General Assembly, 18th session, 3rd Committee : 1247th meeting
|UN Document Symbol||A/C.3/SR.1247|
|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, 1247th
ASSEMBLY Tuesday. 29 October 1963,
at 3.15 p.m.
Official Records NEW YORK
Agenda item 43: page
Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All
Forma of Racial Discrimination (continued)
Draft resolution concerning publicity to be
given to the United Nations Declaration on
the Elimination of All Form of Racial Discrimination (concluded) 181
Agenda items 12 and 43:
Report of the Economic and Social Council
(chapter IX, except section III; chapter X: and
chapter XIII, section VII) (continued)
Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (continued)
Draft resolution concerning the Commission
on Human Rights (continued)
Draft resolution concerning the preparation 181
of a draft convention on the elimination of
all forms of racial discrimination (con-
Chairman: Mr. Humberto DIAZ CASANUEVA (Chile).
AGENDA ITEM 43
Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (A/5459, A/5503, chap. X, sect. II; A/C.3/L.1126/Rev.2, A/C.3A.1133, A/C.3/L.1145, A/C.3/L.1150) (continued)
DRAFT RESOLUTION CONCERNING PUBLICITY TO BE GIVEN TO THE UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION (concluded)
1. The CHAIRMAN invited the Committee to vote on
the second revised text of the draft resolution on
publicity to be given to the United Nations Declaration
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (A/C.3/L.1126/Rev.2).
The draft resolution (A/C.3/L.1126/Rev.2) was adopted by 71 votes to none with 8 abstentions.
2. Mr. ATTLEE (United Kingdom) said that, although
Ms' delegation had abstained in the vote on the draft
Declaration as a whole, because of a serious technical
fault which it hoped would be remedied in plenary
session, it attached the very greatest importance to the
substance of the text and had therefore voted in favour
of a draft resolution advocating that it should be given
the widest possible publicity.
AGENDA ITEMS 12 AND 43
Report of the Economic and Social Council (A/5503, chapter IX, except section III; chapter X; and chapter XIII, section VII; A/C.3/L.1136 and Add.1, A/C.3/ L.1144, A/C.3/L.1149, A/C.3/L.1151) (continued)
Draft Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (A/C.3/L.1137 and Add.1 and 2, A/C.3/L.1145, A/C.3/L.1150) (continued)
DRAFT RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (continued)
DRAFT RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE PREPARA-TION OF A DRAFT CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DIS-CRIMINATION (continued)
3. Mr. MEANS (United States of America), introducing his delegation's amendments (A/C.3/L.1149) to the draft resolution on the Commission on Human Rights (A/C.3/L.1136 and Add.1), emphasized that the United States was strongly in favour of annual meetings of the Commission; in order to remove any possible misunderstanding on that point, he withdrew point 3 of his amendments. The United States amendments (A/C.3/ L.1150) to the draft resolution on the preparation of a draft convention on the elimination of racial discrimination (A/C.3/L.1137 and Add.1 and 2) were self-explanatory; the first point was designed to bring the language of the draft resolution into conformity with United Nations practice.
4. Mr. OUEDRAOGO (Upper Volta) considered it essential that the Commission on Human Rights should meet in 1964, since the effectiveness of the Third Committee's work depended primarily on the preparatory activities of the Commission. He therefore welcomed the draft resolution on that subject; the statement concerning its financial implications A/C.3/ L.1144) appeared to indicate that the session could be held at Headquarters prior to 15 March 1964. He appealed to the United States delegation to withdraw its amendments; there was no reason why the General Assembly should not be asked to make special pro-vision for the costs of the session. If the draft United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was not adopted unanimously by the General Assembly in plenary session, world opinion might conclude that the United States and other countries were opposing any meeting of the Commission on Human Rights in 1964 in order to delay its work on a draft convention on the same subject.
5. Mr. KORVALD (Norway) said that the delegations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, on whose behalf he spoke, could not support the draft resolution contained in document A/C.3/L.1137 and Add.1 and 2, in view of the opinions expressed by the Secretary-General in documents A/C.3/L.1144 and A/C.3/L.1145, which had been endorsed by the Economic and Social Council and by many members of the Fifth Committee. In principle, the five delegations in question were in favour of annual meetings of the Commission on Human Rights, and they wished a convention on racial discrimination to be drafted as soon as possible; they would therefore give careful consideration to the United States amendments (A/C.3/
General Assembly Eighteenth Session Third Committee
L.1150) to the draft resolution contained in document A/C.3/L.1137 and Add.1 and 2, as those might provide a solution to the problem.
6. Miss TABBARA (Lebanon) observed that her delegation, as a sponsor of both the draft resolutions under discussion, found the United States amendments at first sight unacceptable. She agreed with the French representative that the Commission on Human Rights was a body of such importance that it should be given preferential treatment, but she did not agree with him that the wording of the draft resolution on the Com-mission might give offence to members of the Council, since the General Assembly represented all Member States and its views should be borne in mind by other organs. Point 1 of the United States amendments to that draft resolution, in making meetings of the Com-mission contingent upon outside circumstances, might establish an unfortunate precedent. The other draft resolution needed no explanation, in view of the importance attached by the Third Committee to the drafting of a. convention on racial discrimination. She did not share the fear of some delegations that the Commission would be unable to prepare a draft convention on that subject as well as a draft declaration on religious intolerance at one session. Point 2 of the United States amendments to that draft resolution would deprive it of all meaning.
7. Mr. SOLODOVNIKOV (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) expressed full support for both the draft resolutions under discussion, and joined the representative of the Upper Volta in appealing to the United States to withdraw its amendments. The statement on the financial implications of the draft resolution on the Commission on Human Rights (A/C.3/L.1144,para.2) gave every reason to hope that the Commission could meet at Headquarters, provided that it finished its work before 15 March 1964. He appreciated the United States delegation's concern for economy in the use of United Nations funds; the Soviet Union had always urged prudence in expenditure, but the sum of $26,000 was no more than the *** salary of a D-2 staff member and could *** spared for the purpose of enabling the **** Human Rights to draft the convention called florin General Assembly resolution 1780 (XVII).
8. Mrs. MANTZOULINOS (Greece) recalled that her delegation had not only voted for General Assembly resolution 1780 (XVII) but had also, at that time, ex-pressed itself strongly in favour of a convention on racial discrimination. However, according to General Assembly resolution 1781 (XVII), the Commission should give priority to a draft declaration on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance -a subject very closely related to that of racial discrimination.
9. Her delegation was determined to support the functional commissions of the Council; indeed, she herself had participated in the adoption, in June 1963, c' a recommendation by the International Council of Women to the Secretary-General that the Commission on the Status of Women should meet in 1964 and annually thereafter but, in view of the Economic and Social Council's decision at its thirty-sixth session, her delegation had hesitated to submit that recommendation to the General Assembly in a draft resolution. The draft resolution requesting the Council to reconsider its decision might be legitimate if it were not contrary to the Secretary-General's recommendations concerning the financial and administrative im-
plications. The Third Committee could not ignore those recommendations, the view of the Fifth Committee and the financial deficits confronting the United Nations. The Committee had on its agenda enough items carried over from previous sessions to occupy its time, even if the Commission did not meet in 1964. She would be happy to agree to meetings of any of the functional commissions to which invitations might be extended by prospective host Governments, provided that the United Nations incurred no expenditure thereby, but she would have to abstain on the two draft resolutions in their present form.
10. Mr. GILCHRIST (Australia) appreciated the strong desire of many delegations to see the Commission on Human Rights meet at an early date and draft the convention on racial discrimination. His own delegation had no wish to delay the preparation of that important document, but it felt bound to note the un-usual difficulties standing la the way of meetings of the functional commissions in 1964. The Secretary-General's recommendation that such meetings should be cancelled had been motivated primarily by the reconstruction work to take place at Headquarters and the added burden that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development would represent. At the thirty-sixth session of the Economic and Social Council it had become clear that the Secretary-General's proposals would have to be either accepted or rejected as a whole; almost every delegation had wanted one or another functional commission to meet as an exceptional matter. Neither the Secretary-General nor the Council had reached their decisions lightly. The United Nations was going through a difficult financial period and economies were needed. Adequate staff for additional meetings in 1964 would be hard to find and, if recruited from the outside, very costly.
11. His delegation had supported the Secretary-General's proposals and the Council's decision and it knew of no subsequent developments that might have altered the situation, in fact, in document A/C.3/ L.1144, issued only a few days earlier, the Secretary-General reiterated the hope that the calendar of meetings as approved by the Council would be maintained.
12. The convention on racial discrimination would not greatly suffer from a year's postponement. It was to be hoped that all Governments would take the necessary steps under the Declaration, and no doubt good progress could be reported to the Committee at the General Assembly's nineteenth session, whether or not a convention was in preparation.
13. He could not support either of the draft resolutions since they did not take into account the recommendations of the Secretary-General and the Council. That did not mean that his delegation opposed annual meetings of the Commission on Human Rights. The United States amendments (A/C.3/L.1149), while going some way towards easing the situation, did not seem to relieve the Secretary-General of the problem of providing the necessary facilities. The draft resolution itself also presented a technical difficulty: It first requested the Council to reconsider its decision and then requested the Secretary-General to provide for a meeting of the Commission in 1964; but it did not say what the Secretary-General should do If the Council did not alter its decision. Lastly, the acceptance of the United States amendments (A/C.3/L.1150) would allow his delegation to vote for the draft resolution regarding the preparation of a draft convention.
1247th meeting - 29 October 1963
14. Mr. GHORBAL (United Arab Republic) said that the main difficulty invoked as impeding a meeting of the Commission on Human Rights in 1964 was the financial situation of the United Nations, and particularly the situation created by the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. It was noteworthy in that respect, that all the sponsors of both draft resolutions were developing countries the very countries for which the Conference was being organized. It would be hard to imagine, therefore, that the developing countries should wish in any way to detract from that important Conference. On the contrary, they wanted the continuation of activities that would supplement the Conference's work. That was why they requested annual meetings of the Commission and in particular a 1964 session to prepare an important document on the elimination of racial discrimination.
15. Earlier in the session, the Senegalese representative had drawn attention to the under-representation of Africa in the Commission on Human Rights, in whose work the African nations took a particular interest, as could be seen from the Committee's own debates. Out of twenty-one members, the Commission had had only one African member in 1963 and would have only two in 1964. Feeling that that number was insufficient and that it did not tally with Council resolution 845 (XXXII), which increased the Commission's membership to twenty-one precisely to ensure fairer representation of the newer Members, a number of delegations, including his own, had decided to submit an amendment (A/C.3/L.1151) to the draft resolution, stressing the principle of equitable geographical distribution in the Commission on Human Rights and in particular the necessity to have Africa equitably represented.
16. Two practical conditions must be met to ensure the fairer representation of Africa in the Commission. First, the African countries must offer themselves as candidates, and indeed they had done so during the last elections in the Council. Second, all Council members must recognize the need for African countries to have their fair share of seats.
17. Miss ADDISON (Ghana) disagreed with the view that General Assembly resolution 178C (XVII) made the draft resolution regarding the preparation of Draft convention unnecessary. The Committee would do well, in fact, to reiterate its great interest in the early drafting of a convention on racial discrimination. Nor did the draft resolution detract from the importance of other items before the Commission on Human Rights, which could cope with them all.
18. The physical difficulties in the way of a 1964 session of the Commission were not insuperable. They were virtually solved by the Costa Rican Government's invitation, and in addition the Secretary-General had offered some encouragement regarding the possibility of holding the session before 15 March 1964. The Commission was a very important factor in the Committee's work. If the Committee did not defend the Commission it could not expect anyone else to do so.
19. The United States amendments were excessively pessimistic and in places unclear. She asked what was mean in the amendments contained in document A/C.3/L.1149 by "sources outside the United Nations budget" and "to the extent feasible". The amendments in document A/C.3/L.1150 defeated the main purpose of the draft resolution regarding the preparation of a draft convention. She appealed to the United States delegation to withdraw its amendments.
20. She earnestly hoped that the amendment in document A/C.3/L.1151, just introduced, would receive the Committee's unanimous support.
21. Mr. BAROODY (Saudi Arabia) remarked that the delegations opposing the proposal for a 1964 session of the Commission on Human Rights based their views largely on the recommendations of the Secretary-General. But the Secretary-General and the Secretariat were the servants of the General Assembly. It was the Assembly that had ultimate responsibility for the work of the functional commissions, as was clear from Article 60 of the Charter of the United Nations.
22. It was anomalous that those opposing the 1964 session should be the highly advanced countries. They might think that they did not need further studies from the Commission. He doubted that that was so, but in any case they were clearly being penny wise and pound foolish. The difficulties that arose because of the pre-dominance of economy-minded members in the Counciland its total membership was eighteen compared with the ill members of the Assemblywould prove very costly in the end. He particularly deplored the fact that the Council had not sought the Assembly's views before cancelling the meetings of the commissions.
23. The tendency to neglect social, cultural and humanitarian questions for alleged reasons of economy was well illustrated by the eighth report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions to the Genera! Assembly at its eighteenth session (A/5529). The Advisory Committee welcomed "the positive action taken by the Council as regards the meetings schedule" and hoped that it marked "the beginning of a trend towards a rationalization of the programme of conferences. Those expressions of satisfaction were really meant, to impress on the Assembly that certain activities of great importance to it should be curtailed. The Advisory Committee went on to say that there might be exceptions and that "during the first few years of activity in a completely new field, for instance industrial development at the present time, relatively frequent meetings of the competent deliberative body may be necessary..." (see A/5529, paras. 6 ami 7). Clearly, the emphasis was on economic affairs, although the Assembly had long since decided that work in the economic and social spheres must proceed hand in hand and that social welfare activities must therefore be strengthened. The economists were able to arrange for a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development costing over $2 million, but the Third Committee could not secure even $26,000 for a session of the Commission on Human Rights.
24. It was plain that the under-developed countries did not lose their interest in social questions even when they faced accuse economic problems. They continued to devote funds and energy to social improvement; but without the guidance of the United Nations and the aid of the functional commission their efforts would be less effective and in the end more expensive. They also maintained their interest in such human rights issues as the elimination of racial discrimination. He therefore appealed to all members to fight for annual sessions of the Commission as a matter of principle, lest the Third Committee's work be paralyzed.
25. The two d) aft resolutions before the Committee went together, since the draft convention on racial dis-crimination could not be prepared for the Assembly's
General Assembly Eighteenth Session Third Committee
nineteenth session unless the Commission on Human Rights met in 1964. The United States delegation's withdrawal of point 3 of its amendments in document A/C.3/L.1149 was insignificant, as the amendment still altered the basic sense of the draft resolution on the Commission on Human Rights. The reference to "costs being provided from sources outside the United Nations budget" seemed almost an appeal for charity. But Member States paid their contributions to the United Nations and had a right to expect that a fair part of the collected funds would go to activities of recognized importance.
26. He whole-heartedly supported the amendment in document A/C.3/L.1151. The emerging nations should have an active part to play in the functional commissions. He would suggest, however, that for their own benefit as well as that of the commissions, the countries of Asia and Africa should reconsider their practice of designating representatives by political appointment and send persons who were experts in the relevant fields.
27. Mrs. ARIBOT (Guinea) expressed surprise at the difficulties which some delegations were experiencing in connection with the draft resolution on the Com-mission on Human Rights. In the debate on the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and in particular on article 9, paragraph 3, some representatives had suggested that the draft convention would cover all those matters which they did not wish to see included in the declaration. Surely they should now do everything to speed up the preparation of the convention by ensuring that the Commission on Human Rights met in 1964. She hoped that the United States delegation would withdraw its amendments (A/C.3/L.1149).
28. Mr. MEANS (United States of America) recalled that his delegation had voted in favour of General Assembly resolution 1780 (XVII) calling for the preparation of both a declaration and a convention; it had no wish whatever to delay work on the convention. Its position with regard to the meetings of the Com-mission on Human Rights bore no relationship to the timing of the convention, and he thought that the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities might start work on that instrument when it met in January 1964. He reiterated that his Government favoured annual meetings for the Council's functional commissions, a principle which was in no way challenged by the amendments in document A/C.3/L.1149. His views on a session of the Commission of Human Rights in 1964 were governed solely by the unusual circumstances fully set forth by the Secretary-General in document A/C.3/L.1144. It would be inappropriate for the General Assembly to quarrel with a suggestion advanced by the Secretary-General and unanimously upheld by the Economic and Social Council. Several delegations had argued that the cost of convening the Commission in 1964 would be negligible, a view which he could not accept, particularly at a time when some Members were two years in arrears with their contributions. The Ghanaian representative appeared to think that the Costa Rican Government's invitation solved the problem. The United States delegation adhered to the view which it had advocated at the Council's thirty-sixth session; that the Commission should be convened only if no extra expense arose, and acceptance of the invitation might well involve considerable expense. The Secretariat should be allowed to concentrate its slender resourceswhich his delegation had often urged should
be increasedon the preparation of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which was of vital importance to the developing countries. He could not agree to withdraw the amendments in document A/C.3/L.1149, which had been submitted in Ml good faith.
29. His delegation fully supported the amendment in document A/C.3/L.1151. It had long wanted to see Africa more equitably represented in the Council's commissions.
30. Mr. SOLODOVNIKOY (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) recalled that MB country, in common with other socialist countries, had supported annual meetings of the functional commissions at the Council's thirty-sixth session. He fully agreed with the United States representative on the need to expend United Nations funds wisely and economically, but it was surely not unreasonable to ask for the reinstatement of the amount of $26,000, which according to the Secretary-General's statement would be required, if the Commission met at Headquarters before 15 March 1964. The United States representative's opposition to a meeting of the Commission in 1964 was difficult to reconcile with his previous recommendation that a convention on racial discrimination should be rapidly drafted and should Incorporate those points which he regarded as unsuitable for inclusion in the draft Declaration.
31. Mr. CUEVAS CANCINO (Mexico) said that it would be interesting to know whether the Secretariat regarded a session of the Commission before 15 March 1964 as feasible. Second, if it should be decided to convene the Commission after 15 March but before the opening of the Council's thirty-seventh session, at an estimated cost of $54,000 (A/C.3/L.1144, para. 4), would the necessary temporary staff be available, or did the Secretariat feel that, if the draft resolution on the Commission on Human Rights were adopted, it might still be impossible to hold the session Third, since it had been suggested that a host country might meet the cost of the session, what would be the expense of convening the Commission away from Headquarters after 15 March?
32. Mr. GROBY (Secretariat) replied that it would be possible to service a session of the Commission at Headquarters before 15 March, in which case the Secretary-General would have to ask for the reinstatement of the amount of $26,000 in the budget estimates. However, as indicated in the statement of financial implications, the Council had taken all factors into consideration in reaching its decision on the calendar of conferences for 1964 and the Secretary-General therefore hoped, for administrative and budgetary reasons, that the calendar would be maintained as approved by the Council. With regard to the Mexican representative's second question, he could *** to paragraph 4 of document A/C.3/ L.1144. If temporary star were to be recruited after 15 March, the United Nations would be competing with itself for a very scarce commodity, since it required considerable extra staff for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which was to meet at Geneva from March to June 1964, Lastly, if the Commission were to meet away from Headquarters after 15 March, extra costs would depend very much on the place of the meeting and would comprise the travel expenses of twenty-one delegations and of some seventy staff members.
1247th meeting 29 October 1963
33. Mr. DAS (Secretary of the Committee) pointed out that under rule 154 of the General Assembly's rules of procedure, the resolution on the Commission on Human Rights, if adopted would be considered by the Fifth Committee before being submitted to the Assembly.
34. Mr. DELGADO (Senegal) said that at the Council's thirty-sixth session his delegation had supported the decision not to convene the Commission on Human Rights in 1964 in view of the arguments which had then been presented. He would therefore find it difficult now to vote for the draft resolution on that question, although he attached the greatest importance to the Commission's work. Perhaps the vote on the draft resolution could be deferred, to give time for the preparation of a universally acceptable text. At the same time, he warmly supported the proposal in document A/C.3/L.1151, which he thought should be submitted as an independent draft resolution rather than as an amendment.
35. Mr. GHORBAL (United Arab Republic) pointed out that the time-limit for the submission of draft resolutions in connexion with the report of the Economic and Social Council had expired.
36. Mr. MEANS (United States of America) proposed that the Committee should permit the submission of the proposals in document A/C.3/L.1151 as a draft resolution.
It was so agreed.
37. Mr. YAPOU (Israel), referring to the adoption of
the draft resolution on publicity for the United Nations
Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, expressed his conviction that all
Member States would in fact do all in their power to
ensure the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination. His delegation attached great importance
to the preparation of a draft convention on the same
subject and this should be done as soon as possible, but the Committee should bear in mind that the Commission on Human Rights had already decided to give priority at its twentieth session to preparing draft declaration on the elimination of religious intolerance. He strongly favoured that procedure because, as several delegations had rightly pointed out, religious and racial discrimination were inseparably linked and parallel action should be taken in all fields of discrimination. He would support the United States amendments (A/C.3/L.1150) to the draft resolution regarding a draft convention on racial discrimination, on the understanding that it would permit the draft declaration on religious intolerance to be taken up before the convention on racial discrimination.
36. His delegation warmly welcomed the proposals in document A/C.3/L.1151 and hoped that the African peoples would soon occupy their rightful place in all United Nations organs.
39. Mr. MOLINA SALAS (Argentina) recalled that, in view of the strong arguments submitted at the Council's thirty-sixth session, his delegation had voted in favour of the diction not to convene the Commission on Human Rights in 1964. Although he supported the early preparation of a draft convention on racial discrimination, he could therefore not vote for the draft resolution on the Commission on Human Rights, the more so as he agreed with the French representative that the General Assembly should not adopt a resolution conflicting with a decision of the Economic and Social Council. He supported the United States amendments (A/C.3/L.1149), since the financial difficulty had been a main motive for the Council's decision. He also supported the draft resolution regarding the reparation of a draft convention, as amended by the United States in document A/C.3/L.1150.
The meeting rose at 6 p.m.