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UNITED NATIONS: The UN General Assembly’s Third Committee has adopted four resolutions submitted by Pakistan, on behalf of Group of 77 (developing countries) and China, including texts addressing racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, social development, International Year of the Family as well as aging.

Three of the four drafts, introduced by Ambassador Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, were approved by consensus in the Committee, which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural matters.

But a vote was taken on the draft seeking the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance following objections on some of its parts that Israel, U.S. and U.K, found anti-semitic, The text garnered 126 votes in favour to 17 against, with 36 abstentions.

Under the terms of the draft, the 193-member Assembly would regret the evils inflicted on millions as a result of slavery, colonialism, apartheid, genocide and past tragedies. It would also call on States that have not already done so to dispense reparatory justice.

Introducing the draft on behalf of the G77/China, Ambassador Aamir Khan underpinned the group’s concerns over the resurgence of racism and related phenomena in all walks of life and calling on States to oppose antisemitism and Islamophobia.

New updates in the text include recognition that the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action serves to eliminate all forms of discrimination, including religious discrimination; acknowledgment of the importance of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent in addressing discrimination that African diaspora face in their respective societies; and the need for equal resource distribution.

The technical update included an update on the name of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent to correct confusion, that children are subject to institutional and systemic consequences of racism and concerns regarding the lifetime appointment of Durban Declaration experts.

The text would also request the UN Secretary-General to include in his report on implementation of this resolution a section on progress in revitalizing the trust fund for the Programme for the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination as well as to encourage contributions.

South African Ambassador Mathu Joyini said racism also affects inter-State relations and many countries are frustrated by the lack of commitment to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. She added the text is not antisemitic, and called for “righting the wrongs of the past.

Next, the Committee approved by consensus the draft resolution on the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development, which was held in Copenhagen in 1995.

Introducing the draft on behalf of G77/China, Ambassador Amir Khan said the group presents updated recommendations on the World Summit for Social Development’s outcome, with a focus on eradicating poverty, eliminating inequality and improving access to education.

Social development is facing serious challenges, such as the rise of extreme poverty, food insecurity, lack of access to education, energy, unemployment, the Pakistani envoy said, urging the international community to respond to these pressing issues.

The significance of social development remains as relevant as it was in 1995 and unity and solidarity of the international community is required more than ever, he said.

Also adopted by consensus was the draft resolution on “Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Aging” that was held in Madrid, Spain, in 2002.

Introducing the draft, Ambassador Aamir Khan, speaking for G77/China, said it focuses on two important issues - access to information technologies and housing for aging persons.

Calling on the international community to close digital divides, the Pakistan envoy encouraged member states to promote digital literacy, without any discrimination relating to socioeconomic status, race or language.

Further, he said, the draft includes language emphasizing the importance of access to justice for older persons to protect them against harmful practices, such as forced eviction.


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