Human Rights Council
MORNING 4 July 2012
Discusses Report on Technical Cooperation on Human Rights in Kyrgyzstan and Concludes Dialogue with Independent Expert on Human Rights in Haiti
The Human Rights Council this morning held a general debate on technical assistance and capacity-building efforts under which it discussed an overview on technical cooperation efforts by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a report on technical cooperation on human rights in Kyrgyzstan, and a report presented by the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights. The Council also concluded its interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on human rights in Haiti.
Kyung-wha Kang, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, presenting an overview of the successes, best practices and challenges in technical assistance and capacity building efforts provided by the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant United Nations agencies, said that the Office was mandated to provide assistance at the request of governments in the field of human rights. Technical cooperation was guided by the Office’s thematic priorities, including combating impunity and strengthening the rule of law; countering discrimination; pursuing economic, social and cultural rights; protecting human rights in the context of migration; protecting human rights in situations of conflict, violence and insecurity; strengthening international human rights mechanisms and the progressive development of human rights law.
Introducing the High Commissioner’s report on technical cooperation on human rights in Kyrgyzstan, Ms. Kang said that two years after the June 2010 violence in the south of Kyrgyzstan, institutional deficiencies continued to hamper the delivery of justice. The authorities had a duty to ensure accountability for crimes and abuses, and to guarantee justice for victims and their families. Since the previous report in June 2011, some developments had taken place, including legislative reforms which illustrated the Government’s commitment.
Kyrgyzstan, speaking as the concerned country, said that it recognized the need to comply with international standards and had incorporated recommendations on economic and social measures into relevant national strategies. A delicate balance should be maintained between promoting the human rights in a country and interfering with a country’s internal affairs. Recent inter-ethnic tensions in Kyrgyzstan had resulted in violent conflicts and the consequences for the population were still tangible. Kyrgyzstan was working to align its legislation with international standards and remained committed to enhancing the prestige of its judicial system and the trust that the people had in it.
Deepika Nelum Udagama, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights, said that since 2004, the Board of Trustees had advised the Office of the High Commissioner on policy orientation and strategy in strengthening its technical cooperation programme. The recent increase in expenditure under the Fund had not been matched by an increase in voluntary contributions. By the end of 2012, the financial situation of the Fund could become a subject of serious concern for the Office of the High Commissioner. The ongoing global financial crisis should not alter the commitment to and investment in human rights.
In the general debate, speakers reiterated the importance of technical assistance and capacity building activities as part of the Council’s mandate for the promotion and protection of human rights. International cooperation played an important role in the identification of concrete efforts and solutions, best practices and experiences, as illustrated by the success of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism. Given budgetary constraints, international cooperation and solidarity were also necessary to ensure that resources were available. Participants stressed the role of recipient countries in carrying out assessments and identifying the specific needs, as part of their ultimate responsibility for ensuring the rights of their citizens.
Speaking in the interactive dialogue were Cyprus, Brazil, China, United States, Indonesia, Thailand, Switzerland, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Republic of Korea, and United Kingdom.
The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, United Nations Watch, Amnesty International, Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik and Association of World Citizens.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Council concluded its interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on Haiti, which began on Tuesday, 3 July, 2012. A summary of the dialogue and the presentation by the Independent Expert are available here.
Michel Forst, Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Haiti, in concluding remarks, noted Haiti’s efforts to re-establish the rule of law and asked the international community not to abandon Haiti at this difficult time. There was an urgent need for funding. Mr. Forst called on States to help with the work that remained to be done in terms of purging the police forces of undesirable elements. Massive investment was needed and the business world should be urged to invest in Haiti. While the judiciary was independent and should not be interfered with, the families that had sued for crimes against humanity should receive the Council’s support.
Speaking in the interactive dialogue were Honduras on behalf of the Group of Latin America and Caribbean States, Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Cuba, Germany, Chile, Switzerland, Guatemala, Benin, Morocco, Brazil, United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Luxembourg, Uruguay, Nigeria, and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund.
The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Human Rights Watch and American Civil Union Liberties.
Nepal spoke in a right of reply.
The Human Rights Council will meet behind closed doors this afternoon under its complaints procedure. It will meet at 10 a.m. in public plenary on Thursday, 5 July, to start taking action on draft resolutions and decisions before it.
Interactive Dialogue with Independent Expert on Situation of Human Rights in Haiti
Honduras, speaking on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries, commended the Haitian Government for its many actions taken to meet the multiple challenges it faced, and was pleased to see progress reported in the report of the Independent Expert, especially in strengthening the rule of law and justice reform, and its ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries was interested in any measures that could be recommended to protect the rights of orphans adopted outside the law. It was also interested in the Independent Expert’s proposal on the holding of a series of thematic seminars on economic, social and cultural rights.
Mexico agreed that it would be appropriate to mainstream a human rights perspective in efforts to rebuild Haiti. The establishment and strengthening of the rule of law provided additional tools to overcome the humanitarian crisis, allowing in the process the enjoyment of rights. Mexico closely cooperated with the Government of Haiti in long-term programmes in education, health, agriculture and social-economic development. Mexico noted the Independent Expert’s proposal that an office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights be opened in Haiti, gradually replacing the Human Rights Section of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. Could more details related to a roadmap for that process be given?
Venezuela said that the humanitarian crisis following the January 2010 earthquake was no longer in the news but 3 million persons affected still needed health and food assistance. The situation of the educational and medical infrastructure was precarious. The cholera epidemic might create 170,000 new cases according to the Pan American Health Organization. Efforts to fight cholera had diminished, worsening the situation. Venezuela had annulled Haiti’s external debt, and had guaranteed it fuel supply. Venezuela reiterated its appeal to developed countries and the multilateral world to respect promises made in pledges for humanitarian assistance to Haiti, and for its creditors to annul the external debt of the country.
Spain noted that the situation in Haiti was still very serious. The international community should provide assistance to the current Government in strengthening the country’s judicial system and the Council, in particular, should provide the technical assistance required. The problem of the police was not the most serious issue facing Haiti and should not be given priority right now. The situation in public administration was not mature enough for the idea of the Ombudsman’s Office to seem realistic. Spain also expressed concern over gender violence and the violation of the rights of children and of persons with disabilities.
Cuba said that the situation in Haiti was complex. The international community should not lose sight of its responsibilities and substantial cooperation was needed for the reconstruction of Haiti. Cuba noted however that the financial assistance provided so far was not what had been promised. Cuba had received the support of many States for the execution of programmes of assistance for Haiti but the ban imposed by United States on Cuba had made impossible the transfer of funds into Cuban accounts.
Germany shared the Independent Expert’s concern over human rights violations resulting from overcrowded prisons in Haiti. It noted the problems stemming from the lack of separation of prisoners and wanted to know the Independent Expert’s assessment on the reorganization of Haitian prisons within existing capacities. Germany believed that the capacities of the Ombudsman, whose Office Germany had helped to set up in the 1990s, needed to be enhanced. It also recommended establishing a Deputy Ombudsperson with a special responsibility for women’s rights.
Chile said that institutional development and the strengthening of democracy in Haiti was a priority for Chile and welcomed the prioritisation of civil and political rights, in particular the functioning of legal and police institutions, which were central in the stabilisation of Haiti. The improvement of security, respect for human rights, and institutional strengthening were essential for ensuring democratic governance and economic development. The rule of law should also be a priority and Chile welcomed the creation of the inter-ministerial delegate on the rule of law. Chile emphasised the importance of cooperation with the components of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti in the process of reconstruction.
Switzerland was pleased to see the process of reform undertaken by Haiti, in particular with regards to human rights, and stressed the importance of accession to international instruments and multilateral work. Among the priorities, the situation of women, dealing with the past and the fight against impunity should be dealt with. Persistent violence had caused the death of many civilians. Switzerland encouraged Mr. Forst to support judicial reform efforts, including impartiality and open access, while ensuring the allocation of sufficient resources. Concerning the recommendation for the creation of a Haitian institute for training in human rights, Switzerland asked how the international community could ensure the provision of long-lasting assistance to such an institute.
Guatemala welcomed the focus on the rule of law, along other priorities, in the report of the Independent Expert, and praised the work of Haiti to ensure sustainable economic development. Guatemala, being vulnerable to natural disasters, stressed the importance of human rights and humanitarian assistance in the response and reconstruction, and exhorted all actors to integrate a human rights dimension in their support activities, and to continue to work together with Haiti to ensure the strengthening of the rule of law. Guatemala urged the international community to continue to work with Haiti to promote economic development.
Benin commended the open-minded dialogue and cooperation shown by the Haitian authorities and the positive developments in the human rights situation in Haiti. Benin noted with satisfaction the progress achieved and encouraged the authorities to increase all efforts in pursuance of efforts undertaken, and to work further with the treaty bodies and Special Procedures to spark an awareness of human rights in the process of reconstruction. Benin invited the international community to accompany the Haitian authorities in their reconstruction efforts.
Morocco encouraged the Haitian authorities to work towards the appointment of an inter-ministerial delegate for the rule of law, as proposed by the Independent Expert. It welcomed the Government’s positive response to the possible organization of thematic seminars on economic, social and cultural rights and was encouraged by the establishment of programmes aimed at upholding economic empowerment of Haitians, especially women. In relation to Haitian orphans, Morocco supported Mr. Forst’s appeal to international organizations to no longer finance structures operating without legal authorization.
Brazil noted that the Independent Expert had proposed a series of thematic workshops on economic, social and cultural rights. Could Mr. Forst indicate how such events would help improve the situation on the ground? Brazil also asked if the Independent Expert could share his views on how his role in drawing the attention of the international community could be strengthened. The fact that only 48 per cent of the pledged resources by the international community had been delivered to Haiti was a matter of concern, in light of the dire needs of the Haitian people.
United Kingdom pointed out that the rule of law, including economic and social rights, should be placed at the heart of Haitian reforms. The United Kingdom remained concerned about human rights violations and called for urgent action to improve the situation of prisoners and to reduce the number of pre-trial detainees. It also expressed concern over the return of Haitian citizens from third States and encouraged Haiti to address the issue of inadequate provision of documentation to Haitian citizens.
Dominican Republic said that the catastrophic situation experienced by Haitians and the state of despair in which they still found themselves should be taken into account before extending criticism for violations of human rights. The international community had not fulfilled its commitments for urgent and effective cooperation to provide assistance to Haitians. The Dominican Republic encouraged Haiti to continue to make all necessary efforts to defend human rights in accordance with the United Nations Charter.
Luxembourg said that economic exclusion was a threat to political stability in Haiti. The problem of hunger and malnutrition and the decline of agriculture were causes for concern because they had resulted in a dramatic reduction in the local production of rice and an increase in imports. Luxembourg welcomed the Independent Expert’s appeal to donors and humanitarian organizations to help reduce Haiti’s dependence on external sources. It also supported the systematic involvement of women’s and farmers’ organizations in the reconstruction of the country and asked the Independent Expert how food self-reliance could be strengthened in Haiti.
Uruguay stressed that, concerning economic, social and cultural rights, exclusion and marginalisation represented a threat for political stability at large. In this regard, Uruguay agreed with the Independent Expert that this should be a priority, and urged donors and international organizations to develop reconstruction strategies that privileged the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights. Concerning the proposal for the creation of a mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Uruguay asked the Independent Expert to elaborate on how this could be implemented.
Nigeria was pleased to see Haiti prioritise the rule of law and the steps taken to reform the justice system. The Independent Expert was able to observe the contribution of Haitian judges to restoring the credibility of the judiciary. Nigeria commended the “Not One More Day in Prison” campaign to address cases of extended detention and the efforts of the Ombudsman in establishing regional offices. Nigeria was pleased with the process Haiti had made in the area of human rights and called on the Council to remain engaged.
United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund highlighted the situation of children in pre-trial detention in Haiti, as 91 per cent of child detainees were being held in pre-trial detention. The situation of children in residential care centres represented a danger to children’s development and well-being. All children in illegal pre-trial detention should be released and the Government must be supported in the efforts to regulate the quality of care, preventing abuse, violence and exploitation of children.
International Federation of Human Rights Leagues was concerned about the lack of coordinated policies ensuring access to education, housing and health in Haiti. It stressed the need to address the situation of displaced persons in camps and supported the recommendation that a strategy be developed for the closure of the camps. The situation of detained persons was also of concern and the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues called on the Haitian authorities to ensure that persons were brought to trial and conditions of detention were improved.
Human Rights Watch said it had documented gaps in addressing women’s health and security needs after the earthquake, calling for a gender policy in reconstruction, and had documented the negative effects of extreme economic vulnerability of women after the earthquake including economic pressure to exchange sex for food. Human Rights Watch welcomed Mr. Forst’s related recommendations.
American Civil Liberties Union was especially concerned about forced returns to Haiti from the United States. Deportees were held in local Haitian cells in extremely poor conditions. Once released in society, most confronted language and cultural barriers, social stigmatization, and gender-based violence. Most were long-term residents in the United States and had no family ties in Haiti. The United States deportation policy had no systematic review process, judicial review, or notice. The American Civil Liberties Union was deeply concerned by the United States’ failure to comply with its human rights obligations.
Concluding Remarks by the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Haiti
MICHEL FORST, Independent Expert on the Human Rights Situation in Haiti, in concluding remarks, noted that the Haitian Government had energetically pursued the re-establishment of the rule of law and asked the international community not to abandon Haiti at this difficult time. He reiterated that economic exclusion was a threat to political stability, therefore it was important to move forward the promotion of basic rights such as the right to food, education and housing. Experts who had already tackled those procedures in other countries should come up with a legal and strategic framework for Haiti. There was urgent need for funding and the Independent Expert wanted to know what funds were available from the United Nations. It was time to think about a presence of the office of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Port-au–Prince which would ensure the international protection of Haitians. Dealing with police reform in Haiti was a difficult and delicate task. Mr. Forst called on States to help with the work that remained to be done in terms of purging the police forces of undesirable elements, even though that was primarily the task of the country’s sovereign Government. He emphasized that massive investment was needed in Haiti and said that the business world should be urged to return and invest there. While justice in Haiti was independent and should not be interfered with, the families that had sued for crimes against humanity should receive the Council’s support so that Haitian justice could conclude that issue.
The Council has before it the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on technical assistance and cooperation on human rights for Kyrgyzstan (A/HRC/20/12), and the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on technical assistance and cooperation on human rights for Kyrgyzstan - Correction (A/HRC/20/12/Corr.1).
The Council has before it the report of the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the field of Human Rights (A/HRC/20/34).
Presentation of Reports by Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and by the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights
KYUNG-WHA KANG, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, introducing an overview of successes, best practices and challenges in technical assistance and capacity building efforts provided by the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant United Nations agencies, said that the Office was mandated to provide assistance at the request of governments in the field of human rights. This included advisory services of experts, fellowships, seminars, information and documentation, and domestic assessment, with the objective of providing timely and quality support to Member States and other stakeholders to assist them in the implementation of their human rights obligations and to facilitate, through constructive dialogue, positive change at the country level. With regards to experiences and lessons learnt, Ms. Kang addressed best practices related to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism.
Technical cooperation was guided by the Office’s thematic priorities, including combating impunity and strengthening the rule of law; countering discrimination; pursuing economic, social and cultural rights; protecting human rights in the context of migration; protecting human rights in situations of conflict, violence and insecurity; and strengthening international human rights mechanisms and the progressive development of human rights law. The Office’s experience in technical cooperation in the field of human rights had helped identify a number of lessons learnt, such as the need to ensure sustainability and an increased impact on rights-holders; technical cooperation should be undertaken on the basis of long-term collaborative engagement and programming; projects should be conceived and implemented on the basis of interdependence of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights; and projects should be designed as part of the Office’s overall dialogue with a country. Technical assistance required continuous mobilization of human and financial resources and financial support from Member States had enabled the Office to respond to needs and requests for assistance.
Introducing the High Commissioner’s report on technical cooperation on human rights Kyrgyzstan in, Ms. Kang said that the report outlined the technical cooperation and assistance activities undertaken by the High Commissioner’s Regional Office for Central Asia. Despite efforts, two years after the June 2010 violence in the south of Kyrgyzstan, institutional deficiencies continued to hamper the delivery of justice. The authorities had a duty to ensure accountability for crimes and abuses, and to guarantee justice for victims and their families. Since the previous report in June 2011, some developments had taken place, including legislative reforms which illustrated the Government’s commitment. The regional Office of the High Commissioner had undertaken activities with the support of the European Union and the United Nations Peace Building Fund, enabling the Government to engage further with United Nations human rights mechanisms.
DEEPIKA NELUM UDAGAMA, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation, said that since 2004, the Board of Trustees had refocused its attention from a more detailed revision of individual projects to advising the Office of the High Commissioner on policy orientation and strategy in strengthening its technical cooperation programme in the field of human rights. Instead of focusing on smaller projects, funds were now injected into the work of existing field presences on the basis of the rationale that much of the activities undertaken by the Office of the High Commissioner’s field presences fell within the area of technical cooperation. The thirty-fourth session of the Board was held in Burundi and in Kenya in April 2011; this was the first time that a session of the Board was organized outside Geneva. The field mission provided the Board with an objective view of the real needs of field presences and a first-hand insight into the use of the Voluntary Fund with regard to achievements, thematic priorities, constraints and challenges. The thirty-fifth session of the Board was held in Geneva in October and November 2011. Technical cooperation in the field of human rights, as supported by the Voluntary Fund, had developed greatly since its establishment, and its activities now covered multi-component institutional capacity-building projects developed as a result of an in-country assessment of needs, with the involvement of various stakeholders. Projects reflected national development objectives.
Expenditures under the Voluntary Fund for the period 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2011 amounted to $ 37.3 million, reflecting the constant expansion of its activities and increase of expenditure in recent years. The increase in expenditure had not, however, been matched by an increase in voluntary contributions. Indeed, for the same period, contributions had only amounted to $ 33.78 million. By the end of 2012, the financial situation of the Fund could become a subject of serious concern for the Office of the High Commissioner. In recent years, the Board had noted that some Member States preferred to earmark their contributions and channel their funds through the Voluntary Fund within the oversight of an independent Board of Trustees. However, the Board underlined the general value of un-earmarked contributions, which allowed flexibility in the management of funds.
Statement by Concerned Country
Kyrgyzstan, speaking as the concerned country, said that Kyrgyzstan was working to align its legislation with international standards and was making changes to its criminal code. It was also committed to enhancing the prestige of its judicial system and the trust that the people had in it. Kyrgyzstan recognized the need to comply with international standards and had incorporated recommendations of economic and social measures into relevant national strategies. While the Council was a unique international platform for discussing issues of world order, regional characteristics should also be recognized and upheld and double standards and politicization should be eliminated. A delicate balance should be maintained between promoting the human rights in a country and interfering with a country’s internal affairs. Recent inter-ethnic tensions in Kyrgyzstan had resulted in violent conflicts and the consequences for the population were still tangible. The Government had paid compensation to the families of those who had died in the conflict and those who had suffered from the incidents, including damaged businesses. It had also provided access to the media and to non-governmental organizations to conflict areas and had allowed the International Commission to investigate the events. To strengthen inter-ethnic harmony, Kyrgyzstan was working on not having the ethnic origin of citizens indicated on passports and was taking effective measures to boost inter-ethnic development and cooperation.
General Debate on Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building
Cyprus, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union had adopted its first strategic framework on human rights and democracy which would contribute to the mainstreaming of human rights in its policies. The European Union also welcomed the Office of the High Commissioner’s engagement in Kyrgyzstan and the Government’s efforts but remained concerned about the impact on the ground and reports of torture, detentions and discrimination. The European Union also followed the human rights situation in Tunisia, Nepal, Haiti and Côte d’Ivoire. Collective actions were needed to build up and strengthen human rights capacities.
Brazil, speaking on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, said the Council should not forget the importance of strengthening cooperation and how to provide more capacity building and technical cooperation to strengthen the capacity of the States to fulfil their human rights. Thematic debates on experiences and best practices in the field could contribute to identifying concrete actions and projects. Treaty bodies could also contribute to find concrete solutions. The Universal Periodic Review, the main cooperation mechanism, had shown that many States were willing to benefit from cooperation in the Council.
China took note of the reports and commended the Office of the High Commissioner for its efforts in technical assistance for developing countries in the field of human rights. China hoped that the two categories of human rights would be tackled in a balanced manner. China noted the field visit carried out by the Voluntary Fund to better understand the needs. The consent of recipient States was as essential as their input in order to ensure that targeted areas of provision would be effective in the promotion of human rights.
United States said that Governments had a responsibility to seek out opportunities for assistance to prevent human suffering. When States did seek assistance, the Office of the High Commissioner and other States should offer timely and tailored input. States that had overcome similar challenges were encouraged to share best practices. Monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation throughout a recipient country was an important part of helping it determine what assistance would be most beneficial and available.
Indonesia said that in the current growing climate of mutual distrust and resentment, more leeway should be given to the exploration of mutually agreed initiatives and programmes in the context of technical assistance and capacity building. Indonesia underlined the urgency to adapt technical cooperation activities carried out by the Office of the High Commissioner, with the national human rights agenda of the concerned countries, to enable tangible results on the ground and at the same time reduce unnecessary tension among relevant parties.
Thailand urged the Office of the High Commissioner and other United Nations agencies to give high priority to those States that requested technical assistance. There was also a need to optimize existing resources, increase synergy and increase efficiency in the delivery of technical assistance. In the long run, expectations could not be met without a matching increase of resources. More United Nations funds should be allocated to capacity-building in the field of human rights. States, non-governmental organizations and individuals were encouraged to also provide financial support for existing funds for technical assistance.
Switzerland noted that the technical cooperation programme had made possible the implementation of the international obligations of States. Switzerland was pleased that the Council continued to be informed on the activities of the technical cooperation programme but it was crucial to strengthen the synergies between those activities and the Council, the Universal Periodic Review and Special Procedures. Technical cooperation activities were essential for the implementation and follow-up on recommendations in the field of human rights. Preparation of a reference manual would be a substantial contribution to enhancing capacity in that respect.
Tunisia said that it relied on the advice and assistance of the Council to guarantee the processes undertaken by the new Government since the revolution and that it had already received valuable assistance in its judicial reform which aimed to ensure conformity with international standards. Tunisia reaffirmed its thanks to the High Commissioner’s Office for its willingness to help since the first days after the revolution and to all the States that had financed the activities of the High Commissioner’s Office in the area, and it encouraged other countries to continue to support the Office.
Morocco said that it had taken into consideration the information contained in the report and welcomed the detailed tables relating to activities during 2010 and 2011. Morocco noted the need to have greater synergy between the different United Nations mechanisms relating to human rights. It also pointed out that each fund had a different mandate, therefore funds should respect those differences. Morocco restated the importance of technical assistance for developing countries and it emphasized that it was important not to reduce but to increase contributions to the relevant funds.
Algeria said that capacity building was an essential aspect of the work of the Council and was central to its mandate. Concerned States should lead assessments of their needs and gaps and were responsible for the realisation and protection of the rights of their citizens. International cooperation and international solidarity were also important, given the limitations of the United Nations general budget. Regional and national specificities in the context of the provision of assistance should also be recognised. Algeria had decided to increase its voluntary contribution to the Office of the High Commissioner in order to contribute to the provision of technical assistance for the least developed African countries, and improve their capacity to fulfil human rights obligations.
Sudan underscored the importance of technical assistance and capacity building. As far as Sudan was concerned, the Council had requested the Independent Expert on Sudan to identify areas of assistance and requested Member States and United Nations agencies to provide support and the Office of the High Commissioner to provide technical assistance. The Sudanese Government had taken practical steps and identified areas of need and designed a map for technical assistance. Sending an Independent Expert with empty hands would not help him fulfil his mandate. Sudan commended the support provided by the United Nations Development Programme.
Republic of Korea welcomed the work of the Office of the High Commissioner on transitional justice efforts in many countries. On the other hand, the Republic of Korea was concerned that the proposal for cooperation by the Office had not been positively met by Eritrea and the long call for cooperation and access to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea remained unanswered. The Republic of Korea was pleased to learn that countries which had been visited by the High Commissioner had shown genuine interest and willingness to cooperate with her Office, and encouraged Bahrain to continue its engagement with the Office
United Kingdom echoed the importance of improving Somalia’s human rights record as part of efforts to restore stability and security. It remained concerned by the human rights situation in Bahrain, where more had to be done to address continued failings, and to ensure the Commission’s recommendations were implemented in full, particularly in respect of mechanisms for accountability. The United Kingdom urged the authorities to ensure accountability for all those who were responsible for committing unlawful acts. Yemen was urged to complete its political transition.
International Federation for Human Rights Leagues commended efforts in the field of justice in Côte d’Ivoire. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission should have civil society more involved in its work. The International Federation for Human Rights Leagues was worried about the lack of legal action against the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire and the Dozos, which operated outside of any legal framework, with impunity. It also appealed for the renewal of the Independent Expert’s mandate in Côte d’Ivoire.
United Nations Watch was concerned by the inadequacy of the Haitian legal system, and the dismissal of 21 complaints of crimes against humanity filed by victims against former President Jean-Claude Duvalier. It was also concerned about the situation in Kyrgyzstan, with regards to the integrity of its legal system. It called upon both Governments to implement the recommendations contained in their respective reports.
Amnesty International said that no steps had been taken to implement the recommendations of the 2011 Universal Periodic Review on Somalia and abuses against civilians remained widespread in the country, while perpetrators of attacks enjoyed impunity. The Council should insist that the perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses be brought to justice. Increased human rights monitoring and the adoption of effective measures to investigate incidents was also important.
Verein Südwind Entwicklungspolitik expressed concern over the large number of prisoners in Haiti, especially female and pre-trial prisoners. It noted that two years after the earthquake a large number of persons were still living in tents and it expressed the hope that donation distribution would become fairer in the future so that those in need would receive access to the necessary funds.
Association of World Citizens emphasized that conflict prevention was an important issue. A large number of people lived in constant shortage while military spending had been substantial and armed conflict led to many deaths every year. Social cohesion needed to be strengthened and it was necessary to show to children the negative effects that armed conflict had for human life and for the environment. Peace was very positive for economic, social and cultural development.
Right of Reply
Nepal, speaking in a right of reply, addressed comments made by Cyprus on behalf of the European Union concerning the alleged political impasse in the human rights situation in Nepal, and the lack of progress in the fight against impunity. The Government had decided to hold elections on 22 November 2012, and would write a new constitution. The interim constitution of 2007 provided a basis for overall governance. The Government was fully committed to ending impunity. It was also gearing towards increasing the capacity of all human rights institutions, to protect and promote human rights with a long-term perspective. Its national human rights commission enjoyed full independence and autonomy. Nepal was one of the few countries that had a national human rights institution as a constitutional body.
For use of information media; not an official record