Human Rights Council
20 June 2016
Concludes Interactive Dialogue on Violence against Women and on Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice
The Human Rights Council this morning held a clustered interactive dialogue with Chaloka Beyani, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, and with Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. It also concluded a clustered interactive dialogue with Dubravka Šimonović, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, and Frances Radday, Chair of the Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice.
Presenting his reports, Mr. Beyani stressed that, at the end of 2015, there were more than 40 million people who had been internally displaced by conflict, with countless more displaced due to disasters, violence and development projects. More scrutiny and attention must be given to the role of development and business activities as a push factor, while greater consideration was to be given to the protection of persons displaced within their countries of origin, and in particular to marginalized groups and their vulnerability to displacement. States needed to prioritize solutions that improved self-reliance by integrating internally displaced persons into national safety nets, education programmes, labour markets and development plans. Mr. Beyani also presented reports from country visits to Iraq, Syria, the Philippines and Honduras.
Mr. Heyns, in the presentation of his reports, spoke about a document on the ongoing revision of the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, or the Minnesota Protocol, a key text providing guidance on the practical implementation of the duty to protect life and the obligation to investigate potentially unlawful deaths. He said his thematic report outlined the challenges of the increasing use by States of private security providers in law enforcement and stressed the responsibility of States to install regulative and legislative frameworks for such activities, including the prohibition of the lethal use of force unless strictly unavoidable, proportionate and necessary. The Special Rapporteur also presented a report concerning his visit to Ukraine and a follow-up report concerning his visit to Mexico.
Honduras, Iraq, Philippines, Syria and Ukraine spoke as concerned countries.
In the discussion on the human rights of internally displaced persons, speakers noted with alarm a serious increase of persons displaced by conflict. They insisted on the need for a stronger and more comprehensive approach to result-oriented and durable solution initiatives, and in particular in ensuring that internally displaced persons had access to education and health services. The international community had a responsibility to agree on political solutions to situations at the root cause of displacement. Speakers inquired about measures to further strengthen the response by the United Nations system to better address the needs of internally displaced persons, including those displaced by climate change.
With regard to extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, speakers agreed that States had to regulate private security companies and pointed that Mr. Heyns’ report contained valuable guidance in that regard. Delegations asked about the future of the mandate and asked the Special Rapporteur for his views on the adoption of an international legally-binding instrument regulating the activities of private security companies. Reiterating the importance of the rule of law for the prosecution of the perpetuators of extrajudicial killings and securing justice for the victims, they asked which were the groups that were particularly at risk of violations by private security companies.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Beyani stressed that internal displacement was not a transitional phenomenon, with the evidence pointing that the average duration of displacement was 17 years; this put an imperative on dealing with root causes of displacement and on durable solutions for those still displaced.
Mr. Heyns, in his closing remarks, said that it was important for the mandate to remain involved with aspects of the right to life that dealt with executions, and not just in regard to direct State involvement, and also to continue to be involved with questions of violations of the right to life in conflict.
Speaking in the discussion were the European Union, Qatar on behalf of the Arab Group, Nigeria, Russia, Namibia, Austria, Cuba, Council of Europe, Denmark, New Zealand, Sierra Leone, United States, Iran, Serbia, Norway, Ecuador, South Africa, Switzerland, China, Republic of Korea, Belgium, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Turkey, Libya, Georgia, Venezuela, Australia, Egypt, Sudan, Sovereign Order of Malta, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Ukraine, Pakistan, Estonia, Latvia, Palestine, Ghana and the Central African Republic.
National Human Rights Commission of Mexico took the floor, as did the following non-governmental organizations: Sudwind, Minorities Rights Group, Al-Khoei Foundation, Franciscans International, Commission Mexicana, World Barua Organization, International Lawyers Organization, World Muslim Congress, International Islamic Federation of Student Organization, Centre Europe-Tiers Monde, World Jewish Congress, BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy, Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture, and Il Cenacolo.
At the beginning of the meeting this morning, the Council concluded its interactive dialogue on violence against women and on discrimination against women in law and in practice which it started on 17 June. The summary of the presentation of the reports and the first part of the interactive dialogue can be found here.
In her concluding remarks, Dubravka Šimonović, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, orally amended the thematic priorities to include violence against women in politics, in honour of Jo Cox, a Member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament, violently killed several days ago. She said there was a lot of interest and support for the idea of collecting and using data on the prevention of femicide and she intended to prepare guidelines to States which would make up part of her report to the General Assembly in October 2016. The Special Rapporteur stressed the importance of data collection and cooperation between actors in order to address the under-reported sexual violence in conflicts, and also underlined the significance of the education of judges and lawyers on violence against women as a tool of prevention.
During the interactive discussion, speakers welcomed the Special Rapporteur’s focus on closing the implementation gap on violence against women under the aegis of the 2030 Agenda for Development. They asked about the steps to develop the synergies that were crucial for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal n°5 on gender equality, and about the feedback on the call for a global Femicide Watch.
With regard to discrimination against women, delegations asked about the most urgent steps that States should undertake to implement the Working Group’s recommendation to ensure equal access and availability of sexual and reproductive health services for women with disabilities.
Speaking were Tunisia, Nigeria, Maldives, Armenia, Estonia, Paraguay, Myanmar, Lichtenstein, Finland, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Sao Tome and Principe, Bolivia, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Republic of Moldova, Uruguay, Turkey, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Ghana, Sudan, Argentina, Greece, and Brazil.
Also speaking were the following non-governmental organizations: COC Netherlands, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (joint statement), Make Mothers Matter, Korea Centre for United Nations Human Rights Policy, Alliance Defending Freedom, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales Asociacion Civil, International Catholic Child Bureau, Victorious Youths Movement, Ecumenical Alliance for Human Rights and Development, British Humanist Association, Action Canada for Population and Development, Conseil international pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux droits de l’homme, Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain Inc, and Liberation.
The Council is holding a full day of meetings today. It will next hear the presentation of the thematic reports of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, followed by a general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.
Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and the Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice
Tunisia said the report of the Special Rapporteur showed a global approach, and noted that Tunisia was currently considering a new a law against violence against women, which would complete the country’s legal arsenal. In response to the report of the Chair of the Working Group, agreement was expressed regarding States’ obligation to the promotion of the rights of women, which amounted to multidimensional action based on human rights. Nigeria expressed concerns that discriminatory stereotypes continued to exist, noting that the Nigerian constitution guaranteed gender equality. Maldives said that the country had a zero tolerance policy for violence against women, adding that recent legislation, including on the topics of sexual abuse and harassment, strengthened the country’s legal framework. Armenia said that there was a greater need to streamline prevention, noting that it was essential to protect women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations, condemning States who violated the rights of women to advance political interests. Estonia said violence against women was a global concern that required a global approach, asking the Special Rapporteur what the feedback had been to her call for a global “femicide” watch. In response to the report of the Chair of the Working Group, Estonia noted that women’s access to healthcare was often limited to questions of maternal health, asking what could be done about that. Paraguay said that the empowerment of women was a possibility through making use of all tools, asking the Special Rapporteur and the Chair of the Working Group how the international community could find consistency at all levels.
Myanmar fully recognized the important role of women in all walks of life and that was why its Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women 2013-2023 aimed to ensure gender equality and eliminate discrimination against women. Violence against women was the most prevalent single human rights violation and was the key obstacle to the full equality of women, said Lichtenstein, asking how the Special Rapporteur intended to promote synergies on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5. Finland had recently adopted its National Action Plan for gender equality in order to eliminate violence against women as a crucial step in ensuring gender equality. The Working Group had made an important recommendation to States to ensure the accessibility and availability of sexual and reproductive health services for women with disabilities and Finland asked about the most urgent steps to ensure this right. Mexico had adopted comprehensive measures to eliminate violence against women not only by addressing its consequences but also poverty and marginalization as its main causes. United Arab Emirates had created centres to protect, help and support women victims of violence and was also preparing to establish a more exhaustive policy to combat violence against women in domestic settings. Women victims of violence were often discriminated against in different areas of life and Sao Tome and Principe had put in place measures to eradicate the root causes and ensure the full participation of women in development.
Bolivia had ensured gender equality in all institutions and violence against women could be addressed through the empowerment of women in all areas. Bolivia was at the forefront of gender equality in Latin America. Colombia took note of the thematic priorities set out by the Special Rapporteur, asking for further information on violence against women in conflict and post-conflict situations. Czech Republic had an action plan for the prevention of violence against women, which paid special attention to the training of security forces. The Special Rapporteur was asked, in regard to awareness-raising campaigns, whether she had coordinated with relevant bodies. Ecuador had a national plan to eradicate violence against women, adding that there was a need to transform socio-cultural patterns. Ecuador had also undertaken measures in response to the recent earthquake. Republic of Moldova asked the Special Rapporteur to elaborate on the initiative on a global code of conduct for security officers addressing violence against women and girls. Appreciation was expressed for the Chair of the Working Group’s focus on discrimination against women with regard to health and safety, and the Chair was asked to elaborate on synergies with international organizations such as the World Health Organization on that issue. Uruguay said the fight against the scourge of violence against women had to address multiple forms of discrimination, adding that Uruguay had been working on each priority area of the report to draft a national gender policy.
Turkey said no social or religious grounds could ever justify violence against women, and presented Turkey’s legislation implementing the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) as well as its provisions at the domestic level. Portugal underlined the links between the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the realization of women’s sexual and reproductive rights. Republic of Korea said that it prevented violence and discrimination against women through awareness-raising campaigns, and underlined the importance of the 2030 Agenda in that regard. Philippines shared some initiatives it had undertaken to combat violence and discrimination against women, including the adoption of relevant legislation and the creation of mechanisms to coordinate the Government’s efforts in that regard. Ghana presented measures it had taken for the protection of women, but recognized that more efforts were needed to combat female genital mutilation, forced marriage and domestic violence, and invited the Special Rapporteur on violence against women to visit the country. Sudan noted the importance of collecting data in order to strengthen efforts to combat violence against women, and emphasized that Sudan was pursuing a zero tolerance policy on that matter, including through measures to combat harmful traditional practices.
Argentina agreed with the Special Rapporteur on the need to reduce the gap between the law and its implementation and spoke about measures it had undertaken in this regard. Greece supported the Special Rapporteur’s work on the links between the violence against women in conflict and post-conflict situations and the global development agenda. Greece was examining the possibility of ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence. Brazil had introduced legal measures to increase sanctions for gender motivated crimes, including crimes of femicide, and expressed support for developing specific targets for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal n°5.
Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - COC Nederland spoke about multiple and intersecting discrimination which was preventing lesbian, transgender and bisexual women from achieving the highest attainable standard of health and urged States to implement the recommendations in the Working Group’s report. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, in a joint statement with CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation welcomed the Special Rapporteur’s attention to closing the implementation gap on violence under the aegis of the 2030 Agenda for Development and encouraged her to strengthen the engagement with mandate holders dedicated to promoting and protecting the critical rights of civil society. Make Mothers Matter called upon all governments to recognize the critical importance of early years for child development, especially between conception and age three, and to make it an investment priority.
Korea Centre for United Nations Human Rights Policy, in a joint statement, reviewed a criminal case where a woman had been killed, noting that an overarching problem was the absence of a legal definition of violence against women, and a lack of reliable and holistic data to analyse all forms of violence against women. Alliance Defending Freedom, in a joint statement with Global Helping to Advance Women and Children, expressed agreement that women’s right to access to health services should be one of the highest priorities of the United Nations, but the international community had to note the overwhelming emphasis placed on abortion and contraception, observing that laws on abortion were born out of respect for all human life. Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales Asociacion Civil reviewed two recent medical cases involving pregnancy and miscarriage and criminal situations, noting that they were major human rights cases with respect to the rights of women. International Catholic Child Bureau, in a joint statement, spoke about girl sexual abuse victims in Georgia, issuing five recommendations, including the necessity of facilitating the filing of complaints for child victims of sexual violence, and asking the Special Rapporteur which concrete steps she intended to undertake in order to follow up her recommendations to Georgia. Victorious Youths Movement expressed shock at many acts of violence in Iraq and Sinjar, as well as kidnappings in Nigeria and Sudan, calling on the international community to address these cases, and also noting violations of women’s rights in Tindouf camp, where women were victims of rape and forced disappearance. Ecumenical Alliance for Human Rights and Development expressed concern regarding practices harmful to women in the Middle East, noting that sexual violence was being used in Iraq and Syria as a deliberate tactic which was not limited to physical abuse.
British Humanist Association was concerned about restrictive and anti-abortion laws worldwide, including in El Salvador and Ireland, and called on all States to decriminalize abortion. Action Canada for Population and Development called on States to adopt a holistic approach to violence against women, including by addressing its root causes, and called on States to ensure that women had free access to health information. Conseil international pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux droits de l’homme supported civil society organizations combatting violence against women, and condemned such violence by terrorist groups supported by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan regretted that the agreement between the Republic of Korea and Japan on the issue of comfort women had been drafted without consultation of the survivors, and generally lacked a victim-centred approach. Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain Inc called the Council’s attention to violence against women domestic workers in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, including sexual violence, corporal punishment and sexual exploitation. Liberation regretted that the report by the Special Rapporteur had failed to mention caste-based discrimination and violence against women, and referred to such cases in India.
DUBRAVKA ŠIMONOVIĆ, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, in her closing remarks, orally amended her thematic priorities to include violence against women in politics, in honour of Jo Cox, a Member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament who had been killed several days ago. Concerning Sudan’s remarks about the country visit report, the Special Rapporteur underlined that Sudan had 26 laws which were discriminatory against women, including the law which allowed the marriage of ten-year-old girls if it was justified before the court. Sudan should immediately repeal all the laws that were in violation of international human rights laws and standards, and which were also contrary to the initiative by the Sudanese First Lady against child and forced marriage. Ms. Šimonović stood ready to support the Government of Sudan in the implementation of the report’s recommendations.
The Special Rapporteur reiterated that she intended to develop stronger cooperation with regional and global mechanisms and had already taken steps in this regard. As far as women fleeing conflict were concerned, there was a need to look into the joint use of international human rights law, international humanitarian law and refugee law in order to increase the protection of women and girls in conflict and crisis situations. There was a lot of interest and support for the idea of collecting and using data on the prevention of femicide and the Special Rapporteur intended to prepare guidelines to States which would make up part of her report to the General Assembly in October 2016. The Special Rapporteur stressed the importance of data collection and cooperation between actors in order to address the under-reported sexual violence in conflicts, and also underlined the significance of the education of judges and lawyers on violence against women as a tool of prevention.
The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (A/HRC/32/35).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons – mission to Iraq (A/HRC/32/35/Add.1).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons – mission to the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/32/35/Add.2).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons – mission to the Philippines (A/HRC/32/35/Add.3).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons – mission to Honduras (A/HRC/32/35/Add.4).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons – mission to the Philippines – comments by the State (A/HRC/32/35/Add.5).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons – mission to the Syrian Arab Republic – comments by the State (A/HRC/32/35/Add.6).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons – mission to Iraq - comments by the State (A/HRC/32/35/Add.7).
The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the right to life and the use of force by private security providers in law enforcement contexts (A/HRC/32/39).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the right to life and the use of force by private security providers in law enforcement contexts – mission to Ukraine (A/HRC/32/39/Add.1).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the right to life and the use of force by private security providers in law enforcement contexts – mission to Mexico (A/HRC/32/39/Add.2).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the right to life and the use of force by private security providers in law enforcement contexts – Observations on Communication (A/HRC/32/39/Add.3).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the right to life and the use of force by private security providers in law enforcement contexts – Revision of the UN Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary executions (A/HRC/32/39/Add.4).
The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the right to life and the use of force by private security providers in law enforcement contexts – mission to Ukraine – mission by the State (A/HRC/32/39/Add.5).
Presentation of Reports by the Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons and the Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions
CHALOKA BEYANI, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, said that as of the end of 2015, 40.8 million persons were internally displaced by conflict globally, with countless more persons displaced due to disasters, violence and development projects. It was the primary responsibility of Governments to provide durable solutions for internally displaced persons, and while the focus of the attention was currently on cross-border movements of “migrants” and asylum seekers, greater consideration had to be given to the protection of persons displaced within their countries of origin. The role of development and business activities was a push factor which should be given greater scrutiny, and another area which required more attention was the particular vulnerability of marginalized groups to displacement. He urged all African Union Member States to ratify the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention), which was a model of good practice for other regions. At the World Humanitarian Summit, he had emphasized the need to prioritize solutions that improved self-reliance by integrating internally displaced persons into national safety nets, education programmes, labour markets and development plans, as well as the need to support the strengthening of policy and legal frameworks to protect and foster the inclusion of displaced people.
Turning to his country visits, he said that in Iraq, the Government had to intensify its efforts to protect and assist internally displaced persons on the basis of legal and policy frameworks in line with international standards, and prepare for a new protracted displacement scenario. Regarding Syria, he said that at the time of his visit, over 11 million people were displaced either internally or in neighbouring countries; the extent of the protection and humanitarian needs was overwhelming. It was imperative that all parties to the conflict fulfilled their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. He had visited the Philippines following the landfall of a typhoon which had displaced more than 4 million people, and said the Government should be commended for its reconstruction efforts to date and its initial responses to the massive internal displacement challenges. Yet attention to internally displaced persons and resources allocated to them appeared to be waning before durable solutions had been achieved. Commenting on his visit to Honduras, he said that the Government needed to strengthen measures to prevent internal displacement and put in place overdue support, protection and assistance measures for internally displaced persons who to date had had to fend for themselves.
CHRISTOF HEYNS, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, presented a document on the ongoing revision of the United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions (known as the Minnesota Protocol), which was a key text providing guidance on the practical implementation of the duty to protect life and the obligation to investigate potentially unlawful deaths. The Protocol was undergoing a revision process by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur and other experts, including consultations with a broad range of relevant actors. Turning to his main thematic report on the use of force by private security providers in law enforcement, he noted that States increasingly relied on the private security sector, which led to many challenges. States had a duty to respect and protect human rights, including the public’s right to bodily integrity, and they had therefore an obligation to install regulative and legislative frameworks for the activities of private security providers.
All reasonable precautionary steps to protect life and prevent excessive violence must be taken, including the provision of appropriate equipment and training, the proscription of inappropriate weapons, and careful planning of individual operations. The intentional lethal use of force had to be prohibited unless strictly unavoidable, and had to be proportionate and necessary. Those using force as part of a private security provider should be subjected to strict scrutiny, and be held accountable for this use of force. There had to be a system of mandatory reporting of all incidents involving the use of firearms, all deaths, and any serious injuries. Laws should not grant a company the right to exculpate itself from intentional or grossly negligent excessive force, he added. Those responsibilities also applied extraterritorially, the Special Rapporteur said. Without such standards of liability, victims would often have no effective recourse. The Special Rapporteur also presented a report concerning his visit to Ukraine and a follow-up report concerning his visit to Mexico.
Statements by Concerned Countries
Honduras, speaking as a concerned country, believed that the stress placed by the Special Rapporteur on the displacement caused by gang violence was relevant and appropriate. The impact on the lives of those affected was catastrophic. Honduras recognized that the issue of internally displaced persons required a holistic approach. Honduras was working on developing a firm national response, which would include an action plan through a multi-sectoral approach. Organized crime organizations ought to be dismantled. The Government recognized that women and girls were at a particular risk, which was why special steps were taken to promote safe cities. Awareness was being raised on the issue of gender violence as well. International support needed to be provided, stated Honduras. Being a victim of generalized crime should be considered as a factor that qualified a person for refugee status, especially when it was unaccompanied minors, who should not be returned. Honduras appreciated the recommendations provided by the Special Rapporteur.
Iraq, speaking as a concerned country, welcomed the efforts by the Special Rapporteur to meet internally displaced persons and listen to their concerns. The war on terrorism in Iraq had been underway for several years. Despite difficulties in armed operations, Iraqi forces had respected their humanitarian obligations towards the public and had taken populations to safe places before liberating regions. The Government paid particular attention to internally displaced persons, some 3.6 million of whom were receiving assistance from the United Nations agencies. Efforts were being made to reduce the burden of the internally displaced persons by providing them with necessary assistance, humanitarian and otherwise. Assistance was being provided in a number of provinces, while children were provided with access to education as much as possible. Thousands of citizens had been allowed to enter Baghdad, coming from different regions, but in certain cases, their legal status had to be examined with the view of avoiding crime within refugee groups and avoiding infiltration by terrorists.
Philippines, speaking as a concerned country, said that in order to understand the existence of the internally displaced persons in the country, it was important to take into account the natural geographical hazards, a long-term armed insurgency from communists and extremists groups, and sporadic civil unrest by the culturally rooted Rido system among some indigenous people’s communities. The Government’s approach to the issue of internal displacement went beyond the provisions of care and assistance, and addressed also the roots of displacement and vulnerability of the displaced persons. The Philippines was seriously engaged in a peace process with the armed groups while at the same time pursuing the whole of nation initiative. The National Disaster Response Plan addressed natural and human-made disasters, while its Operational Protocol on Internally Displaced Persons provided guidance on assisting them and protecting their rights, and ensured that humanitarian actors avoided the pitfalls of discrimination, abuse, violence, neglect of exploitation. The Government was also proactively monitoring the condition of indigenous peoples in areas threatened by development projects, including those in extractive industries.
Syria, speaking as a concerned country, said that the Special Rapporteur had visited the country a year ago and wished that he had visited all the provinces to see the people displaced by terrorists. There was a need to update the report by the Special Rapporteur and also to include in it the opinion expressed by the Government of Syria. Mr. Beyani should have focused on events that followed his first visit rather than politicize his report and repeat simplified versions of the events in Syria that reduced the role of terrorism that targeted civilians. This selective approach had removed the impartiality of the mandate-holder and his report had fallen into the trap of stereotypes, including in analysing the context of displacement and ignoring the threat to the lives of civilians by terrorists and the hardship on civilians posed by unilateral coercive measures. It was clear that the factors of displacement solely depended on security and there were no other considerations as insinuated in the Special Rapporteur’s report. Terrorists were carrying out crimes against the civilians and it was unlawful to place them on an equal footing with the Government.
Ukraine, speaking as a concerned country, reiterated grave concern about the violations against Ukrainian civilians in the occupied Crimea and other areas controlled by Russian-supported forces. The report lacked crucial information which would support better understanding of the human rights violations committed against the civilians, notably, the illegal occupation and the attempted annexation of Crimea by Russia. The influx of foreign fighters, arms and ammunition into eastern areas of Ukraine, and the presence of Russian mercenaries in the Ukrainian territory were the chief reasons of human rights violations and abuses. Ukraine agreed with the Special Rapporteur that the human rights situation in Crimea must remain under the scrutiny of international bodies. It must be noted that the Government of Ukraine was very open to this recommendation, but it was Russia which refused such scrutiny. Ukraine stood ready to make every effort to ensure proper functioning of the accountability system and to bring to justice those who committed human rights violations, in particular the violations of the right to life, regardless of where or by whom they were committed.
Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons and the Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions
European Union asked what could be done to further strengthen the response by the United Nations system to better address the needs of internally displaced persons, including their need for durable solutions. European Union asked what the Council should do regarding the future of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on summary executions. Qatar, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said that displacement in Syria and Iraq required a strong stance and assistance by the international community. Internally displaced persons required humanitarian assistance, which required financial aid. Nigeria was alarmed at the number of internally displaced persons worldwide, and stressed the importance of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention), which Nigeria was in the process of domesticating. Concluding, Nigeria reiterated its invitation to the Special Rapporteur to visit the country. Russian Federation asked the Special Rapporteur how he assessed the adoption of an international legally-binding instrument regulating the activities of private security companies. It shared the view that the Government of Ukraine shared direct responsibility for abuses by armed groups on its territory. The Russian Federation said that unilateral actions fuelled internal displacement in Syria. Namibia said that States had to regulate private security companies, particularly for protecting human rights, including the right to life. The Special Rapporteur’s report contained valuable guidance in that regard. Austria supported the call for new and innovative durable solutions for internally displaced persons, including for those displaced as a result of climate change.
Cuba noted the urgent need for a legally binding treaty which would regulate private security companies. Cuba recalled the need to avoid non-politicization of the issue of persons internally displaced by conflicts and natural disasters. Council of Europe said that its action plan for Ukraine emphasized the need to provide support to internally displaced persons in Ukraine, including by increasing the capacity of local stakeholders and raising the profile of the issue of internally displaced persons. Denmark believed the rule of law was necessary for the prosecution of the perpetuators of extrajudicial killings and securing justice for the victims. Were any groups at a particular risk of being violated by private security companies? Humanitarian action and development cooperation needed to be linked to address the needs of internally displaced persons. New Zealand said that the manual on extrajudicial executions provided useful guidance on the need to protect lives and prevent unlawful deaths. What were the appropriate next steps for the updated manual? New Zealand reiterated its opposition to the continuation of the death penalty, including on foreign nationals. Sierra Leone said that internally displaced persons might have fled for the same reasons as refugees, but they were receiving less attention. The international community ought to put more emphasis on that issue, for which the Kampala Convention was an important milestone, and durable solutions needed to be found. United States voiced its concern over the updated manual, and would appreciate the continuation of the dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on that matter. The United States asked what recommendations could be given to Governments to better prevent trafficking in persons and more effectively provide support to the victims.
Iran said the growing reliance on private military companies undermined the rule of law, and insisted that States should consider a system for regulating the provision of licences. Iran said that a comprehensive approach was needed to address the root causes of displacement, and that the right to development should be an integral part of any approach to displacement. Serbia noted a serious increase of persons displaced by conflict, and agreed that more result-oriented and durable solution initiatives were needed. Serbia had undertaken initiatives for accommodating returnees. Norway insisted on the need for a stronger and more comprehensive approach to ensure that internally displaced persons had access to education and health services. The international community had a responsibility to agree on political solutions to situations leading to displacement. Ecuador presented measures taken to address the needs of those displaced as a result of the earthquake that recently struck the country, including measures to relocate and to register those concerned. South Africa said that the Council should continue paying attention to the issue of human rights abuses by private security providers, and that it was imperative that new standards were elaborated to hold such companies accountable. Switzerland encouraged States to draw on the model proposed by the Kampala Convention to adopt similar instruments in other regions. What measures could guarantee appropriate protection to those displaced because of private companies’ activities? Outsourcing security services should not derive States from their responsibilities, Switzerland added.
China said that the causes of persons becoming internally displaced were very complex, and expressed hope that developed countries would reinforce their assistance to developing countries to alleviate the plight of internally displaced persons. China supported efforts to standardise the oversight of private security firms to ensure they were in line with international human rights law. Republic of Korea said the issue of extrajudicial killings should be addressed in the framework of business and human rights. Regarding internally displaced persons, it was important to identify the root causes of displacement at the earliest stages; the Special Rapporteur was asked to elaborate on how States, business and civil society could address the root causes of displacement in the context of development and business activities. Belgium said private companies could have a major impact on keeping law and order, noting that the country had experience monitoring private security companies, and asking how the international community could prevent States from skirting their responsibilities by outsourcing or shifting responsibility to non-State actors, and what the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation was when States were weak or failed. International Committee of the Red Cross expressed agreement for the importance of unlocking protracted conflicts and called on governments to keep urban displacement in mind during the upcoming United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III); looking ahead also to the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants, the Assembly was urged to promote solutions that also addressed the plight of internally displaced persons. Turkey said addressing the needs of internally displaced persons and their rights would help the international community relieve the pressure of refugees and forced migrants; that would require the partnership of all stakeholders. Libya said that the security situation in the country had led to displaced persons, who were not granted sufficient importance in the Special Rapporteur’s report, adding also that the Government of the National Coalition was making efforts to meet the needs of internally displaced persons, expressing hopes that the international community would continue to provide support to that Government.
Georgia shared the Special Rapporteur’s view that the global picture of internal displacement was alarming, and was affecting many regions. In Georgia, hundreds of thousands of displaced Georgians were unable to return to their homes because of the occupying forces. Recently, a young Georgian internally displaced person had been shot by the so-called “border guards”. The right of return should not be directly linked to political solutions, stressed Georgia. Venezuela believed that when there was internal displacement, the full respect for human rights needed to be ensured, especially for the most vulnerable. On extrajudicial killings, Venezuela said that the repercussions of private security companies on the right to life had to be addressed. Legally binding international rules in that regard were necessary. Australia supported the call to the Syrian Government and the international community to allow unimpeded access to people in besieged areas in Syria. The operation to retake Falluja needed to take into consideration the rights of people living there. Australia strongly condemned extrajudicial executions as well as the death penalty carried out by States. Egypt concurred that contracting private security providers did not exempt the State from its primary responsibility to protect human rights. Egypt believed that the work on the revision of the Minnesota Protocol would add value to any future intergovernmental discussion supported by relevant expertise. The geographical spread of displacement in the world showed that the global crisis needed bold and innovative action. Sudan said that it was facing stability following the withdrawal of the armed groups. The needs of migrants and internally displaced persons were taken into consideration with urban planning. Sudan was hosting a large number of refugees from other countries. In Sudan, capital punishment was executed only in extreme circumstances, and never on the elderly and those under 18. Amnesty was also possible.
Sovereign Order of Malta said that it had participated in the World Humanitarian Summit and its commitments included strengthening international humanitarian law, adding that the Order was going to participate in the high-level meeting on refugees to be held in the margins of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly in September. Armenia said that following ethnic cleansing and armed conflict in the 1980s and 1990s, Armenia had faced the problem of hundreds of thousands of displaced persons, and had focused on local integration and made efforts for lasting solutions. Armenia deplored certain States’ policy of curtailing freedom of movement and using the displaced for political ends. Azerbaijan said the continuing military aggression of Armenia had resulted in the occupation of one fifth of the country’s territory, including Nagorno Karabakh. Iraq said that the country had given great importance to internally displaced persons and deployed efforts aimed at providing relief to them with the help of specialised agencies. Ukraine said the mandate on internally displaced persons had been and should remain an important voice for internally displaced persons, adding that those issues were very pertinent for Ukraine, where the number of internally displaced people now exceeded 1.7 million. Pakistan said that in recent years, the international community had seen a proliferation of private security companies, which constituted a serious threat to human rights protection, adding that Pakistan believed that drone strikes amounted to extrajudicial killings, and that the view of the Special Rapporteur was sought on the need to develop legal standards or frameworks on such attacks.
Estonia was deeply disturbed by human rights abuses in the separatist areas of eastern Ukraine and the occupied Crimea. Estonia had contributed to the humanitarian projects in Ukraine and would continue to do so. Georgia had also experienced an influx of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons when parts of its territory had been occupied. How could interested States help increase policy planning and budgeting on issues affecting internally displaced persons? Latvia stated that the unprecedented global displacement was very alarming. The drivers of internal displacement needed to be addressed. Latvia welcomed the focus on the durability of solutions when it came to displacement. Latvia asked what instruments were most important when addressing the vulnerabilities of indigenous peoples to forced displacement? Palestine said that the unregulated use of force by private security providers could seriously harm human rights. G4S, a company used by Israel, had been profiting financially from the illegal occupation of Palestine. The murder of Palestinians continued to be glorified. The Palestinian people continued to suffer from Nakba, perpetuated by the illegal policies and ethnic cleansing by the Israeli authorities. Ghana concurred with the recommendation that the root causes of displacement had to be addressed globally. Ghana shared the view that licenses should be given only to those private security providers that respected the national legislation and met all the legal requirements. Central African Republic was well aware of issues, challenges and stakes connected to internally displaced persons. The fact of being displaced was a very painful situation and if they were not treated properly, that could cause a life-long trauma. The Central African Republic hoped that such a situation would never happen to it again.
Comision Nacional de los Derechos Humanos Mexico, speaking in a video message, said that its mandate included monitoring of the implementation of international treaties and following up on recommendations issued by treaty bodies and other United Nations human rights mechanisms. The Commission found delays in implementing those and the Commission’s own recommendations by Mexico, which prevented the adoption of measures for non-repetition.
Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik said that Iran should accept the request for a visit by the Special Rapporteur, which would enable him to verify the reports on 401 secret executions implemented in 48 hours during the third week of April in the Vakil Abad prison in Mashhad, Iran. Minority Rights Group said that the ongoing military assault on the city of Fallujah was triggering new waves of displacement in Iraq and was a glaring example of the need to establish precautionary protection and humanitarian measures, both for the civilians in the city and those fleeing violence. Al-khoei Foundation called the attention of the Council to the increasingly difficult situation of 3.4 million internally displaced persons in Iraq, and said that, as the war against Daesh intensified, the fighting itself left hundreds of people fleeing the conflict every day. Franciscan International spoke about the proposed copper and gold open-pit mining project in Ancestral Domains in the Philippines, which posed a serious risk to the survival of the Bla’aans as a tribe, and to their indigenous rights. Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos Asociación Civil said that yesterday there had been an extremely violent reaction of Mexican authorities against protesters, and the excessive use of force by the law and security forces had left six persons dead. The encroachment of military justice over civilian justice enabled impunity for human rights violations and abuses. World Barua Organization said that in the absence of the proper safeguards, excessive force and arbitrary use of power were being used against Dalits and minorities in India.
International-Lawyers.Org urged the Human Rights Council to address the situation in Iraq, where over 322 members of the Sunni Albu Nimr tribe had been executed by non-State actors, after having been repeatedly displaced in Iraq. World Muslim Congress said that India continued to ignore the work of neutral human rights activists on the ground in Kashmir, noting that rights defenders around the world needed the help of the Human Rights Council. International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations said that in the first five months of the year, 12 cases of extrajudicial killings had been reported by local human rights groups, urging the Special Rapporteur and the Human Rights Council to remind the Government of India of its international obligations and improve its record of human rights and end its policy of oppression in Indian-occupied Jammu Kashmir. Centre Europe – Tiers Monde – Europe-Third World Centre expressed concern about the human rights of Afro-descendants in Colombia living in Pacific coastal regions, where the aggressive mining policies of trans-national companies caused armed conflict between the Government and insurgents, forcing people to go to cities where they faced social exclusion. World Jewish Congress expressed dismay at the systematic violations in Syria and Iraq, noting that the situation was not just a refugee crisis, but that the international community was faced with a breakdown in human dignity. World Jewish Congress supported changing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur to that of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General. BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights said that Palestinians were internally displaced persons after losing their homes following Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, noting that in 2015 there were over 380,000 Palestinian internally displaced persons inside Israel, where they were denied citizenship which increased their vulnerability to displacement.
Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy referred to the genocide of Sikhs and about arbitrary killings of members of the Sikh youth by Indian security forces. The Council should send a fact-finding team to affected areas. Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture said that torture was being used to threaten human rights activists, and referred to an imam stripped of his nationality in Saudi Arabia. There, many activists faced capital punishment. The Council should pressure Saudi Arabia to end such practices. Il Cenacolo referred to the impossibility for international oversight mechanisms to visit Tindouf camp and to monitor serious human rights violations there, including extrajudicial killings by Algerian security services and Polisario forces.
CHALOKA BEYANI, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, noted that many delegations had commented on protracted displacement and the cooperation between humanitarian and development actors and said that in his experience, they often worked in separate silos. It was important to ensure joint planning, both short- and long-term planning, reconciliation of budget in relation to both, and the inclusion of internally displaced persons in national development plans and budgetary provisions for internally displaced persons. Equally important was to consider alternative approaches that built resilience, as well as building and investing in internally displaced persons.
Turning to comments related to his country visits, Mr. Beyani reiterated the commitment to continue to work with the Government of Honduras. Iraq was still classified as a middle-income country, while oil revenues were diminished and the fact that it was fighting a war meant that less was being allocated for internally displaced persons. The Special Rapporteur welcomed the peace initiatives in the Philippines which were crucial to resolve the causes of the crisis of internal displacement, and the conclusion of the Internally Displaced Persons Law, which was probably going to be the best piece of such legislation in the world. As for Syria, the best would be to invite the Special Rapporteur for unilateral coercive measures to look into the situation in the country.
In conclusion, the Special Rapporteur stressed that internal displacement was not a transitional phenomenon, with the evidence pointing that the average duration of displacement was 17 years; this put an imperative on dealing with root causes of displacement and on durable solutions for those still displaced.
CHRISTOF HEYNS, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, spoke about the Minnesota Protocol, which he said was an expert document. Regarding the future of the mandate and stock-taking, he said it seemed important that the mandate remained involved with aspects of the right to life that dealt with executions, and not just in regard to direct State involvement. It was important that the mandate would continue to be involved with questions of violations of the right to life in conflict. It was important to acknowledge the role of technology both in weapons technology but also in terms of protecting life, through all the new apps and similar things which were available. Drones were not inherently unlawful weapons, but their usage had to be addressed. On the death penalty, the argument was made that international law required progressive abolition. In response to questions asked about a legally binding instrument regarding security providers, he said that work should continue. He noted the positive role that private security providers could play in many States, saying their role should be recognized. In response to questions on how to prevent weak States from shifting responsibility to private security providers, he said there was no easy answer to that question, but in looking at the multinational nature of such companies, it was important that in their home countries there was proper regulation.
For use of the information media; not an official record
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