UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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SUB-COMMISSION ON PROMOTION AND
PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
CONCLUDES FINAL SESSION

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Sub-Commission on the Promotion
and Protection of Human Rights
ROUND-UP
25 August 2006


The Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights this morning concluded its fifty-eighth and final session, during which it adopted by consensus thirty resolutions and a number of decisions, and agreed on one Chairperson’s Statement.

This was the final session of the Sub-Commission, following the adoption of resolution 2006/102 by the new Human Rights Council. In this regard, the Sub-Commission adopted a decision in which it recommended that a Human Rights Consultative Committee could be instrumental in enabling the Human Rights Council to gain the legitimacy that in recent times was claimed to be lacking the performance of the former Commission on Human Rights.

In his concluding remarks, the Chairperson of the Sub-Commission, Marc Bossuyt, said the situation of the Sub-Commission had not made this year’s session any easier. It had been a difficult session, with a great deal of uncertainty, but nevertheless there had been success in carrying out the main task: producing a document giving the Sub-Commission’s vision of the future expert body on human rights. The document and the resolutions had been adopted by consensus, and this was an achievement which should be viewed with pride. Work had been done mainly for the future; for those who would take up the struggle from here on, as the Human Rights Council could not give itself the luxury of doing without an expert body.

Among the measures taken by the Sub-Commission was the appointment of Mohamed Habib Cherif as Special Rapporteur with the task of preparing a comprehensive study on the implementation in practice of the right to an effective remedy for human rights violations; Françoise Jane Hampson as Special Rapporteur with the task of preparing a comprehensive study on the accountability of international personnel taking part in peace support operations, and also as Special Rapporteur with the task of preparing a comprehensive study on the legal implications of the disappearance of States and other territories for environmental reasons, including the implications for the human rights of their residents, with particular reference to the rights of indigenous peoples; Yozo Yokota as Special Rapporteur to conduct a full and comprehensive study on discrimination against leprosy-affected persons and their families; and El Hadji Guissé as Special Rapporteur on the impact of debt on the enjoyment and exercise of human rights.

The Sub-Commission also asked several of its members to prepare or expand their working papers on various issues: Vladimir Kartashkin on human rights and State sovereignty; Janio Iván Tuñón Veilles on transitional justice and investigation mechanisms for truth and reconciliation, with emphasis on the experiences in Latin America; Chin Sung Chung to prepare a working paper on the human rights of elderly people; and Kalliopi Koufa to update the preliminary framework draft of principles and guidelines based on the discussions of the Working group to elaborate detailed principles and guidelines, with relevant commentary, concerning the promotion and protection of human rights when combating terrorism.

Florizelle O’Connor was asked to submit a concept document establishing options for the implementation of the right to development and their feasibility. The Special Rapporteurs on Discrimination based on work and Descent, Yozo Yokota and Chin-Sung Chung were asked to continue and complete their study on discrimination based on work and descent, to finalize draft principles and guidelines for the effective elimination of this form of discrimination. Special Rapporteur Antoanella-Iulia Motoc was asked to submit a final report on human rights and the human genome.

The Secretary-General was requested to provide the Special Rapporteurs and Experts who were entrusted to prepare working papers with all necessary assistance to accomplish their respective tasks.

With regards to the administration of justice, rule of law and democracy, the Sub-Commission adopted texts on human rights and state sovereignty, on transitional justice: investigation mechanisms for truth and reconciliation, on the right to an effective remedy, on accountability of international personnel taking part in peace support operations, on the difficulty of establishing guilt or responsibility with regard to sexual violence, and on the sessional working group on the administration of justice, recommending that the working group be continued in the framework of any future mechanism. Also under this agenda item, the Sub-Commission recommended two draft decisions to the Human Rights Council for adoption.

With regards to economic, social and cultural rights, the Sub-Commission adopted resolutions on corruption and its impact on the full enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights; on the effects of the working methods and activities of transnational corporations on the enjoyment of human rights, on the Social Forum, on promotion of the realization of the right to drinking water and sanitation, and on the right to development. Also under this item, the Sub-Commission recommended 1 draft decision to the Human Rights Council for adoption.

On the prevention of discrimination, the Sub-Commission adopted resolutions on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities; on the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples; on the Working Group on Indigenous Populations; on Discrimination based on work and descent; on Discrimination against leprosy-affected persons and their families; and on the legal implications of the disappearance of States and other territories for environmental reasons, including the implications for the human rights of their residents, with particular reference to the rights of indigenous peoples.

Under specific human rights issues, the Sub-Commission adopted texts concerning the report of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery; the human rights of elderly people; on systematic rape, sexual slavery and slavery-like practices during armed conflicts; on the World Programme for Human Rights Education; on the prevention of human rights violations committed with small arms and light weapons; on the Working group to elaborate detailed principles and guidelines, with relevant commentary, concerning the promotion and protection of human rights when combating terrorism; on human rights and the human genome; and on the protection of civilians during armed conflicts.

A Chairperson’s Statement expressed the Sub-Commission’s deep grief and outrage at the massive denial and violation of human rights in Lebanon, extended its condolences and sympathy to the victims of the war and their families, and voiced the hope that the Security Council, acting in discharge of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, would bring about cessation of the war without further delay and promote an urgent settlement of the conflict in conformity with the principles of justice and international law.

Created by the Commission on Human Rights in 1947 and consisting of 26 Experts from five regional groups, the Sub-Commission undertakes studies and makes recommendations to the Commission on Human Rights. The Commission must approve all its resolutions and decisions.

Addressing the Sub-Commission at the opening of its session was Mehr Khan-Williams, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, who said the Sub-Commission was meeting at a critical moment in the historic transformation of the United Nations system. The Sub-Commission had made important contributions to the development of the United Nations human rights system. Since its inception, the body had devoted itself to research and discussion of new and challenging human rights issues. One of its advantages was its ability to consider human rights issues without being restricted by a particular treaty or mandate. The Sub-Commission did not hesitate to raise issues that were initially considered provocative or unwelcome but which essentially helped in shaping new thinking and action of the Commission on Human Rights.


Action on Resolutions and Decisions

Administration of Justice, Rule of law and Democracy

Under this agenda item, the Sub-Commission approved measures:

- on human rights and state sovereignty, to request Mr. Kartashkin to prepare an expanded working paper on human rights and State sovereignty that should address, among other things, such issues as State sovereignty and the relationship between international and domestic law in the field of human rights, and to submit it in 2007.

- on the universal implementation of international human rights treaties, strongly encouraged all States to implement the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights, with a view to the universal and effective implementation of the international human rights instruments and recommended that technical assistance should be expanded so as to facilitate the universal ratification and effective implementation of the international human rights instruments.

- on transitional justice: investigation mechanisms for truth and reconciliation, with emphasis on Latin America, decided to request Janio Iván Tuñón Veilles to prepare a working paper on transitional justice and investigation mechanisms for truth and reconciliation, with emphasis on the experiences in Latin America, and to submit it to the working group at its next session.

- on the right to an effective remedy, decided to appoint Mohamed Habib Cherif as Special Rapporteur with the task of preparing a comprehensive study on the implementation in practice of the right to an effective remedy for human rights violations and requested the Special Rapporteur to submit a preliminary report to the Sub-Commission at its fifty-ninth session or to the first session of any future expert advice mechanism and a progress report and final report in the following years.

- on accountability of international personnel taking part in peace support operations , decided to appoint Françoise Jane Hampson as Special Rapporteur with the task of preparing a comprehensive study on the accountability of international personnel taking part in peace support operations, and requested her to submit a preliminary report to the Sub-Commission at its fifty-ninth session or to the first session of any successor expert body and a progress report and final report in the following years; and recommended a draft decision to the Human Rights Council for adoption.

- on the difficulty of establishing guilt or responsibility with regard to sexual violence, requested the Special Rapporteur to submit an interim report at is fifty-ninth session and a final report in the following year; and recommended a draft decision to the Human Rights Council for adoption on the issue.

- on Sessional working group on the administration of justice, emphasized the importance of the accountability of United Nations staff in peace support missions; noted that the right to an effective remedy remains a significant goal that has yet to be obtained in many States, and emphasized the need for further conceptual analysis and study in this regard; decided to recommend to the Human Rights Council that the activity of the working group on the administration of justice be continued in the framework of any future expert advice mechanism.


Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

With regards to economic, social and cultural rights, the Sub-Commission adopted measures:

- on corruption and its impact on the full enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights urged States that had not done so to introduce independent national mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption through the adoption and implementation of specific anti-corruption legislation while safeguarding basic human rights, including due process; and recommended a draft decision on the issue to the Human Rights Council for adoption.

- on the effects of the working methods and activities of transnational corporations on the enjoyment of human rights, recommended that the Human Rights Council should adopt the “Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with regard to Human Rights” and consider establishing a monitoring body; also recommended that the issue of the working methods and activities of transnational corporations should remain on the agenda of the Human Rights Council and on that of the future expert body which will advise it.

- on the Social Forum, recommended that the Human Rights Council preserve the Social Forum, as a unique space for interactive dialogue between the United Nations human rights system and various stakeholders; and recommended that the Human Rights Council extend the meeting of the Social Forum to five days.

- on implementation of existing human rights norms and standards in the context of the fight against extreme poverty, approved the final report of the ad hoc group of experts as well as the draft guiding principles annexed; and requested the Human Rights Council to study these guiding principles with a view to adopting them and forwarding them to the General Assembly.

- on the promotion of the realization of the right to drinking water and sanitation, adopted the guidelines for the realization of the right to drinking water and sanitation; and requested the Secretary-General to bring to the attention of States, international organization and non-governmental organizations concerned with questions relating to water and sanitation, the guidelines for the realization of the right to drinking water and sanitation.

- on effect of debt on the enjoyment and exercise of human rights, decided to appoint Mr. El Hadji Guissé as Special Rapporteur on the impact of debt on the enjoyment and exercise of human rights and to present a report to the Sub-Commission at its fifty-ninth session, or, failing that, at the first session of the future expert body of the Human Rights Council.

- on right to development, decided to request Florizelle O’Connor to submit a concept document establishing options for the implementation of the right to development and their feasibility to the Sub-Commission at its fifty-ninth session, or to the first session of any future expert advice mechanism.

Prevention of Discrimination

Concerning the prevention of discrimination, the Sub-Commission adopted measures:

- on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities emphasized the need to ensure adequate consideration of minority rights issues within the Human Rights Council and called for the continuation of the Working Group on Minorities or a similar expert body to ensure the provision of specialized advice on minority rights issues to the Council and its subsidiary bodies in the future.

- on the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, requested its Working Group on Indigenous Populations to follow closely the activities carried out as part of the human rights component of the programme of action of the Second Decade; and welcomed the steps that have been taken and continue to be taken to establish and promote cooperation between the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people.

- on the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, recommended that the item “indigenous issues” be automatically included in the agenda of the Human Rights Council and stressed the need for an expert body to provide the Council with advice on the promotion, protection and realization of the rights of indigenous peoples; and called upon all States to give specific attention to the promotion and projection of the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples.

- on discrimination based on work and descent, requested the Special Rapporteurs Yozo Yokota and Chin-Sung Chung to continue and complete their study on discrimination based on work and descent, to finalize draft principles and guidelines for the effective elimination of this form of discrimination and to submit their final report in 2007 to the Sub-Commission or its successor body, or in the absence of either, to the Human Rights Council; and also recommended a draft decision on the issue to the Human Rights Council for adoption.

- on discrimination against leprosy-affected persons and their families, requested Governments to abolish legislation that requires forced institutionalization of leprosy patients and to provide effective, prompt and free treatment to leprosy patients; further requested Governments to immediately prohibit and take effective measures to eradicate discrimination of any type against leprosy-affected persons and their families; and recommended a draft decision to the Human Rights Council for adoption.

- on the legal implications of the disappearance of States and other territories for environmental reasons, including the implications for the human rights of their residents, with particular reference to the rights of indigenous peoples, decided to appoint Françoise Jane Hampson as Special Rapporteur with the task of preparing a comprehensive study on the legal implications of the disappearance of States and other territories for environmental reasons, including the implications for the human rights of their residents, with particular reference to the rights of indigenous peoples; and recommended a draft decision to the Human Rights Council for adoption.


Specific Human Rights Issues

Concerning specific human rights issues, the Sub-Commission adopted measures:

- on report of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, recommended that the Working Group be maintained; and recommended that the Human Rights Council give consideration during the review of the system of expert advice to the possibility of entrusting a stronger mandate to the Working Group for monitoring the implementation of slavery-related treaties in a framework of cooperation with parties to these treaties.

- on human rights of elderly people, decided to request Chin-Sung Chung to prepare a working paper on the human rights of elderly people, and to submit it to the fifty-ninth session of the Sub-Commission or the first session of any successor body for expert advice.

- on systematic rape, sexual slavery and slavery-like practices
during armed conflicts, encouraged States to promote human rights education on the issues of systematic rape, sexual slavery and slavery-like practices during armed conflicts; and called upon the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit an updated report on the issues of systematic rape, sexual slavery and slavery-like practices during armed conflicts.

- on World Programme for Human Rights Education, recommended that the human rights treaty bodies, when examining reports of States parties, devote attention specifically to human rights education, particularly in the framework of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, and that human rights education be included in the agenda of the annual meeting of the treaty bodies so that they could make recommendations on how human rights education could contribute to national capacity-building aimed at strengthening national human rights protection mechanisms.

- on prevention of human rights violations committed with small arms and light weapons, urged States to adopt laws and policies regarding the manufacture, possession, transfer and use of small arms and light weapons that comply with principles of international human rights and international humanitarian law; decided to transmit to the Human Rights Council the draft principles on the prevention of human rights violations committed with small arms for consideration and adoption by the Council; and recommended a draft decision to the Human Rights Council for adoption.

- on the Working group to elaborate detailed principles and guidelines, with relevant commentary, concerning the promotion and protection of human rights when combating terrorism, requested Kalliopi Koufa to update the preliminary framework draft of principles and guidelines based on the discussions of the working group; and recommended to the Human Rights Council that consideration be given, in its review of the system of expert advice, to the continuation of the working group in order to ensure the continuation of the work.

- on human rights and the human genome, decided to request the Special Rapporteur, Antoanella-Iulia Motoc, to submit a final report on human rights and the human genome.

- on the protection of civilians during armed conflicts, recommended that regional preparatory expert meetings be held with a view to providing the conference of the High Contracting Parties with lessons learned from recent conflicts, both of a national and international character, in different parts of the world and with suggestions to remedy both protection and monitoring gaps.

Implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 2006/102


Under this agenda item, the Sub-Commission adopted a measure:

- on the implementation of Human Rights Council decision 2006/102 and other related issues, recommending that a Human Rights Consultative Committee, which would be a standing, collegial, independent expert advice body, could be instrumental in enabling the Human Rights Council to gain the legitimacy that in recent times was claimed to be lacking the performance of the former Commission on Human Rights.

Adoption of the Report

Under this agenda item, the Sub-Commission approved the draft report of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights on its fifty-eighth session.


Membership of the Sub-Commission

The members and alternates (*) of the Sub-Commission are Miguel ALFONSO MARTÍNEZ, * Juan Antonio FERNÁNDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba); Gudmundur ALFREDSSON. * Jakob MÖLLER (Iceland); José BENGOA (Chile); Gáspár BÍRÓ (Hungary); Marc BOSSUYT (Belgium); CHEN Shiqiu, *LIU Xinsheng (China); Mohamed Habib CHERIF, *Habib ACHOUR (Tunisia); Chin-Sung CHUNG, *Ji-ah PAIK (Republic of Korea); Emmanuel DECAUX, *Michèle PICARD (France); Rui Baltazar DOS SANTOS ALVES, *Cristiano DOS SANTOS (Mozambique); El-Hadji GUISSÉ (Senegal); Françoise Jane HAMPSON (United Kingdom); Vladimir KARTASHKIN, * Oleg MALGUINOV (Russian Federation); Kalliopi KOUFA, * Nikolaos ZAIKOS (Greece); Antoanella-Iulia MOTOC, * Victoria SANDRU-POPESCU (Romania); Florizelle O’CONNOR (Jamaica); Paulo Sérgio PINHEIRO, * Marília SARDENBERG ZELNER GONÇALVES (Brazil); Lalaina RAKOTOARISOA (Madagascar); David RIVKIN, *Lee A. CASEY (United States); Ibrahim SALAMA, * Amani KANDIL (Egypt); Abdul SATTAR, *Khalid Aziz BABAR (Pakistan); Soli Jehangir SORABJEE (India); Janio Iván TUÑÓN VEILLES, *Carmina CASIS CRESPO (Panama); N.U.O. WADIBIA-ANYANWU, * Christy Ezim MBONU (Nigeria); Halima Embarek WARZAZI (Morocco); and Yozo YOKOTA and * Yoko HAYASHI (Japan).

The Chairperson of the fifty-seventh session was Marc Bossuyt. Vice-Chairpersons were Chin-Sung Chung, Antoanella-Iulia Motoc, and Miguel Alfonso Martinez. The Rapporteur was Mohamed Habib Cherif.
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