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Human Rights Council concludes thirty-ninth session after adopting 23 resolutions and a Presidential statement

ROUNDUP

Decides to Establish an Ongoing Independent Mechanism on the Most Serious International Crimes and Violations of International Law Committed in Myanmar since 2011; Adopts the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas; Extends Mandates on Yemen, Burundi, Myanmar, Central African Republic, Sudan, and Somalia

GENEVA (28 September 2018) - The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its thirty-ninth regular session, during which it welcomed the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who, at the opening of the session on 10 September, delivered her first update on the global situation of human rights.

During the three-week session, the Council heard from 25 independent human rights experts, working groups and investigative bodies, and heard the presentation of 124 reports addressing 40 themes and 50 country situations; it held three panel discussions and heard eight oral updates; adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of 14 States, and heard statements by four high-level dignitaries.  Participating in the thirty-ninth session were representatives from 150 States, 303 non-governmental organizations and 27 national human rights institutions.

The Council adopted 23 resolutions and a Presidential Statement addressing multiple themes, as well as human rights situations in Myanmar, Yemen, Burundi, and Venezuela; filled three vacancies of Special Procedures mandate holders; elected four new members of its Advisory Committee; and adopted the report for the session.

Ambassador Vojislav Šuc of Slovenia, President of the Council, opened the thirty-ninth session on 10 September.  Delivering her first oral update to the Council, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, reiterated her conviction that cooperation between all actors through multilateral institutions could solve the complex challenges that faced the world, and called for more engagement by all Members States – not sterile disputes, not withdrawals, but collective, coordinated and cooperative work to sustain core principles and common goals.

During the session, the Council heard from four high-level dignitaries: Jorge Arreaza Montserrat, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela on 11 September; Maria Luisa Navarro, Deputy Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Co-operation of Panama on 12 September; Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom on 17 September; and Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary on 19 September. 

By virtue of the adopted texts, the Council decided, by a vote of 35 in favour, three against and seven abstentions, to establish an ongoing independent mechanism to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011.  In the same resolution, the Council extended the mandate of the independent international fact-finding mission until the new mechanism is operational and requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present, at the Council’s forty-third session, a written report on the root causes of the human rights violations and abuses against the Rohingya Muslim minority and other minorities in Myanmar.  

The Council extended, by a vote of 21 in favour, eight against and 18 abstentions, the mandate of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen for a further period of one year, and by a vote of 23 in favour, seven against and 17 abstentions, the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, until it presented a final report to the Council at the forty-second session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session.

On Venezuela, the Council, by a vote of 23 in favour, seven against and 17 abstentions, requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present to the Council, at its forty-first session, a comprehensive written report on the human rights situation in Venezuela, and an oral update at its fortieth and forty-second sessions.

In the context of its agenda item on technical assistance and capacity building, the Council renewed, for one year, the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic and the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia; and renewed the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan for a period of one year or until the day that a country office of the Office of the High Commissioner was declared operational.

On the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a report on the situation of human rights in the country before, during and after the elections of 23 December 2018 at its fortieth session, while on Yemen, the High Commissioner was requested 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 it continued to investigate allegations of violations and abuses committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen.

In the resolution on the human rights situation in Syria, adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, four against and 16 abstentions, the Council, inter alia, expressed deep concern at the finding of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry that tactics used in the recapturing of the besieged area of eastern Ghutah amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity; and was deeply concerned at the situation of the 6.5 million internally displaced persons across the country, and deplored the existence and application of national legislation which would have a significant detrimental impact on the rights of Syrians displaced by the conflict to claim their property and to return to their homes in a safe, voluntary and dignified manner.  Gravely concerned at the reported chemical weapons attack in Douma on 7 April 2018, the Council looked forward to the final findings of the fact-finding mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on that attack, and invited Member States to actively support the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism and to provide adequate, multiannual, financial means for its functioning.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas was adopted by a vote of 33 in favour, three against and 11 abstentions, while by a vote of 30 in favour, 12 against and five abstentions, the Council decided that the Working Group on the Right to Development shall commence to elaborate a draft legally binding instrument on the right to development at its twentieth session.

The Council decided that the focus of the fourth phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education will be youth, with special emphasis on education and training in equality, human rights and non-discrimination, and inclusion and respect for diversity, with the aim of building inclusive and peaceful societies.  In a separate text, it decided that the theme of the annual half-day panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples would be the promotion and preservation of indigenous languages at the Council’s forty-second session, and the protection of indigenous human rights defenders, at the forty-fifth session.  The Council would also hold a half-day intersessional interactive dialogue on ways to enhance the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in the Council’s meetings on issues affecting them.  In another text, it decided that the theme for the annual thematic panel discussion under agenda item 10, to be held during its forty-first session, would be “Technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of the human rights of older persons.

By a vote of 30 in favour, 15 against and two abstentions, the Council requested the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination to report to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session and to the Council at its forty-second session; by a vote of 28 in favour, 14 against and five abstentions, it invited the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order to continue his research into the impact of financial and economic policies pursued by international organizations and other institutions on a democratic and equitable international order; and by a vote of 44 in favour, one against and two abstentions, as orally revised, the Council called upon States to ensure the progressive realization of the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation for all in a non-discriminatory manner.

The Council adopted a resolution on safety of journalists, in which it called upon States to develop and implement strategies for combatting impunity for attacks and violence against journalists, and a Presidential Statement on the reports of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.

In other texts, the Council requested the High Commissioner and his Office: to disseminate and promote the use of the guidelines on the effective implementation of the right to participate in public affairs; to prepare a report on the effective methods to foster cooperation between local government and local stakeholders for the effective promotion and protection of human rights and submit it to the Council prior to its forty-second session; to organize a two-day meeting in 2019 on the application of a human rights-based approach to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity in humanitarian settings; and to convene, on the margins of the 2019 annual meeting of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, an intersessional, half-day consultation to exchange 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.

The Council appointed Anaïs Marin of France as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus; Daniela Kravetz of Chile as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea; and Dominique Day of the United States of America as member of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, from Western European and other States.  It elected four new members of its Advisory Committee: Cheikh Tidiane Thiam of Senegal for the Group of African States seat; Ibrahim Abdul Aziz Alsheddi of Saudi Arabia for the Group of Asia-Pacific States seat; José Augusto Lindgren Alves of Brazil for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States seat; and Alessio Bruni of Italy for the Group of Western European and other States seat.

The Council approved its 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, will be "Human rights in light of multilateralism: Opportunities, Challenges and the Way Forward”, and adopted its report of the thirty-ninth session ad referendum.

In concluding remarks, Vojislav Šuc of Slovenia, President of the Human Rights Council, reiterated 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, and must end.  Turning to the thirty-ninth session, the President said that, despite the many divergent views and sometimes strong opposing positions, there had been numerous examples of delegations coming together in the spirit of compromise and cooperation, which showed the vibrancy and functioning of this body.  

Documentation, statements, resolutions and reports relating to this and all Human Rights Council sessions are available on its webpage.  Detailed, speaker-by-speaker coverage of every public meeting, in English and in French, can be found on the website of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The thirty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council was held in Geneva from 10 to 28 September 2018.  The fortieth session will be held from 25 February to 22 March 2019.

Summary of the Programme of Work

First Week

On Monday, 10 September, Ambassador Vojislav Šuc of Slovenia, President of the Council, opened the thirty-ninth session.  The Council heard from the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, who in her first oral update on the situation of human rights in the world expressed conviction that cooperation between all actors through multilateral institutions could solve the complex challenges that faced the world.  The High Commissioner for Human Rights called for more engagement by all Members States – not sterile disputes, not withdrawals, but collective, coordinated and cooperative work to sustain core principles and common goals.  

The Council heard from the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery on the impact of slavery and servitude on marginalized migrant women workers in the global domestic economy, and from the new Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, who had set out his vision of the priorities to be addressed.  This was followed by an interactive clustered dialogue with the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons on the impact of their social exclusion, and with the Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation on access to water and sanitation of forcibly displaced persons.  The Council held its general debate on the oral update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday, 11 September and discussed the mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to improve the human rights situation and accountability in Burundi with the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, who called on Burundi to fully resume its engagement with all international human rights bodies.

On Wednesday, 12 September, the Council discussed with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances the issue of standards and public policies for an effective investigation of enforced disappearances and the Working Group on arbitrary detention on consular assistance and diplomatic protection for persons deprived of liberty; as well as with the Working Group on the use of mercenaries on the recruitment of children by non-State armed groups and with the Special Rapporteur on toxic waste on the situation of workers implicated and affected by occupational exposure to toxic and hazardous substances worldwide.  This was followed by an interactive discussion with the Special Rapporteur on the right to development on the connection between the right to development and equality and the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights on the application of international humanitarian law to the use of unilateral coercive measures.  

High Commissioner Bachelet opened the commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the Convention Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on Thursday, 13 September, reminding that the odious scourge of genocide remained a threat and reality in the twenty-first century, and stressing that accountability included impartial investigations, access to justice and effective remedies for victims.  This high-level panel discussion was followed by an interactive dialogue with the new Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence and with the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide took place.  On Friday, 14 September, the Council heard from the President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the Working Group on the Right to Development, as well as from the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights who presented thematic reports by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and then held a general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.

Second Week

The Council opened its agenda item on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention on Monday, 17 September, discussing the human rights situation in Burundi with the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, which confirmed the persistence of serious human rights violations, some of which constituted crimes against humanity, and asked the Council to extend its mandate for another year.  In the dialogue with the Council, members of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic warned about the catastrophic humanitarian impact that an all-out offensive to recapture Idlib would generate, and stressed that the respect for human rights and accountability must remain key priorities.  The Council discussed with the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, a young country at the crossroads between hope and missed opportunities, where, in the words of its Chair, justice and accountability were needed to sustain peace.

The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, in its oral update to the Council on Tuesday, 18 September, said that in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states, the underlying acts of crimes against humanity had been committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed at civilian populations, and that the circumstances of acts of the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar military, against the Rohingya warranted an inference of genocidal intent.  Also on Tuesday, a general debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention was held.

The annual discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples, held on Wednesday, 19 September, focused on the participation and inclusion of indigenous peoples in the development and implementation of strategies and projects in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  The Council held an interactive discussion with its Advisory Committee on its annual report and the thematic report on regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights, and then heard from Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, who presented the Secretary-General’s report on reprisals against those who sought to cooperate or had cooperated with the United Nations, which demonstrated the far-reaching magnitude and scope of such acts, not only by States but by non-State actors as well.  In a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Council discussed, inter alia, the criminalization of indigenous human rights defenders and the rights of indigenous peoples on free, prior and informed consent in achieving the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

On Thursday and Friday, 20 and 21 September, the Council adopted the outcomes of Universal Periodic Review of Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Germany, Azerbaijan, Tuvalu, Colombia, Djibouti, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan, Canada, Cuba, and Russia.  Also on Friday, the Council heard from the Intergovernmental Working Group on a United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, and held a general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms, and a general debate on the Universal Periodic Review.

Third Week

The Council’s last week of the session started with an interactive discussion with the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which presented its oral update to the Council, and a general debate on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, which was followed by a general debate on the follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.  Also on Monday, 24 September, the Council addressed the issue of gender integration and human rights investigations: strengthening a victim-centred approach in the context of the annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective in its work.  Opening the discussion, Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, stressed that gender sensitivity in human rights investigations was as critical as the act of documentation itself, because it allowed to depict, inclusively, those whose human rights had been violated and reveal the full nature, extent and consequences of those violations.

On Tuesday, 25 September, the Council concluded its general debate on the follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action; engaged in a discussion with the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent; and then heard an oral update by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on activities in relation to the International Decade for People of African Descent, which was followed by a general debate on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance.  In the context of its agenda item on technical assistance and capacity-building, Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented an update on the situation of human rights in Ukraine, while the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including in the context of the electoral process, was examined through an enhanced dialogue with, inter alia, the country’s Minister of Human Rights and the Deputy Special Representative for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On Wednesday, 26 September, Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented the findings and conclusion of the Group of Independent Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen.  Regretting that the “peace was yet to come to Yemen” and that the tragic suffering of the people continued, she noted the Group’s conclusion that “individuals in the Government of Yemen, from among the coalition members, including Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates, and from the de facto authorities, had committed acts that, subject to determination by a competent court, may have amounted to international crimes”.  The Chair of the Group of Eminent Experts also addressed the Council.  During the discussion on the human rights situation in Libya, the Council heard from a representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who highlighted that armed groups continued to proliferate and commit grave violations of human rights with almost complete impunity.  

As for the technical assistance and capacity-building in Cambodia, also on Wednesday, 26 September, the Council heard from the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in this country, who presented the report that largely focused on monitoring the impact of the local and communal elections in June 2017, Senate elections in February 2018 and National Assembly elections in July 2018.  After hearing from the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, who highlighted the instability and human rights violations caused, inter alia, by the activities of al-Shabaab, in particular its attacks on State officials and institutions and forced recruitment of children, an interactive discussion took place on technical assistance and capacity building to this country.  During the interactive discussion with the Members of the Council, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan welcomed the improved security, especially in North and South Darfur states, and a significant decline in military operations in the conflict-affected areas of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, but remained concerned about the harassment of women and sexual and gender-based violence.

On Thursday, 27 September, the Council concluded the consideration of its agenda item on technical assistance and capacity-building, after an interactive discussion with the Independent Expert on the situation in the Central African Republic, who was worried that the security situation had taken an alarming turn, with dramatic consequences for civilians, and who highlighted the need to step up efforts against impunity; the presentation of the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on cooperation with Georgia; and a general debate on this agenda item.

The Council then started taking actions on draft decisions and resolutions, which concluded on Friday, 28 September, after adopting 24 texts.

Action on Presidential Statement under the Agenda Item on Organizational and Procedural Matters

In a Presidential statement (A/HRC/39/L.4) on the Reports of the Advisory Committee, adopted without a vote, the President of the Human Rights Council states that the Human Rights Council takes note of the reports of the Advisory Committee on its twentieth and twenty-first sessions, and notes that the Advisory Committee has made two research proposals.

Action 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

In a resolution (A/HRC/38/L.1/Rev.1) on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, seven against and 17 abstentions, the Council requests the High Commissioner to prepare a comprehensive written report on the human rights situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and to present it to the Council at its forty-first session, to be followed by an interactive dialogue, and to present an oral update on the human rights situation to the Council at its fortieth and forty-second sessions.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.22) on the Situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar, adopted by a vote of 35 in favour, three against and seven abstentions, the Council decides to establish an ongoing independent mechanism to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011, and to report on its main activities on an annual basis to the Council as of its forty-second session and to the General Assembly as of its seventy-fourth session.  The Council also decides to extend the mandate of the independent international fact-finding mission until the new mechanism is operational, and requests it to submit a final report on its main activities to the Council at its forty-second session.  The Council also requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to present a written report, to be followed by an interactive dialogue, to the Human Rights Council at its forty-third session, on the root causes of the human rights violations and abuses the Rohingya Muslim minority and other minorities in Myanmar are facing.

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, and requests it to submit a comprehensive written report to the High Commissioner for presentation at the Council’s forty-second.  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, and to present an oral update on the situation of human rights in Yemen at the Council’s fortieth session, and 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, at its forty-second session.

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

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.2) on the World Programme for Human Rights Education, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to make youth the focus group of the fourth phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, with special emphasis on education and training in equality, human rights and non-discrimination, and inclusion and respect for diversity with the aim of building inclusive and peaceful societies.  The Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a plan of action for the fourth phase of the World Programme (2020-2024) and to submit it for consideration at the Council’s forty-second session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.5) on the Promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, adopted by a vote of 28 in favour, 14 against and five abstentions, the Council invites the Independent Expert to continue his research into the impact of financial and economic policies pursued by international organizations and other institutions on a democratic and equitable international order, in particular those of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and requests the Independent Expert to submit to the Council, at its forty-second session, a report on the implementation of the present resolution.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.6) on The use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, 15 against and two abstentions, the Council requests the Working Group to continue to study and identify new sources and causes, emerging issues, manifestations and trends with regard to mercenaries and mercenary-related activities and their impact on human rights, particularly on the right of peoples to self-determination, and to report its findings to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session and to the Human Rights Council at its forty-second session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.7) on The safety of journalists, adopted without a vote, the Council condemns unequivocally all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers, online and offline, and calls upon States to develop and implement strategies for combating impunity for attacks and violence against journalists, and to take the opportunity of the proclamation of 2 November as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists to raise awareness regarding the issue of the safety of journalists and to launch concrete initiatives in this regard.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.8) on Local government and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on effective methods to foster cooperation between local government and local stakeholders for the effective promotion and protection of human rights at their level, and to indicate the major challenges and best practices in this regard, and to submit the report to the Council prior to its forty-second session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.11) on The human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, adopted by a vote of 44 in favour, one against and two abstentions as orally revised, the Council calls upon States, inter alia, to ensure the progressive realization of the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation for all in a non-discriminatory manner, to promote both women’s leadership and their full, effective and equal participation in decision-making on water and sanitation management, and mitigate the disproportionate impact of water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases on children and reduce child mortality, morbidity and stunting by ensuring the progressive realization of the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.12) on The right to development, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, 12 against and five abstentions, the Council decides that the Working Group on the Right to Development at its twentieth session shall commence the discussion to elaborate a draft legally binding instrument on the right to development through a collaborative process of engagement, including on the content and scope of the future instrument, and on the basis of the discussions held during the twentieth session of the Working Group and the resource material from previous Working Group sessions.  The Council requests the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to prepare a research-based report on the importance of a legally binding instrument on the right to development, present an oral update on the preparation of the report to the Council at its forty-second session, and present the report at its forty-fifth session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.13/Rev.1) on Preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights in humanitarian settings, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the High Commissioner to prepare a follow-up report on good practices and challenges to respecting, protecting and fulfilling all human rights in the elimination of preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and to present it to the Human Rights Council at its forty-fifth session.  The Council also requests the High Commissioner to organize a two-day meeting in 2019, to discuss good practices, gaps and challenges in the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity in humanitarian settings, and to submit a summary report thereon to the Human Rights Council at its forty-second session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.14/Rev.1) on Equal participation in political and public affairs, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to disseminate and promote the use of the guidelines on effective implementation of the right to participate in public affairs, provide technical cooperation and capacity-building to States upon their request regarding the use of the guidelines, and prepare a follow-up report on good practices and challenges faced by States in using the guidelines, and present it to the Human Rights Council at its forty-eighth session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.16) on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, adopted by a vote of 33 in favour, three against and 11 abstentions, the Council adopts the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, and invites Governments, agencies and organizations of the United Nations system and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to disseminate the Declaration and to promote universal respect and understanding thereof.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.18/Rev.1) on Human rights and indigenous peoples, adopted without a vote, the Council decides that the theme of the annual half-day panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples during the Council’s forty-second session will be on the promotion and preservation of indigenous languages, and that the theme the annual half-day panel discussion to be held during the forty-fifth session of the Council will be on the protection of indigenous human rights defenders.  The Council also decides to hold a half-day intersessional interactive dialogue on ways to enhance the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of the Human Rights Council on issues affecting them, and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to make the interactive dialogue fully accessible to persons with disabilities, and prepare a summary report thereon for submission to the Council prior to its forty-fourth session.

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

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.15/Rev.1) on the Situation of human rights in Burundi, adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, seven against and 17 abstentions, the Council requests the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi to share its report and recommendations with the African Union and all relevant organs of the United Nations for their consideration, and decides to extend the Commission’s mandate in order to deepen its investigations until it presents a final report during an interactive dialogue at the forty-second session of the Human Rights Council, and at the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly.  The Council requests the Commission to present an oral briefing to the Human Rights Council at its fortieth and forty-first sessions during interactive dialogues.

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.20) on The human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, four against and 16 abstentions, the Council expresses deep concern at the finding of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic that tactics used in the recapturing of the besieged area of eastern Ghutah amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity, and that acts of sexual and gender-based violence were committed most commonly by Syrian authorities and associated militia, as well as by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Daesh).  The Council expresses deep concern at the situation of the 6.5 million internally displaced persons across the Syrian Arab Republic and urges all parties to ensure that any evacuation and movement of civilians is consistent with international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and deplores the existence and application of national legislation, in particular Law No. 10/2018, which would have a significant detrimental impact on the rights of Syrians displaced by the conflict to claim their property and to return to their homes in a safe, voluntary and dignified manner when the situation on the ground allows it.  The Council expresses grave concern at the findings by the fact-finding mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that sarin and chlorine were very likely used in separate attacks in Ltamenah on 24 and 25 March 2017, and that chlorine was likely used in an attack in Saraqib on 4 February 2018; also expresses grave concern at the reported chemical weapons attack in Douma on 7 April 2018, and looks forward to the final findings of the fact-finding mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on that attack; and invites Member States to actively support the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism, including by considering the provision of information and data on the most serious crimes under international law committed in the Syrian Arab Republic, and to provide adequate, multiannual, financial means for its functioning.
 
Action on Resolution under Agenda Items on the Follow-up to and Implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

In a resolution (A/HRC/39/L.19/Rev.1) on National human rights institutions, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to continue and to strengthen its work with national human rights institutions, and 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.  The Council further requests the Office of the High Commissioner to submit, at its forty-first session, a summary report of the consultation, and requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Council, at its forty-fifth session, a report on the implementation of the present resolution, 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.

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

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 submitted a report to the Council at its forty-first session to serve as a basis for the panel discussion, on the activities undertaken 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.

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, 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 to the Human Rights Council at its forty-first session and to submit a written report at its forty-second session.

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 the High Commissioner for Human Rights to present to the 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, 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 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.

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 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 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.

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, and requests the Independent Expert to present a report on the implementation of his mandate to the Council at its forty-second session.  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.  The Council 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, and 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.

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 for a period of one year, and requests the Independent Expert to assist Somalia in, inter alia, the implementation of 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 requests the Independent Expert to report to the Council at its forty-second session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session.

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