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افتتاح الدورة الحادية والعشرين للجنة الاستشارية لمجلس حقوق الإنسان*

Remarks by Gianni Magazzeni, Officer in charge of the Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Division
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

6 August 2018

Distinguished Chair of the Advisory Committee,
Excellency H.E. Mr. Eduardo Eguiguren, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to be here with you today as you commence your 21st session. On behalf of the High Commissioner and his Office as a whole, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Advisory Committee for the remarkable work over these past years. It is my great pleasure to be here at the opening of the session that marks the 10th anniversary of the first session of the Advisory Committee. It seems like yesterday that the Human Rights Council entrusted the Committee with the important role of being its think tank, the group of experts that keeps it à l’avant-garde of the intergovernmental bodies and other institutions dealing with human rights.

Distinguished experts,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me now turn to the programme of work of this Committee. During this session, you will be considering a broad array of issues. This reflects the trust that the Human Rights Council places in its main expert body, relying on the Committee’s expertise, experience and dedication to study, in depth, challenges to the full realization of human rights and their enjoyment by every person.

You will continue your discussions and reflection on the six mandates the Human Rights Council has entrusted you with, namely:

  1. Regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights;
  2. National policies and human rights
  3. Activities of vulture funds and their impact on human rights;
  4. Negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights;
  5. Negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origins on the enjoyment of human rights; and
  6. Contribution of development to the enjoyment of human rights.

In addition, you will start your discussions on the two new mandates entrusted to you through General Assembly resolution 72/157 entitled “A global call for concrete action for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of, and follow up to, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action”, and through Council resolution 37/23 entitled “The role of technical assistance and capacity-building in fostering mutually beneficial cooperation in promoting and protecting human rights”. In this regard, I understand the Secretariat has organized briefings by OHCHR colleagues working on the issues at hand and with representatives of the sponsors of the said resolutions, namely South Africa and China respectively.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Advisory Committee, you will also hold a panel discussion on “how research leads to action”.

You will also meet with the HRC Bureau, regional and political coordinators to continue the discussions started last February in the context of your 20th session.

As per practice, you will be meeting with representative of civil society representative to exchange views on the different thematic issues that the Committee is examining at present. I understand that during your last session, this was a very fruitful meeting and I do hope that you will also have a positive experience later this week.

During this session, you will also be discussing your methods of work, agenda, annual programme of work including new priorities of the Committee as well as reflection papers and research proposals.

Distinguished experts,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before concluding, I would like to invite you to follow closely the developments at the Human Rights Council, including the Universal Periodic Review.

In this regard, in my capacity of Chief of the Universal Periodic Review Branch I would like to inform you that the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review started last year. This cycle focuses on implementation and follow up of recommendations that each member State received and accepted through the evaluation mechanism by its peers. The UPR has a State participation of 100% at the highest level, and gives an equally important role to national human rights institutions and to NGOs.

This third cycle is a new momentum for constructive and cooperative engagement with all stakeholders, an opportunity to strengthen the engagement with all States on the follow-up and implementation of the outcomes through cooperative efforts and sharing of best practices among States and other stakeholders. As noted by the Secretary-General in his report A/72/351 (2017), “international co-operation including through human rights mechanisms and their recommendations is providing an important basis for States to achieve greater results in both the implementation of the SDG and human rights protection at the country level”.

In this regard, OHCHR in partnership with national institutions and with the support of different Governments has organised workshops on the UPR process. Last April, one of these workshops, namely for English speaking African States was held in Entebbe, Uganda; and most recently, on 25 and 26 July, the fifth francophone seminar on the UPR was held in Dakar, Senegal with the participation of over 30 francophone countries from all continents.

At these events, we share good practices in terms of national coordination and follow up mechanisms; experiences of aligning human rights efforts to implement recommendations from the UPR with the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs and the growing partnership with Governments, Parliaments, NHRIs, NGOs, RHRMs and UNCTs in connection with national human rights action plans.

Distinguished experts,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The programme of work for this week seems intense. OHCHR stands ready to provide you with the necessary support for the fulfilment of your mandates.

I wish you a productive and successful session.

Thank you.