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Human Rights Council Concludes Forty-Seventh Regular Session after Adopting 25 Resolutions and 2 Decisions

ROUNDUP

14 July 2021

Council Establishes an Independent Mechanism on Systemic Racism in Law Enforcement, Extends 2 Country-Specific Mandates, Adopts Universal Periodic Review Outcomes for 13 States, and Appoints 7 Mandate Holders

The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its forty-seventh regular session after adopting 25 resolutions and 2 decisions, creating an independent expert mechanism on systemic racism in law enforcement and extending mandates on Eritrea and Belarus. The Council encouraged continued discussions on the possible creation of a new special procedure on climate change and human rights.

The Council decided to create an international independent expert mechanism, comprising three experts with law enforcement and human rights expertise, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to be supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in order to further the agenda towards transformative change for racial justice and equality in the context of law enforcement globally, especially where relating to the legacies of colonialism and the Transatlantic slave trade in enslaved Africans, and to contribute to accountability and redress for victims.

The Council extended the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for a period of one year, and of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus for a period of one year.

The Council encouraged continued discussions among States and relevant stakeholders on the possible creation of a new special procedure addressing the adverse impact of climate change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights.

On the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar, the Council urged Myanmar to take all measures necessary to reverse and abandon policies, directives and practices that marginalize Rohingya Muslims and other minorities. The Council decided to hold a panel discussion on the root causes of human rights violations and abuses against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar at its fiftieth regular session.

On the situation of human rights in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, the Council expressed grave concern at the reports of serious human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law and international refugee law allegedly committed by all parties in the Tigray region since the start of the conflict on 4 November 2020; and called for the swift and verifiable withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the Tigray region. It underscored the need to hold accountable all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses.

On the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, the Council emphasized the need for accountability, including for crimes committed in relation to enforced disappearance in the Syrian Arab Republic, and underscored that accountability was vital in peace negotiations and peacebuilding processes.

On cooperation with and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights, the Council invites the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 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.

The Council also filled seven vacancies of Special Procedure mandate holders: Attiya Waris (Kenya) as the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights; Reem Alsalem (Jordan) as the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; Gabriella Citroni (Italy) as member from Western European and other States of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Muluka-Anne Miti-drummond (Zambia) as the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights of persons with albinism; Ana Brian Nougreres (Uruguay) as Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy; Sushil Raj (India) as member from Asia-Pacific States of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent; and Miriam Ekiudoko (Hungary) as member from Eastern European States of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent.

The Council adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of the Federated States of Micronesia, Lebanon, Mauritania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Australia, Saint Lucia, Nepal, Oman, Austria, Rwanda, Georgia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Nauru.

Nazhat Shameem Khan, President of the Human Rights Council, in her concluding remarks, thanked those present for their dedication and flexibility in implementing the many extraordinary measures that had become necessary in order to ensure that the Council continued its important work during these difficult times.

The forty-eighth regular session of the Human Rights Council is scheduled to be held from 13 September to 1 October 2021.

Action on Decision under Agenda Item One on Organizational and Procedural Matters

In a decision (A/HRC/47/L.28/Rev.1) on strengthening documentation within the Human Rights Council, adopted without a vote, the Council decides that summary records shall be taken for meetings at which the Human Rights Council takes action on proposals and adopts the report on each session, starting from its forty-eighth session.  The Council also requests the secretariat, if a factual inaccuracy is found in the summary records by the State concerned, to issue a technical correction thereof.

Action on Resolutions under Agenda Item Two 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

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.11) on the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar, adopted without a vote, the Council urges Myanmar to take all measures necessary to reverse and abandon policies, directives and practices that marginalize Rohingya Muslims and other minorities, to prevent the destruction of places of worship, cemeteries, infrastructure and commercial or residential buildings belonging to all people, to ensure that all displaced persons, including Rohingya Muslims and persons belonging to other minorities, in Rakhine State and throughout Myanmar, including the 128,000 Rohingya and Kaman Muslims who have been confined in camps in central Rakhine since 2012, can return to their homes and properties with freedom of movement and unimpeded access to livelihoods and essential services, to review relevant laws, and to address the root causes of their vulnerable situations and forced displacement.  The Council also decides to hold a panel discussion on the root causes of human rights violations and abuses against Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar at its fiftieth regular session, and requests the High Commissioner to submit a report on the panel discussion to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-second session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.14) on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, adopted by a vote of 21 in favour, 13 against and 13 abstentions, the Council requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its forty-ninth session on progress made in the cooperation between Eritrea and the Office of the High Commissioner, and its impact on the situation of human rights in Eritrea.  The Council also decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for a further period of one year.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.20/Rev.1) on the situation of human rights in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, by a vote of 20 in favour, 14 against and 13 abstentions, the Council expresses grave concern at the reports of serious human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law and international refugee law allegedly committed by all parties in the Tigray region since the start of the conflict on 4 November 2020; and calls for the swift and verifiable withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the Tigray region. It underscores the need to hold accountable all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses. The Council requests the High Commissioner to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its forty-eighth session during an enhanced interactive dialogue.

Prior to adopting the resolution, the Council voted on and rejected 16 amendments.

Action on Texts under Agenda Item Three on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the Right to Development

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.1) on civil society space: COVID-19: the road to recovery and the essential role of civil society, adopted without a vote, the Council  requests the High Commissioner to prepare a report, examining in detail the key challenges that civil society faces, both online and offline, and also examining best practices, and also requests the High Commissioner, in the preparation of the report, to draw on the views of States, non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions and other relevant stakeholders, including special procedure mandate holders, and to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-first session. 

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.2) on menstrual hygiene management, human rights and gender equality, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to convene a panel discussion on menstrual hygiene management, human  rights and gender equality at its fiftieth session, inviting States, civil society organizations, United Nations agencies, women and girls and other relevant stakeholders to address the implementation of States’ obligations under relevant provisions of international human rights law, and to discuss challenges and best practices in this regard, and requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a summary report on the panel discussion, and to submit it to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-third session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.3) on the realization of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in consultation with States, United Nations agencies, in particular the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, UN-Women, the special procedures of the Human Rights Council, the treaty bodies, civil society organizations and other stakeholders, to prepare a report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the realization of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl, highlighting the most important challenges and barriers that girls face and providing recommendations, for submission to the Human Rights Council, at its fiftieth session, and to provide an oral update thereon to the Council at its forty-ninth session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.4/Rev.1) on the right to education, adopted without a vote, the Council urges all States to strengthen their legal frameworks, to adopt adequate policies and programmes and to allocate sufficient resources, either individually or through international assistance and cooperation, to the full realization of the right to education.  It commends the contribution of national human rights institutions, national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up, civil society, including non-governmental organizations, children and youth and parliamentarians to the realization of the right to education, including through cooperation with the Special Rapporteur.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.5) on the negative impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to convene an inter-sessional panel discussion, before the fiftieth session of the Human Rights Council, on the challenges and good practices in the prevention of corruption, and the impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and also decides that the discussions will be fully accessible to persons with disabilities.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.9) on the elimination of harmful practices related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks, adopted without a vote, the Council urges States to condemn harmful practices related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks that result in human rights violations.  The Council also urges States to take all measures necessary to ensure the elimination of harmful practices amounting to human rights violations related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks, and to ensure accountability and the effective protection of all persons, particularly persons in vulnerable situations. 

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.10/Rev.1) on the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, 14 against and 3 abstentions, the Council requests all Member States and the United Nations system to explore and foster complementarities among North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation aiming at the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights.  The Council requests the High Commissioner to prepare a new report on the work of the Office of the High Commissioner in the implementation and enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights, proposing also possible ways to face the challenges to the promotion and protection of human rights, including the right to development, and to submit the report to the Human Rights Council at its fiftieth session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.12/Rev.1) on new and emerging digital technologies and human rights, adopted by a vote of 44 in favour, none against and 3 abstentions, the Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to convene two expert consultations, to discuss the relationship between human rights and technical standard-setting processes for new and emerging digital technologies and the practical application of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to the activities of technology companies, and to submit a report thereon, reflecting the discussions held in an inclusive and comprehensive manner, to the Human Rights Council at its fiftieth and fifty-third session.  

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.15) on human rights in the context of HIV and AIDS, adopted by a vote of 42 in favour, none against and 5 abstentions, the Council urged States to break the cycles of HIV transmission by ensuring that all people receive adequate HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support throughout their life cycles. It requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report describing the action being taken and recommending action to be intensified or initiated to meet the innovative targets on societal enablers, and to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its fiftieth session.

Prior to adopting the resolution, the Council voted on and rejected 10 amendments.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.16) on human rights and international solidarity, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 14 against and 1 abstention, the Council requests the Independent Expert to continue to participate in relevant international forums and major events with a view to promoting the importance of international solidarity in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially those goals relating to economic, social and climate issues, and invites Member States, international organizations, United Nations agencies and other relevant organizations to facilitate the meaningful participation of the Independent Expert in these international forums and major events.  

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.18/Rev.1) on accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls: preventing and responding to all forms of violence against women and girls with disabilities, adopted without a vote, as orally revised, the Council calls upon States to take immediate and effective action to respond to all forms of violence against women and girls, and to support and protect all victims and survivors by, inter alia, ensuring that sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights are fully realized, including for victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, by addressing the social and other determinants of health, removing barriers, developing and enforcing policies, good practices and legal frameworks, and strengthening health systems that make quality comprehensive sexual and reproductive health-care services, information and education universally accessible and available and inclusive.

Prior to adopting the resolution, the Council voted on and rejected 2 amendments.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.19) on human rights and climate change, adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, none against and 1 abstention as orally revised, the Council decides to incorporate into its annual programme of work, beginning in 2023, sufficient time, at a minimum a panel discussion, to discuss different specific themes on the adverse impacts of climate change on human rights, and further decides that the panel discussion will have international sign interpretation and captioning.  The Council encourages the continued discussions among States and relevant stakeholders on the possible creation of a new special procedure addressing the adverse impact of climate change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights.

Prior to adopting the resolution, the Council voted on and rejected 5 amendments.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.22) on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet, adopted by a vote of 43 in favour, none against and 4 abstentions, the Council condemns unequivocally all human rights violations and abuses committed against persons for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet, and calls upon all States to ensure accountability and effective remedies in this regard, in accordance with their international obligations.  The Council requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to study the trend in Internet shutdowns, analysing their causes, their legal implications and their impact on a range of human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights, through robust consultations with stakeholders and building on previous reports, and to present a report thereon to the Human Rights Council at its fiftieth session. 

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.23/Rev.1) on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council urges States to ensure the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health-care services, including mental health and psychosocial services and sexual and reproductive health-care services, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.  The Council also calls upon States, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the continuity of sexual and reproductive health-care services.

Prior to adopting the resolution, the Council voted on and rejected 6 amendments.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.24) on the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 14 against and 2 abstentions, the Council requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize a series of regional seminars, one for each of the five geographical regions, before the fifty-third session of the Human Rights Council, on the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights, in order to allow Member States, relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, international and regional organizations, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to identify challenges and gaps and share good practices and experiences in this regard.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.26) on the human rights of migrants, adopted without a vote, the Council  encourages States and regional and international organizations to enhance their cooperation with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.  The Council further encourages States to include, as appropriate, information on the implementation of their international obligations relating to the human rights of migrants in their national reports submitted to the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council and to the treaty bodies.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.27) on the impact of arms transfers on human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council urges all States to refrain from transferring arms when they assess, in accordance with applicable domestic laws, regulations and procedures and international obligations and commitments, that there is a clear risk that such arms might be used to commit or facilitate serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or serious violations of international humanitarian law.  The Council also requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare, in consultation with States, United Nations agencies and other relevant stakeholders, an analytical report on good practices, lessons learned and challenges faced by States in preventing, mitigating and addressing the diversion of arms and unregulated or illicit arms transfers that have a particular impact on the enjoyment of human rights by children and youth, and the role of national control systems as effective mechanisms in that regard, and to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-first session.

Action on Resolutions under Agenda Item Four on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.6) on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 26 in favour, 6 against and 15 abstentions, the Council emphasizes the need for accountability, including for crimes committed in relation to enforced disappearance in the Syrian Arab Republic, and underscores that accountability is vital in peace negotiations and peacebuilding processes. The Council encourages all Member States, relevant United Nations bodies, international organizations and civil society to coordinate further efforts and proactively focus attention on the issue of missing persons in the Syrian Arab Republic, including those subjected to enforced disappearance, and recalls the importance of the full and meaningful participation of victims, survivors and their families in such efforts.

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.13) on the situation of human rights in Belarus, adopted by a vote of 21 in favour, 7 against and 19 abstentions, the Council  strongly urges the Belarusian authorities to fully respect, protect and fulfil all their international human rights obligations, including those under the International Covenants on Human Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.  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, urging the Belarusian authorities to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur, including by allowing her access to visit the country and to meet freely with relevant stakeholders, including civil society, in her official capacity in order to assist the Belarusian authorities in fulfilling its international human rights obligations and by considering the implementation of her recommendations, and also urges the Belarusian authorities to extend full cooperation to thematic special procedures.

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

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.17) on the Social Forum, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the President of the Human Rights Council to appoint, as early as possible, from candidates nominated by regional groups, the Chair-Rapporteur for the 2022 Social Forum, bearing in mind the principle of regional rotation.  The Council invites the 2022 Social Forum to submit a report containing its conclusions and recommendations to the Human Rights Council at its fifty-second session.

Action on Decision under Agenda Item Six on the Universal Periodic Review

In a decision (A/HRC/47/L.7) on the commencement of the fourth cycle of the universal periodic review, adopted without a vote, the Council decides that the fourth cycle of the universal periodic review shall commence in October/November 2022, once the outcome documents of the last States under review during the third cycle have been adopted by the Council at its fiftieth session.

Action on Resolution under Agenda Item Nine on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance, Follow-up to and Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.8/Rev.1) on the promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and of people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers through transformative change for racial justice and equality, adopted without a vote (as orally revised), the Council decides to establish an international independent expert mechanism, comprising three experts with law enforcement and human rights expertise, to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council, to be supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in order to further the agenda towards transformative change for racial justice and equality in the context of law enforcement globally, especially where relating to the legacies of colonialism and the Transatlantic slave trade in enslaved Africans, and to contribute to accountability and redress for victims. The mechanism will investigate governments’ responses to peaceful anti-racism protests and all violations of international human rights law and contribute to accountability and redress for victims. The Council further requests the High Commissioner and the international independent expert mechanism, to present to the Council, on an annual basis, starting from the 51st session, their respective written reports, jointly during an enhanced interactive dialogue, that prioritizes the participation of directly affected individuals and communities, including victims and their families, and transmitting its annual report to the General Assembly.

Action on Resolution under Agenda Item 10 on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

In a resolution (A/HRC/47/L.25) on cooperation with and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights, adopted by a vote of 19 in favour, 8 against and 20 abstentions, the Council invites the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 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 fifty-third session of the Council.

Link: https://www.ungeneva.org/en/news-media/meeting-summary/2021/07/le-conseil-des-droits-de-lhomme-clos-les-travaux-de-sa-quarante