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Human Rights Council estalishes new mandates on promoting an equitable international order and on truth, justice and reparation

MORNING

29 September 2011

Also Adopts Texts on Minorities, Mercenaries, International Solidarity, Indigenous Peoples, and Cooperation with the United Nations in Field of Human Rights

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted seven texts, which included establishing new mandates for an Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order and for a Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. The Council also adopted texts on the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities; the use of mercenaries; human rights and international solidarity; human rights and indigenous peoples; and on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights.

In a resolution regarding the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, the Council decided to establish, for a period of three years, a new Special Procedure mandate of Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, with a mandate to identify possible obstacles to the promotion and protection of a democratic and equitable international order, to identify best practices and to work in cooperation with States in order to foster the adoption of measures at the local, national, regional and international levels. The Council requested the Independent Expert to present their first report to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-first session.

The Council decided to appoint for a period of three years a Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, whose tasks would include gathering relevant information on national situations relating to the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence in addressing gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, and to make recommendations thereon. The Council requested the Special Rapporteur to report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

In other texts, the Council decided to convene, at its nineteenth session, a panel discussion to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, with a particular focus on its implementation as well as on achievements, best practices and challenges in that regard.

Concerning the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, the Council once again urged all States to take the necessary steps and to exercise the utmost vigilance against the menace posed by the activities of mercenaries. It condemned mercenary activities in developing countries in various parts of the world, in particular in areas of conflict, and called on all States to take legislative measures to ensure that their territories and their nationals were not used for the recruitment, financing, training and transit of mercenaries.

In a resolution regarding human rights and international solidarity, the Council affirmed that international solidarity was not limited to international assistance and cooperation and aid; it was a broader concept that included sustainability in international relations, and it urged the international community to urgently consider concrete measures to promote and consolidate international assistance to developing countries in their development endeavours. The Council requested the High Commissioner to convene in 2012 a workshop for an exchange of views on the gender implications of international solidarity, the role of international solidarity in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the realization of the right to development.

Regarding a resolution on human rights and indigenous peoples, the Council welcomed the work of the Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and requested the Expert Mechanism to prepare a study on the role of languages and culture in the promotion and protection of the rights and identity of indigenous peoples, in addition to a questionnaire survey to seek the views of States on best practices to attain the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Council decided to hold, on an annual basis a half-day panel on the rights of indigenous peoples and to hold, at its twenty-first session, a half-day panel on access to justice by indigenous peoples.

In a resolution regarding cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, the Council urged States to take all necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of reprisals and intimidation, bearing in mind that free and unhindered contact and cooperation with individuals and civil society were indeed indispensable to enable the United Nations and its mechanisms to fulfil their mandates. The Council decided to convene, at its twenty-first session, a panel discussion under agenda item 5 on the issue of intimidation or reprisal against individuals and groups who cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights.

All the texts that the Council took action on this morning came under its agenda item on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.

Introducing resolutions were Austria, Cuba, Poland on behalf of the European Union, the United States, Argentina, Morocco, Guatemala and Hungary.

Speaking in general comments were Cuba, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Switzerland, Russian Federation and Uruguay on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR).

Speaking in explanations of the vote before or after the vote were Poland on behalf of the European Union and Cuba.

When the Council resumes its work at 3 p.m. this afternoon, it will continue to take action on remaining draft resolutions and decisions.

Action on Resolutions Under Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development

Action on Resolution on Panel to Commemorate Twentieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Minorities

In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L.7) regarding the Panel to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to convene, at its nineteenth session, a panel discussion to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, with a particular focus on its implementation as well as on achievements, best practices and challenges in this regard; requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize the panel discussion and to liaise with the Independent Expert on minority issues, States, relevant United Nations bodies and agencies as well as with civil society, non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions with a view to ensuring their participation in the panel discussion; and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a report on the outcome of the panel discussion in the form of a summary.

CHRISTIAN STROHAL (Austria), speaking in introduction of draft resolution L.7, said it was honour to introduce the draft text with 64 co-sponsors from all regions. Austria was traditionally the main sponsor of resolutions on the rights of minorities. This session Austria had prepared a procedural text that aimed to organize a panel discussion at the next Human Rights Council session in order to commemorate the anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Minorities. This panel would kick off further commemorative activities in this context. Within the draft was mentioned the strong engagement of the Human Rights Council on this topic. Consultation had been held with all delegations of the past week. Austria was confident the draft would be adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolution on the Use of Mercenaries

In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L.11) regarding the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 11 against and 4 abstentions, the Council urges once again all States to take the necessary steps and to exercise the utmost vigilance against the menace posed by the activities of mercenaries, and to take legislative measures to ensure that their territories and their nationals are not used for the recruitment, assembly, financing, training, protection and transit of mercenaries for the planning of activities designed to impede the right to self-determination, to overthrow the Government of any State conducting themselves in compliance with the right of peoples to self-determination; requests all States to exercise the utmost vigilance against any kind of recruitment, training, hiring or financing of mercenaries by private companies offering international military consultancy and security services, and to impose a specific ban on such companies intervening in armed conflicts or actions to destabilize constitutional regimes; calls upon all States that have not yet become parties to the International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries to consider taking the necessary action to do so; condemns mercenary activities in developing countries in various parts of the world, in particular in areas of conflict; requests the Working Group to continue to monitor mercenaries and mercenary-related activities in all their forms and manifestations; also requests the Working Group to continue to study and identify sources and causes, emerging issues, manifestations and trends regarding mercenaries or mercenary-related activities and their impact on human rights; urges all States to cooperate fully with the Working Group in the fulfilment of its mandate; decides to continue its consideration of this matter under the same agenda item at its twenty-first session.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (31): Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, and Uruguay.

Against (11): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, and United States of America.

Abstentions (4): Maldives, Mauritania, Mexico, and Switzerland.

JUAN ANTONIO QUINTANILLA (Cuba), introducing resolution L.11, said that by its adoption the Council would reiterate the concern with the practice of recruitment and use of mercenaries, which constituted a violation of the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. It would also reiterate a call to all States to remain vigilant regarding the phenomenon of mercenarism and to take measures to prevent and combat such practices. The draft resolution L.11 recognized the work done by the working group on mercenaries and the process of regulation of the activities of private military and security companies, increasingly used by foreign occupation regimes and wars of imperial conquest. The draft took note of the first session of the intergovernmental working group tasked with considering the possibility of drafting an international normative framework to regulate and supervise the activities of private military and security companies, and the participation of the working group on mercenaries in this session; and recommended all States to contribute to the intergovernmental group. Cuba hoped that the draft resolution would count with the support of delegations and that it would be approved with the broadest possible support.

Mr. M. MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.11 on behalf of the European Union, said that as a whole the European Union had engaged constructively on the issues of mercenaries. The European Union was concerned about and fully acknowledged the risk posed by mercenaries. The Working Group on mercenaries should focus on the issue of mercenaries. Currently it was confusing the issues of mercenaries with private military security companies. The European Union requested deletion of operative paragraphs 10 and 13 and deletion of references to private military security companies. The activities of private military security companies should be properly regulated. In this context, the European Union was engaging constructively with agencies that could deliver this. The Human Rights Council only had partial answers. The continued confusion of private military security companies and mercenaries was unhelpful. The European Union regretted that none of amendments proposed were taken on board. Poland would call for a vote and would be voting against the resolution.

Action on Resolution on Human Rights and International Solidarity

In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L12) regarding human rights and international solidarity, adopted by a vote of 33 in favour, 12 against and 1 abstention, the Council affirms that international solidarity is not limited to international assistance and cooperation and aid; it is a broader concept that includes sustainability in international relations, especially international economic relations, equal partnerships and the equitable sharing of benefits and burdens; urges the international community to consider urgently concrete measures to promote and consolidate international assistance to developing countries in their development endeavours; calls upon the international community to promote international solidarity to overcome the negative effects of the current economic, financial and climate crises; also recognizes that the so-called “third-generation rights” closely interrelated with the fundamental value of solidarity need further progressive development within the United Nations human rights machinery; requests the independent expert to continue to identify areas to be addressed; also requests the independent expert to take into account the outcomes of all major United Nations and other global summits in the economic, social and climate fields; takes note of the steps taken by the drafting group established by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to consider this issue and to contribute to the elaboration of the draft declaration on the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity; requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to convene in 2012 a workshop for an exchange of views on the gender implications of international solidarity, the role of international solidarity in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and the realization of the right to development; requests the independent expert to present to the Human Rights Council a summary of the discussions held at the workshop.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (33): Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, and Uruguay.

Against (12): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and United States of America.

Abstentions (1): Mauritania.

JUAN ANTONIO QUINTANILLA (Cuba) speaking in introduction of draft resolution L.12, said the draft was usually adopted with the support of the immense majority of the Council. This subject was of strategic importance to developing countries. Developing countries were affected by increasing problems. Given this context international cooperation and solidarity were key to underpinning efforts to support human rights. The resolution’s aim was to promote international cooperation and solidarity. A tangible action would be the scheduling of a seminar to enable a frank and open discussion to establish the role of international solidarity. A minority of countries believed this was not an issue to be addressed. International solidarity was key. Cuba was confident the resolution would be adopted as was customary. There were six additional co-sponsors.

Mr. M. MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland), speaking on behalf of the European Union in explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the European Union attached great importance to the concept of international solidarity. The concept as reflected in the United Nations Charter remained relevant today. Through its development aid, the European Union demonstrated its commitment to solidarity day by day; and its objective remained the eradication of poverty and sustainable development. It was the primary responsibility of States to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens. The European Union reiterated its doubts about whether international solidarity could be translated into human rights standards. International solidarity did not meet the requirements of a legal concept nor of human rights. This attempt constituted a rhetorical move without legal content and would be detrimental to both human rights and the principle of international solidarity. For this reason the European Union had called for a vote on this draft resolution and would vote against it.

Action on Resolution on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable Order

In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L13) regarding the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, adopted with 29 in favour, 12 against and 10 abstentions, the Council affirms that everyone is entitled to a democratic and equitable international order; calls upon all Member States to fulfil their commitment expressed in Durban, South Africa, during the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance to maximize the benefits of globalization through the strengthening and enhancement of international cooperation to increase equality of opportunities for trade, economic growth and sustainable development, global communications and increased intercultural exchange, affirms that a democratic and equitable international order requires the realization of the following: the right of all peoples to self-determination and to peace; the right to an international economic order based on equal participation in the decision-making process, interdependence, mutual interest, solidarity and cooperation among all States; the promotion of a free, just, effective and balanced international information and communications order; respect for cultural diversity and the cultural rights of all; the promotion of equitable access to benefits from the international distribution of wealth; decides to establish, for a period of three years, a new special procedures mandate of Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, with the following mandate:(a) to identify possible obstacles to the promotion and protection of a democratic and equitable international order and to raise awareness on that subject; to submit recommendations to the Human Rights Council; (b) to identify best practices; (c) to work in cooperation with States in order to foster the adoption of measures at the local, national, regional and international levels; requests the Independent Expert to present his or her first report to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-first session.

The Council first voted on L.34 and it was passed by a vote of 23 for, 12 against and 10 abstentions. The results of the vote were as follows:

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (23): Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, and Uganda.

Against (12): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and United States of America.

Abstentions (10): Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay.

The Council then voted on an oral amendment by the United States. It was rejected by a vote of 12 for, 19 against and 20 abstentions. The results of the vote were as follows:

The Council then voted on L.13, which had already been amended by L.34 which had been adopted. It was adopted by a vote of 29 for, 12 against and 5 abstentions . The results of the vote were as follows:

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (29): Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, and Uruguay.

Against (12): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and United States of America.

Abstentions (5): Chile, Costa Rica, Mauritania, Mexico, and Peru.

JUAN ANTONIO QUINTANILLA (Cuba) speaking in introduction of draft resolution L.13, said that the promotion of a democratic and equitable order was of increasing importance everyday as the international context was inequitable and unfair. Development aid had been reduced and technology transfer was limited and there was an increasingly fragile global economy and countries in the South which had always been pillaged continued to suffer from protectionist policies, increases in the price of foodstuffs and hydrocarbons. The social and political consequences of social exclusion were felt throughout the southern countries. This resolution had a great deal of support from the international community and southern countries and it was only the northern States who opposed it with their wish to dominate the world with their economic and military models. The developed countries continued to oppose this resolution because they were unwilling to accept legal instruments to create an equitable, fair and democratic economic order which was a vital prerequisite so that the rights of all people could be achieved. The Special Procedure with this resolution would identify obstacles and promote good practices with the aim of making the world a better place. The Cuban delegation would make an oral revision so that the financial implications of the Special Procedure would be drawn down to the same figure as the new Special Procedures in resolution L.22. The Cuban delegation hoped the initiative would be adopted with the support of most members of the Council.

Mr. M. MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland), speaking on behalf of the European Union introducing draft amendment L.33, believed that any new mandate on this issue should include the promotion of democracy at the national level. The European Union had therefore proposed the inclusion of reference to the concept of democracy taken verbatim from resolutions adopted by the Commission of Human Rights. While the European Union would continue to question the full content of the mandate, it tried to find some minimal additions which would at least give it the potential to make a meaningful contribution to the advancement of human rights. The amendments set out what the European Union considered to be essential elements of democracy, including genuine elections, a choice between different political parties, as well as full guarantees for the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of association. Given that the language enjoyed the overwhelming support of Member States when it was adopted by the Commission of Human Rights, Poland hoped it would be adopted.

JUAN ANTONIO QUINTANILLA (Cuba) speaking in introduction of draft resolution L.34, said the developing countries would ask the Human Rights Council to vote in favour of L.34 which included important amendments which were based on language that was agreed upon in previous resolutions. The amendments submitted by Poland were conceived to be “killing amendments”. These amendments were underpinned by bad faith. They were directed by a former colonial power trying to impose an Anglo Saxon order on the world. These delegations were not involved in negotiations on L.13, and had not even made a limited contribution. Cuba urged members of the Council to vote in favour of L.34. To reiterate all in favour of L.13 should vote for L.34.

STEPHEN TOWNLEY (United States) said the United States wished to make an amendment, it proposed deleting paragraphs 12, 13, 14, 15 and encouraged the removal of the text requiring an Independent Expert. The unclear mandate would not contribute to the work of the Council. This Council had the unique and important mandate of protecting all human rights and improving the rights of people from around the world. This mandate would divert the attention and limited resources of the Council and prevent it from achieving its objectives and the United States maintained other concerns with this resolution. The United States supported the removal of this mandate which was far too expensive and recommended further consideration by the Council.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in a general comment, said that the United States could only support resolutions and efforts that were in their own interests to maintain their control over the global economic order with negative consequences for indigenous peoples. Cuba could not accept this. The United States’ proposal illustrated double standards from the United States and would only serve to undermine the work of the Council. Cuba called on the Council to hold a vote for this resolution. Cuba deplored the attitude of the United States delegation and called on all Member States to support the vote. The figure in the resolution had been reduced by $ 2 million so that the financial implications were $ 1.8 million which would be on the same level as in resolution L.22.

CHRISTIAN GUILLERMET-FERNANDEZ (Costa Rica), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.13, said the text had certain areas that could be strengthened. Costa Rica believed the text was proving an unnecessary polarization in the Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Council should not get bogged down in procedural issues. Costa Rica believed the creation of a mechanism required a great deal of work. The good practice of Switzerland, Argentina and Morocco should be followed. Costa Rica would be abstaining on the amendments and the resolution. The institutional culture needed to be changed as this was not contributing to the protection of human rights.

PEDRO OYARCE (Chile), speaking in a general comment, said that the draft resolution submitted by Cuba contained important elements which Chile fully shared, including the social dimension of democracy. However, Chile indicated that the text which addressed issues relating to democracy should also include elements concerning its effective practice, such as political parties and separation of powers. What constituted a real concern and what Chile deeply regretted was the fact that a very polarized dynamic had been sparkled and could lead to further tension. The issue of substance was that an extreme situation had been reached and a rationale of polarization. Chile had decided to abstain from voting and hoped that, in future work on these key issues of human rights, the Council would be able to work while preserving the spirit of cooperation which was vital for its labour.

CARLOS ALBERTO CHOCANO BURGA (Peru), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.13, said Peru supported multilateralism. However the delegation believed that the broad mandate did not include all the elements of democracy. Peru was going to abstain. Peru would abstain on the amendments proposed even if it they did contain elements they supported and agree with. This resolution had led to conflict that did not serve the preservation of human rights.

ALFONSO MORALES (Ecuador), speaking in explanation of the vote before the vote on draft amendment L.34, expressed support for the draft resolution presented by Cuba concerning the need for an economic, legal and political order which would be equitable and democratic and would ensure respect for human rights, including economic and social rights; and a world order which would be fair and humanitarian. On this basis, Ecuador supported the draft resolution and draft amendments presented by Cuba.

Mr. M. MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.34 on behalf of the European Union, said that L.34 was an amendment to L.33 on the newly proposed mandate to promote a democratic international order which called for the inclusion of a discussion on democracy at a national level. The purpose of L.34, as proposed by the delegation of Cuba, was to change in a fundamental manner the definition of democracy, which was against the idea that citizens should have a choice between a plurality of parties, which members of the European Union held dear and therefore Poland would call for a vote on the resolution.

CARLOS RAMIRO MARTINEZ ALVARADO (Guatemala), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that Guatemala shared the content of the amendments in L.34 reflecting universal principles of democracy and human rights. Democracy should include respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, people should manifest freely their preferences concerning political and social systems. This in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights should include regular elections to ensure legitimacy and should be conducted on the basis of secret ballot. These amendments should not be considered in isolation, since they referred to resolution L.13. This was why Guatemala would abstain. Guatemala expressed concern regarding the polarization of the Council.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on the orally presented amendment of the United States on draft resolution L.13, said speakers had been talking about polarization. Cuba was not responsible for this polarization. Cuba was the first to have open discussions. Cuba was not responsible. Cuba was defending the rights of the south. Should Cuba say “yes sir” to the major colonial powers. Cuba had a right to propose the creation of this Independent Expert. It was not even a Rapporteur. This mandate would make recommendations and beef up dialogue that would put an end to the polarization of our world. Those interested in cooperation should vote against the amendment.

Mr. M. MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland), speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.13 as orally revised by Cuba and amended by L.34, said that the European Union believed it was necessary to continue to work towards an equitable democratic order. As expressed before at the Council, the European Union believed that some of the elements of the draft resolution moved far beyond the scope of the Council and were not dealt in a comprehensive way, but rather arbitrarily and selectively. The creation of the mandate proposed would not be conducive to the protection of human rights and therefore the European Union had called for a vote and would vote against it.

Action on the Resolution on the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparations and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence

In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L22) regarding the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, as orally revised by the Argentinean delegation was adopted without a vote, the Council decides to appoint, for a period of three years, a Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, whose tasks will include:(a) to contribute to the technical assistance on issues pertaining to the mandate; (b) to gather relevant information on national situations relating to the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence in addressing gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, and to make recommendations thereon;(c) to promote good practices as well as to identify potential additional elements that could improve and strengthen the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; (e) to make recommendations concerning judicial and non-judicial measures when designing and implementing strategies, (f) to undertake a study with relevant stakeholders on the ways to implement the issues pertaining to the mandate; (g) to conduct country visits; (h) to participate in relevant international conferences with the aim of promoting a systematic and coherent approach on issues pertaining to the mandate;(j) and to integrate a gender perspective and victim-centred approach throughout the work of the mandate; requests the Special Rapporteur to report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.
ALBERTO DUMONT (Argentina) speaking in introduction of draft resolution L.22, said the resolution had 75 co-sponsors from all regional groupings. Argentina and Switzerland had worked together on the resolution and Argentina had focused on the right to truth and forensic investigations and Switzerland had focused on transitional justice. There had been positive work on the right to justice and guarantees of reparations. Argentina was very happy to see this conclusion shared by many States. The establishment of this United Nations mandate was particularly special for Argentina given it’s history and experience.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco), also introducing draft resolution L.22, underlined the importance of a thematic mandate on the promotion of truth, justice and reparation. Morocco expressed satisfaction that the creation of this Special Procedure came at a time where the questions of transitional justice occupied a central place in the international scene. This initiative recognized the efforts of States which had created transitional justice institutions and constituted a clear invitation to respect the specific context of each situation. It also represented an opportunity to profit from the technical assistance and the expertise that the mandate holder was tasked to provide. The decision of this draft resolution came months before the adoption by referendum of a new constitution in Morocco, which had integrated all the recommendations on equity and reconciliation and constituted a legislative guarantee for non repetition in favour of justice and reconciliation.

DANTE MARTINELLI (Switzerland), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.22, said Switzerland agreed with Argentina about the cooperative relationships that States had on this issue. The resolution was a major achievement of the rights of victims and an attempt to establish complementary strategies. It was a message for the re-establishment of the rule of law. The motion would serve as a focal point in the United Nations system. The role of the mandate holder would be to collect information on best practices and lessons learned, to make recommendations made in this regard and investigate serious violations of human rights. Switzerland hoped the new Special Procedure would contribute to respect for human rights and victims’ rights would be respected. The text was the fruit of intense consultation. Switzerland hoped the text would be adopted by consensus. There were 22 additional co-sponsors.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba), speaking in a general comment, noted the efforts made on the work of this resolution and indicated that Argentina had been spearheading work in the Council and elsewhere to combat impunity and promote reconciliation and justice. Latin America had signaled to the world what had been done to end impunity, including to developed countries which looked at issues of reparation only when it came to developing countries, while they imposed silence concerning violations carried out by their own authorities. Cuba paid tribute to the co-sponsors and thanked them for their work on this draft resolution.

ALEXEY GOLTYAEV (Russian Federation), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.22, said the Russian Federation was of the view that the role of the Special Rapporteur must be carried out first in the context of justice in transition periods and must provide his expertise strictly at the request of States. There must be national measures to establish truth and create guarantees of non recurrence. Russia would not block the growing consensus, however, in future the Russian position would be based on the activities of the Special Rapporteur.

CARLOS ALBERTO CHOCANO BURGA (Peru), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.22, said it supported the draft resolution as it had the conviction that the obligations of truth, justice, reparation and non-recurrence were critical for States facing violations of human rights. The establishment of truth and justice was necessary for a unified and prosperous society and the search for the truth was needed to provide reparations for victims. In Peru, over 22 years of conflict had profoundly marred society. Since 2001, Peru had created a commission to understand the causes of the violence and to establish responsibilities and accept proposals for reparations to respect the dignity of all of the families of victims. Peru discovered this was a difficult process as it revealed a complex reality. The establishment of a Special Rapporteur in this area would assist States in their fight against impunity and would lead to the advancement of democratic societies.

FEDERICO PERAZZA (Uruguay), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.22 on behalf of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), welcomed the initiative. The mandate was very important for the countries of their region which had a strong commitment to truth and justice. An example of this was the establishment of the working group at the MERCOSUR meeting. The exchange of experiences and the commitment of countries were valuable. The creation of the mandate would be a historical fact.

CHRISTIAN GUILLERMET-FERNANDEZ (Costa Rica), speaking in a general comment, paid tribute to the co-sponsors for their work on this draft resolution. It was commendable that the work done by Argentina, reaching out to find extra-regional partners, was an example of good practices, and the transparency with which the work on this draft was carried out. It was important for the Council to be mindful on this as it continued with its work.

ALFONSO MORALES (Ecuador), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.22, supported fully the resolution on truth, justice, reparation and non-recurrence. It was vital for Ecuador that this resolution be adopted due to the violence in its past and it encouraged all Member States to support it.

PEDRO OYARCE (Chile), speaking in a general comment on draft resolution L.22, said they would like to echo what had been said by Uruguay. This was part and parcel of their painful history and Chile wanted the Council to support this issue. Society brought together those affected by truth, justice and reconciliation. Societies said never again. Chile paid tribute to Argentina and Switzerland for their work with victims.

CARLOS RAMIRO MARTINEZ ALVARADO (Guatemala), speaking in a general comment, thanked the main co-sponsors of this resolution and paid tribute to the work done by Argentina concerning justice and truth. Argentina had shown a great deal of leadership in the Council in previous years. It was important to create a Special Procedure to support existing efforts of countries, including Guatemala.

Action on Resolution on Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples

In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L23) regarding human rights and indigenous peoples, adopted without a vote, the Council welcomes the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the rights of indigenous peoples; also welcomes the work of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples; welcomes the work of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; encourages States to consider initiating and strengthening legislative and policy measures that prioritize education in national development strategies affecting indigenous peoples; requests the Expert Mechanism to prepare a study on the role of languages and culture in the promotion and protection of the rights and identity of indigenous peoples; further requests the Expert Mechanism to undertake a questionnaire survey to seek the views of States on best practices to attain the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; welcomes the adoption of General Assembly resolution 65/198, in which the Assembly decided to organize a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to be held in 2014; requests the Secretary-General to prepare a detailed document on ways and means of promoting participation at the United Nations of recognized indigenous peoples’ representatives on issues affecting them; decides to hold on an annual basis a half-day panel on the rights of indigenous peoples and to hold, at its twenty-first session, a half-day panel on access to justice by indigenous peoples; welcomes the role of national human rights institutions in advancing indigenous issues; encourages those States that have not yet ratified or acceded to the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169) of the International Labour Organization to consider doing so.

CARLOS RAMIRO MARTINEZ ALVARADO (Guatemala), speaking in introduction of draft resolution L.23, said this document was an omnibus text. It provided an institutional framework and the help of a voluntary contribution fund. It remedied existing gaps related to participation. It had aspects relating to how to acknowledge different stakeholders. It sorted out an integrated approach to the themes of indigenous peoples issues. The draft resolution acknowledged the work done by the Special Rapporteur and welcomed the practice adopted by the Expert Mechanism devoting time to specific thematic measure placed in front of it. A questionnaire should be sent regarding positive strategies in order to achieve objectives in relation to rights of indigenous peoples. The draft welcomed a mechanism to discuss the world conference on indigenous peoples. It also discussed the ways and means and participation. It invited the Secretary-General and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a detailed document on the means of promoting and working with the United Nations on ways of the participation. This could be submitted in the twenty-first session. Serious consideration should be given to treaty bodies recommendations concerning indigenous peoples. There would be a half day panel on right of indigenous peoples. Draft L.23 was the outcome of broad consultation including all stake holders, including the Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism. The draft had 26 additional co-sponsors.

ALFONSO MORALES (Ecuador), speaking in a general comment on L.23, congratulated Mexico, Guatemala and all the co-sponsors. Ecuador underscored the importance of language and culture in the promotion of the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples and their full integration into society on the basis of equality. This was an issue of great importance and one that Ecuador strongly supported. Ecuador thanked again delegations for their work on this draft resolution.
Action on Resolution on Cooperation with the United Nations in the Field of Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/18/L19) regarding cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, the Council urges States to take all necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of reprisals and intimidation, bearing in mind that free and unhindered contact and cooperation with individuals and civil society are indeed indispensable to enable the United Nations and its mechanisms to fulfil their mandates; also urges States to investigate any alleged acts of intimidation or reprisal, and encourages them to inform the Council of all measures taken to address acts of intimidation or reprisal; decides to convene at its twenty-first session a panel discussion under agenda item 5 on the issue of intimidation or reprisal against individuals and groups who cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights; requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on the outcome of the panel.

ANDRAS DEKANY (Hungary), introducing draft decision L.19, said that the main thrust of the draft decision was to provide the Council with an occasion under agenda time 5 to address instances of intimidation of reprisals against individuals who cooperated with the United Nations in the field of human rights. Hungary believed that free contact and cooperation with individuals and societies was important for the Council to fulfill its mandate. While Hungary would have preferred to allocate a section of the general debate to this issue, in the spirit of compromise, it had agreed to set up of a panel. A transparent approach was maintained during the drafting process through open ended consultations and Hungary warmly welcomed the cross-regional statement under agenda item 5 raising awareness about this issue. This resolution had previously been introduced to the Human Rights Commission and enjoyed broad support, and it was hoped that this draft resolution would enjoy the broad support of the Council. In the spirit of cooperation, Hungary made an oral revision which had distributed in a written form.
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