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Human Rights Council extends mandates on Syria, Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Myanmar

Human Rights Council 
MORNING 

28 March 2014

Also Extends Mandates on Adequate Housing and on Human Rights Defenders

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted 10 texts in which it extended the mandate of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on the human rights situations in Iran, in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and in Myanmar.  The Council also decided to extend the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on human rights defenders.  Other texts adopted by the Council this morning related to the promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity, the right to education of persons with disabilities, human rights and the environment, and the use of unarmed drones in counter-terrorism.
 
In resolutions, the Council extended, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and called upon States to give due consideration to this human right in the elaboration of the post-2105 development agenda.
 
The Council also extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders for a period of three years and requested the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the assistance necessary for the effective fulfilment of his/her mandate.
 
The Council extended the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria through to the twenty-eighth session and strongly condemned the use by the Syrian authorities of starvation of civilians as a method of combat, the besiegement of civilians and all acts of violence directed against humanitarian actors. 
 
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran was extended for a further period of one year, and the Council called upon Iran to permit access to the country to the Special Rapporteur.
 
With regard to the human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of one year.  The Council was deeply troubled by the finding of the Commission of Inquiry that crimes against humanity were being committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
 
In a resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the Council extended for one year the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.  It also reiterated serious concern about the situation of the Rohingya and other minorities in Rakhine State and requested an independent investigation be taken into all reported incidences of violence and abuses.
 
On the enjoyment of cultural rights of everyone, the Council decided to organize a panel discussion on history teaching and memorialization processes at its twenty-seventh session.  With regard to the rights of persons with disabilities, the Council invited States to consider the possibility of establishing a special procedure on the issue and decided to focus its next annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities on living independently and being included in the community. 
 
On human rights and the environment, the Council urged States to comply with their human rights obligations when developing and implementing their environmental policies and recognized the important role played by human rights defenders working on environmental issues.  Concerning the use of remotely piloted aircraft or armed drones in counter-terrorism operations, the Council called upon States to conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations into violations of international law caused by these and decided to organize an interactive panel discussion of experts at its twenty-seventh session on the issues raised in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.
 
Introducing the texts were Germany, Finland, Norway, Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica (on behalf of a group of countries), Pakistan (on behalf of a group of countries), Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Sweden (on behalf of a group of countries), Greece (on behalf of the European Union), and Japan.
 
Speaking in general comments, explanations of the vote before or after the vote and proposing amendments were South Africa, United States, Russia, Ireland, Mexico, France, Cuba, United Kingdom, Maldives, Venezuela, Germany (also on behalf of the Czech Republic), India, Algeria, Italy (on behalf of the European Union), China, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Viet Nam, Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, and Republic of Korea.,
 
Syria, Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Myanmar spoke as concerned countries.
 
The Human Rights Council will resume its work this afternoon at 3 p.m., to continue to take action on draft resolutions and decisions before closing its twenty-fifth session.
 
Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development
 
Action on Resolution on Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.18/Rev.1) on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides to extend, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to adequate standard of living.  It expresses concern that more than 860 million people are still living in unserviced and unplanned urban poor settlements and that rental options for the poor are still insufficient and inadequate; and calls upon States to give due consideration to the human right to adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and to issues related to universal access to decent and sustainable housing in the elaboration of the post-2105 development agenda. 
 
Germany, introducing draft resolution L.18/Rev.1 on adequate housing, said the text extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing for three years.  The right to housing should be seen as the right to live somewhere in security, peace and dignity.  At least 100 million people around the world did not have any form of shelter.  In Germany, it was estimated that more than a quarter of a million people were homeless, more than a third of whom were women and children, which was a shame.  Legal security of tenure was an important aspect of the right.  Germany introduced oral amendments, expressing certainty it had found a compromise that was acceptable to all, while keeping the resolution strong and focused on the right to adequate housing. 
 
Finland, co-introducing draft resolution L.18/Rev.1, said deep concern was expressed in the resolution about how any worsening of the housing situation disproportionally affected vulnerable groups.  Particular importance was attached to women’s equal rights with regards to adequate housing.  Finland also underlined the fundamental role played by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in providing independent expert guidance with regard to the right to adequate housing. 
 
South Africa, introducing oral amendments, thanked the main sponsors for their consultations and appreciated their spirit of cooperation and flexibility in incorporating most of its tabled amendments into the text; in that regard the outstanding amendments had been withdrawn.  The tabled amendments were intended to strengthen the text of the resolution, taking into account the development priorities of countries of the south and vulnerable groups.  The mobilization of domestic resources from all relevant sectors in the implementation and realization of the right to adequate housing was imperative.  Goal 8 of the Millennium Development Goals was important to build on through effective international cooperation and effective global partnerships based on mutual respect and equality. 
 
United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that it was pleased to join the consensus on the resolution.  It welcomed the openness of the co-sponsors during negotiations, and regretted that some delegations proposed amendments at the very last minute.  The United States joined the consensus with the view that the resolution did not imply that States had the obligation to implement provisions of treaties to which they were not party. 
 
Action on Resolution on Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.24) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders for a period of three years; urges all States to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his/her tasks; requests the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the assistance necessary for the effective fulfilment of his/her mandate.
 
The Council rejected amendment L.46 by a vote of 15 in favour, 27 against and 5 abstentions.
 
The Council rejected amendment L.47 by a vote of 15 in favour, 28 against and 4 abstentions.
 
The Council rejected oral amendment PP3bis by a vote of 18 in favour, 25 against and 4 abstentions.
 
The Council rejected oral amendment PP3ter by a vote of 18 in favour, 25 against and 4 abstentions.
 
Norway, introducing draft resolution L.24 on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said that in 2013 the Human Rights Council had adopted its resolution 22/6 expressing grave concern about threats, attacks and acts of intimidation against human rights defenders.  This and other resolutions had clearly stated that reprisals were unacceptable.  The draft resolution’s main objective was to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.  Norway strongly urged all States to take concrete steps to create a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders.  Norway introduced oral amendments.  The changes had been made in the spirit of compromise.  The Council was invited to adopt the resolution by consensus.
 
Russian Federation, in a general comment, regretted that the authors of the draft resolution were attempting to change the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in a non-constructive manner and introduced amendments L.46 and L.47 as well as two oral amendments to draft resolution L.24.  These amendments would strengthen the legal framework for the work of the Special Rapporteur in the future. 
 
Ireland said that the main objective of the draft resolution was to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.  This was particularly needed considering the resurgence of human rights violations and abuses against defenders, including the adoption and misuse of legislative norms that had the effect of criminalizing their activities.  The main sponsor thought to reflect those concerns in the draft resolution, and reaffirmed that States had the primary responsibility to protect and respect human rights defenders’ activities in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international human rights law.  It called on all States to refrain from adopting national legislation that limited the work of defenders or justified restrictions on their activities.  The draft resolution reflected the consensus reached last year.  Ireland therefore did not accept the amendments presented by the Russian Federation and called on all Members of the Council to reject them. 
 
Mexico, in a general comment, said that it was one of the co-sponsors of the draft resolution and as such, it had actively taken part in the negotiations.  During the negotiations, an inclusive and transparent environment had been noted, with full openness to other points of view.  Despite this, some delegations had submitted amendments to the text.  Mexico would be voting against amendments L.46 and L.47 and would also vote against the oral amendments.  For the reasons Ireland had mentioned, Members of the Council were urged to do likewise.
 
Russia, in a general comment, said that it had requested that the amendments be considered separately.  It was surprising to hear that the main sponsor of the draft text was prepared to vote and called upon other Members to vote for the amendments. 
 
France, speaking in a general comment, said it could not support the amendments proposed by the Russian Federation, and underlined the importance of ensuring that human rights defenders could act without interference or harassment.
 
Cuba, speaking in a general comment, supported the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.  However,  Cuba considered the draft resolution to be extremely unbalanced and selective, which was why amendments proposed by the Russian Federation were highly appropriate.  Cuba therefore called on all Member States of the Council to support these amendments as well.    
 
United Kingdom, speaking in a general comment, said that it rejected amendments proposed by Russia.  The oral amendments were selective quotations from the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.  They were therefore unnecessary and inappropriate.  The United Kingdom would vote against all proposed amendments and all other delegations were urged to do the same.
 
Maldives, in a general comment, said that this was an important resolution.  Maldives supported the arguments put forth by Ireland.  The draft was achieved through a long and constructive discussion and several concerns had been met.  The Maldives would reject the oral amendments proposed.
 
Ireland called for a vote on amendment L.46 presented by the Russian Federation. 
 
The Council rejected amendment L.46 by a vote of 15 in favour, 27 against and 5 abstentions.
 
Ireland called for a vote on amendment L.47 presented by the Russian Federation. 
 
The Council rejected amendment L.47 by a vote of 15 in favour, 28 against and 4 abstentions.
 
Ireland called for a vote on the oral amendment PP3Bis.
 
The Council rejected oral amendment PP3bis by a vote of 18 in favour, 25 against and 4 abstentions.
 
Ireland called for a vote on oral amendment PP3ter.
 
The Council rejected oral amendment PP3ter by a vote of 18 in favour, 25 against and 4 abstentions.
 
Action on Resolution on the Promotion of the Enjoyment of the Cultural Rights of Everyone and Respect for Cultural Diversity
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.29/Rev.1) on the promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to provide all necessary resources for the fulfilment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights; decides to organize, at its twenty-seventh session, a panel discussion on history teaching and memorialization processes which will, inter alia, contribute to the sharing of good practices in this area; requests the office of the High Commissioner to prepare and submit a summary report on the panel discussion to the Council at its twenty-eighth session; and also requests the Special Rapporteur to present her next report at its twenty-eighth session. 
 
Cuba, introducing draft resolution L.29/Rev.1  on the promotion and enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect of cultural diversity, said that the promotion and protection of cultural diversity were fundamental for the enjoyment of human rights.  The text before the Council was the outcome of broad and open consultations.  The convening of a panel on the teaching of history was important to face the resurgence of racism and fascism in the world.  Cuba hoped this resolution would be adopted without a vote.  
 
United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, was concerned that the concept of cultural diversity could be misunderstood; it should not be interpreted as a justification to violate human rights or to create unclear rights that should fall under the scope of intellectual property rights.  The United States would however join the consensus on this resolution. 
 
Action on Resolution on the Right to Education of Persons with Disabilities
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.30) on the right to education of persons with disabilities, adopted without a vote, the Council urges States to take effective measures to address and prevent violence and discrimination against persons with disabilities, including women and girls with disabilities, and to take measures to eliminate accessibility barriers to education, including in remote, isolated and rural areas; decides to continue to integrate the rights of persons with disabilities into its work and invites States to consider the possibility of establishing a special procedure on the rights of persons with disabilities; also decides that its next annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities will be held at its twenty-eighth session and will focus on living independently and being included in the community; and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare its annual study on the rights of persons with disabilities on the same topic. 
 
Mexico, introducing draft resolution L.30 on the right to education of persons with disabilities, said that the inclusion of persons with disabilities, who made up 15 per cent of the world’s population, was key when it came to promoting growth, progress and social inclusion.  One of the challenges was avoiding discrimination in education.  Students and pupils with disabilities were stigmatized as persons that could not learn in traditional schools or were incapable of learning at all.  This resolution restated the rights of persons with disabilities to education, without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunities for all.  At the same time, it identified measures to adopt inclusive education systems, offering quality education and integration for these persons.  All Council Members were urged to take a positive view of this draft resolution and move for its adoption.
 
Action on Resolution on Human Rights and the Environment
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.31) on human rights and the environment, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council urges States to comply with their human rights obligations when developing and implementing their environmental policies; recognizes the important role played by human rights defenders working on environmental issues and urges States to create a safe and enabling environment in which these human rights defenders can operate free from hindrance and insecurity; stresses the particular relevance of international cooperation in addressing the threats to the enjoyment of human rights that result from transboundary environmental harm;  requests the High Commissioner to continue to ensure that the Independent Expert receives the resources necessary to enable him to discharge his mandate fully.
 
Costa Rica, introducing draft resolution L.31 on human rights and the environment, said that this resolution’s aim was to draw the attention on the links between the protection of the environment and the enjoyment of human rights.  The draft resolution focused on human rights obligations and on international cooperation, and included views of the Special Rapporteur.  Costa Rica underlined that broad consultations had been conducted and welcome the consensual spirit by all who took part in the negotiations. 
 
United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it continued to agree with other members of the Council that the protection of the environment and its contribution to sustainable development, human well-being and the enjoyment of human rights were vitally important.  In this spirit, it joined consensus on the resolution.  However, it remained concerned regarding the general approach of placing environmental concerns in a human rights context and about addressing them in fora that did not have the necessary expertise.  For related reasons, while recognizing the efforts of the Independent Expert and United Nations bodies in this area, it did not agree with a number of aspects of their work.  The United States was also concerned about certain elements in the final text.  For example, while sustainable development was a goal all aimed to achieve, the concerns of the United States about the existence of a right to development were long-standing and well known.  The right to development did not have an agreed international meaning.
 
Action on Resolution on Ensuring Use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft or Armed Drones in Counter-terrorism and Military Operations
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.32) on ensuring use of remotely piloted aircraft or armed drones in counter-terrorism and military operations in accordance with international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law, adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, 6 against and 14 abstentions, the Council urges all States to ensure that any measures employed to counter terrorism, including the use of remotely piloted aircraft or armed drones, comply with their obligations under international law, including the Charter of the United Nations,  in particular the principles of precaution, distinction and proportionality; calls upon States to ensure transparency in their records on the use of remotely piloted aircraft or armed drones and to conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of a violation to international law caused by their use;  decides to organize an interactive panel discussion of experts at its twenty-seventh session on the issues raised in the report of the Special Rapporteurs on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, from within existing resources; and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to present a summary of the deliberations of the panel discussion at its twenty-eighth session.
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (27): Algeria, Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Gabon, Indonesia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Venezuela and Viet Nam.
 
Against (6): France, Japan, Republic of Korea, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, and United States of America.
 
Abstentions (14): Austria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Italy, Montenegro, Namibia, Romania, and United Arab Emirates.
 
Pakistan, introducing draft resolution L.32 on ensuring use of remotely piloted aircraft or armed drones in counter-terrorism and military operations in accordance with international law, including international human rights and humanitarian law, said that the objective of this resolution was to operationalize and implement the recommendations by the Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism.  The resolution did not refer to any specific country, and did not intend to name or shame anyone.  This resolution was about supporting a principle and upholding the United Nations protection of human rights.  Pakistan recalled that the European Union Parliament had also recently adopted a resolution on this same matter.  Pakistan hoped this resolution could be adopted by consensus. 
 
Venezuela, speaking in a general comment, welcomed this resolution, which had been drafted after broad consultations.  Venezuela considered this issue to be highly relevant for the work of the Council.  Drones were lethal weapons and had to be used in full compliance with international human rights and international humanitarian law.  Those responsible for the killings of civilians with such weapons had to be held accountable.
 
Germany, speaking also on behalf of the Czech Republic in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that they welcomed and supported the work of the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the promotion and protection of human rights by countering terrorism, and on extrajudicial or summary executions.  Both had contributed to the issues currently debated and referred to in the draft resolution.  They welcomed the transparent and open negotiation process on the draft resolution and believed that an appropriate framework was already in place.  They had therefore argued in favour of avoiding any duplication of work.  Germany and the Czech Republic had therefore decided to abstain.
 
United Kingdom, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it had long held that counter terrorism measures could only be effective if they used an approach that supported the rule of law.  It believed that existing international law sufficiently covered the use of remotely piloted aircrafts.  The Special Rapporteur’s conclusions in the October 2013 report that remotely controlled aircraft could reduce the civilian casualties when used in compliance with international humanitarian law, was welcome.  When used in the context of armed conflict, the appropriate law was international humanitarian law and the Human Rights Council did not have a mandate to consider this.  The United Kingdom called for a vote on the resolution, to which it would vote no. 
 
United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it did not believe that the examination of specific weapon systems fell under the mandate of the Council.  The United States was committed to ensure that its actions were conducted in compliance with international law and with transparency.  There were other matters relating to counter-terrorism measures that deserved much more the Council’s attention, such as the prohibition of peace protests.  
 
Ireland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, believed that the Council was an appropriate forum to discuss all issues that could lead to human rights violations, including the use of drones.  Ireland would vote in favour of this draft resolution, which addressed some important questions that deserved further consideration. 
 
India, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, agreed that actions by countries had to be in accordance with international law and agreements to which they were party.  The draft resolution related to the use of one weapon system in situations of both counter terrorism and military operations.  At this stage, India felt that the scope of the resolution was too broad and many of the aspects included needed to be appropriately deliberated upon at different fora.  The international community should join hands in eliminating the scourge of terrorism itself.  There was a proliferation of open panel discussions during the Council sessions and intersessionally and funds had to be requested.  India would abstain from the vote.
 
France, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the draft resolution gave rise to a number of concerns.  This resolution was outside the competence of the Human Rights Council.  France did not see why the use of drones should be singled out as compared to other means used to fight terrorism.  It was not advisable to launch such a process within the Council.  However, France was not opposed to a more comprehensive debate on counter terrorism, as held in the past.   France would oppose the draft resolution.
 
Action on Resolutions under Agenda Item on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
 
Action on Resolution on the Continuing Grave Deterioration of the Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.7) on the continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 4 against and 11 abstentions, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry through to the twenty-eighth session of the Human Rights Council, and requests the Commission to present a written report during an interactive dialogue at the twenty-seventh and the twenty-eighth sessions of the Council and to provide an oral update during an interactive dialogue at the twenty-sixth session; demands that the Syrian authorities grant the Commission of Inquiry immediate, full and unfettered access throughout the Syrian Arab Republic; strongly condemns the continued gross, systematic and widespread violations of human rights and all violations of international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities and affiliated militias that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity; demands that all parties demilitarize medical facilities, schools and other civilian facilities;  strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons and all indiscriminate methods of warfare in the Syrian Arab Republic; expresses its support for the efforts of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the League of Arab States to find a negotiated political solution to the Syrian crisis; encourages the full participation of women in political talks; strongly condemns the intentional denial of humanitarian assistance to civilians and deplores the deteriorating humanitarian situation; strongly condemns the use by the Syrian authorities of starvation of civilians as a method of combat, and further condemns the besiegement of civilians; further strongly condemns all acts of violence directed against humanitarian actors; and urges the international community to provide urgent financial support to enable the host countries to respond to the growing humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees.
 
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (32): Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Gabon, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States of America.
 
Against (4): China, Cuba, Russian Federation, and Venezuela.
 
Abstentions (11): Algeria, Congo, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Namibia, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, and Viet Nam.
 
 
Saudi Arabia, introducing draft resolution L.7 on the continuing grave human rights violations in Syria, said that it was gravely concerned at the continuing grave violations and horrific humanitarian situation in Syria for the past three years.  Saudi Arabia supported the continuation of the investigation mechanisms on the situation in Syria.  Failure to adopt this resolution would send the wrong message to Syria and would encourage the continuing violations there.  Saudi Arabia hoped that this draft resolution would therefore be adopted by consensus. 
 
United Kingdom, also presenting draft resolution L.7, regretted that this resolution had to be passed again, three years after the beginning of the conflict.  The United Kingdom remained gravely concerned about the indiscriminate bombing of civilians.  The text was balanced and called on all parties to respect international law.  The resolution renewed the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, condemned international humanitarian and human rights law violations and abuses and supported current and future efforts on accountability. 
 
Russia, in a general comment, noted that the resolution was more balanced than previous resolutions on Syria but still contained unacceptable provisions.  In the list of human rights violations on the side of the Government, there were no provisions relating to the violence committed by the fighters described in detail by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which included groups which made up the Free Syrian Army.  Russia regretted that partners had refused to accept its amendment to condemn terrorism in Syria and to urge all parties to fight against this evil.  The Council would be going far beyond its mandate in appealing to Damascus to accelerate its chemical disarmament programme.  Russia requested that the draft be put to a vote and it would vote against it.
 
United States, in a general comment, said that it strongly supported the resolution on the continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria.  In addition to the extension of the Commission of Inquiry, the resolution called attention to the desperate humanitarian situation in the country.  Reliable access for humanitarian actors was urgent.  There had been no significant progress in the implementation of Security Council resolution in 21/39.  Since its adoption, 200 people had been killed daily.  The resolution called for the release of all arbitrarily detained persons.  The United States reiterated its call for an immediate end to all human rights and humanitarian law violations committed by the Assad regime. 
 
Algeria, in a general comment, said that the draft resolution was unbalanced and lacked clarity.  Algeria was of course concerned about the situation in Syria and condemned violations there.  Algeria was also concerned about the situation of Syrian refugees and displaced persons.  In analysing the conflict, Algeria was convinced that a solution could only be political and inclusive of all parties, and in full respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.  Algeria would abstain in the vote. 
 
Italy, in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, deeply regretted that violations continued after three years.  The European Union remained concerned about continuing bloodshed among civilians, as well as about killings, torture, sexual violence, and abuses against children that occurred every day in Syria.  The European Union reiterated that the regime had the primary responsibility for the conflict and its actions on the ground, such as sieges against civilians and the deliberate starvation of civilians.  The European Union called for immediate access for humanitarian workers and the Commission of Inquiry on Syria.  The European Union insisted on the importance of accountability and on the role of the International Criminal Court in this regard. 
 
Syria, speaking as the concerned country, said that the draft resolution was one of many sterile resolutions emerging from the Council since the beginning of the crisis.  It was doomed to failure as it contained paragraphs that fell outside the mandate of the Council.  The co-sponsors had not consulted with the concerned State and had not welcomed many of the positive suggestions made by other delegations.  They intended to keep the text a unilateral one.  The draft extended the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry which had already proven its failure and weakness.  Amongst co-sponsors, there were countries that were involved up to the necks in the killings in Syria.
 
Qatar and Saudi Arabia were two regimes that had chosen to build towers and sports arenas on the emaciated bodies of migrant workers, who had died from exhaustion without respect for their human rights.  Instead of opting for moderation and policies of exchange of ideas, they had opted for takfiri extremist views that had led to the intensification of the religious strife.  Qatar and Saudi Arabia said they were concerned about the fate of the Syrian people, while sending out assassins, kidnapping religious leaders and destroying mosques and churches.  The draft did not have a single paragraph that dealt with the crisis in a positive manner.  Syria today rejected the draft resolution as a whole and appealed to all States that truly wanted to help the Syrian people come out of this crisis, to vote against the draft resolution which was both politicized and partial. 
 
Venezuela, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that this resolution was unbalanced and did not reflect the situation in Syria.  It was politicized and backed by imperialist powers that continued to commit human rights violations on a large scale.  There was, however, no action by the Council against these States.  Venezuela insisted on the need to respect the sovereignty of Syria. 
 
China, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, was deeply concerned about the situation in Syria, and called on all parties to put an end to violence and violations.  It was regrettable that the content of the draft resolution was incompatible with the basic norms of international relations, including the need to respect the sovereignty of Syria. 
 
Cuba, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, condemned the deaths of innocent civilians under any circumstance.  At the same time it rejected selectivity and the focusing and blaming of the deaths on just one party to the conflict.  This fostered foreign intervention and adventures of war.  The role of the international community was to lend assistance for peacekeeping and not to provoke actions that would lead to deaths.  The principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference had to be defended in all cases.  Cuba would be voting against the draft resolution. 
 
Action on Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.9) on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, adopted by a vote of 21 in favour, 9 against and 16 abstentions, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran for a further period of one year, and requests the Special Rapporteur to submit a report on the implementation of his mandate to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-eighth session and to the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session; calls upon the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to permit access to visit the country as well as all information necessary to allow the fulfilment of the mandate; and requests the Secretary-General to provide the Special Rapporteur with the resources necessary to fulfil the mandate.
 
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (21): Argentina, Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, and United States of America.
 
Against (9): China, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Venezuela and Viet Nam.
 
Abstentions (16): Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Kuwait, Morocco, Namibia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and United Arab Emirates.
 
Sweden, introducing the draft resolution L.9 on behalf of a group of States, said the resolution was a short procedural text aimed at extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran.  Apart from technical updates, no changes had been made to the text since it was adopted a year ago.  Sweden and the co-sponsors welcomed the tireless attempts by the Special Rapporteur to seek cooperation from Iran.  Cooperation with the mandate holder offered an opportunity for the Government of Iran to engage with the Human Rights Council on the grave concerns that persisted about its human rights situation. 
 
Russia, speaking in a general comment, said the draft resolution was unconstructive and did not have the support of Russia.  Russia welcomed Iran’s efforts to improve its human rights situation, especially in the area of economic, social and cultural rights areas.  This year Iran would once again undergo its Universal Periodic Review, which was the appropriate mechanism for discussing country subjects.
 
Pakistan, in a general comment, said that country specific mandates were against the spirit of cooperation of the United Nations.  The Universal Periodic Review was the right mechanism to discuss human rights concerns in a non-politicized manner.  Treaty bodies also played an important role.  Iran’s second Universal Periodic Review would take place this year.  Any effort leading away from the principle of equal treatment would not serve the cause of human rights and would undermine the principle of non-selectivity.  Pakistan would call for a vote on this resolution and would vote against it.
 
Italy, in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the openness shown by some Iranian authorities, but remained concerned about continuing grave human rights violations in Iran, including the high number of prisoners of conscience, the lack of an independent judiciary and the arbitrary detention of individuals peacefully exercising their rights.  The European Union urged Iran to fully cooperate with the Special Rapporteur. 
 
The United States, in a general comment, welcomed this resolution and urged all Council Members to support it.  While there had been some changes in rhetoric by some Iranian leaders, the situation on the ground had not evolved.  The use of the death penalty in public or against individuals after they had been subjected to torture was of great concern.  Iran’s minority populations still faced discrimination and violence.  The United States hoped this resolution would encourage the Iranian authorities to cooperate with the international community to uphold human rights in the country. 
 
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, speaking in a general comment, regretted Iran’s continued refusal to grant the Special Rapporteur access to the country.  It expressed concern about several human rights issues, including the increased application of the death penalty, in particular the execution of juvenile offenders, as well as the lack of juvenile justice and discrimination against minorities.  The Human Rights Council was called upon to uphold the values upon which it was founded and support the resolution.
 
France, speaking in a general comment, expressed concern at the alarming level of human rights violations in Iran, despite recent signs of openness from the Iranian Government.  The use of arbitrary detention in prisons, the lack of freedom of expression, including on the internet, and the lack of freedom of religion and belief, were just some of the reasons for which France joined the large amount of countries who supported the resolution. 
 
Iran, speaking as the concerned country, said that this resolution was an illustration of the division, double standard and polarization in the Human Rights Council.  The drafters of this resolution were just trying to use human rights to implement their political agenda.  This approach of competition, rather than of cooperation, contradicted the spirit of the United Nations Charter.  The draft resolution justified a redundant mandate and duplicated the work of United Nations human rights mechanisms.  On the substance, the draft had totally ignored the efforts by Iran in the field of human rights, including Iran’s constructive engagement with the Universal Periodic Review and treaty bodies.  Iran was also constructively cooperating with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  The last presidential elections illustrated Iran’s realisation of democracy consistent with religious values.  The sponsors of this resolution were violating human rights, including under the pretext of the so-called fight against terrorism, and supported gross human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
 
Algeria, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it denounced the selectivity in the choice of countries, the politicization of objects and treatment based on double standards.  Some countries and non-governmental organizations resorted to those three parameters and targeted and blamed single countries, which created an atmosphere of confrontation.  Algeria could not support the draft resolution and would abstain. 
 
China, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it was opposed to the practice of applying pressure on some countries by use of country-specific resolutions.  The draft resolution violated the objectivity and neutrality of the Council and politicized human rights.  China therefore would not support it. 
 
Republic of Korea, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted with appreciation the number of achievements made by Iran in the field of human rights, as mentioned by the Special Rapporteur in his report, including legal and institutional reform and especially the draft Charter of Citizen’s Rights which lay a framework for economic, social and cultural rights.  However, there was still room for improvement.  In order to tackle the remaining challenges Iran must further cooperate with the international community, especially human rights mechanisms, in a constructive manner.  The Republic of Korea therefore supported the draft resolution. 
 
Cuba, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated its principled position against country specific resolutions against countries of the south.  There was no reason why Iran should be singled out by the Council.  This approach was counterproductive.  The Universal Periodic Review was the mechanism where human rights situations should be discussed.  Cuba would vote against this draft resolution. 
 
Japan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, welcomed the new moderate approach by the authorities of Iran.  Japan was holding bilateral dialogues with Iran and would continue to engage with Iran for promoting and protecting human rights.  Japan supported the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, which aimed at supporting Iran’s efforts in the field of human rights, and called on Iran to fully cooperate with it.
 
Venezuela, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, considered that such initiatives could harm the credibility of the Council.  This practice was undesirable and inappropriate.  It was a violation of the principle of sovereignty and non-selectivity.  Iran had been collaborating with the United Nations system.  The new President of Iran had been democratically elected and should not be stigmatized in the Council.  Venezuela would vote against this draft resolution. 
 
Action on Resolution on Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.17), on the human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, 6 against and 11 abstentions, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for a period of one year; requests the Special Rapporteur to submit regular reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly on the implementation of his mandate; condemns in the strongest terms the widespread and gross human rights violations and other human rights abuses in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and expresses its grave concern regarding the detailed findings in the report of the Commission of Inquiry; acknowledges and is deeply troubled by the Commission’s finding that the body of testimony gathered and the information received provided reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, pursuant to policies established at the highest level of the State for decades;  strongly urges all States to respect the fundamental principle of non-refoulement and  to treat humanely those who seek refuge; calls upon all concerned parties, including United Nations bodies, to consider implementation of the recommendations in the report in order to address the dire human rights situation; and decides to transmit all reports of the Special Rapporteur to all relevant bodies of the United Nations and the Secretary-General for appropriate action.
 
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (30): Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sierra Leone, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States of America.
 
Against (6): China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Venezuela and Viet Nam.
 
Abstentions (11): Algeria, Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Namibia, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.
 
 
Greece, speaking on behalf of the European Union and Japan, introduced draft resolution L.17, which was co-sponsored by more than 50 countries.  The report of the Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was welcomed, as well as its methodology of conducting public hearings with witnesses, to whom the European Union paid tribute for their testimony.  The refusal of the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cooperate with the Commission was strongly regretted.  The European Union was gravely concerned by the findings of the Commission of on-going, systematic and widespread human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea which may amount to crimes against humanity.  The draft resolution aimed to follow up on the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the Commission’s report.  It urged all States to adhere to the fundamental principle of ‘non-refoulement’.  The draft resolution listed all of the crimes against humanity as identified by the Commission and recommended that its report be submitted through the General Assembly to the Security Council, for referral to international criminal justice mechanisms.  The draft resolution tasked the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish a field-based follow-up structure to continue to monitor the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  It also extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for another year. 
 
Japan, also presenting draft resolution L.17, said it remained deeply concerned about continuing gross human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The report of the Commission of Inquiry underlined that those violations amounted to crimes against humanity.  It was the duty of the international community to respond to this report and address the situation.  Japan urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to engage in a dialogue with the international community and to implement the recommendations from the Commission of Inquiry. 
 
Cuba, speaking in a general comment, regretted this selective mandate against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Cuba was by principle against country specific mandates against countries of the South without the agreement of the concerned countries.  The imposition of measures that prejudged the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review and the work of the Security Council were unacceptable.  Cuba would vote against this selective and politicized mandate. 
 
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking as the concerned country, said it categorically and resolutely rejected the draft resolution submitted by the European Union and Japan.  It was widely known that the United States had not recognized the sovereignty of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea since its inception and continued to pursue anachronistic hostile policies towards it.  The European Union had enforced the adoption of resolutions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea every year since 2003 by siding with the United States, which labelled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as part of its “axis of evil”.  Japan had participated in those futile attempts and played cheap tricks in order to cover up its past crimes against humanity.  The United States, Japan and the European Union were not qualified to speak about the human rights situations of other countries, because they in the past had committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; a bloody history which they were now trying to cover up.  The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea had a proverb  - ‘mind your own business’ - which meant that one needed to see his or her face in the mirror to check how nasty it was before talking about others.   The continuing adoption of country-specific resolutions made a mockery of the Human Rights Council and was an insult to the international community.  The people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea were proud of having the world’s best socialist system that considered human beings to be the most precious resource in the world and placed everything in their service.  It would continue to safeguard its ideology and socialist system and make every effort to faithfully fulfil its obligations in the international human rights area. 

China, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the Council’s initiatives regarding the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should be carried out in cooperation of that country and should not fuel tension in the Korean peninsula.  China was ready to work with all parties and play a constructive role to promote peace and stability in this region.  China would vote against this draft resolution.  
 
Venezuela, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that this approach was a policy to stigmatize the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  The treatment of human rights should involve the country concerned to ensure improvement of the situation and promote peace and security in the region.  The Universal Periodic Review was the most appropriate forum to tackle human rights all over the world.  Venezuela would vote against this draft resolution. 
 
Indonesia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted that the international community had attempted to obtain answers from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea regarding human rights.  Indonesia regretted that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea never responded to those concerns and opposed dialogue and cooperation.  Indonesia nonetheless was not convinced about some elements of the draft resolution, that could possibly lead to excessive positions beyond human rights concerns.  This could then possibly not play in the advantage of the human rights situation in this country.  Indonesia would therefore abstain. 
 
Action on Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/25/L.21/Rev.1) on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend for one year the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, and invites the Special Rapporteur to include in its next report, inter alia, further recommendations on the needs of Myanmar; calls upon Myanmar to continue its cooperation with the next Special Rapporteur in the exercise of his/her mandate; reiterates its serious concern about the situation of the Rohingya and other minorities in Rakhine State and requests an independent investigation be taken into all reported incidences of violence and abuses; and requests the Special Rapporteur to submit a progress report to the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session, and to the Council in accordance with its programme of work.
 
Greece, speaking on behalf of the European Union and 46 co-sponsors, presented draft resolution L21 on Myanmar with oral revisions.  The last year had  witnessed dramatic progress in Myanmar, including democratization and some improvements to the human rights situation, efforts acknowledged by the Special Rapporteur in his most recent report.  The European Union commended and welcomed those positive steps, including the release of political prisoners, peace process efforts, expansion of political space for civil society and opposition and engagement with those groups by the Government.  However, challenges remained.  It was appropriate that the resolution expressed concern about human rights violations, including torture, violence, and arbitrary removal of property, including land.  The European Union expressed serious concern about the situation of the Rohingya and other minorities in Rakhine State.  The resolution extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for one more year and urged the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to open a country office.   The European Union was working closely with the Government of Myanmar and appreciated its constructive cooperation with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, as well as its support for this draft resolution.
 
India, speaking in a general comment, said that Myanmar’s cooperation with the United Nations mechanisms had been exemplary.  India believed that the international community should continue engaging constructively with Myanmar.  The opening of a local office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should be on the basis of terms agreed by all sides, and should focus on technical assistance.  India was not in favour of keeping Myanmar at the agenda of the Council, but would join consensus on this resolution. 
 
Venezuela, speaking in a general comment, said that this resolution was another demonstration of politicization; this mandate had not contributed to improve the situation in the country.  Myanmar had cooperated with the Special Rapporteur.  Venezuela was in principle against political resolutions against specific countries, and would disassociate itself from the consensus. 
 
United States, speaking in a general comment, said it was pleased to co-sponsor the resolution and reaffirmed its support for the significant positive developments in Myanmar and its Government’s commitment to political and economic reform, democratization, national reconciliation and the promotion and protection of human rights.  However, the United States expressed deep concern about the situation in Rakhine State, including recent mob violence in Sittwe targeting United Nations and international non-governmental organization offices, which resulted in the emergency relocation of international aid workers, including American citizens, to safe havens.  It was long overdue for the Government to take decisive action to address the core problems in Rakhine state, including the lack of adequate security forces and rule of law on the ground.
 
Russia, speaking in a general comment, said that the resolution on Myanmar should have been addressed under agenda item 10 on technical assistance and capacity building, not agenda item 4 on human rights situations that required the attention of the Council; this was a sign of the politicization of the Human Rights Council. 
 
Myanmar, speaking as the concerned country, reiterated its principled opposition to country-specific countries.  Despite that fact, Myanmar had cooperated with the Special Rapporteur as part of its cooperation policy.  Myanmar believed that the Universal Periodic Review was the right mechanism to discuss human rights.  The draft resolution still contained wrong and misleading allegations.  Various human rights complaint mechanisms existed in Myanmar today.  Myanmar expressed its strong reservation against the use of the world “Rohingya” in the draft resolution, which was non-existent in Myanmar’s ethnological history.  The opening of a local office of the Office of the High Commissioner had to be funded by the regular budget to ensure its independence, and had to be based on technical assistance.  Myanmar believed that, due to the progress achieved, it should no longer be on the agenda of the Council.  Myanmar welcomed nonetheless the spirit of openness by the co-sponsors of the draft resolution. 
 
China, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the Universal Periodic Review and technical assistance were the appropriate agenda items to discuss human rights situations in countries.  Therefore China would dissociate itself from the consensus on the resolution.  China appreciated the progress made by Myanmar, as well as its cooperation with United Nations mechanisms.  It called on the Council to provide constructive assistance on the basis of full consultation with the Government of Myanmar. 
 
Viet Nam, speaking in explanation of the vote before the vote, said country-specific resolutions could not effectively contribute to improving human rights situations, especially without the support of the relevant country.  The draft resolution on Myanmar was not balanced.  Myanmar’s remarkable progress and close cooperation with the Council deserved more commendation and Myanmar should no longer remain on the Council’s agenda item 4 on human rights situation that require the Council’s attention. 
 
Japan, speaking in a general comment, welcomed the consensus on this resolution.  Japan welcomed the release of political prisoners and the signing of a ceasefire agreement with ethnic minorities.  Japan was concerned however that human rights violations remained.  Japan stood ready to continue to provide economic and technical assistance to support progress in the field of human rights.  Japan believed also that Myanmar would greatly benefit from the presence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. 
 
Cuba, speaking in a general comment, reiterated its position against country specific mandates, and regretted that this resolution was kept under item 4 of the Human Rights Council on country situations that require the Council’s attention.  Respectful cooperation and dialogue should be the way to address human rights situations in the Council.  Cuba disassociated itself from the consensus. 
 
Explanation of the Vote after the Vote before the Closing of Agenda Item 4 on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
 
Brazil, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said it voted for the resolution on Iran because it focused on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur who must fulfil his functions in an objective way.  Brazil recognized that significant progress had been made since mid-2013 under the Government of President Rouhani, including on the release of prisoners, the rights of women and the draft Charter of Citizen’s Rights.  Challenges persisted with regard to the situation of women and some minorities, including the Baha’i community.  Brazil encouraged Iran to strengthen the protection and promotion of human rights in order to overcome difficulties still faced by the country.
 
Argentina, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, speaking about the resolution on Syria, said it had expressed serious concern about the spiral of violence gripping Syria, the use of force against the civilian population and the sad rising death toll.  Argentina rejected all acts of violence against civilians in Syria and called on all parties to abide by international humanitarian law.  It called for access for humanitarian aid and appealed to all arms providers to stop providing warfare equipment to both sides which only made the conflict worse. 
 
Indonesia, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said it voted against the draft resolution L.9 on human rights in Iran based on its strong belief that the Council should commend the progress made in Iran and address its approach towards Iran to reflect Iran’s changing needs and national priorities.  Indonesia recently established a bilateral human rights dialogue with Iran in which the two countries could exchange best practices and lessons learned. 
 
Viet Nam, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that only with dialogue and constructive engagement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea could mutual trust be achieved.  Vet Nam was of the view that peace and security in the Korean peninsula had to set the criteria for dialogues on human rights matters. 
 
Republic of Korea, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, welcomed the progress made by Myanmar in the field of human rights, and welcomed Myanmar’s engagement with United Nations mechanisms.  The Republic of Korea believed that Myanmar was on the right track, and encouraged Myanmar to implement the resolution in order to achieve further progress.  This could eventually lead to the withdrawal of this resolution from item 4 of the agenda. 
 
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