UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS 13 RESOLUTIONS, APPOINTS 13 NEW MANDATE
HOLDERS AND EXTENDS EIGHT MANDATES


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Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON
18 June 2008

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 13 resolutions on a range of issues, including the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, the promotion on the right of peoples to peace, and elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy. It appointed 13 new mandate holders on freedom of expression, health, racial discrimination, trafficking in persons, people of African descent, arbitrary detention, Haiti, indigenous peoples and minority issues, and extended the mandates of eight Special Procedures on extrajudicial executions, education, independence of judges, transnational corporations, torture, migrants, extreme poverty and trafficking in persons. The Council also adopted a resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

The Council appointed 13 new mandate holders, including the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination xenophobia and related intolerance; and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children. It also appointed five members of the Expert Mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples, a member of the Working Group on people of African descent, a member of the Working Group on arbitrary detention, the Chairperson of the Forum on minority issues and the Independent Expert appointed by the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Haiti.

The Council extended for three years the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, the Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty, and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

The Council adopted the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and recommended that the General Assembly adopts and opens for signature, ratification and accession the Optional Protocol at a signing ceremony in Geneva in March 2009.

On the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, the Council stressed the importance of preserving the rich and diverse nature of the international community of nations and peoples, and urged all actors on the international scene to build an international order based on inclusion, justice, peace, equality and equity, human dignity, mutual understanding and promotion of and respect for cultural diversity and universal human rights, and to reject all doctrines of exclusion based on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

Concerning the promotion on the right of peoples to peace, the Council stressed that peace was a vital requirement for the promotion and protection of all human rights for all, and requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to convene, before April 2009, a three-day workshop on the right of peoples to peace, with the participation of two experts from countries of each of the five regional groups, in order to further clarify the content and scope of this right.

On the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, the Council called upon Governments to take effective measures to eliminate any type of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, including awareness-raising.

On the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the Council condemned the ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Myanmar and strongly urged the Government of Myanmar to desist from further politically motivated arrests and to release all political prisoners without delay and without conditions.

Speaking as a concerned country was Myanmar.

Speaking to introduce the resolutions, or in a general comment, or in an explanation of the vote before the vote, or in an explanation of the vote after the vote were Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sweden, Egypt, Portugal, Cuba, Slovenia, Hungary, Norway, India, South Africa, Jordan, Denmark, Mexico, France, Germany, Japan, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Russian Federation, Malaysia and China.

Speaking as observer States were Algeria, Sudan, Denmark, Turkey, Australia, Thailand, Syria and Morocco.

Speaking after the appointment of mandate holders were Uruguay, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Guatemala and Portugal. The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Amnesty International, International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development, Indian Council of South America, and Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru.

The ninth regular session of the Human Rights Council will be held from 8 to 26 September 2008.


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

Action on Resolution on Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Change

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.2/Rev.1/Corr.1) on an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted without a vote, the Council adopts the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights annexed to the present resolution; recommends that the General Assembly adopts and opens for signature, ratification and accession the Optional Protocol, at a signing ceremony in Geneva in March 2009. [The annexed Optional Protocol provides that “a State Party to the Covenant that becomes a Party to the present Protocol recognizes the competence of the Committee to receive and consider communications as provided for by the provisions of the present Protocol. Communications may be submitted by or on behalf of individuals or groups of individuals, under the jurisdiction of a State Party, claiming to be victims of a violation of any of the rights set forth in the Covenant by that State Party.”]

JOHN VON KAUFMANN (Canada), in a general comment, said that as a State party to both of the basic Covenants, Canada was committed to the full protection of civil, political, and economic, social and cultural rights. All rights were seen as equal. Some of the rights in the International Covenant on Economical, Social and Cultural Rights were set out in such broad and vague terms that they could not be sought out in legal terms. The text that emerged made it difficult for Canada to become a State party to the Optional Protocol. An a la carte approach would have made things easier. Canada would however join the consensus in order to permit the adoption of the Optional Protocol.

MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan), in a general comment, wanted to correct two fallacies heard earlier today: (a) that the text of the Optional Protocol was agreed on April 4, 2008; and (b) that restricted consultations were held to resolve differences. The fact was that the text was ‘open’ when it was referred to the Council; and open-ended consultations were held to address the remaining issues. The initial draft of the text of Article 2 of the Optional Protocol presented to the Council had a legal lacuna. It had now been removed. Their preference would have been a generic reference to all rights and obligation set forth in the Covenant. Pakistan thanked Portugal and the co-sponsors of the draft resolution and all other delegations who understood Pakistan’s rational and helped facilitate a compromise.

Pakistan’s recognition for agreement on the inclusion of “any of the economic, social and cultural rights” in Articles 2 and 11 was based on the following: the right of self-determination was jus cogens- a peremptory norm of international law. The obligation to implement this right was integrated with other provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and international law; realization of the right to self-determination was an essential condition for the effective guarantee and observance of individual human rights. For this reason, this right was enshrined as a principle in Article 1 (2) and Article 55 of the United Nations Charter and written as a right in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Economic, social and cultural rights in the Covenant were an integral part of the right to self-determination; it was thus not just a political right, but also an economic, social and cultural right; the Optional Protocol was a Protocol to the entire International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and not to any part, as it was evident from the title of the Optional Protocol. Restrictive references to the specific parts of the Covenant, if any, did not derogate other rights set forth in the Covenant; or the right to invoke them. The rights in Part I of the Covenant and encompassed further in the Optional Protocol remained non-derogable and operative.

ERLINDA F. BASILIO (Philippines), in a general comment, said it had concerns on the draft Optional Protocol. The Philippines reserved its right to enunciate its concerns at the General Assembly. It would not block the adoption of the Optional Protocol and its transmission to the General Assembly.

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

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.4/Rev.1) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, adopted without a vote, the Council commends the important role the Special Rapporteur plays towards the elimination of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; requests the Special Rapporteur, inter alia, to continue to examine situations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in all circumstances and for whatever reason and to submit her or his findings on an annual basis; to enhance further his or her dialogue with Governments, as well as to follow up on recommendations; to continue monitoring the implementation of existing international standards on safeguards and restrictions relating to the imposition of capital punishment; to apply a gender perspective to his work; urges States to cooperate and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his task; and decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for three years.

HANS DAHLGREN (Sweden), introducing the resolution, said the sponsors had agreed to make final revisions. The negotiations had been important on this essential human rights subject. It was the first time a resolution like this one had been presented. It was hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus. Considerable effort was taken to take into account as many comments as possible. The result was a very standard text on the review, rationalization and improvement process of the mandate. Sweden believed the text to be as consensus-oriented as possible. There were the usual references to reporting obligations both to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. There were references to the important co-operation between the mandate and States. There was the decision to look at this issue again in conformity with the Council’s Programme of Work.

OMAR SHALABY (Egypt), in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the African Group, said that the African Group supported the extension of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings. Extrajudicial killings were among the worst forms of human rights violations. The text failed to examine killings during armed conflict and targeting of civilians. The African Group deplored the attempts to consider these killings as peripheral. It also deplored that other killings were not included in the mandate. The application of the death penalty continued to be considered in the mandate. There was no review, rationalization, or improvement of this mandate. The African Group requested that its views were reflected in meeting records. It would reluctantly join the consensus.

IMRAN AHMED SIDDIQUI (Pakistan), in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said that they considered the mandate of the Special Rapporteur to be important and there was no disagreement on human rights, especially the right to life. They rejected an attempt to include issues not linked to extrajudicial executions, summary or arbitrary killings during the drafting of the resolution. The Organization of the Islamic Conference was willing to join the consensus on the draft resolution.

Action on Resolution on Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Right to Education

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.5) on the right to education, adopted without a vote as orally amended, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education for a period of three years, inter alia, to gather, request, receive and exchange information from all relevant sources on the realization of the right to education and on obstacles limiting effective access to education, and to make recommendations on appropriate measures to promote and protect the right to education; to intensify efforts aimed at identifying ways and means to overcome obstacles and difficulties in the realization of the right to education; to make recommendations that could contribute to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals, and in particular goals 2 and 3; to cooperate with the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the International Labour Organization, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, other special rapporteurs, representatives, experts and members of working groups of the Human Rights Council, and other relevant United Nations bodies, including human rights treaty bodies, and regional organizations, as well as to pursue the dialogue with the World Bank; and to report to the Council on a yearly basis, in accordance with the Council’s programme of work, and to report yearly to the General Assembly on an interim basis.

FRANCISCO XAVIER ESTEVES (Portugal), introducing draft resolution L5 on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, said that the draft was built on the same subject that had been adopted by the Commission and would be the first text on the right to education adopted by the Council. The mandate helped the worldwide promotion of the right to education, especially assessing and addressing educational needs in emergency situations. This right had to be ensured and be provided without discrimination. The draft aimed at extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for another three years. It was noted that States from all regional groups had registered for sponsorship. It was their hope that the Council would adopt this resolution by consensus.

Action on Resolution on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.6) on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, adopted with a vote of 32 in favour, 13 against, and 2 abstentions, the Council stresses the importance of preserving the rich and diverse nature of the international community of nations and peoples; urges all actors on the international scene to build an international order based on inclusion, justice, peace, equality and equity, human dignity, mutual understanding and promotion of and respect for cultural diversity and universal human rights, and to reject all doctrines of exclusion based on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; expresses its rejection of unilateralism and stresses its commitment to multilateralism and multilaterally agreed solutions as the only reasonable method of addressing international problems; urges States to continue their efforts towards the establishment of a democratic and equitable international order; requests the human rights treaty bodies, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to pay due attention, within their respective mandates, to the present resolution and to make contributions towards its implementation; and requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of Member States, United Nations organs, bodies and components, intergovernmental organizations, in particular the Bretton Woods institutions, and non-governmental organizations and to disseminate it on the widest possible basis.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (32): Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Zambia.

Against (13): Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Abstentions (2): Ghana and Mexico.


RAFAEL GARCIA COLLADA (Cuba), introducing the draft resolution, said that this was the first time the Council was taking on such a resolution. When the Council adopted this resolution it would reject unilateralism and underscore multilateralism in keeping with international law, likewise, the importance of establishing an international order based on the promotion and respect of cultural diversity and human rights. In the recent bilateral consultations they deemed it necessary to continue to carry out this work in line with the United Nations Charter and international law. Cuba hoped that with the adjustments made to the resolution thus far that it would be adopted with as much support from all States as possible. This would send a response for justice, equal opportunity, freedom and the ability to participate without discrimination to all people.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union continued to believe that some of the issues raised in this resolution were important. The European Union believed, however, that those issues went beyond both the mandate and the competence of the Human Rights Council and they would be more effectively dealt with in other fora. Also some of the rights mentioned in the resolution were not established in any existing international human rights instruments. For this reason the European Union called on for a vote on the resolution and would vote against it.

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

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.7) 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 for a period of three years, and requests the Special Rapporteur, inter alia: to inquire into any substantial allegations transmitted to him or her and to report his or her conclusions and recommendations thereon; to identify and record not only attacks on the independence of the judiciary, lawyers and court officials but also progress achieved in protecting and enhancing their independence, and make concrete recommendations, including the provision of advisory services or technical assistance when they are requested by the State concerned; to identify ways and means to improve the judicial system, and make concrete recommendations thereon; to study important and topical questions of principle with a view to protecting and enhancing the independence of the judiciary and lawyers and court officials; and to report regularly to the Council, and annually to the General Assembly. The Council calls upon Governments to give serious consideration to responding favourably to the requests of the Special Rapporteur to visit their countries, and urges them to enter into a constructive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur with respect to the follow-up to and implementation of his or her recommendations; and requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide all the assistance to the Special Rapporteur necessary for the effective fulfilment of the mandate.

ORSOLYA TOTH (Hungary), introducing the draft resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said that the resolution recognized that an independent and impartial judiciary, an independent legal profession and the integrity of the judicial system were essential prerequisites for the protection of human rights and for ensuring that there was no discrimination in the administration of justice. The core of it was the review and renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. Hungary held three rounds of informal consultations as well as a meeting with the current mandate holder. It took the original mandate as a starting point. Hungary thanked co-sponsors and all States involved in the negotiations.

Action on Resolution on Mandate of Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.8) on the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, adopted without a vote as orally amended, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Representative for a period of three years, and requests the Special Representative, inter alia: to provide views and concrete and practical recommendations on ways to strengthen the fulfilment of the duty of the State to protect all human rights from abuses by, or involving, transnational corporations and other business enterprises; to elaborate further on the scope and content of the corporate responsibility to respect all human rights and to provide concrete guidance to business and other stakeholders; to explore options and make recommendations for enhancing access to effective remedies available to those whose human rights are impacted by corporate activities; to integrate a gender perspective throughout his work and to give special attention to persons belonging to vulnerable groups, in particular children; to identify, exchange and promote best practices and lessons learned on the issue of transnational corporations and other business enterprises, in coordination with the efforts of the human rights Working Group of the United Nations Global Compact; and to report annually to the Council and the General Assembly. The Council also requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize, within the framework of the Council, a two-day consultation bringing together the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, States, business representatives and all relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations and representatives of victims of corporate abuse, in order to discuss ways and means to operationalize the framework, and to submit a report on the meeting to the Council, in accordance with its programme of work.

MUNU MAHAWAR (India), introducing the resolution L8 on the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, said the sponsors recognized the need to operationalize the framework. The mandate holder needed to provide a concrete framework and they called on States and other stakeholders to cooperate fully with the mandate. The final text was a result of several open-ended consultations and bilateral meetings. These consultations have greatly enriched the text. They hoped that in this context the resolution would be adopted by consensus.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, said the European Union was looking forward to the adoption of this resolution. It looked forward to the continuation of this mandate. It put on record its views on the duty of States to protect and the corporate responsibility to respect referred to in the resolution. Only States had obligations under human rights law. The extent of this requirement needed careful analysis. The European Union understood references in this mandate to a corporate responsibility to respect to refer to the contractual, moral, voluntary commitment of companies and those who run them may have to ensure their activities do not impact adversely on individuals’ enjoyment of their human rights. The European Union noted that this resolution left open all options for the direction of future work and looked forward to participating fully in future initiatives.

PITSO MONTWEDI (South Africa), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that South Africa acknowledged and appreciated the work of the Special Representative on human rights and transnational corporations. He had helped to acknowledge several important facts such as the primary responsibility of States in the promotion and protection of human rights as well as the duty of international corporations to protect human rights. He had also noted that it was important to breach the Covenant’s gaps. In South Africa’s view it was time to expand the mandate. On the resolution, it was believed that the terms of reference of the mandate, though intended to reinvigorate the mandate, in essence things were still kept in the actual form. The actual text could not effectively breach the Covenant’s gaps. South Africa was of the view that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General should be requested to draft a coherent, comprehensive legal instrument to breach the identified Covenant gaps. As all of their constructive proposals had not resonated in the current draft, South Africa could not join consensus on this text. At a country level they would however continue to work constructively with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General as previously and would continue to address the issue in their country.

Action on Resolution on Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.9) on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for a further period of three years, inter alia, to seek, receive, examine and act on information regarding issues and alleged cases concerning torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; to conduct country visits with the consent or at the invitation of Governments; to study, in a comprehensive manner, trends, developments and challenges in relation to combating and preventing torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to make recommendations and observations concerning appropriate measures to prevent and eradicate such practices; and to report on his or her activities to the Council and annually on the overall trends and developments with regard to his or her mandate to the General Assembly. The Council welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur (A/HRC/7/3) and the recommendations contained therein; and urges States, inter alia: not to expel, return, extradite or in any other way transfer a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture; to ensure that victims of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment obtain redress and are awarded fair and adequate compensation and receive appropriate socio-medical rehabilitation; and reminds States, inter alia, that prolonged incommunicado detention or detention in secret places may facilitate the perpetration of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and can in itself constitute a form of such treatment; and, recognizing the global need for international assistance to victims of torture, stresses the importance of the work of the Board of Trustees of the Fund and appeals to all Governments, organizations and individuals to contribute annually to the Fund.

MARIE-LOUISE OVERVAD (Denmark), introducing resolution L9 on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, said that this was the first opportunity for the Human Rights Council to adopt such an important resolution; it extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for a further period of three years; and it defined terms of reference for the mandate allowing the mandate-holder to continue the various activities that had characterized the mandate. The Special Rapporteur was asked to seek, receive, examine and act on information from all relevant sources regarding issues and alleged cases concerning torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. He should cooperate with all relevant actors and States were requested to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur.

In addition the resolution outlined a number of fundamental principles and standards States had to comply with in the fight against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In this context the Council reaffirmed its commitment to the many resolutions on the subject which were adopted by consensus. As a new element, States were urged “to implement effective measures to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including education and training for personnel, who may be involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment. Denmark believed the resolution was an improved version compared to the one initially proposed.

MOUSA BURAYZAT (Jordan), speaking in a general comment, said Jordan fully supported the resolution and the mandate. The Jordanian delegation wanted to bring to the President’s attention important information regarding non-compliance about the current mandate holder. Jordan asked that the information be acted upon as early as possible and prior to the eventual identification of the holder of this mandate.

Action on Resolution on the Promotion of the Right of Peoples to Peace

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.13) on the promotion of the right of peoples to peace, adopted with a vote of 32 in favour, 13 against, and 2 abstentions, the Council, stressing that peace is a vital requirement for the promotion and protection of all human rights for all, requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to convene, before April 2009, a three-day workshop on the right of peoples to peace, with the participation of two experts from countries of each of the five regional groups, in order to further clarify the content and scope of this right; to propose measures that raise awareness of the importance to realize this right; and to suggest concrete actions to mobilize States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in the promotion of the right of peoples to peace. The Council also requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to select as soon as possible those 10 experts, through consultations with States and relevant stakeholders; to timely extend an invitation to those experts in order to attend the workshop and actively participate in it, including by presenting discussion papers on the subjects identified; and to report on the outcome of the workshop to the Council at its eleventh regular session to be held in June 2009.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (32):Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Zambia.

Against (13):Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Abstentions (2):India and Mexico.


YURI GALA (Cuba), introducing the resolution L13 on the promotion of the right of peoples to peace, said that Cuba wanted to provide continuity to the past efforts. This draft reiterated important formulas, including novel elements with a proactive focus. Resolution 39/11 on the declaration on the right of peoples to peace, which was adopted by the General Assembly, said people had the right to peace and life with the primordial prerequisite of well being and enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and rights and the people of the planet had a scared right to peace. It was established that before April 2009 a workshop should be convened on the right of peoples to peace. The draft put forth was a result of informal consultations which were conducted by the delegation of Cuba in a constructive manner; in addition to the countries mentioned in the draft, another 15 States have added themselves to the list as sponsors. Further, Cuba noted a desire for the draft resolution to be adopted by as much support as possible, sending a strong commitment to peoples on their right to peace.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union supported some principles and recognized the linkages between peace and the enjoyment of human rights. But it believed that the issues raised in the resolution were best dealt with in other fora. The draft resolution omitted to state that the absence of peace could not justify failure to respect human rights. It noted with interest that the draft resolution foresaw the holding of a workshop of experts to clarify the contents. The European Union could not support the draft resolution and requested a vote on it. The European Union would vote against it.

Action on Resolution on Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.14) on the human rights of migrants: mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend for a period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, with the following functions: to examine ways and means to overcome the obstacles existing to the full and effective protection of the human rights of migrants, recognizing the particular vulnerability of women, children and those undocumented or in an irregular situation; to request and receive information from all relevant sources, including migrants themselves, on violations of the human rights of migrants and their families; to formulate appropriate recommendations to prevent and remedy violations of the human rights of migrants, wherever they may occur; to promote the effective application of relevant international norms and standards on the issue; to recommend actions and measures applicable at the national, regional and international levels to eliminate violations of the human rights of migrants; to take into account a gender perspective when requesting and analysing information, and to give special attention to the occurrence of multiple discrimination and violence against migrant women; to give particular emphasis to recommendations on practical solutions with regard to the implementation of the rights relevant to the mandate, including by identifying best practices and concrete areas and means for international cooperation; and to report regularly to the Council, according to its annual programme of work, and to the General Assembly, at the request of the Council or the Assembly.

LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA (Mexico), introducing the resolution, said that with the adoption of this resolution the Council would be reaffirming the importance of the rights of migrants in a multilateral approach. Mexico thanked all delegations who participated in consultations on the text and for providing this opportunity. They also thanked the Special Rapporteur who had seen these rights extended, recognizing the particular vulnerability of women, children and those who were in an irregular situation without documentation. The rights of migrants had become more visible and promoting existing formulas and ways to improve international cooperation and to address gaps were part of the goals set forth by the draft. On behalf of the co-authors and other co-sponsors, Mexico hoped the Council would approve the draft resolution without a vote.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union was fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights of all. It also believed that States were responsible for protecting the rights of migrant workers. Addressing both challenges and opportunities of migration for the benefit of all was one of the major priorities for the European Union at the start of the twenty-first century. Migration was a complex phenomenon and a shared responsibility for all. The European Union believed that the Human Rights Council was an adequate space for engaging in a fruitful debate on the matter between United Nations Member States. The European Union would support the renewal of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and would join the consensus.

Action on Resolution on Mandate of Independent Expert on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.16) on human rights and extreme poverty, adopted without a vote, as orally amended, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty for a period of three years, in order to, inter alia: further examine the relationship between the enjoyment of human rights and extreme poverty; identify alternative approaches for removing all obstacles, including institutional ones, at the national, regional and international, public, corporate and societal levels to the full enjoyment of human rights for all people living in extreme poverty; identify the most efficient measures taken to promote the full enjoyment of human rights of persons living in extreme poverty; make recommendations on how persons living in extreme poverty can participate in the process towards the full enjoyment of their human rights and the sustainable improvement of their quality of life, including through the empowerment and resource mobilization at all levels; develop cooperation with other United Nations bodies dealing with human rights and that are also active in the area of the fight against extreme poverty; participate in the assessment of the implementation of the Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, the goals contained in the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus, and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development; work on the impact of discrimination on extreme poverty; pay particular attention to the situation and empowerment of women in extreme poverty; pay particular attention to children living in extreme poverty, as well as to the most vulnerable groups; submit recommendations that could contribute to the realization of Millennium Development Goals, and in particular of goal 1; and continue participating in and contributing to relevant international conferences and events with the aim of promoting the reduction of extreme poverty. The Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to give high priority to the question of the relationship between extreme poverty and human rights and invites it to pursue further work in this area, integrating and cooperating fully with the Independent Expert in the various activities, notably the Social Forum and the consultation on the draft guiding principles on extreme poverty; and requests the Independent Expert to submit an annual report on the implementation of the present resolution to the General Assembly and the Council.

JEAN-BAPTISTE MATTEI (France), introducing resolution L16 on the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty, said that the draft resolution had 72 co-sponsors. It included a number of proposals and was the result of many difficult challenges and cooperation to overcome these challenges. Paragraph 8 indicated that extreme poverty affected all countries despite their economic and social environment; therefore no country was spared. The Millennium Declaration established at the Millennium Summit provided objectives and indicated that half the world’s population lived on less than 1 dollar a day. This resolution expressed the Council’s concern with the insufficient progress achieved. The resolution would attach importance to people living in extreme poverty and helping them to participate in all parts of their lives, economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights. The draft would help to remove obstacles of people living in extreme poverty in an effort to improve their rights especially children and people in the most vulnerable groups of society. Further they hoped that the Council adopted the resolution with consensus.

PITSO MONTWEDI (South Africa), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the question of extreme poverty and hunger presented a major challenge to developing countries. The daily suffering should be recognised as a legitimate plight. The definition of poverty should include fundamental issues, such as national inclusion and racial discrimination. It was recalled that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the Durban Declaration had already declared hunger as being a human rights violations. Helping communities living in extreme poverty was not a hollow process; there was the need to provide for their empowerment. It was necessary that the Special Rapporteur should look into how to improve the quality of life of people living in poverty. The outcomes South Africa regarded as fundamental were the Vienna and Durban Declarations and Programme of Action. South Africa was unable to join the consensus and dissociated itself from the process of adoption of the resolution.

Action on Resolution on Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.17) on the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, adopted without a vote, the Council expresses concern at the high number of persons, especially women and children, in particular from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, who are being trafficked to developed countries; the use of new information technologies for the purposes of exploitation of the prostitution of others and for child pornography, as well as for trafficking in women as brides and for sex tourism; and the high level of impunity enjoyed by traffickers and their accomplices. The Council urges Governments, inter alia, to take appropriate measures to address the root factors, including external factors, that encourage trafficking in persons for prostitution and other forms of commercialized sex, forced marriages and forced labour, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs, including by strengthening existing legislation or by considering the enactment of anti-trafficking legislation and the adoption of national plans of action. It decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, for a period of three years, in order to, inter alia, promote the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and the adoption of measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims; request, receive and exchange information on trafficking in persons from Governments, treaty bodies, special procedures, specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations and other relevant sources and to respond effectively to reliable information on alleged human rights violations with a view to protecting the human rights of actual or potential victims of trafficking; and to report annually, starting in 2009, on the implementation of the present resolution to the Council and the General Assembly. The Council also requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit to the Council, at its ninth session, a report on the latest developments in the United Nations relating to combating trafficking in persons as well as on the activities of the Office on this issue, including by presenting the recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Human Trafficking developed by the Office.

ERLINDA F. BASILIO (Philippines), introducing the draft resolution L17 on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, said that the delegations of Germany and the Philippines included a shared and constructive dialogue throughout the process. They expressed appreciation to delegations who contributed efforts. There was an urgent need to enhance cooperative efforts. The mandate could play a critical role by highlighting the human rights elements in the problem and including stakeholders in the process. The Philippines and Germany requested the mandate to apply a gender and AIDS sensitive approach and to focus on practical solutions to enhance the implementation of efforts. They further expressed hope that the Council could send the strong message to the world in adopting the draft resolution by consensus.

REINHARD SCHWEPPE (Germany), introducing the draft resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, said it was based on the previous decisions of the Commission on Human Rights and the General Assembly. The extensive consultations on the resolution demonstrated a broad consensus on the mandate’s extension. The mandate would continue to deepen the common understanding on the human rights challenges ahead, the best practices as well as obstacles to prevent trafficking in persons and to uphold and protect the human rights of victims. The mandate was also tasked to promote the effective application of relevant international norms and standards. The mandate was results-oriented. The co-sponsors thanked all delegates for the constructive engagement.

Resolution on Elimination of Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy and Their Family Members

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.18) on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon Governments to take effective measures to eliminate any type of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, including awareness-raising; requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to include the issue of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members as an important matter in its human rights education and awareness-promotion activities; also requests OHCHR to collect information on the measures that Governments have taken to eliminate discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, and, if extrabudgetary funding is available, to hold a meeting to exchange views among relevant actors and to submit a report to the Council and the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee; requests the Advisory Committee to examine the report referred to, and to formulate a draft set of principles and guidelines to eliminate discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, and to submit it to the Council for its consideration by September 2009; and decides to consider this issue based on these reports submitted to the Council in September 2009.

AKIO ISOMATA (Japan), introducing the resolution, said that leprosy was one of the world’s oldest and most dreadful diseases. New therapies existed. Fear of leprosy remained deeply rooted. As ignorance and misunderstanding persisted and resulted in prejudice patients of this disease though curable, and even after they were cured, as well as their families, suffered from discrimination, even limiting opportunities for education, employment and marriage. The resolution consisted of four pillars: that discrimination against leprosy affected people and could give rise to a violation of human rights, that Governments should take effective measures to eliminate discrimination, that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights be requested to include this issue in its human rights education and awareness activities, and that the Advisory Committee draft guidelines and principles. Japan presented two oral revisions.

Explanations of the Vote after the Vote on the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights

MERCY YVONNE AMOAH (Ghana), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that Ghana wanted to make a correction regarding their vote on resolution L6 on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order. Their intention had been to vote in favour, but they had erroneously pushed the abstention button.

TETSUYA KIMURA (Japan), in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that with regards to the draft resolution on the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Japan wanted to express its thanks to Portugal for accommodating all the views of participates in finalizing the draft resolution, however, it also expressed concern that the amendments were made after adoption of the Working Group without consultations of countries concerned. Japan did not object to the resolution.

With regards to the resolution on the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations, Japan recognized that human rights were becoming an important issue with the increased globalization of transnational corporations’ activities and thus joined in the consensus on the draft. Further, they noted that budgetary allocations could be made towards a contingency fund.

Action on Resolution on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention

Action on Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar

In a resolution (A/HRC/8/L.12) on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, adopted without a vote, as orally amended, the Council condemns the ongoing systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Myanmar; strongly urges the Government of Myanmar to desist from further politically motivated arrests and to release all political prisoners without delay and without conditions; calls upon the Government to fully implement the commitments it has made to the Secretary-General on granting immediate, full and unhindered access by relief workers to all persons in need throughout the country, to cooperate fully with all humanitarian organizations, in particular in the Irrawaddy Delta, to refrain from sending people back to areas where they cannot have access to emergency relief and to ensure that return is voluntary and occurs in safety and with dignity; condemns the recruitment of child soldiers into both the Government armed forces, contrary to its international obligations, and non-State armed groups and calls for an absolute and immediate stop of this appalling activity; calls for a full, transparent and effective, impartial and independent investigation into all reports of human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment, forced labour and forced displacement and for bringing those responsible to justice in order to end impunity for violations of human rights; strongly calls on the Government to engage in a real process of dialogue and national reconciliation with the full and genuine participation of representatives of all political parties and ethnic groups who have been excluded from the political process; expresses its strong support for the good-offices mission of the Secretary-General, and encourages the Government of Myanmar to take early steps to admit his Special Representative on Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, to facilitate a genuine and inclusive political process; strongly urges the Government to receive, as soon as possible, the Special Rapporteur and to cooperate fully with him to implement the recommendations contained in his reports, as well as Council resolutions S-5/1, 6/33 and 7/31; and requests the Special Rapporteur to report to the Council on the fulfilment of his mandate, and in particular, on the implementation of its relevant resolutions.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia) introducing the resolution on behalf of the European Union, said it was with regret that the European Union brought this resolution to the Human Rights Council. Previous resolutions remained unimplemented. Many political prisoners remained in detention. The constitutional referendum in Myanmar was held in complete disregard of basic standards for free and fair elections in an atmosphere of sever intimidation, clearly denying rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. No effort had been made to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of the violent crackdown on peaceful mass demonstrations last September. The Council needed to send a strong signal of concern regarding this serious situation if this body was to be considered credible. The European Union had held two rounds of open-ended informal consultations on the draft resolution. Based on them, the co-sponsors had decided to include a number of changes. The European Union hoped, given the revisions, that the resolution would be adopted by consensus.

SWASHPAWAN SINGH (India), in a general comment, said that India found the initiative untimely, and its tone condemnatory and intrusive. The Council had already recently adopted three resolutions on Myanmar, in addition to extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. The county had been further hit by a devastating cyclone. India had been one of the first countries to have rushed help to the country. It was hoped that the international community would engage in the relief and help work without politicisation. Myanmar was wished well in its efforts. The mission of the United Nations Special Envoy was supported. The Special Rapporteur had recently indicated that he had been unable to conduct his mission yet. Given all these facts, it was believed that the resolution’s condemnatory and intrusive tone would only undermine efforts to build a constructive atmosphere of collaboration. India therefore dissociated itself from consideration of the resolution. Construction rather than condemnation was needed.

ERLINDA F. BASILIO (Philippines), in a general comment, said that the Philippines wished to see more progress on the democratization process in Myanmar. They noted that there had been steps taken by the Government of Myanmar to further progress in democratization of the country. They were of the view that the Council and the Government of Myanmar needed to participate in a more sustained engagement based on constructive dialogue and cooperation between the two. They noted concern to the frequency of strongly worded resolutions at other sessions of the Council. Sufficient time was needed to take note of the developments on the ground and the Council must seek to achieve better standards for a more long-term approach in Myanmar.

IMRAN AHMED SIDDIQUI (Pakistan), in a general comment on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, said the Organization of the Islamic Conference had chosen a non specific approach on human rights and a non politicized manner. There had been several developments in Myanmar. The Organization of the Islamic Conference encouraged the Government of Myanmar to further its steps towards democratization. Myanmar had been affected by the cyclone. The Organization of the Islamic Conference reiterated its call for understanding effects of such disasters.

RAJIVA WIJESINHA (Sri Lanka), in a general comment, said that despite the challenges faced by the Government of Myanmar, it was taking a step by step approach with respect to its roadmap towards democracy. The initiatives taken should be encouraged and recognised by the international community and not be complicated by condemnation. The international community should be guided by the views of Myanmar’s’ neighbours. Frequent and condemnatory resolutions, such as the current one, which was premature and unproductive, would not serve much purpose in the promotion and protection of human rights in Myanmar. Any action should be taken in cooperation and consultation with the Government of Myanmar.

GUSTI AGUNG WESAKA PUJA (Indonesia), in a general comment, said when the Council was established it was based on cooperation and dialogue and this should be taken into account more, especially when a country concerned was at stake such as Myanmar. Human rights were indeed a legitimate aspiration of all people of all nations and governments may neglect that need. It depended on many factors, particularities of a country, history and culture which would in turn affect the ability of countries to accept and engage these efforts. The referendum last month for the Constitution and the seven steps taken in the Road Map were examples of these efforts made by the Government of Myanmar to work towards democratization. Indonesia hoped the Government of Myanmar would take further steps to promote democracy. They urged the Council to continue the genuine and constructive dialogue with Myanmar to help assist the Government’s aim of achieving the fundamental freedoms and principles of human rights in the country.

OLEG MALGINOV (Russian Federation), in a general comment, said this draft resolution was another example of a one-sided approach to resolve complex human rights situations. It did not take into account positive steps taken by Myanmar. It would complicate the activities of the Special Rapporteur. The Russian Federation believed that this initiative was untimely, given the recent natural disaster in the country. It also noted that resolutions on Myanmar at every session of the Human Rights Council devalued resolutions of the Council. The Russian Federation would not join the consensus on the resolution.

MOKTAR IDHAM MUSA (Malaysia), in a general comment, said that Malaysia had always recognised the importance of the rebuilding of democracy in Myanmar, as well as the international community’s role in this. They had also always emphasized that the Council had to play a more meaningful role in this regard. Any action or decision by the Council should aim at facilitating the situation in Myanmar. The present resolution would have been more balanced and forward-looking had it given due cognisance of the important steps forward that had been undertaken in the past months, such as the referendum, and the natural disaster that had struck the country.

QIAN BO (China), in a general comment, said that the Government of Myanmar had made many specific steps in implementing the seven steps of the road map, specifically the referendum last month regarding the adoption of their Constitution. The Government of Myanmar had agreed to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur. The international community should understand the difficult situation this country was in and support them in their aim to achieve their goals set forth.
The resolution did not take forth the constructive ideas put forth by its neighbours, including China.
It was in the international community’s interest to help maintain long-term stability in Myanmar and help the country in a constructive manner achieve these goals.

U. WUNNA MAUNG LWIN (Myanmar), speaking as a concerned country, said the resolution was politically motivated. Powerful States were trying to influence matters through political interference. Cyclone Nargis had affected the country. Myanmar was working with the international community. Myanmar had held a successful referendum. There was high voter turn out. It was a positive trend that showed that the Government was following the road map. Myanmar was considering the request of the Special Rapporteur to visit before the next Human Rights Council session. The international community must recognize the efforts of the Government of Myanmar. The resolution was lopsided and highly exclusive. The powerful States should refrain from using the human rights mechanism for political pressure. Myanmar removed itself from the consensus on the resolution.

Explanation of the Vote after the Vote on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention

AKIO ISOMATA (Japan), in an explanation of the vote after the vote on L12 on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, said that Japan had joined the consensus because, while they believed that the Government of Myanmar had been seriously making efforts, even in the aftermath of cyclone Nargis, and that they had witnessed progress in the acceptance of relief workers, no improvement in the general situation of human rights in the country had been noted. The decision to welcome the Special Rapporteur before the next session of the Human Rights Council was welcomed. Myanmar was strongly urged to improve the human rights situation in the country.

General Comments by Observer States

IDRISS JAZAIRY (Algeria) said that Algeria associated itself with the explanation of Pakistan on the draft resolution on the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The right of peoples to self determination was part of people’s economic, social and cultural rights. Any effort to exclude this right was a step backward; this right bridged the gap between economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights. Algeria in consistency with its principles did its utmost in being non-selective with respect to these rights. The International Covenant was an international law instrument and efforts for political compromise should not supersede international law legality.

ZEHOR HASSAN Sid AHMED MOHAMMED (Sudan) said Sudan had reservations on paragraph 8 of resolution L 16 on human rights and extreme poverty. Sudan stressed the link between human rights and poverty. Also, while trying to politicize the work of the Human Rights Council and before the work of Special Rapporteur had started, another resolution on Myanmar was passed by the Council. Sudan distanced itself from the resolution.

MARIE-LOUISE OVERVAD (Denmark), speaking on L2 on the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, said that Denmark was strongly committed to the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights and to the universality and indivisibility of all human rights. However, they were sceptical about the need to create a complaints mechanism with regard to economic, social and cultural rights. The majority of the rights did not carry a legal nature; therefore they were less suited to form the basis for an individual complaints mechanism. At the end of negotiations, the Optional Protocol did not take due account of all the concerns that had been expressed by some States. It was noted that the text had been reopened for only one key issue in the Council. Denmark would further work on this issue in the General Assembly.

TUGBA SARAYONLU ETENSEL (Turkey) said that with respect to draft resolution L2 on the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Turkey was fully committed to the rights set forth in the Covenant. Turkey thanked the delegation of Portugal for the initiative. Following a challenging compromise, the opt-out approach should be expanded in Part II. Turkey would have liked to have consultations on the amendments made. Turkey expressed deep concern with the amended Article 2 and urged that consultations should be more transparent and cooperative. They regretted that the text which reflected a sensitive balance had been changed. Turkey concurred with a number of other delegations that the right set forth in Part I could not be evoked through an individual complaints mechanism.

SALLY DAWKINS (Australia) said the purpose of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was for a mechanism for individuals to seek redress. It was not for groups.

VIJAVAT ISARABHAKDI (Thailand), speaking about resolution L12 on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, reiterated that Thailand shared the common concerns of all gathered in the Council. The role of the Special Rapporteur in constructively engaging with the Government was supported. However, the resolution should help support the work of and not prejudge the outcome of the Special Rapporteur’s visit. He should also be given adequate time to fulfil his visits. The need to address the broader context was recognized, but it was felt that much in the resolution went beyond the mandate of the Council. With a more inclusive consultation, the resolution would have gained broader support. The amendments to the resolution were however welcomed. It was further hoped that the Government would show its good will and collaborate with the Special Rapporteur and with the Human Rights Council.

ABDULMONEM ANNAN (Syria) said Syria was thankful that the gaps were bridged in the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and thanked Portugal for its efforts. The document was the product of a comprehensive compromise. It was quite deplorable to deny the consequential efforts. This text was neither the property nor the exclusive benefit of any country, it was only one step towards the indivisibility of all rights and their interdependence.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights enshrined the indivisibility and interdependence of rights. Morocco fully supported the Optional Protocol.

Appointment of Mandate Holders

The Human Rights Council adopted candidates for a number of Special Procedure Mandate Holders. They were as follows:

Mr. FRANK WILLIAM LA RUE LEWY (Guatemala), Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

Mr. ANAND GROVER (India), Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

Mr. GITHU MUIGAI (Kenya), Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

Ms. JOY NGOZI EZEILO EMEKEKWUE (Nigeria), Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

Ms. MAYA SAHLI (Algeria), member of the Working Group on people of African descent.

Ms. SHAHEEN SARDAR ALI (Pakistan), member of the Working Group on Arbitrary detention.

Mr. MICHEL FORST (France), Independent Expert appointed by the Secretary General on the situation of human rights in Haiti.

Members of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

Ms. CATHERINE ODIMBA KOMBE (Congo)
Mr. JOSE MENCIO MOLINTAS (Philippines)
Ms. JANNIE LASIMBANG (Malaysia)
Mr. JOSE CARLOS MORALES MORALES (Costa Rica)
Mr. JOHN HENRIKSON (Norway)

And Ms. VIKTORIA MOHASCI (Hungary), Chairperson for the Forum on minority issues.

ALEJANDRO ARTUCIO RODRIGUEZ (Uruguay), speaking on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries, said that they were grateful for the work done by the Advisory Group and thanked the Secretariat for the efforts made. They reiterated their support for the proposed list of candidates as proposed by the President, especially the candidate for the post of Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The independence of Mr. La Rue, who presently occupied no post of authority, as well as his vast knowledge of human rights law as well as his many activities going back many years at the national and international level in the human rights field, were all elements that guaranteed that he would faithfully discharge his mandate, with all required impartiality.

CHANG DONG-HEE (Republic of Korea), said the Republic of Korea wished to make a comment with regards to the Special Procedures mandate holders list. They recognized that this was a difficult task and recognized the pressure in conducting the process. They could not help but note their concerns in the appointment process, which was expressed in the last session and yet remained to be addressed. The candidate for the Special Procedure for trafficking in persons was replaced despite the fact that she was most qualified candidate. This was cause for serious concern. They also recognized that it was the prerogative of the President to present a list. Resolution 6/102 of the Human Rights Council outlined the requirements, criteria and underlined the importance of transparency in the process and only with this method could the process be protected from politicization.

NATALIA ZOLOTOVA (Russian Federation) said the Russian Federation had concerns about the appointment of members to the expert mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples. It thought that appointing five people to that body should respect regional dispositions. There was no member from the European Group in the list adopted. The Russian Federation hoped that this would not form a precedent.

CARLOS RAMIRO MARTINEZ ALVARADO (Guatemala) thanked the consultative group for the nomination of the candidate of Guatemala as Special Rapporteur for the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It was felt that this Council was becoming as politicized and was lacking transparency as much as the former Commission. It was understood that there was a lot of controversy on the beliefs and background of the candidate. There had been a real disinformation campaign about him; it was wondered whether was he Jewish or Catholic, left or right wing, if he was part of the Government or held any other post. There had also been issues of credibility with regard to his report and curriculum. Guatemala was still pleased that he had been selected for the mandate and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries was thanked for its support.

PATRIZIA SCANELLA, of Amnesty International, said that on several occasions Amnesty International had voiced its concern at the Council’s troubling tendency to disregard rules and procedures that it established for itself in resolution 5/1. By rewriting the rules for the selection of Special Procedures, the Council further undermined itself and the credibility of its members. They congratulated the Council for its success in solving a problem that did not exist until a few decided to create it, with the clarification of the rules around the so-called renewal of the Special Procedures mandate holders. They noted that the Council shall extend the term of office for a second three-year term in the absence of information establishing a consistent pattern of non-compliance with the Code of Conduct. The “consistent pattern” standard should ensure that the renewal of a mandate holder could not be blocked in the whim of a State offended when attention was drawn to its alleged human rights violations. Further complaints against mandate holders must be substantiated by reference to the specific articles of the Code of Conduct that have allegedly been breached. They also welcomed the Council’s recognition of the authoritative role of the Coordination Committee in the proper administration of the Code of Conduct, thereby offering due process to mandate holders.

WILTON LITTLECHILD, of International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development, in a joint statement with Assembly of First Nations - National Indian Brotherhood, said he had had the honour to propose the establishment of an expert mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples. It was a great honour to thank the President for his leadership of the Human Rights Council and for the decision to select candidates for the expert mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples. A half day meeting on the rights of indigenous people should be devoted at the next Human Rights Council session.

RONALD BARNES, of the Indian Council of South America, said that the openness of the President during his tenure to meet with indigenous delegations and representatives had been appreciated. It was hoped that he would continue to support them. The High Commissioner was also congratulated for her very good work in supporting indigenous issues. To the appointed experts of the indigenous expert mechanism, it was noted that the existing obligations that were reflected in the international standards and agreements with the indigenous nations of North America had to be fully respected. The group and all other Special Procedures had to be mindful to promote that all relationships that were developed between indigenous peoples and States had to be based upon their full, direct and open participation and constant in developing constitutional relationships or resolving purely international legal and political dispute.

LAZARO PARY, of Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru”, statement was made in French and there was no translation.

JOAO QUEIROS (Portugal) said regarding the question of the mandate holders, it shared the concern of the Republic of Korea. The President had held wide consultations on the institution building package. Not all candidates discussed in the consultations appeared on the final list. The final list should be equally transparent.


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