About the mandate for the Independent Expert for international solidarity
In 2017, the mandate was renewed and the Human Rights Council, in its commitment to promoting human rights and international solidarity in resolution 35/3, decided,
- Request[ed] all States, United Nations agencies, other relevant international organizations and non-governmental organizations to mainstream the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity into their activities, to cooperate with the Independent Expert in his or her mandate, and to supply all necessary information requested by the mandate holder, and requests States to give serious consideration to responding favourably to the requests of the Independent Expert to visit their countries to enable the Independent Expert to fulfil his or her mandate effectively;
- Request[ed] the Independent Expert to continue to participate in relevant international forums and major events with a view to promoting the importance of international solidarity in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially those goals relating to economic, social and climate issues, and invites Member States, international organizations, United Nations agencies and other relevant organizations to facilitate the meaningful participation of the Independent Expert in these international forums and major events;
- Reiterat[ed] its request to the Independent Expert to take into account the outcomes of all major United Nations and other global summits and ministerial meetings in the economic, social and climate fields and to continue to seek views and contributions from Governments, United Nations agencies, other relevant international organizations and non-governmental organizations in the discharge of the mandate of the Independent Expert.
In 2020, the mandate was again renewed for a period of three years by resolution 44/11, which also:
- Requested the Independent Expert to continue to participate in relevant international forums and major events with a view to promoting the importance of international solidarity in the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially those Sustainable Development Goals relating to economic, social and climate issues, and invites Member States, international organizations, United Nations agencies and other relevant organizations to facilitate the meaningful participation of the Independent Expert in these international forums and major events;
- Requested the Independent Expert to continue to examine in his reports ways and means of overcoming existing and emerging obstacles to the realization of the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity, including the challenges of international cooperation, and to seek the views and contributions of Governments, United Nations agencies and other relevant international organizations in this regard.
History of the mandate
Since its establishment in 2005, the mandate of the Independent Expert has promoted human rights and international solidarity around the world, contributed to the global dialogue around international cooperation and international solidarity, and conducted several country visits with a view to exploring the ways in which international solidarity and human rights manifest themselves in State practice. The predecessors of the current mandate holder carried out visits to Brazil, Morocco, Norway and Cuba1.
Until 2017, the mandate has largely been invested in the process of discussing, preparing and submitting the draft declaration on the right to international solidarity, a process that was outlined in phases by the former Independent Expert, Virginia Dandan.
The “first phase” of the process began in 2004 with the submission of a working paper on human rights and international solidarity to the then Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights of the Commission on Human Rights by one of its members, Rui Baltazar dos Santos Alves. This first phase continued with the work of the first Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, Rudi Muhammad Rizki, who gathered ideas on the theme of the mandate from States, United Nations agencies, other international bodies, regional organizations and civil society, and drew on those ideas to identify elements of a conceptual and normative framework of human rights and international solidarity.
With the appointment of Virginia Dandan as the second Independent Expert, in 2011, the “second phase” of the mandate began, and it involved an in-depth examination of the relevant issues, principles, standards and norms that would shift the focus from the principle of international solidarity to the right to international solidarity.
Subsequently, Ms. Dandan moved on to the “third phase”, which involved consolidating and analysing the results of the previous two stages; writing and circulating a preliminary text of the draft declaration, for consultation; consolidating additional comments and inputs that were received; and finalizing the initial draft declaration for submission to the Human Rights Council.
The draft declaration on the right to international solidarity was submitted as an annex to Ms. Dandan’s last report to the Human Rights Council2, and presented to the world and all relevant stakeholders. The document is the result of years of research and thoughtful consideration by previous mandate holders, as well as significant input from States, civil society and leading scholars. In the view of the current Independent Expert, the draft declaration “is an extraordinary document, which presents a genuine practical tool for the expansion of international solidarity and human rights around the world, with the ultimate goal of realizing what was promised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: a social and international order in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be realized”3.
Furthermore, the draft declaration recognizes that international solidarity underlies the duty of States to cooperate with one another in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, and is reflected in the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as well as throughout international law.
draft declaration provides a definition of international solidarity as the expression of a spirit of unity among individuals, peoples, States and international organizations, encompassing the union of interests, purposes and actions and the recognition of different needs and rights to achieve common goals. The components of international solidarity are identified as preventive solidarity, through which stakeholders act to proactively address shared challenges; reactive solidarity, or collective actions of the international community to respond to situations of crisis; and international cooperation. The draft declaration provides concrete guidance to States and other stakeholders on how they must act in order to make this principle a reality and to fulfil their human rights obligations.
3. Statement delivered at the seventy-second session of the General Assembly, on 17 October 2017