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Human Rights Council Advisory Committee concludes sixth session

Human Rights Council Advisory Committee

ROUNDUP

21 January 2011

The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee today concluded its sixth session during which it adopted five recommendations and its report to the Human Rights Council. Among these recommendations were texts on missing persons, the right to food, the right of peoples to peace, the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights and ways and means to further advance the rights of people working in rural areas.

Purificacion V. Quisumbing, Advisory Committee Chairperson, in concluding remarks, said that they had had a full and challenging week and they could be proud of their achievements. They had also had the privilege of meeting with the President of the Human Rights Council who was stirring the Council’s review process, as well as with the Ambassador of Romania who was the Facilitator on the review issue of the Advisory Committee. The Council’s review would provide the Committee with a timely opportunity to reflect on its methods of work. As the Council’s sole think-tank, they would continue to interact with the Council’s President and Council Member States on how to enhance the Committee’s effectiveness in the discharge of its mandate.

Within its recommendations, the Committee submitted the final report on best practices in the matter of missing persons prepared by its drafting group on missing persons to the Human Rights Council. The Committee also submitted to the Council the final study in the context of the right to food prepared by the drafting group on the right to food. It further recommended the Council to request it to undertake comprehensive studies on four new topics linked to the right to food.

Further, the Committee submitted the revised progress report on the draft declaration on the right of peoples to peace to the Council which was prepared by its Drafting Group on the right of peoples to peace. It further requested its drafting group to prepare a questionnaire on the subject.

On the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, the Committee took note of the preparatory document submitted by the drafting group on international cooperation and encouraged it to revise it in the light of the discussion held on the subject.

Further, the Committee submitted to the Council the preliminary study on the advancement of the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, prepared by its drafting group on the right to food. It also recommended that the Council consider requesting the Committee to organize a seminar entitled: “Rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas: the need for a new instrument”.

During the session, the Committee discussed its study on the best practices in the matter of missing persons; the issue of a draft declaration on the right of peoples to peace; two studies on the right to food, one looking at discrimination in the context of the right to food and the second looking at the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, and international solidarity.

The Committee during the session further discussed the review of the Human Rights Council and its impact on the Advisory Committee. It also decided to designate Ms. Chinsung Chung and Mr. Shigeki Sakamoto to attend the upcoming Human Rights Council panel on the realization of the right to health of older persons.

The Committee also looked at follow up to its draft declaration on human rights education and the progress achieved by the open-ended intergovernmental working group towards negotiating and submitting to the Council the draft declaration.

The Advisory Committee is expected to hold its next session from 8 to 12 August 2011.

Statements

Speaking this afternoon a representative of World Citizens paid tribute to the Advisory Committee’s members. Addressing the issue of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and the work that the Advisory Committee had undertaken on this subject, the speaker wondered whether the Committee could not expand this work to cover the discrimination of people affected by other illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS and epilepsy. The speaker also addressed the issue of missing persons and proposed that the Committee also looked at the subject of disappeared boat people, be it accidental or deliberate.

PURIFICACION V. QUISUMBING, Advisory Committee Chairperson, in concluding remarks, said that they had had a full and challenging week; they could be proud of their achievements. They had submitted to the Council’s forthcoming March session the finalized study on best practices in the matter of missing persons, the finalized study on discrimination on the context of the right to food and the preliminary study on ways and means to further advance the rights of people working in rural areas.

In addition they had had a very rich debate on the draft progress report on the draft declaration on the right of peoples to peace. Similarly they had had a very interesting and animated discussion trying to explore ways and means to enhance cooperation in the field of human rights, said Ms. Quisumbing. They had also made progress in terms of opening channels of communication and establishing links with the independent expert on human rights and international solidarity in view of their forthcoming collaboration to contribute to the elaboration of the draft declaration on the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity.

Ms. Quisumbing said that they had also had the privilege of meeting with the President of the Human Rights Council who was stirring the Council’s review process, as well as with the Ambassador of Romania who was the Facilitator on the review issue of the Advisory Committee. The Council’s review would provide the Committee with a timely opportunity to reflect on its methods of work. As the Council’s sole think-tank, they would continue to interact with the Council’s President and Council Member States on how to enhance the Committee’s effectiveness in the discharge of its mandate.

Recommendations

In the recommendation on missing persons, the Committee endorses the final report on best practices in the matter of missing persons prepared by its drafting group on missing persons and submits it to the Human Rights Council for consideration at its sixteenth session.

In the recommendation on the study on discrimination in the context of the right to food, the Committee submits to the Human Rights Council the final study on discrimination in the context of the right to food. It further recommends that the Human Rights Council consider requesting the Advisory Committee to undertake comprehensive studies on the following topics: the right to food of the urban poor; the right to food of rural women; the relationship between severe malnutrition and childhood diseases; and the right to food of people forced to leave their homes and land because of hunger.

In the recommendation on the drafting group on the promotion of the right of peoples to peace, the Committee submits its revised progress report on the draft declaration on the right of peoples to peace to the Human Rights Council for consideration. The Committee also requests the drafting group to prepare a questionnaire to consult with Member States, civil society, academia and all relevant stakeholders, to be distributed after the sixth session of the Advisory Committee.

In the recommendation on the drafting group on enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, the Committee notes that the drafting group and the full Committee held meetings to discuss the matter and takes note of the preparatory document submitted by the drafting group and encourages it to revise it in the light of the discussion on the subject by the Advisory Committee and comments received from States and other stakeholders. It further noted that the drafting group will prepare a questionnaire on the subject.

In the recommendation on the preliminary study on ways and means to further advance the rights of people working in rural areas, the Committee submits to the Human Rights Council the preliminary study on the advancement of the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas. It also recommends that the Council considers requesting the Advisory Committee to organize a seminar entitled: “Rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas: the need for a new instrument”.

Membership

The 18 members of the Advisory Committee were first elected on 26 March 2008, at the seventh session of the Human Rights Council. The most recent elections were held on 26 March 2010 at the thirteenth session of the Human Rights Council, and on 18 June 2010 it elected a new member to fill the vacancy following the demise of Miguel Martinez. The membership of the Advisory Committee has to conform to the following geographical distribution guidelines set out in its establishing resolution: five members each from African and Asian States; three each from Latin American and Caribbean States, and Western European and other States; and two members from Eastern European States.

Members serve for a period of three years and are eligible for re-election once. In accordance with resolution 5/1, the staggering of terms of membership of the Advisory Committee members was determined by drawing lots immediately after the election. Hence, in the first term, one-third of the experts will serve for one year and another third for two years. Following is the list of members of the Advisory Committee and expiration dates for their respective terms of office: Mr. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann (Nicaragua – 2012); Mr. José Antonio Bengoa Cabello (Chile - 2013); Mr. Ansar Ahmed Burney (Pakistan - 2011); Mr. Shiqiu Chen (China - 2012); Ms. Chinsung Chung (Republic of Korea - 2013); Mr. Emmanuel Decaux (France - 2011); Mr. Héctor Felipe Fix Fierro (Mexico - 2011); Mr. Wolfgang Stefan Heinz (Germany - 2013); Mr. Latif Hüseynov (Azerbaijan - 2011); Mr. Baba Kura Kaigama (Nigeria - 2011); Mr. Alfred Ntunduguru Karokora (Uganda – 2013); Mr. Vladimir Kartashkin (Russian Federation - 2013); Ms. Purificacion V. Quisumbing (Philippines - 2011); Mr. Shigeki Sakamoto (Japan - 2013); Mr. Dheerujlall Seetulsingh (Mauritius - 2011); Ms. Halima Embarek Warzazi (Morocco - 2012); Mr. Jean Ziegler (Switzerland - 2012); and Ms. Mona Zulficar (Egypt - 2013).

The Chairperson was Purificacion V. Quisumbing, Vice-Chairpersons were Wolfgang Stefan Heinz, Vladimir Kartashkin, Dheerujlall Seetulsingh. The Rapporteur was Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann.

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