PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19
Beijing (China), 16-20 September 1996
The 96th Inter-Parliamentary Conference began its work in the Beijing International Convention Centre on the afternoon of 16 September by electing by acclamation Mr. Tian Jiyun, Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, as its President.
On the afternoon of 19 September, the Conference heard a statement
by Mr. Li Peng, Prime Minister of China. Under the title
"Let's work together to build a new world of peace and development",
the Premier described the steps being taken by China to meet the
current challenges on the domestic scene and presented China's
policy in relation to the major issues on the international agenda.
The 96th Inter-Parliamentary Conference was inaugurated at a ceremony held in the Chinese National People's Congress, in the presence of Mr. Jiang Xemin, President of the People's Republic of China. During the ceremony, which was opened at 11.30 a.m., the delegates heard (in order): Mr. J.V. Reed, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, who delivered the message of the UN Secretary-General, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali; Mr. Qiao Shi, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress; Dr. A.F. Sorour, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Council; and Mr. Jiang Zemin, President of the People's Republic of China.
Extracts from the speeches delivered on that occasion and from
the statement of the Chinese Prime Minister will be published
in the Inter-Parliamentary Bulletin (N° II, 1996).
The Parliaments of the following 118 countries took part in the work of the Conference: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan , Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, San Marino, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zaire, Zimbabwe.
The following Associate Members also took part in the Conference: Andean Parliament, Latin American Parliament, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The observers included representatives of: (i) Palestine, (ii) The United Nations Organization - United Nations, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations NGO Committee on Aging - as well as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), (iii) the League of Arab States, (iv) the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Association of European Parliamentarians for (Southern) Africa (AWEPA), the Baltic Assembly, the Central American Parliament, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, the Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Co-operation (PAEAC) and the Union of African Parliaments (UAP), and (v) the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Amnesty International and the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA).
A representative of the Parliament of Georgia also attended the Conference as an observer.
There was a total of 1,056 delegates, including 589 parliamentarians,
and 46 delegates attending as observers.
When this question was taken up on the afternoon of 16 September, the Conference had before it seven requests for the inclusion of a supplementary item (following the combination of two separate requests on a similar subject) and one request for the inclusion of an emergency supplementary item. The Conference decided to deal first with the requests for a supplementary item and heard statements by the sponsors of the items. During these presentations, four Groups withdrew their requests as follows: the Group of the Russian Federation withdrew its request concerning "Parliaments and public relations", expressing the hope that the item would be placed on the agenda of a future Conference; the Group of Norway did likewise as regards its request concerning "Strategies for concrete action to combat child labour"; the Group of Iraq withdrew its request for an item on "Economic sanctions as genocide against peoples and a threat to international and regional peace and security" in favour of the item requested by the Group of Morocco; and the Group of the Islamic Republic of Iran withdrew its request concerning "Parliamentary action to reject the d'Amato-Kennedy Law". The Conference therefore had before it three requests and held one single roll call in which delegates cast their votes for the three proposals. The result of the voting was as follows:
The request of the Canadian and German Groups, having obtained both the two-thirds majority and the highest number of positive votes, was accordingly added to the agenda as supplementary item 6.
The Conference then considered the request from the Group of
Iraq for an emergency supplementary item on "The
United States missile attack on 3 and 4 September 1996 against
Iraq and the suspension of the memorandum of understanding between
Iraq and the United Nations". After hearing a statement
from the sponsor and one delegate holding a contrary opinion,
the Conference held a roll-call vote in which the request received
309 positive votes, 558 negative votes, and 542 abstentions and
was therefore rejected.
(a) General Debate on the political, economic and social situation in the world (Item 4)
The General Debate on the political, economic and social situation
in the world was held throughout the days of 17 and 19 September.
A total of 123 delegates from 107 countries took part in the debate.
(b) Promoting greater respect and protection of human rights in general and in particular for women and children (Item 4)
This item was considered on 17 and 19 September by the IInd Committee (on Parliamentary, Juridical and Human Rights Questions) which met with Mr. F. Borel (Switzerland), one of its Vice-Presidents, in the Chair. The Committee had before it 24 memoranda presented by the Groups of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Egypt, Estonia, France, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, Romania, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Venezuela, and by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; two information documents made available by the Secretariat of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Amnesty International; and 21 draft resolutions submitted by the Groups of Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Norway, Russian Federation, Senegal, United Kingdom, and Venezuela.
A total of 82 speakers took part in the debate which was held on the morning and afternoon of 17 September. Subsequently, the Committee appointed a drafting committee comprising the representatives of the following 11 countries: Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Mali, Norway, Sweden and United Kingdom. The drafting committee met all day on 18 September. At the beginning of its proceedings, it elected Mr. M. Connarty (United Kingdom) as its President while Mr. S. Chatterjee (India) was elected as Rapporteur. It adopted the draft resolution presented by the Group of China as a basis for the preparation of its text and drew from the other resolutions to enrich the draft. Elements were taken notably from the drafts submitted by the Groups of Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Iran and Norway. Relevant contributions from the various members of the committee were also included in the draft.
The draft resolution prepared by the drafting committee was tabled before the IInd Committee on the morning of 19 September. It was discussed and amended to reflect more accurately the views that had been expressed during the substantive debates and to make it more comprehensive. Many of the paragraphs had to be approved after a vote. The Committee then adopted the text by consensus. The delegates of Congo, Jordan, Mexico, Norway, Peru, and Switzerland expressed reservations on certain paragraphs of the draft. At the end of its deliberations, the Committee held the statutory election of its officers.
At the final plenary sitting of the Conference on 20 September,
delegates first heard the Committee's report, presented by Mr.
M. Connarty, after which the delegation of Denmark proposed an
amendment to delete operative paragraph 20 of the draft
resolution. This was put to a roll-call vote and was rejected
by 857 votes to 291, with 84 abstentions. The resolution was
then adopted without a vote.
(c) Policies and strategies to ensure the right to food in this time of globalization of the economy and trade liberalization (Item 5)
This item was considered on 18 and 20 September by the IIIrd Committee (on Economic and Social Questions) which met under the presidency of Mr. H. Kemppainen (Finland). The Committee had before it 20 memoranda, presented by the of the following countries, one individual MP and one associate member: Argentina, Australia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, India, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Morocco, Switzerland, Togo, Venezuela, by Mr. C.A. Becera (Argentina) and by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, two information documents presented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as 19 draft resolutions presented by the Groups of Australia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Cuba, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Namibia, Russian Federation, Senegal, Venezuela and United Kingdom.
A total of 76 speakers took part in the debate which was held on the morning and afternoon of 18 September. Before the lunch break, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives of the Groups of the following 13 countries: Australia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Morocco, Senegal and Venezuela. The drafting committee met throughout 19 September and elected Mr. D. Hawker (Australia) as its President and Mr. P. Sende (Cameroon) as its Rapporteur. The drafting committee took the draft of the Group of Egypt as the basis for its deliberations but also drew extensively on many of the other texts which were before it. The resulting consolidated draft was adopted without a vote.
At its sitting on the morning of 20 September, the IIIrd Committee considered the text presented by the drafting committee. During the meeting, the Committee dealt with a number of amendments, five of which were defeated through votes. The text as a whole was then adopted without a vote. Thereafter, the Committee held the statutory election of its officers.
On the afternoon of 20 September, Mr. P. Sende presented the IIIrd
Committee's draft resolution to the Conference, which adopted
it by consensus.
(d) Worldwide ban on anti-personnel mines and the need for mine clearance for humanitarian purposes (Item 6)
After having decided to add this item to its agenda, the Conference referred it for consideration to the Ist Committee (on Political Questions, International Security and Disarmament).
The Ist Committee dealt with this item on 18 and 20 September under its President, Mr. M.A. Martinez (Spain). It had before it seven draft resolutions submitted by the Groups of Cameroon, Canada, China, Germany, Namibia and the United Kingdom, as well as a joint Canadian-German text.
A total of 30 speakers took part in the debate held on the morning of 18 September. At the end of the discussion, the Committee appointed a drafting committee composed of representatives of the Groups of the following 13 countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, India, Mexico, Namibia, South Africa, Switzerland and Uruguay. This group began its deliberations on the afternoon of the same day by electing Mr. M. Katjiuongua (Namibia) as President and Mrs. U. Eid (Germany) as Rapporteur. It then took the joint Canadian-German draft as a basis for its work, going through it in detailed fashion and amending it where necessary or proposed during a three-hour sitting. It also incorporated elements from the British and Cameroonian texts as well as four new paragraphs from the floor. The consolidated draft resolution was finally adopted without a vote, with the Chinese delegation expressing reservations on two operative paragraphs (1 and 12) which referred to a global ban on mines.
On the morning of 20 September, the Ist Committee, after having heard the statement of the Rapporteur on the work of the drafting committee, proceeded to examine its proposed text paragraph by paragraph. Altogether 11 amendments were moved thereto, of which six were approved. These comprised additional or changed wording in a corresponding number of preambular and operative paragraphs. The draft resolution as a whole was adopted without a vote, with some reservations again being expressed by the Chinese delegation.
At the Conference's final plenary session on the afternoon of 20 September, Mrs Eid submitted the draft resolution for approval. It was adopted without a vote. The Chinese delegation expressed a reservation on operative paragraph 1, while the Cuban and Libyan delegations expressed reservations to the text as a whole. Not wanting to prolong the debate, the Vietnamese delegation deposited in writing reservations to the text as a whole.