Concludes General Debate on the Annual Report of the High Commissioner and Reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
GENEVA (21 March 2019) - The Human Rights Council this morning held a general debate on technical assistance and capacity building, after hearing the presentation of reports on Afghanistan, Libya, technical assistance and capacity building programmes of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and on the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights. The Council also concluded its general debate on the annual report of the High Commissioner and Reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General.
Presenting the reports by the High Commissioner on Afghanistan and Libya, Andrew Gilmour, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said the conflict in Afghanistan continued to impact the lives of civilians. There were 10,993 civilian casualties, including 3,894 deaths, of which 927 were children. This was the highest number since 2009. All parties to the conflict, except Daesh, had introduced measures to mitigate harm to civilians. Concerning Libya, Mr. Gilmour said that ill treatment of migrants in detention centres continued unabated. There was evidence of systematic rape and torture of men, women and children in detention, described in the most harrowing accounts of human rights violations that Mr. Gilmour had heard in 30 years in this line of work.
Georgette Gagnon, Director of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, was pleased to provide an overview of experiences and results in the Office’s implementation of technical assistance and capacity programmes requested by States. The Office’s technical cooperation, capacity building and advisory programmes were provided to governments, national human rights institutions and civil society through 74 human rights field presences and were grounded in evidence-gathering, research and analysis. In 2018, the Office provided technical cooperation to stakeholders in support of its four-year programme and the 2030 Agenda.
Morten Kjaerum, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights, explained that this was the second largest trust fund administered by the Office of the High Commissioner and provided an oral update on the Board’s report on its work in the Country Office in Colombia, and in the Regional Office for South America in Santiago de Chile. The Board used the opportunity of the new Organizational Management Plan 2018-2021 to explore ways to enhance technical cooperation in the areas identified as frontier issues.
Afghanistan, speaking as a concerned country, said that the newly enforced Penal Code criminalized the recruitment of children in the armed forces, and harmful practices such as sexual exploitation and the use of corporal punishment. Despite the progress, terrorist attacks continued to inflict immense suffering and people were under daily threat by the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and ISIS.
Libya, speaking as a concerned country, appreciated that the High Commissioner had consulted the Government, but it was surprised that its contribution had not been included in the report. The report did not refer to Libya’s efforts in the promotion of economic and social rights, anti-terrorism measures, or the services offered to migrants in transit. The Government had extended an open invitation since 2012 to all Special Procedures.
In the ensuing general debate, delegations stressed that the human rights agenda could be best served through cooperation and mutual assistance, rather than through naming and shaming, and political point scoring. Technical cooperation and capacity building must be provided at the request of and with the consent of States in accordance with General Assembly resolution 60/251. A number of delegations said that in light of the ongoing challenges, serious assistance should be offered to Libya. Finding an inclusive political solution for the internal conflicts through an Afghan-led and Afghan owned peace process as well as social and economic development in the country were essential, and support was required for Afghanistan as well. The 2030 Agenda offered an excellent opportunity to strengthen human rights without leaving anyone behind. A speaker said that the provision of financial and technical assistance to small island developing States should be based on principles of universality and non-politicization. Technical assistance and capacity building could help mitigate the effects of climate change and environmental degradation which small island developing States were particularly vulnerable to, though they contributed only 1 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking in the general debate were: Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Angola on behalf of the African Group, Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, Romania on behalf of the European Union, United Kingdom on behalf of a group of countries, Cameroon on behalf of a group of countries, Haiti on behalf of a group of countries, Maldives on behalf of a group of countries, Samoa on behalf of a group of countries, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) on behalf of a group of countries, Bolivia (Plurinational State of ) on behalf of a group of countries, Pakistan on behalf of a group of countries, Rwanda on behalf of a group of countries, Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of a group of countries, Spain, India, United Kingdom, Brazil, Cuba, Iraq, Tunisia, Togo, Uruguay, Italy, Egypt, Bulgaria, Bahrain, China, Australia, Cameroon, Qatar, Eritrea, Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, Estonia, Sudan, Lithuania, United Nations Children’s Fund, Germany, Jordan, Libya, Latvia, Finland, Thailand, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Russian Federation, Netherlands, France, Costa Rica, Maldives, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Chad, Algeria, Islamic Republic of Iran, Georgia, Lebanon, Greece, Malta, United Nations Women, Indonesia, Norway and Timor-Leste.
The following civil society organizations also took the floor: International Institute for Rights and Development Geneva, Health and Environment Program (HEP), Human Rights Watch, Ecumenical Alliance for Human Rights and Development (EAHRD), Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM), East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, ABC Tamil Oli, Association of World Citizens, African Green Foundation International, Hamraah Foundation, Association Thendral, Godwin Osung International Foundation, Inc. (The African Project), Giving Life Nature Volunteer, International Buddhist Relief Organisation , United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation, Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH), Action of Human Movement (AHM), L'observatoire mauritanien des droits de l'homme et de la démocratie, Jeunesse Etudiante Tamoule, Sikh Human Rights Group, Refugee Council of Australia, United Nations Watch, Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme, Association of Mali Youth for Agriculture ASJAM, Ingénieurs du Monde, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Tamil Uzhagam, Association culturelle des tamouls en France, International Solidarity for Africa, Society for Development and Community Empowerment, Global Welfare Association, and Amnesty International.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Council concluded its general debate on the annual report of the High Commissioner and Reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General. The general debate started on Wednesday, 20 March, and a summary of the statements can be see here.
In the ensuing general debate, some delegations called on the Venezuelan authorities to hold a dialogue with all parties. Humanitarian corridors should be opened in Yemen for vital aid to be delivered to civilians. Measures in place in Colombia to protect human rights defenders were not effective; the killing of human rights defenders was an alarming development and the Council was urged to monitor Colombia in accordance with the mandate from 2018 as the peace agreement was being undermined. One speaker stressed that human rights violations continued to be directed against Greek Cypriots because of their ethnicity. The persecution of Baha’is in Yemen at the hands of Houthis continued unabated and the international community should urge Houthis to end religious persecution.
The following civil society organizations took the floor: Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme, Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH), Global Welfare Association, Tamil Uzhagam, African Agency for Integrated Development (AAID), Refugee Council of Australia, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, American Association of Jurists, Baha'i International Community, and Institute for NGO Research.
Tanzania spoke in a right of reply.
The Council will next meet at 3 p.m. today to start taking action on resolutions and decisions.
General Debate on the Annual Report of the High Commissioner and Reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme called on the Venezuelan authorities to hold a dialogue with all parties. Humanitarian corridors should be opened in Yemen for vital aid to be delivered to civilians. Finally, it called on a solution to be found in Cameroon before the situation deteriorated further.
Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH) said the measures in place in Colombia to protect human rights defenders were not effective. Human rights defenders were not consulted. It called on the Council to monitor the situation in Colombia under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with the mandate from 2018 as the peace agreement was being undermined.
Global Welfare Association said that timely democratic elections were paramount to the achievement of human rights. The Council should have a non-confrontational stance toward Member States. Colombia’s strong civil society organizations could play an important role to strengthen the democratic process. The speaker was cut off by the President.
Tamil Uzhagam welcomed the High Commissioner’s report calling for justice and accountability. Tamil victims were distressed and disappointed. The speaker was cut off by the President.
African Agency for Integrated Development (AAID) stated that Northern Cyprus had been occupied illegally by Turkey for the past 45 years, and as a member of the European Commission, should be afforded protection from this violation. Human rights violations continued to be directed against Greek Cypriots because of their ethnicity. The Council should demand accountability from Turkey’s Government on these matters.
Refugee Council of Australia regretted that Afghan refugees in Iran were often mistreated. Iranian born Afghans still lived in fear of being deported to Taliban-run Afghanistan. Ostracization and xenophobia were rife, without recourse to legal defence, with thousands of children recruited. Afghan refugees in Iran deserved to have their human rights defended, and the Council should investigate this.
Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII stated that despite some positive results since the signing of the peace agreement in Colombia, the current situation remained very difficult. The expansion of armed groups across the country was of concern. The killing of human rights defenders was also an alarming development. Finally, the breakdown of dialogue between the Government and the ELN forces had exacerbated the situation.
American Association of Jurists regretted that the legal system in Colombia was blocked. Complaints of electoral fraud had not been investigated, the killing of human rights defenders persisted, and the State regularly made civilians act as military informants. Despite the state of law being trampled underfoot in Colombia, the Association would continue to fight for it.
Baha'i International Community complained that all of the Baha’i leadership in Yemen had been imprisoned by the Houthi rebels without access to legal representation. It was clear they had been detained entirely as a result of their religious beliefs. A Council resolution had been passed calling for an end to the religious persecution of Baha’is in Yemen, yet this had not been respected. They called on the Houthis to carry out their commitments under international law and to protect Baha’is.
Institute for NGO Research said he was an Israeli, a husband, a father, and a sergeant in the Israeli Defence Forces. Israel faced an enemy that crossed every ethical boundary. It was said that one man’s terrorist was another man’s freedom fighter. The President cut off the speaker.
The Council has before it The situation of human rights in Afghanistan and technical assistance achievements in the field of human rights - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/40/45)
The Council has before it Situation of human rights in Libya, including the implementation of technical assistance and capacity-building and efforts to prevent and ensure accountability for violations and abuses of human rights - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/40/46)
The Council has before it Report of the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights (A/HRC/40/78)
Presentation of Reports
ANDREW GILMOUR, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said the conflict in Afghanistan continued to impact the lives of civilians. There were 10,993 civilian casualties, including 3,894 deaths, of which 927 were children; this was the highest number since 2009. The goal of the methodical documentation of the situation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was to prevent further bloodshed. All parties to the conflict, except Daesh, had introduced measures to mitigate harm to civilians, but more concreate measures were needed to comply with international humanitarian law and human rights law. He was encouraged by the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan and civil society to address crimes of violence against women and girls, and measures had been taken, including the recruitment of more female prosecutors and judges and the review of the Elimination of Violence against Women law of 2009. The protection of human rights defenders and journalists would ensure strong civic participation in the development of Afghanistan. There was hope for peace when the Government proposed unconditional peace talks with the Taliban, followed by two three-day long ceasefires which led to a large scale civic movement demanding that armed groups engage in peace negotiations. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights looked forward to enhancing engagement with Afghanistan on its compliance with international standards and by providing technical assistance to support the implementation of recommendations.
In the report on Libya, Mr. Gilmour said there was limited progress to be reported since the last update in September. There had been 514 civilian casualties, with 183 deaths, which was a 40 per cent increase from 2017 numbers. Despite the establishment in September 2018 of committees to review the legality of detention centres, the report remained concerned that thousands remained arbitrarily detained and called for unimpeded access for human rights monitors to detention facilities. There were severe restrictions on women’s freedom of movement and their right to freely participate in the public sphere. Migrants were subjected to systematic patterns of serious human rights violations at the hands of State officials and members of armed groups. The ill treatment of migrants in detention centres continued unabated. There was evidence of systematic rape and torture of men women and children in detention described in the most harrowing accounts of human rights violations that Mr. Gilmour had heard in 30 years in this line of work. He called on the Libyan authorities and relevant parties to urgently follow up on the recommendations in the report.
Migrant ships in the central Mediterranean should not be returned to Libya as it was far from a safe haven, and restrictions on life-saving work of humanitarian search and rescue organizations should be lifted. The report recommended that the European Union and Member States urgently reconsider their operational support to the Libyan Coast Guards who endangered the lives of migrants in distress at sea and returned them to arbitrary detention and torture in Libyan centres. The United Nations Support Mission in Libya and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had taken concrete steps to address the grave issues described in the report by supporting civil society, victims and their relatives as well as providing technical assistance programmes to relevant Government entities to ensure accountability for violations committed in Libya. The sustained engagement of the Council was necessary to protect civilians, migrants and refugees, re-establish the rule of law, and combat impunity.
GEORGETTE GAGNON, Director of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, was pleased to provide an overview of experiences and results in the Office’s implementation of technical assistance and capacity programmes requested by States. The Office’s technical cooperation, capacity building and advisory programmes were provided to governments, national human rights institutions and civil society through 74 human rights field presences and were grounded in evidence-gathering, research and analysis. In 2018, the Office provided technical cooperation to stakeholders in support of its four-year programme and the 2030 Agenda. The Office took an innovative approach to reduce the risk of harm to civilians during counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel region and was working with the G5 Sahel Joint Force. This year saw the expansion of in-country support through new country offices in Chad and Liberia and human rights advisors working with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals partners in more countries such as Maldives and Montenegro. Through technical support from the country office in Colombia, the Governor of the Amazonas and indigenous communities had reached agreements to advance the implementation of a comprehensive intercultural health system, which included participation in decision making on infrastructure building and extension of medical insurance coverage for 90 per cent of population.
In Afghanistan, the Office facilitated 39 civil society led roundtable discussions to promote civil society space and the Office published a compilation of 34 provincial roadmaps for peace, supporting advocacy events in 20 provinces. Based on the outcomes of the human rights mechanisms on adequate housing and rights of internally displaced persons, the United Nations human rights team in Serbia, with the United Nation agencies, supported the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs to develop a new Roma Action plan on housing. Ending discrimination was a major area of work for the Office’s human rights field presences. The Office supported consultations with civil society during the drafting of the Tunisian law on the elimination of discrimination and provided technical advice to the ministerial group, which drafted the law, that was adopted in October 2018. The commitment to leave no one behind included ending violence against women. In Uruguay, the human rights adviser worked with the United Nations country team to provide technical support for judges. The provision of equal access to justice was central to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16 and through its presence in South Caucasus, the Office raised capacities to expand legal aid to groups facing vulnerabilities in accessing social services in Azerbaijan. States were supported in implementing recommendations of the international human rights mechanisms at the national level and in their follow-up efforts of the 2030 Agenda. In Kenya, the National Bureau of Statistics was supported to develop indicators on albinism and self-identification of indigenous people. In Uganda they also worked with the Sustainable Development Goals National Task Force to build knowledge on human rights indicators and promote a human rights based approach to data. The Regional Office for Central Africa formed partnerships with specific companies to transform working methods. The Office supported three companies in Cameroon and one in Gabon through advisory services to design human rights compliant policies and practices. In Thailand, the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights was developed with the support of the Office. Among the youngest nations in Asia, with 62 per cent of the population under the age of 25, Timor-Leste was committed to transform its existing youth bulge into a “demographic dividend” by 2030 and the United Nations was supporting implementation of the 2016 National Youth Policy, specifically youth with disabilities. Ms. Gagnon concluded these were a few examples of the Office’s work to inform the discussion today.
MORTEN KJAERUM, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights, explained that the Voluntary Fund was the second largest trust fund administered by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He provided an oral update on the report of the Board of the Voluntary Fund on its work in the Country Office in Colombia, and in the Regional Office for South America in Santiago de Chile, in April and November 2018 respectively. During the session in Colombia, the Board observed the crucial foundation provided by the United Nations Verification Mission’s monitoring, advocacy and technical advisory role, for the work of other actors. The Office in Colombia had built trust with all institutions through continuous provision of support. They also observed the way in which it provided support for follow up of the Universal Periodic Review. It was agile, and able to provide support where needed across the country. The session in the South America Regional Office in Santiago de Chile observed the trust that the Office enjoyed across the region by civil society groups and State institutions. The Office had provided direction on the human rights dimensions of numerous thematic areas, including access to land, the situation of the rights of persons with disabilities, and women’s rights and gender equality in regard to the prevention and investigation of femicides. The Board stressed again the importance for Member States to support the role of the Office through an expansion of its funding to strengthen the sustainability and predictability of its work.
The Board used the opportunity of the new Organizational Management Plan 2018-2021 to explore ways to enhance technical cooperation in the areas identified as frontier issues. A key such issue was the fight against corruption, and it committed to further its technical cooperation in this and other priority areas. The Board stressed the importance of strengthening the sustainability and predictability of funding to continue its work.
Statements by Concerned Countries
Afghanistan, speaking as a concerned country, thanked the Office for the provision of technical assistance and capacity building. Afghanistan’s Constitution enshrined a clear commitment to human rights principles. A standing invitation had been extended for country visits by mandate holders. The newly enforced Penal Code criminalized the recruitment of children in the armed forces and harmful practices such as sexual exploitation and use of corporal punishment. The number of crimes for which the death penalty applied had been significantly reduced. The heads of both electoral commissions were women, and there were 27 per cent of women in the National Assembly and 15 per cent in the Cabinet. Measures were being taken to combat violence against women and legal assistance centres had been established. As a result of institutional reforms, between 2014 and 2018, close to 6,000 cases had been prosecuted. Despite the progress, terrorist attacks continued to inflict immense suffering and people were under daily threat by the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and ISIS. The Government was committed to the full implementation of the National Strategy for Prevention of Civilian Causalities as a guiding tool and intended to strengthen it through a comprehensive review. The policy on the protection of children in armed conflict was being actively implemented and the recruitment of over 3,170 children was prevented in the last four years. The number of children in the military had dropped to zero and law enforcement was working on rescuing children from recruitment by terrorists. Afghanistan was a country challenged on many fronts but was making progress and was committed to further advance human rights, by giving due considerations to the recommendations presented in this report. In closing, Afghanistan called for the continued support of the international community.
Libya, speaking as a concerned country, appreciated that the High Commissioner had consulted the Government, but it was surprised that its contribution had not been included in the report. The report did not refer to Libya’s efforts in the promotion of economic and social rights, anti-terrorism measures, or the services offered to migrants in transit. The Government had extended an open invitation since 2012 to all Special Procedures. As for the status of women, there was no real discrimination and the authorities hoped that the constitutional provisions on women showed the value paid to women by Islam. Libya had a number of laws protecting women and their status. A number of decrees had been issued in 2018 to improve the conditions in detention centres. Libya cooperated with the International Organization for Migration when it came to migrants and it called on the international community to deal with illegal immigration at source. At times there seemed to be some fiction in the report and the assertions made were not justified. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had responded to assertions with respect to migrants; the delegation stressed the need for respecting cultural pluralism. Libya had joined the Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families, and it supported cooperation with non-governmental organizations, but not when they engaged in baseless attacks on Member States.
General Debate on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, believed that the human rights agenda could be best served through cooperation and mutual assistance, rather than through naming and shaming, and political point scoring. Technical cooperation and capacity building must be provided at the request of and with the consent of States in accordance with General Assembly resolution 60/251. In recent years, there had been an unacceptable practice of arm twisting through the presentation of hostile resolutions. The issue of rising xenophobia, hate speech, racism and racial discrimination was of serious concern, especially against Muslims.
Angola, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the African Group was determined to renew its efforts for the promotion of international cooperation in the field of human rights, including technical assistance and capacity building, so that States could strengthen their capacities in meeting regional and international obligations in the field of human rights. For technical cooperation to be efficient, it had to take into account the indivisibility of all rights, implementation of relevant national institutions, and it had to reflect national development priorities. The 2030 Agenda offered an excellent opportunity to strengthen human rights without leaving anyone behind.
Bahrain, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, expressed full support to Libya regarding the security and financial measures to reform the situation in the country and to deal with the humanitarian impact of Da’esh. In light of the activities of transnational criminal gangs, serious assistance should be offered to Libya. The Arab Group stressed the importance of supporting Libya to collect weapons and place them under State control, and to launch the transitional process and national reconciliation. The Arab Group called for the redoubling of technical assistance to Libya.
Romania, speaking on behalf of the European Union, encouraged States to fully cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights when receiving technical assistance. The European Union called on all groups in Libya to end the political stalemate, and in Haiti they called on the Government to engage with civil society in a dialogue. In Georgia, the European Union urged those exercising control to grant the United Nations access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said that technical assistance could support nations to protect and realize human rights. In Cameroon, the group urged the authorities to accept assistance to help address high levels of violence in the north-west and south-west of the country. These included kidnappings, burning of schools, and sexual violence. Cameroon should accept the offer of the Office of the High Commissioner to conduct an urgent assessment mission to the area.
Cameroon, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, shared the view that technical assistance should be given on a voluntary basis. In certain cases, there was evidence that technical assistance had been extended for reasons that had nothing to do with human rights. The group of countries noted that parts of the statement by the United Kingdom had no connection with the mandate of the United Nations and dealt with issues of national sovereignty. Cameroon was committed to defend human rights across the country.
Haiti, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, thanked the Council for the financial and technical assistance extended to small island developing States and emphasized that it should be based on principles of universality and non-politicization. Technical assistance and capacity building could help mitigate the effects of climate change and environmental degradation which small island developing States were particularly vulnerable to, although they contributed only 1 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
Maldives, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said that as the Council’s membership should reflect the diversity of the United Nations as a whole, it was concerning that 79 United Nations Member States had yet to hold a seat on the Council, especially small States. The group of countries came together last year to cooperatively and cross-regionally address the situation by encouraging small States to strengthen their participation and engagement with the Council and its mechanisms and stand for election.
Samoa, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, thanked donors and welcomed the establishment of the Trust Fund without which they would not have been able to participate in the sessions of the Council. This exposure and participation in the Council built their understanding and appreciation of various thematic areas of human rights and would strengthen the engagement of their governments with the Council and its mechanisms.
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said that technical cooperation and capacity building were objective tools available to the Council to prevent human rights abuses. Genuine cooperation and economic complementarity, while respecting cultural specificities, could have a positive and deep transforming impact. The High Commissioner was urged to provide technical assistance to all States.
Bolivia (Plurinational State of), speaking on behalf of a group of countries, reiterated the need for compliance by all States to the right of every State to choose its own political and economic system. The group of countries urged all States to respect the sovereignty of Nicaragua, in line with principles of non-interference. The best way to maintain peace in Nicaragua was through inclusive dialogue and all initiatives undermining peace were condemned.
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said that all the Council’s mechanisms had to be strengthened in line with the institution building package. All were witnessing a troubling trend in the Council where some States were pressurized and coerced by a group of States into accepting support from the Council’s mechanisms. Technical cooperation should not be viewed as a tool for interference in the internal affairs of countries.
Rwanda, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said that technical assistance and capacity building was important to ensure that the 2030 Agenda was implemented in line with States’ human rights obligations. As highlighted in resolution 37/24, the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda were interrelated and mutually reinforcing. The international community should not forget that the implementation of both human rights and the 2030 Agenda fundamentally depended on national leadership and ownership.
Trinidad and Tobago, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community, thanked the donors for their contributions and the Trust Fund Secretariat, noting that the training and capacity building received had borne fruit in concrete ways. For example, a former Trust Fund fellow had been posted to the Permanent Mission of Barbados in Geneva, and a representative from Trinidad and Tobago was also amongst the seven beneficiaries attending the current Council session. The Caribbean Community also acknowledged the technical cooperation provided through the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights in 40 regions, countries and territories, including Barbados and Jamaica.
Spain acknowledged the key importance of technical assistance and capacity building, which was not just a way forward in promoting human rights, but also a way to prevent risks and crises. National implementation was key for the realization of the existing obligations and standards. International systems did not replace commitments of national Governments, Spain stressed, and it welcomed the approach of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to give publicity to good practices and lessons learned.
India reiterated its support for technical assistance, and this should focus on enabling Member States to develop their respective national institutions and capacities. The primacy of the State’s role should be fully respected. India regretted that the report had found that the level of resources for technical cooperation was very modest. As such, India called on all States to prioritize agenda item 10.
United Kingdom welcomed the cooperation between Georgia and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, but remained concerned at the refusal of access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The United Kingdom welcomed the constructive re-engagement of Maldives with the international community. They welcomed progress in Afghanistan, but noted the worrying levels of violence against journalists, children and women. They also called for a political settlement in Libya.
Brazil considered that initiatives under item 10 should be constructive, and contribute to meaningful development in the affected countries. Resolutions should make long-term capacity building possible. As such, the participation of the countries concerned was essential. Effective technical cooperation should reflect the needs on the ground, and item 10 should not be seen as a political alternative to other available measures.
Cuba said technical assistance for human rights should be carried out only at the express request of the receiving State, in accordance with national priorities as regulated by Council resolutions. It was the right of any State to decide when assistance was no longer necessary. Cuba reiterated the appeal to developing countries to remain alert to interference and noted that no investigations were made into racial killings in countries that considered themselves paragons of human rights.
Iraq stressed the importance of this agenda item as it helped reinforce human rights capacity at the request of States. Iraq insisted that the resolutions should not be politicized but should focus on helping States by respecting social and legislative customs and capacity building in line with the priorities of these countries.
Tunisia reaffirmed its commitment to continuing cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and thanked the High Commissioner for the establishment of the office in Tunis in 2011, which had helped reform the judicial and prison system as well as empower women. The Council and treaty bodies promoted cooperation between States and needed to respect objectivity and the need for constructive dialogue. International mechanisms needed to be more efficient and avoid overlap and donors should continue their support and their technical assistance.
Togo said that a year ago the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration that inspired most of human rights mechanisms had been celebrated. Efforts had to be constantly made to promote human rights. This could only be done if the international community promoted cooperation. Technical cooperation was particularly important at a time when global systems seemed fragile.
Uruguay acknowledged the fundamental role played by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in order to build capacities in States for human rights. The new, cooperative approach was welcomed and States were urged to support the Office with unconditional financial contributions. Initiatives and resolutions submitted under agenda item 10 should provide specific tools to countries to develop public policies for the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Italy encouraged Libya’s continued engagement with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya and the Office of the High Commissioner and welcomed efforts of their institutions to preserve the integrity and unity of the country in face of ongoing human rights challenges. Italy was a staunch supporter of technical assistance and capacity building that were crucial in supporting efforts to implement human rights and standards, thus complementing the work of the Council.
Egypt underscored the importance of technical assistance and capacity building in strengthening countries’ capacities to promote and protect human rights. It reminded that the Vienna Declaration reiterated the importance of technical assistance and capacity building. Egypt valued the role played of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, mandate holders, and the Universal Periodic Review in developing capacities of human rights around the world. Any assistance should be provided in line with national priorities and needs. Naming and shaming and exerting political pressure through technical assistance should be avoided.
Bulgaria reaffirmed its support to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for its strong commitment, continuous dialogue and long-lasting cooperation with States. Bulgaria commended Georgia’s commitment to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights, and its efforts to harmonize its legislation, policies and practices with international human rights standards. Bulgaria regretted that there had been no progress in granting access to the Office to Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. Bulgaria also closely followed the human rights developments in Ukraine.
Bahrain noted that the efforts being deployed by Libya in the promotion of security and human rights continued to meet many national and international challenges, particularly migration and transnational crime. Libya had become a hub for criminal gangs that trafficked persons. That phenomenon continued to violate human rights, particularly of vulnerable groups. Bahrain underlined the importance of the transitional process in Libya and called for continued technical assistance for it.
China believed technical assistance could play an important role in the development of a country, but it should be deployed with the consent of the country involved. The Office of the High Commissioner should treat this as a priority, increasing the resources dedicated to technical assistance, which should respect the territorial integrity of the country concerned, avoid politicization of the work, and treat all human rights equally, including the right to development.
Australia strongly supported technical cooperation, and whilst the Australian Aid Programme focused on the Indo-Pacific Region, their contributions had a global reach. Australia praised the work of the Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, which provided assistance to victims of modern slavery. Australia encouraged all States to make contributions to the voluntary funds of the Human Rights Council, to support their valuable work.
Cameroon deplored the fact that the draft resolution gave equal status to a country defending its territory, and armed terrorists that murdered civilians and destroyed infrastructure, committing atrocities against the Mbororo communities. Cameroon did not request technical assistance as it was a stable country, and they deplored the politicization of human rights in this way.
Qatar fully supported all international efforts in Libya, including those designed to put an end to the political split. Qatar was deeply concerned about the continuation of fighting and that more weapons were being used to target civilians. There was no more rule of law as Libya’s public institutions had collapsed. There was torture of migrants and no accountability. The Council should increase technical assistance to Libya.
Eritrea said that technical assistance was one of the most important mechanisms, which helped States to deliver more on their commitments. Unfortunately, the practice of some States was at variance with that rationale. In a number of resolutions under item 10, it was observed that the border line of technical assistance was growing thinner to accommodate a language not consistent with the spirit of assistance.
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf underscored the importance of providing technical assistance and capacity building in the field of human rights, as well as for achieving the 2030 Agenda. The Cooperation Council reiterated the importance of granting continued technical assistance to investigate all human rights violations in Yemen. The success of technical assistance depended on many components, such as the trust, needs and priorities of countries, without any attempt to impose certain policies.
Estonia remained deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in the occupied regions of Georgia. It was crucial that justice and accountability prevailed, and Estonia regretted that the de facto authorities in control in those occupied territories had failed to respect the right to life, safety, freedom of movement, and privacy. It called on those authorities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia to grant unhindered access to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other international humanitarian and human rights organizations.
Sudan believed that countries must receive technical assistance and capacity building in accordance with their needs and requests. The European countries must unify their position vis-à-vis Libya in favour of its safety and security. Sudan commended Libya for the establishment of the National Reconciliation Council and its efforts to reach an inclusive political solution to the current crisis.
Lithuania commended Georgia’s close cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Lithuania was deeply concerned that international organizations and monitors were denied access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which were under Russia’s illegal military control. Abuses of human rights were widespread in these regions, including arbitrary detention, and the killing of internally displaced persons required immediate attention.
United Nations Children’s Fund was concerned about the human rights situation in Libya, where children were amongst the most impacted. A study by the Fund on violence against children revealed that 91 per cent of the surveyed children had been exposed to at least one form of violence at school or home, and 10 per cent experienced violence at the hands of the police or militias. The Fund also called for an immediate end to the detention of migrant and refugee children.
Germany remained concerned at the lack of protection of civilians in Afghanistan, and the high number of killings of children. Germany noted the disparity between ambitious policies and problems implementing them, for example regarding women’s rights. Germany was also concerned about the dire human rights situation in Libya, and about the violence directed at journalists, civilians and migrants. Germany called on all parties to respect humanitarian laws.
Jordan reaffirmed its commitment to the territorial integrity and unity of Libya. Any foreign interference was rejected. Jordan supported the Government of National Accord and hoped it would expand sovereignty on all of the territory. Jordan supported the organization of presidential and legislative elections, under the auspices of the United Nations. The Office of the High Commissioner was called upon to continue providing technical support to Libya, in line with their needs.
Libya insisted on the need to continue technical assistance, which would meet objectives stated. Certain decisions, such as decision 185 and resolution 38, had been adopted to improve human rights in Libya. Libya had reformed the National Council and its activities. Many prisoners had been released and allowed to leave the country, due to health reasons.
Latvia commended the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for its valuable work. Serious concern was voiced over human rights violations in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, outside of effective control of the Georgian authorities. There was no progress in granting access to the Office. Latvia supported the resolution on cooperation with Georgia, put forward by Georgia under item 10, and looked forward to an update on the follow-up during the June session.
Finland called on Afghanistan to do its utmost to ensure full respect for political, economic and social rights for everyone. It was especially concerned about women’s and girls’ rights, and the rights of persons with disabilities, journalists and media workers, and about the shrinking space for civil society. In Libya, Finland was concerned about the prevailing climate of impunity for human rights abuses. Concrete steps were needed to eliminate torture and ill-treatment. In Georgia, Finland reiterated its non-recognition policy regarding Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Thailand welcomed the United Nations’ technical support for the development of online tools and platforms for national implementation, reporting and follow-up of human rights obligations and recommendations. Those tools could improve efficiency, reduce the cost of tracking progress, and identify implementation gaps. Thailand said it strove to advance partnership for sustainability, including through regional cooperation and exchange of good practices in the field of human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) repeated the importance of genuine cooperation with peoples of Latin America, and firmly rejected the initiative in the Human Rights Council against Nicaragua without respect for its sovereignty. This was an act by the United States and its acolytes. It was up to the Nicaraguan people to give impetus to dialogue. Venezuela called on the United Nations to show solidarity and cooperation with Nicaragua, required for the consolidation of its social policies in the context of human rights.
Russian Federation stated that technical assistance for human rights must be provided on a voluntary basis, as the State was the primary provider of human rights. Unfortunately, the politicization of human rights was on the increase in the Council, as had been demonstrated by the example of Cameroon. Russia regretted that countries that truly needed technical assistance had not been granted financing.
Netherlands remained alarmed at the situation of human rights in Libya as a result of political instability. A solution was needed that incorporated the reconciliation of political actors, a reunified army, and new elections. Those responsible for human rights crimes had to be prosecuted. The Netherlands welcomed the efforts by the United States to come to an inclusive Afghan-led political process. They stressed that Afghan women should play a role in this process.
France supported the renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali. In Haiti, France encouraged the authorities to continue their cooperation with the United Nations. In Libya, the objective must be to unify a civilian Government, and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France encouraged continued cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner. France also called for the return to sovereign control of Crimea, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Costa Rica underscored the fundamental role played by the Office of the High Commissioner, particularly in the context of transitional justice in establishing mechanisms of accountability and reconciliation. In a post-conflict setting, the establishment of trust in institutions was an arduous task and it required international support. The Council was called upon to suggest that this be integrated within the United Nations Development Assistance Framework established among the United Nations system.
Maldives said that human rights promoted values and beliefs, and skills were necessary to encourage all individuals to uphold their own rights and respect those of others. Human rights assisted individuals to make informed decisions. Small States like Maldives were presently facing difficulty in periodic reporting to treaty bodies due to lack of resources and constraints in capacity.
Azerbaijan said Azerbaijan highly commended the work of the Council and attached great importance to the global activities of the Office, particularly its technical assistance activities. In 2018, Azerbaijan made a voluntary contribution to support advisory services and technical cooperation. The Human Rights Advisor for South Caucuses provided technical assistance and advisory expertise in Azerbaijan.
Morocco encouraged the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Right to provide support and technical assistance to States with respect to the implementation of treaties and conventions, such as the Global Compact on Migration. It was convinced that technical assistance at a regional level was to be encouraged as it could play an important role in coordination and attainment of the 2030 Agenda. There should be a reflection on developments that may negatively impact the enjoyment of human rights, such as climate change and artificial intelligence.
Chad said that it closely monitored the events in Libya and called on the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue providing technical assistance and capacity building to Libya at its request in order to achieve the promotion and protection of human rights. As for Cameroon, Chad voiced support for its legitimate Government, adding that it was convinced that the ongoing dialogue would bear fruit.
Algeria noted that States, regardless of their level of development, met daily challenges in the promotion of human rights. The High Commissioner should pay more attention to economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. The Human Rights Council should deal with all situations in an equal and transparent manner, in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Iran took note of the report on Afghanistan and recognized the endeavours of Afghanistan’s Government to protect human rights. Finding an inclusive political solution for the internal conflicts through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process as well as social and economic development in the country was essential. Extending assistance to countries would trigger the protection of rights.
Georgia believed in the notion of collective security. Georgia and Afghanistan had enjoyed strong cooperation, as Georgia was the largest per capita contributor to the mission in Afghanistan. Great cooperation was attached to the Office of the High Commissioner. Georgia said its two occupied regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, were deprived of human rights protection and all States offering their support were thanked.
Lebanon noted the report on the situation in Libya. Libyan authorities were facing Daesh terrorism and were fighting organized crime. These challenges undermined security and human rights. Lebanon welcomed the activities of Libya to improve the human rights situation. It was necessary to step up technical assistance to Libya and Lebanon hoped the resolution on Libya would be adopted by consensus.
Greece reiterated the importance of technical assistance and capacity building, and called on States to fully cooperate with these missions. Greece noted with concern the situation in Afghanistan, and called on the Government to uphold its commitments, particularly to women’s rights. Greece stressed the importance of stabilizing the situation in Libya, and called on all groups to stop human rights abuses, and improve the situation of migrants.
Malta stated that national reconciliation remained imperative to ensure Libya’s democratic transition, based on an accepted constitutional framework. Malta called for the cessation of all human rights abuses, and for the investigation of any such abuses in Libya. Malta called for the facilitation of voluntary, safe and dignified return of all internally displaced persons.
UN Women stated that in Libya and Afghanistan, they remained committed to ensuring the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in on-going political efforts under resolution 1325. UN Women called for increased investment and accountability for mainstreaming gender equality in both countries. They continued to strengthen their long-held partnerships with women’s civil society organizations and human rights defenders.
Indonesia said that because technical cooperation and capacity building were core to the endeavours to promote and protect human rights, agenda item 10 was indispensable to the Council’s work. More work should be taken by the Council to provide the right platform for countries to address their challenges on the ground. In that regard, technical assistance should be in alliance with States’ needs and own characteristics as there was no one-size-fits-all solution in addressing human rights.
Norway noted that a sustainable peace in Afghanistan would require an intra-Afghan process between the Government and other groups, including women and all ethnic and religious communities. Norway was deeply concerned about the increase in civilian casualties and was particularly saddened by the large number of children affected. It strongly condemned terror against civilians by non-Governmental actors, and encouraged the Government to strengthen efforts to prevent harm to civilians.
Timor-Leste underlined that technical assistance and capacity building, as well as international cooperation were key to ensuring the integration of human rights in national legislation, policies and frameworks. Timor-Leste appreciated the support given by the Voluntary Trust Fund, as well as several technical cooperation programmes implemented by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
International Institute for Rights and Development Geneva said that as all parties to the conflict in Libya were involved in human rights violations, there was no confidence that they could conduct independent, impartial or transparent investigations; therefore, the Institute called on the Council to establish an international Commission of Inquiry to investigate all allegations of human rights violations in Libya.
Health and Environment Program (HEP) said the group of experts on Yemen had overlooked many crimes committed by Houthi militias. It recommended that the group eliminate those members who were not impartial so as to successfully carry out its mandate.
Human Rights Watch regretted the Council’s failure to provide a credible response to the ongoing human rights crisis in Libya which was taking place in near absolute impunity. The situation should be the subject of a dedicated dialogue. In the absence of robust monitoring, public reporting and efforts towards accountability, it was not possible to speak meaningfully about technical assistance and capacity building. Human Rights Watch called for the Council to establish a Special Rapporteur on Libya.
Ecumenical Alliance for Human Rights and Development (EAHRD) welcomed the decision of the Council to build the capacities of national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations in Yemen so that they could live up to their mission. It drew attention to the importance of technical assistance to impartial civil society organizations.
Organization for Defending Victims of Violence reminded that more than three years after the launch of the Saudi coalition attacks, the world faced a massive humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. Poverty, hunger, famine and bombardments were all the direct results of the conflict. About 7,000 civilians had been killed and more than 10,000 had been injured.
International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM) valued the efforts of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide technical assistance to all organizations, including in Yemen.
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project said that recent legislation which curbed freedom of media and digital communications had hampered prospects for fair and free elections in Tanzania. There were attacks on several civil society members, opposition leaders and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, as was shared by the High Commissioner and it was all causing the deepening of tensions and grievances in Tanzania.
ABC Tamil Oli brought to the attention of the Council the plight of Tamil asylum seekers who had spent decades stranded in transit countries in India, Malaysia and Thailand. They were not resettled to third countries. Sri Lanka still refused to implement resolution 30/1 and every attempt at reconciliation was thwarted. Many Tamils who fled the country did not trust the country and did not want to come back.
Association of World Citizens said it was very rare to have such an overview of what was happening and to have it written so elegantly. From a medical point of view, the burning issue was imprisoned women. The only issue that no one talked about was the sale of slaves, which had been taking place for several years now. Many had come to Europe and there was a large-scale sale of slaves.
African Green Foundation International said that although the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights supported regional organizations in strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights and in exchanging views on good practices and lessons learned, it had not learned from the achievements of the Sri Lankan army in eradicating terrorism from its territory. The Sri Lankan army had not directed any attacks against civilian populations in its endeavour and should be used as a model.
Hamraah Foundation called on the Council to set up an office in Sri Lanka. The Prevention of Terrorism Act was used as a legal excuse to arbitrarily detain and torture prisoners. Tamils abroad had lost faith in the Sri Lankan Government that continued land grabbing under the guise of legality.
Association Thendral urged the Council to double efforts to address the ongoing heritage genocide in the northern provinces of Sri Lanka. The Council should assure justice for Tamil war victims by not allowing any time extensions to the Government to fulfil its human rights obligations and implement the recommendations, and by appointing a Special Rapporteur on Sri Lanka.
Godwin Osung International Foundation, Inc. (The African Project) noted that the Human Rights Council should support the High Commissioner to set up its offices in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka had not shown the political will to fully implement Council resolution 30/1, and human rights violations continued with enforced disappearances, monitoring of people’s movement, sexual violence and continued militarization and Buddhization.
Giving Life Nature Volunteer reminded that the Northern Provincial Council and the Tamil Nadu States Assembly had demanded an independent international investigation into all crimes, including genocide, committed in Sri Lanka. Tamils were victims of the ongoing genocide on the island. In May 2009 the Sri Lankan Government had ended the civil war by killing more than 146,000 Tamils in their homeland. The Council should refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court.
International Buddhist Relief Organisation noted that the comments made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights about Sri Lanka were wrong. The resolution against Sri Lanka had been imposed by the United Kingdom and Germany to criminalize Sri Lankan war heroes and reward those who had committed crimes. The United Kingdom and Germany had no moral authority to impose such resolutions after what they had done as colonial rulers in Sri Lanka.
United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation said that the conscience of the international community had to wake up, following the human rights violations in Libya. Civilians were killed and homes were destroyed. The southern parts of Libya continued to see wave of attacks. It was not merely war but a violation of international law.
Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH) said that when talking about technical assistance, States had to step up their efforts to address corruption and impunity. Corruption led to discrimination and violated equality. The impact of corruption had been the subject of a number of resolutions in the Council, but there had been no follow up. The Group of Experts should make recommendations to States on impunity and corruption.
Action of Human Movement (AHM) said that the Tamil people needed the support of the Council. Some non-governmental organizations which were representing their views in the Council were persecuted later by Sri Lankan authorities. The Council was urged to put in place mechanisms to end the State’s harassment of non-governmental organizations that were operating outside of the country.
L'observatoire mauritanien des droits de l'homme et de la démocratie said that the Government of Sri Lanka had not taken any steps to comply with the resolution. The current regime was the same as the previous regime and sought only to promote war criminals as war heroes. For accountability to be established, international mechanisms would be needed. It urged the United Nations and the international community to provide technical assistance and appoint a Special Rapporteur on Sri Lanka.
Jeunesse Etudiante Tamoule regretted that the Council had allocated two more years to the Sri Lankan Government to meet its commitments. Colombo had as yet completed only six recommendations. The Council should give technical assistance to the Government if it was unable to meet its commitments.
Sikh Human Rights Group commended the High Commissioner for the report on technical assistance and said they were aware of the lack of funds available. The Office should provide technical assistance by working with the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization and make progress on the proposed declaration on diversity.
Refugee Council of Australia reminded that Afghanistan continued to be the second largest refugee producing country in the world with 4.8 million people displaced as refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons. There were concerning rates of civilian casualties, with the highest number of children and women killed in 2018. Achieving durable peace would only be possible by maintaining direct representation and accountability mechanisms in an Afghan-led process.
United Nations Watch noted that the Palestinian Authority must stop rewarding terrorists with salaries. In 2011, the Fogel family had fallen victim to two Palestinian terrorists who had come into their home during their sleep and slaughtered them all, including a baby. As a result, the murderers received monthly payments from the Palestinian Authority. How could one call himself a jihadi for just taking the life of a child?
Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme attached great importance to preventive diplomacy as part of the technical assistance in the field of human rights. In Afghanistan efforts must be made to promote inclusive dialogue ahead of the upcoming elections. In Libya impunity of perpetrators of human rights abuses and inter-tribal frictions undermined efforts for peace. The organization condemned the trafficking and enslavement of migrants with the complicity of certain State actors.
Association of Mali Youth for Agriculture ASJAM said that the Prevention of Terrorism Act had resulted in arbitrary arrest, detention, torture in Sri Lanka. The mental well-being of prisoners was deteriorating. Many people spent their youth behind the bars. Tamils had lost their faith in the Sri Lankan authorities. The Council was asked to establish a fair mechanism, which would be monitored by the United Nations.
Ingénieurs du Monde said that many country situations were discussed under agenda item 10 as matters of mere technical cooperation. Those advocating for technical assistance which included consent of a country were Iraq, Cuba, China, Pakistan and Venezuela. On the other hand, the Council had to move many of those situations to item 4 and hold perpetrators to account.
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom said that international and national actors had contributed to the systematic exclusion of women from the political sphere and international dialogue on Libya. The low level of inclusion was a conscience of the process that did not prioritise women’s meaningful participation and in turn inhibited the possibility of women’s needs to be included in any roadmap of future peace agreements.
Tamil Uzhagam welcomed the report calling for justice and accountability in Sri Lanka. The Government had rejected the recommendations to establish a hybrid court. Member States who had signed the resolution had a responsibility to secure justice for Tamils by sending the Government to the International Criminal Court. The lack of a clear timeline for the implementation of the resolution had caused disenchantment in the Tamils.
Association culturelle des tamouls en France urged the United Nations to establish an office in northern Sri Lanka to encourage the voluntary return of displaced people from Tamil Nadu. Genocidal actions facilitated against the Tamil people needed to be investigated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
International Solidarity for Africa said Tamil war victims refused the Organization of Missing Persons established by the Government of Sri Lanka to cheat the Tamil people and the United Nations. It urged the Council to stop enabling the Sri Lankan Government to get away with this.
Society for Development and Community Empowerment stressed that the Tamils of Sri Lanka needed justice for the genocide committed in May 2009. Since then, they had been unable to return to their homes because if the military occupation by Sri Lankan forces. The land belonging to civilians could not be taken away against their own will. The Human Rights Council should urge Sri Lanka to return Tamil land, as well as provide technical assistance to prevent atrocities.
Global Welfare Association said that the insistence on the creation of hybrid courts to investigate crimes committed by the heroic Sri Lankan forces was a clear breach of relevant United Nations resolutions and the United Nations Charter and its principles of non-selectivity and impartiality in the field of human rights. It constituted interference into Sri Lanka’s internal affairs.
Amnesty International drew attention to Libya’s ongoing crisis. Militias, armed groups and security forces committed serious violations, including war crimes, with total impunity. Amnesty called on the Council to do more to promote justice and accountability in Libya. Turning to Sudan, the organization noted that the authorities had to end measures taken under the state of emergency to violently crush peaceful protests.
Right of Reply
Tanzania, speaking in a right of reply, said that it was utterly regrettable that non-governmental organizations were issuing statements without any facts. And this was even after the non-governmental organization met with Tanzanian Minister during this session in Geneva. Tanzania believed in dialogue as a way to resolve problems. The attitude of some non-governmental organizations which were hell-bent in naming and shaming was deplorable.
For use of the information media; not an official record
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