Out of the six committees of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Third Committee is concerned with social, humanitarian and cultural affairs. The Third Committee of UNGA at its 71st session is presided over by HE Ms Maria Emma Mejia of Colombia. The General Assembly allocates to the Third Committee the agenda concerning a range of social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues that have impact upon the people around the world.
As in previous sessions, an important task of the Committee will focus on the examination of human rights questions inclusive of reports of the special procedures of the Human Rights Council established in 2006. In October and November 2016, the Third Committee will hear and interact with over 50 special rapporteurs, independent experts, and chairs of the working groups as mandated by the Human Rights Council.
The Committee also discusses questions regarding the advancement of women, protection of children, indigenous issues, treatment of refugees, promotion of fundamental freedoms through elimination of racism and racial discrimination, and the right to self-determination. In addition, the Committee addresses important social development questions such as issues related to youth, family, ageing, persons with disabilities, crime prevention, criminal justice, and international drug control.
At last year UNGA i.e. 70th session, the Third Committee considered over 65 draft resolutions, more than half of which were submitted under the human rights agenda alone. In the case of Myanmar, EU has submitted a UN resolution criticizing Myanmar’s human rights record for 25 consecutive years. However, EU this year will abandon a time-honoured tradition, as a sign of recognition of Myanmar’s progress on
democratic transition, the revitalization of peace process and improvement of human rights.
In this regard, it is worth quoting Rafendi Djamin, the director of Amnesty International for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, as saying in a September 14 press release, “We have seen encouraging changes as Myanmar eases out from under the shadow of military rule. But there is still a lot more to do to ensure a decisive break with the country’s ugly past of human rights violations”.
The Global New Light of Myanmar welcomes EU’s decision to break 25-year rights precedent by dropping UNGA resolution this year.