JIS News

Jamaica has been elected to Chair the Committee on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs at the United Nations (UN), for the 62nd Session which opens in mid September this year.
On May 24, the General Assembly of the United Nations elected, by acclamation, Ambassador Raymond Wolfe, Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the UN, to chair the committee, replacing the representative from Iraq.
This group is called the ‘Third Committee’, one of six such groupings that administer the day-to-day affairs of the United Nations General Assembly for one year.The other committees are: Political & Disarmament (First); Economic & Financial (Second); Special Political & Decolonization (Fourth); Administration & Budgeting (Fifth); and Legal Affairs (Sixth).
Each year, the General Assembly allocates to its Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee, any and all agenda items relating to a range of social, humanitarian and human rights issues that affect peoples all over the world.
An important part of the committee’s work will focus on the examination of human rights issues, including reports of the special procedures of the newly established Human Rights Council.
Agenda items will include, but not limited to, the advancement of women; the protection of children; indigenous issues; the treatment of refugees; the promotion of fundamental freedoms through the elimination of racism and racial discrimination; and the promotion of the right to self-determination.Ambassador Wolfe told JIS News that Jamaica was well positioned to make an impact on the deliberations of the committee. “This is a committee that Jamaica is well equipped to chair, based on the fact that we enjoy very cordial relations with countries across the globe. It’s a matter of honour and pride and I can say that personally, I am up to the task for Jamaica. This is a very significant development in the sense that the ‘Third Committee’ deals with issues which are at the core of Jamaica’s foreign policy initiatives, which are all rooted in our democratic principles,” he said.
Also on the Committee’s agenda will be such key social development issues relating to youth, ageing, rights and related protocols for disabled persons, family, crime prevention, criminal justice and drug control. Ambassador Wolfe said that he would work to ensure that all delegations are given an opportunity to express their views in a mutually beneficial environment at the General Assembly and that the committee would continue to benefit from the experience and the expertise at the Secretariat and Bureau levels.
“The role of the Chairman will be to see to the orderly and proper conduct of the affairs of the (third) committee. For me personally, it will be a significant challenge in the sense that this third committee deals with more resolutions than any other committee in the General Assembly. It also deals with issues which are extremely political and often times contentious, and the role of the Chair will be to steer between the roiling currents to ensure that all delegations are given an opportunity to express their views no matter how strong or contentious and to further ensure that there is due respect for the right of all delegations to express their views,” Ambassador Wolfe said. On Tuesday, May 22, the UN General Assembly also elected Jamaica and Georgia to the Organizational Committee of the Peace Building Commission, the body set up by the United Nations in December 2005 to prevent countries emerging from conflict from falling back into chaos. They will serve for two years, beginning June 23.
Some 31 member States of the United Nations will serve on the Organizational Committee of the Peace Building Commission.

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