dcsimg
English Site French Site Spanish Site Russian Site Arabic Site Chinese Site OHCHR header
Make a donation to OHCHR


Header image for news printout

Human Rights Council concludes seventeenth session

Human Rights Council
ROUNDUP 17 June 2011

Adopts 29 Resolutions, Creates Mandate on Côte d'Ivoire, Adopts the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure and Extends Mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Libya and Appoints New Special Procedures Mandates Holders

The Human Rights Council closed its seventeenth regular session this afternoon, adopting 29 texts on a wide range of issues, including on the follow-up to the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla and the visit of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Yemen; on human rights in the context of peaceful protests, on eliminating all forms of violence against women, on the right to education, on the human rights of migrants, on migrants and asylum seekers fleeing from events in North Africa, on extreme poverty and human rights, on the right to health, on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and on the promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity.

The Council also adopted texts on the promotion of the right of peoples to peace, on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States, on the Proclamation of 19 August as the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, on the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, on the situation of human rights in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and in Belarus and on technical assistance to Kyrgyzstan, Somalia and Côte d'Ivoire.
The Council extended the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity and the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia.

The Council appointed Francois Crépeau as Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Rita Izsak as Independent Expert on minority issues, Virginia Dandan as Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, Ben Emmerson as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism and Ahmed Shaheed as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Council also appointed Anton Ferrel Katz, Patricia Arias and Elzbieta Karska as members of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of impeding the exercise of peoples to self-determination.

The mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises will end on 25 July 2011 and will be replaced by the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises established by the text adopted during the session. By virtue of the adopted texts, the Council decided to establish a forum on business and human rights under the guidance of the Working Group to discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights.

The Council decided to extended the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and to establish the mandate of independent expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire for a period of one year to assist the Government of Côte d’Ivoire in the follow-up to the implementation of the recommendations of the international commission of inquiry and to establish an office of the President within existing resources to support the President in the fulfilment of his or her tasks. The Human Rights Council also adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure and recommended that the Optional Protocol be opened for signature at a signing ceremony to be held in 2012.

In addition, the Council decided to include in the annual full-day discussion on women’s human rights, at its twentieth session, the theme of remedies, with a focus on transformative and culturally sensitive reparations for women who have been subjected to violence and invited the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a thematic analytical study on the issue of violence against women and girls and disability. It would also convene, within existing resources, at its eighteenth session, a panel discussion on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests.

Over the course of its session, the Council heard a number of high-profile reports and held interactive dialogues with the Special Procedures presenting them, including the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; the Special Rapporteur on the right to education; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons , especially in women and children; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; the Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights; the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights; the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty; and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

The Council also heard presentations from the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Open-ended Working Group of the Human Rights Council on an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to provide a communications procedure.

On Monday, 30 May, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, addressed the Council to present the report of the work of her Office, in which she noted the rise in demand for fundamental human rights across North Africa and the Middle East and cited it as a result of the decades of denial of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, as well as the right to development. Promising first steps had been taken in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Jordan toward improving access to fundamental human rights, but legitimate claims were being met with repression and extreme violence by governments in Libya and Syria. The High Commissioner noted that those suspected of committing serious crimes could not escape justice, as was shown with the arrests of Ratko Mladic in Serbia and Bernard Munyagishari in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Noting the continuing vulnerability of migrants, the High Commissioner expressed concern over the rhetoric of recent months depicting migrants as a singular problem best offloaded elsewhere. It was time for all countries facing these challenges to show effective support in full respect of international obligations.

The Council undertook a review of human rights situations that required its attention, hearing presentations of reports by Independent Experts on the situation of human rights in Burundi and in Haiti, which were then debated by the Council.

During its seventeenth session, the Human Rights Council undertook follow up to its Special Sessions on the situation of human rights in Cote d'Ivoire, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the Syrian Arab Republic. The Council held an interactive dialogue with the independent, international Commission of Inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire, in which speakers said they were encouraged to hear that the President was willing to put in place a Commission on Truth and Reconciliation that would shed light on the crimes and violations committed. In the context of the follow up to its fifteenth Special Session devoted to the human rights situation in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the Council held an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry concerning alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in Libya. Speakers shared the Commission’s conclusion that there was evidence that international crimes, specifically crimes against humanity and war crimes, had been committed in Libya and expressed support for the extension of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry. The Council also heard the High Commissioner for Human Rights present her preliminary report on the situation of human rights in Syria.

On Friday, 10 June the Council held an interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the situation of human rights in Libya in which speakers said that they shared conclusions from the report of the High Commissioner that all the alleged violations of international humanitarian law deserved genuine and effective investigations, and they were ready to conduct operations to support humanitarian action in the region.
The Council considered thematic reports by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary-General on the outcome of the seminar on the right to truth and the importance of archives as a means to guarantee the right to truth. The report on the expert workshop on the elimination of all forms of violence against women and the report of the High Commissioner on the question of the realisation in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights were also before the Council. The summary of the High Commissioner on the full-day meeting on the rights of the child reflected the discussions held during the day which had focused on the root causes and factors leading children to live and work on the street, as well as preventive strategies and responses. The report of the Secretariat of the Office of the President of the Human Rights Council adopted the outcome document of the review process in Geneva and provided the Council with the information relevant to its consideration of the formal establishment of the office of the President. The report of the Secretary-General on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights had not been submitted due to technical reasons and would be submitted at the eighteenth session.

On Tuesday, 14 June the High Commissioner presented her report on the status of the implementation of the conclusions contained in the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla. It was followed by a general debate, in which speakers regretted that a year after the investigation of the flotilla incident that there had been no implementation of the recommendations of the report. They were deeply concerned about the continuing stalemate in the peace process and called for the urgent resumption of direct negotiations leading to a comprehensive solution on all tracks.

In the second week of its session, the Council held its annual full-day discussion on women’s human rights, holding a panel discussion focusing on good practices and remaining gaps in the prevention of violence against women, and another panel discussion on conflict-related violence against women. In the third week, the Council held a panel discussion on the human rights of victims of terrorism, a panel discussion on strengthened international efforts to foster a global dialogue for the promotion of a culture of tolerance and peace at all levels, based on respect for human rights and diversity of religions and beliefs, and a panel discussion on best practices in the fight against racism and racial discrimination, in particular in the adoption of national action plans, national legislation and education measures.

The Council further held a number of general debates, including on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development; human rights situations that required the Council’s attention; human rights bodies and mechanisms; the Universal Periodic Review mechanism; the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories; follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action; and on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance: follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

In the context of its Universal Periodic Review procedure, the Council adopted the outcomes of the reports of its Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Nauru, Rwanda, Nepal, Saint Lucia, Oman, Austria, Myanmar, Australia, Georgia, Saint Kits and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Namibia, Niger, Mozambique, Estonia and Paraguay.

In the context of technical assistance and capacity building, the Council considered the High Commissioner’s report on Kyrgyzstan and held a general debate on this agenda item in which speakers welcomed the worldwide engagement and the visits of the High Commissioner, including to areas that were not covered either by regional offices of the Office of the High Commissioner or by specific mechanisms of the Council.
The seventeenth session of the Human Rights Council, presided over by Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow of Thailand, was held from 30 May to 17 June 2011. The eighteenth regular session of the Human Rights Council will be held from 12 to 30 September 2011.

Resolutions Adopted by the Council

Organizational and Procedural Matters

On the follow-up to the report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla, the Council called upon concerned parties to ensure the immediate implementation of the conclusions contained in the report of the fact-finding mission and requested the High Commissioner to bring the attention of the Secretary-General to the conclusions contained in the report and to submit a concluding report on the status of the implementation of paragraph 3 to the Human Rights Council at its twentieth session.

Regarding the establishment of the Office of the President of the Human Rights Council, the Council decided to establish an office of the President within existing resources to support the President in the fulfillment of his or her tasks and enhance efficiency and institutional memory in this regard.

On the follow up to the Human Rights Council Resolution 16/21 with regard to the Universal Periodic Review, the Council extended the duration of the review to three hours and thirty minutes for each country in the Working Group and requested the Secretariat to revise the terms of reference of the Voluntary Fund for participation in the Universal Periodic Review.

Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

On the visit of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Yemen, the Council requested the High Commissioner to report to the Council on her visit to Yemen at its eighteenth session and decided to hold an interactive dialogue on the basis of the said report at its eighteenth session.
Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development
On the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, the Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years and encouraged Governments to refer to the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking as a useful tool in integrating a human rights-based approach into their responses to combat trafficking in persons.

On human rights in the context of peaceful protests, the Council decided to convene, within existing resources, at its eighteenth session, a panel discussion on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, with a particular focus on the ways and means to improve the protection of these rights in such contexts in line with international human rights law.

On eliminating all forms of violence against women, the Council decided to include in the annual full-day discussion on women’s human rights, at its twentieth session, the theme of remedies, with a focus on transformative and culturally sensitive reparations for women who have been subjected to violence and invited the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a thematic analytical study on the issue of violence against women and girls and disability, and to report to the Human Rights Council at its twentieth session.

On the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Council extended the mandate for a period of three years and called upon Governments to give serious consideration to responding favourably to the requests of the Special Rapporteur to visit their countries, and urged them to enter into a constructive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur with respect to the follow-up to and implementation of his or her recommendations so as to enable him or her to fulfil his or her mandate even more effectively.

On the right to education, the Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education for a period of three years and requested all States to continue to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur with a view to facilitating his tasks in the discharge of his mandate, and to respond favourably to his requests for information and visits.

On the human rights of migrants, the Council extended for a period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and requested the Secretary-General to give the Special Rapporteur all necessary human and financial assistance for the fulfillment of his or her mandate.

On migrants and asylum seekers fleeing from events in North Africa, the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to pay particular attention to the situation of migrants and asylum-seekers fleeing North Africa and to report to the Human Rights Council at its eighteenth session and to provide updates thereon.

On extreme poverty and human rights, the Council extended the mandate of the current mandate holder as a Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights for a period of three years in conformity with the terms set forth in Human Rights Council resolution 8/11 and requested the Special Rapporteur to submit an annual report on the implementation of the present resolution to the General Assembly and to the Human Rights Council, in accordance with their programme of work.

On the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the Council called upon the international community to continue to assist developing countries in promoting the full realization of this right including through financial and technical support and training of personnel and urged all States, United Nations agencies and programmes and relevant intergovernmental organizations, including the private sector, to promote the innovative research and development, the affordability of safe, effective and good-quality medicines for non-communicable diseases, and to address the challenges arising from the growing burden of such diseases.

On human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, the Council established a Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises consisting of five independent experts, of balanced geographical representation, for a period of three years. The Council established a forum on business and human rights under the guidance of the Working Group to discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and requested the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to provide all the necessary support to facilitate its convening.

On extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Council demanded that all States take effective action to combat and eliminate the phenomenon in all its forms and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for three years.

On the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, the Council extended this mandate for a period of three years and requested the Independent Expert to continue work on the preparation of a draft declaration on the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity and to submit a report on the implementation of the present resolution to the Human Rights Council.

On the promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity, the Council reiterated its call upon all Governments to cooperate with and assist the Independent Expert in the discharge of her mandate and to give serious consideration to responding favourably to her requests to visit their countries, and requested the Independent Expert to present her next report to the Human Rights Council at its twentieth session.

On the promotion of the right of peoples to peace, the Council requested the Advisory Committee, in consultation with Member States, civil society, academia and all relevant stakeholders, to present a draft declaration on the right of peoples to peace, and to report on progress thereon to the Council at its twentieth session and requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to retransmit the questionnaire prepared by the Advisory Committee in the context of its mandate on the issue of the right of peoples to peace, seeking the views and comments of Member States, civil society, academia and all relevant stakeholders.

On the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States, the Council acknowledged that unsustainable levels of external debt continued to create a considerable barrier to economic and social development in least developed countries and in several low- and middle-income countries. The Council reiterated its request to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to pay more attention to the problem of the debt burden of developing countries, in particular of least developed countries, and especially the social impact of the measures arising from foreign debt.

On the Proclamation of 19 August as the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, the Council recommended that the General Assembly proclaim 19 August the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism and requested the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Members States of the United Nations.

On the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a comprehensive study on the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights, and to submit a report thereon to the Human Rights Council at its nineteenth session.

Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention

On the situation of human rights in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the Council urgently reiterated its call on the Libyan authorities to immediately cease all violations of human rights and to cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry and with all international human rights bodies and mechanisms. The Council also extended the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council in its resolution S-15/1 and requested the Commission to provide an oral update to the Council at its eighteenth session, and a final written report at its nineteenth session.

On the situation of human rights in Belarus, the Council condemned the human rights violations that occurred before, during and in the aftermath of the presidential elections of 19 December 2010 in Belarus and requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to monitor the human rights situation in Belarus and to present her oral report to the Human Rights Council at its eighteenth session and a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in Belarus in an interactive dialogue at its twentieth session. The Council encouraged relevant thematic Special Procedures to pay particular attention to the human rights situation in Belarus and to contribute to the report of the High Commissioner with recommendations on how to redress the human rights situation in Belarus to be presented at the twentieth session of the Human Rights Council.

Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms

On the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Child on a communications procedure, the Council adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure and recommended that the Optional Protocol be opened for signature at a signing ceremony to be held in 2012.

Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

On human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, the Council requested the High Commissioner to commission a study to be finalised by December 2011, to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world, and decided to convene a panel discussion during the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council, informed by the facts contained in the said study.

On national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, the Council encouraged Member States to establish effective, independent and pluralistic national institutions and encouraged national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights to continue to play an active role in preventing and combating all violations of human rights as enumerated in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and relevant international instruments. The Council requested the Secretary-General to report to the Human Rights Council at its twentieth session on the implementation of the present resolution.

Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

On technical assistance and cooperation on human rights for Kyrgyzstan, the Council strongly condemned the acts that resulted in the killing of protestors on 7 April 2010, and urged the Government of Kyrgyzstan to take special measures to ensure the protection of human rights. The Council further requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide technical assistance through her office in Bishkek and brief the Human Rights Council on progress and to submit a report thereon to the Council for consideration at its twentieth session.

On assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, the Council renewed the mandate of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia for a period of one year, from September 2011 and requested the independent expert to evaluate the sufficiency and effectiveness of the technical assistance provided to Somalia for implementing the accepted recommendations, and to submit a comprehensive report thereon to the Human Rights Council at its eighteenth and nineteenth sessions.

On assistance to Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights, the Council noted with concern the humanitarian situation on the ground, and called for an immediate end to violence in Côte d’Ivoire. The Council further decided to establish the mandate of independent expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire for a period of one year to assist the Government of Côte d’Ivoire in the follow-up to the implementation of the recommendations of the international commission of inquiry and of the resolutions of the Human Rights Council and requests the independent expert to submit a report to the Human Rights Council for consideration at its nineteenth session.
__________

For use of the information media; not an official record