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Human Rights Council adopts two resolutions and closes its twenty-ninth regular session

Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON 

3 July 2015

Extends Mandate on Côte d’Ivoire, Calls for Accountability for All Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Appoints Six Mandate Holders

The Human Rights Council this afternoon closed its twenty-ninth regular session after adopting two texts on capacity building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights in which it extended the mandate of the Independent Expert, and on accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.  The Council also elected six mandate holders.

Concerning Côte d’Ivoire, the Council decided to extend for one year, the mandate of the Independent Expert on capacity building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights, and asked the Independent Expert to present his final recommendations to the Council at its thirty-second session. 

Côte d’Ivoire, speaking as a concerned country, said it had made the most of the cooperation with the Independent Expert for the past four years and that was why the African Group had requested the renewal of the mandate on technical cooperation and capacity building to Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights.  Côte d’Ivoire requested the Council to adopt the text by consensus.

In a resolution on ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the Council called for the implementation of all the recommendations in the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict and called upon concerned parties to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court.  The resolution was adopted by a vote of 41 in favour, 1 against and 5 abstentions.

Israel, speaking as a concerned country, rejected this resolution, which it considered a “manifesto against Israel” that failed to address the reality on the ground and violations by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups. 

State of Palestine, also speaking as a concerned country, welcomed this resolution and the balanced report by the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict and condemned the killings of civilians in Gaza.

Joachim Ruecker, President of the Human Rights Council, said the Council appointed Ikponwosa Ero (Nigeria) as Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism; Mónica Pinto (Argentina) as Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Joseph Cannataci (Malta) as the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy; Dubravka Šimonovic (Croatia) as the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Leigh Toomey (Australia) as the member of the Working Group on arbitrary detention from the Group of Western European and other States; and Tae-Ung Baik, (Republic of Korea) as the member of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances from the Group of Asia-Pacific States.

Juan Esteban Aguirre Martínez, Vice-President of the Council reported on the work of the Task Force on Accessibility, which focused on the employment of staff with disabilities and the organization of a workshop on the universal design of accessibility.  Pending the Council becoming fully accessible to persons with disabilities, reasonable accommodation measures had to be adopted, including live webcasting, captioning in English, and Brail printing on demand. 

The Council then adopted ad referendum the report of its twenty-ninth session presented by Mothusi Bruce Rabasha Palai, Human Rights Council Vice-President and Rapporteur.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Ruecker, President of the Human Rights Council, underlined the importance of mutual cooperation and respect, as well as of the prevalence of a constructive spirit in the work of the Council.  He was saddened by continuing reports of cases of harassment or reprisals against human rights defenders who cooperated with United Nations human rights mechanisms. 

Introducing texts were Algeria on behalf of the African Group and Pakistan.

Speaking in general comments were Latvia on behalf of the European Union and the United States.

Speaking in explanations of the vote before or after the vote were Latvia on behalf of the European Union, United States, France, Saudi Arabia, Paraguay, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan and India. 

The following observer States spoke on the resolutions adopted: South Sudan, Egypt, Malta, Iran, Costa Rica, Colombia, Canada and Switzerland. 

Côte d’Ivoire, Israel and State of Palestine spoke as concerned countries. 

Estonia, United States, Paraguay, Pakistan, Portugal, El Salvador, France, Algeria, spoke in general comments on the nomination of Mandate Holders. 

Algeria on behalf of the African Group, International Service for Human Rights also took the floor in general concluding remarks.

The twenty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council took place from 15 June to 3 July 2015.  Documentation, statements, resolutions and reports relating to this and all Human Rights Council sessions are available on its webpage.  Detailed, speaker-by-speaker coverage of every public meeting can be found on the webpage of the United Nations Information Service Geneva.

The next regular session of the Human Rights Council will take place from 14 September to 2 October 2015.  More information is available on the Council’s webpage.

Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

Action on Resolution on Capacity-Building and Technical Cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the Field of Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/29/L.13/Rev.1) on capacity-building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council condemns the continuing sporadic attacks by unidentified armed individuals in Côte d’Ivoire, which are liable to thwart the joint efforts of the Ivorian people and the international community to bring security and peace to the country; requests the international community to continue to support the reconstruction and reconciliation process under way in Côte d’Ivoire and to provide the assistance requested in the specific areas in which such assistance is necessary, including in strengthening the capacity of the mechanisms for combating violence against women and children; requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide the technical assistance requested by the Government, to help Côte d’Ivoire to meet its human rights obligations; decides therefore to extend the mandate on capacity-building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights for a period of one year, from the twenty-ninth to the thirty-second sessions of the Human Rights Council; and requests the Independent Expert to submit a report to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-first session and his final recommendations at its thirty-second session.

Algeria, introducing the resolution on behalf of the African Group, welcomed the ongoing efforts made by Côte d’Ivoire and its cooperation with the Council.  It established funds for the reparation of victims of the electoral crisis and the National Commission for Reconciliation and Reparation for Victims.  It introduced the category of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and it abolished the death penalty.  It also accelerated the investigation of the perpetrators of the post-electoral violence in 2010 and 2011.  The African Group requested that the Council adopt the resolution.

Latvia, in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, said that the renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert was essential; a great deal of progress had been made and the determination of Côte d’Ivoire was crucial to consolidate that progress.  It was important to ensure that all perpetrators of crimes were prosecuted independent of their political affiliation.  The holding of free and fair elections in October would be crucial for the stabilisation of the country.

United States, speaking in a general comment, said that the United States was a strong supporter of the mandate of the Independent Expert for Côte d’Ivoire.  The United States expressed strong support for the intention of Côte d’Ivoire to reform its legal system in line with international standards.  It was important to note that international law did not require the abolition of the death penalty.

Côte d’Ivoire, speaking as the concerned country, said that over the past four years, Côte d’Ivoire had made the most of the cooperation with the Independent Expert and that was why the African Group had requested the renewal of the mandate on technical cooperation and capacity building to Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights.  Côte d’Ivoire requested the Council to adopt the text by consensus.

Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories

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/29/L.35) on ensuring accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 41 in favour, 1 against and 5 abstentions, the Council calls upon all duty bearers and United Nations bodies to pursue the implementation of all the recommendations contained in the report of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict; calls upon the parties concerned to cooperate fully with the preliminary examination of the International Criminal Court and with any subsequent investigation that may be opened; and recommends that the General Assembly remain apprised of the matter.  The Council also requests the High Commissioner to present a report on the implementation of the present resolution, as well as on the implementation of the recommendations contained in the reports of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict and of the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, to the Council at its thirty-first session.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (41): Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan,  Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

Against (1): United States of America.

Abstentions (5): Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Paraguay, and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Pakistan, introducing the resolution on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, explained that the objective was to welcome the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict, and to call for the implementation of its recommendations.  It was imperative to end impunity for violations of international law in the occupied State of Palestine.  The resolution emphasized the safety and well-being of all civilians, and reaffirmed the obligation to ensure the protection of civilians in armed conflict.  It called on all States to promote compliance with human rights obligations and all high contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.  It requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a report on the implementation of the resolution, and on the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission’s report. 

Israel, speaking as a concerned country, said that this Council had lost its bearing and said that the resolution distorted the intention of the authors of the report by completely ignoring the violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by Hamas.  Israel was defending its population from attacks by a terrorist organization in Gaza; Israel went to great lengths to warn the population in Gaza about impending attacks; and it was firmly committed to investigate alleged violations and this process must be allowed to run its course.  This Council would not succeed in delegitimizing Israel and preventing Israel from defending itself and its population.  This Council acted as an agent provocateur, feeding the flames instead of extinguishing them.  Israel stressed that it would continue to respect international human rights law and international humanitarian law, as well as fundamental principles of democracy and the rule of law.

State of Palestine, speaking as a concerned country, thanked the co-sponsors of the draft resolution.  Palestine found that the Commission of Inquiry’s report was balanced and impartial, documenting the crimes of terrorism committed against civilians, including the destruction of property and infrastructure during the 2014 Gaza conflict.  Many victims were children.  Religious sites, hospitals and ambulances were also targeted.  The occupying force continued to commit premeditated terrorist acts.  There was a need to recall the primacy of fundamental freedoms and human rights.  The State of Palestine asked the President of the Council to make the occupying force take responsibility and respect international law.  Those who would vote against the draft resolution or abstain from it would contribute to the negative effect on the work of the Council.

Latvia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, commended the Commission of Inquiry on the Gaza Conflict for the clear implementation of its mandate and considered that nothing in this resolution would be interpreted as going beyond the finding of the Commission.  The European Union reiterated its position that any human rights situation could be addressed under the Council’s agenda item 4.  While appreciating that much had been done to improve the text, the European Union noted concern about operative paragraphs one and two and said that it was premature to make judgement on the complex document and that it was important to first seriously examine the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry before implementing them.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the United States devoted considerable effort to forging peace in the Middle East and believed that the ultimate solution to the conflict was the creation of two States to live side by side.  The status quo was not a solution.  The draft resolution focused exclusively on alleged Israeli violations and did not talk about violations committed by Palestinians even though they were specifically mentioned in the Commission’s report.  The United States called for a vote and would vote no.

France, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated its commitment to combatting impunity throughout the world and stressed that respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law were essential to peace in the region.  The tragedy of the 2014 Gaza conflict must not happen again and perpetrators of violations, whoever they might be, must be brought to justice.  France thought that the draft resolution should have mentioned the rocket attacks by Hamas, but also thought that the text was balanced and would vote in favour.  It was now necessary more than ever to establish a system to deliver justice for the Palestinians.

Saudi Arabia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said its commitment towards the Palestinian issue had never changed, and that agenda item 7 was the most appropriate means to discuss the situation in Gaza and the other occupied Palestinian territories.  Saudi Arabia urged the Human Rights Council to get Israel to stop its continued violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people and to relinquish its logic of force and to recognize a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital city and to stop its aggression against Palestine. The report of the Commission of Inquiry confirmed that Israel was the biggest violator of human rights in the world.  Saudi Arabia called upon all States not to stand as onlookers, not to be silent against the most violent aggressors of human rights, and to advocate for the promotion of human rights.

Paraguay, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, restated its commitment to all human rights mechanisms, including the Independent Commission of Inquiry and its report.  The Israeli and Palestinian authorities were obliged to ensure that those who violated human rights law and humanitarian law were brought to justice and accountability, and that victims had reparations.  Paraguay welcomed the fact that Israel was conducting an investigation and repeated its belief that dialogue and direct negotiations between the two parties were the only way to achieve sustainable and lasting peace.  Paraguay appealed to the parties to resume their negotiations, and urged for a fair resolution of the conflict in which two States would exist side by side.  Paraguay would have supported a resolution on peaceful negotiations.  Therefore, it abstained from voting on the resolution.

United Kingdom, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the report underscored the importance of achieving a two-State solution.  Targeting civilian populations was a serious violation of international humanitarian law.  Israel had the right to defend itself, but its response had to be proportionate.  The United Kingdom urged all sides to take all measures to protect the civilian population and comply with international humanitarian law.  The allegations outlined in the Commission’s report had to be fully investigated by all involved parties.  The United Kingdom would prefer to have seen a text that gave more weight to Israel’s right to self-defence, but it would nevertheless vote in favour.

Explanation of Vote before the Vote and General Comments after Adoption of the Resolution under the Agenda Item on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories

Kazakhstan said it would continue to provide full support for the restoration of stability in the Middle East as an indispensable condition for a just and lasting peace in the region.  Kazakhstan condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, as they nullified the positive results achieved in the course of many years of negotiations between the Israeli and the Palestinians.  At the same time, the fight against terrorist groups should not lead to loss of lives and suffering among civilian populations. 

India said that its long-standing position on the Palestinian issue and the use of violence and recourse terrorism was well known.  India was not a party to the Rome Statue for previously stated reasons.  Because of these, India decided to abstain in the vote.

Appointment of Special Procedure Mandate Holders

JOACHIM RUECKER, President of the Human Rights Council, said that following his broad consultations with States and other relevant stakeholders, he had decided, in five out of six cases, to propose the candidate recommended and ranked first by the Consultative Group for approval by the Council while in one case, he proposed the candidate recommended and ranked second.  This was the case of the candidate for the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy and the President proposed the best qualified candidate. 

The President proposed the following candidates: Ikponwosa Ero (Nigeria), as the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism; Mónica Pinto (Argentina), as the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; Joseph Cannataci (Malta), as the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy; Dubravka Šimonovic (Croatia), as the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Leigh Toomey (Australia), as the member of the Working Group on arbitrary detention from the Group of Western European and other States; and Tae-Ung Baik, (Republic of Korea), as the member of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances from the Group of Asia-Pacific States.

Estonia, in a general comment, said that the Consultative Group based its decision on the appointment of mandate holders based on gender balance, geographical balance and competence.   Information emerged that challenged the competence of mandate holder candidates, and showed that there had been bias in the selection of candidates.   The East European Group had only three mandate holders whereas the Western Group had 15 mandate holders.  Estonia thus proposed the postponement of the appointment of mandate holders, and that those who had not had a chance to speak on behalf of a candidate to do so.  It noted that the author of the resolution could not choose mandate holder candidates.

United States, in a general comment, said it continued to be highly supportive of the gender balance among mandate holders, and noted that a highly qualified woman was not selected.  It called for a better gender balance.

Paraguay, in a general comment, welcomed the transparency and inclusive spirit of the selection process of the new mandate holders.  The basic objective should be the objectivity of the process and a balanced approach was needed.  The three candidates put forward by the Consultative Group were equally qualified, but the President decided to respect geographic representation and Paraguay supported the President’s decision 

General Comments

Pakistan, in a general comment, said that some of the comments by Estonia regarding gender balance and balance taking into account members from Eastern Europe were well taken.  These, however, cast doubt on the ability and impartiality of the President.  There may be different opinions on many issues, but most members of the Human Rights Council fully believed in the impartiality of the Council.  Regarding the difference of opinion on the candidate initially chosen by the Consultative Group, the President had adequately responded to what had been communicated to him by different groups.  The Consultative Group’s choice was respected, but this would neither be the first nor the last time that the Human Rights Council would re-examine the choice of the Consultative Group.  The choice of the President should thus be respected.  Finally, the appointment of a Special Rapporteur who was controversial was by definition, controversial.

Portugal, in a general comment, welcomed the thorough explanations furnished by the President, and expressed full confidence in the procedures followed under his guidance.

El Salvador expressed its understanding of the proposal made by the President regarding the candidates to occupy vacant mandates.  Account had been taken of the responsibility and independence of the candidates.  El Salvador expressed its full appreciation regarding the President’s abilities to lead the Human Rights Council. 

France, in a general comment, said it understood the concern of partners, but it also understood that the President’s proposal of candidates was based on broad consultations.

Algeria, in a general comment, said that the consultations on the issue with the Bureau and regional groups had been satisfactory and Algeria thus supported the President’s proposals and his way of managing the issue.

General Comments by Observer States on All Resolutions

South Sudan, in a general comment, welcomed the adoption of the draft resolution L.8 on the fact-finding mission to improve human rights, accountability and reconciliation for South Sudan by consensus and thanked the African Group for its full support and efforts to come up with the draft resolution.  It also thanked all stakeholders and parties for their efforts to help achieve peace and stability in South Sudan.  It reaffirmed its readiness to continue to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Egypt, in a general comment, welcomed the Council’s support of the resolution on the protection of the family.  Although Egypt was committed to the protection of women from violence, it regretted that the resolution on this matter contained controversial references.  Egypt continued to support the resolution on human rights while combatting terrorism.   Egypt was alarmed that country-specific resolutions had been adopted while being inconsistent with the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner.  Egypt regretted that some States supported the removal of agenda item 7, which would lead to perpetrating impunity for Israel’s violations. 

Malta, in a general comment in reference to resolution A/HRC/29/L.16 on accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women, namely domestic violence, said that Malta worked tirelessly to eliminate this form of violence.  Malta referred to the problematic reference relating to “emergency contraception,” in OP11, and said that this could prevent a fertilised ovum from being implanted.  Malta’s position was that the right to life extended to the unborn child from the moment of conception, and therefore the use of abortion procedures were the denial of the most fundamental human right, the right to life.  In this regard, Mata reaffirmed its position that any recommendation should not in any way create an obligation on any party to consider abortion as a legitimate form of reproductive health rights.  It had the same position on OP10 for A/HRC/29/L.15 on strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage.

Iran, in a general comment, attached high importance to the rights of the child.  Iran had expressed reservations with regards to L.15 on the prevention of forced marriage, however, and voiced its dissatisfaction that OP3 and OP12 did not take into account cultural and religious differences.   Regarding L.4 on Syria, the resolution was against human rights and was politically motivated, and would not lead to peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Costa Rica, speaking in a general comment on behalf of a group of countries, commended the political consultations held to enhance the effectiveness of the Council.  The group of countries were interested in ensuring the ongoing dialogue on how to improve the manner in which mandates were carried out.  In the context of the Human Rights Council, dialogue could and must be constructed on how to bring life into the institutional construction of the Council, particularly in view of enhancing the dialogue within the Council, managing the time, and avoiding duplication.  This, among other matters, would guarantee the efficiency of the Council.

Colombia, in a general comment, welcomed the adoption of the Presidential Statement on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Human Rights Council.  However, it regretted the use of extraordinary measures against countries, and advocated open and constructive dialogue at the Council.  The acquisition and inappropriate use of weapons was not incorporated in the relevant draft resolution, as well as home production of weapons and trafficking of weapons.  Technical aspects of disarmament should be part of the draft resolution.

Canada, in a general comment, welcomed the Presidential Statement on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Human Rights Council.  It also expressed sincere appreciation of the collective effort and the broad cross-regional engagement during the discussions of the draft resolution to eliminate violence against women, focusing on domestic violence.  Canada expressed deep concern over the inconsistency in the domestic behaviour and recent developments in the justice system of the core group member Maldives with respect to the draft resolution on the independence of judges and lawyers.

Switzerland, in a general comment with Liechtenstein, expressed alarm at the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria, and deplored the violations and abuses of human rights in that country.  They regretted that the draft resolution did not sufficiently condemn violations committed by all sides of the conflict.   It was the responsibility of the Council to actively contribute to efforts to improve the respect of international humanitarian law in Syria.  The resolution paragraph which referred to that issue should have recalled the role of the International Criminal Court.

Report on the Task Force on Accessibility

Juan Esteban Aguirre Martinez, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, reported on the work of the Task Force on Accessibility.  The Task Force had met regularly since 2011 and had submitted recommendations to Human Rights Council, endorsed in a resolution.  Two progress reports in the form of conference room papers had been submitted with a status on the recommendations.  The Task Force had cooperated with all relevant bodies on disabilities, including the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Disabilities and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The Task Force had focused on the employment of staff with disabilities, promulgated on 19 June 2014, which had provided an opportunity for the organization of a workshop on the universal design of accessibility.  Pending the Council becoming fully accessible to persons with disabilities, reasonable accommodation measures had to be adopted, including live webcasting, captioning in English, and Brail printing on demand.  At the previous meeting the Task Force had been informed on the outcome, and notably some measures for improving accessibility for persons with disabilities had already been implemented.  It was now time to identify measures that could be implemented without additional financial resources.  Some areas in focus in the discussion were procurement, awareness raising, information and communication technologies. 

The President then proposed the adoption of the draft report.

Report of the Session

JOACHIM RUECKER, President of the Human Rights Council, proposed the adoption of the report of the session.  The draft report was placed on the extranet yesterday afternoon.

MOTHUSI BRUCE RABASHA PALAI, Vice-President and Rapporteur of the Council, introducing the draft report of the twenty-ninth session, said that it contained a procedural description of work up until Thursday morning, 2 July, at 11 a.m.  Any comments or corrections could be sent through the Secretariat of the Council, and the final draft report would be posted on the extranet.  The text of resolutions and decisions adopted during the session would be available in due course on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and subsequently included in part one of the final report.  During this session, seven dignitaries had addressed the Council, which held discussion on a wide range of topics during four panels, and heard reports of three Commissions of Inquiry.  Further, the Council had adopted outcome reports of the Universal Periodic Review for 14 countries, and had appointed six Special Procedure mandate holders.

JOACHIM RUECKER, President of the Human Rights Council, said the report was adopted ad referendum.

Concluding Remarks

Algeria, in general concluding remarks on behalf of the African Group, noted that the many terrorist attacks in the past several weeks in Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Somalia, as well as in countries outside the African continent, had caused the death of many civilians, destruction of well-being, serious challenges to social cohesion and numerous violations of human rights.  The African Group condemned such acts and expressed sympathy and condolences to the families of victims of terrorist attacks.  The African Group was profoundly alarmed by the increase of terrorist phenomenon in a manner that transcended national borders, which was a grave threat to international peace and security.  It thus called for enhanced international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and extremism of any form.

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), on behalf of severals NGOs1  welcomed the focus on human rights defenders in detention by both the High Commissioner and a large group of States, and encouraged the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to swiftly create a publicly accessible database.  Among other positive outcomes of the session were attention to the human rights of migrants and advances in condemning violence against women.  However, it regretted that a similarly principled approach was absent in relation to the protection of the family resolution, which remained fundamentally flawed.  It encouraged States to ensure that national laws did not hinder but supported and protected the work of human rights defenders.

JOACHIM RUECKER, President of the Human Rights Council,  said that many issues had come to the forefront, including rooms, reports, tabling deadlines, timesheets, speaking times, and other issues.  He reminded the States that it was in their hands to improve the efficiency of the Council and create an atmosphere of trust, transparency and cooperation.  He announced that no proposals had been received for the Mainstreaming Panel to be held in 2016 and suggested extending the deadline until the end of July.  He encouraged all participants to continue to discuss with the appropriate level of dignity and respect, as only if a consensual and constructive spirit prevailed in the deliberations would the Council be productive.  While encouraging that States played an active and positive role in protecting human rights defenders, more needed to be done.  He deplored the cases of intimidation against individuals and groups who had worked with the United Nations and human rights organs which had been brought to his attention.  Mr. Ruecker thanked all delegations, representatives of national human rights institutions and civil society for their openness and constructive personal engagement in the course of the last three weeks.  He then closed the twenty-ninth regular session of the Council.
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1Joint statement: International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Article 19 – International Centre Against Censorship, The Allied Rainbow Communities International, Human Rights House Foundation, and Asian Forum for Human Rights Development, and International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association


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For use of the information media; not an official record

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