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Council extends mandate on racism, adopts texts on right to food, HIV/AIDS, situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab States

AFTERNOON

25 March 2011

Also Adopts Texts on Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea Before Concluding Sixteenth Session

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 12 texts in which it extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on racism and racial discrimination, and tackled issues concerning human rights and international solidarity, the right to food, the protection of human rights in the context of HIV/AIDS, the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, and the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.

Concerning the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, the Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further three years. Nigeria introduced the resolution on behalf of the African Group and the United States spoke in explanation of the vote before the vote.

Under its agenda item on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, the Council adopted four resolutions concerning the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem; the right of Palestinian people to self determination; Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan; and follow-up to the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict.

Speaking in introduction of these resolutions was Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Speaking in general comments or explanations of the vote before the vote were United States, Argentina, Brazil, Hungary, Russian Federation and China.
Palestine, Syria and Israel spoke as concerned countries.

Under its agenda item on technical assistance and capacity, the Council adopted a resolution in which it resolved that the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Burundi would report to the Council at its seventeenth session, to be followed by an interactive dialogue. Concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Council urged the Government to redouble its efforts , with the support of the international community, to expeditiously put an end to all violations of human rights and bring the perpetrators to justice. With regard to Guinea, the Council invited the Government to pursue efforts to implement the recommendations of the international commission of inquiry related to combating impunity for those responsible for or involved in serious human rights violations, in particular acts of sexual violence against women and girls.

Speaking in introduction of the resolutions was Nigeria on behalf of the African Group. Speaking in general comments or explanations of the vote before the vote were the United States and Hungary on behalf of the European Union. Speaking as concerned countries were Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea.

With regard to the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, the Council extended his mandate until June 2011. Cuba introduced the resolution and Hungary on behalf of the European Union and the United States made general comments. The Republic of Korea spoke in explanation of the vote after the vote.

Concerning the right to food, the Council expressed grave concern at the evolution of the world food crisis, which seriously undermined the realization of the right to food for all. Cuba introduced the resolution and commenting on it were Republic of Korea, Argentina and Brazil, Nigeria on behalf of the African Group, Cuba, Mauritania, Spain, Norway, Guatemala, Belgium, Hungary, Brazil and the United States.

On the protection of human rights in the context of HIV/AIDS, the Council decided to hold a panel discussion at its nineteenth session to give voice to people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Brazil introduced the resolution and speaking on it were Nigeria on behalf of the African Group, United States, Uganda, Pakistan, Cuba, Nigeria and Brazil. Speaking in explanations of the vote after the vote under the agenda item on the promotion and protection of all human rights were Switzerland, Chile, Maldives, Spain, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Ecuador.

A President’s Statement was adopted concerning the work of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.

Observer States speaking at the end of the meeting were Algeria, India, Egypt, Bolivia, South Africa, Indonesia, Austria and Sri Lanka. Also speaking were the Vice President and Rapporteur of the Council, the International Service for Human Rights in a joint statement, Tajikistan and Nigeria on behalf of the African Group.

The seventeenth regular session of the Human Rights Council will be held from 30 May to 17 June.

 

Action on Resolution Under Agenda Item on Organizational and Procedural Matters

Action on Resolution on Postponement of the Renewal of the Mandate of the Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.40) regarding the postponement of the renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 14 against, and no abstentions, the Council decided to postpone the renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity to its seventeenth session, and for that reason to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert until June 2011.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (32): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, Uruguay, and Zambia.

Against (14): Belgium, France, Hungary, Japan, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America.

Abstentions (0):

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), introducing draft resolution L.40, said that Cuba regretted having to ensure that the Human Rights Council considers a draft submitted in this manner and this initiative should have priority. They submitted this draft because the mandate had not been fulfilled after a three year period. They introduced this resolution as a case of force major and they wanted to make sure that there was no vacuum in the protection system and they did not want any discontinuity in the mandate which was particularly important for developing countries and least developed countries. The Council had to think about the three values of the French revolution: equality, liberty and fraternity and the latest one was the one on which the resolution was focused on. It was not the first time that this was happening, in 2006 during the institutional process the Council had agreed on postponing the mandate of all Special Rapporteurs. It was also a question of understanding and this proposal affected the work and functioning of the Council. Cuba asked the Council to ensure that the mandate would continue to be operational. Perhaps the countries that did not support the mandate in the past did not support the project. Cuba hoped that this resolution would be approved.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, said the European Union attached the highest importance to international solidarity. The European Union had serious conceptual doubts if the principle of international solidarity could be translated into human rights issues. As the draft resolution was not an organizational or procedural issue but an extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur the decision should not have been presented to the Council today. The European Union said it would call for a vote and would vote against the resolution.

MARK J. CASSAYRE (United States), speaking in a general comment, said that the United States expressed its concern about the extension of the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity. The acceptance of the text was outside of the usual rules of procedure. The United States appreciated the explanations to this regard. The United States noted that the Council members did not have enough time to discuss the draft resolution. This mandate had always prompted a vote and it was more appropriate to use time and resources to address many other important issues in the Council. The United States did not support the extension of this mandate and said it would vote against it.

Explanation of the Vote After the Vote at the End of the Agenda Item on Organizational and Procedural Matters

PARK SANG-KI (Republic of Korea), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that in reference to the resolution L.5, on the Flotilla incident, they were concerned about the humanitarian situation and it was important to pursue this matter and ensure that the outcome of the inquiry was finalized. The Republic of Korea had abstained on voting on the resolution and they hoped that the Commission of Inquiry would soon complete its work.

Action on Resolutions Under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights

Action on Resolution on the Right to Food

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.17) regarding the right to food, adopted without a vote, the Council reaffirms that hunger constitutes an outrage and a violation of human dignity and therefore requires the adoption of urgent measures at the national, regional and international levels for its elimination; also reaffirms the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger, so as to be able to fully develop and maintain his or her physical and mental capacities; expresses grave concern at the evolution of the world food crisis, which seriously undermines the realization of the right to food for all, especially for one sixth of the world population, mainly in developing and least developed countries, who suffer from hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity; requests the Office of the High Commissioner to collect the views and comments of all Member States, all relevant United Nations special agencies and programmes and all other relevant stakeholders so that the Advisory Committee take them into account for the conclusion of its comprehensive studies; and requests the Advisory Committee to continue to work on the issue of discrimination in the context of the right to food and, in that regard, takes note of its preliminary study on ways and means to further advance the rights of people living in rural areas, particularly smallholders engaged in the production of food and/or other agricultural products.

The Council voted on rejected oral amendments (as proposed by Mauritania) by a vote of 3 in favour, 31 against, and 9 abstentions.

LUIS AMOROS NUNEZ (Cuba), speaking in introduction of resolution L.17, said there were an additional 40 sponsors on the resolution on the right to food. This text was the outcome of wide consultations and provided continuity to the Human Rights Council, specific mandates to the Special Rapporteur and follow up to the world food crisis. It was shameful that one sixth of the world’s population was suffering from hunger. This initiative required political will to battle the combined effects of the world food crisis and the world economic crisis. Developing countries were the most affected by the dramatic rise in the price of food stuffs. Cuba hoped the changes made to the text would allow all delegations to be able to accept the draft resolution.

PARK YOUNG-KYU (Republic of Korea), speaking in a general comment, said that they fully recognized the importance of promoting and protecting the right to food and would join consensus on the draft resolution. They raised the following points with regard to paragraph 45 and 47 which referred to the preliminary study of the Advisory Committee on the advancement of people working in rural areas. In this regard, the Republic of Korea said that this did not have much to do with the right to food. In certain cases the preliminary study referred to facts and figures on certain countries that needed to be supported by further reliable evidence.

HECTOR RAUL PELAEZ (Argentina), speaking with Brazil in a general comment, said that Argentina and Brazil would like the resolution to address the barriers that stood in the way to the right to food and which produced negative effects such as subsidies levied in developed countries that distorted trade. Argentina said all subsidies and internal aid measures should be done away with as such policies prevented developing countries from being able to benefit from their comparative advantage. A lasting solution required a comprehensive approach to tackling food security including structural problems, lack of access to markets, lack of credit, insufficient technical assistance for small scale agriculture and lack of food aid.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking in a general comment on behalf of the African Group, said that the resolution addressed issues critically important to humanity, particularly in Africa. The African Group recognised that for countries that produced commodities, there were certain variables that could hinder that production and the African Group recognised that subsidises applied in developed countries were a great impediment for developing countries, as they removed level playing fields and neutralised comparative advantage of developing countries. The African Group then proposed an oral amendment to the text that was amounting to clarification, in the operative paragraphs thirty-one and thirty-six. The African Group hoped Cuba would not mind those revisions. Responding to the comment of the President that the African Group was in fact a co-sponsor of the resolution and was therefore not in a position to put forward an amendment, Nigeria said it was sorry and would look for a partner to make the suggestions.

LUIS AMOROS NUNEZ. (Cuba), speaking in a general comment, made a clarification on the issue raised by Nigeria regarding paragraph 31 which was introduced in the draft resolution because they were trying to take in account the work of the African region. So that was the reason why they inserted this paragraph. Regarding paragraph 36 they were ready to remove the word “appreciation”, and they were more than ready to do what was suggested by Nigeria but all the delegations would need to agree as well.

CHEIKH AHMED OULD ZAHAF (Mauritania), speaking in a general comment, said it wished to introduce two oral amendments: instead of welcome should say take note and delete appreciate.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in a general comment, said it had no problems to accommodate the proposal of Mauritania that took into account the concern of Nigeria. However, Cuba would ask the President to see if there was any objection to the amendment among the other co-sponsors and if there was then would ask Mauritania not to insist on their proposals.

PABLO GOMEZ DE OLEA BUSTINZA (Spain), speaking in a general comment, said that Spain had always co-sponsored this resolution and had supported the mandate-holder. Spain had some issues with proposed oral revisions and did not know why paragraph 36 should be changed after months of negotiations. Spain said that it would rather remain with the text as tabled.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), in a general comment, proposed that Mauritania and Nigeria not insist on the revisions, due to the heavy agenda of the Council. Cuba asked for the withdrawal of the amendments and said the concerns would be taken into account in the future.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking in a general comment, said that the right to food was very important. They were not willing to change the amendment they had proposed. Paragraph 31 talked about negotiations carried out in the Food and Agricultural Organization. In paragraph 37, saying “takes note with appreciation” meant authorizing the Secretariat to implement those recommendations. If their amendment was not accepted Nigeria would call for a vote on this resolution.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in a general comment, said that the Food and Agricultural Organization was an intergovernmental body. Cuba said it was sorry but it would call for a vote on the amendment made by Nigeria.

BENTE ENGELL-HANSEN (Norway), in a general comment, said that Norway called for a vote on the two paragraphs.

CARLOS RAMIRO MARTINEZ ALVARADO (Guatemala), in a general comment, said that the discussion was not about the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations but about the procedures. Guatemala as a co-sponsor went back to the original text and said that this was not an appropriate moment to renegotiate the text that had been negotiated over weeks. Guatemala said it felt games were being played and said that there was an appropriate time for negotiations.

YANNICK MINSIER (Belgium), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that they had not heard anyone who was in a position to do so call for a vote.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that they would like to have an explanation of positions before the vote.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking in a general comment, said that at this point of time Nigeria was ready to move ahead in affirming what it had said to make sure that order was brought into the Human Rights Council. Nigeria asked Member States to vote for this amendment.

MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO (Brazil), said it would like to know what were the implications of the change of the language in paragraph 36?

ERIC TISTOUNET (Secretariat) said that there would be no more to say than that it was a positive appreciation of the report.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union was fully committed to the realization of the right to food and the two International Covenants. The European Union had finalized a study on how to ensure food security through international cooperation. On 15 March the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization highlighted the need for States to allocate domestic resources to agriculture. However, the European Union was concerned that this resolution focused on other issues, rather than on the right to food. In order to ensure a positive contribution to the Human Rights Council, it was necessary that the focus remain human rights. In addition, the resolution contained language on speculation and there was the need to eliminate the current distortion. Good accountable governments and the enjoyment of the full range of rights were all crucial to ensure food security at a sustainable basis. The European Union was of the view that the resolution overburdened the Council and the Secretariat with new tasks only in part related to the right to food. The European Union hoped that in the future years the resolution would be focused only on the full realization of the rights to food. For this reason the European Union joined consensus on this resolution.

PATRICK REILLY (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the United States was pleased to join the consensus on the resolution on the right to food. The right to food was interdependent with the protection of other human rights and the United States supported the themes of food security and access to food. The United States was committed to reducing by half the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 2015. Securing the right to food should be achieved progressively through transparent and democratic processes. The United States noted that this resolution continued to contain extraneous topics such as an emphasis of the rights of people working in rural areas which was not appropriate to be addressed in this resolution. The resolution also continued to contain language on a food crisis and the United States said the world was not in a food crisis and that speculation had not caused such a crisis. Several paragraphs called for action by international organizations and the United States called on those organizations to act as they thought appropriate. The United States believed that trade negotiations were beyond the expertise of the Human Rights Council and reiterated its commitment to the liberalization of trade and the Doha Round and said that a free and open trading system under consistent rules would have benefits to the global economic system.

Action on Resolution on the Protection of Human Rights in the Context of HIV and AIDS

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.22) regarding the protection of human rights in the context of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council urges States to ensure full and unimpeded access for all to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support in a public health environment free from discrimination, harassment or persecution against those seeking HIV-related services; calls upon States, United Nations funds, programmes and specialized agencies and international and non-governmental organizations to assist developing countries in their efforts to prevent the spread of the epidemic and alleviate and control the detrimental impact of HIV/AIDS on the human rights of their people; calls upon States and relevant stakeholders to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of medicines and health-care services for HIV-positive pregnant women, with a view to eliminating vertical transmission and securing the health of those women; calls upon States to address as a priority the vulnerabilities faced by children and adolescents affected by and living with HIV, providing those children and their families with support, rehabilitation, including social and psychological rehabilitation and care, including pediatric services and medicines, and intensifying efforts to develop early diagnosis tools, child-friendly medicine combinations and new treatments for children, particularly infants living in resource-limited settings; encourages all States to consider the elimination of HIV-specific restrictions on entry, stay and residence and ensure that people living with HIV are no longer excluded, detained or deported on the basis of their HIV status; requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to engage actively with the 2011 General Assembly High-level Meeting on AIDS, providing a human rights-based perspective, and to inform the Council thereon; and decides to hold a panel discussion at its nineteenth session, in consultations with all regional groups to give voice to people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, in particular young people, women and orphaned children with a view to taking into account their recommendations in reinforcing the centrality of human rights in the response to HIV/AIDS, in the context of the timely achievement of the Millennium Development Goal number six.

CIRO LEAL MARTINS DA CUNHA (Brazil), introducing resolution L.22, said that the text built upon existing human rights standards and the need for increasing international cooperation. The draft resolution requested the Office of the High Commissioner to engage on the 2011 General Assembly meeting on HIV/AIDS. They were certain that the draft resolution would send a strong message for the process in New York and Brazil had incorporated the views of all delegations. They hoped that this draft would be adopted by consensus. The resolution had all the best intentions and they would like everybody to have access to treatment if they lived with HIV/AIDS. Anyone in Brazil could have access to treatment for heath but taking a good look at the text there was nothing that could prejudge any culture. They held extensive consultations but they had to go forward and not backward and they hoped that tolerance would prevail. The resolution called for a panel for people who lived with HIV.

They had 10 additional co-sponsors.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group in a general comment, said Brazil had reached out for compromises. The African Group asked for five minutes to consider the text with Brazil.

MARGARET WANG (United States), said that the Obama Administration had made the fight against AIDS a priority and that the United States would do this by strengthening partnerships around the world to fight AIDS. The metric for success was simple, lives saved. The promotion of human rights was an essential component of UNAIDS to ensure that those who had AIDS should not face discrimination or violence.

JUSTINIAN MUHWEZI KATEERA (Uganda), speaking in a general comment, said that Uganda attached the greatest importance to this issue and to this resolution and they supported the call made by Nigeria to suspend for some minutes the meeting so that Uganda could join consensus with the delegation of Brazil on this issue.

MUHAMMAD SAEED SARWAR (Pakistan), speaking in general comment, said that the subject of HIV in the context of human rights could not be done by incorporating other international organizations. The debate on HIV had been secured while ignoring this issue, and they did not agree with the definition of key populations attempted in this resolution. Pakistan raised reservations on a number of documents contained in the resolution. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action stated that particularities and religious backgrounds had to be brought in mind while protecting human rights and their concerns were not taken on board. For this reason, Pakistan rejected some operative paragraphs contained in the resolution.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in a general comment, said that Cuba did not have a problem with this resolution but Djibouti was not in the room.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking in a general comment, said Nigeria had finished the consultations with its group and would pass the floor to Brazil.

MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO (Brazil), speaking in a general comment, said there was a culture of tolerance in Brazil and therefore Brazil would present two amendments asked for by the African Group. Brazil introduced these two oral amendments to the text on L.22.

Explanations on the Vote after the Vote on Resolutions Under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights

JURG LAUBER (Switzerland), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that they regretted the fact that yesterday the Council adopted resolution L. 6 on promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action stipulated that it was not possible to lose cultural diversity and Switzerland believed that traditional values could not be put into question. This Declaration was a common mode that had to be followed by all people and the United Nations had been developing human rights law. Switzerland recalled that human rights education and training was an available tool. They made an explanation related to their position related to L.22 just adopted and thanked the delegations for preserving the consensus. Switzerland said that it was difficult not to remember the efforts taken in other relevant fora and they did share the main provisions of this resolution to fight any discrimination.

VICENTE ZERAN (Chile), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said the text took many different approaches because tackling HIV AIDS included the protection of human rights. Regarding the reference to the promotion and protection of reproductive health rights, Chile said this should not include abortion as it was not allowed under Chile’s laws.

SHINEEN RASHID (Maldives), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that the Maldives believed in the universality of human rights and said it would not accept any move towards relativism in human rights. Those were the parameters under which the Maldives had viewed the resolution on promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind put before the Council yesterday and had been able to vote in favour.

PABLO GOMEZ DE OLEA BUSTINZA (Spain), speaking in a general comment, said the right to food was of upmost importance. The international community should enshrine this right now during the moment of an international crisis where there was insufficient food in the world. More than one third of children who died before the age of five died due to malnutrition. Spain said that the resolution on the right to food took the focus on this area one step further in the Council and said the fight against hunger and ensuring the Millennium Development Goals were achieved were essential.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, pointed out that the resolution on HIV concerned Africa fundamentally and the work for Africa that Brazil was doing. With respect to paragraphs 13 and 14 they were talking about “key population” and in the outcome of the decision they explained what was meant by this. It meant that they were also underestimating the capacity of African people to take decisions. In terms of the resolution on traditional values, for Africa it was important because it was related to family and children.

AHMED SULEIMAN IBRAHIM ALAQUIL (Saudi Arabia), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, thanked the delegation of Brazil for concerted efforts to reach consensus on resolution L.22 on the protection of human rights in the context of HIV/AIDS and added that Saudi Arabia did not want to stand in the way of consensus, but Saudi Arabia did not agree with the wording of several paragraphs.

ALFONSO MORALES (Ecuador), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that Ecuador supported the resolution on the right to water and sanitation because it was an essential requirement. The right to water was an essential human right enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador and should be guaranteed by all States.

Action on Resolutions Under the Agenda Item on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories

Action on Resolution on Grave Violations by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Including East Jerusalem

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/28) regarding the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as orally revised, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, 1 against, and 15 abstentions, the Council demands that the occupying Power, Israel, end its occupation of the Palestinian land occupied since 1967, and that it respect its commitments within the peace process towards the establishment of the independent sovereign Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace and security with all its neighbours; strongly condemns the continuous Israeli military attacks and operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including its regular military incursions, and calls for their immediate cessation and condemns also the indiscriminate rocket and mortar fire from the occupied Gaza Strip against civilians and calls for their immediate cessation; demands that the occupying Power, Israel, stop the targeting of civilians and halt its administrative decisions and practices that directly or indirectly coerce Palestinian citizens to leave East Jerusalem, including evictions, demolitions, forced displacements, cancelation of residence permits and the systematic destruction of the cultural heritage of the Palestinian people, in addition to the destruction of public and private properties, as laid down in the fourth Geneva Convention; also demands that the occupying Power, Israel, immediately stop its illegal decisions to demolish a large number of Palestinian houses in East Jerusalem, including in the neighbourhood area of Al-Bustan in Selwan, and the evacuation of Palestinian families in Al-Sheikh Jarrah and Beit Hanina areas of East Jerusalem, which is resulting in the displacement of a large number of resident Palestinians of East Jerusalem; further demands that the occupying Power, Israel, release Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including women, children and elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council; calls upon the occupying Power, Israel, to lift checkpoints and open all crossing points and borders according to relevant international agreements; demands that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately lift the siege imposed on the occupied Gaza Strip, and that it open all borders and crossing points and allow the free access of fuel, humanitarian needs and medicine in addition to all necessary materials and equipment needed for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Gaza, as agreed upon at the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on 2 March 2009; and decides to continue the consideration of this question at its nineteenth session.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (30): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, and Uruguay.

Against (1): United States of America.

Abstentions (15): Belgium, Cameroon, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Zambia.

MARIAM MADIHA AFTAB (Pakistan), introducing draft resolution L. 28 on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said that the resolution condemned Israel’s persistent violations of all the human rights of the occupied Palestinian people. The preamble of the resolution underlined the right of all people to self determination and the inadmissibility of acquisition of land by the use of force. Pakistan informed the Council that there were some changes in the operative part of the draft resolution. The Organization of the Islamic Conference believed that the Council was dealing with a grave humanitarian crisis and hoped that the Council members would adopt this resolution with consensus.

There were two additional co-sponsors.

EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States), speaking in a general comment, said the United States was deeply concerned about the suffering of the Palestinian and Israeli people and stressed that only negotiations between the two parties to achieve a two-State solution would resolve the problem and lead to peace. Israel should take steps to stop settlement activity. The United States had not accepted the legitimacy of Israel’s settlements. The United States said the Palestinians should reform governance institutions and end incitement to violence. The United States was deeply troubled with the resolution because it failed to address the real challenges of the region. The surest way to protect the rights of both peoples was to move the peace process forward. The United States had continued to provide technical support to the Palestinian Authority and was a large donor to the United Nations Agency to provide humanitarian relief to the Palestinian people. The role of this Council should be to support peace talks between the two parties to agree on an outcome that would meet the goals of both parties. The United States would call a vote on this resolution.

HECTOR RAUL PELAEZ (Argentina), speaking in a general comment, said that Argentina supported the draft resolution L. 28 and the serious human rights violations meant that the Human Rights Council had to assess them on an ongoing basis. The Council must avoid a proliferation of resolutions regarding Israel which detracted the attention to make efforts which would lead to effective improvements in the region. The Council had to make further efforts to identify the responsibilities and obligations of each part involved and avoid simply criticizing one of them. Argentina appealed for the draft to be balanced. Argentina reiterated the need to treat human rights violations in a balanced and independent manner without political connotation and regardless of the part of the world where they occurred.

IBRAHIM KHRAISHI (Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said that it would quote an Israeli phrase, ‘shut up there is a war going on,’ this philosophy had underpinned the Israeli policy for decades. Israel had tried to give the opinion that it was the target of assassins and outlaws. Israel had tried to accuse the Palestinian people. The official position was that Palestine was ready to work together with Israel to investigate the bus bombing in Jerusalem. In this Council if either an Israeli or Palestinian was killed it should be condemned. The draft resolution was positive and balanced and took into account most of the comments made by colleagues. The resolution had not asked for a coalition to bomb Israelis as in Libya but only to condemn the violence that was going on against international humanitarian law.

Action on Resolution on the Right of Palestinian People to Self Determination

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.29) regarding the right of the Palestinian people to self determination, adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, 1 against, and no 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 to establish their sovereign, independent, democratic and viable contiguous State; also reaffirms its support for the solution of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security; stresses the need for respect for and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; urges all Member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self determination; and decides to continue the consideration of this question at its nineteenth session.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (45): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, and Zambia.

Against (1): United States of America.

Abstentions (0):

MARIAM MADIHA AFTAB (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in introduction of resolution L.29, said that the realization of the right to self determination was an essential condition to guarantee the observance and promotion and protection of individual human rights. The resolution focused on the unquestionable right of self determination of the Palestinian people, granted to them by the United Nations Charter, international law, relevant human rights instruments and United Nations resolutions. The resolution reaffirmed the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and to establish their sovereign, independent, democratic and viable contiguous State. The resolution also affirmed its support for a two State solution, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security and urged all Member States and United Nations bodies to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self determination.

MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Southern Common Market MERCOSUR in a general comment, said that MERCOSUR countries stood by previous statements and their country had traditionally supported the right of the Palestinian people to build a State and the right of Israel to live side by side with the Palestinian State and the international community’s support with a view to achieving a peaceful agreement between the two parties. They believed that peace required a two States solution in accordance with the countries’ commitments. Brazil rejected any acts that aimed at jeopardizing human dignity.

EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States), speaking in a general comment, said the United States wished to call for a vote on this resolution for the same reasons given on resolution L.28 and said the United States would vote no.

Action on Resolution on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Including East Jerusalem and in the Occupied Syrian Golan

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/30) regarding Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, as orally revised, adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, 1 against, and no abstentions, the Council condemns the recent Israeli announcements of the construction of new housing units for Israeli settlers in and around occupied East Jerusalem, as they undermine the peace process, constitute a threat to the two states solution and the creation of a contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State, and are in violation of international law, and calls upon the Government of Israel to immediately reverse its decisions, which would further undermine and jeopardize the ongoing efforts by the international community to reach a final settlement compliant with relevant United Nations resolutions; expresses its grave concern at the continuing Israeli settlements and related activities, in violation of international law, including the expansion of settlements, the expropriation of land, the demolition of houses, the confiscation and destruction of property, the expulsion of Palestinians and the construction of bypass roads, which change the physical character and demographic composition of the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, and constitute a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and in particular article 49 of that Convention, and recalls that settlements are a major obstacle to the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace and to the creation of an independent, viable, sovereign and democratic Palestinian State; urges Israel, the occupying Power to reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, and, as a first step towards their dismantlement, to stop immediately the expansion of the existing settlements, including “natural growth” and related activities, including in East Jerusalem and to prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem; and 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.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (45): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, and Zambia.

Against (1): United States of America.

Abstentions (0):

MARIAM MADIHA AFTAB (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in introduction of resolution L.30, said the resolution responded to the humanitarian and human rights challenges of Israel’s illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories including East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan. The resolution urged Israel to reverse the settlement policy, to prevent any new installation of settlers in all occupied Arab territories including full implementation of the Access and Movement Agreement of 15 November 2005, to prevent acts of violence by Israeli settlers and demanded that Israel implement the recommendations regarding the settlements made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and to comply with the Advisory Opinion on the Separation Wall.

EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States) speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said they would call for a vote for the same reasons given when considering L. 28 and would vote “no”.

IBRAHIM KHRAISHI (Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said that they would have liked to see the present and previous draft resolutions adopted by consensus. The Prime Minister of the occupying forces in Palestine had announced its vision for the process and had announced that there would not be a complete or permanent sovereignty for the Palestinian State, nor would there be a freeze on settlements. If the situation continued like this Palestine feared that they might come too late in the future and they called upon the members of the Council to adopt this resolution. Palestine said that they did not see any efforts deployed towards those who impeded the achievements of this resolution.

FAYSAL KHABBAZ HAMOUI (Syria), speaking as a concerned country, said the Middle East was witnessing an unprecedented acceleration of settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in the Occupied Golan. Since the occupation of Palestine by Israel it had continued to steal land and to bring foreigners from all over the world to settle on these lands. The regional council for the Israeli settlers in the Syrian Golan launched a campaign which was called Come to Golan with incentives and even licenses to build on stolen Syrian land. Israel continued to change the geographical features of the Syrian Golan. This settlement activity was an impediment to the peace process and was unacceptable.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of European Union, said that the European Union was concerned about the continuing Israeli illegal settlements which were an obstacle to the two states solutions. The European Union urged Israel to stop the settlement activities immediately. The European Union policy regarding West Jerusalem was in line with the relevant United Nations General Assembly resolutions. The European Union considered that Jerusalem was crucial to the settlement and peaceful solution of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Action on Resolution on Follow-up to the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/31) regarding follow-up to the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, as orally revised, adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, 3 against, and 16 abstentions, the Council regrets the non-cooperation by the occupying power, Israel, with the members of the committee of independent experts, and its failure to comply with the calls of the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly to conduct investigations that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards into the serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law reported by the Fact-Finding Mission and calls on all parties to the conflict including the Palestinian side, to take into account the conclusions of the committee; calls upon the High Commissioner to follow up on the determination of the appropriate modalities for the establishment of an escrow fund for the provision of reparations to Palestinians who suffered loss and damage as a result of unlawful acts attributable to the State of Israel during the military operations conducted from December 2008 to January 2009, also taking into consideration Israelis who suffered loss and damage as a result of unlawful acts attributable to the Palestinian side; reiterates its call to the General Assembly to promote an urgent discussion on the future legality of the use of certain munitions as referred to in the report of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict; also recommends that the General Assembly reconsider the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict at its sixty-sixth session, and urges the Assembly to submit that report to the Security Council for its consideration and appropriate action, including consideration of referral of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, pursuant to article 13(b) of the Rome Statute; requests the Secretary-General to present a comprehensive report on the progress made in the implementation of the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission by all concerned parties; and requests the High Commissioner to submit a progress report on the implementation of the present resolution to the Human Rights Council at its eighteen session of September 2011.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (27): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, and Uruguay.

Against (3): Slovakia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and United States of America.

Abstentions (16): Belgium, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Zambia.

MARIAM MADIHA AFTAB (Pakistan), introducing draft resolution L. 31 on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said that the Human Rights Council strongly condemned the aggression launched by the Occupying Power Israel in 2009 in the Occupied Gaza Strip. The Human Rights Council held two Special Sessions on the subject and fully endorsed the report and recommendations contained in the report of the United Nation international Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict. The Mission‘s report asked for a series of actions which needed serious and consistent follow up by the United Nations system. This resolution sought to address this important purpose. There were a number of amendments in the draft resolution and they believed that attainment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace and stability in the Middle East was possible only through ensuring accountability, preventing impunity and ensuring justice. This resolution precisely addressed this question.

There were two additional co-sponsors for this resolution.

AHARON LESHNO-YAAR (Israel), speaking as a concerned country, said less than two weeks ago a Jewish family was stabbed to death by terrorists. Fifty tons of weapons were found sailing in the Mediterranean intended to kill more Israeli men and women. Two days ago terrorists planted a bomb in a phone booth in a bus station in Jerusalem and a tourist from the United Kingdom was killed. Yesterday Hamas fired on Israel and schools were closed so children could stay in bomb shelters. In Yemen protestors were killed, in Syria as well, and in Libya the Government forces were killing Libyan citizens. In Geneva, this Council continued to spend its time condemning Israel and that was why this Council’s reputation was held in even lower esteem than that of its predecessor.

IBRAHIM KHRAISHI (Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said that Palestine believed that the Council would work in order to fulfill its mission. Everybody knew the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission that said that both parties had committed humanitarian crimes. Palestine asked that this question be dealt with on a legal basis. Since the attack on the flotilla more than 120 Palestinian had died as a result of the aggression of the army of the occupying force and there were hundreds of justifications that could have led them to call for a special session, however they did not do so and, instead, they had carried out internal investigations and a fact finding mission. However, the Israeli authorities had refused to abide by these recommendations in order to solve this issue. Therefore Palestine asked why the Council did not resort to law. Their position was against the targeting of any civilians from any party. They called upon the Council to adopt this drat resolution because this was the mission of the Council.

EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the Council was too often exploited as a platform to critique Israel. The United States said there were serious human rights issues to address in Israel and the Palestinian Territories but this should be done with a consistent rubric. The best way to address human rights issues would be to resolve the underlying conflict. The United States had worked on a two track approach, political to resolve the issues in the peace process and institutional to support the Palestinian Authority. Israel had established an independent public commission to investigate complaints into claims against armed conflict and had demonstrated its ability and willingness to investigate its behavior. The United States rejected the recommendations of the Swiss Government, the one sided call for the High Commissioner to determine the modalities of an escrow fund for Palestinians, the launch of an inquiry into weapons and the referral of the issue to the International Criminal Court. The United States would ask for a vote and would vote against the resolution.

NATALIA ZOLOTOVA (Russian Federation), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that consultations had been held to come up with a more balanced text. Some recommendations had been taken into account but some were not, particularly Russia’s request for the exclusion of the operative part of the Goldstone report.

HU MIAO (China), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that China’s desire was to facilitate the restoration of peace and they had voted in favour of the resolution. However China disagreed with some parts of the resolution and on the long impact that this resolution would have in the future. The International Criminal Court should carry out its mandate in a manner that was not in contrast with the mandate of the other courts. China joined the international community in continuing to make constructive efforts to make contributions to the peace and stability in the Middle East.

Action on Resolution Under Agenda Item on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance

Action on Resolution on Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/34) regarding the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance for a further period of three years; requests all Governments to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur in the discharge of his/her mandate, including by responding promptly to the Special Rapporteur’s communications, including urgent appeals; requests the Special Rapporteur to submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, covering all activities relating to his/her mandate with a view to maximising the benefits of the reporting process; requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the human, technical and financial assistance necessary for the effective fulfilment of his/her mandate; and decides to remain seized of this priority issue.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group in introduction of resolution L.34, said the draft resolution was a procedural one that examined racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance. The African continent had been the victim of the evils of racial discrimination and the African Group would work tirelessly for the victims of racial discrimination.

MARK J. CASSAYRE (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that they supported the work of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate on combating racial discrimination and they were committed to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. However, the United States could not support the language of the resolution and they dissociated themselves from consensus on the resolution. Their position on the Durban Declaration was well known and they could not accept the language of the mandate as currently conceived. They continued to seek consensus on practical ways to make progress on the wording of the resolution.

Explanation of the Vote after the Vote on the Agenda Item on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance

SHINEEN RASHID (Maldives), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that on resolution L.38 on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief, the Maldives was delighted to join in the consensus and to respond with one voice. The Maldives was pleased to be in the core group of the Organization of the Islamic Conference for the resolution and believed that the resolution created an effective blue print for action.

Action on Resolutions Under Agenda Item on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

Action on Resolution on Advisory Services and Technical Assistance for Burundi

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/35) regarding advisory services and technical assistance for Burundi, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council, recognizing the major changes in the Government and the representation of Burundi following the elections held in that country from June to September 2010 and cognizant of the fact that the new Government has welcomed the process of concluding the establishment of a national human rights institution, as called for by the Council in its resolution 9/19, resolves that the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Burundi will report to the Council at its seventeenth session, to be followed with an interactive dialogue.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), introducing draft resolution L. 35 on behalf of the African Group, said that this was a procedural resolution. The African Group presented the resolution as orally revised and said that the draft resolution had only one operative paragraph. At its seventeenth session the situation of Burundi would be presented to the Human Rights Council. The African Group called on Members States of the Council to adopt this resolution without a vote.

OSMAN TAT (United States), speaking in a general comment, said that while the United States joined the consensus it regretted that the resolution was even necessary. There was an Independent Expert who had travelled to Burundi but had not yet had a chance to report to the Council on his visit. The report by the former Independent Expert had not been officially presented at the Council. The United States noted the recent creation of a Human Rights Commission by the Burundi Government and supported the furtherance of the Independent Expert’s work and said it was critical that the Council should hear from mandate holders.

PIERRE CLAVER NDAYIRAGIJE (Burundi), speaking as a concerned country, said that they associated their voice with those delegations who expressed satisfaction with the way in which the President was conducting his work and took the opportunity to thank Nigeria and the African Group for submitting this resolution which took into account the concerns of Burundi as well as positive events that were on going in the country. After the promulgation in January this year of the law setting up an independent human rights institution, the Assembly had set up an Ad Hoc Committee responsible for assessing the candidacy of the applicants. The call for candidacy addressed all the candidates of Burundi in order to ensure the maximum level of independency of the political institution and by June this year the Committee would be operational and would make a report to the Council. Burundi reiterated its determination to make efforts for the protection and promotion of human rights.

Action on Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Strengthening of Technical Cooperation

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.36) regarding the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the strengthening of technical cooperation and advisory services, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council urges the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to redouble its efforts, with the support of the international community, to expeditiously put an end to all violations of human rights and bring the perpetrators to justice; encourages the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue ratifying international and regional human rights instruments; also encourages the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to complete the establishment of a national human rights commission, in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles); invites the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to promote and protect human rights, including through human rights education; calls upon the international community to respond quickly to requests for technical assistance made by the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and invites the Office of the High Commissioner to increase its direct collaboration with the Government and to strengthen, through its presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, its programmes and technical assistance activities.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group in introduction of resolution L.36, said that there was appreciable improvement in the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to the willingness of the Government. The African Group had included many recommendations from Member States and commended the Democratic Republic of the Congo for accepting these recommendations. The resolution noted the situation on the ground and called for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to provide access to justice and remuneration to those who had been victims of human rights violations. The resolution called on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to end human rights violations and to utilize the follow-up mechanism for technical assistance. Oral amendments were made to the text.

EMMANUEL-JANVIER LUZOLO BAMBI LESSA (Democratic Republic of the Congo), speaking as a concerned country, thanked the President of the Council and extended their gratitude also to the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the work that they had been doing for the promotion and protection of human rights. Having faced a war from 1997 until 2003, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was making remarkable progress in various sectors and the rule of law was consolidating day after day despite the fact that the resources were limited. Throughout the sixteenth session of the Council the Democratic Republic of the Congo had taken an active part in the high level segment and the implementation. The decentralization of the human rights liaison entities, the mixed specialized chambers and a national commission of human rights in conformity with the Paris Principles, and the setting up of courts for children reflected some of the progress made by the country. Progress had been achieved against impunity and all this confirmed the determination to punish any perpetrators and the policy of zero tolerance. However, difficulties still existed and they called upon the involvement of the international community to put a stop to the crimes against humanity. The Democratic Republic of the Congo had honored the resolution of the Council and they believed that the technical assistance should get to the Democratic Republic of the Congo through the field offices of the High Commissioner and through the human rights liaison entities. They invited the members of the Council to accept this draft resolution and to strengthen technical assistance as submitted by the African Group.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the European Union shared the assessment of the seven experts’ and the High Commissioner’s findings which had pointed at cases of summary executions, sexual violence, torture, ill treatment, the recruitment and use of child soldiers, the lack of protection and assistance towards internally displaced persons and returnees and the harassment and violence against human rights defenders. The European Union was convinced that an Independent Expert would be the most efficient mechanism to assist the Democratic Republic of the Congo and noted with regret that such a mandate was not established during this session. The European Union said that the Government should protect and respect the right to freedom of expression and the rights of the opposition, human rights defenders and journalists and considered that the resolution should have had a stronger focus on the need of the Government to redouble its efforts including through continued cooperation with the International Criminal Court to end impunity for grave human rights abuses. The European Union would join consensus in a spirit of cooperation.

OSMAN TAT (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, thanked the African Group for presenting this resolution. The Council had a key role in improving the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United States repeated their support for the Special Procedures’ observations in their joint report, that the Democratic Republic of the Congo would be best served by the appointment of one single mechanism solely to monitor the situation in the country. The United States believed that technical assistance was key to success on the ground and they would continue to discuss how the Council could improve the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Action on Resolution on Strengthening of Technical Cooperation and Consultative Services in Guinea

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/37) regarding the strengthening of technical cooperation and consultative services in Guinea, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council notes with satisfaction the holding of presidential elections in Guinea and the measures taken by the Government in order to, inter alia, establish a commission of peace, justice and reconciliation; invites the Guinean authorities to pursue their efforts to implement the recommendations of the international commission of inquiry established by the Secretary-General and supported by the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union, relating to: combating impunity for those responsible for or involved in serious human rights violations, and in particular acts of sexual violence against women and girls, and adapting national legislation to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; protection for, and the granting of assistance of every kind and appropriate reparation to, the victims of acts of violence; reform of the justice system; reform of the security sector; adoption of a national plan to combat all forms of discrimination; and harmonization of the national legislation with Security Council resolution 1820 on violence against women and girls; reiterates strongly its call to the international community: to provide the Guinean authorities with appropriate assistance to promote respect for human rights, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, combating impunity and reform of the security and justice sectors and to support the national bureau of the High Commissioner in Guinea; and invites the High Commissioner to report to the Council at its nineteenth session on the situation of human rights and the work of her Office in Guinea.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group in introduction of resolution L.37, said that the Government of Guinea had taken steps to stabilize the country and improve the conditions of human rights of its citizens. The African Group noted that significant improvement in political developments in the country had helped improve human rights on the ground. The resolution invited the Government to present its findings on how to improve human rights in the country including the fight against impunity. The African Group called on the resolution to be adopted without a vote.

PIERRE MONLMOU (Guinea), speaking as a concerned country, said that a decision and agreement was reached in 2010 to open an Office of the High Commissioner and a field office to provide technical assistance, support non-governmental organizations to combat sexual violence and promote women’s rights, and to monitor human rights throughout the country. The agreement also provided for the opening up of two other offices to cover all of the regions. Unfortunately, the Government regretted that only one office had begun to work and that the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner had been scaled down. This was why the resolution called on the international community to support the High Commissioner’s office in Guinea. The Government thanked France and the United States for their support, along with Nigeria and the African Group. The President of Guinea had said that Guinea was back and this return to the international community should be evident in the area of the protection and promotion of human rights. The limited resources in Guinea made it imperative that the international community support Guinea to cooperate with the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner.

Statement After the Council Concluded Taking Action on Resolutions Under the Agenda Item on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

JURG LAUBER (Switzerland), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that Switzerland supported the strengthening of technical cooperation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and they believed that the mandate was very useful and regretted the fact that the Democratic Republic of the Congo did not want to carry forward the mandate. In light of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections that would be held in the country in November this year, Switzerland felt that the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo could worsen and the presence of independent observes could guarantee the respect of human rights in that context. Switzerland hoped that the Congolese would take all measures to cooperate with the national plan that was established in the country.

Action Under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms

Action on President’s Statement on the Advisory Committee
In a President’s Statement (PRST 16/…) on Reports of the Advisory Committee, adopted without a vote, the President of the Human Rights Council took note of the reports of the Advisory Committee on its fifth and sixth sessions and notes the recommendations made relating to principles and guidelines for the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members; a study on discrimination in the context of the right to food; the promotion of the rights of peoples to peace; the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights; missing persons; and preliminary study on ways and means to further advance the rights of people working in rural areas; this procedure does not set any precedent for the future reports of the Advisory Committee which will be dealt with in accordance with Council resolution 5/1.

Statements by Observer States After Conclusion of Taking Action on Resolutions

IDRISS JAZAIRY (Algeria) said the laborious five year work of the Council had required effort but the results were modest. There were 38 resolutions adopted at this session, a record and Algeria said the Council should work to reduce the number of resolutions. The Council should rebalance the regional distribution in the Council due to Libya’s suspension. The issue of sexual orientation was discussed. On the discussion of the impact of paying ransom for hostage taking Algeria would like the Advisory Council to make recommendations on this. The concept of balanced geographic staff was applicable to the Council.

SANJEEV KUMAR SINGLA (India) said it would confine its remarks to the human rights and the environment resolution that was adopted yesterday. The resolution did not do justice to the task. There was a complexity of issues related to the situation of human rights and the environment; in particular that of common but differentiated responsibilities and the text did not address this. Similar issues applied to human rights and sustainable development. India could not support the resolution on human rights and the environment.

AHMED IHAB GAMALELDIN (Egypt) said that with regard to L.38 on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief, and L.22 on the protection of human rights in the context of HIV/AIDS, the phenomenon of religious intolerance was posing threats of unprecedented magnitude in today’s world. This was true of all acts of intolerance, including those not directed exclusively against persons, but also at their sacred books and symbols. The draft resolution before them today contained many positive and action-oriented elements on combating religious denigration and stereotyping. Egypt looked forward to the faithful implementation of the agreed framework for action contained in L.38 to counter religious intolerance and denigration.

ANGELICA C. NAVARRO LLANOS (Bolivia) said that Bolivia wished to refer to resolution L.4 on the right to drinking water and sanitation. Bolivia was grateful to Germany and Spain for the work done, however they were not able to co-sponsor the resolution because operative paragraph 1 of the resolution said that the right to safe drinking water and sanitation was derived from other rights while they thought that this right was a right in itself and was an essential right and a component for the realization of all human rights. Secondly with regard to L.7 on human rights and the environment, Bolivia did not support this resolution because it reflected a decision adopted despite their objection. Bolivia would continue to work for the right of the mother-earth and for human rights.

LUVUYO NDIMENI (South Africa) said South Africa firmly believed that incitement to racial hatred could not be allowed under the pretext of freedom of expression. South Africa subscribed to the notion of punishment by law for those who incited hatred. On the extension of the mandate of the Independent Expert on minority issues, the Government of South Africa had proposed different approaches and that the core issues of social cohesion and economic development should underlie the issue of minorities. South Africa said the Council should use open ended working groups when division occurred.

DICKY KOMAR (Indonesia) said Indonesia would confine its statement to two resolutions. The first was L.38 on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief. Indonesia called on all Member States to prevent such events as the burning of the Koran last week. Regarding the resolution on HIV AIDS, Indonesia supported it and reiterated its commitment to fighting HIV AIDS without discrimination.

JOHANN SPITZER (Austria) said that Austria wished to make a comment on resolution L. 4 on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, and welcomed the adoption by consensus of this resolution. Austria was a long standing supporter of this mandate and they highlighted the significance of this mandate for the promotion of safe drinking water and sanitation. The mandate would play an important role to identity the challenges and recommend possible ways forward. Austria thanked Germany and Spain for the open and transparent negotiations that they had conducted.

SAROJA SIRISENA (Sri Lanka) said Sri Lanka was of the view that when adopting country specific resolutions this should be done with the consent of the country concerned. Adequate consideration should be also given to the capacity building and assistance needed by States.

Other Statements

BENTE ANGELL-HANSEN, Vice President and Rapporteur of the Council, said that in view of the late hour and in order to save time, the introduction to the report of the session would be posted on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with the draft report and all comments could be sent to the Vice President within two weeks.

MICHAEL INEICHEN, of International Service for Human Rights, in a joint statement said, that over one month ago they had regretted that the Council had not used the review process to respond to the concerns of human rights defenders. They hoped that States would have the political foresight to enhance the pledge of new members to avoid the suspension of Member States as had occurred with Libya. The new Special Rapporteur on Iran was the first new county specific mandate and the resolution on Côte d’Ivoire showed how the Council could add value. On a thematic level, the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture was important and the joint statement by 85 States on ending human rights violations based on sexual or gender identity was important. Regrettably, the Council had remained below expectations on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and in adopting the resolution on traditional values.

SALOHIDDIN NASRIDDINOV (Tajikistan), said that the resolution of the International Day of Nowrouz was adopted last June and they would be celebrating this international festival for the first time. The Ambassador had the honour to announce that the representatives of a number of States were organizing several activities commemorating this festival. A celebration day of Nowrouz would be held on 30 March.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group, remembered that today was the international day for the remembrance of slavery and of the transatlantic slave trade and they hoped that Geneva would create a permanent memorial on this. Nigeria planned to present a resolution to give a voice to this memorial. The lives of those who went through slavery would not be forgotten. They thanked the President of the Council and hoped that the Council would keep on making progress.

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For use of the information media; not an official record