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President: Human Rights Council ends session in “constructive spirit”

The Human Rights Council concluded its 13th session on 26 March - © UN Photo/ Jean-Marc Ferre“I would like to underline the constructive spirit which led” to the outcome of the 13th session of the Council, Human Rights Council President Alex Van Meeuwen told a press conference on 26 March when the session came to an end. He noted that a majority of the session’s resolutions and decision, 20 out of 28, were adopted by consensus.

“There are still challenges ahead of us and we are aware of them. The Council will have to continue to engage in improving and protecting human rights all over the world and to address abuses wherever they occur,” the President said.

He praised the “extremely valuable participation of the High Commissioner”, which demonstrated the “constructive relationship that exists between the Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

The President summed up the activities of the 13th session. The Council: 

  • extended a number of thematic and country mandates, such as those concerning an optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Myanmar, and the right to food 
  • decided to establish a committee of independent experts to monitor steps taken by both parties to implement the Goldstone report on the Gaza conflict 
  • supported a cross-regional initiative to establish a new intergovernmental working group on human rights education and training 
  • discussed 18 reports presented by special rapporteurs and independent experts 
  • held five panels on important issues such as sexual violence against children, the rights of persons with disabilities, the economic crises, the right to the truth, and human rights education and training  
  • adopted 16 Universal Periodic Review reports 
  • saw the participation of over 220 non-governmental organization and national human rights institution representatives in the session and side-events  

Looking ahead, the President said the Council’s next session in June will hold a number of panels, including one on trafficking in persons with a special focus on women and children, and another on the protection of journalists in armed conflicts.

The 13th session of the Human Rights Council took place from 1 to 26 March at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

30 March 2010