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Council renews mandates on Syria and on racism, adopts five resolutions on human rights in the occupied Arab territories

Human Rights Council

MIDDAY

24 March 2017

Decides to Initiate Negotiations on Drafting an Additional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 

The Human Rights Council in its midday meeting adopted 11 resolutions, renewing the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria for one year; and the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, and the Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration for three years each.  It also adopted five resolutions on the situation of human rights in Palestinian and other occupied Arab territories.

The Council decided to initiate negotiations on the elaboration of complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  It recommended the creation of a forum on people of African descent.  It also adopted a resolution on combatting intolerance and violence against persons on the basis of freedom of religion or belief.

By a vote of 27 in favour, seven against and 13 abstentions, the Council extended for one year the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, requesting it to present an oral update at the Council’s thirty-fifth session, and a written updated report at the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh sessions.
 
The Council renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, for a further period of three years, and also decided to renew, by a vote of 46 in favour, one against and no abstentions, the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action for a further period of three years.
 
The Council decided, by a vote of 31 in favour, four against and 12 abstentions, to implement the request of the General Assembly contained in its resolution 71/181 and the request of the Chair-Rapporteur of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Human Rights Council on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to commence the negotiations on the draft additional protocol to the Convention criminalizing acts of a racist and xenophobic nature during the tenth session of the Ad Hoc Committee.
 
The Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit, at the thirty-seventh session, a comprehensive follow-up report on States’ efforts and measures to combat intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief.  It invited the General Assembly to establish at its seventy-first session, a forum on people of African descent, and decided to allocate three days of the annual session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action to the forum on people of African descent.
 
 
The Council adopted five resolutions concerning the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, including the resolution on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by a vote of 26 in favour, three against and 18 abstentions; the resolution on ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, two against and 15 abstentions; and the resolution on the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 43 in favour, two against and two abstentions.
 
By a vote of 41 in favour, two against and four abstentions, the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to present, at the thirty-seventh session of the Council, a report on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, with a particular focus on the factors perpetuating the arbitrary detention of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails. 
 
The Council decided, by a vote of 36 in favour, two against and nine abstentions to convene, at its thirty-sixth session, a panel discussion on “Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, and requested the High Commissioner to present, at the thirty-seventh session, a report on the policies and practices linked to the settlement enterprise that discriminated against the Palestinian population in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.
 
Introducing draft texts were United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Tunisia on behalf of the African Group.
 
Syria, Israel, and State of Palestine spoke as concerned countries.
 
Germany on behalf of the European Union, Switzerland, United States, Ecuador, and Brazil on behalf of a group of States, spoke in general comments.
 
Speaking in an explanation of the vote before or after the vote were Cuba, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Brazil, Iraq, Venezuela, Bolivia, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, Hungary, Germany on behalf of the European Union, Netherlands also on behalf of Germany, United Kingdom, and Belgium.  
 
The Council will continue at 3 p.m. to take action on draft resolutions and decisions before closing its thirty-fourth session.
 
Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
 
Action on Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic  
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.37) on the  human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, seven against and 13 abstentions, the Council decides to extend for one year the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry; requests the Commission of Inquiry to provide an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fifth session, and to present a written updated report at the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh sessions; and demands that the Syrian authorities cooperate fully with the Human Rights Council and the Commission of Inquiry by granting it immediate, full and unfettered access throughout the Syrian Arab Republic.  The Council demands that all parties identified in the reports of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism as having been involved in the use of toxic chemicals as weapons to immediately desist from any further use; and also  demands that all parties take all appropriate steps to protect civilians.  The Council further demands that the Syrian authorities facilitate, and all other parties to the conflict do not hinder, the full, immediate and safe access of the United Nations and humanitarian actors, including to hard-to-reach and besieged areas; and demands that all parties work urgently towards the comprehensive implementation of the Geneva communiqué, including through the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers.  The Council decides to transmit all reports and oral updates of the Commission of Inquiry to all relevant bodies of the United Nations, and recommends that the General Assembly submit the reports to the Security Council for appropriate action, and expresses its appreciation to the Commission for its briefings to members of the Security Council, and recommends the continuation of future briefings.
 
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (27): Albania, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, El Salvador, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Togo, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America.
Against (7): Bolivia, Burundi, China, Cuba, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, and Venezuela.


Abstentions (13): Bangladesh, Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, and Tunisia. 

United Kingdom, introducing draft resolution L.37, regretted that the conflict continued to have a devastating impact on human rights.  Of great concern were the indiscriminate attacks and the deliberate targeting of civilians.  The Assad Government, Da’esh and foreign fighters must stop the bloodshed.  It was essential that the Commission of Inquiry continued its work to document violations and abuses of human rights, committed by all parties.  The draft resolution thus extended the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry for a further 12 months to document serious violations and abuses of human rights, and called on the Syrian authorities to allow full access to the Commission.
 
Saudi Arabia, also introducing draft resolution L.37, said that the violations of international human rights and humanitarian law continued under the regime of Assad and its militias, which amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity.  The draft resolution requested the extension of the international and independent Commission of Inquiry for another year and Saudi Arabia hoped that all Member States would support this resolution and put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people.
 
Germany, speaking on behalf of the European Union Member States which were members of the Human Rights Council in a general comment, said that the European Union was deeply concerned at widespread violations of international humanitarian law being carried out by the Syrian regime and its allies.  Actions by Da’esh and Jabhat el Nusra might amount to war crimes.  The Syrian regime had primary responsibility for violations of international humanitarian law suffered by the Syrian people.  The continued use of cluster munitions might amount to the war crime of indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population.  The Security Council was called on to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.  The United Nations-led process in line with Security Council 2254 among other measures were fully supported.  The draft resolution renewed the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry which emphasized the urgent need for an end to impunity.  The European Union welcomed the new impartial mechanism adopted by the General Assembly and supported its swift operationalization. 
 
Switzerland, in a general comment, said that the human rights violations and abuses of international humanitarian law in Syria were deeply concerning.  Switzerland therefore supported the renewal of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, but regretted the weakening operability as shown by changes to some paragraphs.  It was essential that justice was done for all victims and it was crucial that the Commission of Inquiry and the General Assembly mechanism cooperated closely.
 
Syria, speaking as the concerned country, noted the dual measures of the sponsor countries that wanted to assume the role of an arbitrator, but at the same time had a destructive role in undermining the sovereignty of Syria.  Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were behind the recent escalation of violence in the country.  Al-Nusra had been launching those hostilities to end the Geneva and Astana talks.  Syria rejected the draft resolution due to unreliable information and the renewal of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, which had turned into a political tool of the sponsors of the resolution.  Truth in Syria could not be established without taking into account the right of the Government to protect itself from terrorism.  Syria called for the rejection of the draft resolution which undermined reconciliation between Syrians and caused polarization in the Council. 
 
Cuba, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, restated the condemnation of targeting innocent civilians in any conflict.  It rejected the delegation of blame to just one party in the Syrian conflict.  Serious efforts had been taken to find a solution for Syria, taking into account the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in the domestic affairs of Syria.  The role of the international community was to provide assistance and promote peace, and not to provoke further violence.  The draft resolution did not contribute to that goal, and thus Cuba requested a vote on the draft resolution and would vote against it.
 
China, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said China supported Cuba’s request for a vote and had always been of the view that a political settlement should be found for Syria.  Negotiations had to be moved forward and that was the joint responsibility of the international community.  When the Council discussed the situation in Syria, this should move forward the settlement of the situation, and the reduction in tensions.  The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria had to be respected.  L.37 did not comply with those principles, so China would vote against the draft resolution.
 
Ecuador, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, regretted having to repeat concern at the worsening situation in Syria, including in the city of Aleppo.  In that regard, and based on Ecuador’s constitutional principles and respect for the promotion of human rights, Ecuador condemned the escalation of violations of human rights, including the violation of the right to peace.  Ecuador could not support Special Procedures targeting specific countries.  As a consequence, Ecuador appealed to make sure that all the human rights of the Syrian people were respected, with the transparent support of the United Nations, and that negotiations were strengthened.  Ecuador would abstain on the draft resolution.
 
Egypt, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, stated that in view of the magnitude of the conflict and the involvement of many parties in Syria, Egypt had decided to oppose mandates that did not enjoy the support of the country.  The draft resolution was still lacking an objective treatment of the Syrian crisis and did not refer to all parties guilty of human rights violations.  The draft resolution included more than one reference to the International Criminal Court.  Accordingly, Egypt would abstain from voting on the resolution.
 
Brazil, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, stated that it would vote for the draft resolution.  It recognized the increased flexibility and engagement of the sponsors.  Even though it recognized the primary responsibility of the Syrian Government for human rights abuses, Brazil remained concerned that the responsibility of some armed groups was not recognized.  It rejected any proposition that singled out any parties in the conflict.  All atrocities had to be condemned and prosecuted.  Brazil expressed serious concern about the use of chemical weapons in Aleppo.  It was unclear how the Commission of Inquiry implemented its work.  Any duplication of the work should be avoided.  It was disappointing that there was no reference in the draft resolution to the need to curb the provision of weapons to the parties involved in the Syrian conflict. 
 
Iraq, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated its support for a peaceful process based on dialogue, and for all States to refrain from supplying weapons to foreign groups, and to stop interfering in the affairs of Syria.  Given the failure of achieving a military solution after six bloody years, the Syrian people must be supported in finding a solution themselves.  Iraq continued to call for the non-politicization of this situation, of which the Council should take a technical view and not take sides.  Iraq would therefore vote against this draft resolution.
 
Venezuela, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that it would not support the draft resolution and condemned selectivity and double standards, which did not benefit victims of human rights violations in any way.  Syria needed a commitment to achieve a political solution, a negotiated and peaceful settlement among Syrians, with guarantees of territorial integrity and sovereignty of the State. 
 
Bolivia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said L.37 did not address the substance of the situation.  Selectivity, politicization and double standards did not benefit the victims of human rights violations.  Bolivia would be voting against the draft resolution.
 
Kyrgyzstan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it was concerned about the situation in Syria and supported the need for the cessation of the armed conflict, and considered it important to rely on existing mechanisms.  Adopting resolutions that were not supported by the country under consideration only further politicized the work of the Council.  At the same time, creating another mechanism duplicated the activity of the Commission of Inquiry.  Kyrgyzstan would vote against the draft resolution.
 
Paraguay, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, called for an open and inclusive dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations by the Syrian people.  That was the only approach that would lead to the solution of this bloody conflict.  All parties to this conflict should adopt measures to protect civilians in line with international standards.
 
Explanations of the Vote after the Vote after the Conclusion of Taking Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
 
Hungary, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said it had voted in favour of the resolution on Syria, and commended the core group for its transparent manner of negotiation on the resolution.  Hungary remained concerned at human rights violations by all parties in Syria, and stressed the need for all those responsible to be held accountable for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.  The new international impartial mechanism would contribute to ending human rights violations.  The Government of Hungary strongly supported the efforts of the Human Rights Council in that regard.
 
Egypt, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said since no vote was taken on L.23 about the human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt would like to not be added to the consensus while maintaining the right to intervene with regard to the abducted Japanese.
 
Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories
 
Action on Resolution on Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.11) on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by a vote of 26 in favour, three against and 18 abstentions, the Council calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, in particular Security Council resolution 497 (1981); calls upon Israel to desist from its continuous building of settlements, the most recent of which is the settlement campaign being conducted by the so-called Golan Regional Council under the slogan “Come to the Golan”; and further  calls upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan, and to desist from its repressive measures against them.  The Council determines that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken or to be taken by Israel, the occupying Power, including the Knesset’s decision of 22 November 2010 to hold a referendum before any withdrawal from the occupied Syrian Golan and East Jerusalem, that seek to alter the character and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan are null and void and have no legal effect.  The Council requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Governments, the competent United Nations organs, specialized agencies, international and regional intergovernmental organizations and international humanitarian organizations.
 
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (26): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
 
Against (3): Togo, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America.
 
Abstentions (18): Albania, Belgium, Botswana, Congo, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
 
 
Pakistan, introducing draft resolution L.11 on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that the draft resolution deplored the continued building of settlements in occupied Arab territories and made reference to relevant United Nations resolution and the provisions of international law.  The draft resolution focused on the grave human rights situation of Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and called upon the occupying power to comply with all United Nations and Human Rights Council resolutions, and expressed regret at the non-cooperation of the occupying power, Israel with the United Nations human rights mechanisms.  It further called upon the occupying power to allow access to detainees by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
 
United States, in a general comment, strongly and unequivocally opposed the existence of the Human Rights Council agenda item seven and said that the continued existence of this agenda item was among the largest threats to the credibility of this body.  All parties to this conflict had direct responsibilities for ending it, and the United States was disappointed that the Council continually singled out Israel for criticism without fully acknowledging the violent attacks directed against its people, nor the obligations and difficult steps required of both sides.  The United States reiterated its firm opposition to the creation of a database related to businesses that operated in settlements and would not provide any information to it.  The database fell outside of the Council’s mandate and drained precious resources that could be used to promote and protect human rights around the world.
 
Syria, speaking as the country concerned, said that Israel continued its policies of building new settlements, expanding settlements and requisitioning water for their projects.  The resolution rejected the settlement policy which aimed to change the demographic situation of Golan.  Israel also aimed to restrict the rights of the inhabitants of Golan, monitoring and controlling their rights, including their right to make a living. The resolution rejected Israel’s arbitrary policy against settlements and denounced those practices.  Israel therefore rejected the United Nations Charter and resolutions of the United Nations Security Council which stated that Israel was an occupying force.  Israel was attempting not to shoulder its international responsibility. 
 
Israel, speaking as the concerned country, said the resolutions were a repetitive manifestation of the absurdity and cynicism of the Council.  The five resolutions were rejected in their entirety and the “abominable item 7” should be removed from the Human Rights Council agenda.  It should not exist.  The Human Rights Council continued to deepen the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.  Despite the Council and not because of it, Israel would continue its efforts to achieve peace, security and prosperity.  Israel thanked all countries that did not support the resolutions and in particular its great friend and ally, the United States.
 
Germany, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, was deeply concerned about regional development and the ongoing widespread human rights violations over the past six years.  In this context, it was disproportionate to have a separate human rights situation on the Syrian Golan.  Any future text on the human rights situation in the occupied Syrian Golan should be negotiated in a wider context and the European Union could not support the draft resolution.
 
Paraguay, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated the legitimate right of Syrian, Israeli and Palestinian people to live peacefully within their internationally recognized borders.  Paraguay recognized Israel and Palestine as independent States which should engage in dialogue to find a solution, and should also respect human rights and international humanitarian law.  The draft resolution did not contribute to consolidating this dialogue between the parties because of its political bias.  Paraguay would thus abstain.
 
Action on Resolution on Ensuring Accountability and Justice for All Violations of International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.38) on ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, two against and 15 abstentions, the Council calls upon all duty bearers and United Nations bodies to pursue the implementation of the recommendations contained in the reports of the independent commission of inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict, the United Nations independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict;  also calls upon the parties concerned to cooperate fully with the preliminary examination of the International Criminal Court and with any subsequent investigation that may be opened; and calls upon all States to promote compliance with international law, and all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to respect, and to ensure respect for, international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.  The Council requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to 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 (30): Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
 
Against (2): Togo, and United States of America.
 
Abstentions (15): Albania, Croatia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
 
 
Pakistan, introducing draft resolution L.38 on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, explained that the objective of the draft resolution was to ensure accountability and justice in all the occupied Palestinian territory, including in East Jerusalem.  Impunity for all human rights abuses had to stop.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation called on all States to promote compliance with human rights obligations, and to show respect for international humanitarian law, and expressed hope that the resolution would be adopted by a broad consensus. 
 
Ecuador, in a general comment, stated that the range of resolutions on the occupied Palestinian territory should establish useful tools to address the rights of civilians there and to protect them from abuses perpetrated by both State and non-State actors.  It was important to pool efforts to ensure responsibilities of businesses in respecting human rights.  Once information was gathered on companies working on settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, the Council should take action to ensure that there were no human rights violations perpetrated by those companies.
 
State of Palestine, speaking as the concerned country, thanked the co-sponsors of the draft resolution and thanked the delegation of Pakistan for coordinating the efforts, as well as the European Union for its efforts which allowed a draft on which there was consensus among the States.  Law was non-negotiable, not any more than the provisions of law, which were codified to regulate interactions between States and groups.  Some strange innovations had been introduced by some countries seeking to settle scores.  When Israel was the topic of discussion, there was a change in nature.  If the Council proceeded in that fashion, it would be contributing to chaos, and the Council should take care it was not turning itself into a politicized forum.  Those responsible should bear the responsibility, and every person of Palestine who would be accused would take up their responsibilities, so why did that not apply to the opposite party?  Self-determination was a right, and it should not be possible for any person denying that right to claim they were promoting human rights.  Regarding the human rights situation in Palestine, Israel was the leading violator of human rights.  All the Geneva Conventions were being violated.  Ninety-three children had been killed in cold blood by the occupation forces.  There was also confiscation of natural resources and the people of Gaza had now been besieged for 10 years.  It was a topic which should give rise to reservations.  2017 was a year of changes for everyone, but wisdom had to be brought to bear.  The resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council in December was adopted unanimously.  It declared that the settlements were illegal.
 
Netherlands, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of Germany and the Netherlands, recalled that respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law was essential for peace and security in the region.  Accountability should be upheld and all those responsible for human rights violations should be held accountable.  The situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories should be discussed under item 4 or other items.  The scope of item 7 should not be expanded.
 
The Council then adopted draft resolution L.38 by a vote of 30 in favour, two against and 15 abstentions.
 
Action on Resolution on the Right of the Palestinian People to Self-determination
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.39) on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 43 in favour, two against and two abstentions, the Council reaffirms the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and the right to their independent State of Palestine;  calls upon all States to ensure their obligations of non-recognition, non-aid or assistance with regard to the serious breaches of peremptory norms of international law by Israel, and also calls upon them to cooperate further to bring, through lawful means, an end to these serious breaches and a reversal of Israel’s illegal policies and practices; and urges all States to adopt measures as required to promote the realization of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, and to render assistance to the United Nations in carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to it by the Charter regarding the implementation of this right.
 
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (43): 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, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Venezuela.
 
Against (2): Togo, and United States of America.
 
Abstentions (2): Panama, and Paraguay.
  
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other co-sponsors, introduced draft resolution L.39.  The realization of the right to self-determination was crucial and the draft resolution focused on that right for the Palestinian people.  In the operative part, it reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to live in freedom, justice and dignity, and their right to the independent State of Palestine.  It reaffirmed support for a two-State solution.  It urged the international community to support the Palestinian people and contained facts that were recognized and acknowledged by the international community.  
 
The Council then adopted the draft resolution by a recorded vote of 43 in favour to 2 against with 2 abstentions.
 
Action on Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.40) on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 41 in favour, two against and four abstentions, the Council stresses the need for Israel, the occupying Power, to withdraw from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, so as to enable the Palestinian people to exercise its universally recognized right to self-determination;  demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and cease immediately all measures and actions taken in violation and in breach of the Convention; and demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all practices and actions that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people.  The Council also demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease immediately its imposition of prolonged closures and economic and movement restrictions, including those amounting to a blockade on the Gaza Strip; calls upon Israel to explicitly prohibit torture, including psychological torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and calls upon Israel to immediately cease any demolitions or plans for demolitions that would result in the forcible transfer or forced eviction of Palestinians.  The Council requests the High Commissioner to report on the implementation of the present resolution to the Human Rights Council, with a particular focus on the factors perpetuating the arbitrary detention of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails in consultation with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, at its thirty-seventh session.

The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (41): Albania, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Venezuela.
 
Against (2): Togo, and United States of America.
 
Abstentions (4): Congo, Panama, Paraguay, and Rwanda.
 
Pakistan, introducing draft resolution L.40 on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that the text addressed the human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, which included the use of excessive force against Palestinian civilians and violations of their rights to life, liberty, freedom of movement, education and to property.  It reaffirmed the core principles and rules of international law and called on the occupying forces to comply with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and with its legal obligations under international humanitarian law.  It also urged Member States to continue to provide emergency assistance to the Palestinian people to alleviate the financial crisis and the socio-economic and humanitarian situation, particularly in the Gaza Strip.
 
Germany, in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, voiced strong commitment to the two-State solution and Palestinian aspirations for self-determination.  Jewish settlements were illegal under international law and jeopardized the two-State solution.  The European Union condemned restrictions of movement and access, arbitrary detention and the building of the wall.  Accountability was a corner stone for peace and stability in the region.  The European Union would vote in favour of the draft resolution.  
 
The Council then adopted the draft resolution L.40 by a vote of 41 in favour, two against and four abstentions.
 
Action on the Resolution L.41 Rev 1 on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in the Occupied Syrian Golan
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.41/Rev.1) on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted as orally revised by a vote of 36 in favour, two against and nine abstentions, the Council calls upon Israel to accept the de jure applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;  demands that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately cease all settlement activities in all the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan; and also demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with its legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice, including to cease forthwith the works of construction of the wall being built in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  The Council urges all States and international organizations to ensure that they are not taking actions that either recognize as lawful, aid or assist the expansion of settlements or the construction of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; and calls upon all States to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967, including not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in these territories.  The Council decides to convene, at its thirty-sixth session, a panel discussion on “Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”, and requests the High Commissioner to report on the implementation of the provisions of the present resolution, with particular emphasis on the policies and practices linked to the settlement enterprise that discriminate against the Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, at its thirty-seventh session.
 
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (36): Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
 
Against (2): Togo, and United States of America.
 
Abstentions (9): Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Pakistan, introduced on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other co-sponsors draft resolution L.41/Rev.1 and introduced an additional revision to operative paragraph 11.  The draft text sought to address human rights challenges in the occupied territories, and affirmed that the transfer by the occupying power of its civilian population violated relevant provisions of customary law and the Geneva Conventions.  Settlements including in East Jerusalem were an obstacle to peace and the resolution condemned settlement-related activities such as expansion.  Israel was called on to fulfil its international obligations.  In addressing that situation, the Council would keep its commitment to international humanitarian rights law.   
 
Syria, speaking as the concerned country, recalled that the draft once again reasserted that the settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory and the Syrian Golan were illegal.  It called on the occupying power to stop building illegal settlements and to live up to its obligations.  Demolitions, seizure of land and deportation of Palestinians were illegal.  Syria called on the Israeli authorities to do away with those settlement that had already been built.  The draft resolution continued to be presented because the Security Council had declared that the occupation was a gross violation of human rights.  Syria reminded that the United States handed down lessons on human rights and asked for a vote on some draft resolutions.  The European Union had always spoken out against the occupation.  Sincere defence of human rights required that Israel withdraw from the occupied territories.
 
Netherlands, in an explanation of vote before the vote on behalf of Germany and the Netherlands, expressed concern about efforts to include new elements in the resolutions.  Germany and Netherlands were against a boycott of Israel.  Settlements were a major threat to reaching a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.  The Netherlands and Germany had decided to support the resolution, but that did not imply a recognition of a State of Palestine by Germany or the Netherlands.
 
The Council then adopted the resolution, as orally revised, by a recorded vote of 36 in favour to 2 against with 9 abstentions. 
 
Explanations of the Vote after the Vote after the Conclusion of Taking Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories
 
United Kingdom, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that a just solution to deliver peace in Palestine and Israel was overdue.  But, a bias against Israel undermined the Council’s credibility.  There was a serious concern about the demolition of Palestinian homes and the use of arbitrary detention by Israel.  The trend of Israel’s conduct in the occupied Palestinian territory had been negative, but there had also been terrorist attacks on Israelis.  Israel was the only country permanently on the Council’s agenda.  The United Kingdom could not vote for the draft resolution on the Syrian Golan because the resolution singled out Israel.  If that trend continued, the United Kingdom would opt out.
 
Brazil, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, reminded that it had voted in favour of the resolutions on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, and urged Israel to uphold the human rights of populations there, particularly of vulnerable groups.  However, the repetition of the mechanical language in those resolutions did not reflect the situation on the ground.  Some parts were not balanced.  Brazil called on both parties to act in restraint.  The concrete impact of repeated resolutions on the ground was questionable and it would not allow both parties to commit to a two-State solution and the establishment of a sovereign State of Palestine.
 
Egypt, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said it was not the case that Israel was singled out.  What was being discussed was illegitimate practices under human rights law.  All were invited to respect the Council members and the Human Rights Council itself, one could not doubt the credibility of the Council nor of resolutions passed within it.
 
Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
 
Action on Resolution on Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief 
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.10) on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon all States to take effective measures to ensure that public functionaries, in the conduct of their public duties, do not discriminate against an individual on the basis of religion or belief; to foster religious freedom and pluralism by promoting the ability of members of all religious communities to manifest their religion, and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society; and to encourage the representation and meaningful participation of individuals, irrespective of their religion, in all sectors of society.  The Council also requests the High Commissioner to prepare and submit to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-seventh session a comprehensive follow-up report with elaborated conclusions based upon information provided by States on the efforts and measures taken for the implementation of the action plan outlined in paragraphs 7 and 8 above, and views on potential follow-up measures for further improvement of the implementation of that plan.
 
Pakistan, introducing the draft resolution L.10 on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, explained that the resolution exemplified the spirit of constructive engagement and mutual collaboration within the Council.  It addressed the ways and means to deal with the rising trend of religious intolerance, xenophobia, racial hatred, discrimination and racial profiling in different parts of the world.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation was alarmed by the recent rise of rightist, anti-immigrant political parties with Islamophobic agendas in many developed countries.  It was also disturbed by the growing trend of media stereotyping of Muslims and the promotion of hate speech in the form of populist politics leading to incitement to violence and hatred against immigrant communities.  Muslims were being subjected to racial profiling which confronted them with intractable problems while traveling or seeking employment.  Their businesses were repeatedly scrutinized and their places of worship disallowed or desecrated.  The prevailing discriminatory and selective application of the right of freedom of expression and the double standards used in that context were of serious concern.
 
Egypt, in a general comment, said the resolution included a roadmap as well as steps to deal with certain phenomena.  In that context, Egypt hoped the resolution was helpful in dealing with discrimination of Muslims and foreigners in western countries and violations seen against Muslim and Arab communities in many parts of the world.  Egypt was joining the consensus based on a number of factors, and Egypt looked forward to seeing the resolution activated on the ground.  The current frameworks were not governmental and fell outside the scope of the United Nations system.
 
Germany, on behalf of the European Union, in a general comment, joined consensus on the resolution and deplored attacks.  It was because of attacks that all had to promote tolerance, peace and respect.  Tolerance was more than just passing resolutions.  All had to take steps, and the action plan provided useful steps.  The international community had to have respect at the heart of everything it did.  Combatting intolerance based on religion or belief was to promote and protect human rights.  That included the right to freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief itself.  The European Union supported consensus on L.10 and its central message of standing together and combatting hatred.
 
The Council then adopted the draft resolution without a vote.
 
Action on Resolution on the Establishment of a Forum on People of African Descent
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.28/Rev.1) on the establishment of a forum on people of African descent, adopted without a vote, the Council invites the President of the General Assembly to facilitate, during the seventy-first session, a resolution on the establishment of a forum on people of African descent; recommends that the General Assembly establish a forum on people of African descent, in accordance with the recommendation contained in paragraph 29 (i) of the programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent, the modalities of which should reflect the views and preferences of the communities concerned; and decides to allocate three days of the annual session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action to the forum on people of African descent, in accordance with the recommendation contained in paragraph 29 (i) of the programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent.
 
Tunisia, introducing draft resolution L.28/Rev.1 on behalf of the African Group, said that the resolution aimed to give impetus to the establishment of a forum on people of African descent.  It allocated three days of the annual session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action to the forum.  It also invited the President of the General Assembly to facilitate a plenary resolution establishing the forum.
 
Germany, in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, remained committed to the prevention of discrimination of persons of African descent on any ground and reiterated its commitment of the successful implementation of the International Decade on People of African Descent.  The European Union believed that the forum should be able to look into discrimination of persons of African descent in every part of the world.  The European welcomed the establishment of the forum on people of African descent, and would thus join the consensus on the draft resolution.
 
Brazil, in a general comment on behalf of a group of States, said the resolution was a substantial achievement.  Delegations from all regions were thanked for their participation with the negotiations.  The struggle against all forms of human rights violations, including racism and xenophobia and related intolerance, was universal.  The decision was welcomed, and the international community had to be united in the fight against inequality.
 
The Council then adopted the draft resolution without a vote.
 
Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.29/Rev.1) on the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by a vote of46 in favour, one against and no abstentions, the Council decides to renew the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action for a further period of three years; and requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to make the report on the fourteenth session of the Working Group available in order to enable the Chair-Rapporteur to present it to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fifth session.
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (46): 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, Republic of Korea, 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.
 
Abstention (0):

Tunisia, introducing on behalf of  the African Group draft resolution L.29 / Rev.1 on the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, said the draft document was a procedural resolution renewing the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group for a further period of three years and requesting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to make the report of the fourteenth session of the Working Group available, in order to enable the Chairperson-Rapporteur to present it to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fifth session.  The draft resolution did not contain any substantive elements.  The African Group remained seized and committed to this important matter of the promotion and protection of equality and human dignity.  It hoped that Member States would join the African Group towards the promotion and protection of equality and human dignity by supporting this draft resolution and adopting git by consensus.
 
United States, in a general comment, said it would vote against the resolution, explaining that it could not support the resolution due to its concerns about the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the outcome of the Durban Review Conference.  The resolution served as a vehicle to prolong the divisions caused by the Durban Conference and its follow-up rather than providing a comprehensive and inclusive way forward to fight racism.
 
Belgium, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reminded that in Durban, United Nations Member States had for the first time reached a consensus on fighting racism and xenophobia.  Any discrimination based on race was contrary to Belgian laws.  Unfortunately, it remained prevalent across the world.  The Intergovernmental Working Group was a crucial instrument in that context, and Belgium invited all States to develop practical solutions to fight racism and xenophobia.  It invited countries to vote in favour of the draft resolution.
 
The Council then adopted the draft resolution by a vote of 46 in favour, one against and zero abstentions.
 
Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.30) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance for a further period of three years, in accordance with the terms of reference contained in Human Rights Council resolution 7/34; encourages the Special Rapporteur to continue with the execution of the mandate, particularly in the light of the current resurgent manifestations of all the scourges of racism, some of which have taken violent forms; and requests the Special Rapporteur to submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly on all activities relating to the mandate with a view to maximizing the benefits of the reporting process.
 
Tunisia, introducing draft resolution L.30 on behalf of the African Group, said it was a procedural resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years and did not contain any substantive elements.  The African Group remained committed to this important matter on the promotion and protection of equality and human dignity.  It thanked all States and regional groups who had participated actively and engaged constructively during the negotiation of the draft resolution, and hoped Member States would join the African Group in adopting L.30 by consensus.
 
United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, stated that it dissociated itself from the draft resolution due to its concerns about the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
 
The Council then adopted the draft resolution L.30 without a vote. 
 
Action on Resolution on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.31/Rev.1) on the elaboration of complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, four against and 12 abstentions, the Council  decides to implement the request of General Assembly contained in its resolution 71/181 by requesting the Chair-Rapporteur of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Human Rights Council on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to ensure the commencement of the negotiations on the draft additional protocol to the Convention criminalizing acts of a racist and xenophobic nature during the tenth session of the Ad Hoc Committee.
 
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (31): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
 
Against (4): Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America.
 
Abstentions (12): Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, India, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, and Slovenia.
 
Tunisia, introducing draft resolution L.31.Rev.1 on behalf of African Group, said the draft resolution was aimed at giving impetus to the implementation of the request of the General Assembly contained in its resolution 71/181 by requesting the Chair Rapporteur of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Human Rights Council on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards to the International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to ensure the commencement of the negotiations on the draft additional protocol to the Convention criminalizing acts of  a racist and xenophobic nature during the tenth session of the Ad Hoc Committee.  The African Group believed that the dialogue that the Ad Hoc Committee had had since its inception provided it with ample opportunity to reflect on this substantive gap to the Convention.  It also believed that the victims of profiling in this area required better protection, maximum remedies and total elimination of impunity for the perpetration of these acts of racism.
 
United States, in a general comment, said it would vote against the draft resolution.  It remained committed to fight all forms of racial discrimination under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  It believed that the Convention provided comprehensive protections and constituted the primary international framework to address all forms of racial discrimination.  The push to negotiate a new protocol to the Convention not only distracted from the implementation of existing obligations, but also risked undermining the Convention by implying that it did not already provide comprehensive protections in that area.  It was also worrying that any new protocol would be used to criminalize protected forms of speech and expression. 
 
South Africa, in a general comment, noted that Nelson Mandela was the embodiment of the struggle against racial discrimination and the best way to honour him was to continue that fight.  It urged all Member States to walk the talk and support the draft resolution. 
 
Brazil, in a general comment, on behalf of Brazil, Mexico Paraguay and Uruguay, said L.31 reflected a resolution not cited by the General Assembly.  They would have preferred the General Assembly to incorporate it by promoting dialogue through the presentation of concrete proposals.  They looked forward to the document being provided by the Ad Hoc Committee on possible areas of consensus, which would be a first step for a more robust document to be embraced by the entire international community.  The deliberations of the Ad Hoc Committee should be respected, and the decisions must be adopted by consensus, and therefore required regional groups to find common ground on issues.  The draft resolution did not reflect consensus.
 
Bolivia, in a general comment, thanked the African Group for drafting the draft resolution. It regretted that negative stereotypes were promoted by neo-colonialist States.  Denial of the problem of xenophobia was incomprehensible and Bolivia had always been against all forms of xenophobia and all forms of intolerance.  It was a pressing matter and Bolivia urged States to vote in favour of L.31 as revised.
 
Germany, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, remained fully committed to the eradication of racism and xenophobia.  The European Union had taken legal and practical steps to address those issues.  The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was and should remain the basis to eradicate all forms of racism.  Its implementation was, however, lagging behind.  As there had been no consensus on gaps in the Convention, the European Union could not support the start of negotiations of an additional protocol to the Convention.
 
The Council then adopted the draft resolution L.31/Rev.1 by a vote of 31 in favour, four against, and 12 abstentions.

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