Unofficial transcript of discussions in the Plenary ITU Council 10, 22 April 2010, 14h30 (morning session). (this excerpt of the discussions starts at 0h49m in the English version audio archive)
Report of the Chairman of Standing Committee on Administration and Finance Document 10/68 â€“ Gender Issues. The representative of the Secretariat submitted the document and the Standing Committee was asked to express an opinion as to the necessity â€“ the need for the ITU to review its rules in this regard in order to align itself with other organizations of the UN Common System. The majority of delegations expressed a view without reaching any agreement. The Secretariat noted that there are several ITU bodies which could consider this issue further; namely the Tripartite Group, Council, and/or Plenipotentiary 2010. The Secretariat encouraged any interested member states to make proposals as necessary to the appropriate body. The recommendation: Since no consensus was reached on this issue the committee decided to refer the document to the plenary for further consideration if appropriate. And here I would add Mr. Chairman that a few moments before the beginning of this session, one of the delegates asked me that the title of this document be revised and this delegate will speak to the issue directly if you permit Mr. Chairman. Chairman Any comments? Saudi Arabia, you have the floor please. Saudi Arabia Thank you Mr. Chairman. I would like to recall that the delegation of Saudi Arabia had refused to make any amendments to the Staff Regulations; we reiterate our stand: there is no need to introduce amendments to the Staff Rules on the basis of this document â€“ we feel that it is entirely unjustified. Chairman Thank you Saudi Arabia. Now Sweden, Sweden wanted the floor, Sweden please. Sweden Thank you Mr. Chairman. In document 68 to the Council, the Council was invited to take a decision as to the necessity that ITU align its policy with those of most other organizations of the UN Common System. Sweden proposed that the council accept the proposal in document 68 and decide to align its policy with other organizations of the UN System in order to recognize same-gender marriage and domestic partnership. Having made this proposal Mr. Chairman, I would also like to state that I can already now indicate that we have additional comments that we may provide later in this debate and reserve the position to come back later on during this discussion. Thank you. Chairman Thank you Sweden. Turkey please. 1/4
Turkey Thank you Mr. Chairman. I will be brief in expressing the view of the Turkish delegation on this issue. Chairman, Turkey is of the opinion that there is no need to review the current ITU staff regulations and rules in this regard. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Chairman Thank you Turkey. France please – France the floor is yours. France Thank you Mr. Chairman. France would support the Swedish proposal for the revision of the Staff Rules and we would support any action which would bring the ITU into line with current UN practice in the Common System. Chairman Thank you France. In fact this is an item that has already been deliberated long; I don’t want to make this wait more lengthy. We have heard most of the comments; already we have six comments more. With the comments received so far it is clear that there is no consensus at this stage at this time – whether the Council wishes the ITU to review the Staff Rules and Regulations – so I don’t want to open this decision now. I will note that any member state can bring this issue forward in future and if any member states feel strongly, that this needs review, I encourage them to do so. I think we should conclude with this and we should not discuss this matter further – because it will take a long time – because there is no absolute consensus on this. … Just I will request you not to take the floor and not to take much time because we have so many questions – we already have nine more requests – if you continue then they will be endless – since there is no consensus. Sweden please yes, Sweden you can take the floor please Sweden. Sweden Thank you Mr. Chairman, well Sweden hoped that there would be an agreement to review the Staff Rules according to our proposal. After this, say conclusion that there is no consensus, we have to make a few more comments on this issue. The world has changed, and we have to change with it. Just three weeks ago, the forty-seven members of the Council of Europe united and adopted a recommendation with measures to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Swedish government’s position is perfectly clear: discrimination and abuse is unacceptable regardless of one’s sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, age, ethnicity, religion or ability. Every individual is entitled to the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, without distinction of any kind. International human rights law is grounded on this premise. This type of institutionalized discrimination dehumanizes its victim. Perceived difference and non conformity with the majority have been used throughout the ages to portray sectors of the population as somehow less than human; as legitimate targets for abuse by both government agents and the society at large. It is my government’s firm belief that we within the United Nations system need to take all necessary measures to end all forms of discrimination and related to sexual
orientation and gender identity. A major step in the right direction was the UN General Assembly declaration on human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity which was delivered in New York on behalf of sixty-six member states. This declaration shows that the issues need to be raised in UN fora, and UN agencies have an obligation to raise awareness and work actively against discrimination. It is important that we move on the path set forth and align our policies in this regard with those of most other organizations within the UN family. Let me conclude by reiterating that the UN have a duty to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of all people without distinction; it is not a question of opinion or morals it is about basic human rights. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Chairman Thank you very much Sweden; I note your interventions. There are still more nine requests for the floor and there is no consensus and I would like to stop this discussion here. I request for your understanding. Thank you please. USA wants to take the floor, USA please. United States of America Thank you Mr. Chairman. We wish it entered into the record that the United States of America supports the ITU review of its policies in this regard in order to align itself with the other organizations of the UN Common System with respect to domestic partnerships. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Chairman Thank you, we noted your comments please. Thank you very much USA. South Africa and Pakistan – are you insisting because we have no time now. We are in the crisis moment; if you can cooperate with us, we would be grateful to you. South Africa Thank you very much chairperson. We are aware that time is of the essence, but I think that it is important to give delegations a chance to make their own statements. We are going along with your consensus, but we do believe that issues that relate to alignment with UN procedures should be dealt with as such so that members are not in a situation where they feel that they are endorsing views that are contrary to their national directives. So, we need to find a mechanism and a balance because the ITU family is very diverse and one is of course sensitive to the fact that we are guided by different national prescripts on certain issues. We would not like to be in scenario where member states feel that there are national views that are given greater consideration than others; a balance needs to be struck on such matters and the way forward has to be sought to find this balance. We are guided by the prescripts of our constitution and national legislation and would like to be comfortable when we take decisions that – we are not contrary to this – this is why we want to stress that we need a mechanism that can accommodate this has to be sought. We just wanted to put that on record. Thank you Chairman. Chairman Thank you very much South Africa. Now I see that the list is still growing – Saudi Arabia and Nigeria also insisting. Are you insisting?
Saudi Arabia Thank you Chairman. I should only like this to be in the record. As regards to amendments to the Staff Regulations, we would like to put a reservation on what is in this document and we are against the suggested amendments. Chairman Now please allow me to go to the next items. If you permit me, I can go forward with the next items so that we can conclude it on time. Pakistan, are you insisting for the floor? No, thank you very much. Next item please.
Unofficial transcript of discussions in the Plenary ITU Council 10, 22 April 2010, 14h30 (afternoon session). (this excerpt of the discussi...