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Human Rights Council adopts 13 resolutions, extends mandates on Eritrea, education, extrajudicial executions, trafficking in persons, leprosy, judges and lawyers, persons with disabilities, international solidarity and extreme poverty

Human Rights Council

16 July 2020

Calls for Universal, Timely and Equitable Access to and Fair Distribution of All Essential Health Technologies and Production, including those Required in the Response to the COVID-10 Pandemic as a Global Priority

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 13 resolutions in which it, among other actions, extended mandates on Eritrea, education, extrajudicial executions, trafficking in persons, leprosy, judges and lawyers, persons with disabilities, international solidarity and extreme poverty.

One resolution called for universal, timely and equitable access to and fair distribution of all quality, safe, efficacious and affordable essential health technologies and products, including their components and precursors required in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a global priority.

Other resolutions dealt with human rights and climate change ; the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, jurors and assessors, and the independence of lawyers ; and freedom of opinion and expression. 

In a resolution on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 10 against and 13 abstentions, the Council decided 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 on the central role of the State in responding to pandemics and other health emergencies, and the socioeconomic consequences thereof in advancing sustainable development and the realization of all human rights, the Council called for universal, timely and equitable access to and fair distribution of all quality, safe, efficacious and affordable essential health technologies and products, including their components and precursors required in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a global priority, and the urgent removal of unjustified obstacles thereto.
In a resolution on the right to education, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education for a further period of three years. 

In a resolution on trafficking in persons, especially women and children : strengthening human rights through enhanced protection, support and empowerment of victims of trafficking, especially women and children,  the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, for a period of three years. 

In a resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for three years.
In a resolution on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members for a period of three years. 

In a resolution on human rights and climate change, the Council decided to incorporate into its programme of work for the forty-seventh session a panel discussion focusing on the adverse impact of climate change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights by older persons and best practices and lessons. 

In a resolution on mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers for a period of three years.

In a resolution on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, jurors and assessors, and the independence of lawyers, the Council called upon all States to guarantee the independence of judges and lawyers and the objectivity and impartiality of prosecutors, as well as their ability to perform their functions accordingly, including by taking effective legislative, law enforcement and other appropriate measures that will enable them to carry out their professional functions without interference, harassment, threats or intimidation of any kind. 

In a resolution on the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities for a further period of three years.

In a resolution on the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 15 against and 1 abstention, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity for a period of three years.

In a resolution on freedom of opinion and expression, the Council requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on good practices for establishing national normative frameworks that foster access to information held by public entities, and to submit the report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-seventh session. 

In a resolution on extreme poverty and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to extend, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. 

The Council will resume its work at 9 a.m. on Friday, 17 July to take action on 10 draft resolutions before closing its regular forty-fourth session.

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

Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.8) on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 10 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-sixth 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 further decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for a further period of one year, and to continue to assess and report on the situation of human rights in follow-up to the report of the Special Rapporteur, and requests the Special Rapporteur to present an oral update to the Human Rights Council at its forty-sixth session during an interactive dialogue, and to present during an interactive dialogue a report on the implementation of the mandate to the Council at its forty-seventh session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session.  The Council calls upon the Government of Eritrea to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur, including by granting access to the country and committing to making progress on the proposed benchmarks.

The results of the vote were as follows :

For : Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and Uruguay

Against : Bahrain, Cameroon, Eritrea, India, Libya, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan and Venezuela

Abstentions : Angola, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Qatar, Senegal and Togo

Resolution on the Central Role of the State in Responding to Pandemics

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.23/REV.1) on the central role of the State in responding to pandemics and other health emergencies, and the socioeconomic consequences thereof in advancing sustainable development and the realization of all human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council calls for universal, timely and equitable access to and fair distribution of all quality, safe, efficacious and affordable essential health technologies and products, including their components and precursors required in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a global priority, and the urgent removal of unjustified obstacles thereto, in accordance with the provisions of relevant international treaties, including the provisions of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and its flexibilities, as confirmed by the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.  The Council requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, working within existing efforts across the United Nations system, and in consultation with States, to conduct a needs assessment, in particular for developing countries, to support their efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in responding to pandemics and other health emergencies, and the socioeconomic consequences thereof, in advancing sustainable development and the realization of all human rights, and to submit a report thereon to the Human Rights Council at its forty-seventh session during an interactive dialogue, and to provide an oral update to the Council at its fiftieth session, also during an interactive dialogue.  The Council decides to remain seized of the matter.

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

Resolution on the Right to Education

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.1) on the right to education, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education for a further period of three years.  The Council requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the human and financial resources necessary for the effective fulfilment of the mandate, and encourages all other relevant stakeholders, including United Nations bodies and specialized agencies, funds and programmes, other international organizations, regional human rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations, to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur to enable her or him to fulfil the mandate.  The Council further requests the Special Rapporteur to continue to submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly covering all activities relating to the mandate, with a view to maximizing the benefits of the reporting process.

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.2) on trafficking in persons, especially women and children : strengthening human rights through enhanced protection, support and empowerment of victims of trafficking, especially women and children, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon States to intensify their efforts to address, with a view to eliminating, the demand that fosters trafficking in women and children for all forms of exploitation, and in this regard to take or to enhance preventive measures, including legislative and punitive measures, to deter exploiters of trafficked persons, and to ensure their accountability.  The Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, for a period of three years ; requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure that the Special Rapporteur receives the resources necessary to enable the mandate holder to discharge the mandate fully.  The Council decides to continue consideration of the issue of trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.3) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the Special Rapporteur, in carrying out the mandate to continue to examine situations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in all circumstances and for whatever reason, and to submit his or her findings on an annual basis, together with conclusions and recommendations, to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly and to apply a gender perspective in his or her work.  The Council urges States to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his or her tasks, to supply all necessary information requested by him or her and to react appropriately and expeditiously to his or her urgent appeals, and those Governments that have not yet responded to communications transmitted to them by the Special Rapporteur to do so without further delay.  The Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for three years ; and also decides to continue to consider this matter in conformity with its programme of work.

Resolution on the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.4) on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members for a period of three years and calls upon all States to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur in the discharge of the mandate, including by providing all information requested, to give serious consideration to responding favourably to the requests of the Special Rapporteur to visit their countries, and to consider implementing the recommendations made in the reports of the mandate holder.  The Council further requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the human, technical and financial resources necessary for the effective fulfilment of the mandate, and decides to remain seized of the matter.

Resolution on Human Rights and Climate Change

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.5) on human rights and climate change, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to incorporate into its programme of work for the forty-seventh session, on the basis of the different elements contained in the present resolution, a panel discussion focusing on the adverse impact of climate change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights by older persons and best practices and lessons learned in the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons, and also decides that the panel discussion will have international sign interpretation and captioning.  The Council requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit a summary report on the panel discussion to the Human Rights Council at its forty-ninth session, and to make the report available in accessible formats, including Plain Language and Easy-to-Read.  The Council also requests the Office of the High Commissioner … to conduct, from within existing resources, a study on the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons in the context of climate change, including their particular vulnerabilities… .  Furthermore, the Council requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all the human and technical assistance necessary for the effective and timely realization of the above-mentioned panel discussion and the summary report thereon.  The Council finally decides to remain seized of the matter.

Resolution on Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.6) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers for a period of three years, on the same terms as provided by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 35/11 of 22 June 2017.  The Council also requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the human and financial resources necessary for the effective fulfilment of his or her mandate.  Finally, the Council decides to continue consideration of this issue in accordance with its annual programme of work.

Resolution on the Independence and Impartiality of the Judiciary, Jurors and Assessors, and the Independence of Lawyers

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.7) on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, jurors and assessors, and the independence of lawyers, adopted without a vote, the Council condemns the increasingly frequent attacks on the independence of judges, lawyers, prosecutors and court officials, in particular threats, intimidation and interference in the discharge of their professional functions.  The Council calls upon all States to guarantee the independence of judges and lawyers and the objectivity and impartiality of prosecutors, as well as their ability to perform their functions accordingly, including by taking effective legislative, law enforcement and other appropriate measures that will enable them to carry out their professional functions without interference, harassment, threats or intimidation of any kind.  The Council further calls upon States to ensure that prosecutors can perform their functional activities in an independent, objective and impartial manner, urging all Governments to cooperate with and to assist the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers in the performance of his or her tasks, to provide all information requested and to respond to communications transmitted to them by the Special Rapporteur without undue delay.  Finally, the Council decides to continue consideration of this issue in accordance with its annual programme of work.

Resolution on the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.13) on the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities for a further period of three years.  The Council requests the Secretary-General to bring the reports of the Special Rapporteur to the attention of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Conference of States Parties and the Commission for Social Development for their information and to avoid unnecessary duplication.  In addition, the Council requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the human, technical and financial resources necessary for the effective fulfilment of his or her mandate. 

Resolution on the Mandate of the Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.15) on the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 15 against and 1 abstention, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity for a period of three years ; 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 realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development … and reiterates its request to the Independent Expert to take into account the outcomes of all major United Nations and other global summits and ministerial meetings in the economic, social and climate fields, and to continue to seek views and contributions from Governments, United Nations agencies, other relevant international organizations and non-governmental organizations in the discharge of his mandate.  The Council further requests the Independent Expert to report regularly to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly in accordance with their respective programmes of work.

The results of the vote were as follows :

For : Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uruguay and Venezuela

Against : Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine

Abstentions : Mexico

Resolution on Freedom of Opinion and Expression

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.18/Rev.1) on freedom of opinion and expression, adopted without a vote, the Council encourages all business enterprises to meet their responsibility to respect all human rights as stated in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights : Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework and in other applicable standards, including by actively contributing to initiatives aimed at fostering a culture of respect for freedom of opinion and expression and by ensuring the greatest possible transparency in their policies, standards and actions that have an impact on the freedom of opinion and expression.  The Council also requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on good practices for establishing national normative frameworks that foster access to information held by public entities, and also requests the Office, in the preparation of the report, to seek the views of States, non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions and other relevant stakeholders, including the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and to submit the report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-seventh session.  The Council decides to continue its consideration of the issue of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in accordance with its programme of work.

Resolution on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/44/L.19) on extreme poverty and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, as set out in Human Rights Council resolution 8/11.  The Council requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to give high priority to extreme poverty and human rights, to pursue further work in this area in full cooperation with the Special Rapporteur in the various activities, and to continue to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the assistance necessary, human and budgetary, for the effective fulfilment of his mandate.  Furthermore, the Council requests the Special Rapporteur to submit an annual report on the implementation of the present resolution to the General Assembly and to the Human Rights Council, in accordance with their programmes of work.  The Council also requests the Special Rapporteur to participate in relevant international dialogues and policy forums relating to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to undertake thematic research with a view to advising States and relevant State institutions on the eradication of extreme poverty in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including with reference to targets 1.1, 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals and other goals and targets related to extreme poverty.  Finally, the Council decides to continue its consideration of the issue of extreme poverty and human rights in accordance with its programme of work.
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