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Human Rights Council adopts resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity and concludes twenty-seventh session

Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON

26 September 2014

Adopts Four Presidential Statements, Resolutions on Civil Society Space and Foreign Debt, and Appoints Seven Members of the Advisory Committee
 
The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted three resolutions on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights; on civil society space; and on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.  It also adopted four Presidential Statements and appointed seven members of the Advisory Committee. 
 
In the resolution on civil society space, the Council urged States to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment in which civil society could operate free from hindrance and insecurity, and requested the High Commissioner to prepare a compilation of practical recommendations for the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society. 
 
On sexual orientation and gender identity, the Council adopted a resolution by a vote of 25 in favour, 14 against and seven abstentions in which it expressed grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and requested the High Commissioner to update the report entitled “Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity” with a view to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination. 
 
With regards to the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, the Council, by a vote of 33 in favour, five against and nine abstentions, requested the Advisory Committee to prepare a research-based report on the activities of vulture funds and the impact on human rights. 
 
The Council adopted Presidential Statements on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, on the protection of the human rights of migrants at sea, and on the Ebola Epidemic.  A fourth Presidential Statement was adopted in which the Council took note of the reports of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee on its twelfth and thirteenth sessions.  
 
To fill seven vacant seats in the Advisory Committee, the Council, from the African group, appointed Mohamed Bennani (Morocco), and Obiora Okafor (Nigeria).  From the Asian group, it appointed Ahmer Bilal Soofi (Pakistan), and Changrok Soh (Republic of Korea).  From the East European group, it appointed Laura Craciunean (Romania).  From the Latin American and Caribbean group, it appointed Anantonia Reyes Prado (Guatemala).  From the West European and others group, the Council appointed Laurence Boisson de Chazournes (France). 
 
As for the appointment of Special Procedure Mandate Holders, the President said his efforts to achieve consensus on this list unfortunately did not bear the expected fruit.  In order to reach agreement on the candidates proposed, he was  obliged to propose that it take place in October during the Universal Periodic Review session.  It was understood that the present mandate holders would continue to undertake their mandates until the appointment was completed.
 
The Council then adopted ad referendum the report of its twenty-seventh session, presented by Katerina Sequensova, Human Rights Council Vice-President and Rapporteur. 
 
In his closing remarks, Baudelaire Ndong Ella, President of the Human Rights Council, called on all to respect the Council and also called on States to halt and prevent acts of reprisals against human rights defenders.
 
Presenting draft resolutions and draft amendments were Argentina, Ireland, Tunisia, Cuba, India, Russian Federation, China, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, and Egypt. 
 
Hector Timerman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, introduced the draft resolution on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights. 
 
Speaking in general comments were Algeria, Cuba, Brazil, Russian Federation, Venezuela, Pakistan, Montenegro, Pakistan, Brazil, United States, Sierra Leone, Republic of Korea, Chile, Cuba, Japan, Italy on behalf of the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, and Ethiopia on behalf of the African Group.  
 
Speaking in explanations of the vote before or after the vote were Mexico, United States, United Kingdom, Italy on behalf of the European Union, France, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, South Africa, Algeria, Austria, Montenegro, Germany, Estonia, India, Saudi Arabia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kuwait on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Viet Nam, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Argentina, Romania, Ireland, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Philippines, Indonesia, Botswana, and Chile.
 
The following observer States spoke on the resolutions adopted: Malta, El Salvador, Canada, Bolivia, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Australia, Egypt, Switzerland and Norway. 
 
The International Service for Human Rights spoke in a joint statement  with  Amnesty International; International Federation for Human Rights Leagues (FIDH); CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation; and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA).
 
The twenty-eighth regular session of the Human Rights Council will be held from 2 to 27 March 2015.
 
Action on Resolutions under the 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 the Effects of Foreign Debt on the Full Enjoyment of all Human Rights
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.26) on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights: the activities of vulture funds, adopted by a vote of 33 in favour, five against and nine abstentions, the Council condemns the activities of vulture funds for the direct negative effect that the debt repayment to those funds, under predatory conditions, has on the capacity of Governments to fulfil their human rights obligations, particularly economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development; encourages all States to participate in the negotiations aimed at establishing a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring processes; requests the Advisory Committee to prepare a research-based report on the activities of vulture funds and the impact on human rights, and to present a progress report of that research to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-first session, for its consideration; and also requests the Advisory Committee to seek the views and inputs of Member States and all other relevant stakeholders including national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations, in the preparation of the above-mentioned research-based report.
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (33): Algeria, Argentina, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Viet Nam.
 
Against (5): Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and United States of America.
 
Abstentions (9): Austria, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Republic of Korea, Romania, and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. 
 
 
HECTOR MARCOS TIMERMAN, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, introducing draft resolution L.26 on the consequences of external debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, said the Human Rights Council had been dealing with this issue since 1990, and the Council’s Independent Expert had concluded that vulture funds prevented countries from carrying out their development and poverty reduction programmes.  The draft resolution L.26 should be not be read as a clash of nations.  Rather, it called for financial reform along ethical lines.  It was vital for the Governments of all countries to ensure that a socially oriented international framework for financial institutions was established.  Everything had to be done to prevent vulture funds from diverting funds from development oriented programmes.  Recalling United Nations resolution 68/304 on the establishment of a multilateral process of reconstruction of sovereign debt, Argentina said that the draft resolution brought a new element in the fight against abusive financial speculation, taking into account existing human rights obligations.  Effective and transparent rules should be developed to regulate sovereign debt, and to that end the resolution encouraged all States to participate in multilateral consultations.  The status quo had to change because vulture funds would not stop abuses until States stopped them. 
 
Algeria, speaking in a general comment, said that the draft resolution extended the recommendations made by the Independent Expert on foreign debt.  Vulture funds had a negative impact on debt relief measures and a destabilizing impact on economies of countries using the services of such funds.  The international financial system was inadequate and needed to be reformed, said Algeria, adding that new ways of cooperation must be found for debt restructuring.
 
Cuba, speaking in a general comment, said that the subject of this draft resolution was of vital importance for developing countries as vulture funds were a new kind of threat which called for a new multilateral framework for debt relief and restructuring.  Vulture funds were a new threat to developing countries and 20 countries had already fallen as their victims, including Argentina which had all the right and credibility to promote this text.
 
Brazil, speaking in a general comment, said that Brazil had in the past supported the resolutions concerning the mandate on foreign debt, and bilateral and multilateral initiatives for debt relief.  The international community must better understand and address the uncertainties arising from the lack of predictable mechanisms for debt relief.  Brazil would continue to support other initiatives aiming to improve the functioning of the international financial system.  
 
Russian Federation, speaking in a general comment, expressed gratitude to Argentina for the initiative.  It said that vulture funds heightened social problems, undermined sovereignty and shattered global financial stability, and led to chaos and despair.  If adopted the draft resolution would contribute to the building of a more social and just financial order.
 
Venezuela, speaking in a general comment, warned about the negative impact of excessive debt burden, which was exacerbated by the global crisis of capitalism.  Vulture funds undermined Governments and prevented them from complying with their commitments to human rights.  Venezuela called on the Council to ask the Advisory Committee to carry out research on the impact of vulture funds on human rights, and reiterated the need for international cooperation in that respect.
 
Pakistan, speaking in a general comment, said that the draft resolution L.26 was very important in securing the right to development, adding that relevant decisions should not be marred by political pressure.  Vulture funds reflected current flaws in the global financial system, and revealed the unjust nature of that system.   Pakistan emphasized the importance of timely and durable solutions for sovereign debt restructuring processes, and called on the Council to prepare relevant research. 
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Mexico would vote in favour of this draft resolution as the negative impact of activities of vulture funds was an issue of concern, in particular the impact on economic, social and cultural rights.  This type of speculatory investment could not be invoked as justification for States failing to comply with their obligations.  Mexico wished to see a reference to the obligations of States in the text of the resolution and said that initiatives on restructuring sovereign debt should not impose burdens on States and should not endanger the enjoyment of human rights of their populations.
 
United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it would vote against the draft resolution L.26 because it raised some serious concerns.  The technical nature of the proposed reforms of the international financial system could endanger the financing for developing countries.  In addition, as that issue was already being dealt with in other relevant bodies, the Human Rights Council was not the proper place to discuss it.  Finally, the draft resolution might prompt States to use sovereign debt as an excuse to violations of human rights. 
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, recognized the importance of the issues raised in draft resolution L.26, and appreciated the authors’ attempts to engage in multilateral discussions.  The United Kingdom reminded that it delivered debt relief to developing countries as a member of the Paris Club.  It was committed to promoting debt sustainability.  Nevertheless, it would vote against the resolution because the Human Rights Council was not the right forum for the discussion on the management of sovereign debt because it was already being discussed in other relevant fora.
 
Italy, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that there should be no doubt on the need for solidarity with countries still facing economic and financial crises, but the Human Rights Council was not the appropriate forum for discussions on financial policies.  Those discussions were already ongoing in other fora in which the European Union was participating and that was why the European Union would not support the proposed resolution.
 
France, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the effectiveness of the international mechanisms for the restructuring of sovereign debts was of great concern to France; however, this issue was not within the purview of the Human Rights Council.  The issue of restructuring foreign debt should be discussed in other fora, such as the International Monetary Fund or the Paris Club.  France would abstain from voting on the draft resolution for all those reasons.
 
Action on Resolution on Civil Society Space
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.24) on civil society space, adopted without a vote, as orally revised, the Council urges States to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment in which civil society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity; urges States to acknowledge publicly the important and legitimate role of civil society in the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law and to engage with civil society to enable it to participate in the public debate on decisions that would contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law; urges States to ensure access to justice, accountability and end impunity for human rights violations and abuses against civil society actors; and urges all non-State actors to respect all human rights and not to undermine the capacity of civil society to operate free from hindrance and insecurity.  The Council requests the High Commissioner to prepare a compilation of practical recommendations for the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society and to submit the compilation to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-second session; and decides to remain seized of the matter.
 
Before the resolution was adopted, the Council took action on a series of amendments to resolution L.24.  The Council rejected amendment L.34 by a vote of 15 in favour, 25 against and seven abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.35 by a vote of 18 in favour, 25 against and four abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.36 by a vote of 17 in favour, 26 against and four abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.38 by a vote of 14 in favour, 27 against and six abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.39 by a vote of 14 in favour, 27 against and six abstained.  The Council rejected amendment L.40 by a vote of 15 in favour, 26 against and five abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.41 by a vote of 19 in favour, 24 against and four abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.42 by a vote of 15 in favour, 27 against and five abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.43 by a vote of 15 in favour, 27 against and five abstentions.  
Amendment L.37 was accepted by the co-sponsors of the resolution.
 
Ireland, introducing draft resolution L.24 on civil society, said that the resolution addressed the issue of civil society as a human rights concern.  It promoted the fulfilment of long established rights, such as peaceful assembly, association and expression.  On behalf of the core group, Ireland said it held a wide consultation process with all relevant stakeholders to capture the existing legal context.  However, the concerns of some delegations could not be met in the text, and the current text only said that national provisions on civil society should be in compliance with national laws.  Despite the failure to reach agreement, Ireland was ready to make oral changes to the text.  Ireland said it was surprised to see some amendments which were rather procedural in matter.  Ireland then introduced oral amendments. 
 
Tunisia, also introducing draft resolution L.24, spoke about the motivation of civil society organizations to help others and assist States to meet the needs of their citizens.  The draft resolution would not give the civil society organizations any advantages but was simply a recognition of their contributions.  In Tunisia, it was the civil society that had helped the management of the crisis in 2013 and they were a partner who supported those most vulnerable in the society.
 
Cuba, introducing amendment L.34, said that it aimed to delete from the text the reference to previous resolutions of the Human Rights Council which reflected deep divisions and went through complex adoption processes.  Cuba expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of will of the authors of the draft resolution to include those amendments.
 
Ireland rejected amendment L.34 and called for a vote.
 
India, introducing draft amendments L.35 and L.41, said it wished for these two amendments to be considered separately.  The draft resolution listed certain rights, but important aspects had been left out which were contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  The rights listed in the draft resolution were not absolute.  Funding of civil society organizations was susceptible to misuse.  Transparency and accountability was not taken into account in the draft resolution.  India hoped the two amendments would be adopted by consensus.
 
Ireland said it did not accept the amendments and called for a vote on each. 
 
Russia, introducing amendments L.36, L.38, L.39 and L.40, expressed regret that oral revisions to the draft resolution were shared with others only shortly before being presented.  With regard to the amendments L.36 and L.40, Russia said that the international human rights legal standards clearly stipulated that the framework for the operation of civil society actors was that of national legislation, in particular concerning to their financial operations and funding; the national legal framework should be consistent with the international obligations of that State.  Russia then introduced proposed changes to the text of the draft resolution.  Amendments L.38 and L.39 were of a technical nature and aimed to align the language used in the draft resolution with the international human rights instruments, notably those referring to the use of words “minorities” and “vulnerable groups”.  Russia requested action on each amendment separately.
 
Ireland said it rejected those amendments and called for a vote on each.
 
China, introducing amendment L.42, said that in recent years more and more non-governmental organizations had been participating in the work of the human rights mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council, and had played a positive role.  However, the views and conduct of some of these ran counter to relevant resolutions and rules of procedure of the United Nations.  Some Member States including China had expressed reservations on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Management Plan on many occasions, and had submitted comments and suggestions.  However, the Office had not conducted timely consultations and had not reflected, in a balanced way, comments and suggestions made. 
 
Ireland said it did not accept the amendment and called for a vote. 
 
Venezuela, introducing amendment L.43, called for a more balanced approach in the operative paragraph 15 in the draft resolution.
 
Ireland said it rejected amendment L.43 and called for a vote.
 
Montenegro, speaking in a general comment, expressed appreciation to the core group for facilitating a process of transparent and inclusive engagement with all delegations. Montenegro supported the draft resolution as it was drafted, as it upheld the principle of open and inclusive dialogue and reaffirmed States’ existing obligations under international human rights law.  It also recognized the importance of national, regional and international mechanisms in creating a safe and enabling environment for civil society.  All delegations were urged to support the draft resolution as tabled.
 
Pakistan, speaking in a general comment, thanked Ireland for holding open and transparent consultations.  It regretted that consensus could not be achieved despite concerted efforts.  Pakistan valued the constructive participation of civil society in the work of the Council and other relevant fora, in line with United Nations resolutions and rules of procedures.  The primary issue was that of the sovereignty of States, which had to be respected by civil society organizations at the national and international level.  There could be no dilution of this principle.
 
Brazil, speaking in a general comment, underscored the paramount importance of creating a free and safe environment for civil society to operate.  The text addressed a wide range of rights to which Brazil attached pivotal importance to pave the basis for its development and as part of its democratic society.   Brazil supported operative paragraph 4, which highlighted the importance of the relationship between minority rights and the role of civil society.   
 
United States, speaking in a general comment, said that this timely resolution underscored the important role of civil society in the promotion and protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law and acknowledged that a strong and vibrant civil society was required for strong and prosperous countries.  The United States recognized the importance of State commitments to creating enabling environments for civil society and said that the negotiating process on this draft resolution was open, balanced and transparent.  Inaccurate narrative should not be allowed to be used.
 
Sierra Leone, speaking in a general comment, appreciated the key role of civil society in all aspects of life and the need to provide it with the necessary space.  Civil society had been instrumental in promoting peace and the peace process in Sierra Leone.  The process of increasing civic engagement in day-to-day dealings of the Government had increased its efficiency and Sierra Leone encouraged Member States to support this draft resolution.
 
Republic of Korea, speaking in a general comment, said that the goal of the promotion and protection of human rights could not be reached just with the efforts of States alone but had to be in close cooperation between States and civil society.  There was a need to ensure a safe and enabling environment where civil society’s voices could be safely raised.
 
Chile, speaking in a general comment, said that civil society played a vital role in the defence of human rights during the military dictatorship in Chile and continued to do so.  Chile welcomed the draft resolution presented and believed that this would help move forward the discussion on this issue.  Space for civil society was closely linked to the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.  Chile requested members of the Council to vote against the amendments.
 
Cuba, speaking in a general comment, said it shared concerns about the need for civil society organizations to have appropriate space to carry out their activities, including on promoting and protecting human rights.  In Cuba all conditions were in place to ensure that they could fully exercise their rights and undertake their activities.  Cuba regretted that the main sponsors of the draft text had not taken a particularly constructive attitude which had led to the presentation of amendments.  The draft resolution did not possess the necessary balance, particularly on duties and responsibilities of civil society organizations.
 
Japan, speaking in a general comment, recognized the valuable contribution of civil society in addressing various challenges for the promotion and protection of human rights.  They played an important role in emergency situations, including natural disasters.  Their contribution in making the Japanese society resilient had proven valuable.  Civil society was vital in facing imminent challenges, in particular in the empowerment of women. 
 
Action on Amendment L.34:
 
Costa Rica, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it opposed this amendment as the proposed changes reflected an update based on the texts adopted by the Council on civil society. 
 
Czech Republic, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the changes in the resolution were a technical update which included the reference to resolutions previously adopted by the Council.  All Members of the Council should vote no on this amendment.
 
South Africa, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, remained concerned that the draft resolution still contained references to resolutions it had not supported previously and would vote in favour of the amendment.
 
Algeria, speaking in an explanation of the vote before voting, said it was in favour of appropriate space for civil society, but that it should be in conformity with the obligations within the society itself.   For that reason Algeria would vote for the amendment L.34 to the draft resolution L.24.
 
Action on Amendment L.35
 
Austria, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.35, thanked the core group and co-sponsors for the flexibility shown on this draft text by tabling an oral amendment.  Unfortunately, this flexibility was not met.  Austria would oppose this amendment.  Of course measures taken by States had to be taken in accordance with national legislation.  Article 13 of the Human Rights Defenders Declaration stated that everyone had the right individually and in association with others to solicit, receive and utilise resources for promoting and protecting human rights through peaceful means.  Austria called on all members of the Council to oppose this amendment.
 
Action on Amendment L.36
 
Montenegro, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it supported the resolution as it was tabled and would vote against all amendments.   Montenegro believed that the paragraph describing the state of civil society in draft resolution L.24 was clear, and would vote against amendment L.36.
 
Germany, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it would oppose amendment L.36 for the same reasons as Montenegro.
 
Action on Amendment L.38
 
Estonia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.38, said that the core groups and co-sponsors opposed the amendments.  The inclusion of persons belonging to minorities and vulnerable groups was a direct reference from last year’s resolution.  Estonia opposed the amendment and would vote against.
 
France, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said draft amendment L.38 was not anodyne.  It was vital to make reference to all marginalized groups and France called on all to vote against this amendment.   
 
Action on Amendment L.39
 
Estonia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it opposed amendment L.39 because it would erase the reference to vulnerable groups and marginalized groups, which countered the already agreed language.  
 
France, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it opposed amendment L.39 because it would erase the reference to persons belonging to minorities and vulnerable groups, which was already mentioned in the language agreed upon last year. 
 
Action on Amendment L.40
 
Germany, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.40, regretted that the compromised proposal by the core group was not supported.  It was underlined that respect for the right to funding was crucial for a diverse and pluralistic civil society.  Germany called on all members to vote no.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.40, noted that the core group had offered to accommodate concerns.  The proposed amendment was already addressed by oral revisions made in the introduction.  The United Kingdom did not see the need to insert Article 3 of the Human Rights Defenders Declaration throughout the text, as it was already referred to at the beginning.
 
Action on Amendment L.41
 
Costa Rica, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the participation of civil society and its access to the Council mechanisms should be facilitated rather than prevented, and for that reason Costa Rica would vote against amendment L.41. 
 
Action on Amendment L.42
 
Czech Republic, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.42, said the Czech Republic opposed it.  It was not clear why the co-sponsors of amendment L.42 would seek the deletion.  The Czech Republic would vote no and called on all members of the Council to vote no. 
 
Action on Amendment L.43
 
Austria, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.43, said it opposed the amendment.  The objective of the compilation of good practices was to provide practical assistance to States in their efforts to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society.  These were suggestions and were not legally binding.  All members of the Council were called upon to oppose this amendment.
 
Japan, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.43, said that the co-sponsors had tried their utmost to create open and transparent consultations and the text was a reflection of those efforts.  It was regrettable that the amendment wished to delete ‘practical recommendations’ from the text.  Japan opposed this and would vote against this amendment. 
 
Action on Resolution L.24
 
India, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it regretted that it had to repeat some of its concerns.  Draft resolution L.24 represented a fallacious attempt to make civil society the subject of law.  Civil society in India was rich and was frequently involved in political and social life.  Draft resolution L.24 was unbalanced, and it did not detail that rights came with duties.  India called on the Council to exercise caution and avoid overzealousness which could lead to the undermining of national laws.  Accordingly, India disassociated itself from preambles in paragraph 8, 9, 10, 12 and 14.
 
Saudi Arabia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reaffirmed its support to the statement that would be delivered by Kuwait on paragraph 6 and 10.  It said that Sharia ensured human rights and the work of civil society.  It would like to see prevention of any abuse of national order and sovereignty.   Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia’s proposals regarding cultural and religious specificities were not accepted, and for that reason Saudi Arabia would not support operative paragraphs 14 and 15. 
 
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, regretted that Council members could not agree on the common language of the draft resolution.  Its national policy was to provide an open and maximal level of space for civil society organizations.  There had been a sufficiently lengthy discussion in which delegations had been able to express their views, many of which were reflected in the text. 
 
Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that its countries had worked on the promotion and protection of human rights and provided support to civil society institutions and other organizations working in the field of human rights, as well as other individuals.  It was reiterated that transparency had to be used with regards to the funding of organizations and institutions to ensure they were objective.  Sources of funding had to be independent and very clear.  The proposals made had not been taken into consideration. 
 
Viet Nam, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, recognized the contribution of non-governmental organizations to the development of countries, especially on education, training, healthcare, sports and environmental protection, among others.  They played an increasingly important and active role in providing consultative opinions to State laws, policies and programmes of the central Government and local authorities.  The amendments had aimed to reach a more comprehensive and balanced text and should have been viewed in an open and constructive manner.  Viet Nam shared the concerns raised by previous speakers, especially on the ambiguity and lack of consensus on the topic.  However, it appreciated the holding of a number of consultations. 
 
China, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it valued the positive role of civil society, but noted that civil society should observe national laws, and follow relevant United Nations procedures to participate.  The resolution had failed to properly define civil society, failed to equally treat different categories of human rights, and failed to balance the rights and obligations of civil society. Therefore, China disassociated itself from the operative paragraphs 8, 9, 10, and 12.
 
Indonesia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it placed great importance on civil society.  Indonesia could in principle go along with the draft resolution, but noted that the issues of accountability, transparency and funding of civil society were not clearly defined.   Indonesia stressed that the activities of civil society should be conducted in full compliance with national laws.
 
South Africa, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted that all human rights were subject to limitations in cases when they would undermine national laws, or disrupt public order.  South Africa underlined the need to balance the rights and duties of civil society, and thus opposed the idea that civil society could not be regulated under national laws.  South Africa said it could not support the draft resolution in its current form.   
 
Comments Made at the End of the Consideration of Texts under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights
 
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on the resolution on the right to development, said it attached great importance to the right to development, which played a significant role in the promotion and protection of all economic, social and cultural rights.  However, it was not convinced that consideration of an international legal standard could provide results and for that reason had abstained.
 
Argentina, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on the resolution on drinking water and sanitation, highlighted the importance of having water and basic sanitation services, which had been recognized by various international instruments.   Argentina had thus supported this draft resolution on drinking water and sanitation.  Regarding the draft resolution on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, Argentina expressed support for the self-determination of peoples subject to occupation.  The text should be interpreted and applied with relevant resolutions of the General Assembly. 
 
United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said it was pleased to support the resolution on maternal mortality and morbidity, adding that it provided aid in that respect.  The United States called on the international community to continue contributing and working on the issue.  However, resolution L.19 on maternal mortality and morbidity was overly descriptive in its human rights based approach.  The United States had supported both resolution L.19 and L.28 with an understanding that States parties did not have to recognize additional rights.
 
Japan, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said regarding resolutions L.8 on the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl and L.13 on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on hazardous wastes, the main sponsors needed to do their outmost to reduce the costs and resources for their implementation.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, responded to comments made by Argentina.  It had no doubt over its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands.  The principle of self-determination underlined the United Kingdom’s position on the Falkland Islands.   
 
India, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on the resolutions on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and on preventable maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, said it recognized that there was a long way to go before reaching the Millennium Development Goals on the issue of preventable mother and child mortality.  It regretted that proposed amendments on both resolutions had not been accepted.  A comprehensive approach which recognized the right to development was required. 
 
South Africa, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, welcomed the adoption of the resolution on the effects of foreign debt.  This initiative was appropriate due to the absence of mechanisms to find solutions for the unsustainably indebted countries.  South Africa supported the work undertaken by the Advisory Committee as an independent think tank of the Council.  Vulture funds eroded the gains from debt relief by developing and indebted countries.  South Africa called for the full implementation of this landmark resolution adopted today. 
 
Sierra Leone, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said regarding its support for resolution L.3, the right to development needed to be secured so that Sierra Leone could implement its development programme.  Ensuring social and economic rights was vital in avoiding disasters such as the Ebola outbreak. 
 
Action on Resolution on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

In a resolution (A/HRC/27/L.27/Rev.1) on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, adopted by a vote of 25 in favour, 14 against and seven abstentions, the Council takes note with appreciation of the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights entitled “Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity” (A/HRC/19/41) and of the panel discussion held at the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council; requests the High Commissioner to update the report  (A/HRC/19/41) with a view to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination, in application of existing international human rights law and standards, and to present it to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-ninth session; and decides to remain seized of this issue.
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (25): Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Montenegro, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, South Africa, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela and Viet Nam.
 
Against (14): Algeria, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.
 
Abstentions (7): Burkina Faso, China, Congo, India, Kazakhstan, Namibia, and Sierra Leone.
 
 
Before the Council adopted resolution L.27/Rev.1, it took action on a series of amendments. 
 
The Council rejected amendment L.45 by a vote of 16 in favour, 21 against and seven abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.46 by a vote of 16 in favour, 21 against and seven abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.47 by a vote of 17 in favour, 21 against and six abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.48 by a vote of 17 in favour, 21 against and six abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.49 by a vote of 16 in favour, 21 against and seven abstained. The Council rejected amendment L.50 by a vote of 16 in favour, 22 against and six abstentions.  The Council rejected amendment L.51 by a vote of 16 in favour, 22 against and six abstentions.
 
Brazil, introducing draft resolution L.27, underlined the importance of combatting violence and discrimination on the account of persons’ sexual orientation.  Brazil reminded that the United Nations human rights mechanisms had recorded grave violations against millions of people on the basis of sexual orientation, and emphasized the obligation of States to combat that form of violation of human rights. 
 
Chile, introducing draft resolution L.27, said the financial implications were modest, slightly over $ 58,000.  The resolution did not seek to create new human rights, but the human rights of some persons were more violated and needed protection.  They had held broad-ranging consultations.
 
Columbia, introducing draft resolution L.27, emphasized the broad range of consultations held in the drafting of the resolution, adding that sponsoring States had looked at various sensitivities and concerns.  To that end sponsoring States had accepted the elimination of a part of the draft, which referred to the annual periodicity of the report. 
 
Uruguay, introducing draft resolution L.27, said that the proposed amendments would entail a total elimination of the purpose of draft resolution L.27.  Voting for those amendments would amount to voting against the struggle against violence on the basis of sexual orientation.  The amendments introduced doubtful concepts that distorted the Charter of the United Nations, and Uruguay called on States to reject them.
 
Egypt, introducing amendments L.45, L.46, L.47, L.48, L.49, L.50 and L.51, said that they were the last attempt to converge around a consensus on this resolution and remove the threat of ruining the role of the Council as a platform for human rights.  The countries supporting those amendments did not condone violence against any person, and the fight against violence should not be motivated by discriminatory purposes.  Supporters of the amendments had voiced on a number of previous occasions their opposition to introducing notions and definitions that did not have any basis in international law, especially as they carried with them cultural or social sensitivities.  The draft resolution should be aligned with the agreed language of international law.  Egypt requested separate consideration of each of the presented amendments.
 
Brazil rejected the proposed amendments and said that amendments L.45, L.46, L.48 and L.48, which called for the deletion of reference to sexual orientation and gender identity, radically changed the purpose of the resolution.  Changing the title of L.27/Rev.1 to another more general matter which would continue to be dealt with served only to ignore the situation and eroded the ability of the Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to respond to violence against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity and ignored the progress achieved in this regard so far.  Brazil asked for a vote on the proposed amendments.
 
Chile rejected the amendment L.49 which introduced a new preambular paragraph on the basis that the language contained there introduced dangerous concepts contrary to the United Nations Charter.  L.51 totally changed the nature of the operative paragraph it sought to amend.  The amendments completely removed sexual orientation and gender identity as a basis for violence and Chile called on the Member States to reject them.
 
Italy, speaking in a general comment on the behalf of the European Union, reaffirmed their support for the fight against all forms of human rights violations.  Draft resolution L.27 was important with a simple and transparent outcome.  As such, it represented a genuine attempt for an open dialogue on this issue.  It did not seek to create any new rights.  Victims of such discrimination were reluctant to come forward so it was necessary to bring their voices on board. 
 
Saudi Arabia, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said that they reaffirmed their commitment to the protection of fundamental human rights without discrimination against identity and gender, as enshrined in the Sharia law.  However, it was necessary to respect cultural specificities in certain countries, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries opposed the effort of certain countries to promote their own model of culture.  Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council supported all the amendments proposed by Egypt (L.45 to L.51), and would vote in favour of those.
 
Argentina, speaking in a general comment, said that the resolution aimed to protect the universal freedoms of all individuals.  The Council needed to take into account the rights of particularly vulnerable groups.  Argentina warned that deleting any references to sexual orientation would completely change the purpose of draft resolution L.27. 
 
Algeria, speaking in a general comment, reiterated its commitment to the promotion and protection of all universally recognized human rights and disagreed with efforts of some countries to introduce the concept of sexual orientation in the United Nations General Assembly.  Imposing those notions represented interference with the internal affairs of States and any attempt to introduce a new category of persons weakened the protection of recognized categories.   
 
Brazil, speaking in a general comment, said that discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity were a challenge faced by all countries and regions in the world.  The Council had the responsibility to continue to address this issue and must keep advancing in protecting from violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  The draft resolution was a result of open and transparent negotiations.
 
Montenegro, speaking in a general comment, said that the draft resolution upheld the principles contained in the mandate conferred upon the Council by the General Assembly, particularly the principle of combating violence and discrimination.  In order for this to happen, the world must first understand who experienced discrimination and violence and why.  The draft resolution did not create any new right nor did it require States to take any national action, but it would provide information to enable the Human Rights Council to fight discrimination and violence wherever they were found. 
 
Chile, speaking in a general comment, said the Council should continue to investigate the cases of violence based on sexual orientation in an open atmosphere.  All States had an obligation to fight such violence.  The removal of the reference to sexual orientation would impede the purpose of draft resolution L.27.  Chile repeated that sponsoring States were not introducing any new language on human rights.
 
Action on Amendment L.45
 
Germany, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.45, said this amendment would delete the words sexual orientation and gender orientation from the title.  This would undermine the whole purpose and focus of the proposed resolution and transform it into something else, not in line with the culture and practices of the Human Rights Council.  There was no good rationale to change the title other than to deny the rights of the class of people it referred to.  Germany would vote against this amendment.
 
Action on Amendment L.46
 
Montenegro, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it did not support amendment L.46 as it significantly changed the substance of the proposed text.  The language of the tabled draft resolution reflected the exchange of views during the transparent and inclusive consultations held.  Montenegro strongly opposed the amendment and would vote no. 
 
Romania, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that it opposed the amendment since it aimed to alter the original meaning of the resolution.  Yesterday, the Council had adopted a resolution on indigenous people, which was a concept not legally recognized.  Romania called upon Member States to vote against the amendment. 
 
Action on Amendment L.47
 
Czech Republic, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it opposed the amendment because it changed the spirit of the draft resolution.  The Human Rights Council had a particular responsibility to address violence and discrimination; not addressing this issue would send a wrong message. 
 
Action on Amendment L.48
 
France, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the amendment changed the original meaning of the resolution which aimed to address violence and discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity.  It was time for the Human Rights Council to be seized of this issue and France called on all to vote against this amendment and so enable the Council to continue to address violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons on which all agreed.
 
Action on Amendment L.49
 
Costa Rica, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.49, said it would vote against the proposed amendment, drafted with a view to erode the international human rights framework and more particularly to erode the fundamental principle of the universality of human rights.  The amendment imposed a cultural relativity in the application of human rights, which in Costa Rica’s view was not permissible.  It was totally incompatible with the fundamental principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  All were asked to vote against the proposed amendment.
 
Ireland, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.49, said it did not support the amendment.  Ireland felt the amendment introduced an uncertainty, blurring not just the context but the principle that all human rights were universal, interdependent, and inter-related.  It was the duty of States to protect and promote all human rights and fundamental freedoms. 
 
Action on Amendment L.50
 
Estonia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the draft resolution addressed discrimination and violence against individuals specifically because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.  It did not seek to create new rights but to reinforce the existing rights and protect from discrimination and violence.  The High Commissioner’s report on the sexual orientation and gender identity issues was a significant one and deserved to be mentioned in the resolution, also because the resolution requested an update on this report.  Estonia called on all Members of the Council to vote against this amendment.
 
Action on Amendment L.51
 
Austria, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it would vote against the amendment because it was against the intention of the resolution to call attention to the discrimination and violence against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.  The amendment also replaced the focus of the High Commissioner’s report which would deny the Council the required information. 
 
Action on L.27/Rev.1
 
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in an explanation of the vote before the vote, clarified that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was firmly against all acts of violence or discrimination committed against any individual and was seriously committed to the promotion and protection of human rights.  However, it did not recognize and support certain notions promoted through this forum, as they were not universal.  When it was said that they should not be discriminating against anyone, then that should cover everyone.  The wider connotations of sexual orientation could be detrimental.  Muslims strongly believed that their religious and cultural values should be respected.  There was concern at attempts to shift the focus of the Council from glaring instances of human rights violations which merited urgent attention.  The draft resolution would further divide the work of the Council, promoting an atmosphere of hostility and confrontation.  However, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation did appreciate the consultations held by the co-sponsors in an open and transparent manner.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation called for a vote, and its countries would vote against.
 
Philippines, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it was bound by its strong commitments to promote and protect all individuals.  It stood against discrimination against specific individuals and sectors, including discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.  The Philippines understood that the proposed resolution aimed only to discuss the discrimination and violence against these individuals and that it would not create new rights for specific individuals with specific sexual or gender orientation.  The Philippines would support the resolution. 
 
Indonesia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, believed that the Council should take a productive approach to the consideration of issues, and should respect and be sensitive to different traditions and beliefs.  Indonesia was concerned that the draft resolution and the discussion were on concepts that were unclear and divisive and that was why Indonesia would vote against the draft resolution.
 
Explanations of Votes after the Vote and General Comments on Texts Adopted under the Agenda Item on Follow-up to and Implementation of the Vienna declaration and Programme of Action
 
Botswana, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on L.27/Rev.1, said that the constitution guaranteed full protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and ensured that they were fully realized in practice.  Some challenges remained, such as sexual orientation and gender identity, which were not recognized as rights nationally.  However, Botswana was experiencing social change and it was a public policy and law that violence against any person on any ground including sexual orientation and gender identity was not allowed.
 
United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that as a strong promoter of the rights of all persons, it was a strong supporter of the resolution on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.  The Council’s decision today was a historic step in protecting rights for all.  Cultural or regional differences simply could not justify discrimination or violence anywhere, in any way, against anyone. 
 
South Africa, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said it believed that no person should fear for their safety or be deprived of their dignity because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  South Africa had lent its support for similar resolutions in other multilateral fora.  Guided by the principle of supremacy of its Constitution and the rule of law, the Government was enjoined to promote and respect the rights of all persons without discrimination of all kinds. It would benefit from a best practice report, as called for in the resolution. 
 
Montenegro, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said it was pleased and proud that the resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity had been adopted.  The Council had demonstrated its commitment to combat racism and discrimination of all kinds.
 
China, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on resolution L.27/Rev.1, said China opposed discrimination and violence on all grounds and supported the Council’s efforts in promoting constructive dialogue and cooperation.  In the promotion and protection of human rights, it was necessary to respect religion, history, culture and background of each State and the Council should try to avoid serious division among its members.  That was why China had abstained from the vote on this resolution. 
 
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that it was its national policy to combat discrimination and violence against any person and that was why it had voted in favour of resolution L.27/Rev. 1.
 
Chile, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, also on behalf of Colombia, invited Member States to deeply reflect on what had happened in this Council today and said that the Council should be congratulated for deciding to address discrimination and violence regardless of diverging positions of its members.  The initiative was necessary and timely; today the Council took a small but significant step towards a more inclusive society and created a bridge towards a more equal society.
 
France, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that it welcomed the adoption of the resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.  Through the adoption of this resolution, the Council had demonstrated its ability to overcome differences and confirmed its commitment to combating all forms of violence and discrimination by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, which would be of great hope to these persons. 
 
Action on President’s Statements
 
President’s Statement on the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
 
In a President’s Statement (A/HRC/PRST/L.52) on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Council reaffirms States obligations and commitments to promote and protect the rights, dignity, and well-being of each child; urges States that have not yet done so to consider becoming parties of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and recalls the forthcoming twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations General Assembly and welcomes the unprecedented level of support among United Nations Member States.
 
BAUDELARIE NDONG ELLA, President of the Human Rights Council, said the Council would now consider the draft Presidential Statement on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, referred to as L.52.  It was understood that this statement had received the support of all in the room.  Poland was thanked for having taken the initiative to prepare and submit this draft.
 
Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the Core Group, said that this year marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and thanked Poland for its role.

President’s Statement on the Report of the Advisory Committee

In a President’s Statement (A/HRC/PRST/L.53), the Council takes note of the report of the Advisory Committee on its twelfth and thirteenth sessions (A/HRC/AC/12/2 and A/HRC/AC/13/2). 
 
The President’s Statement was adopted without a vote.
 
President’s Statement on the Protection of the Human Rights of Migrants at Sea
 
In a President’s Statement (A/HRC/PRST/L.54) on the protection of the human rights of migrants at sea, the Council expresses deep sorrow at the massive loss of innocent lives of migrants, including at sea, and calls on States to take further steps, in accordance with their international obligations, to provide persons in distress at sea with assistance.  The Council urges States, individually and collectively, to protect the human rights of migrants and address the root causes that drive people to make such dangerous journeys, and calls on the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and other relevant special procedures of the Council within their respective mandates to pay particular attention to the protection of migrants at sea.
 
The President’s Statement was adopted without a vote.
 
President’s Statement on the Ebola Epidemic
 
In a President’s Statement (A/HRC/PRST/L.55) on the Ebola Epidemic, the Council deplores that the Ebola virus has and continues to claim the lives of so many people in West Africa.  The Council urges States to be mindful of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens of affected countries, when implementing measures to limit the spread of the virus and of the negative effects of inappropriate actions that could result in the stigmatization of the victims, including not only those directly affected by the current epidemic, but also the families of infected persons, the communities in which they live and citizens of the States and regions most affected by the disease, as such inappropriate actions that lead to stigmatization only serve to deepen the negative effects of the Ebola crisis on the enjoyment of human rights. 
 
The President’s Statement was adopted without a vote.
 
The President’s Statements will soon be available on the Human Rights Council documentation webpage for the session.
 
General Comments on the President’s Statements
 
Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Group in a general comment, said that the African Group supported the Presidential Statement on the Ebola crisis and welcomed the appointment of a Special Envoy for Ebola by the Secretary-General.  The African Group was saddened that the disease had claimed thousands of lives in West Africa and by the impact on human rights in concerned States.  There was concern about the predicament of the populations.  The African Group commended the extraordinary measures taken by countries concerned.  Africa’s partners were called upon to intensify the mobilization of resources to fight the Ebola crisis.
 
Sierra Leone, speaking in a general comment, said that West Africa was at the battlefront of one of the biggest life and death challenges facing the global human community.  The most sacred right, the right to life, was being threatened.  The countries affected had cried out for help.  Unfortunately, the assistance had not flown in at the pace required to contain the disease.  Sierra Leone was most grateful to those who had been providing support.  However, much more had to be done urgently to prevent massive loss of lives.  
 
Cuba, speaking in a general comment, welcomed and fully supported the Presidential Statement on Ebola, which was seriously affecting countries in West and Central Africa.  The international community had to be part of efforts underway to tackle the disease.  Cuba had responded to the Secretary-General’s call and decided to send healthcare professionals to several of the affected countries. 
 
Election of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee Members and Appointment of Special Procedure Mandate Holders
 
BAUDELARIE NDONG ELLA, President of the Human Rights Council, read out the list of candidates for the seven vacant posts in the Advisory Committee and the Council then elected the members without the secret ballot procedure as per the rules of procedure, since the number of candidates corresponded to the number of vacant seats. 
 
From the African group, the Council appointed Mohamed Bennani (Morocco), and Obiora Okafor (Nigeria).  From the Asian group, it appointed Ahmer Bilal Soofi (Pakistan), and Changrok Soh (Republic of Korea).  From the East European group, it appointed Laura Craciunean (Romania).  From the Latin American and Caribbean group, it appointed Anantonia Reyes Prado (Guatemala).  From the West European and others group, the Council appointed Laurence Boisson de Chazournes (France). 
 
As for the appointment of Special Procedure Mandate Holders, he said his efforts to achieve consensus on this list unfortunately did not bear the expected fruit.  In order to reach agreement on the candidates proposed, he was obliged to propose that it take place in October during the Universal Periodic Review session.  It was understood that the present mandate holders would continue to undertake their mandates until the appointment was completed.
 
General Comments by Observer States
 
Malta, speaking in a general comment, genuinely supported the initiatives on the prevention of maternal mortality and morbidity and actively participated in international networks that contributed to better health for mother and babies.  No recommendation should impose the obligation to consider the use of abortion as a measure of reproductive health, said Malta, adding that because the right to life extended to unborn life, in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning.
 
El Salvador, speaking in a general comment, referred to the resolution on the prevention of maternal morbidity and mortality.  Compliance with Millennium Development Goals had been a priority for El Salvador.  Measures taken by El Salvador had resulted in a considerable decrease in infant and maternal morbidity.  The resolution must ensure that States’ own values and national priorities were respected.  Reservation was expressed with regards to the technical guidance.
 
Canada, speaking in a general comment on the resolution on the right to water and sanitation, said it raised concerns regarding certain substantive issues and procedural practices.  Canada recognized the importance of access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation for everyone but the language used to define the right to water in the adopted resolution was expansive and Canada’s position was that the text did not reflect international law.  The use of procedural tactics intended to stifle consideration of an issue or undermine an open and transparent process was contrary to the aims and purposes of the Council.
 
Bolivia, speaking in a general comment, recognized the importance of guaranteeing access to justice, ensuring the full enjoyment of the human right to drinking water and sanitation, and promoting the capacity of human rights institutions to identify human rights violations.  However, the resolution on drinking water and sanitation had maintained wording which recognized the human right to water as derived from the right to an appropriate standard of living. 
 
Ecuador, speaking in a general comment, extended its thanks to the co-sponsors of the resolution on drinking water and sanitation for the negotiations they held.  Ecuador clarified that it believed that the rights that were essential to achieving dignity and equality included the right to drinking water and sanitation.  It condemned the imposition of unilateral sanctions upon any States not in accordance with international law. 
 
Bangladesh, speaking in a general comment, took pride in its vibrant civil society which complemented the role of the Government in delivering services to its people and expressed regret that the high number of amendments to the resolution meant that the different views could not be accommodated.  Every Government had the right to set the standards of transparency and accountability for civil society.
 
Australia, speaking in a general comment, was disappointed that some delegations did not agree with important elements of the resolution on national human rights institutions but was pleased that the Human Rights Council had adopted the text.  Australia would continue the dialogue given the importance of this issue.  Australia said that the participation of civil society was a key feature of the Council and welcomed the adoption of the resolution on discrimination and violence on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
 
Egypt, speaking in a general comment, said that it still had some concerns about the technical guidance on preventing maternal mortality and morbidity and its compatibility with national and Sharia laws and said in reference on L.27/Rev.1 that coercion and imposition of views on other Member States must stop.  On L.24, Egypt noted the objection on the conceptual framework which led to imbalance between collective and individual rights of people.
 
Switzerland, speaking in a general comment, deplored human rights violations and abuses of international humanitarian law which continued to be committed every day in Syria.  Violence had to end and a political solution had to be found.  These elements were contained in the resolution on Syria, which had enjoyed support by Switzerland.  The scope of violations in Syria called for a referral to the International Criminal Court.  Switzerland was encouraged that the resolution on national human rights institutions was adopted by consensus, with language on reprisals. 
 
Norway, speaking in a general comment, highlighted the importance of several resolutions made during this session dealing with the issue of reprisals.  It welcomed the strong consensual message of the Council that reprisals were unacceptable and had to be dealt with in an appropriate manner.  Norway also welcomed the adoption of the resolution on civil society space.  Canada welcomed the adoption of the resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity and thanked those who voted in favour of this crucial initiative.
 
Report of the Session
 
KATERINA SEQUENSOVA, Human Rights Council Vice-President and Rapporteur, said that the draft report for the twenty-seventh session contained a procedural description of the Council’s work and would be finalized after the session ended.  The draft report contained 10 chapters, in accordance with the agenda of the Council.  During this session, the Council heard the update of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the activities of his office, held an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and discussed a wide range of topics during 10 panels.  The Council had also considered the outcome of the Universal Periodic Reviews of 14 countries, and appointed members of the Advisory Committee. 
 
The Council then adopted the report of the session of Council ad referendum.  
 
General Concluding Remarks
 
International Service for Human Rights, in a joint statement  with Amnesty International; International Federation for Human Rights Leagues (FIDH); CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation; and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), said that since the beginning of this session, the Council had been characterized by unacceptable attempts to silence non-governmental organizations and stressed the need to proactively safeguard civil society participation and vibrant debate.  It was also urgent that the Council addressed the increase in its activities which was already undermining and risked overwhelming the ability of the Council to fulfil its mandate.  The non-governmental organizations welcomed the stronger involvement in the Central African Republic, the condemnation of violations in Sudan and addressing of priorities in Yemen and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
 
BAUDELAIRE NDONG ELLA, President of the Human Rights Council, in concluding remarks turned to all of the stakeholders who contributed to the work of the Council to spare no effort to preserve the principles of dignity and respect that should characterize this agenda.  It was true that some items could lead to disagreement.  The Council deserved that they could continue to effectively fulfil the tasks entrusted, including through perpetuating a spirit of cooperation and participative dialogue.  It was recalled that reprisals and acts of harassment against those that had cooperated with the United Nations were unacceptable and had to stop.  All measures had to be taken to prevent these acts.  The quality of the work of the Secretariat was applauded.  The President was convinced that the session had allowed them to continue to further promote and protect human rights for all.  This would also be the President’s last regular session.  He had been able to do something he had always wanted to do, which was to support the cause of human rights. 
 
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