UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATES ON DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA,
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS, ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES AND SALE OF CHILDREN


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Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON 27 March 2008


Texts also Adopted on Defamation of Religions, Right of Palestinian People
to Self-Determination, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and Right to Food

The Human Rights Council this afternoon decided to extend for three years the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, the Working Group on enforced and involuntary disappearances, and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. It also decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for one year. The Council did not renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Council also adopted texts on the human rights of persons with disabilities; on human rights and arbitrary detention of nationality; on the role of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights; on the right to food; on the situation of human rights in Sudan; on the right of Palestinian people to self-determination; on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan; and on combating defamation of religions.

Of the thirteen resolutions adopted this afternoon, four were adopted by a vote and nine by consensus without a vote.

The resolution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, in which the Council also requested the Special Rapporteur to promote the effective and comprehensive implementation of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, was adopted without a vote.

The resolution extending the mandate of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, in which the Council encouraged the Working Group to promote communication between families of disappeared persons and the Governments concerned, with a view to ensuring that cases were investigated, was adopted without a vote.

The resolution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which also requested the Special Rapporteur to continue, through continuous and constructive dialogue, the analysis of the root causes of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, addressing all the contributing factors, especially the demand factor, was adopted without a vote.

The resolution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in which the Council urged the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to respond favourably to his requests to visit the country and to provide him with all necessary information to enable him to fulfil his mandate, was adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 7 against and 18 abstentions.

The resolution on technical cooperation and advisory services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which did not renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, welcomed the cooperation of the country with the thematic Special Procedures of the Council and its invitations to a number of them, with a view to obtaining tangible improvements on the ground.
The resolution on the situation of human rights in Sudan urged the Government to continue cooperating fully with the Special Rapporteur and to respond favourably to her requests to visit all parts of Sudan and to provide her with all necessary information so as to enable her to fulfil her mandate even more effectively. It also expressed the council’s deep concern at the seriousness of the ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in some parts of Darfur.

With regard to the other decisions taken this afternoon, the Council adopted the resolution on the role of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights by a vote of 41 in favour, none against and 6 abstentions. The resolution on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan was adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against and no abstentions. The resolution on combating defamation of religions was also adopted by a vote of 21 in favour, 10 against and 14 abstentions.

The resolutions on the human rights of persons with disabilities; on human rights and arbitrary detention of nationality; the right to food; the situation of human rights in Sudan; and the right of Palestinian people to self-determination were adopted without a vote.

Speaking as concerned countries were the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Sudan, Israel, Palestine and Syria.

Speaking to introduce the resolutions, or in general comments or explanations of the vote before the vote were Norway, Russian Federation, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan in a national capacity, Pakistan on behalf of the organization of the Islamic Conference, Egypt in a national capacity, Egypt on behalf of the African Group, China, New Zealand, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Poland, Cuba, Sri Lanka, France, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, Slovenia on behalf of the European Union, Japan, Canada, Indonesia, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.

When the Human Rights Council resumes its work at 11 a.m. on Friday, 28 March, it will continue to take action on draft resolutions and decisions tabled during the current session. The Council will conclude its seventh regular session on Friday.


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

Resolution on Mandate of Special Rapporteur on Situation of Human Rights Defenders

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.23) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the Special Procedure on the situation of human rights defenders as a Special Rapporteur for a period of three years, and requests the Special Rapporteur to promote the effective and comprehensive implementation of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms through cooperation and constructive dialogue and engagement with Governments, relevant stakeholders and other interested actors; to study trends, developments and challenges in relation to the exercise of the right of anyone, acting individually or in association with others, to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms; to recommend concrete and effective strategies to better protect human rights defenders through the adoption of a universal approach, and to follow up on these recommendations; to seek, receive, examine and respond to information on the situation and the rights of anyone, acting individually or in association with others, to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms; to integrate a gender perspective throughout the work of the mandate, paying particular attention to the situation of women human rights defenders; and to report regularly to the Council and the General Assembly. The Council urges all Governments to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his/her tasks; and calls upon Governments to give serious consideration to responding favourably to the requests of the Special Rapporteur to visit their countries.

VEBJORN HEINES (Norway), introducing the draft resolution L.23, recalled General Assembly resolution 53/144 of 9 December 1998, by which the Assembly adopted by consensus the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, annexed to that resolution, and reiterated the importance of the Declaration and its promotion and implementation. It also emphasized the important role that individuals and civil society institutions, including non-governmental organizations, groups and national human rights institutions, played in the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. In addition, it took note with appreciation of the significant work conducted by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders and hoped for the renewal the mandate of the special procedure on human rights defenders. A number of revisions were made orally to the draft resolution. In several operative paragraphs, the term “representative” was replaced the word “Special Rapporteur”. Finally, it hoped that this item would be adopted by consensus as had been done in the past.

ALEXEY GOLTYAEV (Russian Federation), in a general comment, said that the Russian Federation recognised the importance and relevance of the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders. The new Special Rapporteur was called to conduct his or her work in accordance with the Code of Conduct. The Norwegian delegation was thanked for their work in drafting the resolution.

MUNU MAHAWAR (India), in a general comment, expressed India’s appreciation of Norway for conducting consultations on this issue which should facilitate the adoption of the draft.

MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN (Bangladesh), in a general comment, thanked the delegation of Norway for conducting the negotiations on this draft resolution in a spirit of openness. Bangladesh was also happy that the delegation had taken on board Bangladesh’s suggestion on the title of the resolution and fully supported this particular draft resolution.

MARGHOOB SALEEM BUTT (Pakistan), in a general comment, echoed the sentiments expressed by other delegations on the very collaborative approach of the Norwegian delegation. It was hoped that other delegations would work in the same kind of constructive approach.

IHAB GAMALELDIN (Egypt), in a general comment, also thanked Norway for its efforts on the way the consultations had been conducted.

KE YOUSHENG (China), in a general comment, also expressed thanks to the Norwegian delegations and said China would join in the consensus on the draft resolution.

Resolution on Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.25) on human rights of persons with disabilities, adopted without a vote, the Council encourages the Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee, and other mechanisms of the Council, to integrate the perspective of persons with disabilities, as appropriate, in carrying out their work and in their recommendations so as to facilitate the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the work of the Council; urges all stakeholders to give consideration to the rights of persons with disabilities at all stages of the Universal Periodic Review, including during the consultations carried out by States at the national level for the preparation of information to be submitted for the Review, so as to include national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations representing persons with disabilities in such consultations; urges Governments to address fully, in consultation with, inter alia, national human rights institutions and organizations of persons with disabilities, the rights of persons with disabilities when fulfilling their reporting obligations under the relevant United Nations human rights instruments; decides to hold an annual interactive debate in one of its regular sessions on the rights of persons with disabilities and that the first such debate should be held at its tenth session, focusing on key legal measures for ratification and effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including with regard to equality and non-discrimination; requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to prepare a thematic study to enhance awareness and understanding of the Convention, focusing on legal measures key for the ratification and effective implementation of the Convention, such as those relating to equality and non-discrimination, in consultation with States, civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities, and national human rights institutions, and requests that the study be available on the OHCHR website, prior to the tenth session of the Council; and invites the Special Rapporteur on disability of the Commission for Social Development to continue cooperating with the Council and to address it on activities undertaken pursuant to his/her mandate.

AMY LAURENSON (New Zealand), introducing the resolution, said that New Zealand was a strong supporter of the rights of persons with disabilities. The resolution was promoting the paradigm shift brought by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The resolution asked Governments to take measures to prevent and prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities and to ensure their participation. It also aimed at raising awareness and recognised the role of the civil society in this regard.

MABEL GOMEZ OLIVER (Mexico), also introducing the draft resolution, said the draft resolution complemented the resolution recently adopted by the General Assembly. It was hoped that the discussion to be held by the Council in March 2009 would lead to the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It was appropriate for future consultations to be action-oriented and to work on the basis of what had been achieved. It was noted that only four ratifications were needed for the Convention to enter into force. Mexico expressed its appreciation to the international community for the efforts made thus far in this regard.

Resolution on Human Rights and Arbitrary Deprivation of Nationality

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.27) on human rights and arbitrary deprivation of nationality, adopted without a vote, the Council recognizes that arbitrary deprivation of nationality on racial, national, ethnic, religious, political or gender grounds is a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms; calls upon all States to refrain from taking discriminatory measures and from enacting or maintaining legislation that would arbitrarily deprive persons of their nationality on grounds of race, colour, gender, religion, political opinion or national or ethnic origin, especially if such measures and legislation render a person stateless; urges all States to adopt and implement nationality legislation with a view to avoiding statelessness, in particular by preventing arbitrary deprivation of nationality and statelessness as a result of State succession; calls upon States that have not already done so to consider accession to the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons; calls upon States to ensure that an effective remedy is available to persons who have been arbitrarily deprived of their nationality; urges the appropriate mechanisms of the Council and the appropriate United Nations treaty bodies and encourages the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to continue to collect information on the issue of human rights and arbitrary deprivation of nationality from all relevant sources and to take account of such information, together with any recommendations thereon, in their reports and activities conducted within their respective mandates; and requests the Secretary-General to collect information on this question from all relevant sources and to make it available to the Council at its tenth session.

SERGEY CHUMAREV (Russian Federation), introducing the resolution, said that this draft resolution was the result of a number of rounds of discussions. From the point of view of international law, this was an attempt to set the norms on human rights law and of stateless people in one document. It ensured the right to citizenship. The Russian Federation hoped that this draft would be adopted without a vote. The resolution would be a basis to combat the arbitrary deprivation of citizenship.

Resolution on Role of Good Governance in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

Following the request by the delegation of Cuba for a separate vote in respect of removing reference to the “Community of Democracies” in preambular paragraphs 6 and 9 in A/HRC/7/L.29, the Council rejected the proposal by a vote of 5 in favour, 27 against and 13 abstentions.


The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (5): China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Russian Federation and Sri Lanka.

Against (27): Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

Abstentions (13): Angola, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Zambia.


In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.29) on the role of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights, adopted by a vote of 41 in favour, none against, and 6 abstentions, the Council welcomes the note by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights transmitting the report on the United Nations Conference on anti-corruption, good governance and human rights, held in Warsaw, on 8 and 9 November 2006; invites States to consider ratifying or acceding to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and to promote transparency, accountability, prevention and enforcement as key principles of anti-corruption efforts; welcomes the publication of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) entitled “Good Governance Practices for the Protection of Human Rights”, and requests OHCHR to prepare a publication on anti-corruption, good governance and human rights, drawing on the results of the Warsaw conference; and decides to continue its consideration of the question of the role of good governance, including the issue of the fight against corruption in the promotion and protection of human rights, at a future session.


The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (41): Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Djibouti, Egypt, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Zambia.

Abstentions (6): Bolivia, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, Russian Federation and Sri Lanka.


ANDRZEJ MISZTAL (Poland), introducing resolution L.29, said that since the year 2000, when the initiative was first introduced before the Commission on Human Rights, Poland had observed a growing recognition of the importance of good governance. The concept was prominently reflected in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals as well as in the road map towards the implementation of the Declaration. Poland believed that good governance was about effective institutions and rules that aimed at improving the lives of people and through that, the strengthening of the promotion and protection of human rights. The present draft was intended to capitalize on the results of the Warsaw Conference on anti-corruption, good governance and human rights held in November 2006. As it had pointed out in the past, the resolution on good governance had traditionally obtained support from a large number of States from all regional groups. The Council should build on this spirit and create a strong cross-regional approach to the issue, based on the common need to improve the situation on the ground wherever in the world it may be. Working with this in mind provided a realistic chance of achieving tangible results. Finally, Poland hoped that this draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.

YURY GALA (Cuba), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that good governance was based on democracy. The association of good governance with the so-called “Community of Democracies” had been imposed by the United States with the aim of marginalizing and isolating certain States, including those that were questioning the activities of the militaristic empire. Cuba would vote against the resolution if the mention of the “Community of Democracies” was not to be taken out of the resolution. Other delegations were called to act in the same line in trying to remove the mention. Cuba had no other objections to the resolution.

RAJIV KUMAR CHANDER (India), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said India supported the applicability of good governance at all levels – international, regional and national. However, good governance practices varied according to the particular circumstances and needs of different societies. It was therefore important that the Council did not advocate or try to impose a one-size-fits-all solution that ignored local specificities and particularities. It was also equally essential that good governance was practiced by international institutions as well.

ALEXEY GOLTYAEV (Russian Federation), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the important matter of human rights and good governance should not be controversial and needed to be adopted by consensus. The Government could not agree with the sponsors of the resolution. The criteria on which this resolution was based was selective and politically motivated. The Russian Federation was therefore of the opinion that the resolution tried to push its view of “correct” governance on other countries and as such it would vote against this particular resolution.

DAYAN JAYATILLEKA (Sri Lanka), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, associated itself to the comments made by India and Russia. A particular grouping should not be singled out; it gave the impression of preferential treatment.

Resolution on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.30) on enforced or involuntary disappearances, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances for a further period of three years, and encourages it, inter alia, to promote communication between families of disappeared persons and the Governments concerned, with a view to ensuring that cases are investigated; to consider the question of impunity in light of the relevant provisions of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances; to pay particular attention to cases of children subjected to enforced disappearance and children of disappeared persons and to cooperate closely with the Governments concerned in searching for and identifying these children; to pay particular attention to cases that are most urgent from a humanitarian perspective and that refer to ill-treatment, serious threatening or intimidation of witnesses of enforced or involuntary disappearances or relatives of disappeared persons; to pay particular attention to cases of disappearance of persons working for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms; to apply a gender perspective; and to submit a regular report on the implementation of its mandate to the Council. The Council urges States, inter alia, to promote and give full effect to the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances; to cooperate with the Working Group and help it to carry out its mandate effectively; to prevent the occurrence of enforced disappearances, including by guaranteeing that any person deprived of liberty is held solely in officially recognized and supervised places of detention, guaranteeing access to all places of detention by authorities and institutions whose competence in this regard has been recognized by the concerned State, maintaining official, accessible, up-to-date registers of detainees, and ensuring that detainees are brought before a judicial authority promptly after detention; and requests the Secretary-General, inter alia, to provide the resources needed to update the database on cases of enforced disappearance.

JEAN-BAPTISTE MATTEI (France), introducing resolution L. 30, said that France was pleased to introduce this mandate. The gravity and persistence of enforced disappearances meant that this mandate was of vital importance. The Working Group had done a commendable job to address these issues and to help the families of victims. Through cooperation with the Working Group, the assistance of victims and their families was made possible. This draft resolution was part of an ongoing process that had begun over three decades ago and would likely culminate in a Convention on Enforced Disappearances. Lastly, France hoped that this resolution would be adopted by consensus and without a vote.

Resolution on Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.35) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years: to consider matters relating to the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; to continue, through continuous and constructive dialogue with Governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society, including non-governmental organizations concerned, the analysis of the root causes of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, addressing all the contributing factors, especially the demand factor; to identify and make concrete recommendations on preventing and combating new patterns of sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; to identify, exchange and promote best practices on measures to combat the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; to continue, in consultation with Governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society, including non-governmental organizations concerned, efforts to promote comprehensive strategies and measures on the prevention the of sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; to make recommendations on the promotion and protection of human rights of children actual or potential victims of sale, prostitution and pornography, as well as on the aspects related to the rehabilitation of child victims of sexual exploitation; to integrate a gender perspective throughout the work of the mandate; to work in close coordination with other relevant bodies and mechanisms of the United Nations, the Committee on the Rights of the Child and, in particular, with other special procedures of the Council, such as the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of efforts; and to submit a report on the implementation of the mandate to the Council. The Council requests all Governments to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur in the performance of the task and duties mandated.

ALEJANDRO ARTUCIO RODRIGUEZ (Uruguay), introducing the draft, said the issues of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography were issues unfortunately on the rise. Uruguay and the co-sponsors were convinced of the need to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years. The draft was the result of broad consultations during which all relevant actors participated and made proposals. The resolution followed the principles of resolution 5/1 as regards enhancement of Special Procedures. In the negotiations, the co-sponsors made every effort to address the concerns of all delegations. There were, hence, oral amendments. Uruguay thanked GRULAC and all the co-sponsors, as well as representatives of civil society, who took part in the negotiations on the draft and made it possible to renew this mandate, which still had a role to play in combating the appalling problems of the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution. Uruguay hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus.

Resolution on the Right to Food

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.6/Rev.1) on the right to food, adopted without a vote, the Council expresses its concern that women and girls are disproportionately affected by hunger, food insecurity and poverty; encourages all States to take action to address gender inequality and discrimination against women, in particular where it contributes to the malnutrition of women and girls; stresses the importance of fighting hunger in rural areas; calls upon States to take special actions to combat the root causes of the disproportionately high level of hunger and malnutrition among indigenous peoples; requests all States and private actors, as well as international organizations, to take fully into account the need to promote the effective realization of the right to food for all; recognizes the need to develop national protection mechanisms for people forced to leave their homes and land because of hunger or natural or man-made disasters affecting the enjoyment of the right to food; stresses that all States should make every effort to ensure that their international policies of a political and economic nature do not have a negative impact on the right to food in other countries; calls upon Member States, the United Nations system and other relevant stakeholders to support national efforts aimed at responding rapidly to the food crises currently occurring across Africa and expresses its deep concern that funding shortfalls are forcing the World Food Programme to cut operations across different regions; invites all relevant international organizations, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to promote policies and projects that have a positive impact on the right to food and to avoid any actions that could have a negative impact; supports the realization of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food as extended for a period of three years by the Council in its resolution 6/2 of 27 September 2007; requests the Advisory Committee to consider potential recommendations for approval by the Council on possible further measures to enhance the realization of the right to food; and decides to convene a panel discussion on the realization of the right to food in the period of its main session of 2009.

YURY GALA (Cuba), introducing the resolution, said that the right to food was an issue of great importance. Through this resolution the Human Rights Council would continue to address this issue. The text of the resolution affirmed that hunger was an outrage and a violation of human dignity and therefore required the adoption of urgent measures at the national, regional and international levels for its elimination. It reaffirmed the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food and encouraged all States to take steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the right to food. It also stressed the importance of fighting hunger in rural areas. Cuba hoped that the text would be adopted by consensus.

NICHOLAS THORNE (United Kingdom), in a general comment, expressed concern with operative paragraph 12, which included the statement that the Human Rights Council “stresses its commitments to promote and protect, without discrimination, the economic, social and cultural rights of indigenous peoples, in accordance with international human rights obligations…”. The United Kingdom did not recognize the concept of collective human rights in international law, with exception to the right to self-determination. The United Kingdom considered that collective individuals should be afforded the same human rights as were afforded to individuals as human rights were universal and equal for all. The United Kingdom, however, did not accept that human rights were available to some groups and not others. The United Kingdom’s lack of support for this language did not compromise its overall support for the resolution as a whole.

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

Resolution on Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.28) on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 7 against, and 18 abstentions, the Council, while deploring the grave human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and deeply regretting the refusal of the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to recognize the mandate of the Special Rapporteur or to extend full cooperation to him, decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for a period of one year; urges the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to respond favourably to his requests to visit the country and to provide him with all necessary information to enable him to fulfil his mandate; also urges the Government to ensure safe and unhindered access of humanitarian assistance that is delivered impartially on the basis of need, in accordance with humanitarian principles; encourages the United Nations, including its specialized agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations, mandate-holders, interested institutions and independent experts and non-governmental organizations to develop regular dialogue and cooperation with the Special Rapporteur in the fulfilment of his mandate; and invites the Special Rapporteur to submit regular reports on the implementation of his mandate to the Council and the General Assembly.


The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (22):Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

Against (7):China, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nicaragua and Russian Federation.

Abstentions (18):Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Guatemala, India, Mali, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zambia.


ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the European Union, introducing the draft resolution, said that the European Union remained concerned over the severe human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the humanitarian situation in the country. The resolution was largely of technical nature, it aimed at extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. The European Union hoped that the resolution would be adopted with broad support and that it would help to improve the situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

ICHIRO FUJISAKI (Japan), also introducing the resolution, noted that Japan had decided to table this resolution, together with the European Union. The human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea remained serious enough to be followed by the international community. Japan recalled that the United Nations General Assembly last December requested the Special Rapporteur to report back on his efforts. Japan would like to see the Special Rapporteur report back to the Human Rights Council on those efforts. Japan hoped that this mandate would be extended by consensus.

MARIUS GRINIUS (Canada), in a general comment, said that the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remained a source of serious concern. Egregious human rights abuses continued unabated and there was a lack of due process under the rule of law. Canada considered that an engagement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, through the Special Procedures mechanisms, was the best way to help that country improve its human rights record. The Council should therefore preserve and “not diminish” the role of this mandate. Canada fully supported the renewal of this mandate and hoped that other countries would do so as well.

CHOE MYONG NAM (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), speaking as a concerned country, said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea categorically rejected the draft resolution, which ignored the demand of many countries and public opinion to terminate country mandates. The resolution pursued ill-minded political purposes and had no relation with human rights. The resolution was the same as previous ones, full of distortions and fabrications. If the European Union was truly interested in human rights it had to take the initiative of establishing a Special Rapporteur to monitor racial discrimination in their territories. The resolution ran counter to the founding ideals of the Council.

JUAN ANTONIO FERNANDEZ PALACIOS (Cuba), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, recalled that in June 2007 the Council adopted the institution building package of the Council. At that time, Cuba expressed its deep reservations over the fact that the Council had maintained certain country-specific mandates. This was the result of too much politicization and double-standards which were evident in the discredited Commission on Human Rights. The Council should be based on constructive dialogue and should consider human rights on equal footing in all countries. Cuba was of the view that the draft resolution did nothing to credit the work of the Council and felt the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should be the subject of the Universal Periodic Review, like all other countries, during which their human rights records could be assessed. As Cuba could not accept the policy of pressure and isolation that some were seeking to impose on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Cuba requested a recorded vote on the draft and would vote against it.

GUSTI AGUNG WESAKA PUJA (Indonesia), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that Indonesia had long since believed that country specific mandates were not useful. In its view, the only way to begin to resolve human rights problems in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was to engage in dialogue and not to selectively target the country. One of the stumbling blocks to the improvement of human rights was the occurrence of abductions. As such, the Indonesian Government had tried to reunite families that had been separated because of forced abductions. Lastly, the Government stated that it would not support the renewal of this mandate.

ERLINDA F. BASILIO (Philippines), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the Philippines believed that country mandates were not a right solution. Country assistance and addressing the specific needs of countries were more suitable. The Philippines hoped for a more constructive dialogue and cooperation. The Universal Periodic Review would be able to address country specific issues in a less politicized way. The delegation would abstain on this resolution.

KE YOUSHENG (China), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said China had always been opposed to country-specific resolutions which were used to exercise political pressure. This form of politicization and the confrontational resolution ran counter to the spirit of General Assembly resolution 60/251 establishing the Human Rights Council. The Council had already established the Universal Periodic Review, which would provide a platform to discuss country-specific issues on the principle of equality and objectivity. China hoped that the Human Rights Council would be able to abandon policies of politicization and rather pursue human rights in an equal and objective manner.

ALEXEY GOLTYAEV (Russian Federation), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the resolution would not help to improve the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Dialogue should be the basis in the human rights sphere and the efforts of the international community should not be based on condemnation but on providing help.

Resolution on Situation of Human Rights in Sudan

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.38) on the situation of human rights in Sudan, adopted without a vote, the Council urges the Government of Sudan to continue cooperating fully with the Special Rapporteur and to respond favourably to her requests to visit all parts of the Sudan and to provide her with all necessary information so as to enable her to fulfil her mandate even more effectively; calls on the Government to continue and intensify its efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights; expresses its deep concern at the seriousness of the ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in some parts of Darfur, and reiterates its call to all parties to put an end to all acts of violence against civilians, with special focus on vulnerable groups; stresses the primary responsibility of the Government to protect all its citizens; calls upon the signatories of the Darfur Peace Agreement to comply with their obligations under the Agreement, acknowledges the measures already taken towards its implementation and calls upon non-signatory parties to participate and to commit themselves to the Darfur political process led by the African Union and the United Nations; urges the Government to continue and intensify its efforts to implement the recommendations identified by the Group of Experts; calls upon donors to continue providing financial and technical assistance and required equipment for the improvement of human rights in Sudan and to continue to provide support for the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement; calls upon the Government of Sudan to accelerate the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to establish the remaining commissions, in particular the finalization of the establishment of the national human rights commission; expresses particular concern at the fact that perpetrators of past and ongoing serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur have not yet been held accountable for their crimes and urges the Government of Sudan to address urgently this question; and decides to review the situation of human rights in Sudan at its session in September 2008.

IHAB GAMALELDIN (Egypt), introducing resolution L. 38, said that the resolution was a reflection of the spirit of cooperation and constructive engagement between the Council and the Government of Sudan. Having carefully listened to the interactive dialogue which took place in the Council, the African Group acknowledged the efforts made by the Government of Sudan in the area of the promotion and protection of human rights. The resolution also expressed its deep concern about the violations of human rights taking place in some parts of Darfur. The resolution called upon all factions in Darfur to join and commit themselves to the African Union/United Nations political process.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, expressed their appreciation to the African Group and the delegation of Sudan for their work. The European Union believed that this resolution contained a number of significant elements. It highlighted the deep concerns of the Council, and it highlighted that the prime responsibility of protecting human rights on the ground lay with the Government. Sudan was urged to take all necessary steps to improve the human rights situation and to ensure the freedom of the press. The European Union welcomed the fact that this resolution had been proposed by the African Group.

MARIUS GRINIUS (Canada) said Canada was deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Sudan and felt that the Human Rights Council had a responsibility to respond. The resolution did not reflect the fragility of the situation in Sudan, particularly in Darfur. Nor did it refer to the situation of impunity, former Security Council resolutions, or the International Criminal Court decision. It was disappointing that the resolution failed to refer to the recent deterioration on the ground in Darfur. Last week, the High Commissioner in her report had noted an alarming upsurge in violence and human rights violations being committed against civilians in Darfur. Canada regretted that the resolution was not more robust in reflecting the needs of the people of Sudan. Canada was of the view that the people of Sudan deserved better.

NICHOLAS THORNE (United Kingdom) said that the Human Rights Council had to continue to deal with violations of human rights in Sudan. Recent attacks in villages of West Darfur constituted a violation of international law. The United Kingdom reiterated its call to the Government of Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. There could be no impunity for the crimes committed. The United Kingdom called on all parties to cease hostilities. It also welcomed that this resolution was introduced by the African Group and looked forward to collaborating with them further in the future.

MARGHOOB SALEEM BUTT (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference which are members of the Council, said that they had always called for dialogue within States in order to promote human rights. The Sudanese Government’s willingness to remain engaged with the international community was welcomed. A country going through a peace building phase was always in a critical position. The support of the international community was needed.

OMER DAHAB FADOL MOHAMED (Sudan), speaking as a concerned country, thanked delegations who had acknowledged the improvements in the country in the area of human rights. Sudan expressed its deep faith that by keeping its spirit of cooperation, the Human Rights Council had re-established one of the most important principles by which the Council was based, that of cooperation and dialogue. The Council had reached a point of consensus by acknowledging the improvement in the situation of human rights in Sudan. The draft resolution did not deal with hybrid forces as the Government of Sudan had fulfilled all its requirements for this force to undertake its commitments and to protect civilians. To the regret of Sudan, the UNAMID forces were still waiting for donor countries to honor their commitments, particularly in providing helicopters to facilitate movements in the wide areas in the Sudan. There had been acknowledgements of improvements of the situation in Sudan and the Government’s efforts. Sudan had accepted the content of the resolution in light of what had been achieved and what would be achieved.

Resolutions on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories

Resolution on Right of Palestinian People to Self-Determination

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.3) on the Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, adopted as orally amended without a vote, the Council reaffirms the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and to establish a sovereign, independent, contiguous and viable State; also reaffirms its support for the solution of two States living side by side in peace and security, Palestine and Israel; stresses the need for respect for and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; urges all Member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination; and decides to continue the consideration of this question at its session of March 2009.

MARGHOOB SALEEM BUTT (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and the African Group which are members of the Council, introducing the draft resolution, said that it focused on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, as provided by article 1 of the United Nations Charter. This was one of the most basic rights and was fundamental for all other human rights. The resolution reaffirmed the right of Palestinians to live in freedom and dignity and to establish an independent State. The resolution contained nothing more than stated facts, already recognised by the international community. It was hoped that the resolution would be adopted in consensus.

ITZHAK LEVANON (Israel), speaking as a concerned country, said this topic had always been presented as a narrow focus using subjective language. Israel did not oppose the right to self-determination, but rather believed this should be extended to all. Had the resolution focused on the right to all people of self-determination, Israel could have co-sponsored it. However, this was another politicized text which failed to mention key factors. Israel’s right to self-determination was also compromised. The resolution proposed no constructive solution that would help move the parties to a two-State objective. To ensure the right to self-determination in a Palestinian State, the Palestinian people would be better off to give others exactly what they were asking for themselves.

MOHAMMAD ABU-KOASH (Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said that there was overwhelming support for the establishment of an independent, sovereign and contiguous Palestinian State. Israel’s stubbornness would eventually prove fatal for its own design. Israel, the occupier and aggressive military power, excelled at depicting itself as a threatened State. Given that million of civilians perished during the Second World War including the population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, why was the suffering of Jews given prominence and treated as holier than the holy? Did the Jews have a monopoly on suffering? If Jews had suffered in Europe, why had they been transformed into persecutors of Palestine? Finally, Palestine hoped that the promise to establish the independent, sovereign and contiguous State of Palestine would be fulfilled by the end of the year.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union supported the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. All partners should meet their Roadmap obligations. The European Union looked forward to the establishment of a Palestinian State, providing peace and security to its citizens and living side by side in peace with Israel.

Resolution on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.4) on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted as orally revised by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against, and no abstentions, the Council expresses its grave concern at, inter alia, the Israeli so-called E-1 plan aimed at expanding the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim and building the wall around it, thereby further disconnecting occupied East Jerusalem from the northern and southern parts of the West Bank and isolating its Palestinian population; the implications for the final status negotiations of the announcement by Israel that it will retain the major settlement blocks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; and the expansion of Israeli settlements and the construction of new ones on the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The Council urges Israel to reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories and to stop immediately the expansion of the existing settlements, including “natural growth” and related activities; and to prevent any new installation of settlers in the occupied territories. The Council also urges the full implementation of the Access and Movement Agreement of 15 November 2005, particularly the urgent reopening of the Rafah and Karni crossings, which are crucial to the passage of foodstuffs and essential supplies, as well as the access of United Nations agencies to and within the Occupied Palestinian Territory; demands that Israel implement the recommendations regarding the settlements made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report to the Commission on Human Rights (E/CN.4/2001/114); calls upon Israel to take and implement serious measures, including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of preventing acts of violence by Israeli settlers; demands that Israel comply fully with its legal obligations, as mentioned in the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice; and urges the parties to give renewed impetus to the peace process in line with the Annapolis Peace Conference and the Paris International Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian State and to implement fully the road map endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003, with the aim of reaching a comprehensive political settlement which will allow two States, Israel and Palestine, to live in peace and security.


The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (46):Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Zambia.

Against (1):Canada.

Abstention (0):


MARGHOOB SALEEM BUTT (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference members of the Council and introducing resolution L. 4, said that the Palestinian people continued to suffer from indiscriminate use of force. Heavy civilian casualties continued, especially among women and children. Pakistan wished to see the creation of an independent Palestinian State. The actions of the occupying power had impeded the process of creating a two state solution. Eastern Jerusalem and the Occupied Syrian Golan had to be addressed urgently before peace and security could be established in the region. One oral revision was made. Pakistan hoped that after the accommodation of concerns by some countries that this resolution would be adopted by consensus.

ITZHAK LEVANON (Israel), speaking as a concerned country, said that Israel wondered about the real values of the agreements they had agreed on with their Palestinian partner. The impression was that the Palestinians had a great appetite for resolutions. The question of the settlements would be discussed in a later phase of the negotiations as originally planned. What was the aim of the resolution other than to poison the atmosphere of negotiations? The resolution was said to treat only the question of settlements but it contained all the Palestinian demands. Thus, this resolution had become a platform for old demands that Israel was tired of hearing. How could one ignore certain realities facing them, for example the total dismantling of all settlements in Gaza in 2005? There was currently not a single Israeli settlement in Gaza. The resolution did not recognize the improvements that were made, because those that were proposing the resolution did not want to go into the depth of the problem. There was no mention that Gaza had been taken by force by Hamas. It had been agreed that they would discuss the settlements in a later phase of the discussion. All wished to see the situation change.

MOHAMMAD ABU-KOASH (Palestine), speaking as a concerned country, said that Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine and the Syrian Golan were no normal human settlements. An Israeli colonial settlement was a structural regime consisting of confiscated land, expropriated water resources, subsidized homes and other incentives, apartheid road networks and aggressive armed colonial settlers fomenting hatred of non-Jews. Palestine commended the international reaction to the recent Israeli colonial pronouncements undermining the valuable work and outcome of the Annapolis Conference and the Paris International Donor’s Conference for the Palestinian State. What was needed now was a firm action to stop all Israeli colonial activities including in and around occupied Jerusalem. The Israeli occupation would go down in history as a tragic chapter that reminded future generations of the evil that man could do to man.

FAYSAL KHABBAZ HAMOUI (Syria), speaking as a concerned country, said that Israeli settlements in occupied Arab territories constituted a serious violation of human rights in the region. It was a systematic and very carefully planned aggression. The Israelis had forced the inhabitants of these lands to leave and had deprived them of their most basic human rights. They then expanded by bringing in waves of settlers, tens of thousands of whom had settled permanently. Half a million inhabitants were forced to flee in the Syrian Golan to accommodate this wave of forced immigration. This was a flagrant and systematic violation of article four of the Geneva Convention. The occupied territories were isolated from the outside world. The adoption of this resolution would be a clear message to the occupying power that it had gone to far.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the building of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories was considered illegal as per international law. It was an obstacle to peace. The European Union was thus deeply concerned over the construction of new settlements. The Roadmap was clear, all settlement construction should be stopped and old settlements should be dismantled.

MARIUS GRINIUS (Canada), in an explanation of the vote before the vote, considered the establishment, maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements in territories occupied by Israel since 1967 to be contrary to international law. While Canada supported the right of Israel to defend its citizens and its territory, it opposed unilateral actions such as the Israeli settlements and the barrier which aggravated social and economic conditions and prejudiced the outcome of a just and comprehensive settlement of final status issues and the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian State. Canada was concerned that the resolution did not present an accurate and unbiased assessment of the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and did not refer to Palestinian obligations. Canada considered that the resolution did not contribute to the search towards a peaceful settlement to the conflict. Canada called for a vote and would vote against the resolution.

Resolution on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance, Follow-Up and Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

Resolution on Combating Defamation of Religions

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.15) on combating defamation of religions, adopted by a vote of 21 in favour, 10 against, and 14 abstentions, the Council expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations; further expresses deep concern at the intensification of the campaign of defamation of religions and the ethnic and religious profiling of Muslim minorities in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001; expresses its grave concern at the recent serious instances of deliberate stereotyping of religions, their adherents and sacred persons in the media and by political parties and groups, and at the associated provocation and political exploitation; expresses concern at laws or administrative measures that have been specifically designed to control and monitor Muslim minorities, thereby stigmatizing them and legitimizing the discrimination that they experience; urges States to take actions to prohibit the dissemination of racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constitute incitement to racial and religious hatred, hostility or violence; emphasizes that the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities, and may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but only those provided by law and necessary for the respect of the rights or reputations of others, or for the protection of national security or of public order, or of public health or morals; reaffirms that general comment No. 15 of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which stipulates that the prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based upon racial superiority or hatred is compatible with the freedom of opinion and expression, is equally applicable to the question of incitement to religious hatred; invites the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism to continue to report on all manifestations of defamation of religions, and in particular on the serious implications of Islamophobia on the enjoyment of all rights to the Council at its ninth session; and requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to report on the implementation of the present resolution and to submit a study compiling relevant existing legislations and jurisprudence concerning defamation of and contempt for religions to the Council at its ninth session.


The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (21):Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Against (10):Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Abstentions (14):Bolivia, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Japan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, Republic of Korea, Uruguay and Zambia.


BILAL HAYEE (Pakistan), speaking on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) members of the Council and introducing the draft resolution, said that this was an annual initiative by the OIC, and it was built on previous resolutions. The resolution highlighted the impact of religious stereotyping on the enjoyment on human rights. It noted that the defamation of religion caused social disruption. It also deplored attacks on places of religious worship. The OIC expected that the international community would address the devastating consequences of this phenomenon.

ABDULWAHAB ABDULSALAM ATTAR (Saudi Arabia) said last year had witnessed a series of immoral practices targeting beliefs and cultures. Islam happened to be a common target, at a time when the international community had made great strides and achievements in the area of human rights. It was regrettable that there were false interpretations of freedom of religion and expression. This must not lead to any hatred by touching on sacred teachings. There were teachings which had called for tolerance and acceptance. International instruments had guaranteed the right to expression, but had also placed obligations on everybody to exercise this right. This did not mean to ignore any prejudices against Muslims, as seen in the Western media. Saudi Arabia called for tolerance of all religions and called on the international community to respect Muslims and their feelings in accordance with all monotheistic religions. The draft resolution recalled the preservation of this respect. It was hoped that the Human Rights Council would adopt the draft resolution by consensus.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, called for a vote, said that the European Union was convinced that continuing dialogue would help alleviate current tensions on the issue of religious defamation. There existed substantial challenges on this issue and it hoped that all States would engage in practices of tolerance and acceptance. The concept of defamation of religion was not consistent with human rights discourse. The focus of the concept of defamation could be used by Governments to deny other peoples freedoms. This draft resolution was one sided and focused on Islam referring exclusively to Islam in several paragraphs. While it appreciated the amendments made by the Pakistan, it did not significantly, or sufficiently, alter the nature of the resolution. It was for these reasons that the European Union would call for a vote on this resolution and vote against it.

MUNU MAHAWAR (India) said that India firmly opposed the stereotyping of religions. However, the draft resolution inappropriately addressed the issue from a narrow perspective. The resolution excessively focused on only one religion. Stereotyping was not linked to only one religion. India would thus abstain from the vote.

Resolution on Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building

Resolution on Technical Cooperation and Advisory Services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.13/Rev.1) on technical cooperation and advisory services in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, adopted without a vote, the Council, having reviewed the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, welcomes the cooperation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the thematic special procedures of the Council and its invitations to a number of them, with a view to obtaining tangible improvements on the ground, taking into account the needs formulated by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; invites the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to inform and update the Council, at its future sessions, on the human rights situation on the ground; requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to increase and enhance its technical assistance activities and programmes in consultation with the authorities of the country; calls on the international community to support the implementation of the local mechanism of cooperation between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, OHCHR and the human rights section of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; invites the High Commissioner to report to the Council at its session in March 2009 on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the activities OHCHR has undertaken in the country; requests the thematic and special procedures referred to in operative paragraph 2 to report to the Council no later than its tenth session in March 2009 under agenda item 10; and calls on the international community to provide the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the various forms of assistance that the Government requests, with a view to improving the human rights situation.

OMAR SHALABY (Egypt), introducing resolution L.13 on behalf of the African Group, said that while the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo had made significant advancements, there still existed a concerning situation on the ground, especially in the eastern part of the country. Permanent monitoring on the ground required technical cooperation and advisory services. The African Union invited the Democratic Republic of the Congo to offer more information on the situation on the ground. It encouraged greater participation from the Democratic Republic of Congo but wished not to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in that country. Finally, the African Group hoped that any decision to discontinue the mandate of a Special Rapporteur would encompass a genuine dialogue amongst Council members. A number of revisions and clarifications were made to the draft resolution.

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), in a general comment and speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union would join the consensus on this resolution. However, the European Union wished that this resolution had renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Democratic Republic of the Congo as he had made much valuable work towards the improvement of the situation. Although agreement had not been reached on this, the European Union hoped that assistance would continue to be provided to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The European Union was looking forward to the upcoming visit of the thematic group of experts to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Serious human rights violations were ongoing in the county. The judiciary was still lacking independence. The ongoing violence in the country and the use of child soldiers was of concern. The progress made had to be strengthened. Active commitment by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their full cooperation with thematic procedures were important.

MARIUS GRINIUS (Canada), in a general statement, said Canada recognized the commitments and efforts made by the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to establish the rule of law, democracy and human rights in the country. However, the mandate of the Independent Expert meant that the expert could follow the human rights situation in the country and measure challenges as well as progress. No other institution or mandate could do as much throughout the entire Congolese territory. Given the important contribution of the Independent Expert, Canada was disappointed by the elimination of the mandate. Canada supported the relevant bodies making efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and welcomed the fact that the Democratic Republic of the Congo would soon take over the Chair of the Conference and the Troika, whose main responsibility was to ensure that human rights were upheld in the country. The delegation of the Independent Expert’s mandate amounted to eliminating an important international instrument in support of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by way of promoting and protecting human rights in the country as well as in the Great Lakes region. Canada regretted that the Council was unable to do more when it came to the needs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the area of human rights. Nevertheless, Canada would go along with the recommendations laid out in the resolution.

MURIEL BERSET (Switzerland), in a general statement, said that Switzerland would join the consensus on the resolution but regretted that the mandate of the Independent Expert was not being renewed. This would have given the Council a more detailed understanding of the situation on the ground and would have helped the Democratic Republic of the Congo to address certain ongoing human rights abuses taking place within its territory. Nevertheless, the Swiss delegation was encouraged by the willingness of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to engage with United Nations mechanisms and to keep their door open. Lastly, Switzerland hoped that the Government would continue to cooperate with the Special Procedures of the Council.

SEBASTIEN MUTOMB MUJING (Democratic Republic of the Congo), speaking as a concerned country, said that the draft resolution had been the fruit of long discussions. It took into account the achievements and improvements made in the country. The status of judges had been adopted by the Parliament. On the security agencies, the Parliament had taken the necessary measures in order to bring to an end the current situation. On economic, social and cultural rights, different programmes had made progress in a number of fields. The analyses made by Independent Expert had shown that there was no guarantee that the Special Procedure mandate was helping to improve the situation. It was time to find new ways of improving the situation. Human rights violations were taking place on specific issues and it was hoped that the thematic experts would be able to address the different issues and help the Government in this regard. The members of the Council were asked to adopt the resolution by consensus.

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