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The Third Committee Adopts Resolution on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons

The Third Committee Adopts Resolution on Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons

The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly that deals with Humanitarian, Cultural and Human Rights issues today adopted a resolution facilitated by the Sierra Leone delegation on behalf of Africa in Conference Room 1 of the United Nations headquarters in New York. (Photo: r-Madam Victoria Sulimani)

The resolution entitled “The Assistance to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons” was sponsored by the entire African Group and co-sponsored by additional 48 countries including the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany Japan, Brazil and Australia, bringing the total number of sponsorship to 101. The resolution was adopted by a general consensus.

In her statement before the adoption of the draft resolution, the Sierra Leone delegation said “all the new proposals found in paragraphs 4 and 6 and operatives 2, 3, 7 and 14 were readily acceptable to all delegations thus the reason for arriving at a consensus in just two rounds of negotiations.”

The facilitator thanked the delegations that actively participated in the informal consultations particularly those who came up with languages to enrich the content of the resolution.

She said: “I would like to conclude by calling on all delegations to support this resolution by joining the co-sponsors and subsequently the consensus so that we can send a stronger message that we are now united more than ever before in our effort to protect and provide assistance to refugees, returnees and displaced persons in Africa.”

Last week, Sierra Leone also co-sponsored quite a good number of resolutions most of which the country has been a traditional co-sponsor of, like the Rights of the Child, Proclamation of 2010 as the International year of the Youth; dialogue and mutual understanding, International Cooperation Against the World Drug Problem to name but three.

The Third Committee adopted several other resolutions including country-specific resolutions such as human rights abuses perceived to be happening in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

While some of the votes were adopted by a general consensus others were adopted by a recorded vote. In the case of Iran, whose Ambassador and Permanent Representative H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khazaee called on the Room not to vote in favour of the resolution, saying “draft resolution L37 was an example of unhealthy and dangerous trend of double-standards, and selectivity in addressing human rights issues” and called on states not to “lend any credence to these unfair and baseless claims that have been artificially crafted” by Canada and other co-sponsors. In a statement after the vote the Ambassador said he was pleased with the outcome; only 74 States had voted in favour, while 48 voted against and 59 abstained. He said 118 States had supported Iran by not voting in favour of the resolution.

The draft resolution on Rights of the Child was adopted by consensus bringing a euphoric cheer from delegates. Additionally, the Committee passed by consensus, two other texts centered on children. One welcomed the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, and the other proclaimed the year commencing on 12 August 2010 as the “International Year of Youth:  Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.

Madam Victoria Sulimani is the Sierra Leone representative on the Third Committee, which is said to be the most widely represented body within the United Nations.

Elizabeth M. S. Foray, Information Attaché, Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone To The United Nations, New York

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