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Human Rights Council adopts four resolutions, appoints four special procedure mandate holders, and concludes its forty-fourth session

Human Rights Council 

17 July 2020

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted four resolutions dealing with the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests ; the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic ; the Social Forum ; and the contribution of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms to achieving the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations.  It also appointed four Special Procedure mandate holders, and concluded its regular forty-fourth session.

In a resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, the Council requested the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association to prepare a set of practical recommendations, based on good practices, on the protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests during crisis situations.

In a resolution on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted as orally revised by a vote of 28 in favour, 2 against and 17 abstentions, the Council demanded that the Syrian authorities and their State and non-State allies facilitate, and all other parties to the conflict do not hinder, full, timely, immediate, unrestricted and safe humanitarian access.  The Council requested the Commission of Inquiry to prepare a report on arbitrary imprisonment and detention in the Syrian Arab Republic.

In a resolution on the Social Forum, adopted without a vote, the Council decided that the Social Forum would meet for two working days in 2021, in Geneva, and also decided that, at its next meeting, the Forum should focus on good practices, success stories, lessons learned and challenges in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with a special focus on international cooperation and solidarity, and from a human rights perspective.

In a resolution on the contribution of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms to achieving the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, adopted as orally revised by a vote of 41 in favour, none against and 6 abstentions, the Council requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on the contribution of the respect for all universal, indivisible, interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing human rights and fundamental freedoms to achieving the purposes and upholding the principles of the Charter, based on good practices, challenges and lessons learned, and to submit the report to the Human Rights Council.

The Council adopted ad referendum the report of its forty-fourth session.

The Council appointed four new Special Procedure mandate holders : Marcos A. Orellana (Chile) for the position the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes ; Irene Khan (Bangladesh) for the position of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression ; Tlaleng Mofokeng (South Africa) as Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health ; and Siobhán Mullallay (Ireland) as the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

Yackoley Kokou Johnson, Vice-President of the Council and Rapporteur, noted that during the session, the Council had held 29 meetings, seven debates and 35 interactive dialogues, including with the High Commissioner on her annual report, as well as with 22 Special Procedure mandate holders, two commissions of inquiry and two special representatives of the Secretary-General, covering over 50 human rights themes and 40 country situations. 

Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, President of the Council, concluded by thanking those present for their dedication, flexibility and creativity in implementing many precautionary measures, proving that the Council could continue to do its important work in these difficult times.

The Human Rights Council is scheduled to hold its forty-fifth session from 14 September to 2 October. 

Action on Resolution 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

Resolution on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Context of Peaceful Protests

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.11) on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council urges States to ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses through judicial or other national mechanisms, based on law and in conformity with their international human rights obligations and commitments, and to provide all victims with access to a remedy and redress, including in the context of peaceful protests.  The Council also requests the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association to prepare a set of practical recommendations, based on good practices, on the protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests during crisis situations, and in preparing the said recommendations, to seek the views of States, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, relevant United Nations agencies…the United Nations human rights treaty bodies, regional human rights mechanisms, other relevant special procedure mandate holders, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders, such as law enforcement practitioners, through global and regional consultations, and to present those recommendations to the Human Rights Council at its fiftieth session in an enhanced interactive dialogue, which would also take stock of obstacles and challenges to the implementation of the present resolution by States.

Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council's Attention

Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.10) on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted as orally revised by a vote of 28 in favour, 2 against and 17 abstentions, the Council demands that the Syrian authorities and their State and non-State allies facilitate, and all other parties to the conflict do not hinder, full, timely, immediate, unrestricted and safe humanitarian access, and regrets in this regard the further reduction in approved crossing points for cross border humanitarian aid and urges the Syrian authorities to immediately and significantly improve crossline access to prevent further unnecessary suffering and loss of life.  The Council demands the immediate release of all persons arbitrarily detained, notes in particular the additional, potentially life-threatening risks to health created by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the potential it has to exacerbate the already dire situation of detainees, and notes in this regard the statements made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Envoy and the Commission of Inquiry.  The Council urges all parties, but particularly the Syrian authorities, to grant immediate access without undue restriction, to detainees and detention facilities to appropriate international monitoring bodies and medical services, and to provide information on those whom they have detained to their families, and notes the importance of ensuring justice for those arbitrarily detained.  The Council requests the Commission of Inquiry to prepare a report on arbitrary imprisonment and detention in the Syrian Arab Republic, taking note of the concerns expressed in the present resolution, and to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-sixth session.

The results of the vote were as follows :

In favour (28) : Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Japan, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Somalia, Spain, Togo, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Against (2) : Eritrea and Venezuela.

Abstentions (17) : Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal and Sudan.

Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms

Resolution on the Social Forum

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.16) on the Social Forum, adopted without a vote, the Council decides that the Social Forum will meet for two working days in 2021, in Geneva, on dates suitable for the participation of representatives of States Members of the United Nations and of the broadest possible range of other stakeholders, especially from developing countries, and also decides that, at its next meeting, the Forum should focus on good practices, success stories, lessons learned and challenges in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with a special focus on international cooperation and solidarity, and from a human rights perspective.  The Council also invites the 2021 Social Forum to submit a report containing its conclusions and recommendations to the Human Rights Council at its forty-ninth session.

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

Resolution on the Charter of the United Nations

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.17/REV.1) on the contribution of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms to achieving the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, adopted as orally revised by a vote of 41 in favour, none against and 6 abstentions, the Council requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on the contribution of the respect for all universal, indivisible, interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing human rights and fundamental freedoms to achieving the purposes and upholding the principles of the Charter, based on good practices, challenges and lessons learned, and to submit the report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-eighth session.  The Council also requests the Office of the High Commissioner, when preparing its report, to seek input from all relevant stakeholders, including States, organizations of the United Nations system, national human rights institutions, academia, civil society organizations and human rights defenders. 

The results of the vote were as follows :

In favour (41) : Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Chile, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, Somalia, Spain, Sudan, Togo, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Against (0) : None.

Abstentions (6) : Cameroon, Eritrea, Mauritania, Namibia, Pakistan and Venezuela.

Appointment of New Special Procedure Mandate Holders

On the basis of the recommendations of the consultative group, the President of the Human Rights Council, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, proposed the appointment of four new Special Procedure mandate holders. 

The Council then appointed four Special Procedure mandate holders : Marcos A. Orellana (Chile) for the position the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes ; Irene Khan (Bangladesh) for the position of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression ; Tlaleng Mofokeng (South Africa) as Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health ; and Siobhán Mullallay (Ireland) as the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

Remarks by the President of the Human Rights Council

ELISABETH TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the Human Rights Council, called on all States and stakeholders to cooperate with the newly appointed mandate holders in the implementation of their mandates.  Expressing her deep appreciation to Special Procedure mandate holders for their engagement with the Council at this session despite the challenges faced, she noted that remote participation could note replace the in-person interaction with mandate holders when they were in Geneva. 

Remarks by the Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council

YACKOLEY KOKOU JOHNSON, Vice-President of the Council and Rapporteur, noted that during the session, the Council had held 29 meetings, seven debates and 35 interactive dialogues, including with the High Commissioner on her annual report, as well as with 22 Special Procedure mandate holders, two commissions of inquiry and two special representatives of the Secretary-General, covering over 50 human rights themes and 40 country situations.  He expressed his gratitude to all delegations and participants, including those from national human rights institutions and civil society, for their important contributions.

Concluding Remarks by the President of the Human Rights Council

ELISABETH TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the Human Rights Council, concluded by thanking those present for their dedication, flexibility and creativity in implementing many precautionary measures, proving that the Council could continue to do its important work in these difficult times.

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For use of the information media; not an official record

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