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Cablegate: Country-Specific Human Rights Resolutions Adopted

VZCZCXRO8239
PP RUEHAT
DE RUCNDT #1082/01 3321921
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281921Z NOV 07
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3204
INFO RUEHZJ/HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS PRIORITY 1451
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT PRIORITY 0064
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK PRIORITY 0571
RUEHWN/AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN PRIORITY 0161
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 1760
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0342
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 0384
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE PRIORITY 0142
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA PRIORITY 0324
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 0399
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY 0980
RUEHKG/AMEMBASSY KINGSTON PRIORITY 0219
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 0543
RUEHSK/AMEMBASSY MINSK PRIORITY 0191
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 0129
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON PRIORITY 0213
RUEHSJ/AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE PRIORITY 0193
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE PRIORITY 1926
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT PRIORITY 0103
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI PRIORITY
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 2789

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 USUN NEW YORK 001082

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNGA PHUM IR KN BM BO
SUBJECT: COUNTRY-SPECIFIC HUMAN RIGHTS RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED
BY THE UNGA THIRD COMMITTEE

REF: A. SECSTATE 157026
B. SECSTATE 157024
C. SECSTATE 157022
D. SECSTATE 157020
E. SECSTATE 145641

USUN NEW Y 00001082 001.2 OF 003


1. SUMMARY: On November 20-21, the Third Committee of the UN
General Assembly adopted four country-specific resolutions
addressing the human rights situations in North Korea, Burma,
Iran and Belarus, despite attempts to derail the process
through no-action motions on the last three resolutions.
Many members of the Group of 77 expressed dissatisfaction
with the introduction of country-specific resolutions in the
Third Committee, arguing the Human Rights Council in Geneva
is the appropriate venue for addressing specific human rights
situations. While the voting margins for the four
resolutions themselves and against the no-action motion on
Burma were fairly solid, the narrow margins by which the
no-action motions on Iran and Belarus were defeated give
cause for concern. We are making efforts to shore up or
increase these margins when the resolutions are considered in
plenary


Session of the General Assembly. END SUMMARY

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL VS. UNGA THIRD COMMITTEE

2. At the outset Cuba, South Africa, Uganda, Libya, Syria,
Sudan, and Nicaragua delivered general statements expressing
opposition to the introduction of country-specific
resolutions in the Third Committee. They called such
resolutions politicized, selective, and based on double
standards and said the Human Rights Council (HRC) is the
appropriate venue for addressing human rights concerns,
particularly through its new Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
mechanism. Speaking in support of addressing human rights
issues in the Third Committee were the EU, the United States,
and Australia.

HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA

3. The resolution on the human rights situation in North
Korea (DPRK) was the first on the agenda. After statements
by the main sponsors--the EU and Japan--the DPRK responded
that the resolution was part of a campaign against his
country by the EU and United States, whom he accused of
committing human rights violations of their own, including
the invasion of Iraq and "massacre of civilians" there.
Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nepal, Belarus, Egypt,
Malaysia, Algeria, China, Indonesia and Cuba all spoke
against the use of country-specific resolutions in the Third
Committee. There was no proposal for a "no-action" vote,
however, and the resolution was adopted 97(US)-23-60.

HUMAN RIGHTS IN BURMA

4. The committee then turned to the EU resolution on Burma,
whose delegate immediately moved for adjournment of the
debate, i.e. for taking no action on the resolution. As is
customary, two countries (China and Angola) spoke in favor of
this motion and two (Norway and New Zealand) spoke against
it. The no-action motion failed 54-88(US)-34. Burma argued
that the resolution was an attempt to derail "Burma's
roadmap to peace" at a time when Burma was cooperating with
the UN. Algeria, the DPRK, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Barbados,

USUN NEW Y 00001082 002.2 OF 003


Belarus, Egypt, Malaysia, Sudan, India, Singapore, and Cuba
all spoke against the use of country-specific resolutions to
address human rights concerns in the Third Committee.
Thailand, the Phillipines, Japan and Bangladesh noted
positive steps taken by the government of Burma. Indonesia
expressed regret that more efforts had not been made to seek
a consensus text with the government of Burma. The
resolution was adopted 88(US)-24-66. Burma announced it will
not be bound by its provisions.

HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN

5. When the committee turned next to Canada's resolution on
the human rights situation in Iran, the Iranian delegate
immediately called for an adjournment of debate, noting that
the HRC is the UN body entrusted to address such issues.
Pakistan and Venezuela spoke in favor of the no-action
motion, while Liechtenstein and Canada spoke against. The
motion was narrowly rejected 78-79(US)-24. The procedural
ploy having failed, Iran argued that Canada was abusing the
UN human rights mechanism for political interests and
criticized Canada's own human rights record. Syria, Belarus,
Pakistan, Sudan, Egypt, Venezuela, Libya, Algeria, and Cuba
all expressed opposition to the resolution and expressed
support for dealing with these issues in the HRC, and
specifically through its Universal Periodic Review mechanism.
The resolution was adopted 72(US)-50-55. Brazil said it had
abstained in the voting, despite concern for human rights in
Iran, due to its support for consolidation of the Human
Rights Council as the main UN human rights body.

HUMAN RIGHTS IN BELARUS

6. Ambassador Grover Joseph Rees, Acting U.S. Representative
to the UN Economic and Social Council, introduced the Belarus
resolution for the United States. Russia, arguing the
resolution undermined the HRC and was "completely
inappropriate," moved for adjournment of debate. China and
Cuba spoke in favor while Portugal and the EU spoke against,
but the motion was rejected 65-79(US)-31. Uzbekistan,
Venezuela, Russia, Syria, Zimbabwe, Turkmenistan, Iran,
Sudan, DPRK, Belarus, Burma, Egypt, Jamaica and Algeria all
spoke against the use of country-specific resolutions in the
Third Committee and in support of the HRC. The resolution
was adopted 68(US)-32-76. Ukraine said it had voted in favor
of the resolution in the interest of development and
cooperation with Belarus and also expressed its opposition to
no-action motions, which the delegate argued close the
possibility for debate on substantive issues. (Ambassador
Rees's statement is available online at
http://www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/press_re leases/20071121_327.html.)

VOTING RESULTS

7. The results of the voting on the resolutions were as
follows (yes-no-abstain):

Draft resolution on North Korea: 97(US)-23-60.

No-action motion on Burma: 54-88(US)-34.

Draft resolution on Burma: 88(US)-24-66.

No-action motion on Iran: 78-79(US)-24.

Draft resolution on Iran: 72(US)-50-55.

No-action motion on Belarus: 65-79(US)-31.

USUN NEW Y 00001082 003.2 OF 003

Draft Resolution on Belarus: 68(US)-32-76.

COMMENT

8. Opponents of the resolutions will now try to defeat them
when the General Assembly plenary reviews the report of the
Third Committee, which will likely occur during the week of
Dec. 10. While the voting margins for the four resolutions
themselves and against the no-action motion on Burma are
fairly solid, the narrow margins by which the no-action
motions on Iran and Belarus were defeated give cause for
concern and we have already begun making efforts to shore up
or increase these margins when the resolutions are considered
in plenary session of the General Assembly.
Khalilzad

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