Header image for news printout

Human Rights Council adopts eight resolutions, extends mandates on Yemen, Central African Republic, Sudan and Somalia, and closes its thirty-ninth session

AFTERNOON

GENEVA (28 September 2018) - The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted eight texts in which it extended the mandates of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen, of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic, of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, and of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia.

Other resolutions concerned technical assistance for Yemen; asking the High Commissioner for Human Rights to update the Council on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; convening a consultation on practices of national human rights institutions in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; and choosing the theme of technical cooperation and capacity building in the field of the human rights of older persons for the annual thematic panel discussion during the Council’s forty-first session.

By a vote of 21 in favour, eight against and 18 abstentions, the Council extended the mandate of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen for a further period of one year, and requested the Group to submit a comprehensive written report to the High Commissioner for presentation at the forty-second session of the Council.  

The Council renewed for one year the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic, and decided to organize, at its fortieth session, a high-level interactive dialogue to assess the evolution of the human rights situation on the ground.  

The Council decided to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan for a period of one year.  The Council decided that the termination of the mandate of the Independent Expert would take effect on the day that a country office of the Office of the High Commissioner was declared operational.  

In a resolution adopted without a vote, the Council renewed the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia for a period of one year to assess, monitor and report on the situation of human rights in Somalia with a view to making recommendations on technical assistance and capacity building in the field of human rights.  

In a second resolution on Yemen, which was adopted without a vote, the Council invited all bodies of the United Nations system and Member States to assist the transitional process in Yemen.  The Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide substantive capacity building and technical assistance to the Government of Yemen.

In a resolution adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present to the Council an oral update on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at its forty-first session.  

In another resolution adopted without a vote, the Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner to convene on the margins of the 2019 annual meeting of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, an intersessional, half-day consultation on the experiences and practices of national human rights institutions in the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The Council decided that the theme for the annual thematic panel discussion during its forty-first session would be “technical cooperation and capacity building in the field of the human rights of older persons”, and it requested the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a report and submit it to the Council at its forty-first session to serve as a basis for the panel discussion.

The Council then proceeded with the elections of members of the Advisory Committee, and the appointment of Special Procedure mandate holders.

The Council elected four new members of its Advisory Committee: Cheikh Tidiane Thiam (Senegal) for the Group of African States seat; Ibrahim Abdul Aziz Alsheddi (Saudi Arabia) for the Group of Asia-Pacific States seat; José Augusto Lindgren Alves (Brazil) for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States seat; and Alessio Bruni (Italy) for the Group of Western European and other States seat.

The Council also appointed Anaïs Marin (France) as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus; Daniela Kravetz (Chile) as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea; and Dominique Day of (United States of America) as member of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, from Western European and other States.

The Council agreed to the President’s proposal that the theme for the annual high-level panel discussion with heads of United Nations agencies on human rights mainstreaming, to be held at the Council’s fortieth session in March 2019, in accordance with Council resolution 16/21, be "Human rights in light of multilateralism: Opportunities, Challenges and the Way Forward.”

The Council adopted ad referendum the report of its thirty-ninth session, presented by Juan Eduardo Eguiguren, Rapporteur and Vice President of the Human Rights Council.

Vojislav Šuc, President of the Human Rights Council, in his concluding remarks, reiterated once again that the participation of civil society in the Human Rights Council was crucial, and that any act of intimidation and reprisals against an individual or group who had cooperated, was cooperating, or sought to cooperate with the Council was completely unacceptable.  

Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Somalia spoke as concerned countries.  The Central African Republic was not present in the room to take the floor as a concerned country.  

Speaking in introduction of draft texts were Canada, Australia, South Africa, Thailand, Togo on behalf of the African Group, Tunisia on behalf of the Arab Group, and United Kingdom.  

Slovakia on behalf of the European Union, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, Afghanistan, Belgium, Tunisia on behalf of the Arab Group, Egypt, and Qatar spoke in general comments.

Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, United Arab Emirates also on behalf of Bahrain, Ukraine, Japan, Switzerland, China, Mexico, Brazil, Qatar, Belgium, Cuba, Germany, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Slovakia on behalf of the European Union, and Switzerland spoke in an explanation of the vote before and after the vote.  

Indonesia, Belarus, New Zealand and on behalf of a group of countries and Tuvalu spoke as Observer States in concluding remarks.

The non-governmental organizations International Service for Human Rights (in a joint statement with severals NGOs1) and Europe-Third World Centre (in a joint statement with FIAN International) also spoke in concluding remarks.

The fortieth session of the Human Rights Council will take place in Geneva from 25 February to 22 March 2019.

Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on the Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

Action on Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Yemen

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.21) on the Human rights situation in Yemen, adopted by a vote of 21 in favour, eight against and 18 abstentions, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts for a further period of one year, renewable as authorized by the Human Rights Council; and requests the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts to submit a comprehensive written report to the High Commissioner for presentation at the forty-second session of the Human Rights Council, to be followed by an interactive dialogue.  The Council requests the High Commissioner to… continue to provide substantive capacity-building, technical assistance and advice and legal support to enable the National Commission of Inquiry to complete its investigatory work, including to ensure that the National Commission investigates allegations of violations and abuses committed by all parties in Yemen and in line with international standards; and to present to the Human Rights Council, at its fortieth session, an oral update on the situation of human rights in Yemen and the development and implementation of the present resolution, and to present to the Council at its forty-second session a written report on the situation of human rights, including violations and abuses committed since September 2014, as well as on the implementation of technical assistance as stipulated in the present resolution.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (21): Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Ecuador, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Against (8): Burundi, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Abstentions (18): Afghanistan, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia.

Canada, introducing draft resolution L.21on behalf of Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, and the Netherlands, said that the crisis in Yemen could only be solved by a comprehensive political solution.  All parties needed to re-engage in the political dialogue in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolution 2216.  After intense but constructive negotiations, the Council had adopted last year, by consensus, a resolution that requested the High Commissioner to establish a Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts.  The Group, mandated to carry out a comprehensive examination of all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights and of international law, had presented its report to the High Commissioner.  However due to access and time constraints, they believed the work of the Group was not finished.  It was imperative to give them more time to fully examine the conflict and report on all alleged violations by all parties to the conflict.  During informal negotiations, delegations had stressed their desire to have a consensus on the Yemen resolution, a key priority for the core group.  They were also seeking the adoption of a technical update to a consensus resolution presented by the Arab Group during the 36th meeting of the Human Rights Council.  However, consensus was never reached, the humanitarian disaster in Yemen continued unabated and the investigation by the Group remained imperative.  The Human Rights Council had the responsibility to address the world’s most serious human rights concerns.  The situation in Yemen was dire.  If the Council abrogated the responsibility, its credibility would be undermined and the suffering of the people of Yemen would deepen.  They called for the renewal of the Group of Eminent Experts’ mandate and asked all Council members to support the resolution.

HRC39_03 Slovakia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, said it remained deeply concerned about the deterioration of the human rights situation in Yemen.  The crisis could only be solved by a comprehensive political solution.  All parties were urged to engage in a comprehensive political solution in line with Security Council resolution 2216.  Last year, after negotiations, the Council agreed on a resolution that called on the Office of the High Commissioner to carry out capacity building, which would allow the national Commission of Inquiry to conduct their work.  Its work would provide a basis for future accountability work.  The resolution also required the establishment of the Group of Eminent Experts to conduct investigations.  The Group of Eminent Experts had presented their findings during the interactive dialogue.  Given their recommendations, it was important to give them more time to assess the conflict so that the findings would reflect behaviours of all parties during the conflict, as not all were documented so far.  The Council should ensure that the situation in Yemen remained high on the agenda.  Resolution L.21 was a technical update containing the same language, which was agreed on last year.  The European Union supported resolution L.21 and called on all to support it.

Germany, in a general comment, thanked the main sponsors.  As the situation continued to deteriorate in Yemen, it was important to renew the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts.  The main sponsors of L.21 were presenting a resolution now, which was almost identical to the one last year.  The Group of Eminent Experts had presented a report, which everyone agreed was incomplete.  They needed more time for investigation and it was up to the Council’s members to give them that time.  For that reason, Germany supported the resolution.

United Kingdom, in a general comment, said it was deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, and regretted that the situation over the last 12 months had not improved.  The United Kingdom supported the full investigation of alleged violations of human rights and emphasized that the current resolution closely resembled the resolution unanimously adopted last September which called for the establishment of a Group of Eminent Experts.  The United Kingdom expressed disappointment that a consensus on the resolution could not be agreed to this year.  The United Kingdom stressed the importance of giving the Group of Eminent Experts more time to fully examine the conflict, regretting that many incidents and violations committed by all parties had not been documented.  The United Kingdom supported the extension of the mandate for a further year, noting that 75 per cent of the Yemeni population was in need of humanitarian assistance.

Yemen, speaking as the concerned country, deplored that some European countries and Canada had submitted a draft resolution under this agenda item despite intensive consultations that had been held and despite being aware of a draft resolution from the Arab Group on supporting technical assistance and capacity building in the area of human rights in Yemen.  Yemen expressed disappointment that this draft resolution was not in favour of Yemen because it encouraged war and created a situation that responded to the will of certain countries to politicize the situation.  For this reason, Yemen rejected the draft resolution, which would put more pressure on a country that was already suffering.  Yemen called on States to reject the draft resolution and to vote against it in order to preserve the credibility of the Council and prevent its politicization.

Saudi Arabia, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to support the resolution last year and in accordance of the resolution a Group of Eminent Experts was established.  There had been much effort to reach a consensus on the resolution this session that showed the unity of the international community concerning Yemen.  However, those who presented the draft resolution did not present a text that reflected Saudi Arabia’s concerns.  Saudi Arabia had clearly detailed their position on the subject and stressed the lack of balance that the report contained, which would not be accepted by any fair person.  Consultations were held on the draft report in a friendly atmosphere.  However, there were concerns regarding the agreement.  Saudi Arabia thanked the countries that co-sponsored the draft and thanked the Group of Eminent Experts for having showed understanding for their concerns.  The Experts understood the observations and remarks from Saudi Arabia but it did not result in any modifications in the draft resolution.  Given that, Saudi Arabia had to request a vote on the draft resolution and would vote against it.

Venezuela, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it would vote against draft resolution L.21.  Venezuela continued to reject selectivity, politicization and double standards in the Council. When monitoring mechanisms were set up without the input of the concerned country, this led to the demonization of the country.  Interference was part and parcel of the mandates; the situation in Yemen could only be overcome through a political solution.  Venezuela would support all efforts to build peace in Yemen.  

United Arab Emirates speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, expressed thanks to all delegations that strived to reach a common draft.  As a member of the core group, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were open to negotiations with sponsors of L.21.  Unfortunately, sponsors of L.21 took a rigid stance and were unwilling to cooperate.  The negotiation process entered an impasse.  If L.21 was adopted as it was, it would do more harm than good for Yemen.  It contained contradictory statements which would exacerbate the conflict and divide people in Yemen even more.  The situation in Yemen required a technical cooperation programme, giving the Government an opportunity to strengthen their national institutions and help them restore the rule of law.  Since L.21 was not doing that, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain would vote against it.

Ukraine, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, commended all delegations for their efforts to achieve consensus on draft resolutions.  The importance of direct reporting was always stressed by Ukraine, especially in countries which required the Council’s attention.  The sovereignty and unity of Yemen were supported as well as efforts of the legitimate President of Yemen and his Government to restore order.  Given the deterioration in this war-torn country, Ukraine would provide assistance.  The Group of Eminent Experts should continue their work.  Ukraine would vote in favour of L.21.

Japan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that as a co-sponsor of last year’s resolution regarding the human rights situation in Yemen, it was disappointed that the consultations had not resulted in a unified resolution.  Japan also regretted that it had been excluded from engaging in substantial consultations on the resolution.  The informal consultations were only held once, and with very short notice.  Japan asked for future open ended consultations to be convened in such a way as to allow substantial discussions by interested delegations.  Considering the dire humanitarian and human rights situation in Yemen, Japan said that it considered that some form of international mechanism on the situation in Yemen was necessary.  However, Japan emphasized that the Council should seek consensus on this mechanism, including from Yemen itself.  Japan strongly urged that, if adopted, the costs of implementing the resolution should be restrained.

Switzerland, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it was concerned about the violations of international law by all parties in Yemen.  Given the continued deterioration of human rights in Yemen, Switzerland called on all parties to respect their international humanitarian obligations, to protect civilians, and to facilitate unimpeded access to humanitarian aid.  Switzerland would vote in favour of the resolution because it was important for all serious violations of international law to continue to be documented.  Given the complexity of the situation, Switzerland said it was reasonable and useful to give the Group of Eminent Expert more time, and to do so by renewing their mandate.

China, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it advocated addressing human rights differences through dialogue and cooperation.  China was opposed to the open exertion of pressure and supported the preservation of the sovereignty of Yemen.  China felt that L.21 was not conducive to a political solution to the conflict in Yemen, and for that reason, it would vote against it.

Mexico, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, regretted that an agreement had not been reached between the sponsors of the resolution, however, Mexico would support it.  Mexico was concerned about the worsening situation in Yemen, including indiscriminate attacks against civilians and the impediments to food and humanitarian aid, acts which needed to be investigated, as well as other violations of international humanitarian law and human rights laws.  Mexico was also concerned about those responsible for the transfer of weapons and called upon all States to refrain from supplying weapons when there was evidence that they would be used in violation of rights.  Mexico promoted cooperation with all humanitarian law.

Brazil, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, remained deeply concerned about the situation in Yemen and called on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian and human rights law.  There was no military solution to the conflict and efforts employed by the Special Envoy Martin Griffiths were supported.  One resolution on Yemen would have been commendable as it would allow for consensus.  However, Brazil understood both drafts to be complimenting each other and Brazil would support both of them.  Capacity building was supported by Brazil.  The activities of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Government of Yemen in establishing the National Commission of Inquiry deserved support.  The Government of Yemen was thanked for providing access to the Group of Eminent Experts.

Qatar, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that many United Nations reports reflected the deterioration of the Yemeni situation.  Violations had to be documented and although the National Commission of Inquiry in Yemen was making many efforts, challenges remained.  That was why the Group of Eminent Experts was very important to ensure justice for victims.  Qatar would vote in favour of L.21.

Egypt, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it had been looking forward to consensus on a single draft resolution that enjoyed the support of the legitimate Government in Yemen, as was the case of last year.  Egypt lamented that the Yemeni people were paying a high price for the crisis they were going through because of the violations undertaken by the Houthis.  Egypt called on the international community to take a united position to mitigate this suffering with full respect for the sovereignty and independence of Yemen.  L.21 did not include the support of Yemen.  Egypt regretted that the report from the Group of Eminent International Experts did not highlight the violations perpetrated by the Houthis, and also included a number of issues that ran counter to Security Council resolutions.  Egypt reject the draft resolution and consequent extension of the mandate of the Group of Experts.

The Council then adopted draft resolution L.21 by a vote of 21 in favour, eight against and 18 abstentions.

Explanations of the Vote after the Vote after Voting Ended on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on the Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

Belgium, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said one year ago, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Canada created a core working group that worked hard to achieve a consensual and meaningful text out of great concern for the devastating impact of the situation in Yemen.  They were successful because an independent mechanism was established to report on the situation on the ground.  The Council had a duty and responsibility to respond meaningfully to the conflict in Yemen.  The core group had engaged in outreach negotiations and spared no efforts to accommodate concerns voiced by States.  However, it was found that consensus was beyond reach and they were left with no other choice but to send an updated version of the resolution to the Council.  The core group welcomed its adoption, although they would have preferred to replicate the consensus.  They were happy the Experts would be able to continue their mandate and called on all parties to extend every cooperation possible so the mandate could be fulfilled.  The vote showed the people of Yemen that the Council protected and promoted human rights.

Cuba, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, referring to a previous subject, believed that the human rights mechanism exercised in Myanmar had political aims that they did not support.  Cooperation was the best way to promote and protect human rights all over the world.  

Action on Resolution under Agenda Items on the Follow-up to and Implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

Action on Resolution on National Human Rights Institutions

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.19/Rev.1) on National human rights institutions, adopted without a vote, the Council invites national human rights institutions to include in their cooperation the exchange of best practices on strengthening their liaison role between civil society and their Governments; requests the Office of the High Commissioner to continue and to strengthen its work with national human rights institutions…, including through increased support for the work of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and its regional networks, and invites Governments to contribute additional voluntary funds to that end.  The Council also requests the Office of the High Commissioner to convene… on the margins of the 2019 annual meeting of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, an intersessional, half-day consultation … with the objective of exchanging the experiences and practices of national human rights institutions in working to support the establishment and maintenance of inclusive societies and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and further requests the Office of the High Commissioner to submit to the Human Rights Council, at its forty-first session, a summary report of the consultation; (and) requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Human Rights Council, at its forty-fifth session, a report on the implementation of the present resolution, which includes examples of best practices among national human rights institutions, and a report on the activities of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions in accrediting national institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles.

Australia, introducing resolution L.19, said that the resolution reflected the role that national human rights institutions played in the human rights system.  It was a streamlined text, drawing from the Council’s previous work, reiterating the importance of national human rights institutions.  It explored ways in which national human rights institutions were set out in line with the Paris Principles.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sought to realize human rights for all.  Leaving no one behind was a call for inclusion.  National human rights institutions were particularly well placed to fulfil this responsibility.  Their daily job included inclusion.  The text called on the Office of the High Commissioner to convene a meeting on this topic.  Three full readings were held for the text as well as four rounds of negotiations, and all delegations were thanked for their support.

South Africa, introducing amendment L.30, said South Africa felt compelled to introduce the amendment.  During the informal consultations, concerns were raised to Australia, that was thanked for its understanding in accommodating other concerns.  It was imperative that national human rights institutions moved together based on a common understanding of how to promote human rights.  Inclusion of the mandate enshrined in the Paris Principles in the title of previous versions of the resolution was supported.  South Africa proposed adding the words “for the promotion and protection of human rights” to the title proposed by Australia, as it was the case in previous iterations.  Council members were asked to support the amendment.

Australia, speaking as the sponsoring country, called for a vote on amendment L.30.  Australia expressed its view that national human rights institutions in each country had their own individual mandates.  What they all had in common was their desire to promote and protect human rights, in line with the Paris Principles.  Australia had listened carefully to the views expressed by relevant delegates continuously over the last three weeks, and made many changes to the resolution, including updating the title in order to bring it in line with other similar United Nations resolutions.  Australia lamented that the proposed amendment to the title used confusing and hybrid language which could be read to imply that there were national human rights institutions which did not promote and protect human rights.  Australia urged all members to vote against L.30.

Action on Amendment L.30

Afghanistan, in a general comment, said it supported the draft resolution on national human rights institutions.  Afghanistan underlined that national human rights institutions played an important role in the monitoring and promotion of human rights.  The implementation of the 2030 Agenda pledged to leave no one behind and envisaged a world of human rights, justice, equality and respect.  Afghanistan appreciated Australia’s constructive approach to the resolution, and called on all States to adopt the resolution.

Germany, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the proposed amendment to change the resolution’s title was unnecessary as the term “national human rights institutions” was used by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and could be found in countless resolutions, including in the General Assembly that established the Council.  The proposed amendment would imply that national human rights institutions did not promote or protect human rights, which was in direct contradiction to the Paris Principles.  Germany would vote against the amendment.

Republic of Korea, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, commended the main sponsor of the resolution.  The Republic of Korea reminded the Council that the term “national human rights institutions” was used not only by the Council but also by the various bodies of the United Nations, as well as the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.  The term was also present in various resolutions as well as in the Paris Principles.

The Council then rejected amendment L.30 by a vote of 10 in favour, 29 against, and 8 abstentions.

The Council the adopted the draft resolution L.19. Rev.1 without a vote.

Explanation of the Vote after the Vote after the Council Concluded Taking Action under the Agenda Item on the Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

United Kingdom, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, was pleased for having supported L.19/Rev.1 and for supporting national human rights institutions.  As for the Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Businesses, there were differences between the responsibilities of States and businesses.  The United Kingdom’s position was that the responsibility to guarantee human rights was with States.

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

Action on Resolution on Enhancement of Technical Cooperation and Capacity Building in the Field of Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.3) on Enhancement of technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides… that the theme for the annual thematic panel discussion under agenda item 10, to be held during its forty-first session, will be “Technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of the human rights of older persons”; and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a report, to be submitted to the Council at its forty-first session to serve as a basis for the panel discussion, on the activities undertaken by the Office and relevant United Nations country teams and agencies, and regional organizations to support States’ efforts to promote and protect the human rights of older persons and their autonomy and independence, and address implementation gaps in national legislation, policies and programmes.

Thailand, introducing resolution L3 on behalf of a cross-regional core group of countries, said the resolution was grounded in the principle of international cooperation, which was described as one of the purposes of the United Nations and one of the key principles of the Council.  Thailand underlined that the focus of this resolution was on technical cooperation and capacity building in the field of the human rights of older persons.  Thailand highlighted that the main outcome of this resolution was the panel discussion on technical cooperation on the same theme.  The open and constructive exchange of views and practical experiences, including challenges and good practices, was a vital part of the Council’s work on technical cooperation.

Slovakia, in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union had engaged actively in the discussions on resolution L.3.  The European Union underlined the importance of technical assistance and capacity building to support States’ efforts to ensure that human rights were protected and advanced.  The European Union was pleased that the resolution placed emphasis on the independence and agency of all people, and highlighted that the discrimination that older women faced was multi-dimensional.  The European Union had engaged with the core group to further strengthen the text and noted that not all of its suggestions could be incorporated in the resolution.  States were the primary duty bearers in ensuring the promotion and protection of human rights, and the lack of capacity building and technical assistance could never be called to justify human rights abuses or violations.

Action on Resolution on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building in the Field of Human Rights in the Central African Republic

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.9) on Technical assistance and capacity-building in the field of human rights in the Central African Republic, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to renew, for one year, the mandate of the Independent Expert [on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic] to assess, to monitor and to report on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic with a view to making recommendations related to technical assistance and capacity-building in the field of human rights; and decides to organize, at its fortieth session, a high-level interactive dialogue to assess the evolution of the human rights situation on the ground, placing special emphasis on the participation of civil society, especially women’s organizations and representatives of victims, in the peace and reconciliation process.  The Council requests the Independent Expert to provide an oral update on her report on technical assistance and capacity-building in the field of human rights in the Central African Republic to the Human Rights Council at its forty-first session and to submit a written report to the Council at its forty-second session; and requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide the Independent Expert with all the financial and human resources necessary to enable her to carry out fully her mandate.
 
Togo, introducing draft resolution L.9 on behalf of the African Group, said the draft resolution was an update on the situation in the Central African Republic and deserved the full attention of the Council concerning security.  The draft resolution took into consideration concerns, including ending impunity, reconciliation and restoring peace as well as the insecurity perpetrated by armed groups.  It condemned the violence that those armed groups committed against children and humanitarian agents and called for the cessation of all human rights violations and abuses as well as violations of international humanitarian law.  The resolution asked that all civilians be protected from sexual and gender-based violence, particularly women and children.  The African Group commended the Central African Republic on its continued engagement as well as contributions made by the international community.  The African Group supported the objectives of the draft resolution, including the extension of the Expert’s mandate.  They thanked the representatives from permanent missions and civil society for their contributions and Member States that co-sponsored the resolution.  The African Group urged the Council Members to show their solidarity with the Central African Republic by adopting the draft resolution.

Slovakia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, commended the draft resolution, which would allow the Council to extend its mandate to assess the situation of the Central African Republic and which required the full attention of the international community.  The engagement by the Central African Republic authorities to improve human rights was commendable and the European Union encouraged the Government to continue its efforts.  The work of the criminal court had to begin to end impunity.  The European Union called for the adoption of the draft resolution by consensus, which would help bring an end to the crisis.  The Central African Republic was going through a crucial phase in the determination of its future and the European Union was fully committed to efforts to help them find peace and reconciliation.

The Central African Republic was not present in the room to take the floor as the concerned country.

The Council then adopted draft resolution L.9 without a vote.

Action on Resolution on Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building in the Field of Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.10) on Technical assistance and capacity-building in the field of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council urges the Independent National Electoral Commission to carry through the steps that remain up to the actual holding of the elections, and requests all stakeholders in the electoral process to refrain from all forms of violence and any discourse inciting racial, tribal or ethnic hatred.  The Council demands that the Government and all competent institutions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo take all additional measures necessary for the prevention of all violations of international humanitarian law and abuses of human rights … and to carry out thorough investigations into all acts of violence and all violations of international humanitarian law and all abuses of human rights in order to bring perpetrators to justice.  The Council further requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to present to the Human Rights Council, in an enhanced interactive dialogue, an oral update on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at its forty-first session; and also requests the High Commissioner to prepare a report on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo before, during and after the elections of 23 December 2018, and to submit it to the Human Rights Council, within the framework of an enhanced interactive dialogue, at its fortieth session, and to prepare a comprehensive report on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to submit it to the Council, within the framework of an enhanced interactive dialogue, at its forty-second session.

Togo, introducing resolution L.10 on behalf of the African Group, said the draft resolution was titled technical assistance and capacity building in the field of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The African Group explained that this resolution was an updated version of resolution 36/30, which called on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide a report on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the context of the electoral process, and to present it at its thirty-ninth session.  The African Group emphasized that this draft resolution took into account the efforts taken by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to bring those responsible for violence to justice.  The resolution also took into account the significant progress made by the National Independent Electoral Commission, including the publication of the list of political candidates at all levels.  The African Group commended President Joseph Kabila’s compliance with the laws and the constitution of the country.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo was encouraged to take appropriate measures to ensure the proper functioning of mechanisms charged with supporting and promoting human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Member States were urged to continue to express their solidarity with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and to adopt the resolution by consensus.

Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking as the concerned country, said that the draft resolution was the logical follow-up to the resolution that the Council had adopted during its session last September to assess the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in order to provide technical assistance and capacity building.  In this spirit, the African Group had prepared and submitted the text.  All paragraphs were based on the previous resolution.  The elections were approaching in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with no deficiencies.  During informal consultations, there was an avalanche of other proposals by the European Union, but those were far from the reality on the ground and were trying to exercise power over the national authorities.  Such an attitude was unacceptable and hypocritical.  The outcome was uncertain as the text had changed a lot to accommodate the European Union, so now the text was more of a report.  It did not provide a coherent capacity building strategy, which was what the Democratic Republic of the Congo desired.  These countries were using the Council as a tool to meddle into the internal affairs of other States.  The African Group was warmly thanked for their work in creating a compromise.  The adoption of the resolution without a vote was supported.  

Slovakia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote after the vote, was deeply concerned about the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo because of the grave human rights violations, including by State actors.  The authorities were urged to respect human rights, including civil and political rights, to ensure an enabling environment for elections.  The full implementation of the agreement from December 2016 was needed.  The African Group was thanked for their efforts and for taking into account the concerns of the European Union.  The resolution did not reflect the seriousness of the human rights situation in the country.  While there was some progress concerning impunity, the main perpetrators had to be held to account.  It was too soon to assess whether the resumption of a trial on the killing of the United Nations experts would bring a positive example of bringing persons accountable to justice.  Progress had been noted concerning the electoral process but confidence-building measures still had to be implemented.  Those were key preconditions for transparent elections.  The text did not address remaining challenges in the country adequately.  

Switzerland, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, felt that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued to be a subject of interactive dialogue given the challenges to the elections in December.  However, there were efforts that still needed to be made with regards to criminal impunity and sexual violations.  Switzerland called on the Congolese Government to strengthen action in those areas.

The Council then adopted draft resolution L.10 as orally revised.  

Action on Resolution on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for Yemen in the Field of Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.23) on Technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council expresses deep concern at the serious abuses and violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in Yemen committed by all parties to the conflict; demands that all parties to the conflict end the recruitment and use of children and release those who have already been recruited; and invites all bodies of the United Nations system, including the Office of the High Commissioner, and Member States to assist the transitional process in Yemen, including by supporting the mobilization of resources to tackle the consequences of the violence and the economic and social challenges faced by Yemen.  The Council requests the High Commissioner to continue to provide substantive capacity-building and technical assistance to the Government of Yemen and technical support to the National Commission of Inquiry to ensure that the National Commission continues to investigate allegations of violations and abuses committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen; and also requests the High Commissioner to present a written report on the implementation of technical assistance, as stipulated in the present resolution, to the Human Rights Council at its forty-second session.

Tunisia, introducing resolution L.23 on behalf the Arab Group on technical assistance and capacity building in the area of human rights in Yemen, emphasized that Yemen continued to need the support of the international community and the Human Rights Council in order to face the many challenges which would continue to have an impact on the deteriorating human rights conditions in the country.  The resolution called upon the Office for the High Commissioner of Human Rights to strengthen the capacity of Yemen’s National Human Rights Commission and to submit a subsequent report to the forty-second session of the Human Rights Council.  Yemen called on the resolution to be adopted by consensus.

Belgium, in a general comment on behalf of a group of countries, said there was little that it disagreed with in this resolution.  The countries expressed their belief in the importance of technical assistance for Yemen, and on the role that the National Commission of Human Rights in Yemen had to play.  However, the countries emphasized that the dire situation in Yemen called for more: namely, an in-depth human rights investigation.  As such, the group of countries underlined that the contribution of the Group of International Experts was essential, and was pleased that the Council had adopted the previous resolution to extend their mandate, sending an important message to the people of Yemen and the international community.  

Yemen, speaking as the concerned country, expressed gratitude to the Arab Group for their support as well as to others who had drafted the resolution.  The complex situation that was being experienced in Yemen today required assistance from the international community.  The Government of Yemen was ready to cooperate with the Council and investigate all violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.  The Commission of Inquiry had been set up.  The Government believed that technical assistance and capacity building would be instrumental in improving the human rights situation in Yemen.

Japan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it was regrettable that consultations between the two core groups had failed to result in a joint resolution.  Both core groups on L.21 and L.23 had held only one informal consultation each on a very short notice.  In future, both core groups were advised to hold more informal consultations.  Concerning the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen, an independent mechanism was essential.  

Venezuela, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, supported L.23.  In armed conflict, civilians were most vulnerable so the initiative could contribute to a constructive solution.  A swift solution to the conflict was needed for Yemen, including a political solution.

The Council then adopted resolution L.23 without a vote.

Action on Resolution on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building to Improve Human Rights in Sudan

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.24/Rev.1) on Technical assistance and capacity-building to improve human rights in the Sudan, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert for a period of one year or until the provisions of paragraph 19 below take effect, whichever is earlier; requests the Independent Expert to present a report on the implementation of his mandate… to the Human Rights Council for consideration at its forty-second session; and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to provide the Independent Expert with all the financial and human resources necessary to for the implementation of the mandate.  The Council decides that the termination of the mandate of the Independent Expert will take effect on the day that a country office of the Office of the High Commissioner… is declared operational by the Office of the High Commissioner and the Government of the Sudan; requests the Government of the Sudan and the Office of the High Commissioner to engage constructively to agree on the modalities and mandate for the establishment of a country office no later than September 2019; also requests the Secretary-General to provide the Office of the High Commissioner with all the necessary resources to implement the present resolution; and requests the Government of the Sudan and the Office of the High Commissioner to present their oral reports on progress towards the opening of a country office during an enhanced interactive dialogue at the forty-first session of the Human Rights Council.

Togo, introducing resolution L.24 on behalf of the African Group, explained that the resolution updated last year’s resolution, and incorporated the latest developments on the human rights situation in Sudan.  The resolution recognized the progress that Sudan continued to achieve in the sphere of human rights, as detailed by the Independent Expert, and the positive engagement of Sudan to remove children from armed conflict, and encouraged the Government to redouble efforts to prevent all human rights abuses.  The resolution also recognized the constructive and positive role played by the Government of Sudan in brokering a peace treaty between the Government of South Sudan and opposition parties.  It acknowledged Sudan’s facilitation of rapid humanitarian access to populations in need and encouraged it to redouble efforts to respond to the needs of people in conflict zones.  Finally, the resolution requested the Government to undertake discussions with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to open an office in Sudan, which should take place no later than September 2019 and put an end to the mandate of the Independent Expert.  The African Group expressed its hope that the resolution would be approved by all council members and adopted by consensus.

Tunisia, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the Arab Group, said the draft resolution contained information concerning the improvement of human rights in Sudan, including reconciliation and the need to ensure the arrival of humanitarian assistance.  The work of the Government now was to ensure peace and reach an agreement between the different factions.  The Arab Group congratulated Sudan on the implementation of the action plan on children in armed conflict.  The presented draft resolution was a road map until the end of the Expert’s mandate and the opening of the Office of the High Commissioner.  The Arab Group supported the resolution and hoped it would be adopted by consensus.

Slovakia, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, commended the commitment of Sudan’s Government to address human rights concerns.  They believed, however, that the resolution could have gone further to present a more balanced, accurate view of human rights in Sudan.  Much more needed to be done to hold perpetrators of human rights abuses to account.  The European Union welcomed the renewal of the Independent Expert’s mandate and hoped for a fully operational Office of the High Commissioner.  The European Union said they would help in that effort where and when they could.

Egypt, in a general comment, supported the resolution and congratulated the Government of Sudan for extending the mandate of the Independent Expert for another year.  The efforts of the Government in promoting and protecting human rights were praised.  The establishment of any new mechanisms to follow up human rights had to be done in agreement with the Government of Sudan.  The establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner in Sudan was to be done in agreement with the authorities.

Qatar, in a general comment, welcomed the resolution.  The text set out numerous positive developments.  The efforts of Sudan in promoting peace across the region were praised.  Sudan hosted over a million refugees from neighbouring countries.  The Government of Sudan was praised for its efforts in promoting human rights.  Today, Sudan was no longer on the list of countries demanding special attention and the process to open the Office of the High Commissioner was welcomed.

Sudan, speaking as the concerned country, emphasized that it had continued to cooperate with the Independent Expert and had shouldered its responsibility since being placed under special measures 25 years ago.  Sudan said that it was continuing to undertake efforts to further human rights, and highlighted the efforts to draft and sign a new constitution.  Sudan underlined its need for technical support and capacity building in order to continue to achieve its objectives.  It noted that there was some ambiguity and double standards contained in the resolution and drew attention to the Council’s continuing focus on Sudan rather than the human rights violations ongoing in other countries.  Sudan reaffirmed its commitment to cooperate with the Council and with all international human rights measures.  Sudan invited members to adopt the resolution by consensus.

The Council adopted resolution L.24 Rev 1 by consensus without a vote.

Action on Resolution on Assistance to Somalia in the Field of Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.17) on Assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert, under agenda item 10, for a period of one year to assess, monitor and report on the situation of human rights in Somalia with a view to making recommendations on technical assistance and capacity-building in the field of human rights; and requests the Independent Expert… to assist Somalia in the implementation of, intern alia, its national and international human rights obligations, Human Rights Council resolutions and other human rights instruments, and recommendations accepted in the context of the universal periodic review.  The Council also requests the Independent Expert to report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-second session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session; and requests the Office of the High Commissioner and other relevant United Nations agencies to provide the Independent Expert with all the human, technical and financial assistance necessary to carry out his mandate fully.

United Kingdom, introducing draft resolution L.17, commended Somalia for recent progress it had made in the field of human rights and recognised that Somalia’s recovery from over 25 years of conflict was ongoing.  The United Kingdom particularly commended the work by the Ministry for Women and Human Rights Development as the lead federal government body to advance the human rights agenda in Somalia.  The resolution did not shy away from recognising the many challenges that remained and called for support to Somalia’s institutions to build a stable, peaceful and prosperous State while stressing the essential need to continue support for reforms to the security sector.  It called on Somalia to end the prevailing culture of impunity and to pay particular attention to children who had been recruited as child soldiers by establishing and implementing rehabilitation and reintegration programmes.  The resolution looked to build bridges between the work done in Geneva and regional and international efforts to support Somalia, by building on some important outcomes of the London Somalia Conference and Somalia Partnership Forum.  The cooperation shown by Somalia with a range of international mechanisms and the Council demonstrated a willingness to move forward and improve the human rights situation.  They counted on the Council’s support.

Somalia, speaking as the concerned country, said they were committed to improving human rights issues.  However, they were faced with challenges, including a lack of resources.  As stated, different bills in Parliament were under consideration.  They asked the Council to adopt the resolution by consensus.  

The Council then adopted draft resolution L.17 without a vote.  

Explanation of the Vote after the Vote after the Council Concluded Taking Action under the Agenda Item on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

Brazil, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, emphasized that resolutions adopted by the Council under item 10 should provide space for constructive dialogue so that they could contribute to the effective prevention of human rights abuses.  Brazil also underlined that those resolutions should provide specific tools to strengthen the institutions and capacity of the countries concerned.  This should include financial resources for members of the judiciary, as well as legislative and the executive bodies.  Brazil also highlighted that the participation of concerned countries was crucial to identify needs and priorities and to enhance technical cooperation.  These resolutions should not be seen as a political alternative to initiatives that could be dealt with under other agenda items.  This was fundamental to overcome the negative stigma that may come with these initiatives.

Appointment of Special Procedures Mandate Holders

VOJISLAV ŠUC, President of the Human Rights Council, said that the Council would proceed with the election of members of the Advisory Committee, and the appointment of Special Procedure mandate holders.

The Council elected four new members of its Advisory Committee: Cheikh Tidiane Thiam (Senegal) for the Group of African States seat; Ibrahim Abdul Aziz Alsheddi (Saudi Arabia) for the Group of Asia-Pacific States seat; José Augusto Lindgren Alves (Brazil) for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States seat; and Alessio Bruni (Italy) for the Group of Western European and other States seat.

The Council also appointed Anaïs Marin (France) as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus; Daniela Kravetz (Chile) as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea; and Dominique Day of (United States of America) as member of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, from Western European and other States.

Report of the Thirty-Ninth Session of the Council

JUAN EDUARDO EGUIGUREN, Vice President and Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council, reminded that during the three-week session, the Council had held a general debate on the oral update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and that it had held a series of interactive dialogues with 19 Special Procedure mandate holders, an international fact-finding mission, a commission on human rights, and three commissions of inquiry.  The Council had also heard the annual report of the Advisory Committee and updates from subsidiary bodies.  It had considered a number of oral updates and thematic and country-specific reports, and it had discussed a wide range of subjects during three panel discussions and general debates.  Among important decisions, the Council had adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of 14 countries.  It had also elected four members of the Advisory Committee, and appointed three Special Procedures mandate holders.  The Vice President thanked the President of the Council for his stewardship of the session, and thanked all delegations and participants, including those from national human rights institutions and civil society, for their efforts.  

The Council then adopted ad referendum the report of its thirty-eighth session.

Decision on Theme of the Mainstreaming Panel

VOJISLAV ŠUC, Human Rights Council President, said the Council would next consider the theme for the annual high-level panel discussion with heads of United Nations agencies on human rights mainstreaming, to be held at the Council’s fortieth session in March 2019, in accordance with Council resolution 16/21.  On the basis of the proposals received and consultations with the coordinators of regional groups, on 20 September 2018 the President had shared with the regional coordinators the theme that he had decided to propose, to which no objection had been raised.  He sought the Council’s approval on the proposed theme "Human rights in light of multilateralism: Opportunities, Challenges and the Way Forward.”

The Council then accepted the President’s proposal.

General Concluding Comments by Observer States and Civil Society

Indonesia placed great importance to the livelihood of peasants and other people living in rural areas.  Indonesia had supported and co-sponsored the resolution on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.  The Government had participated actively and contributed to the drafting process of the resolution.  Many principles of the Declaration were included in legislation of Indonesia, as well as the Constitution.  The adoption of the Declaration was an entry point for further discussions on the improvement of lives of peasants and some definitions and concepts might need further discussion both nationally and internationally.  Despite Indonesia’s agreement and support for the Declaration, the evolutionary nature of the implementation of the Declaration had to be considered and the implementation of some concepts of the rights had to be adjusted with respective national laws.

Jordan thanked the core group that sponsored the resolution on the rights of people living in rural areas.  However, Jordan regretted that its own recommendations were not taken into account, particularly those in connection to laws already enforced in Jordan.

Belarus, speaking about the resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights in Venezuela, expressed concern about the further politicization of the Human Rights Council.  Belarus also regretted that the Council had adopted a document that was rejected by Venezuela, the country concerned and would play no part in the promotion of human rights in that country.  Belarus also regretted that the resolution did not condemn the unilateral sanctions imposed on Venezuela and that the Council did not condemn interference in a sovereign State.  Belarus supported Venezuela’s return to a path of sustainable development.

New Zealand, speaking on behalf of several countries, expressed satisfaction that the Council had adopted a resolution on preventing maternal mortality and morbidity in humanitarian settings.  All delegations participating in the process were praised.  The resolution particularly addressed adolescent girls and women facing multiple forms of discrimination, who were often denied access to sexual and reproductive services.  The resolution urged States to repeal discriminatory laws and bring their legislation in line with human rights standards.  The Council had fulfilled its role in reminding the world that international human rights standards had to be upheld when it came to women and girls.

Tuvalu said they were present at the Council, along with four other States, thanks to the Council’s Trust Fund.  Tuvalu acknowledged the generosity and support from the Council’s President, Members States and non-governmental organizations.  They were pleased to interact and had the opportunity to attend side events and participate in negotiations on important issues.  They also interacted with civil society on the work they carried out with the Council.  Tuvalu applauded the efforts of the core groups to try to reach consensus.  For the five beneficiaries of the Trust Fund, this was their first participation in the session, which was important for Tuvalu as the Council adopted their admissions to the Universal Periodic Review.  From their experience, the knowledge, exposure, lessons learned and best practices would contribute to their country’s efforts to promote human rights.  They would share their new knowledge with their Government but also with men, women, children and people with disabilities.  No one would be left behind in promoting and protecting human rights worldwide.  

International Service for Human Rights, in a joint statement with severals NGOs1, welcomed the Council’s adoption of landmark resolutions on several country situations.  The International Service for Human Rights welcomed the creation of the independent mechanism in Myanmar as an important step towards accountability for the horrific crimes committed by the military.  It also praised the Council for its actions on Yemen, which sent a strong message to victims that accountability was a priority.  The International Service for Human Rights welcomed the leadership of the group of Latin American States on the resolution on Venezuela.  However, there were several country situations where the Council was seen to have failed to take appropriate action.  On Sudan, the International Service for Human Rights expressed deep concern about the weak resolution which envisioned the end of the Independent Expert’s mandate.  It also regretted the lack of concerted Council action on the Philippines, in spite of the need to establish an independent investigation into extrajudicial killings.  The International Service for Human Rights also regretted the Council’s weak response to the deepening crisis in Cambodia, and expressed its concern for the serious violations of the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.  Finally, the International Service for Human Rights emphasized that the Council’s interactive dialogue on reprisals was an important step to ensure accountability for this shameful practice.  

Europe-Third World Centre, in a joint statement with FIAN International, said that it was incomprehensible that some States were not concerned about the right to development.  Human rights standards were clear that this was both an individual and collective right.  The Council was praised for the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, in particular the core group which had led negotiations on this important issue.  Famine and malnutrition, biodiversity and climate change were just some of the problems that States and the United Nations had to find a solution to.  The Declaration was part of the answer to those problems.  Alternatives to those problems had to be proposed and the organization was willing to work nationally and internationally to find solutions and implement the Declaration.  Centre Europe - Tiers Monde hoped that the General Assembly would adopt the Declaration.

Concluding Remarks by the President

VOJISLAV ŠUC, President of the Human Rights Council, in his concluding remarks, reiterated that the participation of civil society in the Human Rights Council was crucial and any act of intimidation and reprisal against an individual or groups who had cooperated, were cooperating or sought to cooperate with the Council was completely unacceptable.  He reminded again that the Council condemned and rejected all acts of intimidation or reprisal by Governments and non-State actors against individuals and groups who sought to cooperate or had cooperated with the United Nations, its representative and mechanisms in the field of human rights.  All acts of intimidation or reprisal against those individuals and groups must end.  He called on Member States to take all necessary measures to prevent and ensure adequate protection against such acts.

Despite the many divergent views and sometimes strong opposing positions that existed in the room, there had been numerous examples of delegations coming together in the spirit of compromise and cooperation.  He believed that showed that the Human Rights Council was indeed a vibrant and functioning body.  More importantly, they continued to face programmes of work that were overly packed, creating great difficulties for delegations, especially the small delegations, and leaving everyone with little time for quality dialogue and debate.  The efforts thus far within the long-term efficiency process were notable.  However, he feared that if they were not successful in coming together to reach consensus and adopt measures, the process would be taken from the Council and carried forward outside of Geneva.  The increasing cooperation and merging of views that he saw through the year made him hopeful that they could come together on the issue of efficiency.

__________

1 Joint statement: International Service for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development Forum-Asia, Center for Reproductive Rights, CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Human Rights House Foundation, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists and International Federation for Human Rights Leagues.

 __________

For use of the information media; not an official record