General Assembly, 18th session, 3rd Committee : 1233rd meeting
|UN Document Symbol||A/C.3/SR.1233|
|Convention||International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)|
|Document Type||Summary Record|
|Subjects||Racial Discrimination, Protection of Minorities, Equality|
United Nations THIRD COMMITTEE, 1233rd
ASSEMBLY Wednesday, 16 October 1963,
at 3.10 p.m. EIGHTEENTH SESSION
Official Records NEW YORK
Agenda item 43:
Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (continued) 99
Agenda item 12: Report of the Economic and Social Council (chapter IX, except section 111: chapter X: and chapter XIII, section VII) (continued) . . 103
Chairman: Mr. Humberto DIAZ CASANUEVA (Chile).
In the absence of the Chairman, Mr. Chorbal United Arab Republic), Vice-Chairman, took the Chair.
AGENDA ITEM 43
Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (A/5459, A/5503, chop. X, sect. VII; E/3743, paras. 89-145) (continued)
1. Mr. AMILIE (Norway) said that he had abstained In the vote on paragraph 3 of article 9. and on article 9 as a whole, although he fully supported the lofty principles on which those provisions were based and although the Norwegian Government had consistently been active in the fight against discrimination and racial hatred wherever they existed, and would continue to follow that policy. The text adopted by the Committee, however, was not satisfactory from the legal point of view and. although it recognized that the Committee had had to overcome great difficulties in order to achieve a compromise. his delegation had abstained, because it was unwilling to transmit to posterity a declaration lacking in forcefulness and likely to .... foreseen consequences.
2. Mrs. MANTZOULINUS (Greece) recalled that racial discrimination was no problem in her country either de jure or de facto, but that her delegation, anxious to co-operate in the work of the United Nations and to help the representatives of countries where racial discrimination created serious difficulties, had considered it a duty to take part in the efforts to eliminate that evil. She had abstained In the vote on article 9, first, because some of the wording was too strong and, second, because she did not consider it appropriate that a declaration intended essentially to carry moral weight should contain provisions of a legal nature calling for measures to prohibit or outlaw such discrimination.
3. Mr. YAPOU (Israel) said that his delegation had worked unremittingly to ensure that the international community should express in clear-cut terms its total rejection of ail forms of propaganda favouring racial discrimination. It had consistently supported the two ideas contained in the nine-Power text (A/C.s/L.1090 and Add.1), namely, that all incitement to hatred and violence against any race or ethnic group should be punishable under criminal law and that all organizations engaged in such activities should be prohibited.
4. The Israel delegation had voted in favour of points 1 and 2 of the eight-Power sub-amendments (A/C.3/ L.1127) and had abstained on paragraph 3, except for one sub-amendment, and on article 9 as a whole. Deeply disturbed by attempts to incite to hatred and violence on racial grounds in a number of countries and, like any civilized human being, revolted by racial prejudice, he would have liked article 9 to define basic principles more clearly and to specify the measures to be taken to fight racial discrimination and its disastrous consequences. His delegation's abstention had also been intended as a warning that there was still a great deal to be done to bring to a halt all movements engaged in promoting racial hatred.
5. In conclusion, he commended the delegations which had devoted so much effort to elaborating a document on one of the fundamental questions of the contemporary world. Some of them had encountered real constitutional difficulties and merited even greater appreciation for their goodwill and understanding.
6. Mr. MONOD (Prance) said that his delegation had appreciated the efforts of many delegations to work out a text which would take into account the constitutional difficulties of some Governments and it had therefore voted in favour of several amendments aimed at finding an area of agreement. His abstention on article 9 as a whole indicated that those efforts had been only partly successful. The original text of article 9 had categorically and solemnly condemned propaganda inciting to racial discrimination in clear and concise terms but, as a result of the amendments submitted to the article, it now urged States to adopt authoritative and even legislative measures. The General Assembly was exceeding its powers when it sought, through a declaration, to dictate to States the measures they should take to give effect to its resolutions: in all countries with parliamentary systems of government. Parliament, the instrument of national sovereignty, was free to make the laws. Thus, the French delegation's abstention should be construed as an effort to recall principles to which it was deeply devoted.
7. Moreover, there was a danger that article 9, which was morally mandatory without being legally binding, might weaken the declaration instead of strengthening it, and might become a source of controversy impairing its universality and diminishing its value as an example. By introducing elements into a declaration which befogged in a convention, the Committee was jeopardizing the declaration and might be delaying the time when the convention could be concluded.
6. Nevertheless, the French delegation's reservations applied to principle and not to objectives: France
General Assembly Eighteenth Session Third Committee
had never known racial discrimination and it already possessed the means of guarding against it and fighting it not only in its laws, but also in its civilization.
9. Mr. GOODHART (United Kingdom), having pointed
out that his country already had effective legislation
governing incitement to violence, said that paragraph
3 of article 9 raised serious technical difficulties:
from a legal point of view, it was difficult to give a
precise meaning to the word "outlaw". Moreoverand
this was the main considerationit was impossible in
the United Kingdom to prosecute an organization,
which was not a body corporate, and the organizations
referred to in article 9 were generally not legal entities; consequently, they could not be prosecuted and
no legal action could be taken against them. The members of such organizations could be prosecuted as
individuals, but article 9 dealt with organizations and
not with individuals. Clearly, the United Kingdom was
not likely to revise its legislation on the subject; in
the circumstances, he hoped that the Committee
would understand the technical difficulties encountered
by his delegation in the vote on article 9.
10. Mrs. VILLGRATTNER (Austria) said that her delegation did not think it necessary to introduce a provision in article 9 which amounted to a quasi-obligation to take measures to prosecute or outlaw organizations which incited to racial discrimination. That question had been settled a very long time ago in Austria by its constitutional laws and penal code, so that such a provision would be entirely superfluous. In view, however, of the wording employed in the Austrian laws and since the penal code specifically defined acts punishable by law, she would have hoped that paragraph 3 of article 9 would be drafted in the most general terms, in order to avoid any incompatibility between Austria's internal law and the decoration. Furthermore, in the last but one preambular paragraph, States undertook to adopt the necessary measures to give effect to the provisions of the declaration. Moreover, it was hardly logical to characterize propaganda and incitement to discrimination as punishable acts when no such provision was made for the actual acts of discrimination, and it detracted from the effectiveness and dignity of the declaration. Finally, Austrian constitutional laws did not allow such basic freedoms as freedom of speech or association to be impaired or restricted in favour of the right to non-discrimination. In the circumstances, the Austrian delegation had been unable to vote for paragraph 3 of article 9, or for article 9 as a whole. However, impressed by the manifest concern of the young States to strengthen the article, it had done its utmost not to block the adoption, by the widest possible majority of the proposed text.
11. It had found it possible not to vote against the amendments, because the Committee had already adopted article 11, which left no doubt regarding whether article 9 might possibly be invoked to justify any violation of another fundamental freedom, and particularly of the freedoms of speech, thought, and association, and which therefore circumscribed the scope of article 9. She emphasized that point because Austria was bound to respect human rights not only by its constitutional laws, but by international instruments, the most recent of which was the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Nothing in the draft Declaration could change Austrian constitutional laws or the obligations which it had assumed under international agreements. With
that understanding of the meaning of article 9, and in the light of article 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Austrian delegation had found itself in a position not to vote against the article, but merely to abstain.
12. Mr. BEAUFORT (Netherlands) said that his delegation had had the intention of voting in favour of the eight-Power sub-amendments in spite of some misgivings, as it appreciate very much the work done by the working group and considered it necessary to put an end to the arguments which had been going on. His delegation had voted against the Byelorussian sub-amendments (A/C.3/L.1128) for the reasons which it had explained at the nineteenth session of the Com-mission on Human Rights (E/3743,para. 120), namely, that the proposed text seemed to it to be such as to endanger freedom of opinion and expression, and that, while admitting that that freedom could be abused, it had sufficient confidence in the persuasive force of its own convictions not to consider it appropriate to protect the right to freedom from discrimination at the expense of freedom of expression. Once the Byelorussian sub-amendments had been adopted, however, the Netherlands delegation had not deemed it necessary to vote against, or even to abstain from voting on, paragraph 3 of article 9, or on article 9 as a whole, be-cause of its general attitude towards the draft Declaration and towards racial discrimination. That vote in no way prejudiced his delegation's final position on the declaration as a whole, however: in view of the important, and in some cases unfortunate, changes which had been made in the draft, his delegation had had to ask for further instructions from its Government.
13. Mrs. DICK (United States of America) recalled that her delegation's position on the declaration as a whole depended largely on the wording of article 9. Her delegation clearly could not vote for a text, some parts of whichsuch as, for example, article 9, now that the Byelorussian sub-amendments had been adoptedwould violate the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. The United States had the highest respect for countries whose traditions and legal systems differed from its own, and it understood the attitude of a number of countries which sincerely believed that the draft Declaration should be strengthened; that was why the United States had gone as far as it could to find a way of reconciling the desires of such States with its own legal traditions and constitutional requirements which guaranteed freedom of speech and freedom of association. That was why it had supported the eight-Power sub-amendments, which were sufficiently close to those principles not to prejudice her delegation's attitude to the draft Declaration. Unfortunately, the text finally adopted by the Committee differed from the eight-Power sub-amendments; adoption of the Byelorussian sub-amendments had upset the compromise and brought to nothing the efforts made during the past week, by reintroducing into article 9 the very words which were a source of difficulty for many countries, including the United States. The United States could not, in view of its laws and traditions, prosecute or outlaw organizations which only promoted racial discrimination, much as it deplored such action. It could condemn them and criticize them, but it could not ban them or put their members in prison, as long as they only expressed opinions. Even though the Ideas in question were repugnant to the United States Government and most persons In that country, it could not prevent
1233rd meeting 16 October 1963
people from expressing them. Such organizations forfeited the benefit of constitutional guarantees and laid themselves open to prosecution only when they engaged in or incited to violence. In the circumstances, her delegation had had no choice but to abstain in the vote on paragraph 3 of article 9 and on article 9 as a whole.
14. In conclusion, she washed to express her delegation's appreciation to the many delegations which had recognized the need to formulate a text that could command unanimous support and which had tried to achieve universally acceptable compromise on the language which created a problem for the United States and many other countrieslanguage which, after all, concerned relatively subordinate issues as compared with the major principles proclaimed by the declaration, on which all countries including her Country were in complete agreement. Emphasizing the importance of the declaration and her country's strong belief in it, she said that the failure of efforts thus far should not discourage any delegation from doing its best to achieve a unanimous text and thus make important progress towards the total elimination of racial discrimination.
15. Miss ADDISON (Ghana) said that, in casting its vote on article 9, her delegation had been guided by its awareness of the Committee's moral obligation to the millions of people who were victims of racial discrimination. Her delegation had sought by its vote to condemn racial discrimination and to approve practical action to combat that evil. It had also been guided by its conviction that acts contrary to human dignity and equality, such as those which were unfortunately committed in the United States, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia, should not be tolerated on the pretext of safeguarding freedom of speech and of association. The nine-Power amendments had had the support of her delegation, which was, however, prepared to take into account all other delegations' views in order to arrive at a text acceptable to all. On the whole, her delegation had supported the eight-Power sub-amendments, but had voted for the sub-amendments to it which had seemed to be such as to strengthen paragraphs 2 and 3 of that text, namely, the Byelorussian sub-amendments, which made the scope of paragraphs 2 and 3 more precise, and the three-Power sub-amendment (A/C.3/L.1130), which clearly stated what steps should be taken to combat racial discrimination, and which unfortunately had not been adopted. Her delegation had voted both for paragraph 3 and for article 9 as a whole.
16. In conclusion, her delegation wished to express its regret that some countries, especially the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, had abstained, despite the efforts made to bridge the gap which separated them. Their attitude had raised doubts in the minds of some delegations concerning the fate of the draft Declaration. It was worth, noting that article 9 had been supported mainly by the Afro-Asian and Latin American countries: while all delegations had condemned racial discrimination, the results of the vote did not bear out their statements. The delegation of Ghana appealed,, in the name of mankind, to all delegations which had abstained in the vote, to reconsider their position when the vote was taken on the draft Declaration as a whole.
17. Mrs. BULENGO (Tanganyika) said that her delegation had abstained from voting on article 9 in order to register its disapproval of the bargaining and com-promises to which that clause of the draft Declaration
had given rise. The delegation of Tanganyika considered that there could be no possible compromise on the problem of racial discrimination, sod had noted with great concern the considerable efforts which had been made to reach a compromise on a question over which there could in reality be no half-measures. Tanganyika had been one of the co-sponsors of the nine-Power amendments, which it considered to be worthy of support because they condemned discrimination in clean, direct and uncompromising terms, and it had, for the same reason, voted for the three-Power sub-amendment. It had also supported paragraph 2 of article 9, as that paragraph was taken directly from the nine-Power amendments, but it had had to abstain from voting on the article as a whole, which it considered to be unsatisfactory. One of the arguments which had led to the adoption of the final wording was that, to prosecute and outlaw organizations which delighted in heaping insult and humiliation on others, would be incompatible with the constitutional provisions and traditions of some countries. That was at best a ridiculous argument, as freedom of expression itself had limits: many countries, for ex-ample, had laws whereby allegations calculated to bring the Government into contempt or ridicule were considered seditious. The delegation of Tanganyika was of the opinion that, by the same token, words or acts calculated to degrade any person should likewise be punishable by law.
18. Mr. PISANI MASSAMORMILE (Italy) recalled that his delegation, wishing to ensure that the declaration would be a harmonious and balanced document, had warned the Committee at the beginning of the session to resist the temptation to submit amendments to the draft put forward by the Commission on Human Rights. By examining over sixty amendments, the Third Committee had not, as it should have done, reviewed the text put forward by a group of experts: it had drafted a new declaration, and as it had not reviewed in detail each article which had been adopted, with the object of avoiding any discrepancies, it was to be feared that the declaration had lost its clarity and force in the process. The declaration should have the widest circulation. It should be taught in the schools and read by the public at large, which would not know that some words would have to be explained or interpreted, not for their grammatical or logical meaning, but in the light of the compromise reached between many amendments and sub-amendments. In abstaining from voting on article 9, the Italian delegation had wished to express its concern at the lack of clarity of the declaration,
19. Miss TABBARA (Lebanon) said that she abstained from voting on all the controversial sub-amendments to the eight-Power text in order to express her disappointment and regret that unanimity had not been reached on such an important article as article 9. Without having under-estimated the difficulties raised by that article, she had hoped that the goodwill of all the members would have made it possible to reach agreement. Although she had abstained from voting on article 9, she had voted for each of the three para-graphs of that article, as she had nothing but approval for the provisions regarding the elimination of racial discrimination. In conclusion, she wished to express the hope that all delegations would support the declaration, so that the victims of discrimination would know that world opinion was unanimously on their side.
20. Mrs. KONANTZ (Canada) recalled that her delegation had been satisfied with the text of article 9 as
General Assembly Eighteenth Session Third Committee
drafted by the Commission on Human Rights, but thanked the sponsors of the eight-Power sub-amendments for the efforts to produce a text acceptable to all. It had voted for the first two paragraph of that amendment because it had agreed with both their substance and their form. Nevertheless, it had abstained from the vote on paragraph 3, the drafting of which did not satisfy it. While incitement to violence was an offence under Canadian law, it was not the practice of the Canadian Government to prosecute or outlaw organizations which incited to violence against a race, since it felt that such action would run counter to freedom of association. Moreover, she thought that a declaration of principle should not determine the kind 01" measures which States should take in dealing with such abases.
21. Her delegation had nevertheless voted for article 0 as a whole, because it agreed with the principles on which the article was based and believed that propaganda based on ideas of racial superiority, and incitement to violence against any race, should be condemned.
22. Her delegation had not been able to accept the three-Power sub-amendment, which went even beyond paragraph 3 of the eight-Power sub-amendments. It had voted against the Albanian sub-amendment (A/C.3/L.1129) because it had considered that sub-amendment unnecessary and irrelevant. It had not voted for the sub-amendments submitted by the Byelorussian SSR: the first point had given the text an emotional and negative tone, and the second point, enlarging the scope of paragraph 3 of the eight-Power text, might open the door to abuse by administrative authorities.
23. Mr. SEGOVIA (Uruguay) said that article 9 was indeed the corner-stone of the draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In its present form the draft Declaration would undoubtedly represent an important advance in the campaign against recrimination. For that reason his delegation had voted for all the articles of the draft, including article 9, despite the misgivings it had felt about paragraph 3 of that article.
24. The final version of article 9 had the merit of consistency and logic, for the measures it contemplated matched the seriousness of the crime. Paragraph 1 stipulated that propaganda should be subject only to condemnation, and not to penal sanctions Which might impair freedom of expression. Para-graph 2 rightly provided for measures to meet incitement to violence against any race. While he did not entirely approve of the wording of paragraph 3, which had aroused lively controversy, he felt that it slated a fundamental principle. Indeed, his delegation had no doubt that racist organizations should be prosecuted an«» outlawed and that each country should become aware of the threat to society which they represented.
25. His delegation had preferred the nine-Power amendments because they were expressed in more forcefullermms than the eight-Power sub-amendments and had given States more effective means of combating racial discrimination. There should be an intensive campaign against racial discrimination, and the first instrument to use was legislation. For its part, Eruguay had adopted, about 1910, a law punishing members of racist organizations with hard labour, in order to strike at the nazi associations which had been established in the country. The text which emerged from the votes on the various amendments to article 9, paragraph 3, did not seem to his delegation sufficiently forceful. However, when faced with the choice between abstention and an affirmative vote, it could not hesitate. It had, therefore, voted for that paragraph in order to attest its total adherence to the principles stated in the draft Declaration. He again expressed the hope that the Committee would very soon take up its main workthe drafting of a convention which would give practical form to the moral directives issued in the declaration and would establish the legal obligations of States.
26. In conclusion, he joined in the appeal made by the Ghanaian representative to the delegations which had abstained from voting on article P. He hoped that they would reconsider their position so that the draft Declaration as a whole might be adopted unanimously.
27. Miss WACHUKU (Nigeria) recalled that her delegation had taker, part in the work of the group which had drawn up the compromise eight-Power text. That text represented a balance between the different opinions and accordingly could be accepted by all. It was deeply regrettable that several delegations had abstained from voting on article 9. She urged them to reconsider the text of that article without regard to matters of detail and with thought only for the fate of millions of victims of racial discrimination. Since Nigeria had done as much as possible in every way to eliminate racial discrimination, her delegation was in a particularly fortunate position to appeal for the unanimous adoption of the draft Declaration.
28. Mr. IVANOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) considered that the articles of the draft Declaration, in the form adopted by the Third Committee, were clearly more satisfactory than the text prepared by the Commission on Human Rights. The very earnest work which the members of the Committee had done had not been in vain, since it had enabled them to arrive at a text which reflected rather divergent opinions. His delegation would vote enthusiastically in favour of the draft as a whole, and hoped that it would be adopted unanimously.
29. His delegation had abstained from voting on article 9 as a whole. It had not disliked the wording of the text at all; on the contrary, the text had seemed to it to be better than the text submitted by the Commission on human Rights. However, it had preferred the nine-Power amendments, the sponsors of which had rightly considered that punishment of racist activities by penal sanctions did not derogate from fundamental freedoms.
30. His delegation has voted for the three- Power sub-amendment because in its opinion that sub-amendment made a valuable contribution to the Committers work.
31. Mr. LAMANI (Albania) explained that his delegation had abstained from voting on article 9 as a whole, because it did not down specific measures against racist and fascist organizations, which were very active, particularly in propaganda against coloured people. His delegation, however would vote for the draft as a whole, in the hope that the United Nations would have an opportunity in the near future to give further consideration to measures to put an end to the activities of those organizations, which were a danger to mankind.
32. Mr. ALONSO OLEA (Spain) said that the eight-Power sub-amendments, which Spain had co-spon-
1233rd meeting 16 October 1963
sored, had not, strictly speaking, been a compromise on substance, for all delegations were equally opposed to discrimination as such. The compromise had been more of a legal and technical one and the proposed text should permit each country to employ, against discrimination, measures which were adequate within the framework of its legal tradition. Unfortunately the adoption of the sub-amendments of the Byelorussian SSR had disturbed the balance which had been achieved and had led to a number of abstentions at a time when unanimity had seemed within reach.
33. Despite its reservations concerning the sub-amendments of the Byelorussian SSR, his delegation had voted in favour of article 9. Racial discrimination was so hateful to it, so alien to the history of the Spanish people and to their conception of life, that his delegation had preferred to vote affirmatively in order to demonstrate its desire to condemn a manifestation unworthy of mankind. He stressed, however, that without the sub-amendments of the Byelorussian SSR, article 9 would have been much more balanced and would have responded far better to the purpose of the draft Declaration.
34. Mr. KABBANI (Syria) had difficulty in under-standing the attitude of the delegations which had abstained from voting on article 9 because of the deep differences in point of view which separated the members of the Committee. In its constant desire to strengthen the text of the draft Declaration, the Syrian delegation had voted in favour of article 9 as amended.
35. He joined in requesting those delegations who had abstained to reconsider their positions, so that the draft Declaration could be adopted unanimously.
36. Mr. TEKLE (Ethiopia) explained that his delegation had abstained from voting on the sub-amendments of Albania and of the three Powers because it felt, in view of the objections voiced by some delegations, that their adoption would have endangered the unanimous acceptance of article S.
37. He regretted that, while some members of the Committee were striving to eliminate discrimination founded on race, colour or ethnic origin, others accepted it under the pretext that, by eliminating it, there was a risk of infringing freedom of expression. The Ethiopian delegation refused to accept that view, and particularly thanked the Canadian delegation for joining with the majority in condemning discrimination.
38. Mr. PINHEIRO (Brazil) recalled that the nine-Power amendments, which he had submitted on behalf of its co-sponsors, had been welcomed by many delegations. Since they went further than the sub-amendments submitted by the eight Powers, they were more satisfying to the Brazilian delegation, and he had therefore abstained from voting or several amendments to article 9, but not on the Byelorussian sub-amendments, for which he had voted. He could not understand those delegations which thought that to punish organizations or individuals who encouraged a practice so odious and so universally condemned as racial discrimination would infringe fundamental human rights. The position adopted by the United States delegation on this matter surprised him especially.
39. He concluded by begging those delegations who had expressed reservations with regard to article 9 of the draft Declaration as a whole to reconsider their position.
40. Mr. OUEDRAOGO (Upper Volta) said that his delegation had abstained from voting on the second part of the Albanian sub-amendment, because it weakened the scope of article 9. On the other hand, he had voted without hesitation for article 9 as amended. He was of the opinion that, in view of the danger presented by racial discrimination, it was no longer sufficient to appeal to the good will of States. It was necessary henceforth to take action to eliminate that scourge completely. The Government of Upper Volta did indeed strictly respect freedom of opinion, but refused to allow certain groups, in the name of that freedom, to infringe fundamental human rights and dignity. Article 9 as amended was perfectly compatible with the constitution of Upper Volta.
41. As for the countries who had pointed out the difficulties that they would have in applying the measures prescribed, he was sure that they would soon have their task facilitated, for their peoples themselves would soon be demanding that their constitutions should be modified to accord with article 9.
42. The delegation of Upper Volta would vote in favour of the whole text of the draft Declaration, subject to a few drafting amendments. He sincerely hoped that all delegations would follow its example.
43. Mrs. ARIBOT (Guinea) explained that her delegation and those of Cameroon and Senegal had sub-mitted their sub-amendment, because they thought that the last part of article 9, concerning racist organizations, should be drawn up in more precise and stronger terms than in the eight-Power sub-amendments. Despite the rejection of their amendment, the Guinean delegation had voted in favour of article 9.
44. She was convinced that the draft Declaration, as amended by the Committee, would be an effective weapon in the hands of nations that were trying to eying ate racial discrimination. She had in mind particularly the United States Congress, which the declaration was bound to help in its courageous fight.
45. The CHAIRMAN said that two questions remained to be settled under the first item on the Committee's agenda: the adoption of the draft Declaration as a whole, and the examination of the draft resolution regarding publicity for the declaration(A/C.3/L.1126/ Rev.1). The Committee had decided (1229th meeting) to wait, before adopting the draft, until the Rapporteur had drawn up a final text and eliminated the present text's imperfections of wording and logic. That text would shortly be distributed to the Committee. He thought it would be better for the Committee to have the final text before examining the draft resolution submitted. He suggested that in the meantime the Committee should pass to the second item on its agenda.
Ft was so decided.
AGENDA ITEM 12
Report of the Economic and Social Council (A/5503, chapter IX, except section III; chapter X; end chapter XIII, section VII; A/C.3/1.1121 an, Corr.l) (continued)
46. The CHAIRMAN recalled that the Committee had
decided (1212th meeting) to deal 'with certain sections
of the report in conjunction with the corresponding
items on its agenda. He appealed to those delegations
who wished to take part In the general discussion to
do BO as soon as possible, so that the Committee
General Assembly Eighteenth Session Third Committee
could make up for the time it had used in its prolonged, but no doubt profitable, debate on the draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forma of Racial Discrimination.
47. Mr. CHA (China) thought that the work of the Economic and Social Council deserved even more attention this year since it had dealt with the world social situation. Although the Report on the World Social Situation. 1963 (E/CN.5/375 and Add.1 and 2) had described the decade 1950-1960 as a period of promise rather than of achievement yet, thanks to the efforts of the developing countries and to international cooperation, considerable progress had been made, particularly in education and public health.
48. For example, in the province of Taiwan, although the population had doubled, the number of children attending school had risen in twenty years from 71 to 96 per cent, and since 1951 illiteracy had been reduced from 18 to 8 per cent. The mortality rate had dropped from 1.8 per cent to 0.644 per cent during the past ten years. Malaria and smallpox had been practically eradicated and trachoma and tuberculosis had been brought under effective control with the assistance of UN1CEF and WHO. Those figures illustrated the effectiveness of international co-operation, and he paid tribute to the work accomplished by the United Nations family in helping to achieve them.
49. However, the social situation in the world remained unsatisfactory, and in some respects the gap between the industrialized and the developing countries was still widening. As most of the latter were agricultural countries, increased agricultural production was of the utmost importance. He therefore congratulated the Costa Rican delegation on its proposal to add the question of agrarian reform to the agenda of the current eighteenth session of the General Assembly (A/5481 and Add.l and Add.1/Corr.l). Although that subject would doubtless be very carefully examined by the Second Committee, its social aspects were equally important, for agrarian reform could only lie effective if combined with social programmes of, in particular, public health and vocational education. Furthermore, progress in that field could not be made at the expense of human freedom, as was shown by the sad experience of the "peoples communes" on the Chinese mainland, whose problems were described in the Report on the World Social Situation. 1963 (E/ CN.5/375/Add.2, chap. XIII, sect. III). The sacrifice of human freedom for economic gains could not be Justified, for the aim of economic development was, after all individual welfare.
50. In Taiwan some 200,000 tenant farmers had just paid the last installment on the land they had purchased ten years ago under the Government's "Land-to-the-tiller" programme. As the third report on Progress in Land Reform had pointed out, land reform was being carried out successfully in Taiwan thanks to local community action, both public and private. The co-operative associations set up by the farmers for furnishing various services had played an especially important part in rural health and education.
51. Taiwan favoured international co-operation, and had not only sent farming demonstration teams abroad but had, since 1954, trained over 1,000 agricultural workers from twenty-one Asian and African countries, Since April 1962 the Sino- African technical co-one ration committee had organized three six-monthly semi-
nars on agricultural techniques, consisting of field work and of classes conducted in English and French; the first two had covered rice and vegetable cultivation, and the third, which was still in progress, related to dry land crops. His Government had also recently inaugurated courses in water conservation, animal husbandry, the organization of farmers' associations, and the farm loans system for trainees from four South-East Asian countries.
52. He invited developing countries interested in land reform and farming techniques to take advantage of the co-operation offered by his Government either on a bilateral basis or through the United Nations technical assistance programmes.
53. There was no need to comment at length on the work of UNICEF, for its effectiveness was universally recognized. The Fund and its Executive Director, whose wisdom and devotion to duty were duly appreciated by the delegation of China, were to be congratulated on its vitality and on its success in adapting its services to the current needs of the developing countries, especially in education and vocational training. UNICEF had an important part to play in the United Nations Development Decade for, acting on its recommendations, most of the developing countries had included programmes for children and youth in their national plans. He was gratified that the January 1964 session of the Executive Pored would be held at Bangkok, for the Board would thus be able to assess, on the spot, the requirements of Asia, which was one of the neediest regions of the world.
54. With regard to population questions, the inquiry that the Secretary-General had been requested by General Assembly resolution 1838 (XVII) to conduct, would contribute to the intensification of research on the relationship between population growth and economic and social development. Though population policy was for governments to decide, nevertheless they could benefit from the demographic technical assistance provided by the United Nations, especially in improving their statistical methods and training personnel. The inclusion of those questions on the agenda of the Population Commission was therefore to be welcomed, and it was to be hoped that the Asian Population Conference and the second World Population Conference would pay special attention to the inter-relationship of population growth and economic and social development, and to the needs of the developing countries.
55. His delegation wished to extend its special congratulations to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the Commission's thorough examination of the problem of illicit traffic in narcotics. It was concerned that that traffic not only remained rampant but was on the increase internationally; and it regretted that one of the main sources of narcotics was the Chinese main-land, where control measures were doubly difficult since the cultivation, manufacture and illicit marketing of narcotic drugs were carried out by the public au-thirties themselves. Only concerted international efforts could want off the threat. In that connexion he was gratified to note that INTERPOL'S activities were being extended to Asia; he assured that body and the neighboring countries in the area that his Government was ready to co-operate fully in all measures of international narcotics control.
50. In conclusion he recalled that, fifteen years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and eighteen years after the adoption
1233rd meeting 16 October 1963
of the Charter of the United Nations, millions of people were still deprived of their most elementary human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of movement, residence and choice of employment, by a policy of collectivization and compulsory labour. Notwithstanding the useful work done by the Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, it was necessary to remember the sad realities existing in many parts of the world, where economic development should be used to promote social advancement and not to Justify sacrifice of the freedom and dignity of the human personality.
57. Mr. BELTRAMINO (Argentina) said that in general his delegation had no objection to the report of the Council, which should of course be read in conjunction with those of the Council's subsidiary bodies, since it covered a large number of topics and could accordingly devote only brief consideration to each of them.
58. His delegation intended to dwell mainly on social progress, which was a categorical imperative in the present-day world and especially in the United Nations, according to the provisions of the Charter. His attitude towards that subject was founded on two incontrovertible principles. First, such activity should be designed to promote human dignity as well as human freedom and well-being, for man himself should be the final beneficiary of all efforts at social progress, which would otherwise be meaningless. Second, that activity should be anchored in the solidarity of human society, the basis of international co-operation, which should be a perpetual search for bold solutions of current and future social problems.
59. Argentina's social structure placed it amongst the highly-developed countries. Social progress, like economic development, should be a national under-taking, for the authorities and communities of a country were in the best position to know the population's requirements and the means of meeting them. Nevertheless, the United Nations could play an important part by keeping the universal and regional problems of social progress, and the ways and means of solving them, under constant review, and by lending governments whatever assistance they might require.
60. Despite certain shortcomings, to which his delegation had already referred at the thirty-sixth session of the Council, the Report on the World Social Situation was a very useful assessment of the whole social situation. In the last analysis that situation, despite the progress accomplished in certain sectors, appeared, when considered in relation to total population figures, to have deteriorated during the past few years. Owing to the rapid rate of population growth, a considerable effort would be required in many regions merely to re-establish the situation of a few decades ago. The study entitled The United Nations Development Decade
Proposals for Action-2/, while setting an objective of
5 per cent as the annual rate of growth of aggregate
national income which should be reached by 1970 to enable per caput Income to be doubled in twenty-five or thirty years, added that in certain Latin American, Asian and African countries the population growth rate would prevent that result from being achieved in less than thirty-five to fifty years. The world social situation could therefore justly be described as alarming.
61. Therefore, though aware of the vastness and complexity of social problems and of the limited scope for international action, he wondered whether the United Nations family had been paying sufficient attention to social progress compared to the attention it devoted to technical and legal questions or even to economic development. Though the capital importance of the latter must not be undervalued, it should not be forgo ten that its final objective was to make possible social progress, which in turn was one of its most vital conditions. In that respect a regrettable imbalance between economic development and social progress was evident both in the introduction to the Council's report and in the Introduction to the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization which, in referring to the Council's activities, had mentioned only the United Nations Development Decade and technical co-operation.
62. His delegation considered that a greater part of the activities of the United Nations should lie devoted to social progress and that, despite the praiseworthy endeavours that had already been made and the programmes already under way or planned, the General Assembly should: (a) once again draw the attention of the Economic and Social Council, its subsidiary organs, and the Secretariat to the need to devote special and increasing attention to all aspects of social progress, particularly in the search for long-term solutions for problems relating to economic development and social progress; (b) request the Secretariat to take stock of the financial resources and staff at its disposal both at Headquarters and in the regional economic commissions, in order to determine whether they were sufficient to enable the United Nations to cope with, the demands confronting it in regard to social development; (c) further, to request the Secretariat to circulate more widely the results of its studies of social progress, and particularly of the solutions already adopted or contemplated for the main problems of social progress; (d) devote an adequate number of meetings at its future sessions to consideration of the problems of social development.
The meeting rose at 5.55 p.m.