Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Introduces Reports by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights
The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, after hearing the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights introduce a series of reports by the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office under this agenda item.
Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, introduced the report of the High Commissioner on the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights; a thematic study of the High Commissioner that examined the international law framework for the protection of women and girls with disabilities; the High Commissioner’s report on the panel discussion in occasion of the anniversary of the declaration on the rights of persons belonging to minorities; the report on the seminar on the adverse impacts of climate change and human rights; the reports of the Secretary-General on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights and on the activities of the International Coordinating Committee on National Institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles; a summary of the panel discussions held by the Council to highlight, examine and suggest ways in which sport and sporting events could be used to promote awareness and understanding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report on the operations of the Voluntary Fund for participation in the Universal Periodic Review.
In the discussion, speakers raised human rights issues such as the rights to education, to food and to freedom of assembly, economic migrants, discrimination faced by sufferers of leprosy and the situation of human rights defenders around the world. Other areas discussed included the right to conscientious objection to military service, the use of drones, the impact of corruption, globalization, climate change and sustainable development, women’s rights and gender issues, and the use of torture and secret detention centres. Speakers also raised human rights violations in a number of countries and regions.
Speaking in the interactive dialogue were Nigeria on behalf of the African Group and Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and Philippines, Croatia on behalf of Costa Rica and Poland, Morocco on behalf of a Group of 128 States, Denmark on behalf of the European Union, Qatar, Angola, United States, Maldives, Cuba, India, Kuwait, Bangladesh, speaking also on behalf of the Philippines, Italy, Ecuador on behalf of Venezuela, Cuba Morocco, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, Russia, Iraq, Algeria, Australia, Sudan, Brazil, Japan, Pakistan, Holy See, Bolivia and Argentina.
The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor:
Council of Europe, Caritas International, France Liberté, International Educational Development, Federation of Cuban Women, Society for Threatened Peoples,
Minority Rights Group, International Buddhist Relief Organization, Centre for Inquiry, speaking in a joint statement, Indian Movement ‘Tupaja Amaru’, United Town Agency for North-South Cooperation, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies,
World Muslim Congress, Asian Legal Resource Centre, African Association for Education and Development, International Humanist and Ethical Union, Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Liberation, Civicus, Union of Arab Jurists, Society Studies Centre, Association of World Citizens, Femmes Solidares, Centre for Human rights and Peace Advocacy, International Association of Schools of Social Work in a joint statement, Open Society Institute and Franciscans International.
China and Ethiopia spoke in a right of reply.
The Council will reconvene at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, 27 June to continue the general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. At 10 a.m. the Council will hear the latest report from the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria and also a presentation by the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations Secretary-General’s report on Syria, followed by an interactive dialogue.
The Council has before it the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights (A/HRC/20/4)
The Council has before it a corrigendum to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights (A/HRC/20/4/Corr.1)
The Council has before it the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on a thematic study on the issue of violence against women and girls and disability (A/HRC/20/5)
The Council has before it a corrigendum to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on a thematic study on the issue of violence against women and girls and disability (A/HRC/20/5/Corr.1)
The Council has before it the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the outcome of the panel discussion to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities
The Council has before it a corrigendum to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the outcome of the panel discussion to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities (A/HRC/20/6/Corr.1)
The Council has before it the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the outcome of the seminar addressing the adverse impacts of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights (A/HRC/20/7)
The Council has before it the report of the Secretary-General on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (A/HRC/20/9)
The Council has before it the report of the Secretary General on the activities of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in accrediting national institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles (A/HRC/20/10)
The Council has before it the summary of the Human Rights Council high-level interactive panel discussion to highlight, examine and suggest ways in which sport and major sporting events, in particular the Olympic and Paralympic Games, can be used to promote awareness and understanding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the application of the principles enshrined therein (A/HRC/20/11)
The Council has before it the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the operations of the Voluntary Fund for participation in the universal periodic review (A/HRC/20/39)
Presentation of Reports
KYUNG-WHA KANG, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, introducing the report of the High Commissioner on the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights (A/HRC/20/4), said that while the international community was more aware of economic, social and cultural rights, much more remained to be done in the context of the present economic crises. There were many challenges in the fight against discrimination and inequalities, including for vulnerable groups such as the elderly. In this regard, the High Commissioner had urged the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In conformity with the Council’s resolution 17/11 a thematic study of the High Commissioner contained in document (A/HRC/20/5) examined the international law framework for the protection of women and girls with disabilities. The study promoted a holistic approach, addressing discrimination and risk factors. Concerning the High Commissioner’s report on the panel discussion on the occasion of the anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to Minorities contained in document (A/HRC/20/6), participants agreed that the Minorities Declaration remained a key reference and its implementation was vital to address the persistence of problems that undermined minority rights. Ms. Kang also introduced the report on the seminar on the adverse impacts of climate change and human rights (A/HRC/20/7), which contained a summary of the seminar organised in Geneva in February 2012.
Ms. Kang introduced the reports of the Secretary-General on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (A/HRC/20/9), and on the activities of the International Coordinating Committee on National Institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles and contained in document (A/HRC/20/5), which would be considered by the Council under its agenda item 8. Document A/HRC/20/11 contained a summary of the panel discussions held by the Council in February 2012 pursuant its resolution 18/23, to highlight, examine and suggest ways in which sport and sporting events could be used to promote awareness and understanding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Finally, Ms. Kang introduced the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report (A/HRC/20/39) on the operations of the Voluntary Fund for participation in the Universal Periodic Review, pursuant resolution 16/22 and decision 17/119. As this was the first such report, information was provided retroactively on the establishment of the Fund in 2008 and included information concerning its terms of reference, contributions, and expenditures.
General Debate on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development
Nigeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group and Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and Philippines, noted that irregular migrants were mainly economic migrants caught up in the world of administrative controls and that their situation had become increasingly desperate in a number of countries, thus requiring the attention of the international community to find durable solutions. Increasing criminalization of irregular migrants was noted with concern, particularly in the context of the economic and financial crisis and given sometimes inhuman conditions of detention. When irregular migrants were faced with repatriation, States must respect international norms, especially when return meant they would face prosecution.
Croatia, speaking also on behalf of Costa Rica and Poland, said that the right to conscientious objection to military service was one of the key elements of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and was regulated by a number of international and regional human rights instruments. Croatia, Costa Rica and Poland welcomed the recent international and regional development in recognition of conscientious objection to military service and drew the attention of the Council to a number of challenges that still needed to be addressed. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights would publish a comprehensive overview of this right later this year and it was the right moment for the Council to address this pertinent question.
Morocco, speaking on behalf of a Group of 128 States, expressed deep concern about the impact of corruption which undermined public initiatives to improve citizens’ lives. It was one of the biggest obstacles to development, the full enjoyment of human rights and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in relation to poverty eradication and the right to education. Corruption had enabled exploitation and injustice that prevented societies from advancing. Several parts of the world were undergoing periods of profound change and seeking the promotion of transparency and rule of law in public life. Both national and international efforts were necessary to combat corruption, and it was encouraging that so far 160 States had ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
Denmark, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that tackling challenges such as extreme poverty, climate change, food insecurity, terrorism or mass migration, among others, could not erode fundamental freedoms and lead to the use of repression. There was an ever-growing need to strengthen human rights in all parts of the world. In situations of transition or in post-conflict situations, it was of paramount importance to create sustainable State structures and build capacities for good governance, well functioning democracy, rule of law and transitional justice. All States should be subject to international scrutiny.
Qatar said Qatar had been promoting policies to reduce levels of marginalization of women and girls. Its strategy 2030 had as its focus the strengthening of the role of women. It had created specialized institutions to provide assistance to victims of violence, including persons with disabilities and host centres where these persons could receive assistance. Medium and small scale projects with full involvement of women were also being carried out.
Angola welcomed the role played by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the protection of economic, social and cultural rights and, in particular, of human rights in situations of conflict. Angola was fully aware that there could be no full enjoyment of human rights and freedoms without sustainable development, access to better education, health, justice, and energy. Angola had implemented concrete projects to improve access to water, health, social housing, employment and energy and other initiatives to improve the economic and social conditions of Angolan citizens.
United States welcomed this session’s focus on gender issues. The most pressing global problems simply would not be solved without the participation of women. Sexual violence, particularly in post-conflict situations, disproportionately affected women and girls. The United States aimed at addressing gender-based violence by ensuring physical and legal protection, appropriate care and services for survivors, and prosecution of perpetrators. Effective prosecution and punishment of those responsible was also important in the context of human rights.
Maldives welcomed the report of the High Commissioner on the adverse impact of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights. The seminar provided a valuable opportunity to understand the relation between human rights and climate change. Global warming had serious implications for the enjoyment of human rights, and vulnerable groups were particularly implicated. Legal obligations in the areas of ecology, non-discrimination, access to information and decision-making could improve responses to global warming and ensure affected people had a voice.
Cuba said that the situation of poverty, marginalization and under-development was experienced by billions of people every day. At least one in six inhabitants of this planet had their right to food, health, education, work, water, sanitation and others threatened. The Cuban people continued to suffer negative effects of the illegal blockade imposed by the United States, which was a massive, flagrant and blatant violation of human rights of the whole Cuban people.
India said that the strength of the Human Rights Council was in the principles of impartiality, independence and transparency in its work. Enthusiastic participation of States in the Universal Periodic Review, an innovative mechanism of the Council based on voluntary participation, was an evidence of its value. There was a need to ensure inclusiveness in the work of the Council and it should not be forgotten that the approach to human rights should be cooperative and voluntary and that the common cause could only be advanced through dialogue.
Kuwait provided all types of services and satisfied special needs of individuals with disabilities through the Ministry of Labour and provided them with special privileges. This was the case in access to education, medical assistance and provision of wheelchairs, as well as to families with low income and people who were unable to work.
Bangladesh, speaking also on behalf of the Philippines, referred to a seminar convened by the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 23 to 24 February 2012 on the impact of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights. Climate change presented the greatest environmental change to the world and was most felt by developing countries, low lying islands and small island States. The seminar forged greater cooperation between the climate change and human rights communities. Bangladesh and the Philippines were convinced that the human rights regime could play a role on global discourse on that issue, and that focused attention was needed to address the plight of victims of climate change.
Italy said freedom of religion or belief was being threatened worldwide and was a serious challenge to peaceful coexistence and stability. The response to this should be firm and united. Italy had led strong political action to protect freedom of religion in its widest terms. It stood by national authorities and institutions fighting sectarian violence. Civil society also had a crucial role to play. Focus should be placed on training and education.
Ecuador, speaking also on behalf of Venezuela, Cuba Morocco, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, drew attention to an issue of vital importance on the rights of nature. The countries called for a new perspective of taking and using resources for needs, not for superfluous consumption. The value of nature could not be reduced to only being used by human beings. It was imperative to begin discussions to develop a universal declaration on the rights of nature.
Russian Federation said that the promotion and protection of human rights was an area of foreign policy activities that was often valuable for bilateral and multilateral relations. It was hard to find a sphere of international interaction which did not have a human rights dimension. Human rights must promote an improvement of democratic practices on the basis of equal footing, internationally recognised principles and the primacy of the law. The Russian Federation denounced efforts to intervene in the affairs of other States through the support of domestic actors seeking to destabilise the government and other actions such as black lists.
Iraq said the focus on victims of terrorism could help countries such as Iraq, where already more than 7,000 people had been killed in terrorist attacks. The Government had promulgated laws for the compensation of victims of terrorism to ensure also their pensions. The Council should condemn attacks by terrorist gangs pursuing terrorist methods of indiscriminate killing.
Algeria was soon celebrating its fiftieth anniversary of independence and emphasized its support for the right to self-determination and the right of people to enjoy their country and their natural resources. The right to self-determination was an essential condition to guarantee respect and promotion of human rights. Algeria deplored the suffering of millions of refugees and reaffirmed their right to return in full security.
Australia said that the best way to address the adverse impact of climate change was to reach a strong and effective global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in which all major economies would participate. Some impacts of climate change were already unavoidable. Pacific island nations were facing tremendous challenges in the face of climate change which would affect the rights to housing, water, food and health.
Sudan, speaking on the right to health, said that a system of basic healthcare was one of the priorities in Sudan, encompassing the needs of civil servants, the private sector and retired persons. The legal framework of the right to education had been put in place. Its constitution had set a goal of the promotion of education throughout Sudan, making primary education compulsory and free of charge. Poverty was a huge challenge which impeded the enjoyment of all human rights. Sudan had tried to adopt economic and social policies and increase expenditure for the poor, provide housing loans to address the housing problem, and to incorporate human rights in national policies and strategies.
Brazil said it looked forward to any information in the near future on any developments with regards to practical measures of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with relevant actors in programmes to prevent and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in sports, and to use sports as a tool to eliminate all forms of discrimination. Human Rights Minister, Ms. Maria do Rosario Nunes, had expressed the country’s commitment to ensuring that sporting events would be held in full compliance with human rights and for the benefit of all Brazilians. In order to ensure adequate housing, including in the preparation of events, the Ministry of Cities was developing a national legal framework for urban dislocations. A draft of this was available on the internet for civil society participation.
Japan said Japan attached great importance to leprosy-based discrimination. Leprosy was a contagious yet completely curable disease and the World Health Organization was taking the lead in eradication efforts. Serious human rights violations against persons affected by leprosy persisted in many parts of the world owing to deep-rooted prejudice and discrimination. Japan encouraged all Governments to work on awareness-raising of the United Nations-endorsed Principles and Guidelines which aimed to eradicating such discrimination to persons affected by leprosy.
Pakistan welcomed the Council’s focus this session on the issue of extrajudicial killings resulting from indiscriminate use of drones. Pakistan was directly affected by the indiscriminate use of drones which had killed at least 1,000 civilians, including women and children. The Parliament of Pakistan had called for an immediate end to those attacks, but regrettably that call had not been heeded. Furthermore, the international community and the Council could not remain oblivious to the denial of the right of self-determination to seven million people of Jammu and Kashmir who continued to be subjected to illegal occupation and gross and consistent violations.
Holy See concurred with the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education and said education was required to promote a culture of peace, mutual respect and international solidarity. It should be provided to children of both sexes and without any discrimination. However, the inalienable right of parents remained an irreplaceable priority, as stated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In its social function, education was an indispensible condition for progress and the improvement of the quality of life.
Bolivia said that climate change was a problem of socio-economic, environmental and political nature which had serious implication on the enjoyment of rights, particularly by those most vulnerable. Climate change jeopardized the very life on the planet and that was why Bolivia supported the establishment of a new Special Procedure on climate change and human rights.
Argentina said that the identification of discriminatory norms and violence against women and girls could give rise to very significant progress in combating gender-based violence and protecting the human rights of women. Argentina accorded great importance to the rights of persons with disabilities and had undertaken a number of measures and steps for their benefit and social protection.
Council of Europe said that key steps to address the negative consequences of the current globalization model must place human dignity at the centre of social, political and economic choices. The Council of Europe would contribute to the 2012 Social Forum where it would present systematic criteria in defining the indicators of progress towards the well-being of the entire society.
Caritas International, in a joint statement, brought to attention the active engagement of faith-based organizations in promoting the right to health for all. Despite their commendable record, they did not receive the equitable attention or resources they required. The non-governmental organizations strongly recommended that the Human Rights Council and Special Procedures engage more actively with faith-inspired organizations.
France Liberté said that since the creation of the Council, France Libertè it had asked for the question of the Western Sahara to be considered in view of human rights violations by Morocco. One of most serious violations concerned the extrajudicial executions of hundreds of Saharawis. Many cases were very recent and no appropriate inquiries had been carried out.
International Educational Development said it had not been pleased with the resolution adopted at the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council, whereby mandate holders should monitor implementation of recommendations in Sri Lanka in its Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Report. The mandate holder should not be limited to reviewing the situation from the perspective of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Committee, but all international human rights and humanitarian law.
Federation of Cuban Women said that Cuban women were active protagonists; they made up 47 per cent of the workforce in the public sector and occupied 43 per cent of Parliamentary seats. Cuban legislation granted the rights to Cuban women in education and employment, the right to equal pay for equal work, and the protection of motherhood and health.
Society for Threatened Peoples was concerned about the actions of some States carried out on peaceful demonstrators. The right to peaceful demonstrations was an invaluable right that minorities and indigenous people must be able to enjoy without State interference. The Society for Threatened Peoples shared the concern of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly about denial of this right in a number of States, including in Syria, Iran and China.
Minority Rights Group said that the Declaration on the Rights of Minorities was hollow without implementation. In the field of land rights and natural resources a tightrope was being walked between life and livelihoods of minorities and economic gain. Minority Rights Group asked the High Commissioner for Human Rights what were the greatest challenges minorities would face in the coming decade.
International Buddhist Relief Organization said that just because of their birth status Dalits were forced to face institutionalized discrimination which affected their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Dalits were continuous recipients of discriminatory and even cruel treatment extended by their fellow citizens. The Government of India must realize that the institution of casteism must not continue in today’s world. The Council must call upon India to take the bold step of disbanding the institution of casteism once and for all, without delay.
Centre for Inquiry, speaking in a joint statement, highlighted freedom of expression on the Internet and in particular attacks on journalists and bloggers in several Islamic States, such as the Maldives and Turkey. The organizations urged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Member States to do far more to honour their obligations to ensure the right to freedom of expression and prohibit by law any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred.
Indian Movement ‘Tupaja Amaru’ condemned the structural crisis seen in the pressure and attacks against indigenous peoples. Tupaja Amaru itself, which had ECOSOC status, had been subject to discrimination and double standards within the United Nations system. In attempting to submit a declaration adopted by a number of indigenous communities to the Human Rights Council, Tupaja Amaru faced intolerance, impartiality and double-standards from the Secretariat of the Council, which were attempts to silence the voice of the poorest.
United Town Agency for North-South Cooperation said that the rights guaranteed under Item 3 were being continuously denied to Baloch people in Balochistan. It was ironic that Western countries and the United States supplied weapons that were being used in Balochistan, even though Pakistan had blocked North Atlantic Treaty Organization supplies to Afghanistan.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said that freedom of expression in Egypt continued to be undermined with media workers, bloggers and artists being subjected to several forms of limitation varying from forcing them to practice self-censorship to physical harassment and imprisonment. The Cairo Institute requested the new President of Egypt to ensure full cooperation with the United Nations Special Procedures.
World Muslim Congress said that the Indian delegation, during the thirteenth session of the Universal Periodic Review, had painted a rosy picture of the human rights situation in the country. Freedom of expression and assembly had been muffled. Political leaders and civil society groups were not allowed to hold peaceful protests and peaceful assemblies were met with brute force. Human rights defenders continued to face reprisals from State authorities in Kashmir.
Asian Legal Resource Centre was gravely concerned about widespread gender-based discrimination and violence in Asia. In Nepal, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly risked undermining efforts to increase the protection of women’s rights and weakening the accountability of law enforcement; and an increasing number of women detainees reported acts of torture. Women in Pakistan faced discrimination in all facets of life, domestic abuse and sexual violence. High levels of female genital mutilation in Indonesia had been reported and, in 2010, the Minister of Health issued regulations concerning this practice.
African Association for Education and Development condemned the existence of secret prisons, torture and the fact that human rights defendants could not visit the official detention centres. In Ethiopia there was use of torture in pre-trial detention, particularly in the Federal Crime Investigation and Forensic Department in Addis Ababa, where political prisoners were detained and interrogated. The African Association condemned the existence of secret prisons and the indifference towards involuntary disappearances in Africa.
International Humanist and Ethical Union welcomed a study and initiative by the German Ministry for Family Affairs to curb violence through a helpline. There was no duty to report abuse and violence against women in institutions went unreported. Furthermore, people with disabilities may themselves exhibit violence towards their peers and staff. The prevention of violence in institutions posed problems. Greater attention was therefore needed not only in the prevention of violence and the protection of the most vulnerable, but also the protection of those who were prepared to report violence.
Permanent Assembly for Human Rights expressed concern about discrimination towards the Argentine hearing-impaired community which suffered discrimination in access to education, interpretation in sign language and a lack of quality employment. They were victims of discrimination with little potential to transform their vulnerable situation. The hearing-impaired community was a minority language community with their own language and culture, and needed to use sign language in all communication contexts. It was necessary to ensure recognition of sign language.
Human Rights Watch expressed grave concern about increased restrictions to limit human rights activities in many countries. Human Rights Watch spoke about severe actions to curtail basic freedoms in Ethiopia, which recently criminalized the use of telecommunication networks such as Skype. Furthermore, the progressive denial of rights to Tibetans by the Chinese authorities was likely to further exacerbate tensions in the region. Human Rights Watch urged China to uphold its obligations on freedom of association.
Liberation echoed concerns raised by the Special Rapporteur on arbitrary executions about the rise in extrajudicial executions in India. The brutality in India must end now – the killings explained an established pattern of extrajudicial killings in the name of security. Liberation strongly called upon India to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate all executions and work out a national plan of action for the future to eradicate practices of extrajudicial executions.
CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation raised the issue of reprisals against persons that cooperated with the United Nations. These were absolutely unacceptable, in violation of international law, and States’ obligations. In relation to Bahraini activities, CIVICUS wished to highlight the preventive action used by the President of the Human Rights Council, during the first session of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in May 2012, reminding the Government of its responsibility to protect its citizens against reprisals.
Union of Arab Jurists said that the occupation and policy of imposing economic sanctions and with double standards in the Middle East and Africa showed that there was encouragement of military gangs and that financing was provided to countries to destroy public and private infrastructure, as was currently the case in Syria and other parts of the region. The international community should commit itself to principles and objectives contained in the United Nations Charter and encourage dialogue and constructive discussions.
Society Studies Centre said the Government of Sudan had attempted to bring loans and because of lack of resources the country could not benefit. Sudan had suffered significantly from the weight of external debt and also suffered from unemployment. On the strength of the above, the Society Studies Centre called on the Council to include Sudan in the list of heavily-indebted countries in order for it to benefit from debt exemptions and generate resources to guarantee the fulfilment of the right to development.
Association of World Citizens said that it had held meetings with young tuaregs in Europe and the wishes of this people, who needed more food and water, and it was known that poverty would continue and with increasing gaps between the rich and poor. There was little time to act and social factors could play a role and help provide services and care on an equal footing; for example, addressing, tropical diseases which had an important impact on poor regions.
Femmes Solidares said that the human rights situation in Djibouti could be summarised as impunity after 35 years of repression against civilians and human rights defenders and increasing protests from international organizations. Numerous victims had been identified as members of civil society organizations. Among many other incidents of violence, in 1991 a massacre had been carried out by the army, the police and the gendarmerie causing the death of 59 people. Femmes Solidares called for an international inquiry into these violations.
Centre for Human rights and Peace Advocacy said that there was a systematic violation of the right to life in India, particularly for girls who were often killed even before birth through the practice of selective abortion and feticide. The Council must address gender-based prenatal killings all over the world because it was the worst form of discrimination against women and girls.
International Association of Schools of Social Work in a joint statement spoke about the occupation of Hawaii by the United States and robbing of the Hawaiian people of their identity, culture and language. The violation of those rights and their right to self-determination also continued today.
Open Society Institute called attention to the millions of stateless people in the world and the devastating consequences statelessness had on the enjoyment of rights others took for granted. The right to nationality was an internationally protected human right and yet many States did not comply with their international obligations and maintained discriminatory nationality laws. Special Procedures should consider this issue within their respective mandates.
Franciscans International said that in recent years the consequences of climate change had become obvious, particularly with regard to the poor and in small islands. The Council had addressed the linkages between climate change and human rights, but had been unable to establish a dedicated Special Procedure which resulted in addressing this important issue in a piecemeal manner. This mandate must be established and should assess the full impact of climate change on human rights.
Right of Reply
China, speaking in a right of reply, resolutely refuted the attacks launched by civil society concerning the human rights situation in China. In China all ethnic groups enjoyed equal rights, including the people in Tibet. China resolutely opposed claims made by organizations under the banner of self-determination and who advocated for the independence of Tibet. Recent protests had not been peaceful but had been serious criminal incidents involving destruction of property, arson and looting. Monks had, for a long time, carried out activities to disrupt social order; and they had orchestrated incidents of self-immolation which violated Buddhist teachings, destroyed the social order of villages in the region, and threatened the security of other monks and people. The practice of religion should be within the limits of the law and China had resolute steps to protect its population from illegal acts.
Ethiopia, speaking in a right of reply, refuted the statement by the representatives of civil society organization concerning the human rights situation in Ethiopia. There were no secret prisons and political opinions were not a crime but a privilege and a right. Acts of torture were punishable under the law and freedom of expression was a Constitutional right. Nobody was prosecuted for practicing journalism and legislation created a conducive environment for the organization of civil society groups including human rights defenders. On these grounds, Ethiopia rejected the allegations made by civil society representatives.
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