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Human Rights Council concludes twenty-seventh session after adopting 32 resolutions and four presidential statements

Human Rights Council
ROUNDUP

26 September 2014

Creates Mandate on Unilateral Coercive Measures; Adopts Resolutions on Sexual Orientation and on Civil Society Space, and Extends Several Mandates
   
The Human Rights Council concluded its twenty-seventh regular session this evening after adopting 32 texts on a wide range of issues, as well as its report for the session.  A new mandate was created, of a Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.  The Council also adopted resolutions on sexual orientation and gender identity, on the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, on civil society space, and on foreign debt. 
 
The mandates of the Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes, the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, and the Independent Experts on the human right situations in the Central African Republic and in Sudan were extended.  The Council also  extended the mandates of the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, and the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order. 
 
Four Presidential Statements were adopted on the following issues: the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the protection of the human rights of migrants at sea and the Ebola epidemic, as well as a statement taking note of the last two session reports of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, Additionally, the Council appointed seven members of the Advisory Committee, but given the lack of consensus on the appointment of Special Procedure mandate holders, postponed the task until the next session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group in October 2014. 
 
In concluding remarks, Baudelaire Ndong Ella, President of the Human Rights Council,
called on States to halt and prevent acts of retaliation, intimidation or reprisals against human rights defenders and for all who participated in the Council’s work to discuss issues with the appropriate level of dignity and respect.   The Council then adopted its report of the twenty-seventh session.

In the 32 resolutions and texts adopted this session the Council made the following decisions: it appointed, for a period of three years, a Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.  The mandate of the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the Central African Republic was renewed as was mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, both for one year.  The mandate of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances was extended for three years, as was the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence and the mandate of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.  The Council additionally decided to extend for three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, as well as the mandate of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent for the same period.
 
In a landmark resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to update the report entitled “Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity” with a view to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination.  In another resolution the Council condemned attacks and violence against journalists and media workers and urged States to end impunity for such crimes.  In a resolution on the continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic the Council decided to transmit all reports and oral updates of the Commission of Inquiry to all relevant bodies of the United Nations, including the General Assembly, and the Secretary-General for appropriate action.   In another resolution the Council urged States to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment in which civil society could operate free from hindrance and insecurity, and on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, the Council requested the Advisory Committee to prepare a research-based report on the activities of vulture funds and their impact on human rights. 
 
In a resolution on strengthening national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights the Council recognized that national human rights institutions and their respective members and staff should not face any form of reprisal or intimidation and requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the subject.  The Council decided to convene a panel discussion on realizing the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl at its twenty-ninth session and a panel discussion on the implementation of the outcome of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples at its thirtieth session, and also adopted the plan of action for the third phase (2015–2019) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education.  It decided to convene a two-day informal inter-sessional intergovernmental meeting of the Working Group on the Right to Development, and decided that the Working Group on the Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace would hold its third session for five working days in 2015 with the objective of finalizing the Declaration.
 
The High Commissioner was asked to prepare a follow-up report on how the technical guidance on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights has been applied by States and other actors; a report of the practical application of the technical guidance on the application of a human rights-based approach to programmes to reduce and eliminate preventable mortality and morbidity of children under five years of age; and a compilation of good practices and major challenges in preventing and eliminating female genital mutilation.  Other studies requested were on the right to participate in public affairs and on the impact of technical assistance and capacity building on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
 
Resolutions were also adopted with concern to technical assistance and capacity building, including in Yemen and Sudan, the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, and on the right of the child to engage in play and recreational activities.  Other resolutions were adopted on the recruitment, training, hiring or financing of mercenaries, as well as the role of local government in the promotion and protection of human rights, using sport and the Olympic ideal to promote human rights for all, on national policies and human rights, and on equal participation in political and public affairs.   

Documentation, statements, resolutions and reports relating to this and all Human Rights Council sessions are available on its webpage. Detailed, speaker-by-speaker coverage of every public meeting can be found on the website of United Nations Information Service Geneva.

The twenty-seventh session was held from 8 to 26 September 2013.  The twenty-eighth session of the Human Rights Council will be held in Room XX of the Palais des Nations from 2 to 27 March 2015.

Summary of the Programme of Work

During the session, the 47-member body heard a presentation of the latest report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, an oral report from the Office of the High Commissioner on the situation in Ukraine and updates on the situations pertaining to its recent special sessions on the human rights situations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in Iraq, held on 23 July and 1 September, respectively.  The Council held dialogues with 19 human rights experts and bodies, and took part in ten thematic panel discussions, as well as dedicated meetings on the integration of a gender perspective and the rights of indigenous peoples.

The new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein opened the session with an update on the activities of his Office.  In his statement Mr. Zeid said that there was no justification ever for the degrading, debasing or exploitation of other human beings.  Yet today, the international news was still filled with the sobbing of victims, the oppressed and the poor, alongside the remains and ashes of the killed, and that remained a most pathetic stain on humanity’s record of achievement.  The United Nations itself was not beyond reproach said High Commissioner Zeid, welcoming a discussion in New York on the adoption of a code of conduct for permanent members of the Security Council regarding the use of veto in situations where atrocities were ongoing.  Exercising the veto for the sole purpose of blocking action by the Security Council, with no alternative course of action offered, and when people were suffering so grievously, was a form of cruelty, he said.  Mr. Zeid stressed that the immediate and urgent priority of the international community should be to halt the increasingly conjoined conflicts in Iraq and Syria.  He also spoke about the Israel-Palestine conflict and the situations in Libya, Ukraine, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka, among other human rights issues. 

During the three-week session the Council convened ten thematic panel discussions on a variety of human rights issues. In the first week of the session it held panel discussions on history teaching and memorialization processes, on the protection of the rights of persons deprived of their liberty and on the right to privacy in the digital age.  In the second week, panel discussions took place on the protection of the family and its members, on the integration of a gender perspective, on the rights of indigenous peoples, and on the role of prevention in the promotion and protection of human rights.  Panel discussions in the third week of the session took place on the use of remotely piloted aircraft or armed drones in counter-terrorism and military operations, on accelerating global efforts to end violence against children, and on the situation in South Sudan.

In the first week the Council heard reports from and held discussions with the Independent Expert on older persons, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, the Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation, the Special Rapporteur on hazardous wastes, the Working Group on mercenaries and the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.  The Council engaged with the Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparation and non-recurrence, the Working Group on arbitrary detention, the Working Group on enforced disappearances, and the Working Group on the right to development.   There was also a presentation of the thematic reports of the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, including one on the safety of journalists, which were followed by a general debate.

In the second week of the session the Council heard reports from and held discussions with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee and the Inter-governmental Working Group on the right to peace.   In the third and final week of the session a written report was presented by the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Ukraine, which was followed by an interactive dialogue.  The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent presented its report and held an interactive dialogue with the Council, which also discussed human rights country situations and technical assistance and capacity building, holding dialogues with the Special Rapporteur on Cambodia, the Independent Expert on Sudan, the Independent Expert on Somalia and the Independent Expert on the Central African Republic.  The human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in particular the Gaza Strip, was considered by the Council as well as oral updates from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation in Sri Lanka and the situation in Iraq in light of abuses committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.  

The outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group reports on the following 14 countries were also approved: Norway, Albania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Portugal, Bhutan, Dominica, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Qatar and Nicaragua.  Additionally, the Council also met twice in private under its Complaint Procedure.  

Resolutions and Decisions


Action on Resolutions and Decisions under Agenda Item 3 on Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development


In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.1) on enforced or involuntary disappearances, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Working Group for a further period of three years.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.2) on human rights and unilateral coercive measures, adopted as orally revised by a vote of 31 in favour, 14 against and 2 abstentions, the Council decided to appoint, for a period of three years, a Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.3) on the right to development, adopted by a vote of 42 in favour, 1 against and 4 abstentions, the Council decided to convene a two-day informal intercessional intergovernmental meeting of the Working Group on the Right to Development and decided to consider the extension of the meeting time of the Working Group, as appropriate. 
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.4) on the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.6) on local government and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the Advisory Committee to continue its research and to include therein the main challenges faced by local governments in the promotion and protection of human rights, and make recommendations to tackle those challenges, from within existing resources, and to submit a final report on the role of local government in the promotion and protection of human rights to the Human Rights Council at its thirtieth session.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.7) on the safety of journalists, adopted without a vote, the Council condemned unequivocally all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers and called upon States to develop and implement strategies for combating impunity for attacks and violence against journalists; and decided to continue its consideration of the safety of journalists no later than at its thirty-third session.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.8) on a panel discussion on realizing the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to convene, at its twenty-ninth session, a panel discussion on realizing the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl, with a view to sharing lessons learned and best practices in that regard.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.11/Rev.1) on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, adopted without a vote, the Council called upon States and non-State actors to achieve progressively the full realization of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and decided to continue its consideration of the matter under the same agenda item and in accordance with its programme of work.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.12) on intensifying global efforts and sharing good practices to effectively eliminate female genital mutilation, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare, in consultation with States and other relevant stakeholders, a compilation of good practices and major challenges in preventing and eliminating female genital mutilation, and to submit it to the twenty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council. 
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.13) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years and urged the new Special Rapporteur to produce a best-practice guide on human rights obligations related to the management and environmentally sound disposal of hazardous substances and wastes.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.14) on promoting human rights through sport and the Olympic ideal, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the Advisory Committee to finalize the study on the possibilities of using sport and the Olympic ideal to promote human rights for all and to strengthen universal respect for them, and to present it in a report to the Human Rights Council before its thirtieth session.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.16) on the mandate of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, adopted with a vote of 29 in favour, 14 against and 4 abstentions, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order for a period of three years.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.17) on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 14 against and 1 abstention, the Council requested all States to exercise the utmost vigilance against any kind of recruitment, training, hiring or financing of mercenaries and requested the Working Group on the use of mercenaries to continue its work including monitoring of mercenaries and mercenary-related activities as well as private military and security companies, in different parts of the world and to continue to update the database of individuals convicted of mercenary activities.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.19/Rev.1) on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights, adopted without a vote as orally amended, the Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a follow-up report on how the technical guidance had been applied by States and other relevant actors, to be presented to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-third session.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.20) on the World Programme for Human Rights Education: adoption of the plan of action for the third phase, adopted without a vote, the Council adopted the plan of action for the third phase (2015–2019) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education and requested the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a midterm progress report on the implementation of the third phase of the World Programme and to submit it to the Council at its thirty-sixth session.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.22) on human rights and indigenous peoples, adopted without a vote as orally amended, the Council requested the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples to report on the implementation of her mandate to the General Assembly at its seventieth session;  requested the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to prepare a study on the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples with respect to their cultural heritage and to present it to the Human Rights Council at its thirtieth session and decided to hold, at its thirtieth session, a half-day panel discussion on the follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in Alta, Norway, and its implications for the achievement of the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.23) on preventable mortality and morbidity of children under five years of age as a human rights concern, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the High Commissioner to prepare a report on the practical application of the technical guidance on the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce and eliminate preventable mortality and morbidity of children under five years of age and its impact on the development and implementation of policies and programmes in States and to present it to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-third session.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.24) on civil society space, adopted without a vote, as orally revised, the Council requested the High Commissioner to prepare a compilation of practical recommendations for the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society and to submit the compilation to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-second session.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.26) on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights: the activities of vulture funds, adopted by a vote of 33 in favour, five against and nine abstentions, the Council requested the Advisory Committee to prepare a research-based report on the activities of vulture funds and the impact on human rights, and to present a progress report of that research to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-first session, for its consideration.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.28) on the right of the child to engage in play and recreational activities, adopted without a vote, the Council encouraged States to take specific measures to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right of the child to engage in play and recreational activities and recommended that the celebration of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace emphasize, through specific events, the right of the child to engage in play and recreational activities.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.29/Rev.1) on equal participation in political and public affairs, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a study on best practices, experiences and challenges and ways to overcome them with regard to the promotion, protection and implementation of the right to participate in public affairs in the context of the existing human rights law and to present it to the Council at its thirtieth session.

Action on Resolutions and Decisions under Agenda Item 4 on Human Rights situations that require the Council’s attention


In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.5/Rev.1) on the continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, five against and 10 abstentions, the Council demanded that the Syrian authorities cooperate fully with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic; and urged those countries with influence over the Syrian parties to take all measures to encourage the parties to the conflict to negotiate constructively and on the basis of the call made in the Geneva communiqué for the formation of a transitional governing body.  The Council decided to transmit all reports and oral updates of the Commission of Inquiry to all relevant bodies of the United Nations, including the General Assembly, and the Secretary-General for appropriate action. 

Action on Resolutions and Decisions under Agenda Item 5 on Human Rights bodies and mechanisms


In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.15/Rev.1) on the promotion of the right to peace, adopted with a vote of 33 in favour, five against and nine abstentions, the Council decided that the its third session for five working days in 2015 with the objective of finalizing the Declaration and requested the working group to prepare a report and to submit it to the Human Rights Council for consideration at its twenty-ninth session.

Action on Resolutions and Decisions under the Agenda Item 8 on Follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.25) on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council recognized that national human rights institutions and their respective members and staff should not face any form of reprisal or intimidation, and requested the Secretary-General to submit to the Human Rights Council, at its thirty-third session, a report on the implementation of the present resolution, and a report on the activities of the International Coordinating Committee in accrediting national institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.27/Rev.1) on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, adopted by a vote of 25 in favour, 14 against and seven abstentions, the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to update the report entitled “Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity” (A/HRC/19/41) with a view to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination, in application of existing international human rights law and standards, and to present it to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-ninth session.

Action on Resolutions and Decisions under the Agenda Item 9 on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance


In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.10/Rev.1) on the mandate of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent for a further period of three years and also decided that the Working Group shall undertake a minimum of two country visits per year.

Action on Resolutions and Decisions under Agenda Item 10 on technical assistance and capacity-building

 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.9/Rev.1) on technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council called on the Government of Yemen, as needed, to identify additional areas of assistance to enable Yemen to fulfil its human rights obligations; and requested the Office of the High Commissioner to present to the Human Rights Council, at its thirtieth session, a progress report on the situation of human rights in Yemen and on the follow-up to the present resolution and Council resolutions 18/19, 19/29, 21/22 and 24/32.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.18/Rev.1) on enhancement of technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council decided that the theme for the annual thematic panel discussion to be held at the twenty-eighth session of the Council shall be “Technical cooperation to support inclusive and participatory development and poverty eradication at the national level”; and requested the High Commissioner to prepare a report on the technical assistance provided by his Office for submission to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-eighth session.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.21) on national policies and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to convene, at its twenty-eighth session, a panel discussion on the issue of national policies and human rights, with a particular focus on the findings of the report, identifying challenges, further developments and good practices in mainstreaming human rights in national policies and programmes; and requested the High Commissioner to prepare a summary report on the discussions of the panel, and to present it to the Human Rights Council before its thirtieth session.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.30/Rev.1) on technical assistance and capacity-building to improve human rights in Sudan , adopted without a vote, the Council decided to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan for a period of one year under agenda item 10, to continue his/her engagement with the Government of the Sudan to assess, verify and report on the situation of human rights with the view to make recommendations on technical assistance and capacity-building for addressing human rights in the country.  The Council also requested the Independent Expert to present a report to the Human Rights Council for its consideration at its thirtieth session.
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.31) on technical assistance and capacity-building to the Central African Republic in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to renew for one year the mandate of the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the Central African Republic and requested the Independent Expert to give an oral update to the twenty-eighth session and to submit a written report to the thirtieth session.  The Council also decided to convene an interactive dialogue at its twenty-ninth session, in presence of the Independent Expert, to assess the evolution of the situation of human rights on the ground. 
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.32) on technical assistance and capacity-building in the field of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the High Commissioner to commission a study on the impact of technical assistance and capacity building on the human rights situation  in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to present it in the framework of an interactive dialogue at its thirtieth regular session. 
 
Presidential Statements
 
In a President’s Statement (A/HRC/PRST/L.52) on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Council urged States that have not yet done so to consider becoming parties of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
 
In a President’s Statement (A/HRC/PRST/L.53) on the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, the Council took note of the report of the Advisory Committee on its twelfth and thirteenth sessions  (A/HRC/AC/12/2 and A/HRC/AC/13/2). 
 
In a President’s Statement (A/HRC/PRST/L.54) on the protection of the human rights of migrants at sea, the Council expressed deep sorrow at the massive loss of innocent lives of migrants, including at sea, and called on States to take further steps to provide persons in distress at sea with assistance.  The Council called on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and other relevant special procedures of the Council to pay particular attention to the protection of migrants at sea.
 
In a President’s Statement (A/HRC/PRST/L.55) on the Ebola Epidemic, the Council deplored that the Ebola virus had and continued to claim the lives of so many people in West Africa.  The Council urged States to be mindful of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens of affected countries, when implementing measures to limit the spread of the virus and of the negative effects of inappropriate actions that could result in the stigmatization of the victims, their families and citizens of the States and regions most affected by the disease. 
 
The above Presidential Statements will soon be available on the Human Rights Council documentation webpage for the session.
 
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