Human Rights Council: lively debate on situations of concern
Wednesday, 23 September 2009 09:41

The Human Rights Council (the Council) held a general debate on ‘situations that require [its] attention' under Item 4 on 22 September 2009. During past sessions of the Council,discussions under Item 4 were marked by the general lack of participation from African and most Asian States. These States have often claimed that the discussion of country situations would lead to ‘politicisation', and that naming States that violate human rights would undermine the spirit of cooperation and dialogue the Council is supposed to be built on. In this context, it was remarkable that Nigeria delivered a statement on behalf of the African Group, and that China specifically raised the situation of Roma in ‘European countries'. Making reference to the Council's mandate, Nigeria noted situations of human rights violations ‘across the world', but specifically highlighted a ‘consistent pattern of human rights violations linked to deportation of asylum seekers' and racism more broadly. While it refrained from mentioning specific States, the African Group's statement is a welcome and positive addition to the Council's debate on human rights violations.


ISHR will publish a detailed update on the general debate shortly. For more Council News:



Of note was also the statement by the US, which drew attention to a large number of situations, including in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, and the situation of Roma in Europe. While the US has been shining by its absence in the Council’s first three years, this strong but balanced statement was another clear indication of the seriousness of its re-engagement. Both the US and Sweden (on behalf of the EU) condemned situations of ‘disruption of constitutional order’ wherever it occurs, specifically mentioning Honduras, Fiji, Guinea, Madagascar and Niger.


Major attention was also paid by many States and NGOs to situations in Burma/Myanmar, Iran, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and the Sudan. Other situations raised included Afghanistan, Belarus, Burma/Myanmar, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Fiji, Guinea, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Madagascar, Russian Federation, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 October 2009 07:12
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