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Human Rights Council Adopts 10 Resolutions, Renews Mandates on Cultural Rights, Albinism, Privacy, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Islamic Republic of Iran

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23 March 2021

AFTERNOON
23 March 2021

Council Urges States to Immediately Take Steps to Prevent, within their Respective Legal Frameworks, Speculation and Undue Export Controls and Stockpiling that May Hinder Affordable, Timely, Equitable and Universal Access for All Countries to COVID-19 Vaccines

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 10 resolutions in which it, among other actions, renewed the mandates of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights for three years, the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism for three years, the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy for three years, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for one year, and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran for one year.

The Council also adopted resolutions on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights; on the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin; on mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights; on ensuring equitable, affordable, timely and universal access for all countries to vaccines in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic; and on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Council decided to renew, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, to enable the mandate holder to continue to work in accordance with the mandate established by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 10/23 of 26 March 2009.

On the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights, the Council decided to convene a panel discussion, during its forty-ninth session, under agenda item 3, to discuss the conclusions and recommendations made by the Secretary-General in his report on the importance of robust and efficient public policies and of adequately resourced and fully functioning services for the protection of economic, social and cultural rights to address the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to contribute to recovery efforts, including practical examples and good practices.

Concerning the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, and the importance of improving international cooperation, the Council adopted a resolution by a vote of 31 in favour, 14 against and 2 abstentions, requesting 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, to conduct a new study, in connection with the previous relevant studies conducted by the mandate holder and the Advisory Committee, on a proposed non-binding set of practical guidelines for efficient asset recovery aiming at curbing the illicit transfer of funds and mitigating its negative effects on the enjoyment of human rights with a view to help requesting and requested States to strengthen their cooperation in this regard, and to present the study to the Human Rights Council at its fifty second session.

The Council commended the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism for the important work undertaken to end attacks on and to spread awareness about persons with albinism, and further decided to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism for a period of three years.

On promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights, the Council adopted a resolution by a vote of 26 in favour, 15 against and 6 abstentions, in which it decided to convene at its forty-ninth session a meeting under item 3 of its agenda on the theme of enhancing technical cooperation and capacity-building in promoting and protecting the human rights of persons in vulnerable and marginalized situations in recovery efforts during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

With regard to ensuring equitable, affordable, timely and universal access for all countries to vaccines in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Council urged States to immediately take steps to prevent, within their respective legal frameworks, speculation and undue export controls and stockpiling that may hinder affordable, timely, equitable and universal access for all countries to COVID-19 vaccines and strongly urged all States to refrain from taking any economic, financial or trade measures that may adversely affect equitable, affordable, fair, timely and universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, in particular in developing countries. The Council also decided to hold, at its forty-ninth session, a half-day panel discussion on the matter and requested the Office of the High Commissioner to make the discussion fully accessible to persons with disabilities.

Concerning torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: the roles and responsibilities of police and other law enforcement officials, the Council called upon all States to take effective measures to ensure that the use of force by police and other law enforcement officials, including the use of less-lethal weapons, is in conformity with international obligations and the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, accountability and non-discrimination, and that those using force account for each use of force, bearing in mind that lethal force may only be used to protect against grievous bodily harm or an imminent threat to life.

The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy for a period of three years, whose tasks will include, inter alia, to gather relevant information, including on international and national frameworks, national practices and experience, to study trends, developments and challenges in relation to the right to privacy, as set out in article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to make recommendations to ensure its promotion and protection, including in connection with the challenges arising from new and emerging technologies.

Concerning the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Council decided to continue to strengthen, for a period of two years, the capacity of the Office of the High Commissioner, including its field-based structure in Seoul, to allow the implementation of relevant recommendations made by the group of independent experts on accountability in its report, aimed at strengthening current monitoring and documentation efforts, establishing a central information and evidence repository and having experts in legal accountability assess all information and testimonies, with a view to developing possible strategies to be used in any future accountability process. The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 37/28, for a period of one year.

On the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Council adopted a resolution by a vote of 21 in favour, 12 against and 14 abstentions, in which it 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. The Council requested the Secretary-General to provide the Special Rapporteur with the resources necessary to fulfil the mandate.

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-sixth regular session can be found here.

The Council will next meet at 10 a.m. on Wednesday 24 March to take action on 13 remaining draft resolutions, before it concludes its regular forty-sixth 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

Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/46/L.12) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to renew, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, to enable the mandate holder to continue to work in accordance with the mandate established by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 10/23 of 26 March 2009. The Council also decides to continue its consideration of this matter under the same agenda item in accordance with its programme of work.

Action on Resolution on the Question of the Realization in All Countries of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/46/L.13) on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon States: to adopt, further develop, use and promote the use of procedures for information-gathering and measurement, and human rights indicators contextualized at the national level, to support decision-making processes and to measure progress in the implementation of laws, policies and actions to respect, protect and fulfil economic, social and cultural rights and to address discrimination and inequalities, noting that these procedures should respect human rights, including the right to privacy, and be transparent, participatory and allow for accountability; to identify patterns of discrimination in law, policies and practices, and to address entrenched structural barriers and unequal power relations that generate and perpetuate inequality over generations; to strengthen the role and capacity of national human rights institutions consistent with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles), and of equality bodies, to protect civic space and to contribute to strengthening the realization of economic, social and cultural rights, and to provide support for stakeholders in the identification of appropriate measures for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals at the national and local levels, inter alia. The Council also encourage States, in line with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to provide effective guidance to business enterprises on how to meet their responsibility to respect human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights, throughout their operations, and to seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships, even if they have not contributed to those impacts. The Council also decides to convene a panel discussion, during its forty-ninth session, under agenda item 3, to discuss the conclusions and recommendations made by the Secretary-General in his report on the importance of robust and efficient public policies and of adequately resourced and fully functioning services for the protection of economic, social and cultural rights to address the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to contribute to recovery efforts, including practical examples and good practices, and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to invite States and relevant international organizations, treaty bodies and special procedures, and civil society to participate in the panel discussion.

Action on Resolution on the Negative Impact of the Non-repatriation of Funds of Illicit Origin to the Countries of Origin on the Enjoyment of Human Rights, and the Importance of Improving International Cooperation

In a resolution (A/HRC/46/L.14) on the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, and the importance of improving international cooperation, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 14 against and 2 abstentions, the Council requests 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 to conduct a new study, in connection with the previous relevant studies conducted by the mandate holder and the Advisory Committee, on a proposed non-binding set of practical guidelines for efficient asset recovery aiming at curbing the illicit transfer of funds and mitigating its negative effects on the enjoyment of human rights with a view to help requesting and requested States to strengthen their cooperation in this regard, and to present the study to the Human Rights Council at its fifty second session. The Council further requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all the assistance, including financial resources, necessary to allow the Independent Expert to carry out the mandate set out in the present resolution, and calls upon all relevant stakeholders, including States and United Nations bodies and agencies, and other international and regional entities to cooperate fully with the Independent Expert in this regard. The Council decides to convene, before its fiftieth session, a one-day intersessional seminar on the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights, to discuss challenges and best practices in this regard and to make recommendations, with the participation of States, the Advisory Committee and other relevant stakeholders. In addition, the Council requests the High Commissioner to present a report on the seminar to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-first session and requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all States Members of the United Nations and forums dealing with the issue of the repatriation of funds of illicit origin within the United Nations system for consideration and necessary action and coordination as appropriate, particularly within the context of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Finally, the Council decides to continue its consideration of this matter under the same agenda item.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (31): Argentina, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Fiji, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

Against (14): Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Abstentions (2): Bahamas and Mexico.

Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism

In a resolution (A/HRC/46/L.15) on the mandate of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, adopted without a vote, the Council commends the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism for the important work undertaken to end attacks on and to spread awareness about persons with albinism. The Council further decides to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism for a period of three years, on the same terms as provided by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 28/6 of 26 March. The Council also requests the Independent Expert to integrate a gender perspective throughout the work of the mandate and to pay specific attention to the challenges and needs of women and girls in order to address the multiple and aggravated forms of discrimination faced by women and girls with albinism. The Council calls upon all States to cooperate fully with the Independent Expert in the discharge of the mandate and to give serious consideration to responding favourably to her requests to visit their countries and to consider implementing her recommendations, to provide her with all necessary information relating to the mandate and to react promptly to her communications and urgent appeals in order to enable her to fulfil the mandate effectively. The Council encourages the United Nations, including its specialized agencies, and regional organizations, national human rights institutions, independent experts, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, in particular social enterprises, and other relevant stakeholders to cooperate to the fullest extent possible with the Independent Expert in the fulfilment of her mandate.

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

In a resolution (A/HRC/46/L.22) on promoting mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of human rights, adopted by a vote of 26 in favour, 15 against and 6 abstentions, the Council invites relevant United Nations human rights mechanisms and procedures to continue to pay attention to the importance of mutually beneficial cooperation in promoting and protecting all human rights, and reaffirms the commitment of States to international cooperation, multilateralism and solidarity at all levels and as the only way for the world to effectively respond to global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and their consequences, while underscoring the central role of the State in responding to pandemics and other health emergencies, and in this regard emphasizes the importance of ensuring that all States have equitable access to safe, effective and affordable medical supplies, medicines and vaccines, in particular ensuring accessibility and affordability of vaccines to developing countries. The Council also decides to convene at its forty-ninth 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 enhancing technical cooperation and capacity-building in promoting and protecting the human rights of persons in vulnerable and marginalized situations in recovery efforts during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, with the participation of States, international organizations and other stakeholders, to share information on good practices and experience, and encourages all stakeholders to take this opportunity to facilitate technical cooperation. The Council further requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all necessary resources for the services and facilities for the above-mentioned meeting, to prepare a summary report on the meeting and to submit it to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-second session.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (26): Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Eritrea, Gabon, Indonesia, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Senegal, Somalia, Togo, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Against (15): Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Abstentions (6): Armenia, Bahamas, Fiji, Libya, Malawi and Uzbekistan.

Action on Resolution on Ensuring Equitable, Affordable, Timely and Universal Access for All Countries to Vaccines in Response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

In a resolution (A/HRC/46/L.25/Rev.1) on ensuring equitable, affordable, timely and universal access for all countries to vaccines in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, adopted without a vote, as orally revised, the Council calls upon States and other relevant stakeholders to take appropriate measures to guarantee the fair, transparent, equitable, efficient, universal and timely access and distribution of safe, quality, efficacious, effective, accessible and affordable COVID-19 vaccines and to enable international cooperation. It encourages States to work in partnership with all relevant stakeholders to increase research and development funding for vaccines and medicines, leverage digital technologies and strengthen the scientific international cooperation necessary to combat COVID-19 and to bolster coordination, including with the private sector, towards the further development, manufacturing and distribution of diagnostics, antiviral medicines, personal protective equipment and vaccines, while adhering to the objectives of quality, efficacy, safety, equity, accessibility and affordability. It calls upon States and other relevant stakeholders to remove unjustified obstacles restricting the export of COVID-19 vaccines, resulting in an unequal distribution in access to them between developed and developing countries, and to promote equitable global distribution and universal access to vaccines, in order to further the principles of international cooperation and solidarity, to end the current pandemic and to promote the realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The Council requests all States, international organizations and relevant stakeholders to commit to transparency in all matters related to the production, distribution and fair pricing of vaccines, and urges States to immediately take steps to prevent, within their respective legal frameworks, speculation and undue export controls and stockpiling that may hinder affordable, timely, equitable and universal access for all countries to COVID-19 vaccines. The Council also strongly urges all States to refrain from taking any economic, financial or trade measures that may adversely affect equitable, affordable, fair, timely and universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, in particular in developing countries. It requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in consultation with States, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, in particular the World Health Organization, the special procedures of the Human Rights Council, the treaty bodies, civil society organizations and other stakeholders, to prepare a report on the human rights implications of the lack of affordable, timely, equitable and universal access and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and the deepening inequalities between States, including the related vulnerabilities and challenges and the impact on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, for submission to the Human Rights Council, at its forty-ninth session, and to provide an oral update thereon to the Council at its forty-eighth session. The Council also decides to hold, at its forty-ninth session, a half-day panel discussion on the matter and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to make the discussion fully accessible to persons with disabilities.

Action on Resolution on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: the Roles and Responsibilities of Police and other Law Enforcement Officials

In a resolution (A/HRC/46/L.27) on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: the roles and responsibilities of police and other law enforcement officials, adopted without a vote, the Council urges States to become parties to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Optional Protocol thereto as a matter of priority. The Council calls upon all States to take effective measures to ensure that the use of force by police and other law enforcement officials, including the use of less-lethal weapons, is in conformity with international obligations and the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, accountability and non-discrimination, and that those using force account for each use of force, bearing in mind that lethal force may only be used to protect against grievous bodily harm or an imminent threat to life. Urging all States to adopt a gender-responsive approach in the fight against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to pay special attention to women and girls subject to violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, the Council also stresses the importance of preventing and tackling racism, xenophobia and racial discrimination and related intolerance in policing, and their negative effects on the ability of police and law enforcement officials to carry out their duties and to maintain the confidence of the communities they serve.

Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy

In a resolution (A/HRC/46/L.28) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy for a period of three years, whose tasks will include, inter alia: to gather relevant information, including on international and national frameworks, national practices and experience, to study trends, developments and challenges in relation to the right to privacy, as set out in article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to make recommendations to ensure its promotion and protection, including in connection with the challenges arising from new and emerging technologies; to seek, receive and respond to information, while avoiding duplication, from States, the United Nations and its agencies, programmes and funds, regional human rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, including business enterprises, and any other relevant stakeholders or parties; to identify possible obstacles to the promotion and protection of the right to privacy and to identify, exchange and promote principles and best practices at the national, regional and international levels and to submit proposals and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in that regard, including with a view to particular challenges arising in the digital age and during the design, development and deployment of new and emerging technologies; to participate in and contribute to relevant international conferences and events with the aim of promoting a systematic and coherent approach to issues pertaining to the mandate; to raise awareness concerning the importance of promoting and protecting the right to privacy, including with a view to particular challenges arising in the digital age, and concerning the importance of providing individuals whose right to privacy has been violated with access to an effective remedy, consistent with international human rights obligations; and to integrate a gender perspective and the principle of non-discrimination throughout the work of the mandate.

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

Action on Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea


In a resolution (A/HRC/46/L.7) on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to continue to strengthen, for a period of two years, the capacity of the Office of the High Commissioner, including its field-based structure in Seoul, to allow the implementation of relevant recommendations made by the group of independent experts on accountability in its report, aimed at strengthening current monitoring and documentation efforts, establishing a central information and evidence repository and having experts in legal accountability assess all information and testimonies, with a view to developing possible strategies to be used in any future accountability process. The Council requests the High Commissioner to provide an oral update on the progress made in this regard to the Human Rights Council at its forty-ninth session and to submit a full report on the implementation of the recommendations to the Council at its fifty-second session and decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 37/28, for a period of one year. The Council further requests the High Commissioner to include additional options for strengthening, institutionalizing and further advancing work on accountability in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in the report to be submitted to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-second session. Moreover, the Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to organize a series of consultations and outreach activities with victims, affected communities and other relevant stakeholders, with a view to including their views into avenues for accountability.

Action on Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

In a resolution (A/HRC/46/L.9) on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, adopted by a vote of 21 in favour, 12 against and 14 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-ninth session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-sixth session. The Council further 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. Finally, the Council requests the Secretary-General to provide the Special Rapporteur with the resources necessary to fulfil the mandate.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (21): Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Against (12): Armenia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

Abstentions (14): Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, and Uruguay.

Link: https://www.ungeneva.org/en/news-media/meeting-summary/2021/03/le-conseil-des-droits-de-lhomme-adopte-dix-resolutions

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For use of the information media; not an official record

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