GA 73 | Key voting updates to human rights resolutions

18.12.2018

The General Assembly today voted on key resolutions, such as the freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Generally, these resolutions received even greater support than before, which is positive news for human rights defenders and their work. 

On 17 December, the General Assembly plenary took place to vote on human rights resolutions previously passed by the Third Committee. To see ISHR’s prior coverage of these resolutions, see the Third Committee Wrap Up piece here.

The freedom of peaceful assembly and association resolution passed with much stronger support. Eleven States joined in favour of the resolution - more than in the previous vote, bringing the total number to 154 in favour, 0 against, and 35 abstentions. New supporters included South Sudan, Djibouti, Mauritania and Eritrea

‘It is very encouraging for us that more States joined in supporting the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, rights vital for the work of defenders,’ Eleanor Openshaw, ISHR’s New York Office Co-Director, stated.

The resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions also gained support. The resolution gained 15 States voting in favour, bringing the number of votes to 125 in favour, 0 against, and 60 abstentions.

However, despite the support, Sudan took the floor to make a statement on its vote of abstention. Basing its decision on the language regarding the protections based on sexual orientation and identity, Sudan stated that in no other resolution is there language on gender relating to killings. 

‘It’s unfortunate that States won’t support these protections,’ lamented Tess McEvoy, ISHR Legal Counsel and Programme Manager. ‘While the resolution passed with more support, there is still more work to be done in this regard,’ she added. 

Other resolutions passed, such as the Human Rights Council Report resolution with a vote of 121 in favour, 4 against and 60 abstentions.

As for the child, early and forced marriage resolution, the resolution itself passed without a vote, but it also experienced some trouble. A vote was requested by the United States for the deletion of preambular paragraph 23 and operative paragraphs 14, 17 and 18. 

The United States cited its concern with the definition of ‘sexual and reproductive health,’ stating that it does not recognise abortion as a method of family planning. 

The paragraphs were overwhelmingly supported with 134 votes in favour, 2 against and 32 abstentions. As a result of the vote, the United States disassociated itself from these paragraphs. 

There were no votes on the bullying and the rights of the child resolution. 

The resolutions on Myanmar and Stevastopol were not voted on, as they are still being considered by the 5th Committee, which handles monetary budget issues regarding resolutions.

 

Contact: Eleanor Openshaw at e.openshaw@ishr.ch

Photo Credit: IIP Photo Archive.

Category:

Topic
  • Freedom of expression, association and assembly
  • Human rights defenders
  • United Nations
Mechanism
  • UN General Assembly