ages of 15 and 24. The situation was quite different in Cuba, where everything was being done to protect the health of children and adolescents and more and more young people were being trained at university in disciplines which would help improve the quality of life of human beings. In particular, medical students from Latin American countries were being trained in Cuba. Students from Honduras were ashamed of their Governments attitude to Cuba which, during disasters, had provided unselfish aid to that country. Many women were dying in Honduras following
childbirth and many children, too, did not reach the age of 7. The Cuban Government would
continue to show solidarity with the Honduran people, despite the attacks and offensive criticisms of the present Honduran President.
22. In 2000, the organizations on whose behalf she was speaking had demanded the release
of young Elián González Brotón. Today, they were defending the right of the children of the five
unjustly detained Cuban heroes to live with their fathers. Cuban children were writing to those
heroes to express their support. Children should not be involved in such situations, yet they stood
alongside adults in that battle of ideas.
23. Mr. MESSERLI (World Organization against Torture - OMCT) said that OMCT was very
concerned about the failure both of the judiciary and of administrative authorities to react
promptly to allegations of ill-treatment or torture of children in police stations, detention centres
and other public institutions in many countries. In such cases, urgent measures should be taken
not only to fight impunity but also to prevent further abuses. In its resolution on the rights of the
child, the Commission should urge States to suspend immediately, for the duration of the
investigation, any official suspected of having committed acts of ill-treatment against children.
Subsequently, if he was found guilty, he should be barred from any position in which he might be
in contact with children. In many countries, however, guilty officials were simply given a
warning or were transferred to another post where they continued to work with children where
their past acts were not known. Those practices were irresponsible and criminal.
24. OMCT also recommended that where officials were found guilty of serious human rights
abuses, the staff composition of the institution concerned should be thoroughly reviewed and
appropriate child protection measures adopted, implemented and monitored. For their part, the
victims should receive reparation and psychological and medical support.
25. Lastly, OCMT believed that, in view of its importance, the final in-depth study on violence
against children should be submitted not only to the Human Rights Commission but also to the
General Assembly so that it might have the desired impact.
26. Ms. HAMOUDA (International Federation Terre des Hommes) said that child trafficking
was a universal problem which inflicted extreme anguish on its victims, most of which was
caused by traffickers and exploiters but which sometimes also resulted from the actions of the
police and government agencies. International Federation Terre des Hommes, which had long
field experience in the matter, had several recommendations on how to combat child trafficking.
Firstly, any action must be based on the actual experience of the children concerned and take
account of their views and real needs, since cases varied and there was no standard solution.
Secondly, account must be taken of the diversity of ways in which trafficking and exploitation
occurred and of the sex and age of children, as well as such factors as why and how they had left
home and who was paying their exploiters, and steps must be taken to ensure that efforts to stop
child trafficking were not counter-productive and, especially, that children were not harmed once
they were freed, for instance if they were placed in a home or deported. Thirdly, coordination
among the various programmes to combat child trafficking should be improved.
27. Mr. PERLA (General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists) expressed concern that some
States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child did not respect the basic right to
religious freedom that was expressly laid down in its articles 14 and 30. In order to help children
suffering poverty, illiteracy, ill-health, exploitation and violence, the General Conference
of Seventh-day Adventists had formulated an official statement affirming that children had the
right to a stable and protected home filled with love, the right to adequate food, clothing and
housing, the right to appropriate medical care, the right to education preparing them to play a
positive role in society, the right to religious and moral education, the right not to be subjected to
discrimination and exploitation, and the right to an identity, respect and the positive development
of self-esteem. The General Conference called upon all States to reaffirm their determination to
ensure that the Convention was not merely a list of good intentions but became an instrument that
enabled real progress to be made in the welfare of the worlds children.
28. Ms. BRETT (Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers)) said that her
organization had analysed the reasons why adolescents volunteered for armed forces or groups
and had identified five major interdependent factors: war, poverty, education, employment and
the family. War usually provided the opportunity. Poverty was an important but not decisive
factor: many more poor children did not become soldiers than did, even in war zones. What was
true, however, was that children who were not living in poverty rarely became child soldiers.
Education and the search for employment were dominating influences. The most underestimated,
and perhaps determining, factor was the family. Many adolescents were running away
from a family environment in which they were being abused or exploited. If there was to be
sustained success in the campaign against the recruitment of child soldiers, it was essential,
in addition to taking legal steps, to address those factors.
29. Ms. DE CARLOTTA (International Movement for Fraternal Union among Races and
Peoples) drew attention to the development of the situation concerning the plight
of 30,000 persons who had disappeared and hundreds of children who had been abducted
in Argentina between 1976 and 1983. The new President of the Republic, elected in 2003, had
shown his desire finally to end impunity. On 12 August 2003, the Duty of Obedience Act and the
Amnesty Act (Punto final) had been annulled, enabling those responsible to be brought to trial.
On the Presidents proposal, a bill providing for compensation to be paid to the child victims had
been submitted to Parliament. In addition, it had been officially decided to turn one of the most
sinister concentration camps of the era of dictatorship into a Memorial Museum. The opening
of the archives of the armed forces and security services would throw light on the aberrations
of the dictatorship. That political springtime gave cause to hope that every disappeared person
could be found and that every child who had been abducted could regain his rights.
30. Ms. CANEPA (Human Rights Advocates) said that the abolition of the death penalty for
juvenile offenders had virtually become an essential norm of international law. In the past
10 years, there had been only eight executions of juveniles outside the United States. Iran had
adopted a law prohibiting that practice in December 2003, although there had been a reported
execution in January 2004. A minor, whose age had not been confirmed, also appeared to have
been executed in China in 2003. The United States remained the country in which most juveniles
had been executed nine since 2000. However, the situation had improved recently, notably
because of pressure from the international community and the Commission. Several states had
already adopted laws prohibiting the death penalty for juveniles, and only one execution had
occurred in 2003. There was increasing scientific evidence that the brains of juveniles under the
age of 18 were not sufficiently developed to enable them to be fully responsible for their actions.
Life imprisonment of a juvenile without the possibility of release was therefore also a violation
of human rights, and the Commission should recognize it as such. Human Rights Advocates also
requested the Commission to recognize the prohibition of the execution of juvenile offenders as
an essential norm of international law (jus cogens) and recommended that States should take the
necessary measures to enforce laws prohibiting the death penalty for juveniles, including
effective procedures to determine the age of offenders.
31. Mr. de PATER (Jubilee Campaign) drew the Commissions attention to the tragic plight
of street children in Brazil, four or five of whom were killed every day. Such carnage flourished
in a climate of fear, silence and official collusion. It was encouraged by the general proliferation
of small arms and made worse by the emergence of a drug culture, with its accompanying
trafficking and armed rivalry. The conditions in which children were arrested and detained were
particularly appalling. The abject poverty that prevailed in the favelas must be addressed by
rethinking public housing and health and education programmes, and developing the
entrepreneurial capacity of the individual. The Brazilian Government should be encouraged to
learn the best practices for the protection of children and adolescents and the provision of security
for witnesses, journalists and human rights organizations.
32. Ms. KONGBANYI (Comité international pour le respect et lapplication de la Charte
africaine des droits de lhomme et des peoples CIRAC) said that the serious crisis affecting the
Democratic Republic of the Congo was having tragic consequences for children, many of which
had been left to their own devices, were becoming easy prey for armed or mafia sects or groups
and were particularly exposed to sexual violence, especially girls. Unfortunately, the programme
for childrens disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, rehabilitation and repatriation was not
yet producing the results expected.
33. Consequently, CIRAC and the Congolese Human Rights Observatory recommended that
the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo should prepare a national plan for
children, establish rehabilitation centres for the victims of sexual abuse, especially persons
infected by HIV/AIDS, monitor the compliance of the constitutions of churches and prayer
groups with the law on non-profit organizations, provide all children with access to primary
education and medical care and fully restore the authority of the State throughout the country.
They recommended that the Commission on Human Rights should extend the mandate of the
Special Rapporteur to cover the situation of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
and that the international community should establish an international judicial mechanism for the
Democratic Republic of the Congo that would take account of cases of sexual abuse deemed to be
war crimes committed before July 2002 and should support the activities of NGOs.
34. Mr. MOHAMADI (Organization for Defending Victims of Violence) said that armed
conflicts left deep scars in society that especially affected children. In Iraq, many child soldiers
under five years of age were severely malnourished, and although the war had been unleashed to
establish democracy it would not lessen their suffering. In a short period of time hundreds
of children had been killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. War also had lasting effects on the
environment: 15 years after the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the highest rate of child cancer was to be
found in the regions directly affected by the conflict. His organization expressed its deep concern
at those tragic situations and, in the name of respect for the inherent dignity of human beings,
called on all States to accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the
Child on children and armed conflict. At a time when, in the age of technology, malnutrition was
threatening the lives of millions of children and thousands of other children were being deprived
of their civil rights because they had not been registered properly at birth, when the number
of street children, epidemics, sale of organs and child prostitution were all increasing, States and
international institutions must give priority attention to the rights and welfare of children and
must assume their responsibilities.
35. Mr. NAVARRO MARTINEZ (World Federation of Democratic Youth) noted that only a
small proportion of the children to whom the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child had
promised special protection to enable them to develop in a healthy and normal manner were able
to exercise that right. Many had died without having the time to develop, while most were
among the 854 million illiterates, the 842 million starving and the 1,200 million living in extreme
poverty; some were seated in the room where the Commission on Human Rights was meeting
and had the moral responsibility actually to defend the rights of children of past, present and
36. His organization condemned the violation by the United States of the rights of the young
Cuban girl, Ivette Gonzalez, who was cruelly being prevented from seeing her father, a political
prisoner. It deplored the situation of many Honduran children who were unable to attend school
because of poverty. It strongly condemned all injustices committed against children who were,
in the words of the Cuban poet José Marti, the hope of the world.
37. Ms. PHILPOT-NISSEN (World Vision International), speaking also on behalf of Human
Rights Watch, urged the Commission to address the alarming escalation of child abductions
in situations of armed conflict by adopting a strong, action-focused resolution to combat such
abuses. Abductions of children had been reported in many African conflicts, including northern
Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Burundi and Côte dIvoire. The
escalating violence and constantly deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Uganda were
extremely worrying, and following the example of the Secretary-Generals Representative for
Displaced Persons, she appealed for a national policy on internally displaced persons to be
adopted and implemented without delay. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, together with UNICEF and other relevant United Nations agencies, should devote urgent
attention to that region, as Mr. Vieira de Mello had done personally, and strengthen monitoring
of other regions where children were victims of abduction.
38. World Vision International and Human Rights Watch recommended that the Secretary-
General should use his good offices to intervene in the worst situations of child abduction, that
the relevant special rapporteurs, special representatives and independent experts should pay
particular attention to that phenomenon, that Member States should end financial or military aid
to parties to an armed conflict which abducted children, and that the Commission should request
that a report on progress made concerning the abduction of children should be submitted to its
39. Ms. VUKOVIC (Permanent Assembly for Human Rights) said that, while she welcomed
the incorporation of the Convention on Human Rights into the Constitution of Argentina, she was
concerned about the non-conformity of its domestic legislation with the provisions of the
Convention. For instance, Argentinian street children were systematically placed in institutions
far from their families and deprived of their freedom, contrary to those provisions. In the
circumstances of poverty, uncertainty, violence and social inequality currently prevailing
in Argentina, it was of course impossible to implement the Convention. It was therefore
important for Argentina to create economic and social conditions conducive to respect for the
rights of the child. In accordance with the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,
mechanisms and national and international programmes for the defence and protection
of children, especially children in particular difficulty, should be strengthened. Her organization
recalled the Commissions statement, in its resolution 2003/86, that the family is the basic unit
of society and as such should be strengthened.
40. Ms. DEHOY (Anti-Slavery International) drew the Commissions attention to the plight
of Rohingya Muslim children in the Northern Rakhine state of Myanmar. The regime continued
to subject those children to a policy of ethnic discrimination and exclusion through a series
of measures designed to impede their development and family growth. They were confined to
their villages, often deprived of health care and education, their access to food was restricted so
as to make them leave, formalities relating to marriage, registration of births, house building and
home repairs were becoming increasingly difficult, and many children were subjected to forced
labour. That treatment was in blatant breach of Myanmars obligations under the Convention on
the Rights of the Child. Anti-Slavery International asked the Commission to address those
discriminatory practices with the Government of Myanmar and urge it to ensure respect for the
fundamental rights of those children.
41. Mr. CRISMO (Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance FIND) said that since
signing the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990 the Philippines had adopted some
measures to protect and promote childrens rights, but much remained to be done, especially to
help children who were victims of involuntary disappearance. Those children were part of the
category of children in armed conflict, as were those who had been arrested, detained, tortured
and raped or who had witnessed the killing of their families. Most were poor and lived
in complete destitution in war-torn areas. Some had seen their parents abducted or arrested and
had gone through untold suffering searching for them or simply waiting for them to return.
Compelled to find work to survive, they often became victims of the worst forms of labour. Such
experiences led to a culture of violence and prevented the healthy development of children. It
was essential for governments to put in place systems and programmes to provide rehabilitation
for those children and their families, care, appropriate educational assistance and the means
42. Ms. MU Hong (All-China Womens Federation) drew the Commissions attention to the
situation of children in the United States. She noted that 10.4 per cent of minors in the United
States were living in poverty, 400 persons had been charged over the past 18 months with making
and spreading child pornography on the Internet, at least 5,000 children who had gone to the
United States to join their families or because they were fleeing wars had been imprisoned for
months or even years and had been subject to abuse. Although the United States claimed to be a
free and democratic country, it had not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and
child protection there fell far below international standards.
43. The All-China Womens federation therefore called upon United Nations agencies and the
international community to continue to urge the United States to ratify the Convention, fulfil its
commitments with respect to the rights of the child and substantially to improve assistance,
rehabilitation and reintegration services for children who were victims of trafficking.
44. Mr. SHAEEN (International Institute for Peace) said that, in addition to the numerous child
soldiers being used in armed conflicts, at least 2 million girls aged between 5 and 10 were sold
every year as sexual slaves. Sexual exploitation of children was an important factor in the spread
of HIV/AIDS. At the end of 2002, more than 3 million children under the age of 15 had been
infected and more than 610,000 had died of AIDS. The number of children orphaned by the
epidemic would more than double by 2010.
45. One of the worst ways of foreclosing the future prospects of children was to deprive them
of a modern education that also taught them about hygiene and health. That was happening
in Pakistan, where many children studied in madrassas, where they received a fundamental
religious education and were even sometimes subjected to sexual exploitation. The Special
Rapporteur on Torture had asked the Government of Pakistan to investigate several cases of the
sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, but had received no reply. The
Committee on the Rights of the Child had expressed its concern at the use of corporal punishment
in schools and the conditions of detention of children in Pakistan.
46. Ms. TOLEDO (Latin American Association of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees -
FEDEFAM) said that under the dictatorships that had existed in Latin America, some children
had disappeared with their parents, others had been born in captivity and still others had been
conceived but it was not known whether they had ever been born. The children who had survived
were now men and women who were seeking their identity, with the help of such organizations
as Grandmothers of May Square in Argentina and the Prebúsquada association in El Salvador.
47. FEDEFAM was also concerned about the plight of children who were dying of hunger,
especially as a result of adjustment plans, street children, who were an easy prey for drug
traffickers and pimps, child soldiers (in Colombia, for instance, 1,000 children were being
recruited by the army and the guerrilla forces) and children in conflict with the law who,
in countries such as Colombia, were put in correctional institutions that were veritable crime
schools. Lastly, FEDEFAM requested the Commission to invite States to take the necessary
measures to ensure respect for the rights of the child as set out in the Convention on the Rights
of the Child.
48. Ms. RAHOELISON RAZAFIARISOA (World Alliance of Womens Christian Unions)
deplored the violence resulting from the patriarchal system and globalization, of which children
were the victims in their families, society and the street. That violence took various forms. Many
children suffered from malnutrition and died from it, often very young, and had no access to
drinking water or education. In addition, 150 million children were compelled to work
in dangerous and unhealthy conditions, 1.5 million were drawn every year into the sex trade and
6 million became disabled in wars which now caused more deaths among children than among
soldiers. Many children were abducted by armed groups to serve as cheap labour for drug
traffickers or pimps or to work as domestic servants.
49. Her organization urged governments to assume their responsibilities for the protection
of childrens rights and to take the necessary measures, including legal measures, to ensure
respect for those rights.
50. Mr. NETTER (Bnai Brith International) said that in many parts of the world parents
educated their children to hate and, in many cases, asked them to sacrifice their lives for a cause
they were incapable of understanding fully. That was a flagrant violation of article 26 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stipulated that education should promote
understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial and religious groups. The
Commission should therefore address the matter urgently, since it affected the future of todays
children and tomorrows societies. Those manipulated children would perhaps be leaders one
day. The Commission should include a specific reference to that issue in its resolution on the
rights of the child and appoint a special rapporteur to investigate educational practices that
encouraged suicide or martyrdom, for whatever political cause.
51. Ms. MILADI (National Union of Tunisian Women) said that Tunisia had been one of the
first countries to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and one of the few to have
adopted a code of the rights of the child which took account of the countrys aspirations to
modernity while at the same time respecting its history and culture.
52. The Tunisian Government had established an information, training, documentation and
study observatory on protection of the rights of the child and was planning to set up a family
court. In addition, the Personal Status Code had been revised in 1993: a child born of a Tunisian
mother and non-Tunisian or unknown father could now obtain Tunisian citizenship, and all
children born out of wedlock had the right to a name. A care centre for women and children
in distress had been opened and posts of regional child protection commissioner had been
established in each governorship. A higher national council for the disabled was studying
measures to protect the rights of the disabled. As to education and health, school enrolment
of children aged between 6 and 16 was 99.4 per cent and the rate of child mortality was 24 per
thousand. It was also planned to connect all schools to the Internet by 2005. Children were
initiated into the management of public affairs in the Childrens Parliament and childrens
municipal councils. Lastly, the National Union of Tunisian Women assured Palestinian children
of its unfailing support.
53. Mr. CHOEPHEL (International Union of Socialist Youth) said that the Special Rapporteur
on Education portrayed a grim picture of the educational situation of Tibetan children in her
report (E/CN.4/2004/45/Add.1). For the purpose of civilizing them, the Chinese authorities
were imposing on those children an educational system that totally ignored Tibets history,
culture, language and religion. That was why hundreds of Tibetan children fled the country every
year to go to India, where Tibetan schools provided modern and traditional education. In 1996
the Committee on the Rights of the Child had expressed concern about the inadequacy of the
education provided to Tibetan pupils by the Chinese authorities (CRC/C/15/Add.56, para. 19).
54. Another matter of concern to his organization was the education being received by the
young Panchen Lama of Tibet in China, where he had been detained since May 1995. It urged
the Chinese authorities to authorize the Committee on the Rights of the Child to visit him. In
addition, it wished to inform the Commission that three of its young Tibetan members had started
an indefinite hunger strike at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 2 April 2004 and
urged it to adopt a resolution condemning Chinas grave violation of human rights in Tibet.
55. Mr. DIKE (Center for Economic and Social Rights) said that the United States and Somalia
were the only two countries that had not yet ratified the Convention on the Right of the Child.
The United States claimed that its laws provided sufficient protection for children, but the reality
was quite different. About 12 million children were living in poverty in that country and about
1.35 million children were homeless at one time or another over the course of a year. Huge
educational disparities based on race continued to exist. In New York, 97 per cent of children
in foster care were black or Hispanic. Black children were twice as likely as white children to be
taken away from their parents because of ill-treatment. In the criminal justice system, many more
black and Hispanic children than white children were in conflict with the law and were often tried
56. The Center for Economic and Social Rights therefore urged the United States to ratify the
Convention on the Rights of the Child. While commending its decision to ratify the Optional
Protocol on children and armed conflict, his organization reminded it of the disastrous
consequences of war and foreign occupation for children who, when they faced them, grew up
in hatred for those they believed responsible for their situation. The Center for Economic and
Social Rights urged the United States to put the welfare of children at the heart of its policies, and
asked the Commission to hold the United States accountable for the violations of human rights it
committed on its territory and abroad.
57. Ms. AL-ARAFI (Interfaith International) said she felt honoured to be able to address the
Commission without being harassed by agents of the previous Iraqi régime. Over the past three
decades many Iraqi children had had to face poverty, inadequate health services and poor-quality
education. One child in four under the age of 5 was chronically malnourished and one in eight
died before the age of 5. The new Government should therefore devote special attention to
children and, in particular, take vigorous measures to achieve a drop in child mortality, eliminate
child labour, increase the enrolment rate in primary schools and provide special assistance to the
many children who had been traumatized by wars, poverty and human rights abuses, including
the assassination of their fathers.
58. One year after the end of the war, Iraqi women and children were witnessing bloody attacks
perpetrated daily by terrorists. Interfaith International was very concerned about the way
in which the coalition provisional authorities were handling the issue of security in Iraq, where
many innocent people, including children, were victims of terrorism and landmines.
59. Interfaith International urged the international community in general and the Commission
on Human Rights in particular to continue to work for the protection and promotion of the rights
of women and children.
60. Ms. JEONG (A Womans Voice International) drew the Commissions attention to the
systematic violations of childrens rights in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.
According to many Western NGOs, the food aid provided to North Korea did not reach the most
vulnerable population group, children, and especially homeless children who had been placed in
detention camps, where many died of malnutrition. In addition, children in North Korea were
compelled to attend public executions, which traumatized them for life. In health and education,
there were serious discrepancies based on political opinions or the social class of parents.
61. In view of those circumstances, A Womans Voice International requested the Commission
to appoint a special rapporteur to investigate violations of the rights of the child in North Korea.
62. Mr. FRANK (Liberal International) condemned the lack of any measures by the Cuban
Government to ensure the well-being of Cuban children and guarantee their rights. After their
seventh birthday, children in Cuba were no longer entitled to receive milk rations, while
adolescents continued to be sent to country schools where they spent long hours working in the
fields without supervision and lived in promiscuity. In addition, there was a shortage
of medicines for sick children, the problem of child prostitution was assuming alarming
proportions, children were being subjected to political indoctrination and the Government
promoted abortion. That was why the Cuban Government refused to allow visits by
representatives of the Commission, Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch and had still
not authorized the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit political prisoners. It was
time for all Cubans in the country and abroad to react so as to give Cuban children hope for a
63. Ms. ESPINOZA (Research Center for Feminist Action- CIPAF) said that two months
previously an adolescent had been murdered with sticks and knives by three schoolmates in a
school in Santo Domingo because he was gay. It was incumbent on the international community
and governments to take measures to prevent crimes based on sexual orientation. For its part, the
Commission should recognize the right of children and adolescents to full education on those
matters and the right of adults to express their sexuality according to their own inner being.
Refusing to acknowledge the existence of various forms of sexuality contributed neither to the
struggle for peace nor to respect for diversity. The lack of an integrated and non-prejudicial
sexual education led to confusion, loneliness, isolation, anxiety and stress for adolescents who
discovered that they were homosexual, bisexual or transsexual. In some cases they even
64. CIPAF recalled that in ratifying the Convention on Human Rights States parties undertook
to prepare children for responsible life in a free society, in a spirit of understanding, peace,
tolerance, equality of sexes and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious
groups and persons of indigenous origin.
65. Ms. van HAREN (Association of World Citizens) drew the Commissions attention to the
increasing difficulties facing asylum seekers in many countries of Western Europe and the
consequences for the health and well-being of the children who were directly or indirectly victims
of that policy of rejection. In the Netherlands, for example, many asylum seekers whose
applications had been rejected were deprived of all aid and, when they decided to remain in the
country illegally, lived in extremely difficult conditions which seriously, and sometimes
irreversibly, affected the psychological and physical well-being of their children. Those children
were deprived of housing, adequate food, health care and often also education. In some cases,
entire families who been in the country for decades were expelled, and their children born and
raised in the Netherlands were thus returned to countries they did not know, whose language they
did not speak and where girls were sometimes subjected to forced marriages.
66. The Association of World Citizens therefore asked governments to acknowledge that their
immigration policies were a deliberate violation of the human rights of children in their countries
of origin or in the country not granting asylum, and urged the Special Rapporteur to devote
special attention to the situation of children of immigrants and asylum seekers who had been
expelled or refused entry.
67. Mr. BROWN (International Humanist and Ethical Union) said that his organization was
concerned about the many violations of childrens rights committed in the name of religion. In
India and Africa, children were married against their will. In Nepal, girls aged 4 were made
living goddesses or kumaris. In Bhutan and Pakistan, young children were sent to
monasteries and madrassas. In many African countries, genital mutilation was practised on girls.
Elsewhere, children were recruited to take part in holy wars. Members of the Catholic clergy
engaged in acts of paedophilia. In India, a very influential self-proclaimed sage, Satya Sai Baba,
reportedly committed indecent assault against minors brought to him. UNESCO and the United
Kingdom and United States authorities had expressed indignation at those accusations, which
should be thoroughly investigated. The International Humanist and Ethical Union urged the
Commission and States parties to the Convention to deal with the cruelty inflicted on children
in the name of religion in the same way as other forms of cruelty.
68. The CHAIRPERSON declared the general debate on agenda item 13 closed.
SPECIFIC GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS: (a) MIGRANT WORKERS; (b) MINORITIES;
(c) MASS EXODUSES AND DISPLACED PERSONS; (d) OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS
AND INDIVIDUALS (agenda item 14) (E/CN.4/2004/71-75, 76 and Add.1-4, 77 and Add.1-4,
78 and Add.1, 119, 122; E/CN.4/2004/G/15, 17, 32; E/CN.4/2004/NGO/20, 22, 23, 61, 63, 67,
75, 87, 90, 97, 115, 137, 148, 178, 188, 209, 215, 216, 233, 234, 235, 242, 249, 250, 251, 252;
A/58/118 and Corr.1, 161, 255)
69. Mr. DENG (Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons),
introducing his report (E/CN.4/2004/77 and Add.1-4), said that, despite the efforts of the
international community, the number of internally displaced persons remained at 25 million.
In 2003, although 3 million persons had been able to return home, 3 million had also been
70. In discharging his mandate, he had from the outset tried to find a balance between the
legitimate concerns of governments about State sovereignty and the needs of displaced persons
for protection and assistance. That required a constructive dialogue based on the recognition that
displacement was by definition a problem that related to State sovereignty, which must be
respected, but the concept of responsibility also required the State to provide to those under its
jurisdiction the protection they needed, if necessary in cooperation with the international
71. Over the years, he had established six major areas or pillars of activity pursuant to the
guidelines of the Commission and the General Assembly. The first was advocacy and awarenessraising.
Progress had been made in that area, but much remained to be done to raise awareness
among the public and authorities that an effective and comprehensive response to internal
displacement was urgently needed. The second had been the development and application of the
Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. He had been gratified by the acceptance the
Guiding Principles had received at the national, regional and international levels. The third pillar
related to institutional arrangements. In that area, the international community had opted for the
approach of inter-agency collaboration. However, studies had revealed gaps in that form
of response. To make it more efficient, the leading role of the Emergency Relief Coordinator
in the coordination of the efforts of operational agencies and organizations should be
strengthened. Donor countries should also provide adequate financial support.
72. Country missions and dialogue with governments constituted the fourth area of activity. He
had undertaken missions to Uganda and Russia, which were described in addenda 1 and 2 to his
report. He was gratified by the Ugandan Governments desire to put in place a comprehensive
national policy on internal displacement and also noted with satisfaction the Russian
Governments statements affirming that it wished to guarantee the right of displaced persons to
voluntary return and to provide adequate alternative housing in Ingushetia or elsewhere for those
who did not wish to return to Chechnya. He thanked the Governments of those two countries for
their invitations and the cooperation they had extended to him. With respect to regional
activities, he drew the Commissions attention to the conference which he had organized
in Sudan in September 2003, in conjunction with the Inter-governmental Authority on
Development and the Internal Displacement Unit of the Office for the Coordination
of Humanitarian Affairs. The conference had resulted in a ministerial declaration recognizing the
gravity of the problem of displacement in the sub-region, the need for cooperation and the
usefulness of the Guiding Principles. The conference on internal displacement in Latin America,
held in Mexico City in February 2004 in cooperation with the Brookings-SAIS Project, had
developed a framework for action intended to provide guidance and assistance to governments,
civil society and international and regional actors in addressing internal displacement in the
73. The fifth pillar was local capacity-building through cooperation with national and local
entities. Over the years he had cooperated, through the Brookings-SAIS Project, with NGOs,
academic institutions, associations of internally displaced persons, lawyers associations and
human rights institutions to develop projects to assist displaced persons in a local context. The
sixth pillar was research to achieve practical results that could be applied in the field. That
research had been carried out with the assistance of the dedicated staff of the Brookings-SAIS
Project and had covered such issues as national responsibility, peacekeeping, protection
of displaced persons, the application of the Guiding Principles and the question of when
74. In conclusion, he wished to thank all those who had helped him to carry out his work and,
in particular, the co-director of the Brookings-SAIS Project, Roberta Cohen, the Governments
and foundations that had funded the Project, the Commission on Human Rights, the General
Assembly, the Secretary-General, the Emergency Relief Coordinators, the Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights and all international humanitarian and human rights
organizations. He appealed to the international community to continue working for displaced
persons, in the light of the Guiding Principles and in the framework of the approach based on
cooperation, avoiding the twin pitfalls of complacency and pessimism.
75. Mr. LANCHIKOV (Russian Federation) thanked the Secretary-Generals Representative on
Internally Displaced Persons for the report on his mission to Russia (E/CN.4/2004/77/Add.2) and
assured him that his comments and recommendations would be carefully studied by the Russian
76. Mr. IRUMBA (Uganda) thanked the Representative of the Secretary-General for the
objective manner in which he had recorded his findings following his mission to Uganda, which
was described in his report (E/CN.4/2004/77/Add.1). Referring to some of his conclusions and
recommendations, he noted that the Ugandan Government had always encouraged initiatives such
as that proposed for the appointment of a mediator to bring the Government and the Lords
Resistance Army (LRA) together for peace talks. The Carter Center, Ugandan religious leaders
and Father Egidio Mateo had acted as such in Uganda, but the LRA had never responded to their
proposals, probably because it had no known political agenda. The Ugandan Government was
therefore in favour of that proposal if a mediator could be found who could convince the rebel
movement to end its demands. That was the only way to achieve a final and lasting solution to
the problem of displaced persons in Uganda. Substantial progress had been made to prevent rebel
activity, a peace process had started in southern Sudan, the Government had established a
national policy for displaced persons and greater security was also to be provided to protected
villages. The Ugandan Defence Forces had managed to save a large number of kidnapped
children and return them to their families or to the local authorities. The Government was also
trying to provide protection and assistance to night commuters, mostly children, who left their
villages every evening to sleep in towns to escape being abducted, and he thanked NGOs and
other donors who had provided them with tents and blankets.
77. Lastly, the Ugandan Government was ready to continue the dialogue it had started with the
Representative of the Secretary-General through his visits or the exchange of information on the
situation of displaced persons. It asked the Secretary-General to use his good offices to mobilize
resources for rehabilitation of the war-ravaged districts of northern Uganda.
78. Mr. NOONAN (Ireland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, thanked the
Representative of the Secretary-General for his efforts over recent years to improve the situation
of displaced persons in many countries. He would like to know what gaps needed to be
addressed and measures taken for the collaborative approach which he recommended to produce
an effective international response to the crisis of displaced persons. While noting the
encouraging trend for an increasing number of countries to follow the Guiding Principles on
Internal Displacement, he wondered whether those who worked with displaced persons were
sufficiently familiar with the standards relating to their protection and what measures the
Representative of the Secretary-General had in mind to inform them and make displaced persons
themselves aware of their rights. Also, as the Representative of the Secretary-General
continually stressed in his reports the need to address the root causes of displacement, it would be
useful if he could elaborate on what that entailed. Lastly, the European Union would like to
know what the priority areas were for his future research on displaced persons.
79. Ms. DESMARAIS (Canada) expressed appreciation for the outstanding work of the
Representative of the Secretary-General, particularly during his missions to certain countries, and
his valuable contribution to ongoing normative development. Canada, which had had the
pleasure of welcoming Mr. Deng in November 2003 as part of the launch of the Consolidated
Appeal, wished to know whether he felt that the activities of governments and United Nations
agencies was tending to improve the protection of internally displaced persons.
80. Mr. VIGNY (Observer for Switzerland) asked what was the real impact of the
incorporation of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement into the elaboration of national,
regional and international policies, and how the Representative of the Secretary-General intended
to support national measures. The Swiss delegation would also like to know what were the most
serious difficulties that he faced during his visits to countries and what opportunities he had to
81. With respect to the recommendations contained in his reports on his missions to Uganda
and the Russian Federation, the Swiss delegation would like to know how Mr. Deng intended to
verify how they had been followed up and the extent to which the relevant United Nations bodies
and mechanisms could participate in their implementation.
82. Mr. DENG (Representative of the Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons),
replying to the questions asked, said that intensive work had been carried out to identify the gaps
in the collaborative approach and determine ways of addressing them. The most important one
concerned protection, an issue that was regarded as being particularly sensitive and political, so
that most humanitarian and development organizations had not really encouraged governments to
attach as much importance to it as to assistance. The situation was, however, beginning to
improve because they were aware of the link between protection and assistance and the
impossibility of providing assistance to people without at the same time trying to assist them.
After studying the problem, the Emergency Relief Coordinator had made some recommendations
to solve the problem.
83. It should be pointed out that the Guiding Principles had been widely accepted, the
necessary institutional arrangements had been put in place and the efficiency of the system had
now to be ensured by resident representatives and, more particularly, by the National Team.
Measures had been adopted to disseminate the Guiding Principles and governments had amended
their laws and policies as a result. Since they were based on international human rights law,
international humanitarian law and refugee law, whether or not the Principles were binding was
secondary. The most important thing was that they should be authoritative, that their value
should be recognized and that they should therefore be effectively applied.
84. Since internal displacement was caused by other human rights abuses which were
themselves indicative in many countries of problems that were more structural in nature, it was
essential in each case of displacement to try and determine the fundamental causes and the deeper
latent problems which resurfaced in that way.
85. The problems encountered during missions were caused by the fact that governments
changed and were increasingly receptive, and that United Nations agencies and humanitarian and
development organizations must adapt to those changes if they were to provide appropriate
assistance to the countries concerned.
86. Lastly, the implementation of the recommendations that had been made was monitored by
the National Team and the Emergency Relief Coordinator, on the one hand, and during further
evaluation visits to the country concerned, on the other. Those visits had sometimes proved
87. Mr. RAMCHARAN (Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights) joined those who had
thanked Mr. Deng, who had been the spokesman for internally displace persons since his
appointment in 1992. Throughout his mandate he had succeeded most effectively in making the
international community aware of the problem of internally displaced persons, which affected
more than 25 million persons in the world. His main achievement had been the preparation of the
Guiding Principles, based on existing principles of international humanitarian law, international
human rights law and refugee law, which formed an overall framework for the protection
of displaced persons. Over the years, the General Assembly and the Commission on Human
Rights, as well as many of their partners, had acknowledged the value of those Principles as an
appropriate tool and standard for resolving the question of internal displacement. United Nations
bodies and programmes had also adopted them widely and were implementing them in their
activities to help displaced persons. The work done by Francis Deng had played a part in the
development of positive cooperation with States affected by that problem and in enhancing the
activities of international institutions to resolve it, and had made a better understanding of the
phenomenon of internal displacement possible. He thanked Mr. Deng warmly and also
associated himself with the tribute which he had paid to Roberta Cohen, who had been a real
pioneer in the field.
88. Ms. KHALIFA BIN-AHMED AL-THANI (Special Rapporteur on Disability of the
Commission for Social Development) said that increased awareness of the link between disability
and human rights had led United Nations agencies, governments and civil society to make greater
efforts to promote the rights of the disabled. The Standard Rules for Equalization
of Opportunities for People with Disabilities, adopted by the General Assembly in 1993, had
served as a guide for States members in the preparation of national plans and programmes aimed
at ensuring that disabled people could participate in social life at all levels. The first Special
Rapporteur appointed to monitor implementation of he Rules, Mr. Bengt Lindquist, had tried to
accomplish his task through direct dialogue with States and NGOs and with the support of a
group of experts made up of representatives of NGOs in consultative status with the Economic
and Social Council. In his last report, he had stressed the need to develop the Rules further so as
to emphasize the question of disabled children and women and the integration into society of, for
example, those suffering psychiatric problems.
89. Following her appointment in June 2003, she had herself begun by setting up an office in
Doha (Qatar) and had taken part in the second meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee of the General
Assembly to prepare a convention on the rights of the disabled; subsequently, in October 2003, at
the invitation of the World Blind Union, she had attended a subregional meeting concerned with
eliminating the obstacles facing poorly-sighted women and girls in education and employment.
She listed several seminars and meetings which she had attended in various countries, including
the January 2004 meeting of the Working Group to prepare a draft convention for submission to
the Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly in May/June 2004. It had been extremely useful
to meet representatives of United Nations agencies, governments and organizations for the
disabled so as to become acquainted with their work and seek their views and ideas on ways
of promoting the Rules and the human rights of the disabled in general.
90. During the past 10 years, the implementation of the principles set out in the Rules had
greatly contributed to the dissemination of better practices, but it had also made it possible to
identify their limits and certain shortcomings. The supplement proposed to the Rules put forward
by the previous Rapporteur placed greater emphasis on issues which had not been sufficiently
developed earlier, for example an adequate standard of living and poverty reduction, housing,
including the question of being placed in an institution, medical care, access and communication
matters, staff training, abuse and ill-treatment of the disabled and invisible disablement, and it
suggested new legislative and national policy initiatives.
91. However, since the process of considering and preparing a convention on the rights and
dignity of the disabled had been continuing since 2001, she recalled that, as her predecessor had
stated, the preparation of new standards should not obscure the need to integrate disability into
the monitoring activities of existing human rights agencies and mechanisms, as the Commission
on Human Rights had recommended in its resolution 2000/51.
92. Mr. SELIM LABAB (Egypt) emphasized the need to guarantee and protect the rights
of migrant workers, since they very often made a remarkable economic, social and cultural
contribution to the progress and development of their host country. It was therefore in the
interest of those countries to facilitate their integration. The International Convention on the
Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families was an
appropriate legal framework for protection, and it was therefore essential to encourage its
worldwide ratification and ensure that its provisions were respected. The Egyptian delegation
congratulated the Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants for having based her report
(E/CN.4/2004/76) on the special and often alarming situation of migrants, and especially
migrants employed as domestic workers. Everything must be done to guarantee their rights and
their physical safety. Host countries should do everything to prevent any discrimination against
migrants on grounds of nationality, religion or status with respect to the immigration services,
and should respect humanitarian principles if those workers were not a threat to national security.
93. The Egyptian delegation supported the adoption of a global approach to the rights
of migrant workers and the interaction of all regional and international agencies dealing with
migrant workers and mechanisms for the protection of human rights, so that the causes
of migration phenomena could be properly understood, the rights and dignity of migrant workers
respected and their contribution to the economic and social development of the host country
Statements in exercise of the right of reply
94. Mr. CHOE MYONG NAM (Observer for the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea) said
that the naïve allegations made by the representative of A Womans Voice were nothing but a
complete fabrication used by certain groups hostile to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea
with the aim of defaming it. That young student belonged not in the Commission but in school,
and those listening to her realized the heavy responsibility borne by adults for the education
The meeting rose at 6 p.m.