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Human Rights Council extends mandates on Myanmar and Torture, decides to dispatch Commission of Inquiry to Côte d'Ivoire

MORNING

25 March 2011

Adopts Texts on Humanitarian Flotilla, Review of Work of the Council, International Cooperation and Human Rights, Right to Development and Social Forum

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted eight resolutions in which it extended the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar and the Special Rapporteur on torture, and decided to dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of serious abuses and violations of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire. The Council also adopted texts on follow-up to the report on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla, the review process of the Council, the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, the right to development, and on the Social Forum.

The Council adopted without a vote a resolution in which it extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar for one year. The Council strongly condemned the ongoing systematic violations of human rights of the people of Myanmar and called on the Government to investigate all reports of human rights violations and to bring those responsible to justice. Hungary on behalf of the European Union introduced the resolution; Myanmar spoke as a concerned country; Japan, China, the Russian Federation, Thailand and Malaysia also spoke in general comments and explanations of the vote before the vote.

The Council also adopted without a vote a resolution on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire in which it decided to dispatch an independent international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations of serious abuses and violations of human rights committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential elections. Nigeria on behalf of the African Group introduced the resolution; Côte d’Ivoire spoke as a concerned country; the United States, Hungary on behalf of the European Union, Brazil and France spoke in general comments and explanations of the vote before the vote.

The Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for a period of three years. The Council condemned all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including through intimidation, which were and would remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever and could thus never be justified. Denmark introduced the resolution; Nigeria, Jordan, Cuba, Ghana and Norway spoke in general comments and explanations of the vote before the vote.

The Council also adopted without a vote a resolution on the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights in which it requested the Office of the High Commissioner to provide the Council with a written update on the resources available to the Universal Periodic Review Voluntary Trust Fund and the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance. Egypt introduced the resolution and Hungary on behalf of the European Union and the United States spoke.

The Council adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, 1 against and no abstentions a resolution on the right to development, in which it decided to hold a panel during the eighteenth session of the Council on “The way forward in the realization of the right to development: between policy and practice”. Egypt on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement introduced the resolution; Hungary on behalf of the European Union and the United States spoke in explanations of the vote before the vote.

The Council, adopted by a vote of 37 in favour, 1 against, and 8 abstentions a resolution on the follow-up to the report of the independent international Fact-Finding Mission on the humanitarian flotilla incident, in which it expressed its concern at the lack of cooperation of Israel in implementing the Mission’s Recommendations and requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit a report on the status of the follow-up implementation to be presented in the seventeenth session. Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference introduced the resolution; Palestine spoke as a concerned country and Turkey and the United States spoke in explanations of the vote before the vote.

The Council adopted a resolution on the Social Forum in which it decided that the Social Forum would be held for three working days in 2011 in Geneva and would focus on the topic of the right to development with a focus on national and regional issues regarding the right to development. Cuba introduced the resolution; the United States, Hungary on behalf of the European Union and Japan spoke in general comments and explanations of the vote before the vote.

The Council also adopted a text on the review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council in which it adopted the outcome of the review of the Council in Geneva for submission to the General Assembly in New York. The outcome of the review process would be a complement to the Institutional Building Package and would enhance the efficiency of the Council. The President of the Council introduced the resolution; Cuba, Nigeria, Japan, Brazil, Hungary on behalf of the European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference, Uganda, Norway, Mexico, China, South Africa, Argentina, Chile and the United States all spoke.

The Council will next meet at 3 p.m. this afternoon to continue taking action on draft resolutions and decisions before it concludes its sixteenth session.

Action on Resolutions Under the Agenda Item on Organizational and Procedural Matters

Action on Resolution on Follow-up to the Report of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on the Incident of the Humanitarian Flotilla

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.5) regarding follow-up to the report of the independent international fact-finding mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla, as orally revised, adopted by a vote of 37 in favour, 1 against, and 8 abstentions, the Council takes note of the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and welcomes the establishment of the United Nations panel of inquiry; regrets the non-cooperation by the occupying Power, Israel, with the independent international fact-finding mission on the Gaza flotilla incident; calls upon concerned parties to ensure the immediate implementation of the conclusions contained in the report of the fact-finding mission; requests the High Commissioner to submit a report on the status of the implementation of the conclusions contained in the report to the Council at its seventeenth session; decides to follow up the implementation of the present resolution at its seventeenth session; and encourages the United Nations panel of inquiry to continue their work without delay.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (37): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay.

Against (1): United States of America.

Abstentions (8): Cameroon, Hungary, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Zambia.

ZAMIR AKRAM (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in introduction of resolution L.5, said the international community had expressed its dismay and strong condemnation of the aggression launched by the occupying power, Israel on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance to the Occupied Gaza Strip in May 2010. The Council had established an international independent Fact-finding Mission which investigated violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law resulting from the Israeli attack. The Mission concluded that the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces in blocking the flotilla were a violation of international law and that the Israeli military committed serious human rights violations against the civilian passengers of the flotilla. In order to ensure that justice would be done to the victims, the Organization of the Islamic Conference decided to table a follow-up resolution in the ongoing session of the Council. The draft resolution welcomed the establishment by the United Nations Secretary-General of a Panel of Inquiry and called upon all concerned parties to ensure the immediate implementation of their recommendations and encouraged the United Nations Panel of Inquiry to complete its work without delay. The resolution also requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit a report on the status of implementation of paragraph 3 of the resolution and lastly the resolution decided to follow-up the implementation of the present resolution at its seventeenth session. The Organization of the Islamic Conference presented oral amendments to the draft resolution.
IBRAHIM KHRAISHI (Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said that Palestine believed that they were in the process of deciding on a procedural resolution that dealt with the report of the international Fact-finding Mission. Palestine found it a very surprising incident. Today, there was an international coalition using military forces to deliver humanitarian assistance to the Libyans. An initiative by more than 40 States had been participating in the humanitarian flotilla in order to deliver some humanitarian assistance to Gaza and they were attacked in violation of humanitarian law and nine people were killed and others were injured. Palestine hoped that all members of the Council of the Human Rights Council would support this resolution in support of Turkey who had had the highest number of victims.

OGUZ DEMIRALP (Turkey), speaking as a concerned country, said that the quintessence of human rights was the protection of individuals from arbitrary use of power by States. International law had been breached during the flotilla incident, and if the Human Rights Council showed permissiveness to such behaviour by States, human rights would receive a heavy blow. Turkey was happy to note that the Council had made an objective assessment of the incident though the team of experts and requested the country concerned to redress the wrongdoings by its agents and military personnel. The country concerned however had refused to take the necessary steps noted in the report of the experts. Turkey was grateful to the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the co-sponsors of the draft resolution. Turkey was confident that the Council would pursue this case until justice was rendered and would not allow a single country to cast a shadow on the reputation of the Council and to tarnish the image by the adoption of a double standards approach. Turkey hoped that this draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.

EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the United States deeply regretted the tragic loss of life on the Gaza bound ships last spring. The United States was committed to working with Israel and Turkey to ensure a full and appropriate response to the incident and the conditions that led to it. The United States said the situation in Gaza was not sustainable and did not encourage peace. The United States urged all those who wished to provide humanitarian assistance to use existing mechanisms and continue to engage the Israelis to widen the scope of goods that could enter Gaza. The United States continued to work with Israeli and the Palestinian authorities to improve access to Gaza. The United States regarded the Panel of Inquiry as the primary mechanism for addressing this issue and as the Panel had said no further United Nations activity was necessary. The United States opposed the current resolution and would call for a vote and would vote against it.

Action on Resolution on Review of the Work and Functioning of the Human Rights Council

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.39) regarding the review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council, adopted without a vote, the Council takes note of the report of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on the review of work and functioning of the Human Rights Council; adopts the “Outcome of the review of the work and functioning of the United Nations Human Rights Council” as annexed to the present resolution, to be submitted to the General Assembly; decides that the “Outcome of the review of the work and functioning of the United Nations Human Rights Council” shall be a supplement to the Institution-Building Package contained in Council resolutions 5/1 and 5/2 of 18 June 2007, as well as in other related Council resolutions, decisions and President’s statements; and also decides to submit the following draft resolution to the General Assembly for its consideration: “The General Assembly, “Taking note of Human Rights Council resolution 16 L.39 of 25 March 2011, “Endorses the text entitled “Outcome of the review of the work and functioning of the United Nations Human Rights Council”.”

SIHASAK PHUANGKETKEOW, President of the Council, introducing the draft resolution L.39, said that this resolution was mainly procedural and aimed at adopting the outcome of the review of the Council in Geneva for submitting it to the General Assembly in New York. The outcome of the review process would be a complement to the Institutional Building Package and the draft resolution was the result of consultations that the President of the Council had carried out with the Bureau, regional groups, political groups and informal consultations. The President of the Council hoped that this resolution could be adopted by consensus. It might not meet everyone’s expectations but he believed that it enhanced the efficiency of the Council and it was not only the outcome in itself but the review was a useful exercise to enhance the work and functioning of the Council in the future. The President thanked the facilitators and the coordinators for their hard work. All of them had worked hard and they were all appreciative of this.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in a general comment, said Cuba recognised the great work that the President had carried out and the assistance provided by the Secretariat. Cuba also thanked the Ambassador of Egypt for the work carried out on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement. There were important concessions made and an important agreement was reached that represented the commitment of all the Members of the Human Rights Council to the work of the Council. Everyone had demonstrated the courage and capacity to reach compromise.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking in a general comment, said Nigeria had a problem because it did not yet have the text and required some time before it could come to a conclusion on the text of the resolution.

KENICHI SUGANUMA (Japan), speaking in a general comment, said that they appreciated the President’s efforts in preparing and organizing the Working Group for the review of the Council and for his patience and they were thankful also to the facilitators. As they expressed during the adoption of the report in the Working Group, Japan’s assessment of the work and functioning of the Council since its establishment had been generally positive, yet they found that there was further room to make the Council’s work more effective. Japan had proposed many proposals to this end and they regretted that many of these proposals were not agreed upon. Nevertheless, Japan thought that they had a good discussion and hoped that in the future they would continue to address issues, particularly, the issue of fiscal discipline to make the work of the Council more efficient in the future.

MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO (Brazil), speaking in a general comment, said that the review had been an important exercise and the results of it showed the limitations of this Council. The leadership, patience and determination of the President had not passed unnoticed. Brazil also thanked the Office of the High Commissioner for the support provided throughout this exercise.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, said that the European Union thanked the President for his tireless efforts throughout the process. The review had been an opportunity to increase the capacity of the Council to deal with human rights emergencies on the ground. Unfortunately, the outcome of the review remained minimal, as important progress had not been made, in particular with regard to the response to acute human rights emergencies. The European Union remained convinced that convening of urgent meetings of the Human Rights Council by the President on the information received from stakeholders could significantly improve the efficiency of the Council. The European Union regretted that the proposals made by Finland were not included in the results and outcomes. The Universal Periodic Review had a potential to make a difference on the ground and the European Union recognised the importance of technical assistance to States but it had to be done in line with the accepted recommendations. The European Union called on all States to better use the tools of the Council. The European Union thanked the President for bringing the delegations together, but wanted to put on the record a certain lack of satisfaction with the results and regretted that the report of the open ended Working Group would not be included as an annex but would be available only as an additional document at the General Assembly.

MARIAM MADIHA AFTAB (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in a general comment, thanked the President for the way in which he led the process of the review of the Human Rights Council and expressed appreciation to the Ambassador to Egypt for the way he led the Non-Aligned Movement and represented their interests in this review process.

EUNICE IRUNGU KIGENYI (Uganda), speaking in a general comment, said that Uganda’s concerns had been taken into consideration and they thanked the President and all the relevant coordinators.

DANTE MARTINELLI (Switzerland), speaking in a general comment, thanked the President for his commitment during the review of the Council and thanked the facilitators and the commitment of all stakeholders. But, most importantly, the review did not lead to a weakening of the Council. They would like to see this resolution adopted by consensus. In the future Switzerland would continue to be committed against serious violations of human rights and would encourage Governments and States to cooperate with the Human Rights Council and its bodies.

BENTE ANGELL-HANSEN (Norway), speaking in a general comment, echoed the statements of appreciation to the President for his wisdom and patience and for sticking to the timeframe. Norway thanked the facilitators and civil society for their contributions and the many ideas they had brought to the table. The success was achieved through the everyday hard work in this Council. Norway was pleased to join the consensus and believed the consensus on this particular resolution was imperative as it referred to the common platform.

JUAN JOSE GOMEZ CAMACHO (Mexico), speaking in a general comment, said it did not measure success or failure on the changes it managed to introduce into the text of the resolution. For Mexico, success resided in the capacity of the process to improve dialogue, carry out diplomacy and to have a true impact on the ground in the lives of many people throughout the world. Mexico said that on these grounds this process was extremely successful. The Council was a system where tools dovetailed with other tools to achieve impact in the field. Mexico supported the words of previous speakers and thanked the President for his leadership in the review process.

XIA JINGGE (China), speaking in a general comment, thanked the President for his leadership in conducting consultations that reached fruitful results. China believed that just because of him in the Working Group, they could reach such results and they thanked all facilitators for their outstanding contributions. China had participated in their review in a constructive manner and had demonstrated flexibility. The Chinese delegation would continue to support the President in his work and hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus and that the Council would continue to work in a non-selective manner.

ABDULWAHAB ABDULSALAM ATTAR (Saudi Arabia), speaking in a general comment, said Saudi Arabia wished to join all the delegations that had expressed appreciation and gratitude for the wisdom and patience of the President during the Review process. Saudi Arabia commended the Ambassadors of Pakistan and Egypt, as leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. At certain points during the review process there were deadlocks and feelings of pessimism, but it had been possible to achieve what seemed impossible at the outset.

SEBASTIAN ROSALES (Argentina), speaking in a general comment, said Argentina joined the consensus to adopt the resolution on the review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council. A number of solutions had been found, including the list of speakers, the establishment of the office of the President, the establishment of the task force and the use of new technologies which would facilitate participation of local non-governmental organizations that were far away from Geneva. It was also important that the Human Rights Council had the possibility to continue to establish new country mandates and Special Procedures. Argentina regretted that the Council had failed to find new modalities to deal with human rights emergencies, and the changes to deal with complaints. Also, no solution had been found to more equitable financing. Argentina would continue to work in a constructive way in the Council and hoped that there would be other opportunities in the future to address the efficiency of the Human Rights Council.

PEDRO OYARCE (Chile), speaking in a general comment, said Chile added its voice to the collective appreciation for the President’s guidance in the review of the work and the functioning of the Human Rights Council. The efficiency of this process would be evaluated on its ability to make effective changes in the everyday lives of people. Preference was placed on a dialogue and the idea was to ensure that the Council lived up to its responsibilities.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking in a general comment on behalf of the African Group, said that for the African Group the President of the Council totally stood out throughout the process of the review and they recognized his commitment and transparency and he had never used pressure and they did appreciate that and the work of the facilitators. Nigeria said that the Ambassador of Brazil stood out very well, as well as the Ambassador of Algeria and Morocco. The African Group thanked all of them.

MARK J. CASSAYRE (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the United States must regrettably disassociate itself from the resolution on the review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council. During the review, the United States had been clear that a thorough review must be conducted, but the Council had come short. There had been no genuine exploration of new ways for the Council to deal with the human rights emergencies. The one-sided treatment of Israel was another reason and the lone agenda item on Israel provided ammunition for those who sought to discredit a hard-working member of the Human Rights Council. The United States would continue to seek to improve the work of the Council and was proud to have been a part of the initiative addressing human rights issues. The United States would continue to inform this Council resolution by resolution and session by session. The United States looked forward to working with the Working Group on the process in New York, with an open mind and willingness to make the Human Rights Council more effective.

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

Action on Resolution on Enhancement of International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.8/Rev.1) regarding the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council reaffirms that it is one of the purposes of the United Nations and also the primary responsibility of States to promote, protect and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms through, inter alia, international cooperation; recognizes that, in addition to their separate responsibilities to their individual societies, States have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level. The Council reaffirms that dialogue among cultures and civilizations facilitates the promotion of a culture of tolerance and respect for diversity, and welcomes in this regard the holding of conferences and meetings at the national, regional and international levels on dialogue among civilizations; urges all actors on the international scene to build an international order based on inclusion, justice, equality and equity, human dignity, mutual understanding and promotion of and respect for cultural diversity and universal human rights, and to reject all doctrines of exclusion based on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; reaffirms the importance of the enhancement of international cooperation for the promotion and protection of human rights and for the achievement of the objectives of the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; considers that international cooperation in the field of human rights, in conformity with the purposes and principles set out in the Charter of the United Nations and international law, should make an effective and practical contribution to the urgent task of preventing violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and decides to continue its consideration of the matter in 2012, in accordance with its annual programme of work.

HISHAM BADR (Egypt) introducing draft resolution L.8 Rev.1 on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that in preparation of this text, a series of open ended as well as bilateral consultations were held with interested delegations in order to reach a consensus document. This resolution emphasized the role of international cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, while reaffirming that such promotion and protection shall be guided by the principles of universality, non-selectivity, objectivity and transparency, in line with the purposes of the United Nations Charter. In follow up to the resolution of last year, that requested a briefing from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Universal Periodic Review Voluntary Trust Fund to facilitate the participation of developing countries, particularly least developing countries in the Universal Periodic Review sessions, and the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance to help countries implement Universal Periodic Review recommendations, in consultation with, and with the consent of, the country concerned, the resolution was taking note of the oral briefing presented by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights two days ago and was requesting the Office to provide the Council with a written update on the resources available to both funds as well as their operationalization.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, said the European Union thanked the delegation of Egypt for preparing the resolution and said that during the preparative process there were ample opportunities to engage and discuss the text. The European Union considered international cooperation as an essential element of its work, both through multilateral and bilateral channels. The European Union was fully committed to the enhancement of international cooperation in a practical way, by providing more than half of official development assistance worldwide. In the field of human rights, the European Union stressed the primary responsibility of States and therefore the international cooperation in this sector must be conducted with the cooperation of States. The European Union looked favourable to the transparency in the use of trust funds and thanked the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the detailed information on the functioning of those funds. It was an established fact that religions, beliefs and faiths could not be subjects under international law and added that it would join the consensus on this resolution.

MARK J. CASSAYRE (United States), speaking in a general comment, said the United States remained diligent about attempts of the Council to control the independent work of the Council.

Action on Resolution on the Right to Development

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.9) regarding the right to development, as orally revised, adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, none against, and 1 abstention, the Council decides to hold a panel during the eighteenth session of the Human Rights Council on the theme “The way forward in the realization of the right to development: between policy and practice”, with the participation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; also decides to request the Office of the High Commissioner to organize the panel, within existing resources, and to invite relevant United Nations human rights mechanisms, specialized agencies, funds and programmes, as well as civil society and national human rights institutions to the panel session; further decides to request the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a summary of the panel discussions, to be submitted to the Working Group on the Right to Development at its twelfth session and to the Council at its nineteenth session.”

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (45): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, France, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, and Zambia.

Against (0):

Abstentions (1): United States of America.

HISHAM BADR (Egypt), introducing draft resolution L. 9 on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that in December 1986 the United Nations General Assembly took a landmark decision in its resolution 48/128 adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development. This year they celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Declaration. The focus of the panel was on the way forward in the realization of the right to development: between policy and practice. It had to be noted, that regrettably after 25 years of the adoption of the Declaration, the international community had not yet been able to fulfill all the requirements for the realization of this right. The Non-Aligned Movement hoped that the panel would provide the opportunity to all States to renew their commitments to the realization of the right to development. And, hence, they called upon delegations to join consensus on the draft decision presented today.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the accommodation made for the European Union’s concerns would allow it to vote for the resolution. The European Union supported the right to development as formulated in the 1986 declaration which recognized that the human person was central to the development process. The right to development required the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights and policies that would encourage all individuals to achieve their individual goals.

MARK J. CASSAYRE (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the United States did not object to the panel called for by this resolution but remained deeply concerned that much of this Council’s work in the area of the right to development did not address practical measures that assisted countries in determining how best to develop resources in a way that promoted and protected the human rights of citizens. For this reason, among others, the United States called for a vote on this resolution and said it would abstain. The United States had a long-standing commitment to international development and had put substantial resources behind that commitment. The United States encouraged all countries to invest in a better future for their citizens by pursuing an approach to development that respected human rights.

Action on Resolution on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: Mandate of the Special Rapporteur

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.12/Rev.1) regarding torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: mandate of the Special Rapporteur, adopted without a vote, the Council condemns all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including through intimidation, which are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever and can thus never be justified; condemns in particular any action or attempt by States or public officials to legalize, authorize or acquiesce to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under any circumstances, including on grounds of national security or through judicial decisions, and urges States to ensure accountability for such actions or attempts to commit them; stresses the contribution of the ad hoc international criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court to ending impunity, through ensuring accountability and punishing perpetrators, and urges States to consider ratifying or acceding as a matter of priority to the Rome Statute, which entered into force on 1 July 2002; decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for a further period of three years; and requests the Secretary-General to ensure, within the overall budgetary framework of the United Nations, the provision of an adequate and stable level of staffing, as well as the necessary facilities for the bodies and mechanisms involved in preventing and combating torture and assisting victims of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Council rejected an oral amendment to L.12/Rev.1 (as proposed by Nigeria) by a vote of 3 in favour, 22 against, and 19 abstentions.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (3): China, Djibouti, and Russian Federation.

Against (22): Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Maldives, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, and Uruguay.

Abstentions (19): Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, and Zambia.

STEFFEN SMIDT (Denmark), introducing draft resolution L. 12/ Rev.1, said that the resolution was co-sponsored by 65 countries from different regions of the world and additional countries had joined. The resolution extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other degrading and inhuman treatment or punishment for a period of three years and maintained the terms of reference of the mandate. Denmark had worked on the basis of the 2008 resolution on the mandate with a view to obtaining a strong text and finding agreement between the process in Geneva and the one in New York. The Special Rapporteur was asked to find information on cases of torture and he could conduct country visits, study trends and make recommendations and observations considering proper measures to prevent torture and other inhuman or degrading practices. Moreover, the resolution outlined a number of principles to which States had to comply in the fight against torture. The resolution addressed the issue of reprisals against those who acted in the prevention of torture. The resolution urged States to ensure that victims of torture obtained redress and rehabilitation and ensure accountability for all actions and attempts by States to authorize acts of tortures. During the broad consultations Denmark had experienced a constructive approach to engage in a constructive discussion to renew this mandate.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking in a general comment, said Nigeria supported all the key elements of the resolution on torture. The key elements of this resolution were quite important. Nigeria said that it proposed an amendment at opening paragraph nine which should be changed from welcomes to notes.

BEATE STIRO (Norway), speaking as a co-sponsor of the resolution, said that the text was the outcome of extensive consultations as well as meetings in the larger co-sponsor group and so the text reflected a broad consensus and Norway could not accept changes to the text.

MUTAZ FALEH HYASSAT (Jordan), speaking in a general comment, said that Jordan continued to accord the highest regard to the prevention of torture and strongly supported the robust mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture. Jordan had been a traditional co-sponsor of previous resolutions and regretted that it had not been able to do it this year as well, since the concerns of Jordan could not be addressed fully. Still, Jordan was joining the consensus on the text with the understanding that the text would not trigger any other obligations but those already defined in international law and in the Convention against Torture. Jordan requested that this position be reflected in the records of the meeting.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that on this issue related to their amendment, they were not willing to change their mind and they had received approval by the Secretariat to approve this resolution. If their amendment was not agreed Nigeria would call for a vote and would abstain.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Cuba would like a clarification on whether or not there would be a vote on the resolution. Cuba understood the African Group’s point that the reports of the Special Rapporteurs were not standard and it would not be so bad to have a common pattern of treatment on how the Council would receive reports from Special Rapporteur mandates. If recommendations were adopted in a standard process did that mean that to welcome a report would mean that the Council had also adopted the recommendations?

MERCY YVONNE AMOAH (Ghana), speaking in a general comment, said Ghana wished to receive explanation as to whether welcoming the report automatically meant the authorisation for the report.

BENTE ANGELL-HANSEN (Norway), speaking in a general comment, said that this was a part of a broader negotiation and Norway was not ready to accommodate revisions to the texts and Norway wished to put this to the vote. To Cuba, Norway said that it was not the case of one case fit all.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on the draft resolution, said that the Secretariat provided wrong information and said that this was an issue discussed in the General Assembly and they had an outcome. Saying that the wording did not have any meaning was wrong. If the Council “notes with appreciation” it gives to the Secretariat the freedom of choice about what could be done. The only neutral wording was “takes note” and the Secretariat could not interpret the process held within the General Assembly.

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

Action on Resolution on Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.11) regarding the situation of human rights in Myanmar, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council strongly condemns the ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Myanmar; calls on the Government of Myanmar to protect the physical safety of all people in Myanmar in a manner that is consistent with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; calls upon the Government to recognise the pre-election status of all political parties and to lift all restrictions imposed on political parties; strongly calls upon the Government of Myanmar to cooperate with the international community in order to achieve concrete progress as regards human rights and fundamental freedoms, and political processes; strongly urges the unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience without delay; decides to extend for one year the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar; strongly urges the Government of Myanmar to respond favourably and on a more timely basis to the Special Rapporteur’s requests to visit the country; requests the Special Rapporteur to submit a progress report to the General Assembly at its sixty-sixth session and to the Council in accordance with its annual programme of work; calls upon the Office of the High Commissioner to provide the Special Rapporteur with all assistance and resources necessary to enable him to discharge his mandate fully; and calls upon the Government of Myanmar to continue to engage in a dialogue with the Office of the High Commissioner with a view to ensuring full respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking on behalf of the European Union in introduction of resolution L.11, said the resolution had been tabled to encourage the Government of Myanmar to improve the human rights conditions in the country. The resolution called on the Government of Myanmar to allow the Special Rapporteur to make a visit to the country as soon as possible. There were still more that 2,000 political prisoners in detention and the recent political elections had not been fair. The European Union called on the Government to release all political prisoners and to engage in a post election process of reconciliation. The resolution required the Government to investigate all reports of human rights violations and to bring those responsible to justice and this required immediate attention because some of these violations could include crimes against humanity. The Human Rights Council should continue to monitor the situation of human rights in the country and therefore the resolution called for the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. Oral amendments were made to the text.

THANT KYAW (Myanmar), speaking as a concerned country, said that dialogue and cooperation constituted the best way to realize the cause of human rights. Once again, the European Union had submitted another politicized country specific resolution against Myanmar while intentionally ignoring the constructive measures taken by the Government of Myanmar which was underscored by the recent domestic transformation taking place in line with the aspirations of its own people. Myanmar’s participation in the Universal Periodic Review process also reinforced its constructive approach to respond to the wishes of the international community. The draft resolution not only contained unreliable and unverifiable allegations pertaining to the recent electoral process, conditions of so-called political prisoners and the Government’s failure to bring perpetrators to justice, but it also pursued its political purpose by demanding the sovereign State to recognize a certain political group as well as to remove the impunity clause of the country’s Constitution. It was a fact that the Government of Myanmar was undertaking the necessary measures to promote and protect the basic human rights of its people through cooperation with the United Nations. Myanmar called upon all States which had taken principled positions on country-specific resolutions to go against this distorted and politicized resolution which would set a precedent counterproductive to all the Council. The delegation of Myanmar also categorically rejected all unfounded allegations and negative views containing in the resolution A/HRC/16/L.11. Hence, Myanmar would dissociate itself from the resolution as it infringed upon their domestic jurisdiction.

KENICHI SUGANUMA (Japan), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Japan expressed condolences for the victims of the earthquake in Myanmar and stood in solidarity with the people of Myanmar. Japan believed it was essential for the international community to encourage the Government of Myanmar to take further positive action on the human rights and democratisation process by sending it a positive message. Japan was ready to support this draft resolution. By encouraging the country to take further positive measures, Japan believed that the international community should also express its views candidly. The elections held last year were a solid indication of the commitment of the Government. Myanmar should continue the implementation of recommendations from its Universal Periodic Review in January this year.

XIA JINGGE (China), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said China was always opposed to imposing conditions on countries and encouraged the use of dialogue to solve differences. China welcomed the progress made by Myanmar for promoting democracy and economic development in the country. The resolution did not objectively evaluate the progress made by the Government in the country. The resolution only put pressure on the Government which would not help. China would not join in the consensus on this current draft resolution.

ROMAN KASHAEV (Russian Federation), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, expressed condolences to Myanmar and noted that the resolution had become a further example of politicization of decisions on human rights issues and such an approach did not promote the development of a constructive cooperation. The resolution ignored the progress made by Myanmar regarding education and in general the area of human rights and it had a political vein. The Russian Federation commended the Universal Periodic Review procedure successfully taken by Myanmar and a number of positive elements were indentified, such as the efforts to put an end to forced labour and the international community should place emphasis on the need to provide support and assistance and on the efforts to bring about democratic reform. The Russian Federation could not join consensus on this resolution.

EKSIRI PINTARUCHI (Thailand), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that Thailand joined other delegations in expressing condolences to the people of Myanmar. Thailand could go along with the consensus on the resolution, but wished to express its disappointment on the process and the substance. There was no attempt to consult with regional parties until the last moment, which was in line with the practice of previous years. In terms of substance, Thailand was dismayed by the “Christmas tree approach” in drafting the resolution which now contained a whole host of issues and had moved the goalposts for the Government even further. The draft resolution should focus instead on the most urgent and priority human rights issues and Thailand was of the opinion that the resolution as such would be of no assistance to the work of the Special Rapporteur.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that all States had the right to use their official names and should not be told which name to use. Cuba rejected the use of Burma. Cuba would not support the resolution because changes had occurred on the ground and as there had been positive signs the Council should consider this. The resolution had not reflected the positive changes that had taken place in the country and the cooperative engagement it had with the Association of South East Asian Nations. The resolution would not promote the extension of human rights in the country and therefore Cuba would not support the text.

SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (Malaysia), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that Malaysia wished to convey condolences to the people of Myanmar for the earthquake that struck the country. The human rights situation had seen a historical development in the context of transition toward civilian rule. There were indications of progress and it was incorrect to say that crimes against humanity were committed in Myanmar. The text of the resolution should be strictly procedural in nature and a more constructive approach should be taken. Malaysia shared the view that the Government of Myanmar could do more to protect the human rights in their country and they should continue to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations system. Malaysia would join consensus on this draft resolution.

Action on Resolution on Situation of Human Rights in Côte d’Ivoire

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/33) regarding the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council expresses concern at the seriousness and extent of the abuses and violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law; reiterates its firm condemnation of all atrocities and other violations of human rights, threats and acts of intimidation, as well as acts of obstruction directed at the operations of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire, and deeply regrets the loss of life and destruction of property that has occurred in parts of Côte d'Ivoire; urges all media outlets to refrain from inciting violence, hostility and the propaganda of hate speech, and calls for an end to the restriction on media sources; calls for an immediate end to the violence, including violence against women, and the respect of all human rights and fundamental freedoms; notes with concern the deteriorating humanitarian situation on the ground, and calls on all Ivorian parties to cooperate fully with United Nations agencies and other actors working to assist refugees and internally displaced persons; decides to dispatch an independent international commission of inquiry, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations of serious abuses and violations of human rights committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential election of 28 November 2010, and to present its findings to the Council at its seventeenth session; requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the full administrative, technical and logistical support needed to enable the commission of inquiry to carry out its mandate; decides to transmit the report on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire presented by the High Commissioner to the General Assembly; requests the High Commissioner to present a report on the situation of human rights at its seventeenth session; decides to remain seized of the matter.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria), speaking on behalf of the African Group in introduction of resolution L.33, said the African Group was compelled to speak out on the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire after the elections. The African Group said it was necessary for it to take the lead in following up on the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire. The draft text reaffirmed that the post electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire required immediate attention to put an end to the violence, strengthen the rule of law and improve the human rights situation in the country and called for an immediate establishment of an international commission of inquiry to investigate all human rights violations in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential elections.

EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States), speaking in a general comment, thanked the African Group and the delegation of Côte d’Ivoire for proposing this resolution. The United States hoped that this resolution would be adopted by consensus as the situation in Côte d’Ivoire was grave and deteriorating. They supported the resolution’s call for the immediate establishment of an international commission of inquiry. The crisis in Côte d’Ivoire was a result of the incapacity of Mr. Gbagbo to accept the results of elections that he had agreed to hold. The United States would continue to support the efforts of the African Union to resolve this crisis peacefully. The United States supported the African-led efforts to achieve a peaceful transition of power between former President Gbagbo and his elected successor, Alassane Ouattara.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union welcomed the resolution tabled by the African Group and said that the fight against impunity was at the heart of the European Union action. The European Union strongly condemned the recent attacks against the population that might even constitute crimes against humanity. The European Union was extremely concerned by the attacks, the worsening humanitarian situation and the rapid increase in displaced people and refugees. That was why the European Union had provided humanitarian assistance in the amount of five million euro. The European Union called for the establishment of the international inquiry and hoped that the resolution would be adopted with consensus.

MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO (Brazil), speaking in a general comment, said Brazil supported the text as it primarily focused on the human rights situation. An estimated 90,000 people had left Côte d’Ivoire since February and many were displaced. Sexual violence and armed violence continued. Brazil reiterated its call for all parities to cease violence and said that a lasting solution should be built on human rights and welcomed the dispatch of the inquiry commission. Brazil said that Member States should provide technical assistance and capacity building to Côte d’Ivoire to prevent human rights violations. The situation was serious and urgent and victims were in dire need of help which was a tailor made situation for those Member States interested in providing technical assistance. Brazil noted that the appeal for Côte d’Ivoire was still missing US$ 25 million in funding and urged all States to provide assistance.

JEAN-BAPTISTE MATTEI (France), speaking in a general comment, said that the situation in Côte d’Ivoire was a source of serious concern and the situation had led to thousands of wounded people, including children and women. The attacks and obstacles which affected the operations of the United Nations continued and this had to stop. Thousands of refugees were in Liberia and the recruitment of young people by militias continued. Therefore France supported the establishment of an international commission of inquiry. The Council should provide support to the legitimate authorities of Côte d’Ivoire. The resolution responded to the concerns and called for an end to the violence. Therefore France fully supported this resolution and called for the Council to adopt with consensus this resolution.

KOUADIO ADJOUMANI (Côte d’Ivoire), speaking as a concerned country, said that Côte d’Ivoire expressed gratitude to the whole international community for the interest taken in the country and added that the adoption of this resolution would give new hope to the people. It would renew their hope that the international community had not abandoned them and that it was seriously concerned about the worsening situation in this country. Also, the resolution would establish the international panel of inquiry which reassured the country that the perpetrators would not go unpunished. The unacceptable attacks on civilians that were currently going on around Abidjan might constitute crimes against humanity and should be investigated by the International Criminal Court. The delegation realised that some of the issues discussed during the negotiation of the resolution were of a sensitive nature, but the final point of the resolution was the protection of civilians who were paying the heavy price. There was a need to move beyond the rhetoric towards concrete steps to ensure that human rights were protected throughout the world.

Explanations of the Vote After the Vote on Resolutions Under Agenda Item Three on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights

SITI HAJJAR ADNIN (Malaysia), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said Malaysia took the floor to explain why it abstained on the vote for resolution L.25 on the situation of human rights in Iran. Malaysia said that Iran had taken several significant steps to deepen its engagement with the international community aimed at improving the human rights situation in the country, including its participation in the Universal Periodic Review process and the extension of an invitation to the High Commissioner to undertake a visit to the country. Malaysia said that country specific initiatives were especially vulnerable to misuse and politicization and could potentially detract from the primary objective of implementing positive changes on the ground.

OSAMU SAKASHITA (Japan), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that Japan had voted in favour of the resolution on the human rights situation in Iran. Japan thought that further improvements could be made in Iran and they had been cooperating and exchanging views and dialogue with Iran. Japan hoped that Iran would implement the recommendations received during its Universal Periodic Review and hoped that Iran would engage in a constructive dialogue with the international community.

PARK SANG-KI (Republic of Korea), speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that the Republic of Korea had voted in favour of the resolution on the human rights situation in Iran in view of the need to have more information about human rights situation in this country. This was in line with the position of the Republic of Korea’s strong support for the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.

Action on Resolution Under Agenda Item on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms

Action on Resolution on the Social Forum

In a resolution (A/HRC/16/L.16) regarding the Social Forum, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides that the Social Forum will meet for three working days in 2011, in Geneva; decides that the Social Forum will remain open to the participation of representatives of States Members of the United Nations and all other interested stakeholders; requests the Secretary-General to take the appropriate measures to disseminate information about the Social Forum, invite the relevant individuals and organizations to the Social Forum and take all practical measures required for the success of this initiative; invites the 2011 Social Forum to submit a report containing conclusions and recommendations to the Council; and requests the Secretary-General to provide the Social Forum with all the services and facilities necessary to fulfil its activities, and requests the High Commissioner to provide all the necessary support to facilitate the convening and proceedings of the Forum.

JUAN ANTONIO QUINTANILLA (Cuba), speaking in introduction of resolution L.16, said the draft resolution had 22 additional co-sponsors. The Social Forum constituted a unique opportunity for an open dialogue between different United Nations actors, including thematic experts and grass roots organizations who met in the Forum which was an ideal setting for their voices to be heard. The resolution launched an appeal to facilitate participation in the forum by thematic experts and civil society participants. Cuba made an oral amendment to the text. The text said that the forum of 2011 would focus on the topic of the right to development with an emphasis on national and regional issues regarding the right to development.

MARK J. CASSAYRE (United States), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the United States was unable to support the Social Forum resolution because of the funding provision attached to this resolution. The United States was committed to the right to development and looked forward to supporting this issue but was unable to support this resolution.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of European Union, said that the European Union had engaged constructively with the delegation of Cuba during the negotiation of this text and added that some of the concerns of the European Union had not been addressed, including on the added value of the Social Forum. The European Union would like to be more involved in the preparation of the next session of the Social Forum. While the European Union was fully committed to the increased participation of non-governmental organizations and civil society, it was of the opinion that it was not the task of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to finance the participation of the non-governmental organizations. The representatives of non-governmental organizations added expertise to the Social Forum. For all these reasons, the European Union felt it had to disassociate itself from the consensus on this resolution.

OSAMU SAKASHITA (Japan), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Japan recognized the importance of the right to development. Japan appreciated the flexibility shown by the sponsors to improve the resolution but Japan remained concerned that the resolution would create an overlap of work with the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development. Japan hoped the main sponsors of the resolution would hold more consultations with Member States. Japan disassociated itself from the consensus on this resolution.

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