Report of the secretary-general continued


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SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 33rd MEETING

Chairman: Mr. O’DONOVAN (Ireland)
CONTENTS
AGENDA ITEM 75: ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE (continued)
AGENDA ITEM 85: HUMAN RIGHTS AND SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS: REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (continued)
AGENDA ITEM 86: QUESTION OF THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD (continued)
AGENDA ITEM 87: INTERNATIONAL COVENANTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS (continued):

  1. REPORT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE

  2. STATUS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS AND THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS: REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

  3. ELABORATION OF A SECOND OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, AIMING AT THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY: REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL


AGENDA ITEM 91: TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT (continued):

  1. UNILATERAL DECLARATIONS BY MEMBER STATES AGAINST TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT: REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

  2. DRAFT CODE OF MEDICAL ETHICS: RPEORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL



The meeting was called to order at 4.25 p.m.
AGENDA ITEM 75: ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE (continued) (A/36/3/Add.23 (Part I), A/36/137 and A/36/158; A/C.3/36/L.4)
AGENDA ITEM 85: HUMAN RIGHTS AND SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS: REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (continued) (A/36/429 and Add.1-2)
AGENDA ITEM 86: QUESTION OF THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD (continued) (A/36/3/Add.23 (Part I); A/C.3/36/3; A/C3/36/L.14)
AGENDA ITEM 87: INTERNATIONAL COVENANTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS (continued) (A/36/3/Add.23, A/36/3/Add.25, A/36/3/Add.26, A/36/63, A/36/417, A/36/434 and A/36/584)

  1. REPORT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE (A/36/40)

  2. STATUS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS, THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS AND THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS: REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (A/36/455)

  3. ELABORATION OF A SECOND OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, AIMING AT THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY: REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (A/36/441 and Add.1)


AGENDA ITEM 91: TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT (continued) (A/36/3/Add.19 and A/36/3/Add.23)

  1. UNILATERAL DECLARATIONS BY MEMBER STATES AGAINST TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT: REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (A/36/426 and Add.1)

  2. DRAFT CODE OF MEDICAL ETHICS: RPEORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL (A/36/140 and Add.1-4)




  1. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Jordan) wished to draw the Committee’s attention to a particularly gruesome and unprecedented instance of violation of the human rights covered under agenda item 91, namely the idea of Mr. Ziad Abu Ein, a Jordanian citizen who had been arrested and detained in a United States gaol.

  2. Mr. JOHNSON (United States of America), speaking on a point of order, drew attention to rule 109 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly, under which the Chairman might call a speaker to order if his remarks were not relevant to the subject under discussion, and said that he would like that rule to be invoked because the representative of Jordan was attempting to speak on a United States domestic matter which did not fall within the scope of agenda item 91.

  3. Mr. AL-FATTAL (Syrian Arab Republic) said that in the general debate, the Chairman had allowed speakers considerable latitude, but that if a delegation asked the Chairman for a ruling on the appropriateness of a speaker’s remarks, the Chair must give it.

  4. The CHAIRMAN said that both sides had valid arguments to support their positions, and he had therefore asked the Legal Counsel for an opinion and had been told that under the specific items under discussion, it would not be appropriate for Jordan to discuss the case of Mr. Ziab Abu Ein. He had accepted that advice.

  5. Mr. NUSEIBEH (Jordan) requested that the matter should be put to the vote in accordance with rule 113 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly. He stressed that he would not normally challenge an opinion of the Office of Legal Affairs, but did so in the present case only because an extremely cruel and unprecedented violation of human rights was involved.

  6. At the request of the representative of the United States, a vote was taken by roll-call on the proposal to allow the Jordanian statement to be heard. 
In favour: Albania, Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, China, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Yemen, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, German Democratic Republic, Grenada, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lao PEople’s Democratic Republic, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Upper Volta, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe. 
Against: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Federal Republic of, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Liberia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America. 
Abstaining: Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Democratic Kampuchea, Fiji, France, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Malawi, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Suriname, Swaziland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.

  7. The proposal was adopted by 65 votes to 19, with 31 abstentions.

  8. Mr. OTTO (Austria), explaining his vote, said that his delegation had supported the position taken by the Chairman on the basis of the findings of the Legal Counsel, and considered the matter to be purely procedural and not substantive.

  9. Mr. AL-FATTAL (Syrian Arab Republic) said that throughout the history of the United Nations, representatives had not required permission from the Committee before explaining cases of human rights violations to the General Assembly, unlike what had just occurred as a result of the point of order raised by the oppressor of the person whose rights had been violated, the United States. The Syrian delegation had voted in favour of the Jordanian proposal because it did not believe that a precedent should be established requiring the Committee to authorize delegations to speak on a particular matter. The members of the Committee all represented free countries and the United States should have allowed the representative of an independent sovereign State to speak.

  10. The CHAIRMAN said that the statement just made by the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic was hardly an explanation of vote.

  11. Mr. FERGUSON (Australia) said that he did not know the details of the case and was in no position to judge its merits. He had voted against the Jordanian proposal because he believed that the matter was purely procedural and, in the circumstances, the Chairman should be supported, especially since he had obtained the advice of the Legal Counsel.

  12. Mr. NORDENFELT (Sweden) said that his delegation had voted on purely procedural grounds. It took no position on the substance of the matter. Nor was it making a statement as to whether individual cases could be discussed under the agenda item in question.

  13. Mr. BIN MAKTOUM (United Arab Emirates) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the right of the representative of Jordan to speak because it believed that the case to which he had drawn attention was one which could be taken up under the agenda item dealing with torture. By challenging the right of the Jordanian representative to speak freely, the United States had attempted to set a dangerous precedent which his delegation found strange because the First Amendment of the United States Constitution provided for freedom of speech. Even in the United State [sic]; Senate and House of Representatives members had the right to speak at length on any given subject and, on occasion, had even gone so far as to read the telephone directory in an attempt to “filibuster.” The tradition of freedom of speech was one of which the United States should be proud: it should endeavour to ensure that it was carried out within the United Nations.

  14. Mr. FONT (Spain) said that his delegation had voted on a purely procedural matter. It was making no statement about the competence of the General Assembly to consider the matter because it did not know the details of the case.

  15. Miss TAKIEDDINE (Lebanon) said that had her delegation been present at the time of the vote it would have voted in favour of the Jordanian proposal.

  16. Mr. OBADI (Democratic Yemen) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the proposal because it wanted the case discussed in the Committee. He was convinced that the case and the cause of the individual in question should be taken up under item 91.

  17. Mrs. MOUTOU DA GARCA (Gabon) said that she had requested the floor earlier to seek clarification on what the Committee was voting on. Since her delegation had not been given the floor, it had not participate din the vote. She hoped that in the future the Chairman would grant requests to speak without taking into consideration the political stance of a given delegation.

  18. Mr. DYRLUND (Denmark) said that the negative vote of his delegation was not based on the merits of the case, but on procedure. Order must be maintained within the Committee and his delegation had therefore voted to uphold the Chairman’s ruling based on the advice of the Legal Counsel.

  19. Miss SAVOEDA (Benin) said that her delegation believed that the right of free expression was a fundamental human right and, had her delegation had been present during the vote, it would have voted in favour of the right of the representative of Jordan to take the floor.

  20. Miss SLATTERY (Ireland) said that her delegation believed that the right of free expression was a fundamental human right and, had her delegation been present during the vote, it would have voted in favour of the right of the representative of Jordan to take the floor.

  21. Mrs. FLOREZ (Cuba) said that her delegation had voted in favour of the proposal because it believed that it was the business of the Committee to listen to the complaints and arguments of delegations. She was surprised to hear the representative of the United States oppose the statement by the representative of Jordan because it was the United States on another occasion, in reply to a statement by Cuba, which had brought the case of a Black Panther skyjacker before the Committee.

  22. Mr. JOHNSON (United States of America), speaking on a point of order, said that the statement by the representative of Cuba was not an explanation of vote; it was a right of reply to a statement made earlier by the United States.

  23. Mrs. FLOREZ (Cuba) said that her delegation was not out of order. When the representative of the United States had brought the case of the skyjacker to the Committee, her delegation had listened to the United States statement. Now it was the United States which sought to prevent other delegations from speaking and it was for that reason that her delegation had voted in favour of the Jordanian’s right to speak on the case.

  24. Mr. JOHNSON (United States of America) said that his delegation had voted against the proposal because while there had been much talk about a dangerous precedent being set, the only precedents set were disregard for the ruling of the Chairman based on the advice of the Legal Counsel and disregard for the agenda and the items it included. His delegation was disappointed but not surprised that the Committee had decided to hear the statement by the representative of Jordan. The objections of his delegation had been on procedural grounds only because, as even the representative of Jordan knew, there was another item under which the matter could be taken up. He hoped that the Committee would avoid bringing further discredit on itself and would insist that the representative of Jordan speak on the specific item under consideration.

  25. Mr. ZIDA (Upper Volta) said that his delegation had voted in favour of the proposal of procedural grounds only. It did not wish to take a stand on the substance of the matter.

  26. Mr. KOFA (Liberia) said that his delegation had voted against the proposals solely on the basis of the legal advice given by the Chairman and not the substance of the matter.

  27. Mr. BIN MAKTOUM (United Arab Emirates), speaking on a point of order, said that several delegations had suggested that the Committee had voted against a ruling by the Chairman. That was not the case because the vote had not been taken under rule 113 of the rules of procedure. The Committee had voted on Jordan’s motion with respect to the right of that delegation to speak.

  28. The CHAIRMAN said that as a rule he did not interrupt a representative during an intervention unless he was fully convinced that the representative was out of order. However, delegations had the right to object to the remarks of other delegations on the grounds that they were not appropriate under a specific agenda item. After the representative of Jordan had begun to speak, the representative of the United States had objected on just those grounds. Earlier, both delegations had informed him of their differences and he regretted that they had been unable to reconcile them before brining the matter to the Committee. Accordingly, the matter had to be decided in the Committee.

  29. The question put to the Chairman had been whether the substance of the statement was in order under the items under discussion. The Legal Counsel had stated that the statement was not strictly appropriate under agenda item 91. However, the Committee was the master of its own procedure and the Chairman was in the hands of the Committee. He owed it to the Committee to state his views: since there were arguments on both sides, he had accepted the advice of the Legal Counsel. The representative of Jordan had proposed that the Committee should hear his statement and the Committee had voted on that proposal. It should be clear to the representatives of the United Arab Emirates, the Syrian Arab Republic and the United States that the vote had not been on his ruling but on the proposal of Jordan.

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