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Human Rights Council adopts 14 resolutions, including on excessive use of force by law enforcement officers against Africans and people of African descent

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19 June 2020

Human Rights Council 

19 June 2020

Extends Mandates on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Migrants, Minority Issues, Effects of Foreign Debt, and Adequate Housing

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 14 resolutions in which it, among other actions, requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the assistance of relevant Special Mandate Holders, to prepare a report on systemic racism and violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies, especially those incidents that resulted in the death of George Floyd and other Africans and people of African descent.

The Council also extended the mandates on freedom of opinion and expression, migrants, minority issues, foreign debt and adequate housing.

Other resolutions concerned Nicaragua; ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; birth registration; the right to work; promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity; the right to food; freedom of religion or belief; and mental health.

In a resolution adopted by consensus, the Council decided to request the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the assistance of relevant Special Mandate Holders, to prepare a report on systemic racism, violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies, especially those incidents that resulted in the death of George Floyd and other Africans and of people of African descent, to contribute to accountability and redress for victims. The Council further requested the High Commissioner to examine government responses to antiracism peaceful process peaceful protests, including the alleged use of excessive force against protesters, bystanders and journalists.

By a vote of 24 in favour, 4 against and 19 abstentions, the Council requested the High Commissioner to enhance monitoring by the Office of the High Commissioner and to prepare a comprehensive written report on the promotion and protection of human rights in Nicaragua, and to present it to the Human Rights Council at its forty-sixth session, to be followed by an interactive dialogue, and to present oral updates on the situation of human rights to the Council at its forty-fourth and forty-fifth sessions.

In a resolution on ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 8 against and 17 abstentions, the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on how all parties can fulfil their obligations in implementing the recommendations reviewed by the High Commissioner in 2017, including measures of accountability and legal measures to be taken by states, and to present a report to the Council at its forty-sixth session, to be followed by an interactive dialogue.

In a resolution on freedom of opinion and expression: mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years and requested the Special Rapporteur to submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly covering all activities relating to his or her mandate.

On birth registration and the right of everyone to recognition everywhere as a person before the law, without a vote, the Council expressed deep concern at the fact that, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, nearly 237 million children still do not have a birth certificate despite ongoing efforts to increase the global rate of birth registration. The Council welcomed the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on best practices and specific measures to ensure access to birth registration, particularly for those children most at risk, and requested the High Commissioner to identify and actively pursue opportunities to collaborate with the United Nations Statistics Division and other relevant stakeholders, in order to strengthen existing policies and programmes aimed at universal birth registration and vital statistics development.

In a resolution on the human rights of migrants: mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to extend for a period of three years, effective from the end of its forty-fourth session, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. The Council further requested the Special Rapporteur to continue his or her programme of visits, which contributed to improving the protection afforded to the human rights of migrants and to the broad and full implementation of all aspects of the mandate.

Without a vote, the Council decided to request the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare an analytical report on the relationship between the realization of the right to work and the enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities, with an emphasis on their empowerment, to indicate the major challenges and best practices in that regard, and to submit the report to the Human Rights Council prior to its forty-sixth session in an accessible format.

In a resolution on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities: mandate of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the High Commissioner to continue to present an annual report to the Human Rights Council containing information on relevant developments of United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms, and on the activities undertaken by the Office of the High Commissioner. The Council further decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues for a period of three years under the same terms as provided for by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 25/5.

In a resolution on the promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity, the Council adopted without a vote, the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all the human and financial resources necessary for the effective fulfilment of the mandate by the Special Rapporteur. The Council further requested the Special Rapporteur to continue to work, within her mandate, with relevant stakeholders, and to report regularly to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

By a vote of 26 in favour, 15 against and 6 abstained (as orally revised), the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights for a period of three years.

In a resolution on the right to food, adopted without a vote, the Council expressed its deep concern that The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019. The Council requested all States, private actors, international organizations and agencies, within their respective mandates, to take fully into account the need to promote the effective realization of the right to food for all. The Council further requested the Special Rapporteur on the right to food to participate in relevant international dialogues and policy forums.

Without a vote, the Council urged States to step up their efforts to promote and protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief and called upon States to make use of the potential of education for the eradication of prejudices against and stereotypes of individuals on the basis of their religion or belief.

In a resolution on mental health and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the High Commissioner to organize in 2021, and no later than the seventy-fourth session of the World Health Assembly, a one-day consultation to discuss the best ways to harmonize national practices relating to mental health with the norms of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Council further requested the High Commissioner to prepare a report on the outcome of the consultation and to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-ninth session.

Without a vote, the Council called upon States to take urgent measures to address inadequate housing and to improve the living circumstances of persons residing in informal settlements. The Council decided to extend, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context.

The Council will next meet on Monday, 22 June at 10 a.m. to take action on 26 remaining resolutions.

Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on Organizational and Procedural Matters

Action on Resolution on the Promotion and Protection of the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Africans and of People of African Descent against Excessive Use of Force and Other Human Rights Violations by Law Enforcement Officials

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.50) on the promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and of people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers, adopted by consensus as orally revised, the Council strongly condemns the continuing racially discriminatory and violent practices perpetrated by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent, in particular which led to the death of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 in Minnesota, as referred to in PP9 and the deaths of other people of African descent, and further condemns the structural racism in the criminal justice system. The Council requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the assistance of relevant Special Mandate Holders, to prepare a report on systemic racism, violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies, especially those incidents that resulted in the death of George Floyd and other Africans and of people of African descent, to contribute to accountability and redress for victims. The Council further requests the High Commissioner to examine government responses to antiracism peaceful process peaceful protests, including the alleged use of excessive force against protesters, bystanders and journalists.

By this vote, the Council also requests the High Commissioner to provide an oral update on the preparation of her report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-fifth and forty-sixth sessions, and to present a comprehensive report to the Council at its forty-seventh session, followed by an interactive dialogue, and include updates on police brutality against Africans and people of African descent in all her oral updates to the Council.

Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

Action on Resolution on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Nicaragua

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.35) on the promotion and protection of human rights in Nicaragua, adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 4 against and 19 abstentions, the Council urges the Government of Nicaragua to respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, of association and of expression, and the independence of the media, the prosecution authority and the judiciary by authorizing peaceful and public demonstrations, restoring the legal registration of civil society organizations and independent media outlets that were cancelled, and returning seized assets, and encourages continued and strengthened cooperation between the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights in Nicaragua. The Council also requests the High Commissioner to enhance monitoring by the Office of the High Commissioner and to continue to report on the situation of human rights in Nicaragua, including by preparing a comprehensive written report that assesses progress and challenges regarding that situation, and to present it to the Human Rights Council at its forty-sixth session, to be followed by an interactive dialogue, and to present oral updates on the situation of human rights to the Council at its forty-fourth and forty-fifth sessions.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (24): Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay.

Against (4): Eritrea, Philippines, Somalia, Venezuela.

Abstentions (19): Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal, Sudan, Togo,

Action on Resolution on Ensuring Accountability and Justice for all Violations of International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.36 REV.1) on ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 8 against and 17 abstentions, the Council denounces all acts of intimidation, threats and delegitimization directed at human rights organizations, civil society actors and human rights defenders involved in documenting and countering violations of international law and impunity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and calls upon all States to ensure their protection; condemns the use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force against civilians, including against civilians with special protected status under international law, who pose no imminent threat to life; and calls upon all parties to ensure that future demonstrations remain peaceful and to abstain from actions that could endanger the lives of civilians. The Council requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on how all parties can fulfil their obligations in implementing the recommendations reviewed by the High Commissioner in 2017, including measures of accountability and legal measures to be taken by states to ensure respect by Israel, and all other relevant parties, of their obligations under international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem, and to present a report to the Council at its forty-sixth session, to be followed by an interactive dialogue.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (22): Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Chile, Eritrea, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Venezuela.

Against (8): Austia, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Fiji, Togo, Ukraine

Abstentions (17): Bahamas, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Nepal, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Uruguay.

Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development

Action on Resolution on Freedom of Opinion and Expression

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.2) on freedom of opinion and expression: mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, adopted without a vote, the Council welcomes the work of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years; and requests the Special Rapporteur to submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly covering all activities relating to his or her mandate, with a view to maximizing the benefits of the reporting process.

Action on Resolution on Birth Registration

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.3) on birth registration and the right of everyone to recognition everywhere as a person before the law, adopted without a vote, the Council expresses deep concern at the fact that, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, nearly 237 million children still do not have a birth certificate despite ongoing efforts to increase the global rate of birth registration. The Council welcomes the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on best practices and specific measures to ensure access to birth registration, particularly for those children most at risk, and requests the High Commissioner to identify and actively pursue opportunities to collaborate with the United Nations Statistics Division and other relevant stakeholders, in order to strengthen existing policies and programmes aimed at universal birth registration and vital statistics development.

Action on Resolution on the Human Rights of Migrants

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.4) on the human rights of migrants: mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend for a period of three years, effective from the end of its forty-fourth session, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants… to, inter alia, examine ways and means to overcome the obstacles existing to the full and effective protection of the human rights of migrants, recognizing the particular vulnerability of women, children and those undocumented or in an irregular situation; and to formulate appropriate recommendations to prevent and remedy violations of the human rights of migrants, wherever they may occur, and to recommend actions and measures applicable at the national, regional and international levels to eliminate violations of the human rights of migrants. The Council further requests the Special Rapporteur… to continue his or her programme of visits, which contribute to improving the protection afforded to the human rights of migrants and to the broad and full implementation of all aspects of the mandate.
Action on Resolution on the Right to Work

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.6) on the right to work, adopted without a vote, the Council encourages States to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including its Goal 8 on promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its targets; and calls upon States to put in place cohesive and comprehensive policies and to take the legislative and administrative measures necessary for the full realization of the right to work for all, including women. The Council requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare an analytical report… on the relationship between the realization of the right to work and the enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities, with an emphasis on their empowerment,… to indicate the major challenges and best practices in that regard, and to submit the report to the Human Rights Council prior to its forty-sixth session in an accessible format.

Action on Resolution on Minorities

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.9) on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities: mandate of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon States to undertake initiatives to ensure that persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities are aware of and able to exercise their rights as set out in the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities and in other international human rights obligations. It requests the High Commissioner to continue to present an annual report to the Human Rights Council containing information on relevant developments of United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms, and on the activities undertaken by the Office of the High Commissioner at headquarters and in the field that contribute to the promotion of and respect for the provisions of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities; and decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues for a period of three years under the same terms as provided for by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 25/5.

Action on Resolution on Cultural Diversity

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.10) on the promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon all Governments to cooperate with and to assist the Special Rapporteur inthe field of cultural rights in the discharge of the mandate, to provide the mandate holder with all the necessary information requested by her and to give serious consideration to responding favourably to her requests to visit their countries in order to enable her to fulfil her duties effectively. It requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all the human and financial resources necessary for the effective fulfilment of the mandate by the Special Rapporteur; and requests the Special Rapporteur to continue to work, within her mandate, with relevant stakeholders towards the comprehensive promotion and protection of cultural rights, and to report regularly to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, in accordance with their respective programmes of work.

Action on Resolution on Foreign Debt

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.11) on the mandate of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, adopted by a vote of 26 in favour, 15 against and 6 abstentions (as orally revised), the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Independent Exper for a period of three years… and encourages the Independent Expert to cooperate, in accordance with the mandate, with the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, special rapporteurs, independent experts and members of the expert working groups of the Human Rights Council and its Advisory Committee on issues relating to economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development. The Council requests the Secretary-General to provide the Independent Expert with all necessary assistance, in particular all the staff and resources required to carry out his or her functions; and urges Governments, international organizations, international financial institutions,non-governmental organizations and the private sector to cooperate fully with the Independent Expert in the discharge of the mandate.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (26): Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uruguay, enezuela.

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

Abstentions (6): Afghanistan, Armenia, Bahamas, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Peru.

Action on Resolution on the Right to Food

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.12) on the right to food, adopted without a vote, the Council expresses its deep concern that The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019: Safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns confirmed a rise in world hunger for a third year in a row, that there were 821 million chronically undernourished people in the world in 2019, and that one in nine people in the world now faces hunger. The Council requests all States, private actors, international organizations and agencies, within their respective mandates, to take fully into account the need to promote the effective realization of the right to food for all; and requests the Special Rapporteur [on the right to food] to participate in relevant international dialogues and policy forums relating to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, paying particular attention to Sustainable Development Goal 2 in respect of achieving zero hunger.

Action on Resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.18) on freedom of religion or belief, adopted without a vote, the Council expresses deep concern at emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief, and at instances of religious intolerance, discrimination and violence, inter alia, the increasing number of acts of violence directed against individuals, including persons belonging to religious minorities in various parts of the world, and the rise of religious extremism in various parts of the world that affects the rights of individuals, including persons belonging to religious minorities. The Council condemns all forms of violence, intolerance and discrimination based on or in the name of religion or belief…; strongly encourages government representatives and leaders in all sectors of society and respective communities to speak out against acts of intolerance and violence based on religion or belief; urges States to step up their efforts to promote and protect freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief; and calls upon States to make use of the potential of education for the eradication of prejudices against and stereotypes of individuals on the basis of their religion or belief.

Action on a Resolution on Mental Health and Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.19) on mental health and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council urges States to take active steps to fully integrate a human rights perspective into mental health and community services, and to adopt, implement, update, strengthen or monitor, as appropriate, all existing laws, policies and practices, with a view to eliminating all forms of discrimination, stigma, stereotypes, prejudice, violence, abuse, social exclusion, segregation, unlawful or arbitrary deprivation of liberty and institutionalization, and overmedicalization within that context. The Council requests the High Commissioner to organize in 2021, and no later than the seventy-fourth session of the World Health Assembly, a one-day consultation to discuss the best ways to harmonize national laws, policies and practices relating to mental health with the norms of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and requests the High Commissioner to prepare a report on the outcome of the consultation, with recommendations for States and all other relevant stakeholders, including health professionals, on ways to harmonize, as appropriate, laws, policies and practices relating to mental health with the norms of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and on how to implement them, and to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-ninth session.

Action on Resolution on Adequate Housing

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.20) on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to non-discrimination in this context, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon States to give due consideration to integrating the human right to adequate housing in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and take urgent measures to address inadequate housing and to improve the living circumstances of persons residing in informal settlements, in compliance with international human rights law. The Council decides to extend, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context, as set out by the Human Rights Council in previous resolutions, in particular Council resolution 15/8 of 30 September 2010, and requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide all the resources and assistance necessary for the Special Rapporteur to fulfil the mandate effectively.

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For use of the information media; not an official record

Follow UNIS Geneva on:Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube |Flickr

___________

For use of the information media; not an official record

Follow UNIS Geneva on:Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube |Flickr

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