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FINAL SESSION OF THE MAIN COMMITTEE

The Main Committee held five sessions during the final days of the Conference to adopt texts agreed to in the Working. The results of the Working Groups were presented in a series of "Non-Papers" and corrections to Non-Papers, or updates on new agreements. During its final session, delegates debated unresolved issues regarding references to "sexual orientation" and a footnote to Section C (Health), recognizing the need to implement the Platform in accordance with religious and cultural values. Delegates did not come to a consensus on either issue, so Chair Licuanan ruled that both the footnote in Section C and all references to "sexual orientation" would be deleted.

A number of reservations and interpretive statements were offered following Main Committee adoption. With regard to the reference to commitments in paragraph 293 (conference of commitments), the US said it would not interpret the Platform as legally binding. With regard to Section J (Mass media), the US noted that the Platform proposals constitute recommendations and would not impinge on the freedom of the press. The US also made interpretive statements on paragraphs 19 (radical transformation of the relationship between women and men), 27 (NGOs), 97 (sexual rights) and 168(l) (workers' rights). The US noted concern with any implication that foreign occupation is a human rights violation per se, and indicated that it would submit statements on two paragraphs in the Declaration, paragraph 5 (resources) and Section H (Mechanisms). Nepal made an interpretive statement on 25(bis) (freedom of religion).

In Section C (Health), Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Bahrain, Japan and Iran stated their intention to submit interpretive notes. Oman reserved on paragraphs 97 and 107(k) regarding reproductive rights and abortion. Kuwait reserved on paragraphs 95 (discrimination against girls in nutrition and health care), 96 (reproductive health), 97 and 107(k). A number of reservations noted during the Main Committee were repeated in the Plenary.

Syria reserved on paragraph 145(g), concerning the production and marketing of traditional conventional weapons. The Russian Federation made interpretive statements on: paragraphs 258(c) (hazardous and radioactive wastes), saying that his country would interpret this paragraph as applying only to transboundary movement of such wastes; and 193(c) (political agenda), saying that he understood it to mean that political parties themselves determine the introduction of gender issues into their policies.

Canada, New Zealand, Latvia, Israel, Jamaica, South Africa, Norway and the Cook Islands issued interpretive statements on paragraph 48 (diversity), noting that they understand the term "other status" to include discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Slovenia interpreted paragraph 232(f) as including the right to be free from discrimination, violence and coercion on the basis of sexual orientation. The US and EU stated they would submit interpretive statements, noting their policies of non-discrimination. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia reserved on paragraph 6 (resources) because it marginalized countries with economies in transition.

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