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Human Rights Council extends mandates on Human Rights Defenders, Torture, Sale of Children, Iran, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar and South Sudan

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22 June 2020

Human Rights Council

22 June 2020

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted 13 resolutions in which it, among other actions, extended the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; the Special Rapporteur on torture; the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar; and the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

Other resolutions concerned the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights; regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights; promoting human rights through sport and the Olympic ideal; promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights; and awareness raising on the rights of persons with disabilities, and habilitation and rehabilitation.

In a resolution on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, adopted by a vote of 25 in favour, 16 against and 6 abstentions, the Council requested the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights to continue his or her work, and to focus on the resources and compensation necessary to promote accountability and reparations for victims in his or her next reports to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly.

In a resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, adopted without a vote, the Council strongly urged all States to take concrete steps to create, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment in which human rights defenders can operate free from hindrance and insecurity. The Council further decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders for a period of three years.

In a resolution on regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the High Commissioner to hold, in 2022, a workshop on regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights. The Council also requested the High Commissioner to present to the Human Rights Council, at its fifty-second session, a report containing a summary of the discussions held at the above-mentioned workshop and the progress made towards the implementation of the resolution.

In a resolution on promoting human rights through sport and the Olympic ideal, adopted without a vote, the Council decided that the title of the thematic panel discussion with regard to promoting human rights through sport and the Olympic ideal, to be held at the forty-seventh session of the Council and be fully accessible to persons with disabilities, would be “the potential of leveraging sport and the Olympic ideal for promoting human rights for young people”.

In a resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decided to organize three half-day intersessional meetings for dialogue and cooperation on human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Council further requested the Office of the High Commissioner to compile a report on best practices, challenges and lessons learned concerning integrated approaches to the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the national level and to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-first session.

In a resolution on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: mandate of the Special Rapporteur, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for a further period of three years and urged States to, inter alia, cooperate fully with and to assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his or her tasks and to respond favourably to the Special Rapporteur’s requests to visit their countries.

In a resolution on promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights, adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 16 against and 8 abstentions, the Council decided to convene at its forty-sixth session a meeting under item 3 of its agenda, with a duration of two hours, to be presided over by the President of the Human Rights Council, on the theme of the role of poverty alleviation in promoting and protecting human rights, and encouraged States to take this opportunity to facilitate relevant technical cooperation.

In a resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material for a further period of three years. The Council further requested all States to cooperate fully with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his or her tasks.

In a resolution on awareness raising on the rights of persons with disabilities, and habilitation and rehabilitation, adopted without a vote, the Council called upon States to take immediate, effective and appropriate measures to raise awareness regarding persons with disabilities. The Council further decided that its next annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities would be held at its forty-sixth session and would focus on participation in sport under article 30 of the Convention, and would have international sign interpretation and captioning.

In a resolution on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 8 against and 15 abstentions, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran for a further period of one year, and requested the Special Rapporteur to submit a report on the implementation of the mandate to the Human Rights Council at its forty-sixth session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session.

In a resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the High Commissioner to provide an oral update at its forty-sixth session, and to submit a full written report on the implementation of the recommendations to the Council at its forty-sixth session. The Council further decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for a period of one year and invited the High Commissioner to provide the Council with regular updates.

In a resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, adopted by a vote of 37 in favour, 2 against and 8 abstentions, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar for a further period of one year, requested the new mandate holder to present an oral progress report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-fourth and forty-fifth sessions and to submit a report to the Third Committee at the seventy-fifth session of the General Assembly and to the Council at its forty-sixth session, and invited the Special Rapporteur to continue to monitor the situation of human rights, measure progress, undertake thematic research and provide detailed updates.

In a resolution on the situation of human rights in South Sudan, adopted without a vote, the Council urged the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity to establish all transitional institutions in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Revitalized Agreement. The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan and requested the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan to convene two workshops on transitional justice, and to work collaboratively with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Council will meet next this afternoon at 3 p.m. to continue voting on resolutions.

Remarks by the President of the Human Rights Council

ELISABETH TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the Human Rights Council, said the Bureau had discussed the implementation of the modalities that were put into place for the resumed forty-third session, and considered next steps for the holding of the forty-fourth session of the Council. In order to hear the views and comments of delegations on the extraordinary modalities, the Bureau had decided that an informal discussion should be convened with Council members and observers before the closing of the forty-third session. This informal discussion would take place on Tuesday, 23 June at 10 a.m. in the Assembly Hall and would provide an opportunity for all to take stock of the extraordinary modalities implemented during this session. It would be followed by the adoption of the draft sessional report, the customary segment for observers to make their comments on texts that had been adopted, and the closing of the forty-third 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 Universal Coercive Measures

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.21) on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, adopted by a vote of 25 in favour, 16 against and 6 abstentions, the Council rejects all attempts to introduce unilateral coercive measures, and the increasing trend in this direction, including through the enactment of laws with extraterritorial application; and decides to give due consideration to the issue of the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights in its task concerning the implementation of the right to development. The Council requests the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights to continue his or her work on identifying and proposing concrete measures to ensure the removal of unilateral coercive measures affecting the enjoyment of human rights of victims, and to focus on the resources and compensation necessary to promote accountability and reparations for victims in his or her next reports to the Human Rights Council at its forty-fifth session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session.

The results of the vote were as follows :

In favor (25) : Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Against (16) : Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine.
Abstentions (6) : Afghanistan, Chile, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico and Peru.

Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.5) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, adopted without a vote, the Council strongly urges all States to take concrete steps to create, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment in which human rights defenders can operate free from hindrance and insecurity; and decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders for a period of three years in the same terms as provided for by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 16/5.

Resolution on Regional Arrangements for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.22) on regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the High Commissioner to hold, in 2022, a workshop on regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights to take stock of developments since the workshop held in 2019, including a thematic discussion on the role of regional arrangements in the field of business and human rights, based on concrete and practical experience of regional mechanisms, in order to share information on best practices, lessons learned and possible new forms of cooperation, with the participation of relevant experts from international, regional, subregional and interregional human rights mechanisms, as well as Members States, observers, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations. The Council also requests the High Commissioner to present to the Human Rights Council, at its fifty-second session, a report containing a summary of the discussions held at the above-mentioned workshop and the progress made towards the implementation of the present resolution.

Resolution on the Promotion of Human Rights through Sport and the Olympic Ideal

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.24 Rev.1) on promoting human rights through sport and the Olympic ideal, the Council decides, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, to postpone the quadrennial thematic panel discussion on promoting human rights through sport and the Olympic ideal, as already incorporated into the programme of work of the Human Rights Council in its resolution 37/18 and due to be held at its forty-fourth session, to its forty-seventh session, prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, programmed for 2021, using for this purpose the funds already allocated for the forty-fourth session, in accordance with Council resolution 37/18; 9. Also decides that the title of the above - mentioned thematic panel discussion, which will be fully accessible to persons with disabilities, will be “The potential of leveraging sport and the Olympic ideal for promoting human rights for young people”.

Resolution on Human Rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.27) on the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides to organize three half-day intersessional meetings for dialogue and cooperation on human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and also decides that the focus of each of the intersessional meetings will be informed by the stated themes of the 2021, 2022 and 2023 meetings of the high-level political forum on sustainable development. The Council requests the President of the Human Rights Council to appoint for each meeting… a chair [who], together with the Office of the High Commissioner, shall be responsible for the preparation of summary reports of the discussions of the meetings… and for their presentation to the Council at its forty-sixth, forty-ninth and fifty-second sessions, respectively. The Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to compile a report on best practices, challenges and lessons learned concerning integrated approaches to the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the national level… and to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-first session; and decides that the summary reports of the discussions of the intersessional meetings and the report on best practices, challenges and lessons learned should be made available to the high-level political forum on sustainable development.

Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Torture

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.30) on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: mandate of the Special Rapporteur, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for a further period of three years; and urges States to, inter alia, cooperate fully with and to assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his or her tasks, to supply all necessary information requested by him or her and to fully and expeditiously respond to his or her urgent appeals… and to respond favourably to the Special Rapporteur’s requests to visit their countries, and to enter into a constructive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on requested visits to their countries.

Resolution on Promoting Mutually Beneficial Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.31 Rev.1) on promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights, adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 16 against and 8 abstentions, the Council calls upon all States and other stakeholders to undertake constructive and genuine dialogue and cooperation in the field of human rights, based on universality, impartiality, objectivity, indivisibility, non-selectivity, non-politicization, equality and mutual respect, with the aim of promoting mutual understanding, expanding common ground, narrowing differences and strengthening constructive cooperation. The Council decides to convene at its forty-sixth session a meeting under item 3 of its agenda, with a duration of two hours, to be presided over by the President of the Human Rights Council, on the theme of the role of poverty alleviation in promoting and protecting human rights, with the participation of senior officials from States to share information on good practices and experience in their countries with regard to particular aspects of the promotion and protection of human rights, and encourages States to take this opportunity to facilitate relevant technical cooperation. The Council further decides to remain seized of the matter.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (23) : Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eritrea, Indonesia, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Against (16) : Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine.

Abstentions (8) : Afghanistan, Armenia, Bahamas, Chile, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fiji, Libya and Peru.

Resolution on the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.32) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur… for a further period of three years; and requests the Special Rapporteur to support States in developing legal and policy frameworks and child protection strategies in a child- and gender-responsive and child-friendly manner to effectively prevent and eradicate new and emerging forms of online sale and sexual exploitation and abuse of children, in accordance with international human rights law. The Council requests all States to cooperate fully with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his or her tasks, to provide all necessary information requested by him or her and to consider favourably his or her requests for visits and for implementing his or her recommendations; and encourages the Special Rapporteur to continue to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

Resolution on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.34) on awareness raising on the rights of persons with disabilities, and habilitation and rehabilitation, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon States to take immediate, effective and appropriate measures to raise awareness regarding persons with disabilities, applying a gender-responsive and human rights-based approach, recognizing the capabilities and contributions throughout society of persons with disabilities, fostering respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities and addressing stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices, including those based on gender and age, at all levels of society and in all areas of life…, and to ensure that all international cooperation is inclusive of persons with disabilities and does not contribute to creating new barriers for them. The Council decides that its next annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities will be held at its forty-sixth session and will focus on participation in sport under article 30 of the Convention, and will have international sign interpretation and captioning.

Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention

Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.8) on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 8 against and 15 abstentions, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran for a further period of one year, and requests the Special Rapporteur to submit a report on the implementation of the mandate to the Human Rights Council at its forty-sixth session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session. The Council calls upon the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to permit access to visit the country and to provide all information necessary to allow the fulfilment of the mandate.

The results of the vote were as follows:

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

Against (8) : Armenia, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Libya, Pakistan, Philippines and Venezuela.

Abstentions (15) : Angola, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo and Uruguay.

Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.17) on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, adopted without a vote, the Council condemns in the strongest terms the long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations and other human rights abuses committed in and by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and expresses its grave concern at the detailed findings made by the commission of inquiry in its report. The Council stresses and restates its grave concern about the commission’s finding that the body of testimony gathered and the information received provided reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; and requests the High Commissioner to provide an oral update… to the Human Rights Council at its forty-sixth session, and to submit a full written report on the implementation of the recommendations to the Council at its forty-sixth session. The Council further decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea… for a period of one year; and …invites the High Commissioner to provide the Council with regular updates on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Council calls upon all States to undertake to ensure that the field-based structure of the Office of the High Commissioner can function with independence, that it has sufficient resources to fulfil its mandate, that it enjoys full cooperation with relevant Member States and that it is not subjected to any reprisals or threats.

Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.23) on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, adopted by a vote of 37 in favour, 2 against and 8 abstentions, the Council urges the Government of Myanmar to grant full and unhindered access to the diplomatic corps, independent observers and representatives of the national and international independent media, without fear of reprisal, intimidation or attack, and to lift the Internet shutdown in Rakhine and Chin States that has been in place in four townships since 21 June 2019 and five more townships since 3 February 2020. The Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar for a further period of one year, requests the new mandate holder to present an oral progress report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-fourth and forty-fifth sessions and to submit a report to the Third Committee at the seventy-fifth session of the General Assembly and to the Council at its forty-sixth session, in accordance with its annual programme of work, and invites the Special Rapporteur to continue to monitor the situation of human rights and to measure progress in the implementation of the recommendations made by the mandate holder. The Council further requests the Special Rapporteur to undertake thematic research with a view to monitoring the implementation of the recommendations made by the independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar, and to provide detailed updates on the issues covered by the mission in its reports and conference room papers.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (37) : Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Somalia, Spain, Sudan, Togo, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Against (2) : Philippines and Venezuela.

Abstentions (8) : Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nepal and Senegal.

Resolution on the Mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.29) on the situation of human rights in South Sudan, adopted without a vote, the Council welcomes the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, and recognizes that this represents a significant opportunity for peace, stability and sustainable improvement to the situation in South Sudan through, inter alia, the implementation of the commitments and obligations of South Sudan in respect of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The Council urges the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity to address the previous and current findings of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan and when finalized, to establish all transitional institutions, including the hybrid court for South Sudan, the commission for truth, reconciliation and healing and the compensation and reparation authority, in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Revitalized Agreement. The Council decides to extend the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, and requests the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan to convene, two workshops on transitional justice, with the participation of relevant stakeholders, and to work collaboratively with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, including with the Country Rapporteur for South Sudan.

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For use of the information media; not an official record

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