General Assembly, 18th session, 3rd Committee : 1252nd meeting
|UN Document Symbol||A/C.3/SR.1252|
|Convention||International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)|
|Document Type||Summary Record|
|Subjects||Racial Discrimination, Protection of Minorities, Equality|
EIGHTEENTH SESSION Official Records
THIRD COMMITTEE, 1252nd
Monday, 4 November 1963. at 10.50 a.m.
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 (concluded) Draft resolution concerning the Commission
on Human Rights (concluded) /
Draft resolution concerning the preparation (
of a draft convention on the elimination of 209
all forms of racial discrimination (con-
Agenda item 12:
Report of the Economic and Social Council
(chapter IX, except section III: chapter X:
and chapter XIII, section VII) (continued)
Consideration of draft resolutions 210
Chairman: Mr. Humberto DIAZ CASANUEVA* (Chile).
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/C3/L.1136/Rev.1, A/C.3/ L.I 144) (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, A/C.3/L.1155) (concluded)
DRAFT RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (concluded)
DRAFT RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE PREPARATION OF A DRAFT CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION (concluded)
1. Mr. YAPOU (Israel) explained that he had voted in favour of the draft resolution concerning the Commission on Human Rights (A/C.3/L.1136/Rev.1) because, as he had pointed out during the general debate, his delegation favoured continued presence and perma-nency through regular sessions of the Commission on Human Rights, whose field of activity was of great universal concern. He had abstained in the vote on the two operative paragraphs of the draft resolution concerning the preparation of a draft convention on racial discrimination (A/C.3/L.1137/Rev.1) because he doubled their practicability in view of other urgent mutters on the Commission's agenda. It was the consistent view of his delegation that parallel action should be taken by the Commission in the twin fields of racial discrimination and religious intolerance in accordance with the Assembly's resolutions 1780 (XVII) and 1781
(XVII). To express his delegation's support' for the earliest possible preparation of a draft convention on racial discrimination he had voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.3/L.1137/Rev.1 as a whole. It was his earnest hope that the Commission on Human Rights, assisted by the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, would find its way to prepare both documents for the nineteenth session of the General Assembly.
2. Mr. LYMAR (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) expressed satisfaction that the sponsors of draft resolution A/C.3/L.1137/Rev.1 had included some of his delegation's suggestions in the revised text, thus enabling his delegation to co-sponsor it. He had voted against point 1 of the United States amendments (A/C.3/L.1150), which was designed to discriminate against States not yet Members of the United Nations. Such discrimination conflicted with the spirit and letter of the Charter of the United Nations, under which the Organization was to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples. He drew the attention of the Committee to a document containing a statement by the Government of the German Democratic Republic in connexion with the draft Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and showing how much was being done in that country to destroy the racial ideology of German fascism and imperialism. The United States amendment was harmful to the cause of international cooperation and would hamper the achievement of important tasks confronting the United Nations. Despite the incorporation of the United States amendment, he had voted in favour of the draft resolution as a whole, in order to support the struggle against racial discrimination,
3. Mr. BEAUFORT (Netherlands) stressed that his delegation was in no way opposed to the drafting of a convention on the elimination of racial discrimination and had wholeheartedly supported General Assembly resolution 1780 (XVII) calling for the preparation of such an instrument. Racial discrimination was, however, closely linked with religious intolerance and, if the Commission on Human Rights was to concentrate on the convention, it would have to postpone the drafting of a declaration on religious intolerance. Draft resolution A/C.3/L.1137/Rev.1 was in conflict with General Assembly resolution 1781 (XVII), which called for the preparation of texts on religious intolerance, and it ran directly counter to the decision of the Commission on Human Rights, in its resolution 10 (XIX) (see E/3743, para. 156), to give priority at its twentieth session to preparing a draft declaration on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance. He had voted in favour of that decision, and had accordingly voted against paragraph 1 of draft resolution A/C.3/ L.1137/Rev.1 and abstained in the vote on that resolution as a whole. He was seriously concerned at what
appeared to him to be a tendency among some delegations to postpone work on the declaration concerning religious intolerance.
4. Mr. COMBAL (France) said that, as he had pre-piously explained (1246th meeting), his delegation could not approve a text in which the General Assembly issued instructions to the Economic and Social Council. Draft resolution A/C.3/L.1137/Rev.1 had the further disadvantage of upsetting the work programme of the Commission on Human Rights. His delegation certainly attached the greatest importance to the preparation of a convention on racial discrimination. Nevertheless, discrimination between men could be inspired by reasons other than race, such as religious intolerance, for example. He recalled that at the Assembly's seventeenth session the two subjectsreligious intolerance and racial discriminationhad been included in one agenda item and the Assembly had carefully stressed their interdependence by using parallel language in resolutions 1780 (XVII) and 1781 (XVII). He feared that work on religious intolerance would be delayed, as the Commission on Human Rights was to be urged to give priority to a convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination. For the reasons he had explained, his delegation had abstained in the vote on draft resolution A/C.3/L.1137/Rev.1.
5. Mr. DAYRELL DE LIMA (Brazil) said that, while his delegation agreed with the other sponsors of draft resolution A/C.3/L.1137/Rev.1 that the preparation of a convention on racial discrimination should have absolute priority, it would like the Commission on Human Rights to prepare a draft declaration on religious intolerance, too, and he hoped that it might be possible to have both documents available for consideration at the nineteenth session of the General Assembly.
6. Mr. RAZGALLAH (Tunisia) said that the United Nations should adopt a universal approach. It was neither reasonable nor just to reserve the preparation, still less the application, of a convention on racial discrimination to Member States. He had therefore voted against the United States amendment.
7. Mr. BECK (Hungary) explained that his delegation had voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.3/L.1137/ Rev.1 because it regarded the drafting of a convention on racial discrimination as a matter of urgency. The United States amendment, which would exclude non-Member States from the elaboration of the text, followed a familiar policy which he hoped would soon be discontinued: the intrusion of political considerations into a matter remote from everyday politics. It was incompatible with the principle of universality to deprive non-Member States of a voice in the preparation of an instrument of world-wide importance. His delegation had accordingly voted against be United States amendment.
8. Mrs. LEFLEROVA (Czechoslovakia) said that her delegation, too, had voted against the I noted States amendment because it did not think that an) State should be denied the opportunity of participating in the preparation of the convention. It had, however, voted in favour of paragraph 1, as amended, because it did not want political considerations to jeopardize the early preparation of a convention.
9. Mr. MOLINA SALAS (Argentina) said that his delegation had been unable to support either draft resolution, as both tailed to give- due consideration to the views of the Economic and Social Council and appeared
to prejudge the Council's decision, since they made no provision for any alternative action to be taken should the Council not see fit to reverse its earlier decision. With regard to draft resolution A/C.3/ L.1137/Rev.1, it was essential that the preparation of a convention on racial discrimination should be combined with the work on other important items on the agenda of the Commission on Human Rights. The two proposals in their revised form had been drafted in some haste and he hoped that in both instances more acceptable language would be found before they were submitted to the General assembly.
10. Mr. PONCE CARBO (Ecuador) said that his dele-gabion had voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.3/L.1137/Rev.1, because it had wished to express support for the early preparation of a convention on racial discrimination. It did not, however, wholly approve of the text, which had been drafted rather hastily. The "absolute priority" which the Commission on Human Rights was to give to the preparation of the convention should not lead to the neglect of a draft declaration on religious intolerance; racial and religious discrimination were equally repugnant.
11. Miss ADDISON (Ghana) said that her delegation had voted in favour of draft resolution A/C.3/L.1136/ Rev.1 in view of the vital importance of the work of the Commission on Human Rights.
12. It had voted against the United States amendment to draft resolution A/C.3/L.il37/Rev.1 because it supported the principle of universality in the work of the United Nations. Racial discrimination, like an epidemic, knew no territorial boundary. Discriminatory practices had not yet been stamped out in Member States and there was no reason to assume that the situation in non-Member States, and hence the views of non-Member Governments, did not merit attention. It should be noted that the language of operative paragraph 1 of draft resolution A/C.3/L.1137/Rev.1 was almost identical with that of operative paragraph 1 of General Assembly resolution 1780 (XVII), which had been adopted unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM 12
Report of the Economic and Social Council (A/5503, chapter IX, except section III; chapter X; and chapter XIII, section VII; A/C3/L.1121 and Corr.1, A/C.3/L.II32/Rev.1, A/C.3/L.1134/Rev.1, A/C.3/ L.1135/Rev.1, A/C.3/L.1139, A/C.3/L.1140/Rev.1, A/C.3/L.1141 and Add.1, A/C.3/L.1143/Rev.1, A/C.3/L.1146-1147 and Add.1, A/C.3/L.1152-1154, A/C.3/L.1156 and Corr.1, A/C.3/L.1157-1158) (continued)
CONSIDERATION OF DRAFT RESOLUTION'S
13. Mr. SHERVANI (India), introducing the revised text of the draft resolution on the world social situation (A/C.3/L.1132/Rev.1) on behalf of his own delegation and the co-sponsors, observed that economic development was not an end in itself but a means to an end: namely, higher levels of living, a richer life for all people, a broader social environment lor all, the eradication of poverty and a fair distribution of income.
14. The United Nations had upheld that goal from the beginning. .\t its sixteenth session the Economic and Social Council, when considering the report of the Social Commission, had found that the resources available for improving the world Social situation were-inadequate and that there was need for reorientation
in the programme of United Nations social activities. The Council had recognized the interrelated character of economic and social factors. The Report on the World Social Situation. 1963 (E/CN.5/375 and Add.1 and 2) painted an equally gloomy picture. The number of illiterates was rising and there appeared to be more ill-housed and under-nourished people than there had been ten or fifteen years earlar. Disparities in income did not seem to be less enounced. In reviewing the world social situate at its thirty-sixth session, the Council had felt that social progress during the last decade had been extremely unsatisfactory and that the gap between the industrialized and the developing countries was widening. The Council had considered that concerted efforts on the part of the United Nations and of both the advanced and the de-veloping States were necessary, if social progress was to be accelerated. A review of United Nations policies in that matter was therefore imperative.
15. The lack of satisfactory social progr ******* . largely due to the fact that no specific targets had been set, that there were no broad international guidelines for social advancement, that neither external aid nor internal resources were readily available to the extent required for social development, and that investment for social purposes which did not bring an immediate monetary return was at times neglected. It was therefore high time for an exhaustive analysis of the problem. !f the United Nations found that social progress could not be accelerated without a change in outlook, it should be bold enough to alter its policies and give a new lead to the nations of the world on balanced social and economic development. Measures should be adopted for the achievement of the social objectives of the United Nations Development Decade, so that, at least in the second half of the Decade, some specific progress towards the ultimate goal could be recorded. Furthermore, after a detailed study of the geographic, economic, social and demographic conditions in the developing countries, the United Nations should draw up a programme for social development which would constitute a broad guideline for reasonable growth and would set feasible social goals. The programme should set forth clearly the national resources and the volume and types of external assistance that would be required and should establish an order of priorities in the light of the recourses available. Such a programme would not only be helpful to the developing countries but would enable the industrialized countries to determine what assistance they could offer.
16. Turning to the Tunisian amendments (A/C.3/ L.1134/Rev.1), he pointed out that the idea underlying point 1 was covered by the last preambular paragraph of the revised draft resolution, which referred to the urgent need for the adoption of practical and far-reaching measures.. Moreover, the language of the amendment might well give rise to controversy: the words "a propound alteration of social structures" might BE taken to include governmental structure and thus be construed in a political sense. The United Nations did not advise its Members on the type of social or political structure they should adopt. Point 2 of the Tunisian amendments dealt with the problem of motivation, which would be treated in the next report on the world social situation. There again. Governments might regard the proposed text as infringing their prerogatives. Moreover, the subject went beyoand the scope of the draft resolution, which was mainly con-cerned with the preparation of a broad guideline for
social progress in the second half of the Development Decade.
17. He hoped that the draft resolution, in which the sponsors had carefully avoided any reference to controversial matters, would be adopted unanimously.
18. Mrs. ROSSEL (Sweden), introducing the revised text of the draft resolution on capital punishment (A/C.3/L.1143/Rev.1), on behalf of the sponsor3, recalled that General Assembly resolution 1396 (XIV), which her delegation had co-sponsored, had aimed primarily at obtaining an objective study to serve as a basis for future recommendations, and not as a criticism of countries where the death penalty was applied. The report entitled Capital Punishment1/ prepared by Mr. Marc Ancel, had admirably met that requirement. The Economic and Social Council, in considering the report, had noted that there was a long-term trend away from capital punishment and a world-wide tendency to reduce the categories of crime to which it was applied, and that elimination of the death penalty did not appear to bring about an immediate marked increase in crime, although opinions about its deterrent effects were far from unanimous. As Mr. Ancel had pointed out, the alleged deterrent effect was the main argument in favour of the death penalty, while the opposite view was based primarily on the sanctity of human life. The fact that the State found it necessary to reserve the right to kill clearly contradicted that lofty principle and, in the event of judicial error, the death penalty appeared as an unpardonable crime committed by society.
19. Economic and Social Council resolution 934 (XXXV) urged Governments to study the report entitled Capital Punishment, to inform the Secretary-General of any new developments with regard to law and practice, and to provide information on their legislation and military penal jurisdiction; it also requested the Secretary-General to broaden the studies so far carried out and to prepare a report based on information received from Governments. The revised draft resolution was designed to follow up what had already been achieved, by asking he Commission on Human Rights to study Mr. Ancel's report and make recommendations and by requesting the Secretary-General to submit a report through the Council to the General Assembly. She noted that article 6 of the draft Covenant on Civil and Political Rights approved by the Third Committee 2 appeared designed rather to protect the right of Governments to take life than to protect human life, and she hoped that the Commission would review that text from the standpoint of human rights.
29. Mrs. REFSLIND THOMSEN (Denmark) commended the Peruvian delegation for its submission of a draft resolution on community action(A/C.3/L.1121 and Corr.1). The political, economic and social ideas underlying community development and the methods used in implementing community development programmes were well known to every Dane. Denmark's social achievements were mainly due to its local government system, its adult education scheme and its co-operative movement. Those three elements of community development, combined with land reform and the Danish tax policy, had enabled Denmark to achieve high educational and social standards both in urban and in rural areas.
21. During the general debate she had been surprised to hear some delegations question the importance of community development. The USSR representative apparently considered that the time become to assess the relative usefulness of land reform and community development and to make a choice. She, for her part, could not see that there was any choice to be made; land reform without community development was only half a solution, and both land reform and community development were basic problems which should be the concern of the United Nations.
22. Her delegation fell that it might be advisable to broaden the scope of the Peruvian draft resolution, for in many parts of the world community development was taking place in urban as well as in rural areas. Community action was needed, not only in regions where there was marginal employment of the population, but also in areas where there was full employment resulting from lack of tools and modern equipment. Her delegation would therefore support the amendments proposed by Uganda (A/C.3/L.1139).
23. She thanked the Chilean delegation for having submitted a draft resolution concerning the participation of women in national social and economic development (A/C.3/L.1135). The Managing Director of the Special Fund had said that the status of women was a sure indication of the level of a country's national development. It was difficult to say whether the status of women was the consequence of the level of a country's development or vice versa, but the two were closely inter-related. Women could make a substantial contribution to their country's economic and social development, but they needed encouragement and assistance to enable them fully to participate in, and promote the economic and social development of, their community and nation.
24. Over the years the Commission on the Status of Women had contributed substantially to women's advancement. It had drafted or helped to draft a number of conventions concerning women's rights in the political, civic, economic and educational fields, and the provisions of the conventions which had been adopted were now more or less incorporated in national laws. Consequently, the problems women now faced were not so much those of achieving equality before the law as those of improving their economic, social and educational position. Her delegation therefore agreed with the provisions of the revised draft resolution (A/C.3/L.1135/Rev.1). because the participation of women in the planning and execution of national development programmes might further the advancement of women in the social, economic and educational fields.
25. She went on to speak of the role played by women in community development. especially in African countries, and suggested that, in recognition of that role, the following should be included in the draft resolution as a third preambular paragraph:
"Recognizing the contribution of women to national social development programmes, particularly community development and social wellare programmes, and the importance of such programmes to the advancement of women in general".
26. She hoped that, in the Study called lor in General Assembly resolution 1777 (XIII), the United Nations Secretarial would take into account the great need lor ******to women through community development. In that ***** She would liki to mention an initiative
taken recently by Danish women's organizations. When asked to participate in a fund-raising campaign on behalf of developing countries, they had made it a condition that some of the money should be used to finance a project for the special benefit of the women in a developing country. The result had been that 870,000 had been set aside for the establishment in an African country of a training centre for women in community development activities. Later the Danish Government had taken up the idea and had now offered similar assistance for the establishment of a community development training centre for women in another African country.
27. In the past the approach to women's problems in the Commission on the Status of Women had been a legal one. She felt that the time had come for the promotion of more practical measures, and she would therefore like the Commission to discuss measures designed to implement in practice the legally granted equality between men and women. The Commission would have ample opportunity to do so when the study requested in General Assembly resolution 1777 (XVII) was submitted for consideration. While she appreciated the spirit in which the draft resolution concerning a draft declaration on the elimination of discrimination against women (A/C.3/L.1141 and Add.1) had been submitted, she doubted whether it would be advisable to ask the Commission on the Status of Women to prepare the draft declaration, for that might mean that it would not have sufficient time to discuss the more practical measures. Furthermore, she felt that the Third Committee war; dealing with too many draft conventions and declarations at the same time and thereby running the risk of delaying the final adoption of the draft International Covenants on Human. Rights.
28. Mr. TODOROV (Bulgaria) stated that, although community action was important to the economic and social development of a country, it would be a mistake to place the main emphasis on community development and to consider it capable of solving the basic prob-lems in a country's economic and social development. Community development was concerned with the implementation of projects of local importance and operated in widely different conditions. Community action was essentially associated with the situation in which it was carried out and for that reason it was not possible to produce an exact formula applicable to widely differing social, economic, cultural and political conditions. Community action depended on the economic structure of the country concerned, especially the economic and social conditions prevailing in rural areas, where it was most wide-spread.
29. Almost all the speakers in the Committee had mentioned the need for land reform in countries where the land was owned by a few people. I and reform could be deskilled as a prerequisite for the successful implementation of community development programmes. In resolutions 975 D (XXXVI) and 975 E (XXXVI), the Council had recommended Member States to harmonize their community development win land reform programmes.
30. The ad hoc Group of Exerts on Community Development had stated in its report (E/CN.5/379 and Corr.1) that land reform and voluntary economic organization should precede the involvement of communities in the growth of a country. Indeed, peasants who were obliged to work *****; dusk on another man's land and were constant! tormented byjoverty, hunger and ignorance could scarcely become ted to
take any initiative. The Secretary-General's report on the world social situation recognized land reform as an important step on the road to incorporating the rural population in the life of the country as fully fledged citizens. There seemed no reason to suppose that a community development programme including the construction of roads, bridges and so forth would promote a higher level of living among the people of the community under a system of large estates; such a programme would merely create an additional burden for the peasants and the big landowners would be the chief benefactors. The situation would be quite different if land reform were carried out, for then everyone could benefit from communal measures. In their report the experts on community development had concluded that reform was essential where the system of land tenure was so unjust that it deprived the population of incentive. Although community development programmes could lay the foundations for the training and organization of tenant farmers and landless agricultural labourers, it could not do much in the way of economic improvement until the basic economic system was changed. There could be no doubt that the group of experts recognized agrarian reform as an essential prerequisite for successful implementation of community development programmes.
31. The Bulgarian delegation fully agreed with the group of experts and wished to draw attention once again to the importance of rural organization in connexion with communal developmt. The Secretary-General's Report on the World Social Situation. 1963. paid particular attention to rural organization. For instance, it stated that in Latin America the rural population was beginning to organize and show capabilities for effective political action. There was no reference to such movements in the draft resolution on community action, which he thought should include an operative paragraph requesting the Secretary-General to study peasant organizations and furnish a report upon them. Furthermore, it was vital that. when preparing community development programmes, Governments should consult the peasants' organizations and take their opinions into account. The rural population would then regard such programmes as their own and would strive for their fulfillment.
32. The Bulgarian delegation accordingly considered it essential to submit certain amendments (A/C.3/ L.1158) to the draft resolution on community action submitted by Peru. The Bulgarian delegation would confer with the delegation of Peru and hoped that it would be possible to submit a joint text. It was prepared to consider suggestions and comments from other delegations.
33. Mr. CUEVAS CANCINO (Mexico), introducing the draft resolution on UNICEF (A/C.3/L.1147 and Add.1), on behalf of the sponsors, remarked that the primary aim was to follow the practice adopted at preceding sessions, when the General Assembly had adopted special resolutions on UNICEF to indicate the importance it attached to its work, and to express its appreciation to the Executive Director and his staff. The sponsors particularly welcomed the extension of UNICEF activities to include education and vocational training, which represented an investment in the future, and hoped that Member States would, if possible, increase their contributions in order to finance the expanded programme.
34. Mr. ELl CHANS (Chile) said that the objective of the draft resolution on the preoccupation of women
in national social and economic development, of which his delegation was a sponsor, was to make it possible for women to participate effectively in both the planning and the execution of national development programmes. In recent years women had been acquiring true equality with men and it would be dangerous to exclude them from participation in such programmes, since their greater experience and aptitude in matters relating to the home and to family life fitted them to play a special role in such lields as urban development and education. While men were concerned more directly with the production of wealth, women were especially interested in the social environment, and genuine co-operation between the sexes would be conducive to more balanced programmes of economic and social development. The sponsors were prepared to accept the amendments in document A/C.3/L.1153 but they would require more time to consider the amendments in document A/C.3/ L.1156 and Corr.1.
35. As the draft resolution on housing, building and planning (A/C.3/L.1140/Rev.1) would be formally introduced by the United Arab Republic representative, he would merely express his delegation's conviction that there could be no social development unless proper housing, which was essential to human dignity, was provided for every family.
36. With regard to draft resolution A/C.3/L. 1141 and Add.1, he did not agree with the representative of Denmark that work on a draft declaration on the elimination of discrimination against women might delay the adoption of other important instruments. The intention was to produce a legal document, not theoretical in nature but setting out practical measures to enhance the status of women, in public and private law, throughout the world. The equality of men and women must be established by law, in order that they might work together to their common advantage.
37. Mr. BELTRAMINO (Argentina) observed that the general debate on the Council's report had confirmed his delegation's view that the United Nations must assign greater importance to social development and intensify its efforts in that field. Consequently, Argentina had welcomed the realistic approach to the world social situation adopted by the sponsors of draft resolution A/C.3/L. 1132 and had been happy to co-sponsor the revised version of that text (A/C.3/1..1132/Rev.1), which referred to the interdependence of economic and social development, the necessity of the adoption of practical and far-reaching measures, and the consideration of practical measures at future sessions of the General Assembly. In the light of the grave situation, the resolution to be adopted by the Assembly should mark a decisive turning point in the history of the United Nations, especially since Council resolution 496 (XVI) had long since laid down general principles tor United Nations action in the social field. In view of the enormous discrepancies between the living conditions of different peoples, the admittedly laudable projects and activities relating to rural and community development, social welfare, narcotics control and so forth did not go far enough. The Secretariat should be able, with the co-operation of the socialized agencies and the existing social institutes, to submit an account of the current status of the mam social problems and the various methods used in dialing with them, together with an estimate of the **** available and the means needed to and effective solutions. If that was done, the economic and Social Council and the Assembly would be able to appraise the
situation properly and to plan practical and effective
39. Mr. GHONKIM (United Arab Republic), introducing the revised text of the draft resolution on housing, building and planning (A/C.3/L.1140/Rev.1). pointed out that approximately half the total population of Africa, Asia and Latin America were homeless or lived in housing which constituted a health hazard and an affront to human dignity. Increasing migration from rural to urban areas was resulting in the growth of vast squatter settlements on the outskirts of cities, and the rural areas were even more deficient in the basic services and facilities necessary for healthy communities. It had been estimated that some 20 million dwellings would have to be constructed annually for the next thirty years to remedy the situation and it was therefore not surprising that housing and urban development was being given high priority in the United Nations Development Decade. The Committee on Housing, Building and Planning, at its first session, had adopted several resolutions designed to assist the developing countries: the Social Commission, too, had made some urgent recommendations, which had been embodied in Council resolution 975 F (XXXVI).
39. As a result of General Assembly resolution 1500 (XV) and Economic and Social Council resolution 976 E (XXXVI), a United Nations programme of pilot projects in low-cost housing, building and urban development had been established, with a view to providing a practical means of using available external resources to help developing countries in solving their housing, building and planning problems and to showing how expanded or improved programmes could be developed from existing but often latent domestic resources. A project for the production of a low-cost prefabricated concrete roof would shortly be launched by the Government of the United Arab Republic with United Nations assistance and would undoubtedly help to solve the country's housing problem.
40. The draft resolution was intended to emphasize that Governments should be ready to accelerate their efforts to deal with the housing problem in the remaining years of the Development Decade. For that purpose, the Committee on Housing, Building and Planning was asked to make appropriate recommendations and to establish practical targets for developing countries, while Governments, the Secretary-General and various interested bodies were called upon to play their part.
41. Mr. RAZGALLAH (Tunisia) expressed his delegation's general support for the revised draft resolution on the world social situation: nevertheless, it had noted an important omission, which had induced it to submit the amendments appearing in document A/C.3/L.1134/Rev.1. The Tunisian delegation in the Social Commission had pointed out that economic development and social progress required a change in outlook and in social structures, and the representative of India had spoken of the need to encourage the population to take a more active part in social development (1237th meeting). Neither of those aims could be achieved unless the ignorance and fatalism so wide-spread among the people of the developing countries could be overcome and every individual assured those things which went to make up a decent life and to give equality of opportunity, not only with regard to health and education but with respect to the right to work.
42. The two essential prerequisites lor social progress were that the masses should become aware of their state of under-development and acquire the will to change it, and that social conditions conducive to progress should be established. The starting point for the latter task must be to teach the individual that his interests were intimately bound up with those of the community in which he lived and that he had obligations as well as rights. To that end, there must be economic and social planning, based neither on blind liberalism nor on forced collectivism: in particular, the system of land tenure should be modified through agrarian reform, and the commercial sector should be aligned to the other economic sectors, and especially to in-dustrial development. Those reforms should be carried out through a process of persuasion, so that they would be freely accepted.
43. Thus the purpose of the Tunisian amendments was to prepare the minds of the people for progress and to establish the necessary social conditions. It should be emphasized that the amendments were meant to refer particularly to the developing countries, which had a great deal of lost ground to make up. The representative of India had said that the ideas underlying the amendments were to be found in the fifth preani-bular paragraph of the draft resolution on the world social situation; that paragraph, however, was much too vague to express precisely the thoughts which his delegation wished to emphasize.
The meeting rose at 1.25 p.m.