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Closing remarks at the end of the Council's 24th session, 27 September 2013

Before concluding, let me make a few comments on issues which, in my view, are of importance for the Council’s work.

First, reprisals and intimidation against persons or groups cooperating with the UN human rights mechanisms.

Let me recall the paragraph 30 of the Council`s review outcome, resolution 16/21:

“The Council strongly rejects any act of intimidation or reprisal against individuals and groups who cooperate or have cooperated with the UN, its representatives and human rights mechanism and urges States to prevent and ensure adequate protection against such acts.”

In that context, I wish to reiterate that any acts of intimidation or reprisals against individuals and groups who cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations and its representatives are unacceptable and must end. It is the Council’s and its President responsibility to address effectively all cases of intimidation or reprisals and to ensure an unhindered access to all who seek to cooperate with the UN mechanism. Such a cooperation is a sine qua non condition of an effective and proper functioning of the Council and its mechanism.

Second, the Universal Periodic Review mechanism.

Since I assumed my current function, I have made every effort to strengthen and preserve the credibility and universality of the UPR and I will continue to do so until the end of my term. Having said that, let me stress that it is my firm conviction that by applying all existing practices and rules in a consistent manner to all States under review, we will contribute to strengthening the UPR credibility and to the successful second cycle of the UPR, taking into account one of its principles, which is an equal treatment of all States under review. In that context, let me draw again your attention to my letter to all mission of 18 September, which was also posted on the Council’s extranet.

Third, keeping the tabling deadlines.

I wish to reiterate the point I have made at several occasions, namely that the late submission of draft resolutions make it difficult for many delegations, especially small ones, to keep up with the work pace and stay abreast of the developments. We have clear rules, particularly tabling deadlines which we all must observe to ensure transparent and constructive negotiations process. There should be no exceptions from these rules and it is in the interest of all delegations to strictly observe them.

And last but not least, the issue of respect and dignity.

Let me stress that as the President of the Human Rights Council I continue encouraging all those who participate in the Council’s work to discuss issues with appropriate level of dignity and respect. This means and implies that all of us will have to respect and tolerate arguments, ideas and words expressed by others that may at times be uncomfortable to listen to. We may have different opinions and views, but we must always remain within the accepted framework, ensuring that a sense of respect permeates our discussion.