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Human Rights Council adopts text on civil society space and suspends thirty-second regular session

Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON

1st July 2016

Adopts 14 Texts, including on Syria and Ukraine, Extends Mandates on Eritrea, Belarus, Côte d’Ivoire and Freedom of Assembly
 
The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 14 texts, including a resolution in which it urged States to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment in which civil society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity, and suspended its thirty-second session.  It also extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for a period of one year, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus for a period of one year, the mandate on capacity building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights for three years, and the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association for three years.      
 
Other texts related to the human rights situation in Syria, cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights, the role of the family in supporting the promotion and protection of human rights of persons with disabilities, realizing the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl, the elimination of female genital mutilation, the right to education, the Social Forum, the Declaration on the Right to Peace, and climate change. 
 
In a resolution on civil society space, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 7 against, with 9 abstentions, the Council urged States to ensure that domestic provisions on funding to civil society actors are in compliance with their international human rights obligations and commitments.  It also requested the High Commissioner to prepare a report on the procedures and practices in respect of civil society involvement with regional and international organizations.
 
Without a vote, the Council decided to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, for a period of three years, and called upon States and other relevant stakeholders to promote, create and maintain conditions conducive for the development and activities of professional associations.
 
The Council, in a resolution on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, 6 against, with 14 abstentions, condemned the continued systematic, widespread and gross violations and abuses of human rights in Syria, and called for the appropriate international monitoring bodies, the United Nations and humanitarian actors to be granted full, immediate and safe access to Syria.
 
The Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for a period of one year.  It condemned in the strongest terms the reported systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations that had been and were being committed by the Government of Eritrea in a climate of generalized impunity.
 
By a vote of 15 in favour, 9 against, with 23 abstentions, the Council also extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus for a period of one year.  It called upon the Government of Belarus to carry out a comprehensive review of relevant legislation, policies, strategies and practices to ensure that the provisions were clearly defined, consistent with international human rights law and with its human rights obligations and commitments.
 
The Council decided to extend, for a final one-year period, until 30 June 2017, the mandate on capacity-building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights, and it requested the Independent Expert to submit a report and his or her final recommendations to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fifth session. 
 
The Council invited the High Commissioner to continue to present orally to the States Members of the Human Rights Council and observers the findings of each of the reports of the Office of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Ukraine, as part of the interactive dialogues, and through the modalities of the Council, in accordance with its resolution 5/1 of 18 June 2007, until the thirty-fifth session of the Council.
 
In a resolution on the protection of the family, the Council decided to convene with the support of the High Commissioner, before the thirty-fourth session of the Human Rights Council, a one-day intersessional seminar on the impact of the implementation by States of their obligations under relevant provisions of international human rights law with regard to the protection of the family on the role of the family in supporting the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities.
 
In a resolution on the elimination of female genital mutilation, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council urged States to place special emphasis on education, in particular of youth, parents and religious, traditional and community leaders, about the harmful effects of female genital mutilation, and to encourage men and boys to become more involved in information and awareness-raising campaigns and to become agents of change.
 
By the resolution on realizing the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl, adopted without a vote, the Council urged all States to strengthen and intensify their efforts to realize progressively  the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl.
 
In a resolution on the right to education, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council called upon all States to take all measures to implement Human Rights Council resolutions on the right to education with a view to ensuring the full realization of this right for all.
 
The Council also decided that the Social Forum would meet for three working days in 2017, in Geneva, and it requested the President of the Human Rights Council to appoint, as early as possible, from candidates nominated by regional groups, the Chairperson-Rapporteur for the 2017 Social Forum, bearing in mind the principle of regional rotation.
 
In a resolution on the Declaration on the Right to Peace, adopted by a vote of 34 in favour, nine against, the Council adopted the Declaration on the Right to Peace and recommended that the General Assembly adopt it, too.  The Declaration stated that everyone had the right to enjoy peace such that all human rights were promoted and protected and development was fully realized.
 
In a resolution on human rights and climate change, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to convene, at its thirty-fourth session, a panel discussion on the adverse impact of climate change on the rights of the child, and requested requests the Office of the High Commissioner to conduct a study on the relationship between climate change and the rights of the child.
 
The President of the Council announced the names of five individuals to fill vacancies for Special Procedure mandate holders:  Agnes Callamard (France) as the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Ahmed Shaheed (Maldives) as the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; Koumbou Boly (Burkina Faso) as the Special Rapporteur on the right to education; Tomás Ojea Quintana (Argentina) as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; and Anita Ramasastry (United States) as the member of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises from Western European and other States.
 
After a discussion on the names and because of the late hour, Choi Kyong-Lim, President of the Human Rights Council, announced that the session was suspended and that it would resume at a time and date to be announced in order to conclude pending business, including adoption of the report and final statements.
 
Introducing draft resolutions and amendments were: United Arab Emirates, South Africa on behalf of the African Group, Portugal, Egypt, Belarus, Qatar, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Somalia, Cuba, Ukraine, Ireland, Russian Federation, Maldives, United States, Philippines, Bangladesh and Viet Nam.
 
Speaking in general comments were: Belgium, Netherlands on behalf of the European Union, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Bangladesh, Namibia, Maldives, Slovenia, Kenya, Indonesia, Qatar, Côte d’Ivoire, Belgium, Venezuela and Bolivia.
 
Speaking in an explanation of the vote before or after the vote were: Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Mexico, Panama, Cuba, China, Bolivia, Ecuador, Algeria, Venezuela, Switzerland, Botswana, Netherlands on behalf of the European Union, Indonesia, Paraguay, Belgium, Albania, Slovenia, Latvia, Netherlands, Germany, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Republic of Korea, France, South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia, Viet Nam, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar on behalf of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation except Albania.
 
Eritrea, Syria, Belarus and Côte d’Ivoire spoke as concerned countries. 
 
The Council will hold its thirty-third session from 13 to 30 September 2016. 
 
Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the Right to Development
 
Action on Resolution on Realizing the Equal Enjoyment of the Right to Education by Every Girl
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.30/Rev.1) on realizing the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl, adopted without a vote, the Council urges all States to strengthen and intensify their efforts to realize progressively the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl; encourages States to increase investments and international cooperation to allow all girls to complete free, equitable, inclusive and quality early childhood, primary and secondary education, including through scaling-up and strengthening initiatives, such as the Global Partnership for Education; and requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in close cooperation with all relevant stakeholders, to prepare a report on the realization of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl, and on obstacles limiting effective access of girls to education, and to make recommendations on appropriate measures to eliminate gender disparities in education by 2030, taking into account goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals, to be submitted for the consideration of the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fifth session.
 
United Arab Emirates, introducing the draft resolution, said that more than 63 countries had co-sponsored the draft which emphasized the importance of education and the need to overcome differences between girls and boys in the field of education, and remove all barriers which prevented girls from getting an education.  It expressed hope that boys and girls would be able to enjoy education for all.  States were urged to eliminate obstacles to girls’ schooling, and the draft also stressed the fact that some countries were unable to achieve the goals for education because of challenges such as a low level of resources, and cited obstacles such as a lack of available teaching materials.  The draft called for the establishment of curricula which made no difference between boys and girls.
 
The Council then adopted the resolution without a vote. 
 
Action on Resolution on the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.31/Rev.1) on the elimination of female genital mutilation, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council urges States to place special emphasis on education, in particular of youth, parents and religious, traditional and community leaders, about the harmful effects of female genital mutilation, and especially to encourage men and boys to become more involved in information and awareness-raising campaigns and to become agents of change; calls upon States to provide assistance to victims of female genital mutilation, including through appropriate support services for treatment of the physical, physiological and psychological consequences; and encourages the international community to keep the issue of the elimination of female genital mutilation on the agenda of development policies and to devote special attention to the issue in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030; invites the United Nations Population Fund, and the United Nations Children’s Fund Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation: Accelerating Change, to continue to develop the national capacities of States and local communities for the effective implementation of inclusive policies, programmes and action plans to eliminate female genital mutilation at the local, national, and regional levels, while encouraging States and development cooperation agencies to consider increasing their financial support for the Joint Programme.
 
South Africa, speaking on behalf of the African Group, introducing draft proposal L.31/Rev.1 on the elimination of female genital mutilation, said the African Group recognised the need to eliminate this harmful practice and was concerned about its slow decline.  Female genital mutilation violated the human rights of women, in particular their right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the right not to be the victim of gender discrimination, the right not to be a victim of torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and the right to life, amongst others. 
 
In an attempt to accommodate the inputs of all, the African Group drew attention to the following amendments, which were circulated:  the deletion of the phrase as appropriate in operative paragraph 5; the deletion of the word as appropriate in operative paragraph 7; and the addition of a new operative paragraph 11 which invited the United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Children’s Fund Joint Programme on Female Genital Mutilation to develop the national capacities of States and local communities.  The African Group called on all members to adopt the resolution.
 
Belgium, speaking in a general comment, said female genital mutilation caused long-term harm to women and girls in many parts of the world and was unacceptable.  All parties should cooperate closely through action plans, and the role of regional arrangements could not be over-emphasized.  Therefore Belgium was delighted to join the consensus in the adoption of the resolution.
 
Netherlands, speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, praised the leadership of the resolution’s drafters.  Harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child early marriage were impediments to the full achievement of gender equality.  Women as well as men had the right to full control over their sexual and reproductive health.  The European Union was pleased that the text before the Council recognized female genital mutilation as a human rights violation and also that it recognized that it perpetuated violence and discrimination.  The European Union stressed the importance of access to sexual and reproductive health education and services.  The elimination of harmful practices was central to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals as the United Nations membership had recognized.  Thanking the main sponsors for their efforts, the European Union was pleased to support the important initiative, noting that the international community needed to continue to work together globally.  The European Union remained fully committed and was pleased to join the consensus on the resolution as orally revised today.
 
The Council then adopted the resolution, as orally revised, without a vote.
 
Action on Resolution on the Right to Education
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.33) on the right to education, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council calls upon all States to take all measures to implement Human Rights Council resolutions on the right to education with a view to ensuring the full realization of this right for all; calls upon States to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Goal 4; and also calls upon States to take all necessary measures, including sufficient budgetary allocations, to ensure inclusive, equitable and non-discriminatory quality education.  It calls upon States to continue to make efforts to strengthen the protection of preschools, schools and universities against attacks, and to accelerate efforts to eliminate gender-based discrimination and all forms of violence in schools and other educational settings, and to realize gender equality and the right to education for all.
 
Portugal, speaking on behalf of 84 co-sponsors, introducing draft resolution L.33 on the right to education as orally revised, said the text urged all States to give full effect to the right to education, reflecting the most significant developments in the area in the last 12 months.  It placed particular emphasis on the importance of creating an enabling policy environment for drawing on digital technologies that could serve in the delivery of education, as well as addressing issues of access, quality, and equity in the use of information and communications in education, in order to bridge the digital divide, as recommended by the Special Rapporteur on the right to education in his latest report.  The draft resolution also reiterated the commitment to fully realise the Sustainable Development Goals and welcomed the adoption of the Education 2030 Framework for Action, which aimed at mobilizing all countries and partners and provided guidance for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education and its targets.   It was the result of two rounds of discussions and extensive consultations. 
 
United Kingdom, speaking in a general comment, expressed its appreciation for the transparent process of discussion led by Portugal, on which the United Kingdom had engaged actively.  The United Kingdom considered international cooperation, in the variety of its forms, crucial to the advancement of human rights.  At the same time, it considered that the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights, including the right to education, lay with States.  Therefore the role of the international community in the promotion of the right to education should be viewed as supplementary to the role of States.  The United Kingdom would have preferred the draft resolution to be worded differently, to address this view.  Nevertheless the United Kingdom was pleased to join the consensus on this resolution.
 
The Council then adopted the draft resolution, as orally revised, without a vote. 
 
Action on Resolution on the Protection of the Family
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.35) on the protection of the family: the role of the family in supporting the protection and promotion of human rights of persons with disabilities, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 12 against, with 3 abstentions, the Council reaffirms that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society, and is entitled to protection by society and the State; calls upon States to recognize in their policy and legal frameworks the important role played by families in caring for and supporting persons with disabilities; urges States, in accordance with their respective obligations under international human rights law, to provide the family, as the natural and fundamental group unit of society, with effective protection, support and assistance; and decides to convene, with the support of the High Commissioner, before the thirty-fourth session of the Human Rights Council, a one-day intersessional seminar on the impact of the implementation by States of their obligations under relevant provisions of international human rights law with regard to the protection of the family on the role of the family in supporting the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, and to discuss challenges and best practices in this regard. 
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (32): Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Viet Nam. 
 
Against (12): Albania, Belgium, France, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
 
Abstentions (3): Georgia, Mexico, and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
 
 
Egypt, introducing the draft resolution on behalf of a cross-regional core group, said that the family was an undisputable social, cultural, moral, and religious value that should be celebrated and nurtured.  The draft resolution addressed the role and the potential of the family in supporting the rights of persons with disabilities as well as many other aspects of the same topic.  Key foundations of the draft resolution from previous years were enumerated; they included the status of the family under international law and its role, including in fostering social cohesion and preserving societies’ values, morals, cultural heritage and value system.  The draft also reaffirmed equality between women and men in the family.  It continued to impose no one-size-fits-all definition of the family and left that matter to the discretion of each State and society.  The main sponsors had avoided ambiguous language on diverse forms of family.  It was hoped that the Council would adopt the draft resolution as tabled without any changes.
 
Belarus, also in introduction of draft resolution L.35 on behalf of the co-sponsors, said it was important to pay attention to the family.  The family was the centre of life, and played an important role in sustainable development.  In adoption of the draft resolution, the Human Rights Council would be strengthening the role of the family.  The co-sponsors were convinced that the family could unite all, regardless of the definition it was given in national legislation.  The diversity of the group of co-sponsors was proof of that fact.
 
Qatar, also introducing draft resolution L.35 on behalf of the co-sponsors, said today marked the tenth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which emphasised the role of the family as a caregiver for persons with disabilities.  The draft resolution called on States to recognize and further enhance the role of the family.  Unfortunately due to a stance on behalf of some States, consensus could not be reached.
 
Action on amendments L.82, L.83, L.84, L.89
 
United Kingdom, introducing the amendments, said it was compelled to introduce amendment L.82 which would state that various forms of family existed.  That amendment did not specify various forms of family and it did not seek to define family.  It used United Nations agreed language.  It was a shame that States tried to backtrack on the previously agreed terminology.  The United Kingdom called on Council Member States to vote for amendment L.82.   As for amendment L.83, it proposed a change in the reference to “families.”  Individuals in families were those who had to take action.  The amendment also suggested deletion of the reference to the 2030 Agenda for Development because there was no reference to family in the Agenda.  The Council should not be used to renegotiate the 2030 Agenda.  Amendment L.84 reflected the fact that family was not recognized as a rights holder in international law.  It was individuals who were rights holders.  The United Kingdom called on Council Members to support those amendments in separate votes. 
 
Switzerland, also introducing the amendments, explained that the amendment proposed the change of “family” to “families.”  Switzerland was a strong supporter of families and their contribution to the strengthening of societies.  In different political and cultural systems, different forms of families existed, which the draft resolution did not recognize.  If true progress was to be made, that had to be taken into account.  Likewise, the draft resolution aimed to protect the family as such, but not to protect human rights of family members in different family contexts without discrimination.  Switzerland thus called for Council Members to vote for amendment L.89.
 
Russia, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the main co-sponsors, said amendment L.82 had no relevance and compromised the delicate balance on which the draft resolution had been built.  The draft resolution neither prescribed a definition for a family, nor imposed single or multiple forms of the family.  It already recognized the diversity of families, including single mothers, child-headed families, and families with members with disabilities.  This amendment had been proposed both in 2014 and 2015, and the Human Rights Council had not even wanted to consider it.  Though the amendment looked innocent, its main problem was that it included an open ended invitation for incestuous arrangements, child marriages and other arrangements where human rights could not flourish.  The Human Rights Council could not be used as a cover for violations of human rights.  The co-sponsors strongly rejected amendment L.82 and called on all Member States of the Human Rights Council to vote against this hostile amendment.
 
Qatar, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the main co-sponsors, said amendment L.83  denied that the family had a huge role to play as a development actor, and that it was a driving force for educational development.  The family would continue to have a positive role in sustainable development.  The main co-sponsors rejected amendment L.83 and called on Council Members to vote against it.
 
Saudi Arabia, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the main co-sponsors, said that amendment L.84 could not be accepted.  The family had a great role, including in moral, emotional, material and spiritual support.  The family continued to have a role in the promotion and protection of human rights.  The amendment failed to capture this role, through family contributions, community support and inter-familiar arrangements.  Although the second part of the amendment looked harmless, it totally changed the topic and scope of the draft resolution.  The sponsors therefore rejected amendment L.84 and called on all Member States to vote against it.
 
Morocco, also speaking on behalf of the co-sponsors in a general comment, said that the family was a vital institution for individuals and the closest environment in which human beings grew up, including those with disability.  Several international instruments encouraged States to support the members of the family, and the proposal to change the title of the resolution would restrict the protection provided to persons with disabilities.  The purpose of the draft resolution was to strengthen the protection and promotion of human rights by strengthening the role of the family.  Morocco called upon the Council members to vote against the proposed amendments.
 
Nigeria, speaking in a general comment, was dedicated to the protection of marriage and family and that was why Nigeria was supporting the draft resolution, particularly because the draft resolution reminded Member States of their duty to protect the family as a fundamental unit of society.  However, Nigeria was deeply worried by the opposition launched by draft amendments.  The family was the first protector of children’s rights and Nigeria strongly rejected the draft amendment and encouraged other States to vote against it.
 
United Arab Emirates, speaking in a general comment, said that children had to grow in a balanced family atmosphere.  The family was a basic natural unit of society and any attempt to change this arrangement was going against nature.  Cultural background and cultural and religious specificities must be taken into account when various issues were being tackled in the Council.  The Council was a forum for a positive dialogue between different cultures and religions.  The United Arab Emirates would reject all amendments.
 
Saudi Arabia, speaking in a general comment, said that the protection of the family unit was essential for protecting cultural and religious beliefs, as well as morality.  The term “family” was recognized in international law, and Saudi Arabia did not understand the added value of amendments put forward.  On the contrary, they compromised the protection of the family and its members.  All delegations should vote against these amendments. 
 
Algeria, speaking in a general comment, said that this draft resolution was inspired by major human rights texts, which recognized the centrality of the family unit within societies.  Algeria supported the resolution, and would vote in favour of it.  It would vote against the proposed draft amendments.
 
Bangladesh, speaking in a general comment, said that both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights clearly recognized the importance of the family and its members.  The Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights also recognized this importance.  Opposition to this resolution was therefore incomprehensible.  The family, as a natural unit of society, had an important role to play to contribute to development.  The text also sought to better protect members of family with disabilities. 
 
Namibia, speaking in a general comment, said the family as a fundamental group in society was entitled to protection.  It was essential to give the family a role to ensure the promotion and protection of rights of persons with disabilities.  Numerous documents and organizations had recognised that families had a role in this respect.  The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities underlined that family members should receive assistance to enable the realisation of full rights for persons with disabilities.  Families included all types of families, including single-headed families.  The resolution did not endeavour to define families.  Therefore Namibia requested States to support this draft resolution.
 
Maldives, speaking in a general comment, said the family had an important role, and the future generations should be fully protected.  The draft resolution emphasized the important role played by the family.  More attention needed to be paid to the promotion and protection of persons with disabilities, especially within the family.  This was reflected in the draft resolution which recognised the role of families in this respect.  Therefore the Maldives would vote against the amendments and for the draft resolution.
 
Slovenia, speaking in a general comment, recognized the value of families that contributed to the strengthening of societies.  However, family policies should support all families, no matter their shape or size.  Individuals, including those without a family, must enjoy equal protection by the State.  Families had to protect the rights of the child, including the vulnerable, elderly and persons with disabilities.  They had to promote gender equality.  The draft resolution did not emphasise the rights of individuals within families, and did not encompass all families.  Therefore Slovenia would vote against the draft resolution, and in favour of the amendments. 
 
Kenya, speaking in a general comment, recognized the importance of the family as a natural environment for growth and nurturing of all its members, particularly the vulnerable such as children and persons with disabilities.  The Kenyan Constitution was acclaimed as one of the most progressive, domesticated binding international treaties and defined family as the basic unit of society and recognized the right of every adult person to marry a person of the opposite sex.  Any attempt to alter such understanding of the family was not acceptable, and Kenya called on the Council’s members to support the draft resolution without amendments.
 
Indonesia, speaking in a general comment, said that the draft resolution recognized the challenges facing the family and aimed to protect members with disabilities from any violations, including within the family.  The family was clearly defined in Indonesia as a fundamental unit in society that had a crucial role to contribute to development.  Indonesia hoped that the draft resolution could be adopted by consensus without any changes.
 
Qatar, speaking in a general comment, said that the protection of the family was automatically the protection of all individuals in societies.  The family had a particular role to play in the protection of its members who needed special protection, such as children or the elderly.  The draft resolution placed a particular emphasis on the right of children with disabilities and their equal right to family life and proposed strengthening the role of the family and so achieving the international goals contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
 
Côte d’Ivoire, speaking in a general comment, called upon States parties to support this draft resolution, which was based on key provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  States had to provide the family with effective means to address the needs of persons with disabilities therein.  Côte d’Ivoire was convinced of the relevance of this issue within the Council.  Member States should vote against the proposed amendments. 
 
Belgium, speaking in a general comment, said that rights holders were individuals, and as such members of the family.  It was important to note that families existed in various forms.  Belgium was attached to the protection of persons with disabilities, and to protect women and children within the family.  Culture or religion should not be used in any way to justify violence against members of the family. 
 
Action on Draft Amendment L.82
 
Russian Federation, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the sponsors, urged all delegations to vote against this draft amendment. 
 
The Council then rejected draft amendment L.82 by a vote of 16 in favour, 25 against, with 4 abstentions.  
 
Action on Draft Amendment L.83
 
Russia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the sponsors, called upon all members of the Human Rights Council who supported draft resolution L.35 to vote against amendment L.83.
 
The Council then rejected draft amendment L.83 by a vote of 13 in favour, 27 against and 5 abstentions.
 
Action on Draft Amendment L.84
 
Russia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the sponsors of the draft resolution on the protection of the family, urged all members of the Human Rights Council to vote against amendment L.84.
 
The Council then rejected draft amendment L.84 by a vote of 14 in favour, 27 against and 4 abstentions.
 
Action on Draft Amendment L.89
 
Russia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the sponsors, urged all members of the Human Rights Council to vote against amendment L.89.
 
The Council then rejected draft amendment L.89 by a vote of 14 in favour, 27 against and 4 abstentions.
 
Action on Draft Resolution L.35
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that its requests had been simple and clear, and listed some requests made.  They had also asked to delete an incorrect reference to the 2030 Agenda.  The family as a unit was not a rights-holder under international law; rights were held by individuals.  The United Kingdom was therefore calling for a vote and would urge Council members to vote against this resolution.
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reaffirmed its commitment to development and to the organization of the family.  Mexico also recognized the rights of each Member State of the Council to present draft resolutions.  Initiatives with restrictive issues negatively affected the impression of the quality of work undertaken by the Human Rights Council.  For Mexico, it was important that the Human Rights Council protected different types of families and their members.  In Mexico there were numerous types of family structures, including single parent households, civil law and same-sex marriages.  Mexico was concerned that the resolution treated persons with disabilities in a partial manner, not recognizing their autonomy as recognized in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  L.35 did draw from that Convention, but quoted that instrument only partially.  Mexico was concerned about the precedent that could be set.   Mexico lamented that constructive amendments had been rejected.
 
Panama, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, expressed concern about the fact that the text had a restrictive focus and did not adequately address the rights and equality of women and children.  Members of the family were individual rights-holders, said Panama, adding that the language on different forms of families had already been agreed by this Council.  Panama would vote against this draft resolution.
 
The Council adopted draft resolution L.35 by a vote of 32 in favour, 12 against and 3 abstentions.
 
Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
 
Action on Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/32/L.5/Rev.1) on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for a period of one year.  The Council condemns in the strongest terms the reported systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations that have been and are being committed by the Government of Eritrea in a climate of generalized impunity.  The Council further reiterates its call upon the Government of Eritrea to end the use of arbitrary detention of persons in Eritrea; to account for and release all political prisoners; to ensure free, fair and equal access to an independent and impartial court to challenge the lawfulness of any detention; to put an end to the system of indefinite national service by demobilizing national service conscripts who have completed their mandatory 18 months of service; to allow the creation of political parties and guarantee their political participation and to hold free, fair and transparent democratic elections at all levels; and to establish an OHCHR presence with a holistic mandate in the country.
 
Somalia, introducing draft resolution L.5/Rev.1, recognized that the Government of Eritrea had taken steps to improve gender equality and to promote and protect the human rights of its people.  Somalia welcomed the second report by the Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in Eritrea which had been transparent, impartial and consultative in manner in spite of lack of access to the country.  Somalia was deeply disturbed by the Commission’s findings that there were reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity had been committed in Eritrea since 1991.  Of concern was also the lack of improvement to the most critical human rights issues in the country, and the continued deterioration of the human rights situation, which was a primary factor in Eritreans leaving their country.  Somalia said that the international community could not stand idly and allow sexual and gender-based violence to persist with impunity, and must do more to protect the dignity and wellbeing of women and girls in Eritrea. 
 
Eritrea had not made positive steps to end the indefinite national service, which amounted to forced labour on a national scale.  Eritreans were fleeing this system, thus entrenching the global refugee crisis.  The continued use of arbitrary arrests and detentions, including incommunicado detention, was also a subject of deep concern and Somalia called upon Eritrea to immediately release all illegally detained persons, and to clarify the fate of all political prisoners.  Eritrea had shown no tangible interest in ending its widespread culture of impunity and it was now the responsibility of the Council to adopt a robust accountability mechanism which would facilitate access to justice to all Eritrean people.  The draft resolution proposed to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for a period of one year and to revise the mandate to include the follow up on the implementation of the recommendations made by the Commission on Inquiry.
 
Netherlands, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, expressed grave concern about the human rights situation in Eritrea and said that this draft resolution was a credible response to the very serious report by the Commission of Inquiry.  The Netherlands thanked the main sponsors for the transparent and inclusive process in drafting the resolution and the direct discussions between the main sponsor and the country concerned.  The Netherlands called on Eritrea to withdraw its own resolution and cooperate with this Council to improve its human rights situation.
 
Eritrea, speaking as the concerned country, said that an unjust resolution was being passed just as Eritrea was making progress.  It was a futile attempt by some to slow down progress. The unjust action that the Council was taking was prompted by the political agenda of the United States and some European allies.  It had poured oil onto a dangerously simmering conflict.  The resolution would be used and abused to fan the flames of war.  Glaring double standards guided the Human Rights Council’s work.  The eminently political action being taken by the Council was evidence of its increasing departure from its mandate.  Most developing countries resented the Council being turned into a political tool.  Eritrea would never tire of underlining that it was a nation born in the struggle for human rights and it would not waver from the promotion and protection of the dignity of its people.  Eritrea also wished to thank the nations and individuals who had offered support and solidarity, and all who had engaged with the country in good faith and fairness.
 
Russia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.5/Rev.1, said that the text contained a number of provisions which did not belong in the Human Rights Council and Russia disassociated itself from the resolution.
 
Cuba, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated its firm belief in cooperation between countries on the basis of the United Nations Charter principles, which was the sure way to achieve the highest standards of human rights.  Cuba did not believe that punitive approaches would bring countries closer to the achievements of such objectives.  The Council must exhaust all avenues of dialogue and cooperation with Eritrea.  Operative paragraph 17 as orally revised implied the sending of the report by the Commission of Inquiry to the Security Council and Cuba did not share the criteria of involving this or any other United Nations body outside of the scope of the Council.  Cuba dissociated itself from the consensus.
 
China, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, stressed that human rights challenges must be settled in the spirit of dialogue and cooperation between countries.  The international community should show greater understanding of challenges to human rights and provide countries with support and technical assistance only after the consultations with the country concerned.  The consent of concerned countries was crucial for success, said China and dissociated itself from the consensus.
 
Bolivia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that it was a community State which was free and democratic.  Independence and freedom were values and principles in the United Nations Charter too.  Bolivia dissociated itself from operative paragraph 17 and requested that the President ensure that that was noted in the records.
 
Ecuador, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Ecuador’s position was in disagreement with the “securitization” of matters under discussion in the Human Rights Council chamber, and also dissociated itself from the consensus on operative paragraph 17 regarding reports of the Human Rights Council to the Security Council.
 
The Council then adopted the resolution as orally revised without a vote.
 
Action on Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.9) on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, 6 against and 14 abstentions, the Council demands that the Syrian authorities cooperate fully with the Human Rights Council and the Commission of Inquiry by granting it immediate, full and unfettered access throughout the Syrian Arab Republic; strongly condemns the continued systematic, widespread and gross violations and abuses of human rights and all violations of international humanitarian law by the Syrian authorities and affiliated militias; and also strongly condemns the terrorist acts and violence committed against civilians by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Daesh), al-Nusrah Front or other terrorist organizations.  The Council calls for the appropriate international monitoring bodies to be granted immediate access without undue restriction to all detainees and for the Syrian authorities to publish a list of all detention facilities; and demands that the Syrian authorities facilitate, and all other parties to the conflict do not hinder, the full, immediate and safe access of the United Nations and humanitarian actors.
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (27): Albania, Belgium, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Latvia, Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
 
Against (6): Algeria, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Russian Federation, and Venezuela.
 
Abstentions (14): Bangladesh, Burundi, Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, and Viet Nam. 
 
 
United Kingdom, introducing draft resolution L.9, said that the crisis in Syria continued to have a devastating impact on civilians and was gravely concerned about indiscriminate attacks and deliberate targeting of civilians in contravention of international law.  The Assad Government, Daesh and foreign fighters must stop the bloodshed.  The United Kingdom fully supported the work of the United Nations Special Envoy in trying to seek a political settlement and said that it was essential that the Commission of Inquiry continued its work to document violations and abuses of human rights committed by all parties.  Given the level of barbarism, it was not surprising that Syria remained the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, which was why the draft resolution called for the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need, including in hard to reach and besieged areas.  The United Kingdom hoped that the text could be adopted by consensus and said that to do otherwise would be letting down the very people that this Council was bound to protect.
 
Qatar, speaking in a general statement, said that the draft resolution condemned human rights violations committed by the Syrian authorities.  It also condemned acts of violence committed by ISIS against civilians.  The draft resolution emphasized the importance of reaching an end to hostilities to prepare the ground for a long-lasting ceasefire.  The sponsor group had consulted in a transparent manner, which had led to an objective and balanced text.  Qatar expressed hopes that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.
 
Russian Federation, speaking in a general statement, said it had listened to arguments put forward by the sponsors of the draft resolution, but had to note that they were not sufficiently convincing.  The resolution was being put forward at the request of delegations who were hypocritically fighting against the interests of Syrian people; the Council as a result was being taken hostage in a political battle between individuals and groups.  Words about constructive dialogue could not be taken seriously.  Crimes punishable under international law were caused by the actions of jihadist groups.  The draft resolution overlooked some aspects of the human rights situation in Syria, such as the impact of sanctions, looting, the jihadist blockade of regions of the country, and the ongoing inflow of terrorists and extremists from abroad. 
 
The Russian Federation called on all States to contribute to resolving the Syrian crisis and free the Syrian people from the horrors of civil war.  That required pooling efforts to combat the international community’s common enemy, international terrorism.  The driving force should be the Syrian people themselves.  The Russian Federation called for a vote on draft resolution L.9 and would vote against it, calling on all to do the same. 
 
Netherlands, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, said that the conflict in Syria was in its fifth year and that civilians continued to suffer unspeakably at the hand of Syrian authorities and other forces, including Daesh and Al-Nussra.  The European Union emphasised that the Syrian authorities remained principally responsible for the gravest human rights violations.  Accountability remained a highest priority and the European Union called for all those responsible for human rights violations, including torturing and killing thousands, to be held accountable.  The European Union stood ready to support the search for a viable political solution on the basis of the Geneva Communiqué and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions in order to preserve the territorial integrity of Syria, its unity and its multi-cultural character.
 
Syria, speaking as the concerned country, remarked that the process in the Human Rights Council was extremely politicized and that certain countries abused the principles of the United Nations Charter.  The draft resolution presented a misleading narrative about the developments in Syria and was in fact about the expansion of terror which was being used as a political tool in Syria.  Some countries supported terrorist groups with arms, ammunition and resources instead of supporting the Government of Syria and its Army, and aimed to breach the sovereignty of Syria.  The draft resolution condemned the allies of Syria and ignored the emphasis of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to send foreign fighters to fight along the terrorist groups operating in Syria.  Syria said that allegations against it were being fabricated, as had been the case with the Cesar report, in order to fuel negative public opinion against Syria.  The Government had cooperated with the United Nations to reach all places where humanitarian aid was needed and said that the purpose of the allegations concerning the human rights situation in the country aimed to deny that the biggest problem in the humanitarian situation in Syria was financing, which reached only 20 per cent of the target.  Syria rejected this very selective resolution and called upon the Council members to reject it too.
 
Algeria, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated its appeal to the international community and to all parties involved in the conflict to step up their efforts to promote a political solution, which remained the only possible solution to putting an end to the crisis in Syria.  The text did not contribute to strengthening global efforts to that end. Algeria would vote against the draft.
 
Cuba, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, condemned innocent civilian deaths under any circumstances.  Efforts had to be made to restore Syria.  Cuba restated its support for a quest for a peaceful solution that was just and negotiated.  The draft resolution did not seek to support the country; a punitive approach toward one party prevailed.  So Cuba would vote against the draft resolution. 
 
Ecuador, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, condemned indiscriminate and systematic violence against civilian populations in Syria, regardless of who the perpetrators were.  It supported the general call for the protection of human rights and for accountability.  Ecuador regretted that L.9 did not promote a Syrian-led peace process, and failed to address important issues.  Ecuador would abstain. 
 
China, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed country-specific resolutions, and said that the human rights situation in Syria should be addressed through constructive dialogue.  Unfortunately, the draft resolution was unbalanced, and sought to impose foreign agendas.  China would oppose this resolution. 
 
Venezuela, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that it would once again reject this resolution, and condemned selectivity, non-objectivity and double standards characterizing this unbalanced text.  Venezuela rejected attempts to destabilize Syria.  Some of the drafters of this text had a direct responsibility for what was happening in Syria.  Venezuela was attached to a peaceful solution negotiated between Syrians.  Venezuela would vote against this text. 
 
Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, rejected violations and abuses of human rights of the Syrian people.  It would vote in favour of this draft, and expressed its appreciation for the work done by the Commission of Inquiry.   It regretted that operative paragraphs 5 and 7 weakened the text, and had therefore decided not to co-sponsor it.  
 
The Council then adopted draft resolution L.9 with a vote of 27 in favour, 6 against, with 14 abstentions. 
 
Action on Resolution on the Human Rights Situaiton in Belarus
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.10/Rev.1) on the situation of human rights in Belarus, adopted by a vote of 15 in favour, 9 against and 23 abstentions, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus for a period of one year.  It calls upon the Government of Belarus to carry out a comprehensive review of relevant legislation, policies, strategies and practices to ensure that the provisions are clearly defined, consistent with international human rights law and with its human rights obligations and commitments; urges the Government of Belarus to carry out a comprehensive reform of the justice sector and bar associations in order to guarantee the full independence and impartiality of the judiciary, the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial; and strongly encourages the Government of Belarus to establish a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles.
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (15): Albania, Belgium, France, Germany, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
 
Against (9): Bolivia, Burundi, China, Cuba, India, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Venezuela, and Viet Nam. 
 
Abstentions (23): Algeria, Bangladesh, Botswana, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, and United Arab Emirates.
 
 
Netherlands, introducing the draft resolution on behalf of the European Union, said that the resolution offered a balanced text reflecting positive steps taken by the country concerned, but also pointed to persisting shortcomings in the human rights record of Belarus.  The resolution was based on the findings of the latest report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus.  The European Union was a firm advocate of the abolition of the death penalty and strongly condemned its continuing application in Belarus.  The European Union deeply regretted the continued lack of cooperation by the Government of Belarus with relevant United Nations human rights mechanisms.  The European Union expressed hopes that the adoption of the resolution could be supported by all delegations.
 
Russian Federation, speaking in a general comment, stated that it did not recognize the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, nor the resolution that had created that mandate.  It was politicized in nature.  The delegation of the European Union, by submitting the draft resolution, was clearly showing double standards and lack of desire to look at the human rights situation on the basis of constructive dialogue.  Such matters should be discussed exclusively on an equal footing and mutual respect.  The draft resolution would put pressure on a sovereign State.  It was unacceptable to interfere in Belarus’ internal matters and to judge a sovereign State.  The existence of a biased process could not lead to positive results.  In addition, it was a waste of the Council’s resources.  The Russian Federation therefore demanded a vote on the draft resolution and would vote against it.
 
Switzerland, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the Mountains Group, fully supported the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus.  However, it regretted that the wording of the draft resolution was not categorical in condemning the death penalty.  The wording should have been clearer and Switzerland expressed deep concern about the use of the death penalty, which was incompatible with the right to life.  
 
Belarus, speaking as the concerned country, did not believe that the situation in Belarus deserved the attention of the Council.  It regretted that the United Nations was once again taken hostage by bilateral divergences between neighbours.  The only way forward was through bilateral dialogue.  No Special Rapporteur could replace the activities of States and civil society.  Imposing mechanisms on a sovereign State would harm the Human Rights Council.  Member States should reject this draft resolution.
 
Cuba, speaking in a general comment, rejected the imposition of resolutions based on political motives, and encouraged the people of Belarus to continue combatting for their sovereignty, independence and right to self-determination.  This mandate had had a bad effect on the credibility of the Council, and should therefore not be renewed. 
 
China, speaking in a general comment, opposed the imposition of politically-motivated country mandates, which only intensified conflicts and led to confrontation.  This draft resolution ignored achievements and progress by Belarus in the field of human rights.  China would therefore vote against this text. 
 
Venezuela, speaking in a general comment, reiterated its opposition to country-specific resolutions, which violated the principles of sovereignty and non-interference.  Some of the drafters of this text had committed human rights violations, but no country-specific mandate had been imposed upon them.  This mandate had no reason to exist, and Venezuela would therefore vote against the draft resolution. 
 
Botswana, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the country supported the work of Special Procedures.  As a result, Botswana had supported the resolution in the past.  But wording added regarding the application of the death penalty was problematic.  Botswana still practiced the death penalty and would abstain on the draft resolution.
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, expressed satisfaction that the draft was more balanced than in previous years.  Mexico invited Belarus to further its cooperation with the international human rights system.  That cooperation would lead to the strengthening of national capacities and promote human rights for the citizens of Belarus.  Concerns were repeated about challenges, including restrictions on freedom of expression and the situation of human rights defenders.  Mexico would vote for the draft resolution.
The Council then adopted the resolution with a vote of 15 in favour, 9 against, with 23 abstentions.
 
Explanation of the Vote after the Vote on Resolutions Adopted under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
 
Venezuela said dealing with the human rights situation in a country should involve the country concerned.  The Universal Periodic Review had proved the most appropriate context for the promotion and protection of human rights when dialogue and cooperation occurred.  Venezuela dissociated itself with regard to L.5/Rev.1 on the human rights situation in Eritrea.
 
Russian Federation, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said the human rights situation in Syria was disastrous, citing public floggings, beheadings, and crucifixions.  Certain groups sought to dominate the life of residents through scare tactics.  Women were forced into slavery and sexual violence was perpetrated.  Those who did not share jihadist beliefs were left to starve to death.  A large number of massacres were being committed.  Crimes committed by terrorists had to be condemned.  The United Nations Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry was requested to prepare a report on crimes committed by Jabhat al-Nusra.
 
Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms
 
Action on Resolution on the Social Forum
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.17) on the Social Forum, adopted without a vote, the Council decides that the Social Forum will meet for three working days in 2017, in Geneva; requests the President of the Human Rights Council to appoint, as early as possible, from candidates nominated by regional groups, the Chairperson-Rapporteur for the 2017 Social Forum, bearing in mind the principle of regional rotation; decides that the Social Forum will remain open to the participation of representatives of States Members of the United Nations and all other interested stakeholders, such as intergovernmental organizations; and also encourages all Member States to participate in the discussions of the Social Forum so that worldwide representation in the debates can be ensured.
 
Cuba, introducing draft resolution L.17, said that the Social Forum was a unique space where the broadest range of actors of society could participate.  The draft resolution proposed that the next Forum would focus on human rights in the context of HIV/AIDS.  It was necessary to discuss how to promote and protect human rights in the context of combatting epidemics, Cuba said.  Broad consultations had been held by the main co-sponsors.  Cuba hoped that this text would be adopted, as usual, without a vote. 
 
Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the new approach adopted by the co-sponsors for this resolution.  It underlined the importance of civil society’s participation in the Social Forum, but was concerned regarding the budget implications of a three-day long session. 
 
The Council then adopted draft resolution L.17 without a vote. 
 
Action on Resolution on the Declaration on the Right to Peace
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.18) on the Declaration on the Right to Peace, adopted by a vote of 34 in favour, 9 against, and 4 abstentions, the Council adopts the Declaration on the Right to Peace and recommends that the General Assembly adopt it too.  The Declaration states that everyone has the right to enjoy peace such that all human rights are promoted and protected and development is fully realized; that States should respect, implement and promote equality and non-discrimination, justice and the rule of law and guarantee freedom from fear and want as a means to build peace within and between societies; and that States, the United Nations and specialized agencies should take appropriate sustainable measures to implement the present Declaration.  The Declaration also reads that international and national institutions of education for peace shall be promoted in order to strengthen among all human beings the spirit of tolerance, dialogue, cooperation and solidarity.
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (34): Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.
 
Against (9): Belgium, France, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
 
Abstentions (4): Albania, Georgia, Portugal, and Switzerland.
 
 
Cuba, introducing draft resolution L.18 on behalf of the co-sponsors, said peace was the legitimate right of all peoples.  On behalf of the co-sponsors, Cuba presented the Declaration on the Right to Peace.  Three sessions of the working group had been fruitful, producing the draft before the Council.  The road to world peace had been subject to difficulties.  But some hope was apparent this year.  A few days ago, an agreement had been signed on a ceasefire and ending of hostilities between the Government of Colombia and the armed forces of “FARC”, which brought the international community closer than ever to the end of that armed conflict.  In the international airport of Havana, Pope Francis and the other religious leaders had met, bringing Orthodox and Catholics together.  Peace was an essential condition for the enjoyment of human rights.  Achieving full enjoyment of peace would make it possible to lay foundations to ensure that economic and social rights could be fully enjoyed.
 
Venezuela, speaking in a general comment, invited Member States of the Council to join the consensus on this important text.  It reiterated Venezuela’s full commitment to the Declaration on the Right to Peace, which remained highly relevant in light of today’s conflicts and terrorism.  Venezuela expressed concerns about all those displaced as a result of conflicts created by those seeking to impose their imperial motivations. 
 
Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union had consistently expressed its willingness to engage in discussions about linkages between peace and human rights with a view to achieve a possible consensus on the draft declaration.  Despite these efforts, consensus could still not be reached on this draft resolution, taking into account the European Union’s long-term position that there was no legal basis for the “right to peace” in international law. 
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated the view that the right to peace did not exist under international law.  There was no agreement on the meaning of “peace”, and on the duty-bearer of such right.  The absence of peace was not related to the failure to protect human rights.  Nonetheless, the United Kingdom had made efforts to participate in the discussions of the Working Group, but it appeared that the main co-sponsors did not want negotiations to go further.  The United Kingdom therefore called for a vote on this resolution, and would vote against. 
 
Russia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted the constructive spirit in which the negotiations on the draft text had taken place and said that some speakers had refused the existence of the right to peace, which undermined the concept of existence of the United Nations, which was based on inter-connection between peace, security and human rights.  Russia would vote in favour of this draft resolution.
 
The Council adopted draft resolution L.18 on the right to peace by a vote of 34 in favour, 9 against and 4 abstentions.
 
Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building
 
Action on Resolution on Cooperation and Assistance to Ukraine in the Field of Human Rights
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.21) on cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 6 against and 19 abstentions, the Council invites the High Commissioner to continue to present orally to the States Members of the Human Rights Council and observers the findings of each of the reports of the Office of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Ukraine, as part of the interactive dialogues, and through the modalities of the Council, in accordance with its resolution 5/1 of 18 June 2007, until the thirty-fifth session of the Council.
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (22): Albania, Belgium, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
 
Against (6): Bolivia, Burundi, China, Cuba, Russian Federation, and Venezuela.
 
Abstentions (19): Algeria, Bangladesh, Botswana, Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and Viet Nam. 
 
Ukraine, introducing draft resolution L.21 on cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights, said that this concise text aimed to continue for one year the oral updates of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the findings of his Office in Ukraine and the discussion on those findings in a stand-alone dialogue in the Human Rights Council.  Ukraine was grateful for the assistance it had received to improve the human rights situation in Ukraine and noted the remaining challenges.  Ukraine hoped that this draft resolution, put forward by the country concerned, which was interested in receiving technical assistance, would be adopted by consensus.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in a general comment, said that Ukraine’s engagement with the Council was highly commendable.  Ukraine had participated in four separate discussions on human rights challenges in the country, and the progress in the human rights situation in Ukraine was noticeable.  The United Kingdom recognized that it was not easy for a country to open itself to extensive external comments.  Much was heard in the Council about States preferring the path of cooperation to the path of confrontation, and Ukraine was one example of a country recognizing its own human rights challenges, coming forward voluntarily and asking for the Council’s help.  There was no justification for withdrawing support of the text.
 
Russian Federation, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, supported the idea of giving technical assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights because Ukraine actually needed it.  Unfortunately, the Russian Federation could not support references to Human Rights Council resolutions that contained inappropriate political considerations and had no place in this body.  The Russian Federation would call for a vote and vote against the text, and called on all delegations that rejected politicization to do the same. 
 
The Council then adopted draft resolution L.21 with a vote of 22 in favour, 6 against, with 19 abstentions. 
 
Action on Resolution on Capacity Building and Technical Cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the Field of Human Rights
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.27) on capacity-building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council decides accordingly to extend, for a final one-year period, until 30 June 2017, the mandate on capacity-building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights; and requests the Independent Expert to submit a report and his or her final recommendations to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fifth session.  The Council also calls upon the international community to continue, if necessary, 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;  calls upon the Government of Côte d’Ivoire to ensure the full inclusiveness of the constitutional review process.
 
South Africa, introducing draft resolution L.27 on behalf of the African Group, said that the text aimed to extend, for one year, the mandate on capacity building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights.  The draft resolution also welcomed positive developments in the country, such as the continuation of the dialogue between political actors aimed as facilitating inclusive political pluralism, and the adoption of new laws and strengthening of the legislative framework.  South Africa commended peaceful elections in the country in October 2015, welcomed the work of the National Commission for the Reconciliation and Compensation of Victims, and commended the commitment of the judiciary to ensure fair justice to all victims of the Ivoirian crisis.  South Africa called upon the Council to adopt this draft resolution by consensus.
 
Netherlands, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the significant improvements made possible by efforts undertaken by the authorities of Côte d’Ivoire.  It called on the Government to continue efforts for ensuring equitable and impartial justice, and for strengthening national human rights institutions.  The European Union supported a renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert, who would play an important role in supporting Côte d’Ivoire towards these goals. 
 
Côte d’Ivoire, speaking as the concerned country, said it had benefited from the cooperation with the Human Rights Council and the Independent Expert.  It supported the renewal of the mandate, and welcomed support by all, particularly the African Group.  Côte d’Ivoire asked that the Council adopt this text by consensus.  
 
The Council then adopted draft resolution L.27 without a vote. 

 
Explanations of the Vote after the Vote on the Agenda Item on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building
 
Venezuela, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that this agenda item must be used solely to promote technical assistance and capacity building to countries and Venezuela rejected the attempt to politicize it.
 
Cuba, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that the text adopted on Ukraine contained controversy and said that oral updates by the High Commissioner for Human Rights based on the reports of his office could not be accepted because they were not requested by an international body.  That was why Cuba voted against this resolution.  The people of Ukraine and Cuba enjoyed long-standing links and Cuba tried to show solidarity, particularly to the children affected by Chernobyl. 
 
China, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that China had an objective and impartial position on the crisis in Ukraine and respected sovereignty of all countries, including Ukraine.  Dialogue and negotiations were the only way out of the Ukrainian crisis.  China stressed that the actions taken by the Council should be conducive to a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine.  Resolution L.21 on Ukraine referred to some issues which were beyond the mandate of the Council, and that was why China had voted against the text.
 
Indonesia, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, reiterated its principled position on the importance of strengthening and maintaining the principle of constructive dialogue and cooperation in addressing human rights issues.  The placement of the draft resolution on Ukraine under the agenda item on technical cooperation, in Indonesia’s view, was in line with the spirit of this principle.  However, Indonesia was still concerned at the political motivation behind the submission and formulation of this text, which could divert the Council beyond its mandate.  Indonesia was therefore unable to support the text. 
 
Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the Right to Development
 
Action on Resolution on Civil Society Space
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.29) on civil society space, adopted with a vote of 31 in favour, 7 against, with 9 abstentions, the Council urges States to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment in which civil society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity; also urges States to ensure access to justice, and accountability, and to end impunity for human rights violations and abuses against civil society actors; and  calls upon States to ensure that domestic provisions on funding to civil society actors are in compliance with their international human rights obligations and commitments.  The Council invites States to seek technical assistance and advice in this regard; and requests the High Commissioner to prepare a report compiling information on the procedures and practices in respect of civil society involvement with regional and international organizations, and to submit the compilation to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-eighth session.
 
The result of the vote was as follows:
 
In favour (31): Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Latvia, Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
 
Against (7): China, Congo, Cuba, Nigeria, Russian Federation, South Africa, and Venezuela.
 
Abstentions (9): Bolivia, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Viet Nam. 
 
 
Ireland, introducing draft resolution L.29 on civil society space, said ensuring that the space in which civil society operated was safe was a priority.  The draft resolution was about enabling civil society with the freedoms and rights that allowed them to carry out their work, including social assembly, association and expression.  The work of civil society was to promote human rights, development, peace and security.  This was work that underscored the purposes of the United Nations.  The draft resolution was practical, capturing some challenges that civil society faced, as well as their contributions.  Ireland thanked all States for their participation in the negotiations, and said that 30 revisions had been done to respond to all the differences.  It regretted that 15 amendments had been proposed despite the revisions.  Ireland hoped that these oral revisions would convince all those Member States who had proposed amendments to withdraw them.
 
Sierra Leone, also introducing draft resolution L.29 on civil society space, said civil society played a key role in the promotion and protection of human rights.  The core group had a representation which reflected the broad scope of this issue.  To ensure that all voices were heard and no one was left behind, the process had been an inclusive one.  Over 34 revisions had been accepted since the negotiations.  One of the primary objectives was to ensure not only the momentum of the past resolution, but to achieve a consensus text that would further ensure the promotion and protection of civil society actors.  Sierra Leone hoped that the draft resolution would be supported by Member States. 
 
Russian Federation, introducing amendments L.51 through L.65, said that it was presenting a set of amendments on behalf of a number of countries.  The amendments were a necessary step.  The countries on whose behalf the Russian Federation was speaking today attached importance to the issue under discussion.  Regret was expressed that the main sponsors had only looked at civil and political rights.  The inclusion of economic and cultural rights had been suggested many times but that suggestion had not been heeded.  The amendments contained in L.51, L.57 and L.58 were withdrawn.  Amendment L.63 had been proposed, which removed the direct quotes and references to that report.  Other amendments and their contents were detailed.  Regret was expressed that the main sponsors of the initiative were not prepared to find mutually acceptable solutions.  Many of the issues and concerns could have been resolved through additional meetings.  There had been defamatory media messages and messages on social media; the latter had included non-governmental organizations’ participation.  That behaviour was an attempt to prevent countries from expressing concerns, and was a violation of the conduct of negotiations.  Russian Federation asked for the consideration of the amendments separately.  
 
Switzerland, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the co-sponsors, regretted that so many amendments had been made in spite of the multiple revisions that had aimed at satisfying the differences.  Therefore, the co-sponsors would vote against all the amendments.
 
The President of the Human  Rights Council announced that amendments L. 51 L.57  L.58 had been withdrawn.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in a general comment, said it strongly supported draft resolution L.29.  Civil society organizations provided life-saving and life-changing services, in health, development and many more fields.  Civil society actors dedicated their lives to help others, often at personal risk.  It regretted that such a large number of amendments had been tabled, many of them related to points already raised during the negotiations.  The United Kingdom would vote against all amendments and called on all those who valued civil society to do the same.
 
Paraguay, speaking in a general comment, said it opposed amendments L.53 and L.64.  The term human rights defenders was clear and understood, and it had been accepted in hundreds of resolutions, many of which had been adopted by consensus.  In relation to L.53, the operations of civil society needed protection.  The mention of Nobel Peace Prize actors did not set special rights for anyone.  Paraguay also specified its rejection of amendment L.64.  Paraguay called upon Member States to vote against these amendments.
 
Belgium, speaking in a general comment, said that human rights defenders played a key role in societies.  Concern was expressed because space given to civil society was shrinking in many places.  Belgium supported the resolution and called on all members to support the text as it was, without weakening its content, and to reject the amendments which were not accepted by all.
 
Portugal, speaking in a general comment, said civil society was crucial to all societies.  The draft resolution recognized that important role for civil society.  It provided practical options on how to maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society.
 
Republic of Korea, speaking in a general comment, said it was a matter of priority to ensure a safe environment for civil society.  Appreciation was expressed for the main sponsors’ efforts to strengthen the text.  The text before the Council addressed a wide range of issues regarding the participation of civil society.  A crucial part of the text was found in operative paragraph 13 on civil society in the Universal Periodic Review process.  The Republic of Korea lent its support to the resolution as it stood and its opposition to all amendments.
 
Action on Draft Amendment L.52
 
Albania, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of co-sponsors, rejected amendment L.52  and said that civil society facilitated the achievement of principles and purposes of the United Nations.
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the draft resolution recognized the important role of civil society on local, national, regional and international levels.  Mexico would vote against this amendment.
 
The Council rejected draft amendment L.52 by a vote of 12 in favour, 22 against and 12 abstentions.
 
Action on Draft Amendment L.53
 
Panama, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the concept of human rights defenders was well established in the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and in the regional human rights mechanisms.  Panama rejected amendment L.53
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, welcomed the award of the Nobel peace prize to civil society, which was a reflection of the profoundly crucial role that civil society could play.  Such was an example of the Tunisian Quartet.  The United Kingdom firmly opposed the amendment which sought to delete the terms human rights defenders, which had been recognized by the Human Rights Council since its inception, and had been mentioned in many of its resolutions.  There was no rational reason for its deletion; it was an attempt to remove legitimacy of those figures engaged on the frontline of the promotion of human rights.
 
The Council rejected draft amendment L.53 by a vote of 12 in favour, 23 against and 12 abstentions.
 
Actions on Draft Amendment L.54
 
Slovenia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it strongly opposed amendment L.54.  Civil society presented a moral compass and was a mirror of success and failure.  It was the Human Rights Council’s duty to protect these rights.  For these reasons, Slovenia would vote against the amendment, and called upon other Member States to do the same.
 
Latvia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the reprisals against those engaged in human rights and the retaliation against them was a harsh reality.  Acts against civil society actions as well the increase in curbing their rights was a reality.  For this reason, Latvia would vote no on amendment L.54 and requested all to do the same.
 
Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed the amendment.  Civil society helped to make the case for stronger protection of human rights and as such was an indispensable partner of the Human Rights Council.  It was important that the resolution on civil society space addressed their safety.  Not doing so would send the wrong signal.  It would say that this Council does not value their space and safety.  Therefore  the Netherlands would vote against this amendment and called upon all others to do likewise.
 
Amendment L.54 was rejected by a vote of 13 in favour, 23 against, with 11 abstentions.
 
Action on Draft Amendment L.55
 
Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed amendment L.55 as it would undermine the draft resolution as a whole and reminded all that the language used in the draft resolution was a result of the consensus.  Who would decide what constituted a “responsible civil society” that the amendment sought to introduce, and on what basis, asked the Netherlands.  It noted that this qualifier would undermine the activity and safety of civil society activists, and would restrict rather than facilitate the work of civil society.  The Netherlands would vote against the amendment.   
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the new wording would introduce qualifiers in relation to civil society which were worrisome and would ensure the protection of civil society only of it acted in an “open, transparent and responsible manner”.  The term “responsible” was highly open and it would be up to each State to define its meaning, and this would open the space for abuse, especially for civil society which raised issues that State authorities found hard to hear.  The United Kingdom would vote no and called on all other Council members to do the same.
 
The Council rejected draft amendment L.55 by a vote of 17 in favour, 21 against, with 9 abstentions.
 
Action on Draft Amendment L.56
 
Germany, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of co-sponsors, opposed this draft amendment and said that this paragraph was the heart of the resolution as it described the challenging environments in which civil society actors operated.  Germany would vote no on amendment L.56  and called on all other Council members to do the same.
 
Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the draft amendment would change the aim of the resolution and would dramatically change the scope of preambular paragraph 12, which referred to instances where domestic legislation had a negative impact on civil society, instances where domestic legislation was not in line with international legislation, or if it was, it was used for different purposes.  Switzerland would vote against this draft amendment.
 
The Council rejected draft amendment L.56 with a vote of 16 in favour, 22 against and nine abstentions.
 
Action on Draft Amendment L.59
 
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it gave utmost importance to civil society space.  Regarding L.59, the core group and co-sponsors opposed this amendment.  The language used in the draft resolution was agreed upon language.  It was a broad term which was aimed at integrating all groups, empowering those most at risk.  For these reasons, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia would vote no on this amendment, and called upon others to vote against it.
 
Belgium, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, called on all to vote against L.59.  The deletion of the views would be very unhealthy.  Indeed an important part of civil society was that it brought a significant perspective to bear on society as a whole.  The right to freedom of expression was not and could not be limited to views of government.  This was unacceptable.  Belgium would vote no on this amendment and called on all members to do likewise.
 
Amendment L.59 was rejected with 9 votes in favour, 22 against, and 15 abstentions. 
 
Action on draft amendment L.60
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.60, expressed surprise at the amendment which attempted to modify agreed language.  The proponents of the amendment had agreed on that very language.  It was incomprehensible why that discussion should be re-opened.  All were called on to vote no.
 
Lithuania, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it would vote against the amendment and invited all Council members to do the same.
 
The Council then rejected amendment L.60 with a vote of 13 in favour,  22 against, with 12 abstentions.
 
Action on draft amendment L.61
 
Latvia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said amendment L.61 was a re-write that did not just reorder operative paragraph 8, but was also in other ways neither appropriate nor acceptable.  Other measures of the amendment were unnecessary and confusing. 
 
Germany, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said as a co-sponsor of the resolution, the amendment would remove a key concept from the resolution, adding that Germany would vote no, and invited all Council members to do likewise.
 
The Council then rejected the amendment by a vote of 15 in favour, 22 against, with 10 abstentions.
 
Action on draft amendment L.62
 
Republic of Korea, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it did not support amendment L.62, as it would weaken civil society space.  Operative paragraph 13 was fully in line with the Universal Periodic Review.  More importantly, its purpose was to encourage the involvement of civil society in the Universal Periodic Review process.  Therefore, the Republic of Korea would vote no on this amendment and called on all States to do the same.
 
Belgium, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed the amendment and called on all others to do the same.  Consulting civil society when preparing the report and involving them during the recommendations were key for the Universal Periodic Review.  Belgium would vote no on this amendment and called upon others to do likewise.  
 
Amendment L.62 was rejected, with a vote of 15 in favour,  22 against, and 10 abstentions. 
 
Action on draft amendment L.63
 
France, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.63, said that France opposed it because it aimed at withdrawing a key paragraph from the resolution.  Freedom of expression for civil society was sine qua non for smooth expression of civil and political rights.  For that reason France called for a vote on the amendment and would vote no.
 
Slovenia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that Slovenia rejected the amendment which was aimed at the heart of the resolution.  The paragraph did not impose anything on States, but encouraged them to identify good practices.  Slovenia would vote no.  
 
The Council then rejected the amendment by a vote of 13 in favour, to 22 against, with 12 abstentions.
 
Action on draft amendment L.64
 
Albania, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.64, said that the core group opposed the amendment.  The rationale of the amendment was difficult to understand.  The paragraph was expressed as an invitation on a voluntary basis.  A vote was called on the amendment, and Albania would vote against it.  
 
The Council then rejected the amendment by a vote of 11 in favour, to 23 against, with 13 abstentions.
 
Action on draft amendment L.65
 
Germany, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.65, said that the amendment could not be accepted.  Germany would vote no and called on all members of the Council to do likewise.
 
Georgia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.65, said the rationale for the draft resolution’s request for the participation of civil society was a constructive one, which would be useful to all relevant actors. 
 
The Council then rejected the amendment by a vote of 9 in favour, to 22 against, with 15 abstentions.
 
Action on Draft Resolution L.29 on Civil Society Space as a Whole as Orally Revised
 
South Africa, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the delegation of South Africa would never challenge the role of civil society.  The role of civil society in post-apartheid South Africa was established in the Constitution, in a context which was clear, and with separation of powers.  South Africa pointed out that it would vote against the draft resolution because it made a claim that there was a clampdown on civil society in South Africa, which was not the case.  In addition, it made a claim that the registration of civil society organizations was contrary to international law.  Three, it did not address limits to freedom of expression.  Four, it created new obligations.  South Africa could not support the draft resolution because it placed obligations on States that allowed transfer of funding, provided tax incentives for donors, and allowed unregistered organizations to operate.  It also exonerated private entities.  It deliberately omitted the Economic and Social Council resolution governing the participation of civil society in the United Nations system.  Therefore South Africa could not support the resolution.
 
India, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said despite differences of opinions, the sponsors of the resolution had come to adopt a highly one-sided approach, as well as overgeneralisation and unsubstantiated assertions.  India could not agree with a proposal that limited any restriction on funding.  The world had to acknowledge that funding of civil society could be misused.  This misuse adversely impacted the credibility of the entire civil society.  Both the report and the draft resolution ignored the fact that civil society was often made up of diverse groups.  The report only listed those rights which some States chose in a selective manner.  Civil society must function within the laws.  Advocacy should be tempered by the need of transparency and sobriety.  While India supported the gist of the overall resolution, it regretted that its principal concerns had been unacknowledged.  Therefore India disassociated itself from preambular paragraph 13, and operative paragraphs 8, 14 and 16 of the draft resolution.
 
Saudi Arabia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates, said they supported civil society organizations.  The support that these countries provided allowed civil society organizations to act within a framework of social responsibility and was based on financing and transparency of the organizations.  The draft resolution proposed operational conditions which would open the door endlessly.  The group of countries insisted on using criteria that prevented creative acts and freedom of speech from being taken to the detriment of other human rights, including ethnic or racial discrimination.  Rights and freedoms were guaranteed by law in this group of countries.  Freedom must not give rise to public disorder nor undermine the freedom of others.  Saudi Arabia noted that preambular paragraphs 6, 8, 9, 11 and 14, as well as operative paragraphs 1,4,7, 8, 13, and 14 were all of concern.
 
China, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, regretted that most of the amendments had not been adopted.  It believed that the orally adopted draft resolution had many defects.  First, it failed to deal with the concept of civil society.  One should respect countries and their national domestic laws in guiding the healthy development of civil society.  Second, it distorted the concept of democracy and traditional consensus.  It put labels on normal practices.  Third, it weakened economic and social rights and the right to development.  Fourth, it failed to balance the rights and obligations of civil society organizations.  It stressed their freedoms while avoiding mentioning that these should operate in a constructive manner in accordance with the law.  Finally, it used non-validated information as a tool to force upon countries obligations and so-called standards on communication technology applications and so forth.  These jeopardized relevant and credible civil society initiatives and did not promote consensus.  In view of the above, China would vote against L.29.
 
Viet Nam, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on L.29, said it was clear that there were still different views on the subject that L.29 was dealing with.  Constructive contributions had been rejected, and some concerns raised by other speakers had to be addressed.  
 
Russian Federation, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on L.29, said that Russia was committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and freedoms.  A mature civil society was something Russia was giving attention to, developing dialogue with civil society through coordinating and advisory structures.  The Russian Federation welcomed the attention of the Council to legitimate activities of civil society.  It regretted that the co-sponsors of L.29 had not wished for an open, constructive dialogue and refused to take in amendments.  The State should provide support and provide a favourable environment to various structures in civil society.  In various countries there had been considerable progress.  The Russian Federation wished to draw attention to the fact that of the amendments it had proposed, not one was rejected by a majority of the Council.  That showed that the co-sponsors were in the minority and were trying to impose their views.  The Russian Federation, together with China requested a vote on the text of L.29 and would vote against the draft, calling on other members of the Council to do the same.
 
Cuba, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on L.29, said the draft resolution before the Council did not promote a cooperative focus.  Cuba did not favour attempts to impose solutions on States.  For the aforementioned reasons, Cuba could not support the draft resolution.
 
United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the Council should not shy away from addressing the challenges that civil society faced.  Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were central to the Council’s work.  The United Kingdom shared concerns about the way the NGO Committee of the United Nations Economic and Social Council had been misused to defer the accreditation of human rights organizations, in order to prevent them from participating in the activities of the Council.  There were also very serious allegations that human rights defenders had received death threats on social media from a delegate at the end of the previous session of the Council.  At this session, travel bans had been imposed on activists to prevent them from coming to Geneva.  The United Kingdom called on all Member States to vote in favour of the draft resolution. 
 
The Council then adopted draft resolution L.29, as orally revised, by a vote of 31 in favour, 7 against, with 9 abstentions. 
 
Action on Draft Resolution L.32 on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of association
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.32) on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, for a period of three years; and requests the Special Rapporteur to continue to report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.  The Council also calls upon States and other relevant stakeholders to promote, create and maintain conditions conducive for the development and activities of professional associations.
 
Maldives, introducing draft resolution L.32 on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association on behalf of a group of countries, highlighted the importance of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
 
United States, also introducing draft resolution L.32 on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, said the principle objective of the draft resolution was to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur who addressed these freedoms.  It was very important to ensure the monitoring, practice, promotion and protection of these fundamental freedoms.  In the spirit of cooperation, the co-sponsors had prepared an oral revision.
 
Russian Federation, speaking in a general comment, welcomed L.32, which extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association for the next three years.  The States sponsoring L.41, L.48 and L.50 were satisfied with the verbal amendments and were prepared to withdraw all amendments to L.32.  The United States delegation and Indonesia were particularly thanked for their willingness to work to reach consensus. 
The Council then adopted L.32 as orally revised without a vote.
 

Action on Draft Resolution L.34 on Human Rights and Climate Change
 
In a resolution (A/HRC/C/L.34) on human rights and climate change, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides to incorporate into its programme of work for the thirty-fourth session a panel discussion on the adverse impact of climate change on States’ efforts to progressively realize the rights of the child and related policies, lessons learned and good practices; requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in consultation with stakeholders, to conduct, from within existing resources, a detailed analytical study on the relationship between climate change and the full and effective enjoyment of the rights of the child, to be submitted to the Council prior to its  thirty-fifth session and to be further informed by the panel discussion; and decides to consider the possibility of organizing follow-up events on climate change and human rights.
 
Philippines, speaking on behalf of a group of countries and introducing draft resolution L.34 as orally revised, said that the resolution was on climate change and human rights.  It was highly disconcerting to note that people in vulnerable situations bore the brunt of climate change.  The co-sponsors underscored  that climate change was a shared reality.  It would continue to impact all without exception.  Oral revisions to many preambular and operative paragraphs were enumerated.  The Human Rights Council was urged to adopt the resolution by consensus.
 
Bangladesh, also introducing draft resolution L. 34 on human rights and the environment, said in 2013, the United Nations Secretary-General had established the High Level Panel on Climate Change.  Climate change continued to plague many people.  Least developed countries and African States faced unique circumstances and had a special need in this respect, including millions of ordinary farmers, fishermen and others.  Bangladesh welcomed the presence of small island States and valued their contributions to this resolution.  What was behind was not a matter of choice but a shared responsibility.  Small island States had special needs in this respect.  Their limited capacity had to be addressed.  Millions lived on the edge.  The people on ground zero did not wait for resolutions.  They continued to adapt to changes, while some perished in the process.  Bangladesh hoped the international community would step up to its obligations to help the silent millions of victims of climate change survive.
 
Viet Nam, also introducing draft resolution L. 34, shared the views that climate change had negative aspects on people’s lives.  The extreme frequency of natural disasters, rising sea levels, tropical and vector-born diseases, had serious consequences on the full and effective enjoyment to fundamental rights, including the right to health, food, and others.  In Viet Nam, one of the five countries most vulnerable to climate change, the rising sea-level was increasing.  Typhoons had left people with no homes and children with no schools, leaving thousands to die each year.  Climate change increased the difficulties of persons in vulnerable situations and left them in hunger and poverty, and even threatened their lives.  Viet Nam encouraged the Member States of the Human Rights Council to adopt the resolution.
 
Netherlands, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, expressed sincere appreciation to the main sponsors of the draft resolution, namely Bangladesh, Philippines, and Viet Nam.  The integration of human rights into climate policy could be achieved through accountability, access to information, and transparency at the local level, among other factors.  The European Union appreciated the numerous references to the text of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but noted that the Human Rights Council must not provide an alternative forum to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  It appreciated that the Twenty-first Session of the Parties to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris was welcomed in the draft resolution, and  was confident that the Paris Agreement would strengthen climate change.
 
Bolivia, speaking in a general comment, underscored the importance of discussing negative effects of climate change not just on humans but on mother Earth.  Discussions were encouraged that led the international community to eradicating the structural causes of the catastrophe, which was capitalism.   Bolivia remained committed to the right to life and therefore co-sponsored the resolution. 
 
Russian Federation, speaking in a general comment, said that the Russian Federation supported the draft resolution contained in document L.34, even though some concerns remained about various provisions in some paragraphs, which were enumerated.  The resolution would be regarded within the context of existing international observations.  The Russian Federation requested that that be reflected in the report of the meeting, and noted that the Russian Federation joined consensus on the resolution.
 
The Council then adopted resolution L.34, as orally revised, without a vote.
 
Explanations of the Vote after the Vote on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the Right to Development
 
United Arab Emirates, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, referred to an earlier resolution’s title and said there were provisions in international law that rejected all that incited violence against other individuals.  The adoption of the resolution was a dangerous precedent.  It would bring the Human Rights Council closer to exploiting human rights for the promotion of secondary rights.  Despite the importance of the resolution, it was a provocation for many communities.  The group in question did not respect the traditions.  Hence, the United Arab Emirates did not accept the mechanism that had been created and did not plan to cooperate with it.
 
Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, welcomed the establishment of an Independent Expert charged with addressing violence and discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity.  This was historical progress.  It was regrettable that some amendments introduced notions of cultural relativism, from which Mexico disassociated itself. 
 
China, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, underlined the importance of respecting the different cultural and judicial systems, and stressed the need to address human rights issues through constructive dialogue, rather than to impose views on others.  Further, the Council was facing financial constraints, and therefore China was opposed to the creation of new mandates. 
 
Venezuela, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, reaffirmed its commitment to combat all forms of violence and discrimination on all grounds.  Venezuela’s Constitution and legislation ensured that all citizens could freely express views and protect and promote human rights.   Human rights matters had to be addressed through constructive dialogue and cooperation, in accordance with the United Nations Charter.  
 
Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that establishing the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual oriental and gender identity was an important initiative and the European Union commended the group of sponsors for their leadership.  The European Union had voted against all amendments to this draft resolution and reiterated its strong opposition, in particular to L.73, L.74, L.75, L.76, L.77, L.78 and L.79.  The European Union emphasised three points, namely that: the reference point remained an invitation to dialogue; the reference point remained the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and its provision that while individual particularities and various cultural religions had to be borne in mind, it was the duty of the State to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms; and the reference remained the set of obligations under internal human rights law. 

Against this background, the United Nations Independent Expert on the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual oriental and gender identity was an important step in ensuring that no one would be left behind.  The European Union hoped that all States would cooperate with the United Nations Independent Expert on the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual oriental and gender identity.  In conclusion, it thanked the President of the Human Rights Council and commended him for his work.
 
Qatar, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, except Albania, held that the values of non-violence were important.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation  believed that protection against violence should be given to all.  At the same time, it stated that the concepts and new language  in the draft resolution held no place in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights instruments.  The adoption of topics not universally agreed upon, that directly impinged on the social culture and the religious sensitivities of Member States of the United Nations, compromised the work of the Human Rights Council. 
 
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation believed that the passage of this draft resolution and the establishment of an Independent Expert  on the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual oriental and gender identity, in an act of cultural superiority, imposed one set of values on the rest of the world.  The Organization called for respect of cultural, historic and religious backgrounds and particularities which were clearly set in the two Covenants.  The countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, except Albania, would not recognise the mandate created by the resolution, would boycott the Independent Expert, would not be in position to cooperate with that person. 
 
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