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Human Rights Council concludes nineteenth session

Human Rights Council
ROUNDUP 23 March 2012

Appoints Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment; Extends Mandates on Syria, Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Myanmar and Haiti, Decides to Dispatch a Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements

The Human Rights Council concluded its nineteenth regular session this afternoon, adopting 41 texts on a wide range of issues, including appointing a Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The Council extended mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on Iran, on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and on Myanmar, and the mandate of the Special Procedure in the field of cultural rights, for a period of three years, as a Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. At the request of the Haitian authorities, the Council extended for one year mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in this country. It also extended the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria and requested the Commission to conduct and continuously update a mapping exercise of gross violations of human rights since March 2011, including an assessment of casualty figures, and to publish it periodically. The Council decided to dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan.

The Council appointed Cecilia Rachel Quisumbing as a member of the Advisory Committee; Pablo de Greiff as Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantee of non-recurrence; Alfred de Zayas as Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order; Mashood Baderin as Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan; and Danfred Tutus as member of the Expert Mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples. Paulo Pinheiro was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Syria to come into effect once the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria concluded at the end of September 2012.

Subsequent to the urgent debate on humanitarian and human rights situation in Syria, the Council condemned in the strongest terms the sharply escalating widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Syrian authorities and the attacks against civilians in cities and villages across the country. The Council adopted a resolution on reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, in which it called on the Government to take all necessary steps to fulfil its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans.

The Council further decided to establish the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the work of the Human Rights Council. It also decided to focus on the issue of economic, social and cultural rights of women and the empowerment of women in its annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective and on the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health in its next full-day meeting on the right of the child. It further decided that that the next meeting of the Social Forum would focus on the theme: “People-centred development and globalization” and that the Forum on Minority Issues would continue to meet annually for two working days allocated to thematic discussions.

The Council adopted texts on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in Occupied Syrian Golan, on the follow-up to the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, and on the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. It adopted a Presidential Statement welcoming the participation of United Nations Member States and other stakeholders at the launch of the Annual Report of the High Commissioner and another on technical assistance and capacity building in Haiti. The Council also adopted resolutions on the strengthening of technical cooperation and advisory services to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, on technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights, on assistance to Libya in the field of human rights, on strengthening technical cooperation and advisory services in the Republic of Guinea and on the composition of staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Council further adopted texts on freedom of religion or belief, on birth registration, on the right to recognition and participation in political and public life by persons with disabilities, on adequate housing in the context of disaster settings on integrity of the judicial system, on human rights and the environment, on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, on human rights and unilateral coercive measures, on the role of good governance, on protection of human rights while countering terrorism, on right to development, on the right of the child, on right of food, on question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights, on enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, on the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin, on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, and on human rights and terrorism.

Over the course of its session, the Council heard a number of high-profile reports and held interactive dialogues with the Special Procedures presenting them, including the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary-General, the Special Rapporteur on torture, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, the Special Rapporteur on right to food, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the Independent Expert on the rights of minorities, which were followed by interactive dialogues.

The Council also heard presentations from the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on arbitrary detention, the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the right to development and the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, which were followed by general debates.

The Council in this session engaged with its subsidiary bodies, and heard the report of the 2011 Social Forum, dedicated to the realization of the right to development. It further considered the recommendations of the Forum on Minority Issues on guaranteeing rights of minority women. The Advisory Committee submitted the report on ways and means to enhance cooperation in the field of human rights; the final study on the relationship between severe malnutrition and childhood diseases, taking children affected by Noma as an example; and the final study on ways and means to further advance the rights of people working in rural areas, including women, in particular smallholders engaged in the production of food and/or other agricultural products. The annual reporting of the Advisory Committee would take place at the twenty first session of the Human Rights Council in September 2012.

The Council undertook a review of human rights situations that required its attention, hearing presentations of reports by Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Myanmar and Iran, which were debated by the Council.

On Tuesday, 28 February, the Council held an urgent debate on human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria. The Council adopted a resolution on 1 March in which it strongly condemned the widespread violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities and called for the humanitarian needs to be urgently addressed. In the follow-up to its special sessions, the Council reviewed the final report of the Commission of Inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya. It also heard an update on the situation in Syria followed by an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

On Friday, 2 March, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, presented to the Council her annual report of the work of her Office. The High Commissioner said that 2011 had been a critical year for human rights, which saw the mobilization of civil society in contesting repressive power structures and failed forms of governance, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. Ms. Pillay commended the leadership of the Human Rights Council which had promptly responded to the situations in Libya and Syria, notably by establishing commissions of inquiry for the two countries.

The Council considered and debated the High Commissioner’s reports on the composition of the staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; the Report of the Secretary-General containing conclusions and recommendations by special procedures; the Report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the operations of the Voluntary Fund for participation in the Universal Periodic Review; and the Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.

The Council also reviewed the report of the High Commissioner on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities; the report of the United Nations Secretary-General on measures taken to implement resolution 9/8 and obstacles to its implementation; and the report of the High Commissioner on the protection of human rights in the context of HIV AIDS. The High Commissioner also submitted five studies for consideration by the Council: the analytical study on the relationship between human rights and the environment; the thematic study on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, including recommendations on actions aimed at ending such measures; the study on challenges, lessons learned and best practices in a holistic, child rights and gender-based approach to protect and promote the rights of children working and/or living on the street; the thematic study on participation in political and public life by persons with disabilities; and a comprehensive study on the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights. Ms. Pillay further provided for consideration by the Council the analytical compilation of submissions received in writing and made at the consultation on the progress report on the draft guiding principles on extreme poverty and human rights; and summaries of Human Rights Council panel discussions on the human rights of victims of terrorism and on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests. The Council also had before it the High Commissioner’s report on discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity; a report of the High Commissioner on the right to development.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations submitted two reports to the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council; on the Special Fund established by the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Report of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women on the activities of the United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women. The Council also had before it a report of the Secretary-General on human rights and arbitrary deprivation of nationality; and the report of the Secretary-General containing the joint work plan of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

On Monday, 19 March the Council held a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories after hearing the High Commissioner present her own and the report of the Secretary-General on the subject.

In the second week of its session, the Council held its annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child, focusing on the rights of children and the administration of justice, in which it debated key challenges, worrisome trends and best practices regarding children in contact with judicial systems. It also held its annual discussion on human rights of persons with disabilities, with a focus on their participation in political and public life; and its annual thematic discussion on best practices in technical cooperation.

The Council convened general debates on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development; human rights situations that required the Council’s attention; human rights bodies and mechanisms; the Universal Periodic Review mechanism; the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories; follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action; and finally on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance: follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
The Council held panel discussions on the following subjects: the promotion of human rights through Sport and the Olympic Ideal, human rights mainstreaming and international cooperation, freedom of expression on the internet, human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, the human rights of minorities, giving a voice to people living with, and affected by HIV/AIDS, including young people, and the enhancement of technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of human rights.
As it was the Council’s first regular session of the year, at the beginning of its nineteenth session, the Council held its annual High-Level Segment during which it was addressed by foreign dignitaries from all areas of the world on a range of subjects.
Under Universal Periodic Review procedure, the Council adopted the outcomes of the reports of its Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Tajikistan, Tanzania, Antigua and Barbuda, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Ireland, Togo, Syria, Venezuela, Iceland, Zimbabwe, Lithuania, Uganda, Timor-Leste, the Republic of Moldova, Haiti and Libya. With these adoptions, the Council has concluded its first four-year Universal Periodic Review cycle.
The Council heard the report of the Independent Expert on technical assistance and capacity building in Côte d’Ivoire and considered the High Commissioner’s reports on technical assistance and capacity building in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Guinea and Yemen. The Council held an annual thematic discussion to promote the sharing of experiences, best practices and technical cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights with the theme “sharing of best practices and promoting technical cooperation: paving the way toward the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review”.
The nineteenth session, which was presided over by Laura Dupuy Lasserre of Uruguay, was held from 27 February to 23 March 2012. The twentieth regular session of the Human Rights Council will be held from 18 June to 6 July 2012.

Resolutions Adopted by the Council

Organizational and procedural matters

On the escalating grave human rights violations and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria the Council strongly condemned the continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities, such as the use of force against civilians, arbitrary executions, the killing and persecution of protestors, human rights defenders and journalists, including the recent deaths of Syrian and foreign journalists, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, interference with access to medical treatment, torture and sexual violence, including against children.

Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

On promotion of reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka the Council noted with concern that the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka did not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international law. It called on the Government to take all necessary steps to initiate credible actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans, to present a comprehensive action plan and to address alleged violations of international law.
Regarding the composition of the staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights the Council expressed its serious concern that, despite the measures taken by the Office, the imbalance in the geographical representation of its composition continued to be prominent. The Council requested the High Commissioner to consider applying a zero-growth cap on the representation of countries and regions already overrepresented.

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Concerning adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, in the context of disaster settings, the Council expressed concern that any deterioration in the general housing situation disproportionately affected vulnerable groups, expressed its deep concern at the number and scale of natural disasters and extreme climate and weather events and urged States to protect and fulfil the right to adequate housing without discrimination in the context of post-disaster settings.
On integrity of the justice system, the Council urged States to guarantee that all persons brought to trial before courts had the right to be tried in their presence and to defend themselves in person or through legal assistance of their own choosing. The Council also called upon States that had military courts or special tribunals for trying criminal offenders to ensure that such bodies were an integral part of the general judicial system and applied due process procedures recognized as guarantees of a fair trial.
Concerning human rights and the environment, the Council adopted a resolution that appointed an Independent Expert on human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, whose tasks would include: making recommendations that could help to the realize the Millennium Development Goals, take into account the results of the Conference on Sustainable Development, and contribute to follow-up processes.

In a resolution regarding participation in political and public life by persons with disabilities, the Council called upon States to ensure that persons with disabilities could effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, and to participate in the conduct of public affairs.
On the realisation in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights, the Council called upon States to pay particular attention to the individuals and communities living in extreme poverty and decided to focus on the issue of economic, social and cultural rights of women and the empowerment of women in its annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective, at the twenty-first session of the Council.
On human rights and unilateral coercive measures, the Council called upon all States to stop adopting or implementing unilateral coercive measures not in accordance with international law, international humanitarian law or the Charter of the United Nations and requested the Office of the High Commissioner to organize a workshop on the impact of the application of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by the affected populations in the States targeted, with the participation of States, academic experts, and civil society representatives and to prepare a summary of the proceedings of the workshop and submit it to the Council at its twenty-third session.

Regarding enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, the Council requested the High Commissioner to enhance dialogue with representatives from non-traditional donor countries with a view to broaden the donor-base and replenish the resources available to the Voluntary Fund for Participation in the Universal Periodic Review and the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance and to ensure that both funds were easily accessible to States requesting assistance. The Council also requested the Office of the High Commissioner to organize, before the twenty-second session of the Council, a seminar on the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights.
On the right to development, the Council decided to endorse the recommendations of the Working Group on the Right to Development as outlined in its report and invited relevant stakeholders to submit further detailed comments and proposals on the right to development criteria and operational sub-criteria which then should be used in the elaboration of a comprehensive and coherent set of standards for the implementation of the right to development. The Council further decided that the Working Group should take appropriate steps to ensure respect for and the practical application of the above mentioned standards which could take various forms and evolve into a basis for consideration of an international legal standard of binding nature.
On the negative impact of non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, the Council called upon all States to fully uphold their commitment to make the fight against corruption a priority at all levels and to curb illicit transfer of funds and requested the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt to present to the Human Rights Council, at its twenty-second session, an in-depth study on the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin.

On the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, the Council called upon States to ensure an environment where protests may be conducted in a peaceful and lawful manner by enacting national legislation respecting international human rights law; encouraged all States to explore ways of avoiding force wherever possible during peaceful protests, and where force is absolutely necessary, to restrict its use to the minimum; and requested the High Commissioner to prepare and submit a thematic report to the Human Rights Council, prior to its twenty-second session, on effective measures to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, and to prevent violations and abuses.

Concerning the mandate holder on cultural rights, the Council welcomed the work and contributions of the Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights and decided to extend, for a period of three years, the mandate of the current mandate holder as a Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights.

In a resolution regarding the right to food, the Council expressed grave concern at the evolution of the world food crisis which was further aggravated by the world economic and financial crisis. The Council called upon States to combat different forms of malnutrition and especially chronic under-nutrition in early childhood, and to support plans to improve nutrition in poor households. The Council requested the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to continue to monitor the evolution of the world food crisis.

On freedom of religion or belief, the Council condemned all forms of violence, intolerance and discrimination in the name of religion or belief, and called upon States to make use of the potential of education for the eradication of prejudices and stereotypes against members of other religions or beliefs. The Council urged States to ensure that no one was deprived of the right to life, liberty or torture because of religion or belief.

In a resolution regarding birth registration and the right of everyone to recognition everywhere as a person before the law, the Council called upon States to establish or strengthen existing governmental institutions responsible for birth registration and the preservation and security of such records. States should identify and remove physical, administrative and other barriers that impeded access to birth registration.

On protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, the Council called upon States to safeguard the right to privacy, protect human rights and respect the right to be equal before the courts and to a fair trial while countering terrorism in accordance with his mandate, to continue to gather, request, receive and exchange information on alleged violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

On the role of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights, the Council invited States and other stakeholders to provide the High Commissioner with information on good practices and their views regarding the organization, training and education of the public service. The Council requested the High Commissioner to prepare and present to the Council, at its twenty-forth session, a comprehensive report outlining the role of the public service as an essential component of good governance.

On human rights, democracy and rule of law, the Council urged States to acknowledge the important contribution of human rights defenders to the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and to create a safe and enabling environment for their work; and requested the Office of the High Commissioner, to draft a study on common challenges facing States in their efforts to secure democracy and the rule of law from a human rights prospective, as well as on lessons learned and best practices, and to organize a panel discussion and present the study to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-second session.

Regarding the rights of the child, the Council expressed deep concern that more than 7.6 million children under the age of five died each year, mostly from preventable and treatable causes caused by lack of access to services and called upon States to prohibit and eliminate all forms of violence against children in all settings.

Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

On the situation of human rights in Iran the Council expressed serious concern at the developments noted in the report of the Special Rapporteur and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran for a further period of one year.

On the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Council expressed its very serious concern at the ongoing grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations in this country and alarmed by the precarious humanitarian situation in the country, and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of one year.

On the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the Council urged the Government of Myanmar to ensure that the by-elections of 1 April were free, transparent and fair; strongly called for an immediate end to the continuing recruitment and use of child soldiers by all parties and decided to extend for one year the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

On the situation of human rights in Syria, the Council condemned in the strongest terms the sharply escalating widespread, systematic and gross violations of human rights perpetrated by the Syrian authorities and the attacks against civilians in cities and villages across the country. The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry and requested it to conduct and continuously update a mapping exercise of gross violations of human rights since March 2011, including an assessment of casualty figures, and to publish it periodically.

Human rights bodies and mechanisms

On the Forum of Minority Issues, the Council decided that the Forum would continue to meet annually for two working days allocated to thematic discussions and that the Independent Expert would continue to guide its work.

The Council decided that the Social Forum would meet for three working days in 2012, in Geneva, should focus on the theme: “People-centred development and globalization”; requested the President of the Council to appoint the Chairperson-Rapporteur for the 2012 Social Forum and the High Commissioner to submit a report as a background contribution for the dialogues and debates held at the 2012 Social Forum.

Human rights situation in Palestine and the other occupied Arab territories

Regarding Human Rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, the Council called upon Israel to desist from building settlements, from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards and allow the Syrian population of the occupied Syrian Golan to visit their families. All legislative and administrative measures that sought to alter the character and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan were null and void and had no legal effect.

With respect to the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, the Council reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination as a basic condition for achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region of the Middle East and also reaffirmed its support for the solution of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security.

Concerning the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the Council demanded that Israel cease all of its settlement activities, condemned the firing of rockets against Israeli civilian areas and called upon Israel to cease prolonged closures and economic and movement restrictions, including those amounting to a blockade on the Gaza Strip.

On the subject of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan, the Council decided to dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
On the follow-up to the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, the Council welcomed the efforts of Switzerland to reconvene a conference on measures to enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; recommended that the General Assembly considered launching an urgent discussion on the legality of the use of certain munitions; and requested the Secretary-General to present a comprehensive report on the implementation of recommendations.
Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

Concerning combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief, the Council called upon all States to take effective measures to: ensure that public functionaries in the conduct of their public duties did not discriminate against an individual on the basis of religion or belief; encourage the representation and meaningful participation of individuals in all sectors of society, irrespective of their religion; make a strong effort to counter religious profiling; and promote the full respect for and protection of places of worship and religious sites.

Technical assistance and capacity-building

On Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to support the participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the work of the Human Rights Council, the Council decided to establish the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the work of the Human Rights Council and requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to make arrangements for the operationalization of the Trust Fund.
On the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the strengthening of technical cooperation and advisory services, the Council urged the Government to redouble its efforts to expeditiously put an end to all violations of human rights and bring perpetrators to justice and invited the Office of the High Commissioner to increase and enhance its technical assistance programmes and activities requested by the Government.

On assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, the Council strongly condemned the grave and systematic human rights abuses perpetrated against the civilian population, in particular by Al Shabab and its affiliates and urged all parties to take immediate steps to protect and end abuses and violations committed against children. The Council called on all parties to ensure that the progress made at the London Conference on Somalia held on 23 February 2012 was consolidated through effective action; welcomed the intention of the Government of Turkey to hold a conference on Somalia in Istanbul; and requested the Secretary General to submit to the Council at its 21st Session a report assessing current United Nations support for efforts in Somalia to end all human rights abuses and combat impunity.

On the situation of human rights in Haiti, the Council agreed to the Haitian authorities' request seeking the extension for one year of the mission of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti until March 2013 and requested the Independent Expert to work with international institutions, donors and the international community in order to lend their expertise and resources to the efforts of Haitian authorities in the country's reconstruction. The Council also invited the Independent Expert to report to it in June 2013.

On technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights, the Council looked forward to further progress by the Government of Yemen regarding the implementation of its announcement that it will launch transparent and independent investigations into credible documented allegations of human rights violations through an independent national committee and in consultation with political parties; called upon the international community to provide financial support for the Yemen humanitarian response plan of 2012 and the joint United Nations stabilization plan; and requested the High Commissioner to present to the Council, at its twenty-first session, a progress report on the situation of human rights in Yemen.

Regarding assistance to Libya in the Field of Human Rights, the Council encouraged the transitional Government of Libya to investigate human rights violations, using all possible means; requested the Office of the High Commissioner to explore ways of cooperation in the field of human rights, including technical assistance and capacity-building, in collaboration with the transitional Government of Libya; and invited the Office of the High Commissioner to inform the Human Rights Council on its technical assistance, capacity-building and cooperation with the transitional Government of Libya, at its twenty-second session.

Concerning strengthening technical cooperation and advisory services in the Republic of Guinea, the Council encouraged the Government of Guinea to accelerate implementation of the recommendations of the International Commission of Inquiry appointed by the Secretary General called on the Guinean authorities and the political opposition to work together to define a timetable for holding elections and ensure the electoral process provides protection for freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of assembly and association; and invited the High Commissioner to report to its March 2013 session on the situation of human rights and the activities of her office in Guinea.

Presidential Statements

The Council welcomed in a presidential statement the decision by the High Commissioner that the launch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Annual Report would be accompanied by meetings with the participation of United Nations Member States and other stakeholders.

In another presidential statement, the Council agreed to the Haitian authorities' request seeking the extension for one year of the mission of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti.

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For use of the information media; not an official record