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

MORNING

27 March 2015

Council to Hold a Special Session on 1 April in Light of the Terrorist Attacks and Human Rights Abuses Committed by the Terrorist Group Boko Haram

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted 10 resolutions, in which it extended the mandate of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Myanmar.

The Council also adopted texts on freedom of religion or belief, investments in the rights of the child, human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in the occupied Syrian Golan, and on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

At the beginning of the meeting, Joachim Rücker, President of the Human Rights Council, said that he had received a request by the African Group to convene a special session of the Human Rights Council on Wednesday, 1 April, in light of the terrorist attacks and human rights abuses and violations committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram. The President encouraged Member States to do their utmost to reach a consensus on the draft resolution.

In a resolution on the continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, adopted by a vote of 29 in favour, 6 against and 12 abstentions, the Council strongly condemned the practices including abductions, hostage-taking, incommunicado detention, torture, sexual violence, the brutal killing of civilians and summary executions carried out by regime forces and affiliated militias, non-State armed groups, as well as terrorist groups, and underlined that such acts may amount to crimes against humanity. The Council extended for one year the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria and requested it to provide an oral update at the twenty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council and written updated reports at the thirtieth and thirty-first sessions.

In the text on the human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Council restated its grave concern about the Commission of Inquiry finding that there were reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity had been committed, pursuant to policies established at the highest level of the State for decades. By a vote of 27 in favour, 6 against and 14 abstentions, the Council decided 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, and to convene, at its thirtieth session, a panel discussion on the situation of human rights in this country, including the issue of international abductions, enforced disappearances and related matters.

The Council extended for one year the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, and by a vote of 20 in favour, 11 against and 16 abstentions, 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.

The Council expressed deep concern at emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief and at increasing violence against persons belonging to religious minorities, and urged States to step up the efforts to promote and protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief.

The Council decided to focus its next full-day meeting on the rights of the child on the theme of “Information and communications technology and child sexual exploitation” and requested the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a report on that issue.

The Council also adopted texts on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, by a vote of 29 in favour, 1 against and 17 abstentions; on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, by a vote of 45 in favour, 1 against and 1 abstentions; on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, 1 against and 1 abstentions; and on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 43 in favour, 1 against and 3 abstentions.

Latvia on behalf of the European Union, Uruguay on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan, and Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation introduced texts.

Lebanon introduced oral amendments.

Syria, Iran, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Myanmar, and the State of Palestine spoke as concerned countries. Israel, also a concerned country, did not take the floor.

India, Qatar on behalf of the Arab Group, Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United States, Latvia on behalf of the European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Indonesia, and India spoke in general comments.

Speaking in explanations of the vote before or after the vote were Russia, Pakistan also on behalf of Bangladesh, United States, South Africa, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Algeria, Brazil, Argentina, Pakistan, Japan, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Paraguay, and Ghana.

The next meeting of the Council will be at 1 p.m. today, 27 March, when it will continue to take action on remaining draft resolutions and decisions before it closes its twenty-eighth session.

Statement by the President on a Special Session of the Human Rights Council

JOACHIM RÜCKER, President of the Human Rights Council, said that he had received a request by the African Group to convene a Special Session of the Human Rights Council at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, 1 April, in light of the terrorist attacks and human rights abuses and violations committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram. A consultation meeting on the Special Session would be held at 3 p.m. on Monday, 30 March and an open-ended consultation on the resolution would take place on Tuesday, 31 March. The President encouraged Member States to do their utmost to reach a consensus on the draft resolution.

Action on Resolutions under Agenda Item 3 on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights

Action on Resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief

In a resolution (A/HRC/28/L.12) on freedom of religion or belief, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council expresses deep concern at emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief, as well as instances of religious intolerance, discrimination and violence; at the increasing number of acts of violence directed against individuals, including persons belonging to religious minorities in various parts of the world; at incidents of religious hatred, discrimination, intolerance and violence and at attacks on religious places, sites and shrines. The Council emphasizes that no religion should be equated with terrorism, as this may have adverse consequences on the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief of all members of the religious community concerned; urges States to step up their efforts to promote and protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief; calls upon States to make use of the potential of education for the eradication of prejudices against and stereotypes of individuals on the basis of their religion or belief; and requests the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief to report annually to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly.

Latvia, introducing the draft resolution L.12 as orally revised on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union attached great attention to freedom of religion or belief and urged States to step up efforts in the protection of that right. The draft resolution encouraged all leaders to speak out when the right to freedom of religion or belief was violated, and stressed the importance of that right in addressing all forms of violence. The European Union attached great importance to the work of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus.

Action on Resolution on the Rights of the Child: Towards Better Investment in the Rights of the Child

In a resolution (A/HRC/28/L.28) on the rights of the child: towards better investment in the rights of the child, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to focus its next full-day meeting on the rights of the child on the theme of “Information and communications technology and child sexual exploitation”; requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a report on that issue, in close collaboration with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, as well as other relevant stakeholders; and to present it to the Council at its thirty-first session. The Council strongly condemns all acts of violence against children, and calls upon States to take effective and appropriate legislative and other measures, including sufficient resource allocation, to prevent, prohibit and eliminate all forms of violence against children in all settings; calls upon States to consider, as appropriate, promoting, facilitating and funding the meaningful participation and active consultation of children in all the issues affecting them; emphasizes the duty of all States to allocate and spend sufficient and equitable public resources for the promotion, protection and realization of all human rights; calls upon all States to take all necessary measures to establish holistic child protection systems; calls upon States to make primary education available, free and compulsory for all children; also calls upon States to recognize for every child the right to benefit from social security; and encourages States to develop or enhance early childhood programmes targeted at assisting families facing especially difficult circumstances. The Council also encourages States to give due consideration to children’s rights in the discussions on the post-2015 development agenda and financing for development.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, introducing draft resolution L.28, said 72 countries from all regions had co-sponsored the draft resolution which called on States to promote investment in children. Protection of the rights of children was crucial, as was achieving equitable development for their future. This could be realized through funding the areas of health, education and social protection. The text was drawn from the Convention of the Rights of Child, and in particular from Article 4, and was based on wide discussions. Latvia hoped States would adopt the draft resolution by consensus.

Uruguay, also introducing the draft resolution on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said there were 78 co-sponsors to the draft. The resolution listed measures that States should adopt, resources permitting, to realize the rights of child. It appealed for international cooperation to bolster national cooperation where necessary. The text aimed to ensure that a minimum of economic, social and cultural rights were provided to children, even in the poorest countries. The negotiating process had been very inclusive and transparent, and many informal and bilateral amendments had been made, including the introduction of recommendations included in the draft. Uruguay invited Members of the Council to adopt the draft through consensus.

India, in a general comment, said it attached great importance to the welfare of children in its budgetary policies, and considered it a national priority. India appreciated the aim of the main sponsors to reflect those goals in the draft resolution. The rights of the child could only be achieved through sustainable and equitable development. Investments in the rights of the child could not be disassociated from negative economic trends. India said it was willing to join the consensus if sufficient attention was given to different venues for investment in the rights of the child.

Qatar, in a general comment on behalf of the Arab Group, said it attached great importance to the rights of the child, which had priority in national policies. The Arab Group had participated in all discussions on the draft text. However, it felt that some concepts discussed by certain countries should not be propagated in resolutions and taken as general, especially those that ran contrary to religious views. Thus, the Arab Group disassociated itself from the consensus.

Russia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said investing in family and children was one of its current policies and priorities. However the approach in the draft text was one-sided, unbalanced and slightly intrusive in nature. Many of the provisions intruded upon the exclusive competencies of the State, for example, drafting of the national budget. Russia said the international community should assist in investment in the rights of the child. Despite Russia’s request for certain paragraphs not to be included, they remained in place, for example paragraph 30 on human sexuality. Russia said it would not break the consensus but disassociated itself, particularly from paragraph 30.

Pakistan, in a joint statement with Bangladesh in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the two countries had joint consensus on the resolution. However, it provided a very narrow interpretation of investment in the rights of child. Budgeting was a primary focus. Given the financial constraints of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, there was no need to have two separate reports. Pakistan and Bangladesh regretted the contentious elements in the draft resolution, which included: data collection by other stakeholders, seeking investment from the private sector, outlining national priorities, monitoring by other stakeholders, accountability and resource mobilization; all those may undermine State sovereignty. Furthermore, the use of the language on sexual education was not appropriate. Pakistan and Bangladesh disassociated themselves from several paragraphs of the draft resolution.

United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it was pleased to join the consensus on the resolution, noting that it was a consistent donor to United Nations Children’s Fund programmes. The United States was currently investing in an initiative to promote education for girls. It supported the resolution under the condition that States which were not parties to certain human rights instruments would not be required to join them.

South Africa, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, recalled that it had ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. South Africa said while it supported the spirit of the resolution, it could not support certain prescribed formulas. The decision to ratify an international treaty was the prerogative of a State. For example, the resolution suggested that there was only one formula to promote primary education, said South Africa.

Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention

Action on Resolution on the continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic

In a resolution (A/HRC/28/L.6) on the continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 29 in favour, 6 against and 12 abstentions, the Council decides to extend for one year the mandate of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic and demands that the Syrian authorities cooperate fully with it, including by granting it immediate, full and unfettered access throughout the Syrian Arab Republic; requests the Commission of Inquiry to provide an oral update at the twenty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council and to present written updated reports at the thirtieth and thirty-first sessions. The Council strongly condemns the continuing escalation of violence in the Syrian Arab Republic, which has caused more than 200,000 fatalities; deplores the suffering and torture in prisons and detention facilities; and strongly condemns practices including abductions, hostage-taking, incommunicado detention, torture, sexual violence, the brutal killing of civilians and summary executions carried out by regime forces and affiliated militias, non-State armed groups, as well as terrorist groups, and underlines that such acts may amount to crimes against humanity.

The Council condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist acts and violence committed against civilians by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh); strongly condemns the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic; and strongly condemns the intervention in the Syrian Arab Republic of all foreign terrorist fighters and those foreign organizations fighting on behalf of the Syrian regime, and expresses deep concern that their involvement further exacerbates the deteriorating situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, including the human rights and humanitarian situation, which has a serious negative impact on the region. The Council deplores the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic and demands that the Syrian authorities and all other parties to the conflict comply with their obligations under Security Council resolutions 2139, 2165 and 2191 to enable the immediate and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance; reiterates that a genuine political transition based on the Geneva communiqué is needed to end the conflict; decides to transmit all reports and oral updates of the Commission of Inquiry to all relevant bodies of the United Nations, recommends that the Commission brief the General Assembly during its sixty-ninth session and also recommends that the Assembly submit the reports to the Security Council for appropriate action.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (29): Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Paraguay, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

Against (6): Bolivia, China, Cuba, Russian Federation, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

Abstentions (12): Algeria, Bangladesh, Congo, Gabon, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa.


Before the resolution was adopted, the Council voted on L.36, an amendment to draft resolution L.6. It rejected the L.36 amendment by a vote of 10 in favour, 23 against and 14 abstentions.

United Kingdom, introducing draft resolution L.6, said the crisis in Syria was highly alarming and the Human Rights Council could not remain silent. The bloodshed perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant must stop. The main aim of the resolution was the renewal of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, to enable it to continue to document human rights violations committed by all parties. There had been extensive consultations during the drafting of the text and the resolution represented a balanced view. The United Kingdom stressed that the draft resolution aimed to investigate violations by all parties. The United Kingdom hoped it would be adopted by consensus.

Lebanon, introducing an amendment to operative paragraph 13 to draft resolution L.6, said that the mandate of the Human Rights Council was to address situations of human rights violations while applying the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, the pillars on which the Council was based. Operative paragraph 13 was not in line with those principles. The approach was unbalanced and politically motivated. The Lebanese component was specifically mentioned in operational paragraph 13. Lebanon called on States to delete the selectivity in operational paragraph 13, which listed the names of organizations, as submitted to the Secretariat.

United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of the sponsors of the resolution, said the main sponsors could not support the amendment. The hospitality that Lebanon had shown to refugees from Syria was commendable. However the intervention of Hezbollah had caused a devastating impact on civilians and prolonged the conflict. The resolution was a balanced text. The resolution also condemned violations committed by ISIL and called on all parties to fulfil their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights. It condemned all human rights and abuses, but where there were specific concerns about actions of individual groups, the United Kingdom believed it was important that the Human Rights Council support them.

Russia, in a general comment, said it held a general negative position on the resolution, noting that it was subjective and politically motivated. The qualification of Hezbollah and another two Iraqi groups as terrorists did not have a legal foundation, and did not correspond to the wording of the United Nations Security Council. The resolution would impede efforts to foster dialogue. Russia said it therefore supported the proposed amendment and urged other States to support it as well.

Qatar, in a general comment, said it supported the United Kingdom’s position that the current text of the resolution was balanced. Qatar rejected the amendment because it would delete what had previously been agreed in relevant United Nations resolutions. There were documented references to the groups and militia working with the regime in Syria, and they had committed crimes. Qatar called on all Member States to vote against the amendment to resolution L.6.

Saudi Arabia, in a general comment, expressed its support for the position of the United Kingdom. Saudi Arabia said the findings of the Commission of Inquiry reiterated the continuing grave human rights violations being committed in Syria; it stressed that the main responsibility was shouldered by the Syrian regime and the militias it supported. The Commission of Inquiry had also stated that the regime was responsible for providing support to terrorist groups such as Al-Nusra and ISIS. The Assad regime must not enjoy impunity and must be held accountable for the crimes it had committed. Saudi Arabia called on Members of the Council to refuse the oral amendments and vote in favour of the balanced text, in order to put an end to the suffering in Syria.

United States, in a general comment, said with draft resolution L.6 the Council continued to fulfil its important role of drawing international attention to the atrocities committed in Syria and collecting evidence for future accountability. The Commission of Inquiry had revealed evidence of crimes committed in Syria by the regime and by extremist groups. The Commission had assessed that the Assad regime and the militias committed crimes that amounted to war crimes and crime against humanity. The United States deplored the acts of torture and ill treatment committed in detention centres throughout Syria and called for the immediate release of human rights activists abducted by the regime or the militias. The United States supported the text as it was presented and urged all Member States to vote no to the proposed amendment.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, said it was the civilians who continued to suffer in Syria, including women and children. Violations continued to unabated. The European Union remained concerned that the crimes committed amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Syrian regime remained responsible for violations of international humanitarian law. There could be no impunity. The European Union called on the Human Rights Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court. The European Union reiterated that only an urgent political solution could end the terrible bloodshed. The resolution had the support of the European Union, which urged all parties to vote for the resolution and against the amendment.

Syria, speaking as the concerned country, said the main sponsors of the resolution continued to falsely claim that they respected Syrian sovereignty while at the same time sponsoring terrorism and instability in Syria and the region. The obvious purpose of the resolution was to provide political cover for the violations of the United Nations Charter and international law by certain countries, as well as the support they provided to terrorist and armed groups through financing and provision of weapons, shelter, training and infiltration of terrorists to the Syrian territory. Syria rejected the proposed resolution because it lacked balance and credibility, and because it clearly served to tarnish the image of the Syrian Government. The credibility of the Human Rights Council was at stake, and Syria called on it to reject the politicized and selective approach, and to vote against the resolution.

Russia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that there had been two reports, one on the crimes of ISIL and the other a draft report on human rights. While the evidence gathered by experts focused on the fact that the vast majority of crimes were committed by other groups, the draft report repeated the fact that the violations lay with the country. To bolster these, the report referred to the unfounded 2014 Syrian detainee report, as well as unfounded reported use of chlorine by the State. This report removed the attention from the real threat in Syria and Iraq. Instead of sending to the Government a strong signal that the international community would continue its efforts to fight terrorism, the text continued to blame the country. Russian views had not been taken into account. Russia would vote against the draft resolution.

China, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said China always stood for dialogue and opposed pressure in public. The Human Rights Council in discussing human rights in Syria should uphold an objective and impartial position, calling for a ceasefire by all parties. It should also work towards a political solution to the conflict. The resolution was lopsided as it exerted pressure on one party and was not conducive to stability. Therefore, China would vote against the resolution.

Venezuela, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that draft resolution L.6 lacked any sort of balance, adding that it was an instrument of illegitimate policies of interfering in the sovereign affairs of a State. It was striking that no similar initiatives had been taken in some other countries that committed grave violations of human rights. A diplomatic and political outcome for the Syrian conflict should be sought, and thus Venezuela energetically opposed the resolution.

Cuba, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, firmly condemned the death of people and all forms of terrorism. However, it also rejected selective attribution for crimes to only one of the parties in the Syrian conflict. It reiterated that foreign interference only contributed to further destruction and instability. Cuba repeated its conviction that the Syrian people could resolve their problems without external interference, and would thus vote against the draft resolution.

Algeria, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, regretted the continuing violence in Syria and said that Algeria had attempted to introduce some amendments that were consistent with the realities on the ground. Regrettably, this was rejected by the sponsors and the draft resolution was not objective and balanced. Algeria would vote against the text.

Brazil, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it would abstain in the vote on draft resolution L.6. Brazil was fully aware of the grave human rights situation in the field which needed to be duly addressed by the Council. The resolution still failed to recognize the responsibility of armed groups other than ISIS in violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Brazil stressed the primary responsibility of the Syrian authorities to secure the rights of the Syrian population and the responsibility of the international community to prevent further militarization of the conflict. All parties to the conflict should comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, provide unhindered access to humanitarian agencies and refrain from any actions that could protract the conflict. Brazil was ready to contribute to the search for a political solution to the crisis.

Argentina, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it was horrified by the situation in Syria, and called on all parties to cease all violence and violations. Argentina condemned the terrorist acts of ISIL. The use of chemical weapons under any circumstances was unacceptable. Argentina appealed to all countries providing weapons to any of the parties in the conflict to cease to do so. It restated that the only way to resolve the conflict was through participation and dialogue with all sectors involved in Syria.

Action on Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran

In a resolution (A/HRC/28/L.17) on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, adopted by a vote of 20 in favour, 11 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 thirty-first session and to the General Assembly at its seventieth session. The Council 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 (20): Albania, Argentina, Botswana, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

Against (11): Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

Abstentions (16): Algeria, Brazil, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and United Arab Emirates.


Sweden, introducing resolution L.17, said the resolution was a short procedural text aimed at extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. Apart from technical updates, the text remained the same as the one adopted last year. Sweden thanked the Special Rapporteur for the work carried out, which helped the international community to stay informed and engaged on the issue. However, deep concerns remained about the fact that the requests of the Special Rapporteur for visits to the country remained unaddressed. Cooperation with the mandate holders offered an opportunity for the Government of Iran to engage with the Human Rights Council on the grave concerns that persisted about the human rights situation.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, said it continued to be concerned about the human rights situation in Iran. The high level of prisoners of conscience, executions and death sentences, and laws violating women’s rights were serious. It was therefore important to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. The European Union welcomed the attempt by the Special Rapporteur to establish a dialogue with the Government of Iran, and urged the country to make constructive use of the mandate. Draft resolution L.17 aimed to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran.

United States, in a general comment, said it would co-sponsor the resolution, and urged all members to support it. As the Special Rapporteur’s report indicated, there had been no advancement on the human rights situation in Iran. Therefore, it was important to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. Iran continued to violate human rights, including by imposing the death penalty on crimes that did not constitute most serious crimes. It also continued to deny access to the Special Rapporteur to visit the country.

Iran, speaking as the concerned country, said this mandate provided evidence that the concept of human rights was used by some countries to advance their own political agendas. The Council should engage in constructive cooperation on human rights. Iran was committed to protecting human rights and engaged constructively within international forums. Introducing this draft resolution was an attempt by those who sought to politicize human rights mechanisms. Those behind this were responsible for the most horrific human rights violations in the world. The universality of human rights did not seek the elimination of cultural particularities of countries. Human rights forums should be guided by dialogue, cooperation, non-selectivity and transparency, rather than by confrontation. Iran would continue cooperation with human rights mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review.

Pakistan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it strongly believed that States had the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights of their citizens in accordance with their international human rights obligations. Any external interference through country-specific resolutions was counter-productive and against the spirit of constructive engagement and dialogue, and Pakistan opposed them. The Universal Periodic Review was the right cooperative mechanism for the review of countries’ human rights situations because it was based on interactive dialogue and full involvement of the country concerned.

Cuba, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the mandate on Iran was a clear example of double standards. Cuba restated its opposition to country-specific mandates because they did not contribute to a constructive dialogue among nations. Only through cooperation and dialogue could the Council be effective in the promotion and protection of human rights. The Universal Periodic Review was the ideal mechanism to assess human rights situations in countries. Mandates imposed without consent were doomed to failure. Cuba encouraged Iran to keep working towards the protection of human rights.

Venezuela, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that draft resolution L.17 undermined the credibility of the Human Rights Council. It promoted political interests, and was not objective. The draft resolution was illegitimate and inconsistent and was manipulated by some powers who used multilateral fora to violate the principles of sovereignty of States. Venezuela was against this draft resolution and would vote against it.

China, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that China had always voted for constructive dialogue and was against countries that used human rights issues as a geopolitical tool to promote their own agenda. These States had to stop pressurizing Iran and should play a more constructive role. Draft resolution L.17 was not constructive at all. Therefore China would vote against it.

Brazil, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Iran’s cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review and its invitation of the High Commissioner and Special Procedures should be acknowledged. Brazil underlined the important work by the Special Rapporteur on raising concerns about human rights in Iran, including regarding discrimination against women, harassment of human rights defenders and the use of the death penalty. Brazil hoped Iran would strengthen its cooperation with the Council and its mechanisms.

Japan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, welcomed that Iran had accepted many recommendations during its last Universal Periodic Review. Japan remained concerned about the human rights situation, and said not enough progress had been made. Japan would continue to engage in dialogue and cooperate with Iran on human rights matters. Japan would vote in favour of this resolution.

Action on Resolution on the Situation of Human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

In a resolution (A/HRC/28/L.18) on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, 6 against and 14 abstentions, the Council condemns in the strongest terms the long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations and other human rights abuses committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and expresses its grave concern at the detailed findings made by the Commission of Inquiry in its report; urges the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to acknowledge the human rights violations in the country and to take immediate steps to end all such violations and abuses; and reiterates its deep concern at the Commission’s findings concerning the situation of refugees and asylum seekers returned to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and other citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea who have been repatriated from abroad and made subject to sanctions. The Council stresses and restates its grave concern about the Commission’s finding that there are 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.

The Council decides to convene a panel discussion on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including the issue of international abductions, enforced disappearances and related matters, at its thirtieth session; decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for a period of one year; requests the Office of the High Commissioner to report on its follow-up efforts in the regular annual report of the Secretary-General submitted to the General Assembly on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; and requests the Special Rapporteur to submit regular reports to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly on the implementation of his mandate.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (27): Albania, Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

Against (6): Bolivia, China, Cuba, Russian Federation, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

Abstentions (14): Algeria, Bangladesh, Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa.

Latvia, introducing resolution L.18 on behalf of the European Union, noted that Japan and the European Union had been at the forefront of efforts to address the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It was regretted that there was no cooperation by the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with United Nations human rights mechanisms, and deep concerns remained about the ongoing systematic and grave human rights violations. The resolution aimed to address the most pertinent issues, including accountability. The Council decided to firmly place the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on its agenda, especially enforced disappearances and abductions. The European Union urged all States to adopt the resolution.

Japan, also introducing resolution L.18, said it remained deeply concerned about the longstanding and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which were documented in detail in the report of the Commission of Inquiry submitted to the Council last year. Japan firmly believed that it was the duty of the international community, including the United Nations, to respond to the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Japan urged that country to engage in constructive dialogue with the international community, and to take concrete steps to improve the human rights situation on the ground.

United States, in a general comment, urged all Member States to support the resolution and expressed deep concern about the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which according to the Commission of Inquiry constituted crimes against humanity. The United States looked forward to the establishment of a local Office of the High Commissioner in Seoul. The United States welcomed that the resolution would convene a panel on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking as the concerned country, strongly rejected this resolution which only turned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea into a venue for politicization and had nothing to do with human rights in the country. The core testimonies in the Commission of Inquiry’s report had been proven false by the testifiers themselves. Members of this Commission had never been to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and collected information by defectors. The resolution was intended to bring down the system and ideology of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and overthrow the political system by force. If the European Union and Japan were really concerned about the situation of human rights, one wondered why they remained silent about other subjects and violations occurring in the European Union, past war crimes by Japan and large-scale torture atrocities by the United States.

Cuba, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the Council was again considering a draft resolution that was politically motivated. Cuba rejected the selective imposition of politically motivated mandates, which ran contrary to the spirit of the Council. The Council’s work should be based on mutual cooperation and dialogue. Cuba thus required that the resolution be submitted to the vote and would vote against it. Cuba supported a just and honourable resolution of problems with the consent of all parties.

Venezuela, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted that the resolution was far removed from constructive dialogue and cooperation. On the contrary it promoted a policy of stigmatization. Dealing with the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea should involve the said country in order to build peace and stability in the region. The resolution was selective, which was contrary to the spirit of the Council. Venezuela would therefore vote against the resolution.

Argentina, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, expressed concern about the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and had for this reason always supported resolutions on the issue within the Council and the Third Committee. Argentine urged the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to re-establish dialogue with United Nations human rights mechanisms and protect its civilians. The Council was the right forum to address this issue.

Viet Nam, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said confrontation was not a good method to address human rights concerns, no matter how concerning the situation was. Viet Nam encouraged all endeavours in addressing matters of priority such as the right to food, healthcare, humanitarian issues and abductions. Viet Nam said a comprehensive and inclusive approach of genuine and inclusive cooperation would be better than this approach. Viet Nam regretted that the draft resolution needed to be approved, as it did not address outstanding issues. Viet Nam was therefore not in a position to favour this resolution.

Brazil, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it would vote in favour of the resolution. Brazil recognized the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s engagement with the United Nations human rights mechanisms; however, there was still room for improvement. Progress had been made, but Brazil would appreciate if the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continued the started dialogue. Brazil agreed that a multi-task strategy was necessary to address international abductions and enforced disappearances, and it expected the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to abide by its international obligations in that respect.

China, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it always maintained that human rights issues should be addressed through the Universal Periodic Review, whereas naming and shaming should be avoided. A practical and constructive approach should be taken up with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, paying attention to the economic and social development in the country, including the provision of humanitarian aid. China would vote against the resolution.

Pakistan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the content of this draft resolution was contrary to the spirit of cooperation and dialogue of this Council. There was no tangible outcome for this resolution, and mechanisms were only for the purpose of naming and shaming rather than of improving human rights. An impartial and cooperative approach was essential, rather than hypocrisy and double standards. Any country having genuine desire for the improvement of human rights should make constructive recommendations to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea within the Universal Periodic Review Process.

Action on Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar

In a resolution (A/HRC/28/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. The Council invites the Special Rapporteur to include in his or her next report, inter alia, further recommendations on the needs of Myanmar, including with regard to technical assistance and capacity-building, and information on the progress in the electoral process and reform in the run-up to the 2015 elections as well as in the post-electoral period. The Council expresses concern at the increase in nationalist-based intolerance of religious and ethnic minorities, as well as of the United Nations and other international organizations; reiterates its serious concern about the situation of persons belonging to the Rohingya minority and other minorities in Rakhine State; expresses concern at the declaration of the Government of Myanmar that all white card identity documents would expire on 31 March 2015, which will deny persons belonging to the Rohingya minority any form of identification and the right to vote; and encourages continued efforts towards a durable nationwide ceasefire with ethnic armed groups and towards an all-inclusive political dialogue leading to comprehensive political solutions, emphasizing the importance of the full, equal and effective participation of women. The Council welcomes the positive developments in Myanmar and the commitment of the Government of Myanmar to continue on its path of political, economic and democratic reform, and encourages its continued efforts towards national reconciliation and the promotion and protection of human rights.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, introduced resolution L.21/Rev. 1 on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, which encouraged Myanmar for its efforts to protect human rights and work towards national reconciliation. However, it still had to address the serious situation of minorities. The European Union shared the Special Rapporteur’s concern about religious laws and called upon Myanmar to continue constitutional reform and to ensure that elections were transparent and free. Student protests which demanded education reforms were closely followed, and the European Union called on the Government to respect freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. It also urged Myanmar to make efforts to deal with the crises in certain regions of the country and effect a durable ceasefire. The draft resolution called for the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for another year.

Pakistan, in a general comment on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said it had constructively engaged with the European Union and Myanmar during the negotiations. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation welcomed that the European Union had taken its views into account with regards to the situation of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Indonesia, in a general comment, welcomed significant achievements and progress in Myanmar over the past few years. This progress had to continue and be strengthened. Myanmar’s commitment to human rights and democracy had to be acknowledged and encouraged in view of this year’s elections. Indonesia stood ready to continue its support to Myanmar.

Cuba, in a general comment, stressed that it had always objected to pressure and blackmail against developing countries, and opposed the content of this resolution. The Universal Periodic Review was the ideal forum to address the situation in Myanmar through dialogue and cooperation.

Venezuela, in a general comment, said that resolution L.21 was yet another example of politicized mandates. This mandate did not serve to improve the situation in the country in any way, but it simply represented interference in domestic affairs. Poverty reduction and economic development were key to improving human rights situations.

Viet Nam, in a general comment, said that any effective addressing of human rights situations should involve all the parties concerned. It commended Myanmar’s efforts in national consolidation and reconciliation. Many challenges remained on the ground, but Viet Nam believed that the Government would address them. It recognized Myanmar’s positive steps to ensure better enjoyment of fundamental freedoms, and it urged the Council to continue to engage closely with Myanmar in a constructive way.

China, in a general comment, said that the work of the Council should strictly follow the United Nations Charter, namely the principles of universality, objectivity and non-selectivity, noting that it should avoid double standards. The international community should look at specific challenges to human rights promotion in Myanmar. China would therefore disassociate itself from the consensus and the resolution.

Russian Federation, in a general comment, noted the willingness of the co-sponsors to take the concerns by all into account. This resolution could have been submitted under agenda item 10. The Russian Federation would dissociate itself from the consensus.

India, in a general comment, called on the international community to continue to engage constructively and assist Myanmar. The opening of an office of the Office of the High Commissioner should be based on acceptable terms and focus on technical assistance. The draft resolution was not helpful, and India would therefore disassociate itself from the consensus.

Myanmar, speaking as the concerned country, said it rejected country-specific mandates and was disappointed that the European Union had once again tabled a resolution targeting Myanmar under the pretext of human rights. There was no one-size-fits-all constitution in the world and prejudging the outcome of general elections was unwarranted on any grounds. Myanmar rejected the intrusive elements contained in the operative paragraphs 2 and 7, and strongly rejected operative paragraphs 6 and 8 which contained sweeping and unverifiable accusations. There had been no recurrence of inter-communal violence in Rakhine State since 2012. Myanmar strongly rejected the use of terminology “Rohingya” since it had never existed in the ethnic history of the country. Continued use of that invented false term did not help addressing the issue but further undermined the efforts to resolve the situation. The reforms in the country had contributed greatly to the better enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people, significantly in the areas of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

Japan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it expected further cooperation with the Special Rapporteur, adding that the resolution should be simplified in accordance with the situation in Myanmar. It also expected the continuation of positive steps, especially concerning freedom of the press and the treatment of journalists. Japan was concerned about increased tension in the north of Myanmar, and expressed hope that the situation would be resolved. Myanmar needed further support from the international community, and Japan would endeavour to support its reform efforts.

Indonesia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that Iran’s efforts to promote human rights should be recognized, but added that it had to redouble its efforts. It strongly believed in the Universal Periodic Review process. The international community should be more supportive and constructive in its approach to Iran, and thus Indonesia would not go along with the resolution. It encouraged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to engage constructively with the international community. However, while acknowledging human rights challenges there, it did not support the resolution.

Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories

Action on Resolution on Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan

In a resolution (A/HRC/28/L.3) on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by a vote of 29 in favour, 1 against and 17 abstentions, the Council calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, in particular Security Council resolution 497 (1981), in which the Council decided, inter alia, that the decision of Israel to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan was null and void and without international legal effect, and demanded that Israel rescind forthwith its decision; calls upon Israel to desist from its continuous building of settlements; calls upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan, and to desist from its repressive measures against them; calls upon Israel to release immediately the Syrian detainees in Israeli prisons, some of whom have been detained for more than 28 years, and to treat them in conformity with international humanitarian law; and requests the Secretary-General to disseminate the present resolution as widely as possible and to report on this matter to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-first session.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (29): Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

Against (1): United States of America

Abstentions (17): Albania, Botswana, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and United Kingdom.


Pakistan, introducing draft resolution L.3 on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, said human rights violations continued by Israel against Syrian civilians living under illegal occupation. In light of the prolonged occupation of the Golan Heights and of continued human rights violations by Israel, Pakistan hoped the resolution would be adopted by consensus.

Syria, speaking as the concerned country, said the situation continued to justify this appeal to Israel to end its occupation of the Syrian Golan, and end measures which worsened the human rights situation of civilians. Israel continued to undergo arbitrary detention of Syrian civilians and impose its nationality on Syrian citizens. It continued to deny the right to food and development of the people living under occupation, and stole their resources in violation of its international obligations. Countries needed to reaffirm the non-selectivity of the Council and support this draft resolution.

United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the only way to solve the conflict between Palestine and Israel was to create two States. It was thus troubling that one-sided resolutions were put forth in the Council. The two-State solution was the surest way to protect and promote the human rights of both Palestinians and Israelis. The United States was the largest single donor of humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees. Standalone resolutions on Israel were worrying as only Israel received such treatment. Since the Council continuously singled out Israel, United States requested that the resolution on the human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan be put to vote.

Action on Resolution on the Right of the Palestinian People to Self-determination

In a resolution (A/HRC/28/L.32) on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, 1 against and 1 abstention, the Council reaffirms the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and the right to their independent State of Palestine; also reaffirms its support for the solution of two States, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security; notes that the fragmentation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory undermines the possibility of the Palestinian people realizing their right to self-determination and is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and stresses in this regard the need for respect for and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; confirms that the right of the Palestinian people to permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources must be used in the interest of their national development, the well-being of the Palestinian people and as part of the realization of their right to self-determination; and urges all Member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self- determination.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (45): Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

Against (1): United States of America

Abstentions (1): Ghana


Pakistan, introducing draft resolution L.32 on the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, said the draft recalled the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, and expressed support for a two-State solution. It contained facts recognized and acknowledged by the international community.

Saudi Arabia, in a general comment, said that it supported the Palestinian cause and Palestinians’ right to self-determination. Saudi Arabia thus encouraged the international community, and in particular those countries that supported Israel, to convince Israel to stop human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, to evacuate them, and to recognize Palestinians’ right to self-determination. Those States should not remain locked in their current positions, and should consider other options and vote in favour of the draft resolution.

State of Palestine, speaking as the concerned country, said self-determination was a precept that was part of international law, including the United Nations Charter, the two Covenants and the Vienna Declaration. The State of Palestine was committed to cooperate with Israel to work on a joint draft resolution on the right to self-determination of Palestinians. The State of Palestine expressed concern about the Israeli Prime Minister’s recent declaration that he would not support the creation of a State of Palestine. Israel had to cease its activities and colonization of the occupied territories. Palestinians had made mistakes, the State of Palestine acknowledged, and these mistakes needed to be addressed. But Israel also had to be held accountable for grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Foreign occupation was the first and foremost of the violations by Israel. The recent aggression of Gaza led to the death of more than 500 children. Israel had detained a 14 year-old child because he threw stones at Israel. The State of Palestine urged all members of the Council to vote in favour of resolutions under this agenda item.

Action on Resolution on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan

In a resolution (A/HRC/28/L.33) on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, 1 against and 1 abstentions, the Council reaffirms that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan are illegal and an obstacle to peace and economic and social development; and demands that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately cease all settlement activities in all the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan. The Council expresses its grave concern at, and calls for the cessation of the operation by Israel of a tramway linking the settlements with West Jerusalem; and the expropriation of Palestinian land, the demolition of Palestinian homes, demolition orders, forced evictions and “relocation” plans by Israel in areas identified for the expansion and construction of settlements, and other practices aimed at the forcible transfer of the Palestinian civilian population, including Bedouin communities and herders. The Council requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a report detailing the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the independent fact-finding mission on the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian People throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-first session.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (45): Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Viet Nam.

Against (1): United States of America

Abstentions (1): Paraguay


Pakistan, introducing resolution L.33 on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that Israel continued the construction of illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which violated the Geneva Conventions and the decisions of the International Court of Justice, which had ruled that the separation wall was illegal. The resolution reaffirmed that the settlements were illegal and an obstacle to economic and social development, and it demanded that Israel immediately withdraw from the occupied territories, stop the construction of settlements, and provide effective remedy to victims.

Saudi Arabia, in a general comment, condemned the continuation of Israel’s occupation and construction of illegal settlements. Israel expelled the local population in order to build colonies, which violated the Geneva Conventions and the decision of the International Court of Justice. The occupying power continued with its policies, which was a serious violation of human rights. In order to establish just peace, Israel had to withdraw from all the occupied territories, including the Syrian Golan.

Paraguay, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that Paraguay firmly believed that dialogue and direct negotiation between the two parties was the only way to reach sustainable peace. It called upon the parties to undertake the peace negotiations followed up by the international community. The solution had to be in conformity with international law, with the two States living side by side in peace and with security of their borders. This draft resolution did not contribute to a peaceful solution to the conflict and Paraguay would therefore oppose it.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the European Union thanked Palestine for its efforts. However the European Union did not agree with some of the legal terms used in the draft resolution, including forced displacement, forced transfer, and pre-emptory norms. The European Union’s position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including on the violence in 2014 in and around Gaza Strip, was set out in the January 15 United Nations Security Council statement by the European Union. Therefore a separate resolution on the human rights situation should not be seen as judging the ongoing negotiations. The European Union urged all parties to participate in the commission of inquiry activities on the Gaza strip. The European Union supported L.33 and the Member States of the European Union would vote in favour of this draft resolution.

Action on Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

In a resolution (A/HRC/28/L.34) on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 43 in favour, 1 against and 3 abstentions, the Council stresses the need for Israel, the occupying Power, to withdraw from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, so as to enable the Palestinian people to exercise its universally recognized right to self-determination; demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply fully with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949; demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease immediately its imposition of prolonged closures and economic and movement restrictions, including those amounting to a blockade on the Gaza Strip, which severely restricts the freedom of movement of Palestinians within, into and out of Gaza and their access to basic utilities; stresses the need for the unhindered passage of ambulances at checkpoints, especially in times of conflict; expresses grave concern at the confiscation and damage by Israel of fishing nets in the Gaza Strip for which there is no discernible security justification.

The Council condemns all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction, especially the excessive use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians, particularly in the Gaza Strip; it also condemns the firing of rockets against Israeli civilian areas resulting in loss of life and injury. The Council further expresses deep concern at the conditions of the Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including minors, in Israeli jails and detention centres; demands that Israel cease its policy of transferring prisoners from the Occupied Palestinian Territory into the territory of Israel; and deplores Israel’s resumption of the policy of punitive home demolitions and the ongoing policy of revoking the residency permits of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem through various discriminatory laws. The Council deplores the persistent non-cooperation of Israel with special procedures mandate holders and other United Nations mechanisms; requests the Office of the High Commissioner to further strengthen the presence of its office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by, inter alia, deploying the necessary personnel and expertise; and requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the present resolution to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-first session.


The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (43): Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

Against (1): United States of America.

Abstentions (3): Botswana, Paraguay, and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


Pakistan, introducing draft resolution L.34 on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, said the draft urged Israel to cease human rights violations against Palestinians, including in the Gaza Strip, and to comply with its international obligations. Pakistan expressed concern about the dire humanitarian and human rights situations in the occupied territories, and hoped this would lead all Member States to vote in favour of this resolution.

Saudi Arabia, in a general comment, said that Israeli crimes had not spared civilians in Gaza, including children, women and the elderly. The hands of Israeli leaders were covered with the blood of innocent people, and the international community should force Israel to respect the rights of the Palestinian people. Peace could only be achieved with the withdrawal of Israel from occupied territories. Saudi Arabia urged all peace-loving countries to vote in favour of this resolution.

Paraguay, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that direct negotiations between parties was the only way to reach sustainable peace, and called on the parties and the international community to renew efforts for negotiations. Paraguay supported the two-State solution and it condemned every abuse of international human rights law, noting that it was indispensable for all parties to respect that law. The proposed resolution would not help in finding a sustainable peace solution and Paraguay would thus abstain from voting.

Argentina, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and to an independent Palestinian State within the 1967 borders and in accordance with the peace negotiations. Argentina recognized Palestine. It was in favour of Israel’s right to live in security within its borders, but also of peoples’ right to self-determination. If a people was subjected to a foreign occupation then they had no right to self-determination. Argentina supported this resolution and hoped it would lead to an independent Palestinian State.

Ghana, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that a mistake had been made in its voting decisions on two items, namely L.32 and L.34. The President of the Human Rights Council said that this would be reflected in the records of the meeting.

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For use of the information media; not an official record