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Human Rights Council concludes general debate on the annual report of the High Commissioner


18 June 2012

The Human Rights Council this afternoon continued with the general debate on the annual report of the High Commissioner and reports of her Office and the Secretary-General.

During the general debate, delegations commended the High Commissioner on her appointment for a second term. Speakers also welcomed her participation in the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development and said it was important to have a human rights focus in efforts to achieve sustainability. Among other global challenges the economic and financial crisis had had an impact on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular those of vulnerable groups. While the economic and financial crisis posed additional challenges, Member States were responsible to continue to work towards the full enjoyment of rights, including economic, social and cultural, and political. The High Commissioner was commended for her work on mainstreaming human rights considerations within the United Nations system, including in development, humanitarian work and peace and security; human rights constituted and important pillar of the United Nations system and their diffusion across the system was required for a better implementation.

Some delegations reiterated concerns about human rights violations, the loss of life and the deteriorating situation in Syria, and said there had been a failure by all parties to end the violence and successfully implement the plan of Joint-Special Envoy Kofi Annan. Some delegations echoed the call of the High Commissioner to the Security Council to consider referring the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court. Several speakers raised concern about the situations in Mali and Eritrea. Others criticized the field missions and Special Procedures for impartial monitoring of human rights situations and urged the High Commissioner and her Office to ensure a balanced consideration to all human rights issues, including the right to development.

Speaking in the general debate this afternoon were Republic of Congo, Malaysia, Austria, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Belgium, India, Uganda, Mexico, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Sri Lanka, France, Algeria, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Oman, Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Japan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Namibia, Rwanda, Nepal, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kenya, Belarus, Honduras, Syrian Arab Republic, Chad, Viet Nam, South Africa, Armenia, Brazil, Togo, Paraguay and the Council of Europe.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peoples, France Libertés, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Reporters Without Borders, North-South XXI, World Muslim Congress, International Humanist and Ethical Union, Human Rights Watch, United Nations Watch, Amnesty International, Verein Sudwind, Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru”, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, International Human Rights Associations of American Minorities and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Syria and Sri Lanka spoke in right of reply.

The Council will resume its work tomorrow, Tuesday 19 June, at 10 a.m. when it will consider Agenda Item 3 and hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on health and the Special Rapporteur on the right to education.


Republic of Congo said the international scene was dominated by human rights violations and threats to international peace and security. The situation in Syria and Mali had caused the displacement of populations within and across national boundaries and the restoration of peace was necessary for the full enjoyment of human rights. The Republic of Congo had taken note of the improvements made in the management of activities by the Office of the High Commissioner and supported the actions described in the report of the High Commissioner concerning the fulfilment of economic, social and cultural rights.

Malaysia said that the new millennium presented important challenges in terms of international peace and security and human rights; potential economic and financial calamities could affect stability and lead to new human rights challenges. The Council was a tool to find solutions to address conflicts and maintain a high standard of human rights. Malaysia appreciated the attention paid by the High Commissioner to issues including continuing violations, the right to development, poverty and disparities, racism, xenophobia and intolerance. Malaysia hoped that the High Commissioner and her Office would put more effort in promoting a more conducive international environment and give a more balanced treatment to all human rights components.

Austria attached high importance to the independence of the work of the High Commissioner, her ability to speak out about human rights violations wherever they occurred had become a standing item on the agenda of the international community. Austria shared concerns about the current trend to curtail the freedom of members of civil society, human rights defenders and journalists to operate effectively. The deployment of field human rights officers was one of the most effective human rights tools the United Nations had devised. Austria supported the call of the High Commissioner to the Security Council to consider referring the case of Syria to the International Criminal Court.

Burkina Faso said that there was a need to strengthen the partnership between the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council. The crisis in Mali had weakened the situation in the Sahel, and there was now the challenge posed by the massive influx of refugees in neighbouring countries, including Burkina Faso, that had to be dealt with. Burkina Faso had taken measures to secure refugee camps and developed a national plan to support the local populations. It reiterated its appeal to the international community for solidarity in facing the crisis.

Bangladesh stressed the importance of ensuring balanced actions between civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in the Human Rights Council as well as the important responsibility of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that was entrusted to guarantee equal emphasis to these groups of rights in its programmes and actions. Bangladesh thanked the High Commissioner for Human Rights for emphasizing the human rights dimension of migration. Developing countries were disproportionally affected by climate change and had less capacity to cope with the situation. All forms of discrimination and related intolerance must be forcefully combated.

Belgium said that the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was indispensable for the Council to work well and ensure the protection of human rights. Independence of the Office was key and Belgium firmly rejected any initiative that might undermine this. The real challenge was the financing of the Office and Belgium would lobby insistently with the relevant United Nations bodies to remedy this problem. The treaty body system had to be strengthened in practice to continue to play its key role in human rights protection. Belgium expressed concern regarding the worsening situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

India was encouraged by the urgency attached by the High Commissioner to ensure the protection of economic, social and cultural rights, particularly in the context of economic strife and recent political upheavals. Special Procedures constituted a key mechanism of the Council and India reiterated that they must be mindful of the Council resolution 5/2 and Presidential Statement 8/2 that were their sole guides on the Code of Conduct as distinct from any other manual or procedures unendorsed by the Human Rights Council.

Uganda was encouraged by the choice of the thematic priorities of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in particular those related to combating racism and xenophobia and protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers. Uganda decried the situation of severe human rights crisis in a large part of the Sahel region caused by the massive displacement resulting from the coup in Malawi, and encouraged the High Commissioner to continue keeping the rights of women and persons with disabilities high on its agenda.

Mexico shared the consternation of the High Commissioner concerning the human rights situation in several parts of the world. Although the financial and economic crises were posing challenges to the international community, this did not absolve States from their responsibilities, particularly in relation to their fulfilment of economic, social and cultural rights. All people must be protected in the framework of the rule of law, said Mexico, adding that States must ensure that public institutions and accountability mechanisms were in place and strengthened.

Egypt welcomed the participation of the High Commissioner in the Rio Summit; commitments by the international community should take due account of the human rights perspective. Governments must ensure the protection of the most vulnerable when addressing the repercussions of the economic crises, including migratory movements, racism and xenophobia. Egypt noted the contribution made by Special Procedures in assisting States in the fulfilment of their responsibility. Egypt called on the Office of the High Commissioner to ensure the fair allocation of resources, guaranteeing the equal emphasis and attention to mandates; and called on delegations not to forget the human rights of the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Iraq wished the Council success in this session. Iraq was one of the States which had received great support from the High Commissioner and her Office, including for the establishment of an Iraqi system for the protection of human rights, a human rights plan, and programmes for its implementation and that of recommendations discussed during its Universal Periodic Review session. Iraq had acceded to a number of international instruments concerning the protection and promotion of human rights, including combating violence against women, children, and minorities. The Office of the High Commissioner had also ensured a positive engagement with Special Procedures mandate holders.

Tunisia shared the analysis by the High Commissioner concerning the human rights situation around the world and her appeal for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development. The human rights dimension in the management of migration was a priority. Tunisia thanked the Deputy High Commissioner for her participation in the dialogue on the first phase of the programme of national reconciliation. Tunisia had signed an accord with the Office of the High Commissioner and the United Nations Development Programme to contribute to this process.

Morocco said Morocco shared concerns with regards to the turmoil and political situation in the Sahel region which had resulted in a serious humanitarian crisis and affected human rights. Morocco also expressed concern with regards to Al-Qaeda and traffickers in the region which had led to violations of human rights, particularly in Mali. It called for the Council’s attention as well as that of the entire international community in this respect. Morocco had made combating poverty a national priority.

Turkey pointed to the effects of the economic crisis on economic, social and cultural rights, especially those of migrant communities, and said these should be examined. The fact that certain political parties had been exploiting these negative trends was unfortunate. The ever-escalating crisis in Syria should remain on the agenda of the Human Rights Council. It was difficult to understand how the international community still could not speak in unity on this issue. The plight of the Palestinians was a major issue whose solution required the avoidance of double standards. Turkey congratulated the High Commissioner for Human Rights for her steps to mainstream human rights into key international fora.

Sri Lanka said that the number of internally displaced persons that had to be resettled had further been reduced from 290,000 to 6,022. There was also progress on demining and the reintegration of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam child soldiers. Sri Lanka continued to find the resolution adopted during the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council to be unnecessary and unwarranted.

France shared the High Commissioner’s concern regarding Syria and the grave human rights violations occurring in that country, which had led to over 13,000 deaths so far. Persons responsible for mass atrocities must know that they would be held responsible by the International Criminal Court. Damascus must immediately implement the six-point plan by the Joint Special Envoy Kofi Anan and the international community must react firmly to the massacre in this country that had been going on for over 15 months.

Algeria reiterated the urgency to stop the violence in Syria, wherever it came from, and to establish the institutional architecture that would enable all the Syrian population to enjoy human rights and equality. The constitutional change in Mali and the illegal secession of part of its territory had created a situation of the absence of law and efforts must be joined to establish the rule of law in this country. Algeria was in favour of including human rights in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Gabon took note of the process begun by the High Commissioner to help the situation of the rights of migrants who were increasingly victims of racism and xenophobia. The Gabonese authorities were working with all relevant parties to address the phenomenon of human trafficking and were in the process of strengthening its legal framework for this purpose.

Germany commended the High Commissioner and her Office for the transparency in the 2011 report and their active role in highlighting human rights concerns worldwide. Germany welcomed the participation of the High Commissioner in the Rio Summit, and the emerging consensus on a reference to the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation in the Outcome Document. Germany inquired about the plans for the Office of the High Commissioner’s field missions and recent developments in the Middle East and Northern Africa region, and the impact of violations of human rights in fuelling conflict.

Ireland said that the High Commissioner had been a consistent and clear voice for vulnerable and marginalised groups, migrants, indigenous people, for those suffering discrimination and, as in Syria today, for those suffering from tyranny and oppression by the State. The human rights scaffolding jointly constructed by Special Procedures and field offices had powerfully contributed to the advancement of human rights. Ireland greatly appreciated the emphasis that the High Commissioner had placed on the cross cutting dimension of human rights in terms of the work of the United Nations and other agencies.

Canada was disappointed that among countries which still had to show full accountability for their human rights situation, the High Commissioner had decided to include the situation in Quebec in her report. Concerning student protests in Quebec, a democratically elected assembly had passed a law which sought to protect freedom of speech by ensuring that protests would take place in a peaceful manner. In Canada, groups whose rights might have been infringed upon had avenues to seek redress by independent bodies, and it would be up to the courts to decide whether the law was in fact unconstitutional.

Oman said that Oman had worked earnestly to build a culture of human rights. It expressed its conviction of a positive engagement with the international community. Oman also emphasized that the safeguarding of human rights was a common responsibility of all States and that these had to be guaranteed to all peoples of the world.

Republic of Korea expressed deep concern in relation to the further deteriorating situation in Syria. The Republic of Korea urged all parties in Syria to stop using violence and implement the six-point action plan of the Joint Special Envoy. The Republic of Korea expressed concern about the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, noting that political prisoner camps were a showcase of systematic violations of human rights, and urged the country to cooperate with human rights mechanisms and the Special Rapporteur.

Ethiopia appreciated the emphasis of the High Commissioner on the human rights dimension of migration. Ethiopia believed in the efficiency of the treaty body system. It was up to States parties to ensure the election of Committee members with appropriate requisites. Special Procedure mandate holders should respect the Code of Conduct of the Human Rights Council.

Sudan paid tribute to the dynamism of the High Commissioner in taking interest in the human rights conditions on the ground in many countries, as evidenced by a great number of country visits she and her Deputy had conducted. Sudan was looking forward to the visit of the High Commissioner in July and hoped that this would be an impetus for further cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner. Sudan also hoped that further resources would be allocated for the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights in Sudan.

Japan said that in spite of the challenge of making progress and improving serious human violations on the ground, the Council must continue to devote itself to the process. It was essential to overcome the differences of opinion and find common ground on how to realize progress on actual situations of human rights. Japan took positive note of the initiative of the High Commissioner to strengthen treaty bodies and was looking forward to the upcoming report on this issue.

Pakistan said Pakistan had ratified all core human rights international instruments and had set up a national institution in line with the Paris Principles. Several Special Procedure mandate holders had visited Pakistan and more were expected this year and next. The High Commissioner had made a reference to the using of drones in Pakistan and the civilian casualties caused by United States’ drone attacks. Pakistan consistently maintained that the use of drones was illegal and violated the sovereignty of Pakistan.

Azerbaijan said that in spite of economic strife and recession, Azerbaijan continued to achieve major development and the implementation of projects, programmes and large-scale economic reforms. Economic growth had made Azerbaijan a country of destination for foreign migrants and the Government was making efforts to protect the rights of migrant workers. Only integrated and coordinated actions to address the human rights dimension of migration could cultivate real positive outcomes at the national and international levels. Azerbaijan had been encouraged by the offer for assistance and advice from the Office of the High Commissioner.

United Kingdom thanked the High Commissioner for her comprehensive report that reflected the central role of her Office. The United Kingdom supported the efforts to mainstream human rights through the United Nations, and the valuable work on the crisis in Syria and the update provided to the General Assembly highlighting terrible human rights violations, and fully endorsed the calls on the international community to respond with one voice. The United Kingdom welcomed the global approach and the range of countries visited, and the contribution to the discussion on how the Olympic and Paralympic games could promote awareness of human rights.

United Arab Emirates expressed disappointment at the fact that the issue of the liberty flotilla had not been addressed after almost two years had passed. Violence against women and girls with disabilities constituted a flagrant violation of all relevant United Nations instruments, and the United Arab Emirates welcomed the recommendations of the High Commissioner, particularly concerning awareness raising campaigns concerning violence against women with disabilities and the need to ensure redress for the victims.

Zimbabwe said that Zimbabwe had nothing to hide about its efforts in the promotion and protection of the human rights of its people. The sanctions placed on Zimbabwe had serious ramifications for the poorest and most vulnerable populations. These remained the major obstacle to the recovery of the Zimbabwean economy and had to be unconditionally removed. Issues raised by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in her statement had already begun to be dealt with under the Global Political Agreement with the facilitation of the Southern African Development Community.

Democratic Republic of Congo expressed concern for the resurgence of violence in North Kivu and the difficult living conditions of returnee Congolese migrants from Angola. The situation in North Kivu had always been of concern to the Government. The violence and insecurity were caused by armed groups hostile to the peace process in the country, and these had been joined by elements recruited in neighbouring countries. The Governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola had put in place appropriate measures to ensure the respect of bilateral and regional agreements and international conventions in this regard.

Iran acknowledged the disturbing recurrence of racial discrimination, xenophobia, and religious hatred, and stressed the urgent need to resolutely address these manifestations through immediate, effective and practical measures by the international community and respective countries. The independence and impartiality of the Special Procedures were of paramount importance. In the context of grave violations caused by counter-terrorist operations and the continued use of armed drones for targeted attacks in Pakistan, Iran strongly believed in the urgent need for effective and practical measures at the international level to bring perpetrators to justice and to provide victims with effective remedies.

Namibia reiterated the need for the end of all violence in Syria and condemned killings in Nigeria based on religious differences. All States should put a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolish it. Namibia was disappointed that the High Commissioner did not reiterate what she had said in Zimbabwe concerning the sanctions, which had a negative impact on the economy of the country at large and should be lifted.

Rwanda reiterated its commitment to its responsibilities and obligations in the area of the promotion and protection of human rights, peace and security. Rwanda supported the work of the High Commissioner and expressed its desire to continue working on local, regional and international levels.

Nepal agreed with the High Commissioner that poverty and wide disparities across the regions and within countries continued to present a formidable human rights challenge. The dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in May this year should not be seen as a constitutional crisis. Nepal expected a greater understanding of its situation and the continuous goodwill of the international community in its efforts towards achieving sustainable peace, stability and democracy.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea said that the High Commissioner should refrain from repeating fabricated and distorted information circulated by the forces hostile to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Points made by the High Commissioner did not reflect the reality, and the protection and promotion of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was firmly guaranteed by the constitutions and relevant laws. Concerning the comments made by South Korea, before arguing on others’ issues, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea advised it to abolish all notorious laws that violated human rights. Concerning Canada, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea advised it to address issues such as severe racial discrimination, ill-treatment of migrants, and discrimination against indigenous people.

Kenya welcomed the recent visit to Zimbabwe by the High Commissioner. This was a testimony of Zimbabwe’s commitment to the advancement and protection of human rights. As the High Commissioner herself had noted in a media statement, there had been improvements, including some significant ones, since 2008. Land reform, for example, had been well received by small-scale farmers. Kenya believed that realising human rights was a process based on continuous engagement and urged the immediate lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe because their impact had been devastating on the people and the economy, especially on the most vulnerable.

Belarus stressed the importance granted to the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights in the report of the High Commissioner, in particular in the context of economic crises. The monitoring of human rights by field missions of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights remained selective; for example omitting discrimination in countries in the European Union. Belarus called upon the High Commissioner to promote an application of universal criteria for the monitoring of human rights. Unilateral coercive measures employed by the United States required the attention of the High Commissioner and a strong stand on this issue.

Honduras thanked the High Commissioner for Human Rights for her reference to the need for the protection of migrants’ rights. Honduras shared concern about the increase of violence against journalists in Latin America and had been making efforts to ensure that journalists could carry out their work in greater safety. Honduras had tried to put in place the first national protection plan for human rights defenders, justice officials and journalists.

Syria found reference to the situation in Syria in the High Commissioner’s report strange and it was far from being objective or accurate. Syria had expected a call from the High Commissioner for Human Rights for a constructive and positive dialogue, but she had instead focused on the direct condemnation of Syria in a way that appeared to consider all other parties as innocent. Syria reminded the High Commissioner that Syria had accepted the Six-Point Plan of Action and that the cooperation between the Syrian Government and the group of international observers was excellent. Those observers had visited all the areas that witnessed massacres and had undertaken all necessary investigations.

Chad said the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights had visited Chad in April 2012 and met with various authoritative figures concerned with the protection of human rights. These had undertaken to receive Special Rapporteurs and had given their approval for the opening of an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Chad. Chad reiterated its commitments to these various commitments. It would assist the Office in taking up the remaining challenges to the promotion and protection of human rights in Chad, in particular the rights of women and children.

Viet Nam shared a number of concerns expressed in the High Commissioner’s report, particularly concerning the negative impact of economic and financial crises on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly for the most vulnerable groups. Viet Nam called on the High Commissioner to focus on human rights implications of austerity measures and budgetary cuts which were going on in many countries.

South Africa acknowledged the engagement of the High Commissioner on the issues of sustainable development which was an important component to poverty eradication and practical enjoyment of human rights, particularly the right to development. South Africa called on States to increase resources to the Office of the High Commissioner to avoid budgetary cuts and reduced attention to important issues.

Armenia said that the issue of migration remained one of the most important in the agenda of human rights issues and expressed its concern about the policy of racism and discrimination against this vulnerable group by some Governments. Armenia paid special attention to the issues of transitional justice and realization of the right to truth as a best measure of prevention of human rights violations and attached special importance to the United Nations activities in the protection of peace and security.

Brazil commended the High Commissioner for the continued attention given to the rights of older persons and hoped that the Council would continue to address this matter. The Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development provided an opportunity to continue to advance the objectives of the Council, including through the strengthening of the multilateral system, and the consideration of sustainable development in decision making.

Togo said that reconciliation constituted an important step towards justice. The High Commissioner had contributed to the process of transitional justice in Togo. The Office of the High Commissioner had contributed to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in particular providing resources and technical support, and could attest to its accomplishments. In April 2012, the Commission had presented its report to the Government and the institutional and structural reforms would allow progress to the improvement of governance.

Paraguay said that in order to ensure the work of the High Commissioner towards the promotion of human rights, Paraguay welcomed her field visits in support of regional process, in particular to the Latin American and Caribbean region. Paraguay had closely followed the Universal Periodic Review process and participated in many interactive dialogues; Paraguay inquired on the views of the High Commissioner concerning the responses provided by countries in this process. Paraguay reiterated its commitment to support the work of the Special Procedures and its standing invitation to mandate holders.

Council of Europe said that it had prepared a preliminary study on corporate social responsibility in the field of human rights which had presented an overview of initiatives in this regard and identified relevant information in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. The purpose of the upcoming feasibility study would be to identify lacunae that existed and propose how they could be filled. The Council of Europe expressed the desire to engage with Special Procedures and other relevant institutions to develop synergies on this issue.

Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peoples said that the budget allocated by the High Commissioner was not sufficient to enable it to carry out its mandate as defined by the General Assembly, especially in this time of economic and financial strife. Every day 18,000 children died due to malnutrition making the right to food the most consistently and widely violated human right.

France Libertés, in a joint statement, said that the situation of Ashraf camp was paradoxical; it was a refugee situation where the United Nations was unable to protect and showed the lack of will and meek acceptance of neighbouring countries’ impositions.

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada said human rights education was a proactive measure to ensure that an informed citizenry held States accountable and assure the rights of human rights defenders, including community activists. It asked all States to collaborate with civil society groups on human rights education about internationally protected rights for students and teachers at all levels, as well as public officials and the general public.

Reporters Without Borders raised the case of missing crime reporter Hypathia Stephanie Rodriguez Cardoso in Mexico, in addition to the death of crime reporter Victor Baeyz Chino in Veracruz, Mexico. Those cases highlighted the urgency needed for the Human Rights Council to better ensure the safety of journalists and online-citizens.

North-South XXI urged the Human Rights Council to act without delay on the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on climate change and human rights, as called for by former Irish President and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.

World Muslim Congress said that the re-appointment of the High Commissioner had generated hope for intervention to help victims in Indian-occupied territories Jammu and Kashmir which had received little attention during her first term. The NGO shared the views of the High Commissioner on the Universal Periodic Review process, but lamented that countries played with words while presenting their reports. It also welcomed the strengthening of the Special Procedures and new mandates.

International Humanist and Ethical Union said the increasing use of the world’s limited resources and the increasing population threatened the sustainability of human civilisation. The most effective way to limit population growth was not coercion, but respect for the rights of families and the status of women. The High Commissioner was urged to tell Rio+20 that reproductive rights and health offered a major benefit and were vital for sustainability.

Human Rights Watch voiced concern about the deterioration of the human rights situation in Mali resulting in numerous war crimes, including the use of child soldiers, inhuman punishment, rape and abduction of girls and women. In Eritrea, human rights violations extended beyond the treatment of prisoners, forced labour, arbitrary arrest, and torture. The Council was urged to address the long-standing situation and appoint a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Eritrea.

United Nations Watch said that in Syria President Assad was slaughtering his own people and United Nations agencies must send a clear message that the Assad regime had no legitimacy. Zimbabwe was another dire situation, with extrajudicial killings of dissenters, enforced disappearance and torture. United Nations Watch disagreed with the High Commissioner’s call for removal of sanctions in Zimbabwe.

Amnesty International expressed its deep concern that Pakistan had facilitated the practice of enforced disappearance with the creation of security laws known as the Action (in aid of civil powers) Relations. Those 2011 laws gave sweeping and retrospective powers to security forces to arbitrarily and indefinitely detain anyone and even sentence them to death without any recourse to lawyers or judicial process.

Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik said that Iran had not yet established a national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles, despite Iran’s acceptance of a recommendation to that end during its Universal Periodic Review. The organization asked whether Iran had sought any assistance from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in that regard.

Indian Movement ‘Tupaj Amaru’ said under the aegis of the new international order serious systematic human rights violations had occurred. Indigenous peoples had been treated in a discriminatory way within the United Nations itself. The Movement lamented that the promise by United States President Barack Obama to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility had not been kept. It also advocated respect for non-interference in internal affairs of nations under the Responsibility to Protect.

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network said that there was room for improvement with regard to the Universal Periodical review. The work of the Special Procedures had been hampered by non-cooperation by States. That should be tabled, highlighted and publicized and taken into account by the Council and the General Assembly. It also called for upholding of the principle of universality including for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-sexual persons.

International Human Rights Association of American Minorities said the Universal Periodical Review was an effective mechanism but the Association noted with concern that when presenting reports some States played with words rather than fulfilled the pledges and commitments made to the Council. It also drew attention to the drastically increased human rights abuses in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, particularly against women and children.

American Civil Liberties Union appreciated the call by the United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for increased transparency in the use of drones and expressed concern about the legality of their use by the United States. Recently Germany had opened an inquiry into killing of a German citizen by a drone in Pakistan.

Right of Reply

Syria, speaking in the right of reply, condemned the hypocrisy expressed by Turkey, Libya, Qatar, France and other delegations today. The whole world knew the role played by those countries with regard to the events in Syria, the delegate said, accusing Turkey of sending militia into the country. Those countries should pay attention to human rights violations in Gaza and other occupied Arab territories, the delegate added.

Sri Lanka, speaking in the right of reply, said it was surprised by the comments of Canada, and that, given the events in its region of Quebec, Canada should not point fingers at other countries.


For use of the information media; not an official record