Geneva, 7 December 2015 -- The Human Rights Council this afternoon elected its new bureau for 2016 at an organizational meeting appointing Ambassador Choi Kyong-lim, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, to serve as its President for a term beginning on 1 January 2016.
The Council also appointed Ramón Alberto Morales Quijano of Panama, Janis Karklinš of Latvia, Negash Kebret Botora of Ethiopia, and Bertrand de Crombrugghe of Belgium to the positions of Vice Presidents to the United Nations’ leading human rights body. Ambassador de Crombrugghe was also elected to fill the post of Rapporteur. All five candidates will serve as members of the Human Rights Council Bureau from 1 January to 31 December 2016 – the Council’s tenth cycle.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Joachim Ruecker of Germany, who has been serving as Human Rights Council President throughout 2015, stated: “Our work is important to many people; in particular the many victims of human rights violations and abuses, the many oppressed the many poor and the many suffering from conflict, crisis and terror.”
Ambassador Ruecker expressed his belief that “within the Human Rights Council, trust is our most important commodity. It comes on foot and it escapes on a horse, as the saying goes. Civil society is at the core of human rights, at the core of our work. Accordingly, I am deeply convinced that it was, is and will continue to be in our common interest to promote a culture of non-reprisals, free from fear of intimidation, when it comes to civil society, human rights defenders and individuals who seek to cooperate and work with the Council, its mechanisms and procedures.”
For his part, the Council President-elect, Ambassador Choi, while noting that next year marked the tenth anniversary of the Human Rights Council, stated: “In its first ten years, the Council accomplished a lot. It has established the framework of standards and mechanisms to promote and protect human rights. Now is the time to put it into real effect.” He added: “Challenges ahead of us are many… Issues of immediate concern like terrorism, climate change and migration bring with them a host of new and complex human rights considerations that cannot be overlooked.”
On 28 October, the General Assembly elected 18 members
of the Human Rights Council to serve as members of the Human Rights Council filling the vacancies to be left at the end of this year.
At today’s meeting, the 47 members of the Human Rights Council also decided that the theme for the 2016 high-level panel on human rights mainstreaming, to be held during the upcoming 31st regular session of the Council on 29 February 2016, would be “the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and human rights, with an emphasis on the right to development”.
Also speaking at this morning's meeting were representatives of Kyrgyzstan, Ireland, Belgium, the European Union, Cuba, Ethiopia, Venezuela, Pakistan (on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Conference), Nigeria, Egypt, Bolivia, the Russian Federation, Algeria (on behalf of the African Group), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the United States, China, and the International Service for Human Rights.
The Council will hold its next organizational meeting on 12 January 2016 at which time it is expected to adopt its programme of work for the year and select troikas – country rapporteurs – for the human rights reviews to be carried out by its Universal Periodic Review Working Group in 2016.
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