Human Rights Council Advisory Committee marks tenth anniversary


The Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council marked its tenth anniversary with a panel discussion, How Research Leads to Action, noting the think tank’s contributions to the Human Rights Council since it was established in 2008.

HRC Advisory Committee, Palais des Nations, Geneva, 10 August 2018. © OHCHR/Danielle KirbyAddressing fellow members and Member State delegates at the commemorative event held during the Committee’s 21st session, panel speakers celebrated the Committee’s contributions to the Human Rights Council over the past ten years. The discussion opened with a video, Inside the Committee, highlighting the work of the Committee and its vital role in the Council.

"This is a moment to reflect on what has been achieved, learned and what could be improved," said Committee member Elizabeth Salmón, who moderated the discussion.

 Salmón noted among the Advisory Committee’s early achievements a draft declaration on human rights education and training and a draft declaration on the right to peace, both of which were adopted by the UN General Assembly.

Chairperson Katharina Pabel, a Committee member for the past six years who was presiding over her last session, praised the regional diversity of the 18 experts comprising the Committee as one of its key strengths that has been vital to enriching the work it has produced over the last decade.

Pabel stressed the critical role of the Committee rapporteurs in preparing the reports of each drafting group. Also key to the production of comprehensive reports, she said, were the perspectives and material gathered from various stakeholders. 

 "We have gradually gained the interest and participation of civil society, which was lacking in the beginning, and which is crucial to the work of the Committee," she said. 

Committee Vice-President Mario Coriolano also commended the contributions made by non-governmental organizations. He stressed the importance of the Committee’s interactive dialogues with members of civil society to achieve their active participation.

To protect the human rights of the most vulnerable minorities, "Political will and necessary resources must be allocated," said Coriolano.

Among the Committee’s important achievements were the studies on albinism and leprosy that brought to the Council’s attention the gravity of human rights violations suffered by people with these conditions, said Committee member Kaoru Obata.

"People with albinism and leprosy have been marginalized by force and isolated from their communities," he said. "These are clear cases of serious violations of human rights. And the standards set by our Committee that have led to successful action to protect and promote the rights of people with albinism and leprosy."

Pabel highlighted the important role of Committee recommendations in the reports submitted to the Human Rights Council. It was these recommendations, she said, that prompted the Human Rights Council to take action on human rights issues, like the protection of people with albinism and leprosy.

"The Advisory Committee should make all efforts to continue developing convincing, effective and forward-looking recommendations," said Pabel.

10 August 2018

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