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Human Rights Council adopts six resolutions, extends mandates on Belarus, and on transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Human Rights Council 

17 July 2020

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted six resolutions in which it, among other actions, extended the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, and of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

Other resolutions dealt with the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity; the elimination of female genital mutilation; the elimination of discrimination against women; and the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights.

In a resolution on the fifteenth anniversary of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 1 against and 14 abstentions as orally revised, the Council decided to convene, before its forty-seventh session, an intersessional panel discussion to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

In a resolution on business and human rights: the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, and improving accountability and access to remedy, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises for a period of three years. 

In a resolution on the elimination of female genital mutilation, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to convene a high-level panel discussion on the multi-sectoral prevention of and response, including the global response, to female genital mutilation at its forty-seventh session. 

In a resolution on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council calls upon States to repeal all laws and policies that exclusively or disproportionately target or criminalize the actions or behaviour of women and girls, and laws and policies that discriminate against them, based on any grounds. 

In a resolution on the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, 15 against and 2 abstentions, the Council requested the High Commissioner to prepare a new report on the work of the Office of the High Commissioner in the implementation and enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, proposing also possible ways to face the challenges to the promotion and protection of human rights, including the right to development. 

In a resolution on the situation of human rights in Belarus, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 5 against and 20 abstentions, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus for a period of one year. 

The Council will next meet this afternoon at 2 p.m. to take action on four remaining draft resolutions before closing its regular forty-fourth session.

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

Resolution on Genocide, War Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes against Humanity

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.12) on the fifteenth anniversary of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 1 against and 14 abstentions as orally revised, the Council decides to convene, before its forty-seventh session, an intersessional panel discussion to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as enshrined in the 2005 World Summit Outcome, on the exchange of best practices on strengthening national policies and strategies to implement the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity through national mechanisms and other stakeholders.  The Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a summary report on the panel discussion and to submit it to the Human Rights Council at its forty-eighth session and to the General Assembly.

The results of the vote are as follows :

In favour (32) : Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Japan, Libya, Marshall Island, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, Somalia, Spain, Togo, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Against (1) : Venezuela.

Abstentions (14) : Angola, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Sudan.

Resolution on Business and Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.14) on business and human rights : the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, and improving accountability and access to remedy, adopted without a vote, the Council decides, in the context of the tenth anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2021, to hold a panel discussion during the forty-seventh session of the Human Rights Council with the participation of the Working Group and with the objective of taking stock of progress made over the first 10 years since the endorsement of the Guiding Principles and discussing possible further steps in order to improve their future implementation by all stakeholders.  The Council also decides to extend the mandate of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, as set out by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 17/4, for a period of three years.  In addition, the Council requests the Working Group, in accordance with its mandate, to continue to give due consideration to the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Resolution on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.20) on the elimination of female genital mutilation, adopted without a vote, the Council urges States to implement the commitments made in the context of the most recent global and regional conferences for the elimination of female genital mutilation and to report on progress in meeting these commitments in the context of existing national, regional and international human rights and sustainable development reporting and review processes.  The Council decides to convene a high-level panel discussion on the multi-sectoral prevention of and response, including the global response, to female genital mutilation at its forty-seventh session and requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a summary report on the panel discussion, to be submitted to the Human Rights Council at its fiftieth session. 

Resolution on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Girls

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.21) on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council calls upon States to ratify or accede to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and to consider ratifying or acceding to the Optional Protocol to the Convention as a matter of particular priorit and to repeal all laws and policies that exclusively or disproportionately target or criminalize the actions or behaviour of women and girls, and laws and policies that discriminate against them, based on any grounds, including any custom, tradition or misuse of culture or religion, and to create accountability mechanisms to end impunity and prevent, eliminate and remedy the discriminatory application of the law.  The Council requests the Secretary-General to ensure that the reports of the Working Group are brought to the attention of the Commission on the Status of Women and the General Assembly, and requests the Working Group to present an oral report annually to the Commission and to the Assembly.

Resolution on the Enhancement of International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.22) on the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, 15 against and 2 abstentions, the Council requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to seek to enhance dialogue with representatives from non-traditional donor countries with a view to broadening the donor base and to replenishing the resources available to the funds.  The Council also requests the Office of the High Commissioner to make clear the process by which States request assistance from the funds, and to process such requests in a timely and transparent manner that adequately responds to the requesting States.  In addition, the Council requests the High Commissioner to prepare a new report on the work of the Office of the High Commissioner in the implementation and enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, proposing also possible ways to face the challenges to the promotion and protection of human rights, including the right to development, and to submit the report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-seventh session.  The Council decides to continue its consideration of the matter at its forty-seventh session, in accordance with its annual programme of work. 

The results of the vote were as follows :

In favour (30) : Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Against (15) : Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine.

Abstentions (2) : Brazil and Mexico.

Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council's Attention

Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Belarus

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.9) on the situation of human rights in Belarus, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 5 against and 20 abstentions, the Council urges the Belarusian authorities to guarantee a free, fair and transparent presidential election on 9 August, and to take all reasonable measures to facilitate a peaceful process, in accordance with the State's international obligations and commitments, including, inter alia, those under article 25 (b) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  The Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus for a period of one year, and requests the Special Rapporteur to submit a report on the situation of human rights in Belarus to the Human Rights Council at its forty-seventh session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-sixth session.  Furthermore, the Council urges the Government of Belarus to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur, including by allowing her access to visit the country and to meet freely with relevant stakeholders, including civil society, in her official capacity in order to assist the Government in fulfilling its international human rights obligations and by considering the implementation of her recommendations, and also urges the Government to extend full cooperation to thematic special procedures. 

The results of the vote were as follows :

In favour (22) : Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Japan, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine.


Against (5) : Armenia, Eritrea, India, Philippines and Venezuela.

Abstentions (20) : Afghanistan, Angola, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo and Uruguay.

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For use of the information media; not an official record

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