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Human Rights Council continues general debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

25 Septembre 2020

Concludes Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and continued the general debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention.

Speaking on the rights of indigenous peoples were Peru (video message), Philippines (video message), Canada, Kenya, Ukraine, Cambodia, Pakistan, Russian Federation and Vanuatu.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations : Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - COC Nederland, Edmund Rice International Limited, Conselho Indigenista Missionário, Minority Rights Group, International Lesbian and Gay Association, Terra de Direitos, Franciscans International, FIAN International e.V., Conectas Direitos Humanos, Right Livelihood Award Foundation, Mexican Commission of Defense and Promotion of the Human Rights, World Organisation Against Torture, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, African Regional Agricultural Credit Association, Center for Justice and International Law, Alsalam Foundation, World Environment and Resources Council, International Organization for the Right to Education and Freedom of Education, Earthjustice, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain Inc, Iraqi Development Organization, Next Century Foundation, iuventum e.V., and International Indian Treaty Council.

The Council then continued the general debate on human rights situations that require the Council's attention.

Speaking were the following national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations : Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale - OCAPROCE Internationale, Alsalam Foundation, Arab NGO Network for Development, United Schools International, World Jewish Congress, Pan African Union for Science and Technology, Centre Europe-tiers-monde, Stichting CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, Jubilee Campaign, France Libertes  : Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, International Association of Crafts and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Fundacion para la Mejora de la Vida, la Cultura y la Sociedad, American Association of Jurists, Réseau International des Droits Humains, African Regional Agricultural Credit Association, Article 19 - International Centre Against Censorship, International Commission of Jurists, Center for Environmental and Management Studies, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, World Muslim Congress, International Council Supporting Fair Trial and Human Rights, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights Association, International Yazidis Foundation for the Prevention of Genocide, Al Baraem Association for Charitable Work, Institut International pour les Droits et le Développement, Chinese Association for International Understanding, Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Global Welfare Association, China NGO Network for International Exchanges, Partners For Transparency, Mother of Hope Cameroon Common Initiative Group, International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, Liberation, Association pour l'Intégration et le Développement Durable au Burundi, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l'homme, World Environment and Resources Council, United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation, La Manif Pour Tous, Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, Right Livelihood Award Foundation, International Service for Human Rights, Peace Brigades International Switzerland, Villages unis (United Villages), Association Ma'onah for Human Rights and Immigration, International-Lawyers.Org, Solidarity Switzerland-Guinea, International Lesbian and Gay Association, Guinea Medical Mutual Association, Ingenieurs du Monde, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, United Nations Watch, iuventum e.V., Community Human Rights and Advocacy Centre, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, European Centre for Law and Justice, Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture, Zero Poor in Africa, Synergie Feminine Pour La Paix Et Le Developpement Durable, Iraqi Development Organization, International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Coup de Pousse Chaîne de l’Espoir Nord-Sud, Women's Human Rights International Association, Association of World Citizens, and Centre for Gender Justice and Women Empowerment.

India, Brazil and Pakistan spoke in right of reply.

The webcast of the Human Rights Council meetings can be found here.  All meeting summaries can be found here.  Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council’s forty-fifth regular session can be found here.

The Council will meet again at 9 a.m. on Monday, 28 September, to conclude its general debate on human rights situations that require the Council's attention.  It will then begin the consideration of the outcome of Universal Periodic Review reports of Kyrgyzstan, Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Kenya, Armenia and Sweden. 

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples started on Thursday, 24 September, and a summary can be found here.

Discussion

Speakers commended the outgoing Special Rapporteur for her reports and congratulated the new Special Rapporteur on his recent appointment.  It was important to empower indigenous communities so they may address their needs and represent themselves before the international community.  Speakers said they looked forward to reading the Special Rapporteur’s impartial reports.  Indigenous peoples seeking to defend their rights to land faced land-grabbing practices and threats, even though no one had contributed more to, and benefited less from, efforts to protect the environment.  How did the Special Rapporteur intend to support the indigenous peoples facing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic?  Several speakers raised concerns about ongoing violations in Brazil.  Other speakers broached violations that had taken place in West Papua, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Peru.

Concluding Remarks

JOSÉ FRANCISCO CALI-TZAY, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said the challenges raised by COVID-19 had made it more difficult for indigenous peoples to defend their lands against military incursions and businesses.  Too many States had framed the pandemic as a security issue rather than a public health matter.

General Debate on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention

The general debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention started this morning and a summary can be found here.

Speakers raised the situation of human rights in countries and regions around the world.  Some speakers called on the Council to create a Special Procedure mandate to investigate the human rights situation in Western Sahara.  Other speakers requested that the Council send a fact-finding mission to Jammu and Kashmir.  The situation in Yemen should be referred to the International Criminal Court.  Speakers drew attention to the situation in north-western Iraq, where the Yazidi and other ethnic minorities were subjected to abductions, amongst other violations.  Laws recently adopted by the Government in India had increased the stigmatization of Muslims and migrants, who were perceived as infiltrators.  The oppression of human rights defenders and the detention of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia was extremely concerning.  Speakers urged the reform of banks in Lebanon and called for an international investigation into the causes of the 4 August explosion that occurred in Beirut.  Speakers denounced the crackdown against the freedom of assembly in Cameroon.  In Poland, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans activists continued to be targeted.  Some speakers said China had herded one million Uighurs in concentration camps and oppressed freedom of expression in Hong Kong.

The Council must develop the political will to address human rights issues stemming from occupation.  While no State should be forced to compromise sovereignty in the name of human rights, sovereignty should not be used to justify human rights violations.  Surrogate motherhood amounted to the renting of women, in other words slavery, some speakers stated.  Around the world people continued to face violence and discrimination because of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics.

Speakers also broached human rights violations in, or involving, the following countries or regions : Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, Iran, Bolivia, island of Negros, state of Gilgit-Baltistan, Columbia, state of Balochistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, India, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, United States, Turkey, Syria, state of Gujarat, Tibet, Alaska, Hawaii, Guinea-Conakry, Côte d’Ivoire, Venezuela, Iraq, Tunisia, Cuba, Israel, State of Palestine and Nigeria. 

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For use of the information media; not an official record