UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS FOUR RESOLUTIONS ON THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS



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Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON
25 March 2009


Adopts Texts on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Administration of Justice, Human Rights Education, and Human Rights and Climate Change

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted four resolutions under its agenda item on the promotion and protection of all human rights concerning the realisation in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights; human rights in the administration of justice, in particular juvenile justice; the World Programme for Human Rights Education; and human rights and climate change.

On the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights: follow-up to Human Rights Council resolution 4/1, the Council notes with interest the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by the General Assembly as one of the important tools to help strengthen the protection of economic, social and cultural rights worldwide, and invites all States parties to participate in the ceremony of the opening for signatures of the Optional Protocol.

On human rights in the administration of justice, in particular juvenile justice, the Council stresses the special need for national capacity-building in the field of the administration of justice, through reform of the judiciary, the police and the penal system, as well as juvenile justice reform; and invites Governments to provide for training, including anti-racist, multicultural and gender-sensitive and child rights training, in human rights in the administration of justice for those working in the field.

On the World Programme for Human Rights Education, the Council requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to consult with United Nations Member States, national human rights institutions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations on the possible focus, in terms of target sector or thematic area, of the second phase of the World Programme to begin on 1 January 2010, and to submit a report on those consultations to the twelfth session of the Council.

On human rights and climate change, the Council decides to hold a panel discussion on the relationship between climate change and human rights at its eleventh session in order to contribute to the realization of the goals set out in the Bali Action Plan and to invite all relevant stakeholders to participate therein; and welcomes the decision of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living to prepare and present a thematic report on the potential impact of climate change on the right to adequate housing.

Speaking in introduction of resolutions were Portugal, Austria, Costa Rica and Maldives.

At the beginning of the meeting, Egypt withdrew a draft resolution on security arrangements for the Human Rights Council, which was deferred from the previous session. Egypt wanted to draw attention to the fact that diplomats could not be subjected to security checks at the entrance. The aim was to preserve the dignity of the diplomats. Thanks to the action taken by the President, diplomats were no longer subjected to such checks.

The next meeting of the Council will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 26 March, when it will continue to take action on draft decisions and resolutions. The tenth regular session of the Council is expected to conclude on Friday, 27 March.
Action on Resolutions Under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/10/L.14) on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights: follow-up to Human Rights Council resolution 4/1, adopted without a vote as orally amended, the Council notes with interest the adoption of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by the General Assembly as one of the important tools to help strengthen the protection of economic, social and cultural rights worldwide; invites all States parties to participate in the ceremony of the opening for signatures of the Optional Protocol, to be held in New York on 24 September 2009, and to consider signing and ratifying or acceding to the Optional Protocol with a view to its early entry into force; encourages the Office of the High Commissioner, the treaty bodies, special procedures of the Council and other relevant United Nations bodies and mechanisms, specialized agencies or programmes, within their respective mandates, to continue their efforts to promote the realization of economic, social and cultural rights worldwide, and to enhance their cooperation in this regard; and requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to prepare and submit to the Council an annual report on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights.

FRANCISCO XAVIER ESTEVES (Portugal), introducing the draft resolution, said this draft resolution enjoyed cross-regional support and called upon all States to implement economic, social and cultural rights worldwide. The resolution noted with interest the adoption of the Optional Protocol by the General Assembly as a tool to strengthen the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights. This draft also noted the work carried out by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other relevant treaty bodies. The resolution stated that the annual report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights submitted to the Council should continue to be prepared on the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights. It was hoped that this resolution would be adopted without a vote.

In a resolution (A/HRC/10/L.15) on human rights in the administration of justice, in particular juvenile justice, adopted without a vote, the Council stresses the special need for national capacity-building in the field of the administration of justice, through reform of the judiciary, the police and the penal system, as well as juvenile justice reform; invites Governments to provide for training, including anti-racist, multicultural and gender-sensitive and child rights training, in human rights in the administration of justice for those working in the field; encourages States to develop and implement a comprehensive juvenile justice policy to prevent and address juvenile delinquency as well as with a view to promoting the use of alternative measures, such as diversion and restorative justice; stresses the importance of including rehabilitation and reintegration strategies for former child offenders in juvenile justice policies; urges States to ensure that neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment is imposed for offences committed by persons under 18 years of age; emphasizes that, when sentencing or deciding on pre-trial measures for a pregnant woman or a child’s sole or primary carer, priority should be given to non-custodial measures; calls upon relevant special procedures of the Council to give special attention to questions relating to the effective protection of human rights in the administration of justice, including juvenile justice, and to provide specific recommendations in this regard; calls upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights to reinforce advisory services and technical assistance relating to national capacity-building in the field of the administration of justice, in particular juvenile justice; calls upon the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to strengthen system-wide coordination in this area further; requests the Secretary-General to submit a report to the Council at its thirteenth session on the latest developments, challenges and good practices in human rights in the administration of justice, including juvenile justice and conditions for women and children in detention, as well as in activities undertaken by the United Nations system as a whole; and requests the High Commissioner to report to the Council at its thirteenth session on the implementation of the present resolution.

CHRISTINA KOKKINAKIS (Austria), introducing resolution L.15, said that Austria had traditionally presented resolutions on this topic to the former Commission and in other arenas, and now wished to address this important issue in the Human Rights Council. Previous resolutions had been adopted by consensus. Fifty countries across the world had co-sponsored the text. The independence and impartiality of the judiciary were prerequisites for the rule of law and the application of human rights. The importance of rehabilitation and reintegration strategies for child offenders was also mentioned in the text. The resolution further addressed the particular situation of women with children in prisons, and noted that priority should be given to non-custodial measures. There had been wide-ranging discussions, and all delegations were thanked for their constructive engagement and support, and it was hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.

In a resolution (A/HRC/10/L.17) on the World Programme for Human Rights Education, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to consult with United Nations Member States, national human rights institutions and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations on the possible focus, in terms of target sector or thematic area, of the second phase of the World Programme to begin on 1 January 2010, and to submit a report on those consultations to the twelfth session of the Council; and encourages Member States to start taking steps for the preparation of their national evaluation reports on the first phase, with the assistance of international and regional organizations, as well as civil society actors, to be provided to the United Nations Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on Human Rights Education in the School System in early 2010.

LAURA THOMPSON CHACON (Costa Rica), introducing the draft resolution, said that the draft resolution was submitted with the view to giving an impetus to the implementation of the World Programme for Human Rights Education. The first phase would be concluded in December this year. Costa Rica believed that this draft resolution was likely to be adopted by consensus.

In a resolution (A/HRC/10/L.30) on human rights and climate change, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to hold a panel discussion on the relationship between climate change and human rights at its eleventh session in order to contribute to the realization of the goals set out in the Bali Action Plan and to invite all relevant stakeholders to participate therein; requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a summary of the panel discussion and decides to make the summary available to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for its consideration; welcomes the decision of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living to prepare and present a thematic report on the potential impact of climate change on the right to adequate housing, and encourages other relevant special procedure mandate-holders to give consideration to the issue of climate change within their respective mandates; encourages the Office of the High Commissioner to participate at a senior level, during the High-level Meeting on Climate Change, to be held ahead of the general debate of the General Assembly at its sixty-fourth session, and at the fifteenth session and Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

SHAZRA ABDUL SATTAR (Maldives), introducing draft resolution L.30 on human rights and climate change, said it was honoured to introduce the draft resolution and expressed appreciation for all who demonstrated their support for the draft. The draft resolution responded to the publication of the report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on human rights and climate change. It was a simple text that drew out some conclusions from the report and suggested a few modest next steps. The Council should send out a strong message to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, among other relevant bodies. The message was simple but powerful, that climate change was not merely a cause of green house gases, but that it was a human cause with human effects that impacted the vulnerable situations people around the world. Climate change was not only crucial for the planet but it was important for States in pursuing the full enjoyment of human rights. Maldives hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus.
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