Third Committee Update: Analysis of Voting on Country-Specific Resolutions
Tuesday, 29 November 2011 17:54



The Third Committee of the General Assembly took up four country-specific resolutions on human rights this year: Myanmar, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and for the first time, Syria. ISHR will be publishing an analytical overview on the substance of the resolutions but in the meantime has produced the following analysis of voting.

The vote results are as follows:

Only the resolution on Syria faced a no-action motion, which was defeated by an overwhelming majority of 118 to 20, with 29 abstentions.


The resolution on Syria passed with the largest margin of YES to NO votes (109) compared to DPRK (96), Myanmar (73) and Iran (54).


The vote on Syria was marked by strong regional support with Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and Saudi Arabia cosponsoring. No Arab country voted NO. Russia and China, who vetoed the earlier Security Council resolution on Syria, abstained from the vote despite voting NO on all other country-specific resolutions.


In every case, YES votes increased compared to previous years. Comparing this year’s Third Committee votes to last year’s General Assembly plenary votes, the greatest increase in YES votes was on Myanmar, which gained an additional 13 YES votes, followed by Iran, which gained 8 and the DPRK, which gained 6.


Comparing votes on country-specific resolutions from previous years, significant changes include:

  • Malaysia’s consistent shift from NOs to abstentions;
  • Libya’s consistent shift from NOs to YES votes;
  • Tunisia’s consistent shift from NO or being absent to YES votes;
  • Egypt’s shift from consistent NO votes to voting YES on Syria, and abstaining on Iran;
  • Kyrgyzstan’s shift from consistent NO votes to voting YES on the DPRK and abstaining on Myanmar and Iran.

Comparing recent relevant resolutions at the Human Rights Council (HRC) on country situations, generally states that voted in favour of resolutions at the HRC maintained their votes at the Third Committee, with the following exceptions:

States in the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) were again split this year between voting YES and abstaining. A majority (21) voted in favour of the resolution on Syria. The GRULAC states traditionally against country resolutions maintained their usual NOs or abstentions (Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Bolivia) and all voted NO on Syria.


NO votes continued to decrease in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in all cases, despite continued statements on its principled position against country-specific resolutions in the Third Committee. Nearly half (56) supported the resolution on Syria.


A more complete analysis of the votes for each resolution, including how votes changed from last year and a breakdown of votes by regional and other groups can be accessed here for Iran, Myanmar, the DPRK and Syria. A short summary of statements made during the adoptions is also included.


Click here for a table showing votes on country-specific resolutions in Third Committee by region




Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 December 2011 22:20
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