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Human Rights Council this afternoon extends on foreign debt, human rights defenders, on minority issues, and adequate housing

Human Rights Council

AFTERNOON

23 March 2017

Adopts Eight Other Texts, including on Accountability in Sri Lanka

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 12 resolutions, in which it extended, for a period of three years, the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders, on minority issues, and on adequate housing, as well as the mandate of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt.
 
The Council also adopted resolutions on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, and on the negative effects of terrorism on human rights.  Other texts addressed the issues of cultural diversity, digital privacy, the right to food, freedom of religion or belief, non-repatriation of funds of illicit origins, and the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights.
 
The Council extended, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, and the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living.  By a vote of 31 in favour, 16 against and no abstentions, the Council extended, for a period of three years the mandate of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights and requested the Independent Expert to develop guiding principles for human rights impact assessments for economic reform policies.
 
In a resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, the Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to assess progress on the reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, and to present a written update to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-seventh session, and a comprehensive report at its fortieth session.
 
By virtue of adopted texts, the Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all the human and financial resources necessary for the effective fulfilment of the mandate by the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights; and to organize, before the thirty-seventh session of the Human Rights Council, an expert workshop to identify and clarify principles, standards and best practices for the promotion and protection of the right to privacy in the digital age, and to submit the workshop report to the Council at its thirty-ninth session. 
 
The Council also requested the United Nations Secretary-General to continue to prepare and submit to the Human Rights Council an annual report on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights, with a special focus on the role of economic, social and cultural rights in the transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies. 
 
The Council adopted two resolutions in which it requested the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council to conduct a study and prepare a report on the negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and a study on the possibility of utilizing non-repatriated illicit funds, and to submit both reports to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-ninth session.
 
By a vote of 45 in favour, one against and one abstention, the Council requested the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to continue to monitor the evolution of the world food crisis and to keep the Human Rights Council informed of the impact of the crisis on the enjoyment of the right to food and to alert it to possible further actions in this regard.
 
In a resolution on freedom of religion or belief the Council urged States to step up their efforts to promote and protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, and to make use of the potential of education for the eradication of prejudices against and stereotypes of individuals on the basis of their religion or belief.
 
Speaking in the introduction of draft texts were United States, Cuba, Portugal, Norway, Russia, China, Austria, Germany, Brazil, Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Namibia, Malta on behalf of the European Union, and Tunisia on behalf of the African Group.  
 
Sri Lanka spoke as a concerned country.
 
United Kingdom, South Africa, United States, Republic of Korea, Egypt, Germany on behalf of the European Union, Nigeria, spoke in general comments.
 
United States, Brazil, Albania, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Latvia, United Kingdom, Paraguay, Belgium, South Africa, China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Germany on behalf of the European Union, Belgium, Japan, Egypt, Ghana and Switzerland took the floor to speak in an explanation of the vote before or after the vote.
 
The Council will meet at 9 a.m. on Friday, 24 March, to continue taking action on resolutions and decisions before closing its thirty-fourth session.
 
Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on the Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
 
Action on Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.1) on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, adopted without a vote, the Council takes note with appreciation of
the comprehensive report presented by the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fourth session, as requested by the Council in its resolution 30/1, and requests the Government of Sri Lanka to implement fully the measures identified by the Council in its resolution 30/1 that are outstanding; requests the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant special procedure mandate holders, in consultation with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, to strengthen their advice and technical assistance on the promotion and protection of human rights and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka; and also requests the Office to continue to assess progress on the implementation of its recommendations and other relevant processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, and to present a written update to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-seventh session, and a comprehensive report at its fortieth session.
 
United States presented the text of the draft resolution and said it recognized Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship.  The text affirmed that the Sri Lankan Government would pursue a process of non-recurrence of conflict. 
 
United Kingdom, speaking in a general comment, said when the Council adopted resolution 30/1, it had been an historic moment as the first time the Council had adopted a resolution on Sri Lanka by consensus.  Sri Lanka had taken national ownership by co-sponsoring the resolution.  As the draft recognized, there was a need for further progress.  A credible process of accountability was necessary for achieving meaningful reconciliation.  The draft resolution reaffirmed the commitments of the earlier resolution, and the United Kingdom stood ready to support the Sri Lankan Government. 
 
Sri Lanka, speaking as the concerned country, thanked the members of the Human Rights Council for the support they had extended for the resolution that promoted reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.  On January 2015 the Government had pledged to work with all stakeholders to establish the rule of law, strengthen democracy and good governance, uphold human rights, and achieve well-being for all people of Sri Lanka.  The Government looked to the continued support of the Council, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 
 
The Council then adopted the resolution L.1 without a vote.
 
Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the Right to Development
 
Action on Resolution on the Promotion of the Enjoyment of the Cultural Rights of Everyone and Respect for Cultural Diversity
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.2) on the promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity, adopted without a vote, the Council reaffirms that cultural rights are an integral part of human rights, which are universal, indivisible, interrelated and interdependent; calls upon all Governments to cooperate with and to assist the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights in the discharge of the mandate; and requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all the human and financial resources necessary for the effective fulfilment of the mandate by the Special Rapporteur.  The Council also requests the Special Rapporteur to report regularly to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly in accordance with their respective programmes of work.
 
Cuba, presenting the draft text L.2, said it gave a follow-up to the work of the Council and took note of the work of the Special Rapporteur.  Cultural diversity was a strengthening factor, and it was hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus.
 
United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it was pleased to join consensus as it supported dialogue among all cultures.  Cultural diversity contributed to legal protections for minority groups.  The concept of cultural diversity should not be misused to legitimise human rights abuses or infringe on individuals’ enjoyment of human rights.  Intellectual property rights should be respected.  The United States did not agree with some conclusions in the relevant Special Rapporteur’s report.
 
Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Independent Expert on the Effects of Foreign Debt and other Related International Financial Obligations of States on the Full Enjoyment of All Human Rights, particularly Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.3) on the mandate of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 16 against and no abstentions, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, for a period of three years, and requests the Independent Expert to pay particular attention to the effects of foreign debt and the policies adopted to address them on the full enjoyment of all human rights; the impact of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations on the capacity of States to design and implement their policies and programmes; and measures taken by Governments, the private sector and international financial institutions to alleviate such effects in developing countries. The Council also requests the Independent Expert to develop guiding principles for human rights impact assessments for economic reform policies, and to organize expert consultations for the development of the guiding principles and a mapping of existing impact assessment tools.
 
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (31): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
 
Against (16): Albania, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America.
 
Abstention (0)
 
 
Cuba, introducing the draft resolution L.3, explained that the draft resolution was designed to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on the impact of foreign debts and other financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.  It asked that a study on vulture funds be conducted.  It was up to the Human Rights Council to consider that issue as there were no other adequate fora of discussion to deal with the problem.  Cuba voiced hope that the draft resolution L.3 would be adopted.
 
United Kingdom, in a general comment, continued to believe that the Human Rights Council should maintain a focused approach to human rights, noting that the discussion of foreign debts would duplicate the work of other bodies.  The United Kingdom would thus vote against draft resolution L.3.
 
Brazil, in a general comment, said it would vote against the draft resolution as it ran counter to economic policies in Brazil, particularly efforts to regain fiscal balance.  Some important proposals made by Brazil were not incorporated in the draft resolution. Brazil considered that the development of guiding principles required comprehensive consultation.  In spite of challenges, the Government was committed to upholding its human rights policy, and the expansion of public expenditure would not ensure social progress in Brazil.
 
Action on Resolution on the Question of the Realization in All Countries of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.4/Rev.1) on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon all States to give full effect to economic, social and cultural rights by, inter alia, taking all appropriate measures to implement the Human Rights Council resolutions on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights; calls upon all States that have not yet signed and ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to consider doing so as a matter of priority, and States parties to consider reviewing their reservations thereto; and  encourages enhanced cooperation between the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and programmes, mechanisms of the Human Rights Council and other human rights treaty bodies whose activities have a bearing on economic, social and cultural rights.  The Council also requests the Secretary-General to continue to prepare and submit to the Human Rights Council an annual report on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights under agenda item 3, with a special focus on the role of economic, social and cultural rights in the transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.
 
Portugal, introducing the draft resolution L.4/Rev.1, explained that the resolution built upon previous omnibus resolutions on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights worldwide.  It focused on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.  It acknowledged the contributions of international human rights mechanisms, treaty bodies, Special Procedures and the Universal Periodic Review in promoting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and it encouraged States to give due consideration to information, observations and recommendations from human rights mechanisms when implementing and monitoring progress of the 2030 Agenda.
 
United Kingdom, in a general comment, stated that it continued to recognize the importance of economic, social and cultural rights, and that it remained committed to fulfil its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  The Covenant, however, was not part of the national law.  Nevertheless, the United Kingdom supported the adoption of the draft resolution.
 
South Africa, in a general comment, fully supported the spirit of the resolution.  But, it wished to introduce some changes in the text because some paragraphs weakened the fundamental understanding of economic, social and cultural rights.  There was a trend in the Council of interpreting the 2030 Agenda that sought to remove the importance of the implementation of some of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The implementation targets were key to the realization of the 2030 Agenda and all goals were equally important.  South Africa expressed concern that some countries downplayed the importance of economic, social and cultural rights. 
 
United States, in a general comment, joined consensus on the resolution on economic, social and cultural rights.  The United States interpreted the resolution in light of the Covenant and the rights therein were not justiciable in United States courts.  References to non-discrimination were seen as related to the Covenant.  The resolution should not try to define the content of those rights.  Human rights mechanisms could inform national measures to leave no-one behind.  The right to development did not have an agreed international meaning. 
 
The Council then adopted the resolution without a vote.
 
Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.5) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders for a period of three years in the same terms as provided for by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 16/5; urges all States to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his/her tasks, to provide all information and to respond to the communications transmitted to them by the Special Rapporteur without undue delay; and calls upon States to give serious consideration to responding favourably to the requests of the Special Rapporteur to visit their countries.
 
Before the Council adopted the resolution, it rejected draft amendment L.42 by a vote of 15 in favour, 28 against and four abstained; draft amendment L.43 by a vote of 12 in favour, 29 against and six abstained; draft amendment L.44 by a vote of 11 in favour, 29 against and six abstained; draft amendment L.45 by a vote of 11 in favour, 29 against and six abstained; and draft amendment L.51 by a vote of 16 in favour, 27 against and four abstained.
 
Norway, introducing the draft resolution L.5, explained that the draft resolution was a technical update of the consensus resolution 25/18 which had renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in 2014.  The main objective was to renew the mandate.  The preamble part highlighted the serious risks that human rights defenders faced, including reprisals, intimidation, threats and attacks.  The draft resolution strongly urged States to take concrete steps to create a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders.  The level of support for the draft resolution signalled the appreciation that many countries had for the work of the Special Rapporteur’s work.  The last changes made to the text addressed different categories of defenders.  While it was welcome to emphasize groups of defenders under particular threat, such a listing had to be guided by some objective criteria.  Without such criteria, there would be risk to leave out important groups of defenders under serious threat and in need of protection.
 
Russian Federation, introducing amendments L.42, L.43, L.44 and L.45 to resolution L.5, said the tabling of the amendments was something that the Russian Federation had been forced to do.  The Russian Federation could not but note the role of groups and individuals who promoted and protected common human rights and fundamental freedoms, who for brevity’s sake were called human rights defenders.  The 1998 Declaration on Human Rights Defenders was a comprehensive document which covered all rights and responsibilities of all involved in human rights protection activity.  Draft L.5 despite its avowedly procedural nature contained attempts to alter the 1998 Declaration.  The authors of L.5 had introduced new definitions.  The term “human rights defenders” did not exist in international law.  Unfortunately, the authors of the document did not heed the Russian Federation, so there was no option but to submit amendments to the draft.  The Russian Federation asked that each proposal was considered separately.
 
China introduced amendment L.51.  During consultations on L.5, a number of countries had made comments on the work and report of the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders and expressed their views during the dialogue.  China had put forward L.51 on behalf of concerned countries.  The aim of the amendment was to reflect the views of States on the Special Rapporteur’s work and his report.  Council Members were called on to vote for the amendment. 
 
United Kingdom, in a general comment on behalf of the sponsors of the draft resolution L.5, responded to all the proposed amendments.  It expressed disappointment that the five amendments had been tabled and that they were designed to undermine the legitimacy of human rights defenders worldwide.  A clear message should be sent to human rights defenders that the Council would continue to monitor their situation and that the Special Rapporteur would continue to play a constructive role in advising States on the protection of human rights.  The sponsors urged Member States to reject all the amendments.
 
Republic of Korea, in a general comment, shared the view that human rights defenders played a constructive role in creating an environment conductive to human rights.  Increased threats and targeted killings of human rights defenders had been witnessed.  The proposed amendments aimed to delete references to the legitimacy of the term “human rights defenders”, which was a well-established term within the United Nations system.  The term was an integral part of the text and could not be removed.  If removed, it could further deteriorate the safety of human rights defenders worldwide.
 
Egypt, in a general comment, underlined its full commitment to the protection of freedom of opinion, expression, assembly and association.  Partnership with civil society was of fundamental importance in States’ efforts to promote human rights.  However, there was an attempt to abuse the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and coin terminology that was not in line with international law, attempting to create a class of “super citizens” that would enjoy impunity.  The politically driven approach in the draft resolution eroded the principles of sovereign nations and contradicted the notions of accountability and the rule of law.
 
Germany, in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, said the resolution dealt with an important issue.  The European Union appreciated the work carried out by human rights defenders who deserved the protection of the Human Rights Council.  The mandate of the Special Rapporteur was important in that regard.  It was regretted that some delegations had submitted amendments to the text.  The European Union supported draft resolution L.5 as orally revised and looked forward to its adoption by the Council.
 
Action on draft amendment L.42
 
Albania, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, rejected the proposed amendment which tried to remove the concept of human rights defenders and replace it with a vague and confusing term.  The term human rights defenders was a well-established term and had been mainstreamed into resolutions on a wide range of topics.  The term was an established, short and familiar reference and was integral to the text and could not be removed.  Albania urged other members of the Council to also vote no on the amendment.
 
Germany, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it rejected amendment L.42 as it sought to reduce the legal framework protecting the work of human rights defenders, and to undermine the legitimacy of human rights defenders.  It urged Council members to vote against the amendment.
 
The Council then rejected amendment L.42 by a vote of 15 in favour, 28 against and four abstentions.
 
Action on draft amendment L.43
 
Switzerland, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Switzerland could not support the amendment whose only aim was to remove reference to resolutions adopted both by the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.  Switzerland called on all States Members of the Human Rights Council to vote no.
 
Hungary, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Hungary could not support the amendment.  The resolution recalled the existence of resolutions by their documentation number.  Member States were urged to reject the amendment and vote no.
 
The Council then rejected the amendment by a recorded vote of 12 in favour with 29 against and 6 abstentions.  
 
Action on amendment L.44
 
Latvia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Latvia could not support the amendment as it could not understand its rationale.  Various regional commissions on human rights used the term “human rights defenders,” which was why Latvia called on all States to reject the amendment.
 
Hungary, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted that the term was well-established and included in numerous Council resolutions.  It was a short and familiar reference.  The proposal to replace it with new terminology would not only be confusing, but would also send a very negative signal to those who put their lives at risk to defend human rights.  Hungary urged the Council to vote against the amendment.
 
The Council then rejected amendment L.44 by a vote of 11 in favour, 29 against and six abstentions.
 
Action on draft amendment L.45
 
Albania, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it did not support the amendment and did not understand its rationale.  One of the key objectives of the resolution enabled the Special Rapporteur to make the needs of human rights defenders better understood.  The proposed amendments sought to take out the words “women human rights defenders” who were highly appreciated by Albania.  L.45 was not acceptable to co-sponsors as women human rights defenders were a specific focus area for the Special Rapporteur.  Albania would vote against L.45 and urged all to vote against the amendment.
 
United Kingdom, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the amendment sought to delete references to women human rights defenders and that was an attempt to undermine those on the front lines of defence of human rights.  It was preposterous to suggest the term did not belong in the resolution and should be replaced with new and convoluted terminology.  Human rights defenders should be called what they were.  To delete references to women was to deny the role they played and deny them the protection they deserved from the Council.
 
Paraguay, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said preambular paragraph 9 of the resolution aimed to protect women human rights defenders.  Women human rights defenders ran risks on the ground of their gender and therefore required special protection by the Council.  As preambular paragraph 9 as originally drafted emphasized the important attention women human rights defenders merited, Paraguay would vote against the amendment.
 
The Council then rejected the amendment by a recorded vote of 11 in favour with 29 against and 6 abstentions.  
 
Action on amendment L.51
 
Latvia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, stated that it could not support the amendment because it would only note the report and would not reflect the views of the Council.  It would fail to acknowledge the concerns raised by the Special Rapporteur, and it would dishonour credible reporting on the work of human rights defenders.  Latvia asked all States to reject the amendment.
 
Belgium, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, recalled that during formal consultations, the text had not been challenged at all.  Both the report and work of the Special Rapporteur should be noted.  The current text represented a good compromise and it should not be watered down even more.
 
The Council then rejected amendment L.51 by a vote of 16 in favour, 27 against and four abstentions.
 
Action on draft resolution L.5 as a whole, as orally revised
 
South Africa, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it had decided to withdraw its amendments and thanked the delegation of Norway for the open consultations.  The Secretary-General had warned of the dangers of instrumentalization of human rights where human rights defenders were picked and chosen.  Therefore South Africa had chosen its approach.  The threat of loss of life did not only come from governments but also from the corporate sector.  The process of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues had highlighted important issues.  South Africa aimed to ensure all categories of human rights defenders were included, in addition to women human rights defenders whom South Africa supported.
 
China, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said China supported non-governmental organizations playing an active role, but said their activities should be carried out within the laws.  The role of human rights defenders could be abused by organizations with an ulterior motive.  Amendments submitted showed that Human Rights Council members still had differences over the matter.  China would dissociate itself from the consensus on L.5.
 
The Council then adopted L.5 without a vote as orally revised. 
 
Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.6) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues for a period of three years under the same terms as provided for by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 25/5; and calls upon all States to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of the tasks and duties mandated to him or her, to provide him or her with all the necessary information requested and to seriously consider responding promptly and favourably to the request of the Special Rapporteur to visit their countries in order to enable him or her to fulfil his or her duties effectively.
 
Austria, introducing draft resolution L.6, explained that the draft resolution sought to continue the strong engagement of the Council on minority issues.  The resolution was limited to the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.  Open and transparent discussions had been held informally and bilaterally.  Delegations from all regions had co-sponsored the resolution.  Austria thanked the co-sponsors and invited Member States to adopt the resolution without a vote.
 
The Council then adopted draft resolution L.6 without a vote.
 
Action on Resolution on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.7/Rev.1) on the right to privacy in the digital age, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon all States to respect and protect the right to privacy, including in the context of digital communications; to take measures to put an end to violations of the right to privacy and to create the conditions to prevent such violations; and to review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the surveillance of communications, their interception and the collection of personal data, including mass surveillance, interception and collection.  Furthermore, the Council calls upon all business enterprises to meet their responsibility to respect human rights in accordance with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, including the right to privacy in the digital age.  The Council also requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize, before the thirty-seventh session of the Human Rights Council, an expert workshop with the purpose of identifying and clarifying principles, standards and best practices regarding the promotion and protection of the right to privacy in the digital age, and to prepare a report thereon and to submit it to the Council at its thirty-ninth session.
 
Germany, introducing draft resolution L.7, noted that the right to privacy was enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Respect for the right to privacy ensured a secure space in which other rights could be enjoyed, offline and online.  Privacy was a prerequisite for the meaningful exercise of other rights, granting people the security and confidence to both connect with others and access information.  The draft resolution represented a further step in a process that had started with the adoption of General Assembly resolution 68/167, which had emphasized that unlawful or arbitrary surveillance and interception of communications, as well as the unlawful or arbitrary collection of private data, violated the right to privacy.  The resolution requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize an expert workshop and to prepare a report.
 
Brazil, also introducing draft resolution L.7, recalled that the same rights people had offline had to also be protected online, including the right to privacy.  The draft resolution recalled that States should ensure that any interference with the right to privacy was consistent with the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality.  The draft stressed the importance of technical solutions to secure and protect freedom of expression, association and assembly.  States should provide effective remedies in line with international human rights standards and ensure the confidentiality of online communications. 
 
Egypt, in a general comment, thanked the main sponsors but took the floor to explain that Egypt’s decision to continue to join the consensus was due to the importance of the issue.  Egypt would follow the work of the mandate holder, but would continue to urge the main sponsor to align the initiative with Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Privacy should be protected against arbitrary or unlawful interference. 

Germany, in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, highlighted the importance of privacy in view of other rights.  Abuses of the right to privacy could affect other rights.  The same rights applied online as offline, and resolution L.7 highlighted technical solutions.  The European Union was pleased to join the consensus on the resolution.  

United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, joined the consensus on the resolution as it reaffirmed the right to peaceful assembly and other rights protected under the United States Constitution.  The resolution recognized that the same rights were protected online as offline.  It was worth noting that data flows could create benefits for economies when there were safeguards.  In many commercial contexts, meaningful consent could be drawn from the behaviour of consumers. 
 
South Africa, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, appreciated draft resolution L.7 and supported the right to privacy as articulated in numerous United Nations resolutions.  However, the draft resolution was of concern because it created challenges in the area of prevention and protection.  The right to privacy trumped the right of the child in the context of sexual predators.  It should properly define circumstances of the protection of the rights to privacy.  South Africa disassociated itself from certain paragraphs of the resolution.

The Council then adopted draft resolution L.7 without a vote.

Action on Resolution on the Effects of Terrorism on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.9) on effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of all human rights, adopted by a vote of 28 in favour, 15 against and four abstentions, the Council strongly condemns all terrorist acts as criminal and unjustifiable, and expresses grave concern at their detrimental effects on the enjoyment of human rights; urges States to take appropriate measures to duly investigate the incitement, preparation or perpetration of acts of terrorism, and to bring to justice those engaged in such acts; and also urges States to adopt rehabilitation and reintegration strategies for returning foreign terrorist fighters, in line with the good practices set out in the Hague – Marrakech Memorandum of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.  The Council invites all treaty bodies, special procedure mandate holders, international and regional human rights mechanisms and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, within their respective mandates, to pay due attention to the negative impact of terrorism on the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms; and requests the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council to conduct a study and  prepare a report on the negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-ninth session to be followed by an interactive dialogue.

The result of the vote was as follows:
In favour (28): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. 

Against (15): Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America.
 
Abstentions (4): Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Panama.

Before the Council adopted the resolution, it rejected draft amendment L.47 by a vote of seven in favour, 28 against and 11 abstained.

Egypt, introducing L.9 on behalf of the Arab Group, Angola, Ethiopia, Togo, Nigeria and Venezuela, said the world had been witnessing an overwhelming tide of severe atrocities and barbaric violations in an endless chain of miserable and deplorable incidents.  Terrorism had a direct and devastating impact on human rights, in particular the right to life as enshrined in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The Core Group of the resolution, namely Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia, had accommodated most of the concerns of their partners but regretted that it had not been possible for a group of countries to perceive the resolution on its reality rather than false impressions.
 
Algeria, also introducing L.9, said terrorism destroyed lives and supranationally constituted a threat to the primacy of law and peaceful coexistence of nations.  Terrorism had a direct impact on the rights of the individual, but also on rights such as the right to development by destabilizing all economic sectors.  That led to losses of earnings among other things.  States had a duty to meet the needs of their populations.  The Council should send a strong message of solidarity with all victims of terrorism.  The draft resolution should in no case be considered in competition with other initiatives.  All States were called on to adopt the resolution by consensus. 
 
South Africa, introducing written amendments to draft resolution L.9, said  while there was a need for a global response to terrorism, the manner in which that response was to be conducted should not close the scope for the pursuit and advancement of national self-determination, which was affirmed in the United Nations Charter.  It was impossible to enjoy any other rights without the right to self-determination.  There was a need to create a space for self-determination in draft resolution L.9.
 
Egypt, in a general comment on behalf of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution L.9, confirmed support for the preamble of the United Nations Charter and reference to the right to self-determination.  That right was also enshrined in many resolutions adopted by the General Assembly.  Egypt had continually given support to self-determination movements across Africa, as well as for the struggle against the apartheid regime in South Africa, and to the Palestinian people.  Given those undoubted historical facts, Egypt valued the right to self-determination.  The draft resolution related to the consequences of terrorism on human rights.  There was some confusion between terrorism and the legitimate struggle for self-determination, which was why the co-sponsors could not support the tabled amendment. 
 
Saudi Arabia, in a general comment, did not dispute the right to self-determination but the draft paragraph was not in keeping with the moral impact of terrorism on human rights.  The draft did not refer to liberation movements.  The Council was called on to reject the proposed amendment from South Africa.
 
South Africa, in a general comment, said there had been a formal request by both Egypt and Saudi Arabia to vote against the amendment.  South Africa was unable to withdraw its proposed amendment contained in L.47.  Two years ago, South Africa had made a similar proposal and from operative paragraph 7 of the current L.9, no religion should be associated with terrorism.  There were numerous General Assembly resolutions quoted that made it clear that legitimate liberation struggles aimed at statehood should not be associated with terrorism.
 
Action on draft amendment L.47

The Council rejected the amendment by a recorded vote of 7 in favour with 28 against and 11 abstentions.  Action on draft resolution L.9

Germany, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, reminded that the fight against terrorism continued to be a top priority for the European Union, which had criminalized training and funding for terrorism.  Getting the balance right required continued attention and deliberation.  It was of utmost importance that human rights be respected at all times in the fight against terrorism.  During the past few weeks, the European Union had engaged constructively with core groups to achieve a balanced text.  Unfortunately, common ground could not be found on a number of issues.  The best way forward was to speak with one voice.  The draft resolution was not balanced.  Terrorism could indeed have an effect on the economy, but that discussion did not belong in the Council and the European Union would thus vote against the draft resolution.

United Kingdom, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reminded of yesterday’s terrorist attack in London, noting that it had been directed against the Parliament and the values that it represented.  The United Kingdom was committed to defend the values of democracy and human rights.  The only way to defeat those who sought to destroy “our” way of life was to defend those very values and the spirit of freedom.  The draft resolution did not send that clear message.

Belgium, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that one year ago, the heart of Belgium had been struck by terrorism; in its aftermath, Belgium was both serene and strong.  Belgium was aware that it was not the only victim of terrorism; other attacks had taken place and would take place throughout the world as terrorism knew no borders.  It was essential for the international community to unite to face the challenge and conduct the fight against terrorism through international cooperation in which the United Nations had a central role to play, including through its Global Anti-Terrorism Strategy.  The Human Rights Council should fully shoulder its responsibilities; its role was to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals were maintained and protected from the impact of terrorism and the possible negative impact of negative anti-terrorist measures – those were two sides of the same coin and that must be studied.

South Africa, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, agreed that terrorism – even though it was still to be defined in international law – had a negative impact on human rights.  African political authorities were discussing the strategies to mitigate its impacts.  South Africa was unwavering in the conviction that legitimate movements and the struggle for liberation, freedom, human rights, democracy and self-determination should not be equated with terrorism, and regretted that those notions were not included in the text of the resolution. 

United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said protecting human rights while combatting terrorism was of paramount importance.  The draft resolution was not a constructive way to address the problem, as it deviated from established human rights practices and selectively emphasized certain rights, such as the right to life.  There was no human right to living in security, as mentioned in the draft resolution.  The United States hoped that the dialogue on that important topic would continue.  

Japan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, stated that around the world countless innocent lives were being lost to terrorism.  Japan resolutely condemned all acts of terrorism.  Every State had the obligation to protect fundamental human rights, including when combatting terrorism, which was something which was not addressed properly in the proposed draft resolution.

The Council adopted draft resolution L.9 with 28 votes in favour, 15 against and four abstentions.  

Action on Resolution on Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living and the Right to Non-Discrimination in This Context

In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.12) on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to non-discrimination in this context, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context, as set out in Human Rights Council resolutions 15/8 of 30 September 2010 and 25/17 of 28 March 2014; encourages the Special Rapporteur, in fulfilling the mandate, to submit proposals that could support states in the implementation of the housing-related Sustainable Development Goals and targets and the New Urban Agenda; and requests the Special Rapporteur to submit an annual report on the implementation of his or her mandate to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly in accordance with their annual programme of work.

Namibia, introducing draft resolution L.12, noted that adequate housing had been recognized as part of the right to an adequate standard of living in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  International human rights law recognized everyone’s right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate housing.  The full enjoyment of that right, without any discrimination, had a bearing on the enjoyment of many other rights.  The draft resolution sought to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing for a period of three years.  The mandate remained relevant as the issue of adequate housing continued to affect millions of people across the world, especially the most vulnerable groups, including women and children.  

United States, in a general comment, joined consensus on the draft resolution and noted the importance of mainstreaming human rights in urban development.  It joined the consensus with the express understanding that States that joined the consensus did not have to implement their international obligations by changing customary law.

The Council then adopted draft resolution L.12 without a vote.

Action on Resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief 

In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.15) on freedom of religion or belief, adopted without a vote, the Council stresses that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, which includes the freedom to have or not to have, or to adopt, a religion or belief of one’s choice and the freedom; urges States to step up their efforts to promote and protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief, including, by, inter alia, ensuring that their constitutional and legislative systems provide adequate and effective guarantees of freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief to all, without distinction.  The Council also calls upon States to make use of the potential of education for the eradication of prejudices against and stereotypes of individuals on the basis of their religion or belief; and urges all Governments to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to respond favourably to his or her requests to visit their countries, and to provide him or her with all necessary information to enable him or her to fulfil the mandate even more effectively.
 
Malta, introducing draft resolution L.15 on behalf of the European Union, said that freedom of religion or belief constituted a major human rights priority for the European Union, a fact reflected in the guidelines adopted by European Union Ministers in 2013.  The European Union welcomed the vital contribution made by the new Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, and called on all States to cooperate with him in the fulfillment of his mandate.  It was hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted without a vote.

Egypt in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the freedom of religion or belief was enshrined in its constitution.  Egypt would vote for the draft resolution.  Egypt believed that the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights was compatible with Islamic sharia. 

The Council adopted draft resolution L.15 without a vote. 

Action on Resolution on the Negative Impact of the Non-repatriation of Funds of Illicit Origin to the Countries of Origin on the Enjoyment of Human Rights, and the Importance of Improving International Cooperation

In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.16/Rev.1) on the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, and the importance of improving international cooperation, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, one against and 16 abstentions, the Council calls upon all States that have not yet acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption to consider doing so as a matter of priority; and urges requesting and requested States to cooperate to recover the proceeds of corruption, in particular, embezzled public funds, stolen assets and unaccounted-for assets, including those that are found in safe havens, and to demonstrate strong commitment to ensuring the return or disposal of such assets, including their return to the countries of origin.  The Council also requests the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council to conduct a study on the possibility of utilizing non-repatriated illicit funds, and to submit the requested study to the Council at its thirty-ninth session; and requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Member States and the fora dealing with the issue of the repatriation of funds of illicit origin within the United Nations system for consideration and necessary action and coordination as appropriate, particularly within the context of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (30): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. 

Against (1): United States of America.

Abstentions (16): Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Tunisia, introducing draft resolution L.16/Rev.1, stated that all peoples could freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources, in order to realize their sustainable development, without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic cooperation.  That process, however, had been hampered by fraudulent practices that had led to the generation of billions worth of funds of illicit origin, which had been transferred from developing countries in particular.  The draft resolution stressed the urgent need to repatriate funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin, taking into account due processes. The gravity of the phenomenon at hand necessitated that the Council consider the issue from all angles in relation to the enjoyment of human rights.

Ghana, in a general comment, said that for years, developing countries had been suffering from the impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin.  The implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda would be strengthened if the United Nations Member States joined their forces to combat the evasion of tax assets.  Ghana called on the Council to demonstrate its commitment to the noble cause by adopting the draft resolution by consensus.

Egypt, in a general comment, estimated that illicit financial flows from Africa ranged from $ 50 to 60 billion per year, depriving African countries from necessary funds needed for development.  The draft resolution emphasized the importance of enhancing international cooperation and combatting illicit practices.  It was important to make the fight against corruption at all levels a priority.  The text called for a study in coordination with relevant United Nations bodies with the view of repatriating illicit funds while completing necessary legal procedures.    

Nigeria, in a general comment, supported the resolution and urged Member States to support it.  The recovered funds would go toward helping countries of origin fulfil their obligations under international human rights laws.  All States were called on to make their fight against corruption a priority.  The Nigerian Government was determined to root out corruption entirely, which only made the rich richer and the poor poorer, hurting those most in need.  Nigeria believed that if nothing was done to stop the illicit flows of funds, it would undermine the rule of law and democracy.  Member States were called on to join consensus on the resolution. 

United States, in a general comment, regretted that the resolution was on specialized topics that were not within the sphere of expertise of the Human Rights Council.  The United States called for a vote on the resolution and would vote no.  The resolution used outdated and problematic terms which were contrary to other agreements.  The resolution did not contribute constructively to complex issues such as asset recovery.  With respect to illicit finance, the resolution ignored effective work underway in other international fora.  

Switzerland, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the favourable outcome of such issues was only possible if there were close partnerships between States.  Recovering assets was a shared responsibility and only with that state of mind could corruption be effectively combatted.  Switzerland would abstain on the resolution.
 
Germany, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated its view that the draft resolution was at odds with the mandate and the expertise of the Human Rights Council.  The issue was already addressed in a number of other bodies and mechanisms.  Germany could thus not support the unnecessary duplication of work.  The Council should complement and be consistent with other bodies dealing with the subject matter.  The European Union could not support the draft resolution L.16/Rev.1 

The Council adopted draft resolution L.16/Rev.1 with a vote of 30 in favour, one against and 16 abstentions. 

Action on Resolution on the Right to Food

In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L/21) on the right to food, adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, one against and one abstention as orally revised, the Council calls upon States parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to fulfil their obligations under articles 2 (1) and 11 (2), in particular with regard to the right to adequate food; and also  calls upon States, individually and through international cooperation and assistance, relevant multilateral institutions and other relevant stakeholders, to take all the measures necessary to ensure the realization of the right to food as an essential human rights objective.  The Council requests all States, private actors, international organizations and agencies, within their respective mandates, to take fully into account the need to promote the effective realization of the right to food for all, including in ongoing negotiations in different fields; and urges States to give adequate priority in their development strategies and expenditures to the realization of the right to food.  The Council requests the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, as part of the mandate, to continue to monitor the evolution of the world food crisis and, in the context of the mandate and regular reports, to keep the Human Rights Council informed of the impact of the crisis on the enjoyment of the right to food and to alert it to possible further actions in this regard; and also requests the Special Rapporteur to submit a report on the implementation of the present resolution to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-seventh session. 

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (45): Albania, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Venezuela. 

Against (1): United States of America.

Abstentions (1): Republic of Korea.

Cuba, introducing the draft resolution on the right to food, thanked all those committed to the consultation process, in particular the co-sponsors.  Draft resolution L.21 tackled issues such as unregulated use of pesticides and the right to food and health.  Cuba had carried out consultations open to all parties, seeking the broadest possible support.  Cuba did not include in the text some issues which could be difficult for some countries.  Cuba made an oral revision to the text, and noted that some revisions could not be included.  There should be unity on the right to food.
 
United States, in a general comment, said the world was facing what could be famine and starvation in South Sudan.  The Council should be outraged that people were facing famine.  The resolution contained many unwise provisions that the United States could not support, and distracted attention from challenges such as regional food insecurity.  The United States would call for a vote and vote no on the resolution.  Pesticide-related matters fell under other fora, and pesticides were a critical component of agricultural production.  The resolution inappropriately discussed trade-related matters.  The United States did not support numerous references to technology transfer.  The United States did not accept any reading of the resolution that suggested States had extraterritorial obligations arising from the right to food.  
 
United Kingdom, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it continued to recognize economic, social and cultural rights as recognized under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  The Covenant was not incorporated into domestic law and States parties were not required to do so.  The United Kingdom, nonetheless, supported the draft resolution and would vote yes.
 
The Council then adopted draft resolution L.21, as orally revised, with a vote of 45 in favour, one against and one abstention.  
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