30 September 2011
Suspends Eighteenth Session after Adopting Texts on Burundi, Right to Development, Funding of High Commissioner’s Office, Unilateral Measures and Racism
The Human Rights Council this afternoon suspended its eighteenth session after adopting a series of texts in which it, among others, extended the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on Cambodia and the Working Group of Experts of people of African descent, and did not renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on Burundi. It also appointed a number of Special Procedure mandate holders and adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on Papua New Guinea. Texts were also adopted on the right to development, funding of the High Commissioner’s Office, unilateral measures and racism.
Regarding the resolution on advisory services and technical assistance for Cambodia, the Council decided to extend by two years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.
With regard to the mandate of the Working Group of Experts on people of African descent, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Working Group for a further period of three years.
In a resolution regarding advisory services and technical assistance for Burundi, the Council recalled resolution 9/19 of 24 September 2008, by which the Council extended the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Burundi until the establishment of an independent national human rights commission. The Council welcomed in the creation of an independent national human rights commission and the effective establishment of a human rights institution by the Government of Burundi, and noted that the Independent Expert had satisfied the requirements of his mandate.
The Council approved the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Papua New Guinea, in which 146 recommendations were made, of which Papua New Guinea had accepted 114 and rejected 32.
Laura Dupuy Lasserre, President of the Human Rights Council, read out a President’s Statement which was agreed upon to replace draft resolution L.14. The President’s Statement invited the High Commissioner to include in her annual Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report detailed information on allocation of the regular budget according to programme and mandate, voluntary contributions received by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and their specific allocation and on the allocation of earmarked and unearmarked contributions according to programme and mandate allocation of funding for Special Procedures, to be considered at a mutually agreed forum.
Resolutions were also adopted on the right to development; human rights and unilateral coercive measures; and concrete actions against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The Council also adopted a procedural decision on the annual cycle of the Advisory Committee and adopted its report on the eighteenth session ad referendum.
The President of the Council read out the names of the Special Procedure mandate holders that had been appointed. Appointed as members of the Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises were Michael Addo (Ghana); Puvan Selvanathan (Malaysia); Pavel Sulyandziga (Russia); Alexandra Guaqueta (Colombia/United States); and Margaret Jungk (United States). Doudou Diène (Senegal) was appointed as Independent Expert on Côte d'Ivoire. Gabor Rona (United States/Hungary) was appointed as a member of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination for the Group of Western European and other States. The President also informed the Council that Cherif Bassiouni was stepping down as Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Libya but he would remain a member of it. Philippe Kirsch, a member of the Commission, would take over as Chairman.
The President, recalling the resignation of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, said the present eighteenth session of the Council would not be officially closed today but would be suspended and would resume briefly on 21 October to announce the new Special Rapporteur. That was in order to avoid too long a protection gap on issues of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and to allow the new Special Rapporteur to participate in different upcoming United Nations events.
Introducing resolutions were Senegal on behalf of the African Group, Japan, Pakistan, Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, South Africa on behalf of the African Group, and South Africa.
Speaking in general comments were Poland on behalf of the European Union, United States, Burundi, Cuba, Russian Federation, Argentina, France also on behalf of the United Kingdom, United Kingdom, Algeria, Netherlands, Honduras, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovenia, South Africa, and Senegal on behalf of the African Group.
Speaking in explanations of the vote before or after the vote were United States, Philippines, Switzerland, Russian Federation also on behalf of Cuba, China, Malaysia, Poland on behalf of the European Union, Italy, and Maldives.
The following non-governmental organizations took the floor: International Service for Human Rights and Amnesty International.
The eighteenth session of the Human Rights Council will formally conclude on Friday 21 October when the new Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance is appointed. The nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council will take place from 27 February to 23 March 2012.
Universal Periodic Review on Papua New Guinea
LAURA DUPUY LASSERRE, President of the Human Rights Council, reading out a statement on behalf of Papua New Guinea, said Papua New Guinea conveyed its appreciation for the indulgence that had enabled the Government of Papua New Guinea to report to the Council on its position. The Government of Papua New Guinea was pleased with the presentation of its first Universal Periodic Review report. The delegation had been overwhelmed by the support offered and the constructive recommendations made. The Human Rights Council made 146 recommendations and Papua New Guinea accepted 75 and rejected 2 in Geneva in May. Another 69 recommendations were deferred for decision making at Port Moresby. After this consideration Papua New Guinea accepted another 39 recommendations and rejected 30 recommendations. Of the 146 posed this meant Papua New Guinea accepted 114 recommendations and rejected 32. Papua New Guinea was a young democratic country established on the rule of law. Its Constitution accorded to all those commonly accorded human rights shared amongst humanity. Specific laws were enacted to address the situation that affected all citizens. Papua New Guinea wished to note the establishment of Papua New Guinea’s National Human Rights Institution that would come into operation in 2012. Papua New Guinea noted that issues of capacity and resource constraints and cultural diversity and lack of infrastructure seriously undermined ability to fulfil a number of recommendations.
A few recommendations related to the death penalty that could not be easily repealed by Parliament. It was noted that since this law had come into existence, it had never been used. The Government of Papua New Guinea reserved 22 seats in Parliament for women. The great achievement for the country would be in the field of women’s rights.
IDRISS JAZAIRY (Algeria) congratulated Papua New Guinea on agreeing to 141 of the 146 recommendations during the interactive dialogue on its Universal Periodic Review. Algeria welcomed the acceptance of the recommendation on the intensification of efforts, with assistance from the international community, to combat the spread of HIV AIDS. The recommendations that were not accepted related to acceding to the treaties on the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families, the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Algeria stressed that it was important that the documents that circulated during the Universal Periodic Review process should not contain errors as that threatened the validity of the work of the Council.
YUMIRKA FERNANDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba) said that during the review in the working group it was made very clear that despite its natural resources Papua New Guinea faced challenges such as the improvement and development of infrastructure, education and health services, the improvement of living conditions for most of the people in the country, and progress in the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals and climate change, including the problem of raising sea levels. The Government had developed a universal primary education programme from first to third grades, and aimed to extend it to the twelfth grade; it also emphasized the need for education for girls in order to reduce gender inequalities. There was a national health plan and important efforts were being undertaken to tackle maternal and child mortality and HIV/AIDS. Cuba was satisfied to see that Papua New Guinea had accepted many of the recommendations formulated by the working group, including those from Cuba concerning the implementation of strategies and plans for social and economic development and the application of programmes and measures to guarantee universal high quality health care and education for its population.
JOHN C. MARITZ (United States) said the United States particularly welcomed Papua New Guinea’s acceptance of recommendations concerning human trafficking. The United States also welcomed the decision to support the recommendation to undertake a national awareness campaign about the lasting negative effects of gender-based violence. The United States welcomed the support for recommendations related to professionalism of its police force but was disappointed that Papua New Guinea had rejected its recommendation relating to impunity. The United States was disappointed that Papua New Guinea had not supported the United States recommendation to invest adequate resources to improve prison conditions.
ASEP SOMANTRI (Indonesia) said as a direct neighbouring country, Indonesia shared some of the immense challenges that Papua New Guinea faced in terms of poverty and in the development of vital infrastructure, education and basic health services. Indonesia had lent its full support to Papua New Guinea as it continued to work with the United Nations, the donor community, the private sector and civil society stakeholders to raise the standard of living of the population. Aware of the strategic value of investing in human resources, Indonesia looked forward to an affirmative response to the Government of Indonesia’s recommendation on guaranteeing universal basic education, in accordance with the international human rights treaties, and to ensure that primary education was compulsory and free for all. Indonesia was particularly encouraged by the fact that the process to establish a National Human Rights Commission was underway in the country and by the affirmation that once the relevant structural, financial and other aspects were resolved, the Commission should begin to operate in 2012. For its part, the Indonesian Komnas HAM was ready to render its assistance if necessary in this regard.
MAJDA MOUTCHOU (Morocco) commended the delegation of Papua New Guinea for the constructive way in which the review was conducted. Papua New Guinea faced significant constraints and challenges concerning resources and infrastructure. This had not prevented the Government from engaging to support development and the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. There had also been Government efforts concerning the participation of women in public life, the combat against domestic and sexual violence, the protection of children and the penitentiary administration. Morocco welcomed that many recommendations were accepted, among them those made by Morocco concerning the creation of a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles. Morocco reiterated its support for the Government’s efforts towards the improvement of the human rights situation and wished Papua New Guinea success in the implementation of the accepted recommendations.
WENDY HINTON, of New Zealand, said New Zealand was pleased that its recommendation for Papua New Guinea to redouble its efforts to reduce maternal mortality had been accepted. New Zealand also applauded the acceptance of recommendations from New Zealand on creating safe places for women who had been victims of domestic violence, taking measures to ensure greater representation in Parliament for women and enhancing human rights training for police officers.
BIRO DIAWARA, of Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme, welcomed the establishment of a national human rights institution but was concerned about the spread of HIV/AIDS and encouraged the Government to address this critical issue. There was a worrying trend in the increase in the rate of infant mortality and at the multiplication of murders and killings of older women and children accused of witchcraft. Effective programmes should be established for training law enforcement officials to sensitize them and all public services on the importance of fighting impunity.
JOHN FISHER, of Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, welcomed the fact the Papa New Guinea’s cabinet had endorsed a review of existing laws governing sexual offences, to be undertaken by the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission. It was disappointed that Papua New Guinea had not yet felt ready to accept recommendations 52 and 53 to repeal laws that criminalized sexual activity between consenting adults, and 54 to ensure protection from discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
PETER SPLINTER, of Amnesty International, shared the concerns raised by States concerning discrimination and violence against women in Papua New Guinea and supported recommendations to address this violence including addressing impunity. Amnesty International called on the Government to ensure women’s access to emergency accommodation and legal advice. Women were more likely to be accused of sorcery, especially if suffering from HIV/AIDS. The Government should review the law on sorcery and sorcery related killings, and investigate these incidents. Amnesty International called on the Government to increase scrutiny on forced evictions and the logging industry to ensure respect for human rights and provide remedies for those affected, and lamented that Papua New Guinea had rejected recommendations concerning the elimination of the death penalty.
Action on Resolutions Under Agenda Item 10 on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building
Action on Resolution on Advisory Services and Technical Assistance for Burundi
In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L.2/Rev.1) regarding advisory services and technical assistance for Burundi, adopted without a vote, the Council commends the efforts of the Government of Burundi to promote and protect human rights; reaffirms Human Rights Council resolution 9/19 of 24 September 2008, by which the Council extended the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Burundi until the establishment of an independent national human rights commission; welcomes in this regard the adoption of Law 1/04 of 5 January 2011 creating an independent national human rights commission, and the effective establishment of a human rights institution on 23 May 2011; takes note of the holding during its seventeenth session of an interactive dialogue on the report of the independent expert and of his presentation, during which he acknowledged the establishment of the independent national human rights commission, satisfying therefore the requirements of paragraph 8 of resolution 9/19; encourages the independent national human rights commission to submit a request for accreditation to the International Coordinating Committee on National Human Rights Institutions; and strongly urges the international community to increase its technical and financial assistance to the Government of Burundi with a view to supporting its efforts to promote and protect human rights.
FODE SECK (Senegal), speaking on behalf of the African Group, introducing draft resolution L.2/Rev.1, on the advisory services and technical assistance to Burundi, said that the amended version had been circulated and that this draft constituted a procedural text to finalize and pay tribute to the work of the mandate holder. The draft resolution also took note of the report and presentation of the expert pursuant resolution 9/19. The African Group welcomed that a law creating an independent national human rights in line with the Paris Principles had been adopted. Senegal thanked all delegations, in particular Belgium, for the active role they played in the consultations.
MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.2 Rev 1 on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union had engaged with the African Group and the delegation of Burundi on the draft resolution. The resolution extending the mandate of the Independent Expert had linked the termination of the mandate with the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission. The appointment of members of the Commission immediately before the seventeenth session was an important step in this regard. The European Union echoed the call for the international community to increase its assistance to the Government of Burundi with a view to supporting its efforts to respect and promote human rights.
EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.2.Rev.1, said the United States was disappointed and worried that this resolution would end the Independent Expert’s mandate early. The United States looked forward to learning more about Burundi’s efforts to establish an independent national human rights commission.
PIERRE CLAVER NDAYIRAGIJE (Burundi), speaking as a concerned country, indicated that in May 2011 Burundi had set up an independent national human rights commission, constituted of irreproachable men and women concerning their integrity and respecting the constitutional balance, and in line with the Paris Principles. Burundi, a post-conflict country, had been put under a special mandate under agenda item 10 by the Council as established under resolution 9/19. Burundi agreed to extend the Special Procedure but limiting it duration to the establishment of an independent national human rights commission. During this period the Government had cooperated with human rights mechanisms with the view of protecting and promoting human rights. The report of the mandate holder and interactive dialogue in the current session of the Council had recognized the implementation of this national human rights commission. The Government’s commitment to respect the aforementioned resolution had been demonstrated and thus Burundi requested that members of the Council respect this resolution. Draft resolution L.2/Rev.1 had to be seen as a resolution which took note of the fact that Burundi had fulfilled all the requirements established by 9/19. Burundi was committed to supporting the ongoing work of the national human rights commission and would be grateful for partners’ support for its efforts.
Action on Resolution on Advisory Services and Technical Assistance for Cambodia
In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L25) regarding advisory services and technical assistance for Cambodia, adopted without a vote, the Council reaffirms the importance of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia as an independent and impartial body; welcomes the progress made with regard to the Extraordinary Chambers, including the commencement of the trial of case 002 against Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith and Khieu Samphan on 27 June 2011; welcomes: (a) the positive engagement of the Government of Cambodia in the Universal Periodic Review process as well as its acceptance of all the recommendations,(b) the constructive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, (c) the report of the Special Rapporteur,(d) the progress made by the Government of Cambodia in promoting legal reform, combating corruption and trafficking in persons for both sexual and economic exploitation, (i) the progress achieved by the Government’s commitment to establish a national human rights institution, (j) the efforts made by the Government of Cambodia to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; expresses its concern about some areas of the human rights situation in Cambodia, and urges the Government of Cambodia: (a) to continue to strengthen its efforts to establish a democratic society, (d) to continue to enhance its efforts to investigate and to prosecute all those who have perpetrated serious crimes, including violations of human rights, (e) to enhance its efforts to resolve equitably and expeditiously land ownership issues, (f) to enable the forthcoming national elections to be held in a free and fair manner; encourages the Government of Cambodia and the international community to provide all necessary assistance to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia; takes note of the need to continue close consultations between the Government of Cambodia and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia; decides to extend by two years the mandate of the Special Procedure on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, and requests the Special Rapporteur to report on the implementation of his mandate to the Council at its twenty-first and twenty-fourth sessions; requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council at its twenty-first and twenty-fourth sessions on the achievements of the Office of the High Commissioner in assisting the Government of Cambodia.
KENICHI SUGANUMA (Japan), speaking in introduction of draft resolution L.25, said the main purpose of the resolution was to assist the Government of Cambodia by extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. The text reflected developments over the last year. Japan expressed deep appreciation to the Government of Cambodia and all other co-sponsors and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for positive contributions in drafting of the text. Recent positive aspects included commencing trials in the Extraordinary Chambers, the ongoing creation of an action plan to implement the Universal Periodic Review recommendations, and Cambodia’s continued good cooperation with the Special Rapporteur and adherence to implementation of obligations under international human rights instruments. Operative Paragraph 6D had been inserted referring to international assistance to implementation of Universal Periodic Review recommendations. Significant challenges existed. The Special Rapporteur had highlighted matters, including land issues and freedom of expression and full establishment of the rule of law, which were concerns of many stake holders. The resolution would extend the mandate by two years. The frequency of the report and that of the Independent Expert’s interactive dialogue remained annual. A longer mandate period would allow the Special Rapporteur to make plans and obviate the need for discussion of this issue at the session next year. This resolution preserved the ability of the Human Rights Council to be informed of the human rights situation in Cambodia. This request was made with support of the Cambodian Government and co-sponsors and Japan confirmed this request was made on an exceptional basis on the Cambodian basis and did not create precedence on the length of country mandates.
MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland), speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, welcomed the continued cooperation of Cambodia with the Special Rapporteur, which had led to significant developments in the country. Poland indicated that it was understood that the exceptional extension of the mandate, intending to facilitate mutual cooperation and close consultations, would not constitute a precedent for the future. Poland thanked Japan for its constructive approach.
EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.25, said the United States strongly supported the implementation of the mandate on advisory services and technical assistance for Cambodia and appreciated the cooperation that the Government of Cambodia had shown to the Special Rapporteur. The United States highlighted the important role of promoting and protecting non-governmental organizations whose work was critical in consolidating human rights and urged the Government of Cambodia to ensure that non-governmental organizations remained free to provide services and function without interference.
SUN SUON (Cambodia), speaking as a concerned country on draft resolution L.25, said due to practical and rational reasons, Cambodia had agreed on a two-year extension for the Special Rapporteur’s mandate to allow him to continue his work. Cambodia took note of the concerns of a number of States that the extension of the mandate holder’s term for two years would have an impact on the rule of the Council on the establishment of Special Procedure holders and in particular Human Rights Council resolution 5/1. The resolution on Cambodia was an exceptional case. Cambodia respected the flexibility and understanding of those Member States with respect to the draft resolution.
DANTE MARTINELLI (Switzerland), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, expressed support for the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Cambodia. Switzerland, however, regretted the fact that the resolution had not been strengthened on a number of key points, including the numerous cases of expropriations which made the reinforcement of paragraph 5e concerning the right to land and housing essential. Switzerland would have liked an explicit mention of the issues concerning the new penal code, including problems related to human rights defenders. For this reason Switzerland was not able to co-sponsor the resolution.
VLADIMIR ZHEGLOV (Russian Federation), speaking also on behalf of Cuba in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.25, said they welcomed the cooperation of Cambodia in human rights; however, they expressed concern at the proposed extension for two years of the mandate, which was a clear violation of the regulations on institutional mandates which called for a permitted extension of only one year terms. Russia called for a clear expression in the resolution to note that this was an exceptional case and would not set precedence. Russia and Cuba disassociated themselves from consensus on paragraph 9 on the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.
MARTIA TERESA C. LEPATAN (Philippines), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.25, said the mandate of the Independent Expert should have been extended for only one year in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 5/1. The Philippines said paragraph 9 extending the mandate for two years did not set a precedent.
XIA JING GE (China), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that China always supported technical cooperation in the field of human rights and recognized the efforts of Cambodia in this area. China shared the views of many countries that any such extension of a mandate should strictly follow the rules of the Council’s Institution Building package. This resolution extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for two years, which went against the rules of the package and no precedent should be constituted. In view of the above, while China did not block the consensus on the resolution, it would not join the consensus. China hoped that all parties would continue to respect the integrity of the Institution Building package.
SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (Malaysia), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on resolution L.25, said the resolution was a clear commitment to Japan’s efforts to promote and protect human rights in Cambodia. The extension of the mandate was agreed upon on an exceptional basis, which had not set a precedent and which had been agreed upon with the concerned country. Malaysia would join the consensus.
President’s Statement on Funding of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Laura Dupuy Lasserre, President of the Human Rights Council, read out the President’s Statement which was agreed upon to replace draft resolution L.14. The President’s Statement read: “The Human Rights Council, acknowledging the need for constructive dialogue between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Human Rights Council and recognizing the progress already made by the High Commissioner in presenting information on sources and allocations of funding to her office in her annual Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Report; emphasizing the importance of further enhanced cooperation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with the Human Rights Council in fulfilling its mandate and noting the need for regular and transparent exchanges of information in this regard; reaffirming that the Fifth Committee was the appropriate main committee of the General Assembly entrusted with responsibilities for administrative and budgetary matters; invites the High Commissioner to include in her Annual Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report detailed information on: allocation of the regular budget according to programme and mandate; voluntary contributions received by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and their specific allocation; allocation of earmarked and unearmarked contributions according to programme and mandate allocation of funding for Special Procedures; which would be considered at a mutually agreed forum.
ZAMIR AKRAM (Pakistan), introducing draft resolution L.14 on transparency in funding and staffing of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that Pakistan had worked hard with co-sponsors on this draft resolution with the objective to ensure transparency and accountability in the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Council with regards to funding. The Council was constituted by a group of sovereign States and the Office was supposed to facilitate the work of the Council. The members, as sovereign States, had the right to know about the Office’s funding and use. Pakistan was dismayed and it was inexplicable that there was or had been resistance to this resolution which only established the principles of transparency and accountability. Pakistan was confident that the draft counted with enough support in the Council but wanted any decision on this regard to be taken by consensus so that all members were bound by the resolution and committed to the principles of transparency and accountability. For this reason sponsors had agreed to defer this resolution and to join in consensus on a Presidential Statement on behalf of the Council. This statement committed all to find a mutually agreed forum for consideration of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report, including on the issue of funding. Pakistan made it clear that it had joined this consensus on the clear understanding that this was not a license to confine this issue to oblivion. When the next report was put forward by the Office an appropriate forum should be found to discuss issues of funding; otherwise on behalf of the sponsors Pakistan reserved the right to table the draft resolution once again in June.
RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.14, said Cuba was one of the countries that had submitted the draft resolution as, along with the African Group, Cuba had always highlighted the importance of transparency in the funding and staffing of the Office of the High Commissioner. Cuba said the aim of the draft resolution was to achieve multilateralism. When the United Nations was established States handed over funding and it was up to the Secretariat to decide on the allocation of resources across United Nations bodies, but this changed under the agenda of the neo-cons, notably under Ambassador Bolton, who had proposed the zero increase rule, which meant that there was less independence in the practice of the United Nations Secretariat, and which marked a shift from multilateralism to pluri-lateralism, which was a great attack on the United Nations and its machinery. Independence and non-interference from States and private persons could only be ensured for the High Commissioner for Human Rights through achieving proper funding for its functions. Voluntary contributions should not be tied to specific work projects.
VLADIMIR ZHEGLOV (Russian Federation), said that full transparency in the Office of the High Commissioner was a priority and this approach would only improve the confidence in the human rights mechanisms. The Russian Federation indicated that the appropriate aspects of work, financing and priorities of the Office should be addressed. The Russian Federation endorsed the statement made by Pakistan, indicating that the co-sponsors retained the right to return to this question in June if significant progress on this issue was not achieved.
Action on Resolutions Under Agenda Item Three on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural, Including the Right to Development
Action on Resolution on the Right to Development
In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L15) regarding the right to development, adopted as orally amended by a vote of 45 in favour, none against and 1 abstention, the Council welcomes the holding of the panel entitled “The way forward in the realization of the right to development: between policy and practice” during the eighteenth session of the Human Rights Council; notes that the consolidated report of the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right to development would be submitted to the Council at its nineteenth session, and that the twelfth session of the intergovernmental open-ended Working Group on the Right to Development was scheduled for 14 to 18 November 2011; takes note further of the work of the high-level task force on the implementation of the right to development, the mandate of which ended in 2010, including its findings and the list of right to development criteria; decides: (a) to continue to act to ensure that its agenda promotes and advances sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; and (b) that the criteria and corresponding operational sub-criteria mentioned in paragraph 4, once considered, revised and endorsed by the Working Group, should be used in the elaboration of a comprehensive set of standards for the implementation of the right to development; encouraged the High Commissioner to pursue her efforts, in fulfillment of her mandated responsibility, to enhance support for the promotion and protection of the realization of the right to development, taking as reference the Declaration on the Right to Development, all General Assembly, Commission on Human Rights and Human Rights Council resolutions on the right to development, and agreed conclusions and recommendations of the Working Group; and decides to review the progress of the implementation of the present resolution as a matter of priority at its future sessions.
The result of the vote was as follows:
In favour (45): Angola, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Ecuador, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda and Uruguay.
Abstention (1): United States.
HICHAM BADR (Egypt), speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, introducing draft resolution L.25, said that this year the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development was being celebrated, which made it timely and opportune to renew the commitment to the realization of this right. The draft resolution recalled the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary and welcomed the holding of the panel during the session on this right. The Non-Aligned Movement expressed appreciation for the efforts exerted by the Office of the High Commissioner in preparing for this panel. Due to timing constraints the Working Group on the right to development had not been able to meet early this year and its session had been postponed. Accordingly, the Non-Aligned Movement opted for presenting this year’s resolution on the right that reaffirmed the conclusions and recommendations of the last session. The draft resolution also recalled the mandated responsibility of the High Commissioner to support the right to development. Egypt, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, had held a number of public informal consultations as well as extensive bilateral consultations with interested delegations on the text of this draft with a view to reach consensus.
EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.15, said the United States was pleased to participate in finding ways to make the right to development a uniting rather than a dividing issue. Unfortunately, the United States must call for a vote and would abstain on the draft resolution. The United States was not prepared to join consensus based on the concept of the right to development that the resolution currently envisaged. Discussion of the right to development must be anchored to a human rights perspective, namely, how a State can assist the individual’s right to development. The United States regretted that language reaffirming the person as the recipient of the right to development was not used.
MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.15 on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union supported the right to development which required the full realization of all human rights. Development policy should make the human being the main object of development and a set of criteria and sub-criteria could be used for an implementation of the right to development. The European Union was not in favour of the elaboration of an international legal standard with a binding nature on the right to development as this would not be the proper way to achieve development. There was no hierarchy in development. The European Union supported resolution L.15 and would be voting in favour.
Action on Resolution on Human Rights and Unilateral Coercive Measures
In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L16) regarding human rights and unilateral coercive measures, adopted by a vote of 34 in favour, 12 against and none abstention, the Council expresses its concern at the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights, development, international relations, trade, investment and cooperation; reaffirms Human Rights Council resolution 15/24 in which the Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a thematic study on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, including recommendations on actions aimed at ending such measures, taking into account all previous reports, resolutions and relevant information available to the United Nations system in this regard, and to present the study to the Council at its eighteenth session; takes note of the note by the Secretariat indicating that the above-mentioned thematic stuffy is under preparation, requires additional time for its completion and will therefore be submitted to the Human Rights Council at its nineteenth session; and decides to examine this question in accordance with its annual programme of work under the same agenda item.
The result of the vote was as follows:
In favour (34): Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda and Uruguay.
Against (12): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and United States.
HICHAM BADR (Egypt), introducing draft resolution L.16, concerning unilateral coercive measures on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, recalled that in resolution 15/24 the Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a thematic study on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, including recommendations on actions aimed at ending such measures, taking into account all previous reports, resolutions and relevant information available to the United Nations system in this regard, and to present the study to the Council at its eighteenth session. Notwithstanding, the Council had been informed by the Office that the study would not be ready before the nineteenth session of the Council. Accordingly, the Non-Aligned Movement had decided to table a draft resolution taking note of this information and deferring consideration of the annual resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures to the nineteenth session.
ALEKSANDRA WOJTYLAK (Poland), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.16 on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union would like to thank Egypt regarding their consultation on this text. However, the nature and content of the resolution essentially dealt with relations between States. The Human Rights Council was not the appropriate body to deal with this question and the European Union could not support this issue.
Statement Made at the End of Taking Action on Resolutions Under Agenda Item Three
ALEXANDRE FASEL (Switzerland), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that Switzerland had joined the consensus on resolution L.26/Rev.1 on human rights and climate change, despite its dissatisfaction with the process initiated on this text by the main co-sponsors throughout the session. Switzerland had been part of the group behind the initiative put forward during the seventh and tenth session by the Maldives and regretted that the same approach had not been pursued during this session. Furthermore, Switzerland regretted that negotiations similar to those in March on resolution 16/11 had led to very different results. Switzerland had trouble with an approach which favoured selective references to the Framework Convention on climate change and the emphasis placed on the right to development. Switzerland hoped that the seminar and the report requested by L.26/Rev.1 would make a contribution to taking into account human rights in climate change negotiations and hoped that the follow up to this imitative would be constructive and carried out in a complementary manner to the initiative on human rights and the environment.
Action on Resolution Under Agenda Item Nine on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
Action on Resolution on Concrete Actions Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L31) regarding concrete actions against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, adopted by a vote of 35 in favour, 1 against and 10 abstentions, the Council welcomes the constructive work of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; welcomes and acknowledges the importance and significance of the work of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent in examining the current situation; decides that the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action should convene its tenth session from 8 to 19 October 2012; requests the Secretary-General to make available to the Human Rights Council at its twentieth session his progress report submitted to the General Assembly; urges the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to take measures within the framework of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance; requests the Office of the High Commissioner to provide the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent with the necessary resources.
The result of the vote was as follows:
In favour (35): Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda and Uruguay.
Against (1): United States.
Abstentions (10): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain and Switzerland.
ABDUL SAMAD MINTY (South Africa), introducing draft resolution L.31 on behalf of the African Group, said the essence of the draft resolution had been captured in the address to the General Assembly. The Secretary-General had acknowledged that intolerance had increased and the resurgence of inhumane attitudes showed that not enough had been done to stem the tide. Combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance must be at the core of the Human Rights Council actions. Full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action was a common message that the international community was united on in the combating of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
CHARLES O. BLAHA (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.31, said the United States remained firmly and fully committed to upholding the human rights of all people particularly through enhancing its implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The United States regretted that it would not be able join the consensus on this resolution and had decided to call a vote. The United States regretted that this resolution had become a vehicle to discuss the politics of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action rather than a concrete approach for the international community to combat racism and racial discrimination. The concerns of the United States about the Durban Declaration were well-known, including its unfair and unacceptable singling out of Israel and its endorsement of overly broad restrictions on freedom of expression that could run counter to the United States commitment to robust free speech. The United States called for a vote and would vote no on this resolution.
ALEKSANDRA WOJTYLAK (Poland), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.31 on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union had engaged constructively on the resolution tabled. However, due to time constraints, the European Union was not able to fully discuss the new amendments of the text. The European Union would therefore abstain.
LAURA MIRACHIAN (Italy), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, commended South Africa for its strong commitment against racism and said Italy would clarify its position. Italy was committed to combating racism and intolerance and regarded international cooperation on this field as an important tool. Italy also emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant. However, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action contained a few paragraphs on the Middle East because of which, unfortunately, the Durban process had become an instrument to attack a single country. In the same spirit Italy could not accept that this resolution was used in the same way and understood this text as containing no specific references; for this reason Italy would abstain.
IRUTHISHAM ADAM (Maldives), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.31, said a fundamental value on which the credibility of this Council was based was the process of open consultation on the resolutions. The Maldives strongly appealed to all Member States to allow for a timely process of consultation and said it would join consensus on this resolution.
Action on Resolution on Mandate of Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent
In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L30) regarding the Mandate of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Working Group for a further period of three years; also decides that the Working Group shall undertake a minimum of two country visits per year; requests all Governments to cooperate fully with the Working Group; requests the Working Group to submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council on all activities relating to its mandate; requests States and relevant human rights treaty bodies to collaborate with the Working Group, including by, inter alia, providing it with the necessary information and reports; requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the Working Group with all the human, technical and financial assistance necessary; recalls the establishment of a voluntary fund to provide additional resources for the participation of people of African descent, representatives of developing countries, especially the least developed countries, non-governmental organizations and experts, in the open-ended sessions of the Working Group, and invites States to contribute to that fund.
ABDUL SAMAD MINTY (South Africa), speaking in introduction of draft resolution L.30 on behalf of the African Group, said the resolution was procedural in renewing the mandate of the Working Group of Experts on people of African descent with a view to strengthening measures to alleviate the difficult conditions in which Africans continued to live. The African Group appreciated the contribution of the Working Group on the tenth anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and looked forward to the implementation of their recommendations on international cooperation. The reality was that many of the communities of people of African descent still suffered from forms of racism and South Africa trusted that the Council would adopt this resolution by consensus.
EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.30, said the United States remained fully committed to combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance including by enhancing implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The concerns of the United States about the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action were well known. The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action unfairly singled out Israel and endorsed overbroad commitment on freedom of expression that ran counter to the United States’ robust commitment to free speech. The topic was important to the United States and they wished to engage on it. The United States did not join consensus on this resolution.
Procedural Decision on the Annual Cycle of the Advisory Committee
In a procedural decision on the annual cycle of the Advisory Committee, the Council decides that the cycle of the Advisory Committee shall be adjusted to run from 1 October to 30 September, to ensure that the annual reporting of the Committee to the Council and the interactive dialogue thereon will take place at the end of the cycle: decides that, as a transitional measure, the period of the office of members of the Advisory Committee ending in March 2012 will exceptionally be extended until 30 September 2012.
General Statements after the Council Finished Taking Action on Resolutions and Decisions
GONZALO M. JORDAN (Argentina), speaking in a general comment on resolution L.11, said Argentina supported the right of peoples who were subjected to colonization and colonial domination to self-determination. In the case of the Malvinas, a just and peaceful solution must be found, taking in account the interest of the inhabitants of the Malvinas. The occupation of the Malvinas by the United Kingdom was a violation of international law and the rules of decolonization must be applied. On resolution L.1 on the right to drinking water, Argentina believed that the realization of the right to water was a primary responsibly of the State. The right to drinking water was a precondition for decent living.
JEAN-BAPTISTE MATTEI (France), speaking also on behalf of the United Kingdom in a general comment, said that both France and the United Kingdom supported all human rights of migrants and clearly distinguished between different categories of regular and irregular migrants with a focus on combating the clandestine work of smuggling the irregular migrants. As a result France and the United Kingdom could not support paragraphs 8, 9, and 10 in L.10.
THEO RYCROFF (United Kingdom), speaking in a general comment, said that the United Kingdom supported the creation of a Special Rapporteur on truth. This represented the common desire of members of the United Nations community, particularly concerning countries which had emerged from conflict. The United Kingdom endorsed the statement made by France concerning the resolution on the human rights of migrants, which contained imprecision and as such the United Kingdom did not support the language. Concerning remarks made by Argentina, the United Kingdom indicated there was no question over the sovereignty of the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands.
IDRISS JAZAIRY (Algeria), speaking in a general comment, said 33 resolutions had been proposed for this session. Votes had been taken only on issues of interest to developing countries, and they had been called by developed countries. Algeria was delighted to welcome South Sudan as the newest member of the United Nations. Algeria welcomed the resolution on the death penalty. Thanks went to sponsors of the resolution on human rights issues in relation to terrorist hostage taking. OP10 of L24 stipulated that technical assistance to respond to requests of the concerned State must be drawn up with the State and must be consensual. Council decisions must be respected by others. If the Council rejected sending a Commission of Inquiry to a country, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should not send one under the authority of the United Nations. If credible internal process were underway, international process were not helpful. Resolution 16/21 regulated the conduct of work of Human Rights Council and circumscribed it. States should refrain from reopening the content of this compromise document.
The representative of Netherlands, in a general comment on draft resolution L.17 as orally amended, said that the Netherlands attached importance to cultural diversity and individuals had such rights to have their cultural identities and religious beliefs. If strengthening this respect was the message of this resolution, the Netherlands could not but agree. However, there were a number of elements in the text which were open to further clarification. The concept of multiculturalism was not convincingly defined, especially in the context of international human rights law. Promoting respect for cultural diversity was certainly part of the promotion of human rights, but no one could on the basis of this resolution argue that respect for cultural diversity implied that human rights were subject to cultural interpretation.
GIAMPAOLO CARMELO RIZZO ALVARADO (Honduras), speaking in a general comment, emphasized the aspects that had marked this session, notably the link between the promotion and protection of human rights and the link between the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The measures in the resolution for strengthening technical cooperation and capacity building in human rights, which had passed today, would allow the Council to enter a new phase in its work with preventive measures and implementation measures for respecting its commitments in human rights. Honduras expressed a wish for more moderation and tolerance in the debate among Member States and less polarization.
SAROJA SIRISENA (Sri Lanka), in a general comment on draft resolution L.14, said that this was an opportune moment to recall General Assembly resolution 48/141 which emphasized that the need for the promotion and protection of human rights was guided by the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity. Having regard to this fundamental premise the General Assembly went on to create the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The overarching duty of transparency with regard to the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was clear, including equitable geographic representation in the staffing and a clear need for an equitable appropriation of funds and accountability. Any procedure that fell short of these ideals was wholly inappropriate. Sri Lanka also proposed that the Council should consider capping voluntary contributions earmarked or otherwise.
MAYSA URENA MENACHO (Bolivia), speaking in a general comment on resolution L.1, said Bolivia did not co-sponsor the resolution due to the reference that the human right to water was a right derived from other human rights. Bolivia said the human right to drinking water was an independent right. Concerning the resolution L.26 Rev1 on human rights and climate change, Bolivia fully shared the concerns and supported the holding of a seminar to discuss this topic. Bolivia was not able to co-sponsor it due to references that set out the restriction in case of temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius. Even the current increment of 0.8 degrees had had huge impacts and the doubling would create damage to nature. This decision also led to new market mechanisms through which certain countries had the ability to hand over their responsibility to reduce the creation of greenhouse gas to other countries.
MATJAZ KOVCIC (Slovenia), speaking in a general comment, said that Slovenia had repeatedly expressed its profound concern over the allegations of grave human rights violations that took place in the Sudan and had supported the call by the High Commissioner for the establishment of an International Commission of Inquiry to investigate the situation. Slovenia remained convinced that this would have been the best course of action for the Council to take and regretted that negotiations were not conducive to such an outcome. Slovenia believed that the seriousness of the human rights situation and the grave humanitarian situation, in particular in the South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states, would merit a human rights monitoring mandate under agenda item 4 and stressed that this Council could not disengage from the Sudan. With respect to the resolution on the resumption of the rights of membership of Libya to the Human Rights Council, L.35, Slovenia expressed its expectation that Libya, should its membership rights be renewed, would fully comply with this provision. Slovenia also invited candidates for membership to make voluntary pledges and commitments regarding the respect and promotion of human rights and invited the Libyan authorities to do so.
ABDUL SAMAD MINTY (South Africa), speaking in a general comment, said that South Africa’s constitutional democracy was rooted on the fundamentals of international humanitarian law and respect for multilateralism and the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. South Africa regretted that the issue of freedom of opinion and expression had always been politicized in the Council. Indeed, the very countries that sponsored these initiatives had placed reservations on articles that outlined these permissible limitations. On the establishment of the Special Rapporteur on truth, South Africa expressed regret at the approach that the sponsors had adopted. South Africa had hoped that the mandate would be able to receive complaints and contribute to efforts towards reconciliation and nation-building. The initiative contradicted South Africa’s constitutional values and principles, which promoted truth-seeking processes, healing, reconciliation, and peace. For this reason South Africa was unable to co-sponsor this initiative.
Statement by Vice President and Rapporteur of the Council on the Report of the Council on its Eighteenth Session
GULNARA ISKAKOVA Vice President of the Human Rights Council and Rapporteur, said the draft document contained the procedural description of work up to and including the thirty-fourth meeting of the Council on 28 September in the afternoon. The Human Rights Council had considered the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of 16 countries. The text of resolutions that had been adopted would be available on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website and would be subsequently included in part one of the report. The advanced unedited version of the annual report of the fifth cycle of the Council had been made available in advance on the Human Rights Council extranet. This contained the resolutions, decisions, and President Statements adopted by the Council from the sixteenth and seventeenth sessions and the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth special sessions. The resolutions and decisions of the eighteenth session would be added as an addendum once editing was finished.
Statements by Observers
FODE SECK (Senegal), speaking in a general comment on behalf of the African Group, welcomed the quality of the work achieved at this session and noted that stakeholders and Member States had gone beyond their usual efforts in achieving consensus and understanding. In the area of technical assistance much had been achieved thanks to dialogue and a spirit of openness. However, nothing in this session would have been accomplished without the hard work of the Bureau and the President of the Human Rights Council. The African Group reaffirmed its willingness to work with the Council to promote a culture of mutual understanding, dialogue and listening to each other so as to support the ideals that the Human Rights Council upheld.
MICHAEL INEICHEN, of International Service for Human Rights, said that the session had had mixed results. The panel on peaceful protest aimed to rise above the political stalemate and International Service for Human Rights hoped that the Council would maintain the creativity. There was a need to pay further attention to reprisals against human rights defenses. The panel on reprisals next year should be seen as a first step for the Council to improve protection for those who collaborated with it. International Service for Human Rights welcomed the resolution on prevention of maternal mortality and morbidity, which would allow stake holders to take a practical human rights approach in this area. This session had seen weak or non-existing responses to some critical issues, such as the situation in Yemen, South Sudan and Burundi. International Service for Human Rights highlighted two worrying institutional developments, concerning Universal Periodic Review States that failed to circulate information concerning the States’ position on recommendations which made it harder for non-governmental organizations to provide contributions; and the attempts through the so-called transparency initiative to hinder the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
PETER SPLINTER, of Amnesty International, said the eighteenth session had had many good outcomes, specifically on maternal mortality, technical cooperation, the right to truth and the right to water and sanitation among others. There had also been politically important outcomes that had been tarnished by reliance on fantasized positivist assessments of Sudan and Yemen. Informal open ended consultations seemed to have been applied for formalistic reasons for some initiatives and not at all for others. Amnesty International was concerned about the rapid appointment process for the new Special Rapporteur on racism. Many delegations, particularly from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries, had expressed concern about the working environment of the Council. The members and observers of the Council must show better respect for the spirit of the rules and understandings reached by consensus to guide the Council’s work.
For use of information media; not an official record