The General Assembly would decide to establish an open-ended intergovernmental ad hoc committee to elaborate a comprehensive international convention against transnational organized crime under the provisions of one of four texts approved without a vote by the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) this morning.
By another draft resolution approved, the Assembly would accept with gratitude the invitation of the Government of Austria to host the Tenth Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Vienna from 10 to 17 April 2000, and it would decide that the theme of the Congress should be "Crime and Justice: meeting the challenge of the twenty-first century".
Under the provisions of another draft resolution approved, the Assembly would note with satisfaction the successful launching of the International Year of Older Persons, 1999, with the theme "A society for all ages", on 1 October. It would encourage all States, the United Nations system and other actors, to take advantage of the Year to increase awareness of the challenge of the ageing of societies, particularly the individual and social needs of older persons.
The Secretary-General would be requested to elaborate model legislation on mutual assistance in criminal matters, and would invite Member States to consider a number of measures in the context of the application of treaties on mutual assistance in criminal matters, such as establishing national central authorities to process requests for assistance, by another text approved.
Also this morning, the Committee heard the introduction of three draft resolutions. The representative of Nigeria introduced a draft on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of
Third Committee - 1a - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
Offenders. The representative of Italy introduced the draft on the strengthening of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme. The representative of Mexico introduced a draft resolution on international cooperation against the world drug problem.
In addition, the Committee continued its consideration of issues related to the advancement of women and implementation of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.
Different approaches in combating the trafficking of women and traditional practices that were harmful to women were discussed during the meeting. The representative of Ghana said trafficking in women and girls was deeply rooted in the misconception of females as sex objects. She urged Governments to share information on trafficking and to establish data- collection centres within Interpol, regional law enforcement agencies and the national police force.
The representative of the Philippines said different approaches to the issues of prostitution and sexual exploitation slowed progress in combating the problem of trafficking. She called for small steps, which could support multidimensional approaches, to be made towards focused targets.
The representative of Benin said the while trafficking in women and girls was caused by poverty, unhealthy customary practices that affected women could not be put down to the same cause. Such traditions could be replaced by practices that did not have unhealthy effects. That way, those who were concerned about the erosion of traditions could be satisfied.
Statements were also made by the representatives of Malawi, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Dominican Republic, Romania, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iraq, Viet Nam, Guinea and Croatia. The observer for Palestine as well as representatives of the World Bank, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) also spoke.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 19 October, to continue consideration of advancement of women and implementation of the 1995 Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women.
Committee Work Programme
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to continue consideration of the advancement of women and the implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995). (For details of the documents before the Committee, see Press Release GA/SHC/3473 of 14 October.)
The Committee was also expected to take action on three draft resolutions transmitted to the Assembly by the Economic and Social Council under its consideration of crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as on a draft text on the International Year of Older Persons, 1999. In addition, three further texts were scheduled for introduction on the following topics: United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders; strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, particularly its technical cooperation capacity; and international cooperation against the world drug problem.
Drafts for Action
A 61-Power draft on the International Year of Older Persons, 1999 (document A/C.3/53/L.6), would have the Assembly note with satisfaction the successful launching of the International Year, with the theme of "A society for all ages", on 1 October. It would encourage all States, the United Nations system and all other actors, to take advantage of the Year to increase awareness of the challenge of the demographic ageing of societies, the individual and social needs of older persons, their contributions to society, and the need for a change in attitudes towards them. It would also encourage States that have not yet done so to establish a national focal point or broad-based committee for the Year.
The Assembly would recommend that the Commission for Social Development should mainstream the issue of older persons in its work, and in the preparatory work for the review session of the World Summit for Social Development in the year 2000, and would call upon States, United Nations agencies and bodies and institutions of civil society, to avoid age and gender bias in their treatment of older women. States would be encouraged to embody the rights of older persons to equal access to and the use of social services, without any discrimination, in appropriate legislation.
The Assembly would invite the Department of Public Information to continue its information campaign on the issue of older persons, intensifying its activities in January 1999, in support of countries which were unable to launch observances on 1 October 1998. It would request the United Nations programme on ageing to give priority attention to the research needs of developing countries.
Third Committee - 3 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
Also by the text, the Assembly would encourage the media to present non-stereotyped images of older persons, and would invite institutions of civil society to focus their observance of the International Day of Older Persons (1 October) in 1999 on the theme "Late-life potentials and contributions in a new age". States would be requested to participate, at an appropriate global policy-making level, in the four Assembly plenary meetings which it decided, in resolution 52/80 of 12 December 1997, should be devoted at its fifty-fourth session to the Year and its follow-up.
The draft resolution is sponsored by Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zambia.
By the terms of a draft resolution on the preparations for the Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/53/L.2), the Assembly would accept with gratitude the invitation of the Government of Austria to host the Tenth Congress at Vienna. It would decide to hold the Congress from 10 to 17 April 2000, with pre-Congress consultations to be held on 9 April 2000. It would also approve a provisional agenda for the Congress that would include discussion of the following topics: "international cooperation in combating transnational crime: challenges in the twenty-first century"; and "offenders and victims: accountability and fairness in the justice process".
By further terms of the draft, the Assembly would endorse the programme of work for the Tenth Congress, including the holding of four practically- oriented technical workshops on the subjects of combating corruption, crimes relating to the computer network, community involvement in crime prevention, and women in the criminal justice system. The Assembly would also decide that the theme of the Congress should be "Crime and justice: meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century".
The Assembly would decide to streamline and minimize the costs of the preparation and servicing of the regional preparatory meetings by shortening their duration and limiting their documentation, according to other terms of the text. It would also request the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, as the preparatory body for the Congress, to accord high priority at its eighth session to the finalization in good time of all the necessary organizational and substantive arrangements, and to prepare a draft declaration for submission to the Tenth Congress.
Third Committee - 4 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
The Assembly would also decide that the Commission, at its tenth session, should undertake to review the role, function, periodicity and duration of the United Nations congresses on the prevention of crime and the treatment of offenders.
By further terms of the draft, the Assembly would request the Secretary- General to undertake the necessary logistic steps, in collaboration with Member States and the institutes of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme network, to mobilize the participation of interested partners in the preparations for the four workshops. The Secretary-General would also be requested to ensure, in collaboration with Member States, a wide and effective programme of public information related to the preparations for the Tenth Congress.
By a draft resolution on transnational organized crime (document A/C.3/53/L.3), the Assembly would urge Member States to continue making every possible effort to fully implement the Naples Political Declaration and Global Action Plan through legislative regulatory and administrative measures, including those aimed at prevention.
The Assembly would request the Secretary-General to continue work on elaborating training manuals for law enforcement and judicial personnel on action against transnational organized crime; to intensify efforts to identify and allocate resources for strengthening the capacity of the Centre for International Crime Prevention; and to continue providing Member States with technical cooperation, advisory services and other forms of assistance in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.
The Assembly would also decide to establish an open-ended intergovernmental ad hoc committee to elaborate a comprehensive international convention against transnational organized crime. It would request the Secretary-General to convene a meeting of the ad hoc committee at Vienna from 18 to 29 January 1999, and would decide to accept the recommendation of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to elect Luigi Lauriola (Italy) as the chairman of the ad hoc committee. The ad hoc committee would be requested to take into account the report of the inter-sessional open-ended intergovernmental group of experts, the report of the working group on the implementation of the Naples Plan of Action as well as relevant Economic and Social Council resolutions.
A draft resolution on mutual assistance and international cooperation in criminal matters (document A/C.3/53/L.4), would have the Assembly welcome the report of the Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters held in February 1998 and decide that the Model Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters should be complemented by the provisions set out as annex I to the resolution (listing complementary provisions for the Model Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters).
Third Committee - 5 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to elaborate model legislation on mutual assistance in criminal matters, and would invite Member States to consider a number of measures in the context of the application of treaties on mutual assistance in criminal matters, such as establishing national central authorities to process requests for assistance. He would also be requested to regularly update and disseminate information, to continue providing advisory and technical cooperation services to Member States, and to provide training on mutual assistance law and practise for personnel in governmental agencies and for central authorities. It would further request the Secretary-General assist in developing appropriate training materials.
The Assembly would also commend the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences of Siracusa, Italy, for its offer to host up to two training seminars for mutual assistance officials, and would urge Member States and funding agencies to assist the Secretary-General in implementing the present resolution through voluntary contributions to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund. A second annex to the resolution contains elements recommended for inclusion in model legislation on mutual assistance in criminal matters.
MONICA FONG, representative of the World Bank, said poverty reduction was at the heart of the World Bank's mission in development. Since Beijing, the organization had recognized gender forms to be an important part of the poverty reduction strategies and programmes. It had mainstreamed gender in its research and analysis, policy dialogue, and its lending and training programmes. The commitments in Beijing had been strengthened by recent events, such as the financial crisis. It had thus put forth a new approach to development that broadened the focus on social, political, cultural and environmental aspects of development. It rested on a balanced social and economic programme that not only got the macroeconomics right, but also built roads and empowered the people, educated girls and recognized the role of women.
The World Bank was currently preparing a policy research report on gender and development to strengthen the links between gender, public policy and development. By incorporating gender as a central tool in economic analysis, it hoped to show how to enhance equity, efficiency and sustainability of development policies and programmes. The report would be launched in June 2000, in conjunction with the Beijing Plus 5 events at the United Nations Headquarters. Gender was also being mainstreamed in the "World Development Report on Poverty", which would be issued in 2000. The next step would be to prepare a report dedicated entirely to gender in development. The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing had served to reaffirm the Bank's commitment to mainstreaming gender in poverty reduction; had helped to stimulate and energize its ongoing activities related to gender in development; and had assisted the Bank in creating and strengthening fruitful
Third Committee - 6 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
partnerships throughout the development community. It had clarified the central role of gender in economic and social development.
FASSASSI ADAM YACOUBOU (Benin) said the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women provided an important legal framework for the advancement of women, and its adoption by countries showed their commitment to that cause. Benin had adopted the Convention without reservation, and called on all States who had not done so to take the same action, towards the goal of universal adherence by the year 2000. Within the United Nations system, there was also a need for competent women to fill senior posts in the United Nations, and he suggested that the Organization arrange training for women so that they would be qualified.
While trafficking in women and girls was caused by poverty, unhealthy customary practices that affected women could not be put down to the same cause, he said. Such traditions could be replaced by practices that did not have unhealthy effects. That way, those who were concerned about the erosion of traditions could be satisfied. Benin was doing everything it could to implement the commitments made at Beijing, in the provisions of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Convention, and in the Nairobi Action Plan. Women were achieving greater prominence in Benin, and gaining ground in equality in wages and job opportunities. But there was still far to go. The culture remained patriarchal. Education, for example, was still reserved largely for boys, and men were advantaged in the marriage system.
MARY SHAWA (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said SADC had, since its inception, focused on human development, enterprise, capacity building and productivity. But it had now become clear that gender equality must be a priority, as women in the region formed the majority of the poor. The SADC had therefore embarked on an ambitious programme to reverse that imbalance. The SADC Heads of State had signed the Declaration on Gender and Development in Blantyre, Malawi, in September 1997, with provisions that could be used to formulate draft plans of action for gender in the region. Each SADC country was producing its own platform of action. At the community level, some of the priority areas identified were: insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women; inequality between women and men in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels; inequality in economic structures and policies in all forms of productive activities and in access to resources.
At a consultative meeting on the launching and promotion of the female condom in Eastern Europe and Southern Africa, held in Pretoria in 1998, organised by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Population Services International, the objectives had been to discuss ways of encouraging greater use of the female condom in eastern and southern Africa; update and share recent studies, information and current knowledge on female condoms; promote female condoms,
Third Committee - 7 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
and lay down strategies to advocate for integrating female condoms in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and the HIV/AIDS virus, and promote reproductive health/contraception. She said that, in addition, the female condom had the potential of empowering women by enhancing their capacity for making decisions affecting their sexuality. The SADC had decided that AIDS was a developmental issue and should be addressed in a wider context. Lastly, the SADC secretariat had established the Gender Unit in June this year, which would coordinate and advise the Secretariat on gender issues, mainstreaming gender in SADC sectoral programmes, and in developing and finalising the draft SADC plan of action.
FABIO OCAZIONEZ (Colombia) said that in circumstances such as the current global economic crisis, women were the first to suffer as the social structure of a country deteriorated. They were usually the first to lose their jobs, and took the brunt of economic hardship. In the meantime, men often resorted to violence -- especially towards women -- to express their frustration with the deterioration of living conditions. Violence against women was a serious problem that afflicted many countries, and Colombia was making special efforts to combat the problem. Violence reduction programmes were prominent in national policies. The Government focused on such programmes, as it believed that was one of the best means to promote harmony and reduce the violence that had plagued the country.
He underscored the role that women could play in spreading social harmony. All violence against them obstructed the consolidation of dialogue in conflict. Women could be called architects of peace. Colombia payed particular attention to the role of women in efforts towards peacemaking all over the world. They had, for example, contributed to the consolidation of peace and reconciliation in many African countries.
AKMARAL KH. ARYSTANBEKOVA (Kazakhstan) said that despite the political, financial and other problems that existed with regard to implementing the Beijing Platform for Action, she hoped the valuable experience gained during that phase would be taken into account in the subsequent drawing up of a new system-wide medium-term plan. Her Government welcomed the significant progress made in the representation of women in the Secretariat posts at the D-1 level and above, but was concerned at the slow pace of increasing the overall representation of women in posts subject to geographical distribution. As Kazakhstan travelled the road of building democracy and an open society, it had paid special attention to the status of women. The role of the Council on Problems of the Family, Women and Population Policy would be strengthened. It could be transformed into a special commission on women's problems. The commission would thus become the main adviser to her President in solving the acute problems in that sphere.
A year and a half ago, a National Plan for the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action had been drawn up and approved, she said. In 1997, a nation-wide conference on the state of and prospects for gender
Third Committee - 8 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
studies had taken place in Almaty. A good foundation had been laid down for subsequent extensive and targeted work in that direction. Her Government had also been actively involved in the central Asian regional consultative meeting held in June. The meeting had focused its attention on the issue of developing mechanisms for implementing national plans of action and monitoring them and of developing an analytical view of the existing legal basis, aimed at identifying bottlenecks that prevented the full participation of women in the political, economic and social life of society.
She said the State Employment Service was taking steps to find employment for women, and for the development of women's small and medium- sized businesses, where women accounted for 30 per cent of the number of employed persons. Unfortunately, the absence in that field of State legal support, of a mechanism for loans and for financing on favourable terms and of economic incentives to small and medium-sized businesses were impediments. In that regard, she hoped the resumed session of the Economic and Social Council in 1999 would not only draw on accumulated experience, but also introduce an innovative element for resolving that vital issue.
LAMIA MEKHEMAR (Egypt) said much progress had been made in advancing the equality of women since the Beijing Conference, particularly under the guidance of the Economic and Social Council. Egypt had long realized that, on the eve of the new millennium the equality of women was greatly increasing. Women had completely equal rights in the Constitution of the country and they had risen to many senior positions in the Government. Provisions had been taken to criminalize actions against women; to ensure their access to health facilities and education; and to ensure they were equally remunerated for their work.
Internationally, Egypt was a party to a number of conventions aimed at advancing the cause of women, he said. Regarding the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, he expressed concern about the number of reservations that had been lodged. He encouraged the work on the optional protocol for the Convention. The establishment of the International Criminal Court would further consolidate the rights of women, by recognizing crimes against them.
LINGLINGAY LACANLALE (Philippines) said a large number of women in her part of the world were suffering from sexual exploitation, including the trafficking of women for prostitution. Trafficking in women was a serious violation of human rights. Only through international cooperation could the problem be fought. Her delegation would submit another draft resolution on the issue and she hoped it would again receive wide support. The root causes of the problem must be attacked; lasting solutions would not be found overnight. In the meantime, the problem was worsening. Different approaches to the issues of prostitution and sexual exploitation slowed progress in combatting the problem. However, small steps towards focused targets -- which could support multi-dimensional approaches -- would be helpful.
Third Committee - 9 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
Traffickers were now also taking advantage of the Internet, yet no measures had been taken to fight that new channel due to concerns about protecting fundamental freedoms, she said. However, while safeguarding those freedoms, the international community might be condoning the violation of the human rights of women and children. She also encouraged governments to conclude bilateral and multilateral agreements as a basis for taking common action.
SOMAIA S. BARGHOUTI, observer for Palestine, welcomed the General Assembly decision to convene, in 2000, a high-level plenary meeting to appraise and assess the progress in the implementation of the 1985 Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women and the Beijing Platform for Action. She said little progress had been achieved worldwide. Women continued to suffer from inequality, violence, poverty, the negative effects of armed conflicts and foreign occupation. Palestinian women were striving for peace, freedom and prosperity, but they faced the harsh reality of continuing Israeli occupation, which was the main obstacle to advancement. The building and expansion of illegal Israeli colonial settlements; the ongoing confiscation of land and water; the recurrent closures of the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem; and other oppressive measures, were detrimental to Palestinian women.
In spite of those difficulties, Palestinian women were committed to strategies necessary for establishing an independent, secure and democratic Palestine, she said. The objectives of Palestinian women were to: strengthen and coordinate the role and functions of women's institutions; increase awareness among the legislative, political and executive leadership of the importance of gender planning for economic and social development; mobilize mass media and non-governmental organizations to support gender planning and policy development; and increase women's representation in high decision- making levels. The peace process was at a dangerous point, as a result of the Israeli policies and actions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem. The status and the living conditions of Palestinian women were closely linked with the progress of the peace process. As such, the serious deterioration of the peace process would impede any progress that Palestinian women were striving for.
CHRISTINA AGUIAR (Dominican Republic) said her country attributed special importance to the advancement of women, and had signed and ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The Dominican Republic had developed a state institution for the promotion of women, and cooperated at all levels with non-governmental organizations and other areas of civil society. Despite various legal measures, it was important also to address the cultural aspects of discrimination against women. In many countries all over the world, women were still considered second-class citizens.
Third Committee - 10 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
The development of women who lived in rural areas was essential, she said. Programmes such as microcredits were important, and the Dominican Republic had instituted agrarian reform laws. Women were now allowed to own the land they worked. The Dominican Republic had also enacted a law on the electoral code that guaranteed women a quota in political representation. More than 20 per cent of elected government posts were now held by women.
A major problem for women, on a global level, was violence, she said. It was a scourge affecting women particularly in developing countries. Her country had written legislation criminalizing violence against women.
CRISTINA GOSU (Romania) said she was glad the United Nations system was embarked on mainstreaming gender in all its activities. Since Romania had joined in the statement made by the representative of Austria on behalf of the European Union, it would only make a few statements. The Beijing Platform for Action was a historical turning point for the future of women, emphasizing the importance of democratic values and prosperity of societies. At the fiftieth anniversary session of the United Nations, there was the opportunity to pay attention to the rights of and respect for women. It had provided fresh impetus for women's advancement. In that context, she hoped the optional protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination would be adopted as soon as possible.
Romania attached great importance to the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, she said. It would soon submit its fourth periodic report to the Committee. Romania had established a national strategy with a series of measures, while participating in international efforts. An interdepartmental committee was responsible for constant evaluation of the status of the national plan. Also, there were a number of pieces of legislation to promote economic opportunity for women.
RIM YONG CHOL (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) said his Government legally guaranteed the social equality of women and provided all conditions enabling them to take an active part in socio-political, economic and state activities. He called for the international community to take strong measures to prevent violence against women, which constituted a major challenge to the aspiration and desire of mankind for an independent and equal new world. It was important to determine the social origin of violence against women, and to take strong legal and social measures to punish the perpetrators.
For the termination of violence against women, it was imperative to fairly settle the past crimes committed against them, he said. In that context, it was regrettable that the sex-slave crime of "comfort women" -- which had been committed by the Japanese Government and military authorities during and before the Second World War -- had not yet been settled, despite the 50 odd intervening years. He urged the Japanese Government to give up its manoeuvres to embellish its criminal history and to implement the relevant
Third Committee - 11 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
United Nations resolutions on the "comfort women" crime. It should also acknowledge its responsibility and apologize and compensate for it.
MOHAMMED AL-HUMAIMIDI (Iraq) said that in order to guarantee the rights of women, Iraq had taken legislative measures to ban discrimination against them, and its Constitution guaranteed their equality. Many women occupied senior positions in the country and working women were entitled to one year's paid maternity leave. Many other facilities, including nurseries and child care centres, were provided even in the remotest parts of the country.
However, maintenance of the eight-year economic blockade and the military aggression against Iraq in 1991 had curtailed the advancement of Iraqi women, he said. The material damage in the 1991 aggression had had a major effect on women, physically and materially. Due to the blockade, provisions and medicines were scarce -- a situation of particular concern for women and children. Despite those conditions, Iraq had not given up the commitments it had made in joining the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and it had submitted its most recent report to the Committee last week. Other strategies were being followed as a result of the commitments made at the Beijing Conference. However, the economic sanctions severely affected the development of women and ran counter to the spirit of the Beijing commitments.
NGUYEN THI NHA (Viet Nam) said that, following the Beijing Conference, Viet Nam had formulated a national plan of action that included 11 concrete objectives and guidelines for action, to be achieved by the year 2000. Those included targets: to reduce the rate of unemployment of women workers; to eradicate illiteracy among female workers and universalize primary education; to enforce medical insurance regulations; and to increase the number of trained female workers. As a result of the implementation of the national plan of action, the Government of Viet Nam had made great efforts to create job opportunities and income-generation activities for women; provide women with equal access to education, especially in literacy and health care; and enhance women's role and status in leadership mechanisms.
Her Government had specially instructed ministries, and city and provincial authorities, to give attention to training and promoting the role of women employees, she said. With generous assistance given by the Government of Netherlands and the International Labour Organization (ILO), a project for disseminating information about women workers' rights had come into operation. Women in Viet Nam's National Assembly accounted for 26 per cent of the total, making Viet Nam one of the countries with the best record on that front.
MAHAWA BANGOURA CAMARA (Guinea) said praiseworthy efforts and some progress had been made in the field of alleviating poverty, while advancing the rights of women since the Beijing Conference. In preparing for the five- year review, it was indispensable to increase contributions to development
Third Committee - 12 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
agencies. She welcomed the work done by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW). International action should be taken against trafficking in women and girls.
Amidst the constantly changing socio-economic climate, the advancement of women had become crucial, she said. In Guinea, the Government had implemented plans to promote equality between women and men. A government ministry was responsible for coordinating efforts all over the country and for implementing the commitments undertaken in Beijing. The ministry also coordinated efforts in the field of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Thanks to Guinea's development partners, much progress had been made in implementing the objectives of Beijing. However, as there was still far to go, she asked for continuing support.
DUBRAVKA SIMONOVIC (Croatia) said Croatia supported the progress made by the Working Group on the Elaboration of an Optional Protocol to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and shared the view that its adoption would be a significant step towards enhancing the full implementation of the Convention. A new impetus had been provided by the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, following which Croatia had established the National Commission for Equality in 1996. The policy, adopted last year, incorporated an analysis of the status of women in Croatia. That had demonstrated that the participation of women in public life was insufficient with regard to the appointment of women to the highest political bodies and their election to high ranking political positions.
The policy provided measures towards achieving particular goals in political decision-making and representation of women, the economic position of women, health care, education, human rights of women and violence against women in war and peace, she said. The Council of Non-Governmental Organizations, established in April 1998, comprising five representatives from non-governmental organizations, would fully participate in the work of the Commission on a six-month rotational basis.
The world had achieved remarkable scientific advances, she said, and cited the recent successes in the process of in vitro fertilization. The international community should begin addressing those new methods of medically assisted procreation and their impact on reproductive rights and women's rights in general.
BEATRICE ROSA BROBBEY (Ghana) said the need to empower women and to make them partners in socio-economic development alongside men had occupied the agenda of the United Nations since the 1950s. Since then, the Commission on the Status of Women had considered customary laws and practices harmful to the health of women. Although progress had been made to advance the cause of women, the continuing practice of female genital mutilation, footbinding, female infanticide and widow burning, represented the many challenges that
Third Committee - 13 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
remained. Ghana had outlawed widowhood rites and passed laws to defend the rights of widows and children to the property of their deceased husbands and fathers. At present, some non-governmental organizations, in collaboration with the Government, had been holding dialogue with community leaders in that part of Ghana where the Trokosi culture was practiced. Their intervention had freed many women and girls.
Trafficking in women and girls was a practice rooted deep in the misconception of females as sex objects, she said. Her Government had endorsed the Commission on the Status of Women, which held Governments responsible for combating all forms of trafficking in women and girls. Governments were urged to exchange information on trafficking in women and girls and to establish data-collection centres within Interpol, regional law enforcement agencies and the national police force. Governments should also carry out campaigns to clarify opportunities, limitations and rights in the event of migration so as to enable women and girls to make informed decisions and prevent them from becoming victims of trafficking. Her Government was encouraged that the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice had adopted two resolutions at its seventh session in April 1998 to combat trafficking in women and girls by the elaboration of new legal instruments on illegal trafficking and transportation of migrants.
WARIARA MGUGUA, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said the review process of the International Conference on Population and Development, held in 1994, had involved her organization in a series of round tables and expert group meetings to reflect on the Programme of Action that had been adopted at the Conference. So far, the review of implementation of that Conference had been favourable, but there were key areas that required further action, especially in promoting gender equality and securing and safeguarding the reproductive and sexual health and rights of women.
Of critical importance was the need to advocate for the elimination of traditional and cultural practices that impacted negatively on the health and future of the girl child, she said. Several successful initiatives to eradicate harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation had been undertaken. One such project, which had won the 1998 Population Award, had been spearheaded by elders in Uganda. More initiatives like that were needed. The alarming increase in violence against women was another threat that warranted attention. Violence, or even just the threat of it, impaired women's decision-making in all areas of their lives. It also impinged on their ability to make choices in their sexual and reproductive lives.
LIN LEAN LIM, representative of the International Labour Organization, said the ILO's International Programme on More and Better Jobs for Women -- launched in mid-1997 -- operated at both the national and international levels and provided a multidisciplinary, comprehensive and integrated approach that addressed both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of women's employment and poverty eradication, sustainable development, and the effective use of
Third Committee - 14 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
human resources. It aimed at demonstrating that women's employment should influence the reduction of child labour.
Recent ILO surveys showed that progress towards the achievement of equality of opportunity and treatment had been far from continuous or sustained, she said. Qualitative increases in women's economic participation had not been matched by qualitative improvements or better working conditions. The urgency of the economic crisis had recently been reiterated by the release of the ILO World Employment Report 1998-99, which indicated that the number of unemployed and underemployed workers around the world had never been higher and would grow by millions before the end of the year. In some countries hit hardest by the current financial crisis, there was a danger of reversal of gains that had been made by women workers.
A recent ILO report, based on national case studies, emphasized that many women felt compelled to work in the sex industry for economic reasons, she said. Although the study had been done before the crisis, there were at least three reasons for serious concern. First, with increasing numbers of people losing their jobs and poverty rising, the economic motives for prostitution would rise. If the evidence from the recession of the mid-1980s was any indication, it was likely that women who lost their jobs in manufacturing and other service sectors and whose families relied on their remittances could be driven into the sex sector. Second, there were already reports of children dropping out of school, because their parents could no longer afford to keep them there or required them to help out in family survival. Child prostitution tended to be more rampant among school drop-outs and street children. Third, falling exchange rates could make tourism more attractive, and part of that could be in sex tourism.
Introduction of Drafts
The representative of Nigeria, on behalf of the African States, introduced the text on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/53/L.8).
By that text, the Assembly would bear in mind the urgent need to establish effective crime prevention strategies for Africa, as well as the importance of law enforcement agencies and the judiciary at the regional and subregional levels. It would commend the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders for its efforts to promote and coordinate regional technical cooperation activities.
By further terms of the draft, the Assembly would reiterate the need to strengthen the Institute's capacity to support national anti-crime mechanisms in African countries. It would urge the States members of the Institute to make every effort to meet their obligations to the Institute. The Assembly would appeal to all Member States and non-governmental organizations to adopt concrete practical measures to support the Institute in developing the
Third Committee - 15 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
requisite capacity and implement its programme and activities. It would also request the Secretary-General to intensify efforts to mobilize all relevant entities of the United Nations system to provide the necessary financial and technical support to the Institute.
The Assembly would also request the Secretary-General to enhance regional cooperation, coordination and collaboration in the fight against crime, especially in its transnational dimension, which could not be adequately dealt with by national action alone. It would further request him to make concrete proposals to strengthen the programmes and activities of the Institute and to report to the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session on the implementation of the present resolution.
The representative of Italy introduced the draft on strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical cooperation capacity (document A/C.3/53/L.9). He made two oral revisions to the draft: in operative paragraph 7, the words "the civil society organizations, including non-governmental organizations" should be deleted and replaced with the words "non-governmental organizations and other relevant sections of civil society". In operative paragraph 13, the words "the main text of the Convention, as well as of" should be inserted between the words "of" and "international" in the fourth line of the paragraph. That line should read "...attention to the drafting of the main text of the convention, as well as of international instruments addressing...".
By that text, the Assembly would reaffirm the importance of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme and its crucial role in promoting effective action to strengthen international cooperation in crime prevention and criminal justice, in responding to the needs of the international community in the face of both national and transnational criminality and in assisting Member States in achieving the goals of preventing crime within and among States and improving the response to crime. The Secretary-General would be requested to strengthen further the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme by providing it with the resources necessary for the full implementation of its mandates.
Further by the text, the Assembly would encourage ongoing efforts of the Centre for International Crime Prevention to obtain executing agency status with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). States and United Nations funding agencies would be called upon to make significant financial contributions for operational activities of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme. States would also be encouraged to make voluntary contributions for that purpose to the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Trust Fund, taking also into account the activities required for the implementation of the Naples Political Declaration and Global Action Plan against Organized Transnational Crime.
Third Committee - 16 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
In addition, States would be called upon to review funding policies for development assistance, so as to include crime prevention and criminal justice in such assistance. The Assembly would take note with appreciation of the contributions of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme to United Nations peacekeeping and special missions, as well as its contributions to the follow-up to those missions, including through advisory services, and would encourage the Secretary-General, as a way of strengthening the rule of law, to recommend the inclusion of the re-establishment and reform of judicial and criminal justice systems in peacekeeping operations.
The Executive Director of the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention would be requested in the draft to continue to strengthen cooperation between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention, in particular in the areas of transnational organized crime and money laundering.
By other terms of the draft, the ad hoc committee of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice for the purpose of elaborating a comprehensive international convention against transnational organized crime would be called upon to devote attention to the drafting of international instruments addressing trafficking in women and children, combating the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in fire arms, their parts and components and ammunition and illegal trafficking in and transporting of migrants, including by sea.
The draft is sponsored by Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Micronesia, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
In introducing the text, the representative of Italy added the following countries as co-sponsors: Australia, Cameroon, Croatia, France, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Malta, Israel, Lesotho and Sweden. The representative of Côte d'Ivoire also joined in co-sponsoring the text.
The representative of Mexico introduced the draft resolution on international cooperation against the world drug problem (A/C.3/53/ L.7).
According to the four-part draft, the Assembly would, in part I, reaffirm that the fight against the world drug problem was a common and shared responsibility which must be addressed in a multilateral setting, requiring an integrated and balanced approach. Also, that it must be carried out in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and international law, and particularly with full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, the principle of non-intervention in internal affairs of States, and all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Third Committee - 17 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
Under part II, on international cooperation to counter the world drug problem, competent authorities at all levels would be urged to implement the outcome of the Assembly special session on the drug problem, within the agreed time-frames, in particular the high priority practical measures at all levels, as indicated in the Political Declaration, the Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction, and the Measures to enhance international cooperation to counter the world drug problem, containing the Action Plan against Illicit Manufacture, Trafficking and Abuse of Amphetamine-type Stimulants and their Precursors, the Measures to prevent the illicit manufacture, import, export, trafficking and distribution of precursors used in the illicit manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the Measures to promote judicial cooperation, the Measures to counter money laundering, and the Action Plan on International Cooperation on the Eradication of Illicit Drug Crops and Alternative Development.
Further by the draft, all States would be called upon to adopt effective measures, including national laws and regulations, to implement the mandates and recommendations of the Global Programme of Action. Governments and organizations would be urged to assist and support, upon request, transit States, and, in particular, developing countries in need of such assistance and support aimed at enhancing their capacity to fight illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The Assembly would reaffirm that preventing the diversion of chemicals from legitimate commerce to illicit drug manufacture was an essential component of a comprehensive strategy against drug abuse and trafficking, and take note of the progress made in developing practical guidelines in that regard.
In addition, States would be called upon to adopt and implement measures to prevent the diversion of chemicals to illicit drug manufacture in accordance with the document on "Control of Precursors" adopted at the special session. States would also be called upon to adopt effective measures to stem the illicit trade in small arms, which, as a result of its close link to the illicit drug trade, was generating extremely high levels of crime and violence within the societies of some States, threatening the national security and economies of those States. The elaboration of an international convention against transnational organized crime by the year 2000, in the framework of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, would be noted. The importance of achieving the objectives of the United Nations Decade against Drug Abuse, 1991-2000, under the theme "A global response to a global challenge" by Member States, the United Nations International Drug Control Programme and the United Nations system would be reaffirmed.
Part III of the draft resolution concerns action by the United Nations system. Under its provisions, the role of the Executive Director of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme in coordinating and providing effective leadership for all United Nations drug control activities so as to increase cost-effectiveness and ensure coherence of action would be reaffirmed. The need to increase the efficiency of the United Nations System- wide Action Plan on Drug Abuse Control as a tool to promote the coordination and enhancement of drug abuse control activities within the United Nations system would be emphasized. Agencies, programmes and funds, including humanitarian organizations, would be urged to include action against the world
Third Committee - 18 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
drug problem in their programming and planning processes, in order to ensure that the integral and balanced strategy which emerged from the special session to counter together the world drug problem was being addressed.
Part IV, on the United Nations International Drug Control Programme, would have the Assembly request the United Nations International Drug Control Programme to strengthen cooperation with States and organizations, to provide, on request, assistance in implementing the outcome of the special session, which may include adjustment of national laws and policies, development of training programmes and the establishment of mechanisms for data collection and analysis. It would also be requested to continue the publication of the World Drug Report with comprehensive and balanced information about the world drug problem, and to seek additional extrabudgetary resources for its publication in all official languages.
The Assembly would urge all Governments to provide the fullest possible financial and political support to the Programme by widening its donor base and increasing voluntary contributions, in particular general-purpose contributions, to enable it to continue, expand and strengthen its operational and technical cooperation activities. It would urge the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to increase efforts to implement all its mandates under international drug control conventions and to continue to cooperate with Governments, including by offering advice and technical support to Member States that request it.
The draft is sponsored by Afghanistan, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
In introducing the text, the representative of Mexico said the following had joined as co-sponsors: Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia and Zambia. The representative of Côte'Ivoire also joined in co-sponsoring the text.
Third Committee - 19 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
First, the Committee took up the draft resolution on the International Year of Older Persons, 1999 (document A/C.3/53/L.6).
Committee Chairman ALI HACHANI (Tunisia) said the draft resolution had no programme budget implications.
He reminded delegates that, in addition to the sponsors listed in the document, the following countries had been announced as co-sponsors when the draft was introduced: Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bolivia, China, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Guatemala, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Monaco, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, San Marino, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela and South Africa.
The following co-sponsors were also added: Cameroon, United States, Russian Federation, Malta, New Zealand, Thailand, Israel, Singapore, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Micronesia, India, Equatorial Guinea, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Rwanda, Congo, Nepal, Sudan and Ethiopia.
The draft resolution was approved without a vote.
Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution on the Tenth Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Vienna (document A/C.3/53/L.2).
The Committee Chairman noted that the draft had been recommended to the General Assembly by the Economic and Social Council. He also noted the draft had no programme budget implications.
The Committee approved the draft without a vote.
Next, the Committee took up the draft resolution on transnational organized crime (document A/C.3/53/L.3).
The Committee Chairman noted the draft had been recommended to the General Assembly by the Economic and Social Council. He noted the draft had no programme budget implications but that it had conference servicing implications.
The Committee approved the draft without a vote.
Lastly, the Committee took up the draft resolution on mutual assistance and international cooperation in criminal matters (document A/C.3/53/L.4).
The Committee Chairman noted that the Economic and Social Council had also recommended that text. He also noted the draft had no programme budget implications.
The Committee then approved the draft without a vote.
Third Committee - 20 - Press Release GA/SHC/3476 15th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998
* *** *