Human Rights Council concludes 12th session
Monday, 05 October 2009 09:29


On 2 October the Human Rights Council concluded its 12th session and adopted a number of outstanding and sometimes controversial decisions.


The Russian Federation's resolution on traditional values was put to a vote and adopted, despite initial claims by the Russian Federation that they were seeking a consensual outcome. The resolution was already condemned by NGOs during the interactive dialogue on Item 8 on 30 September as intentionally seeking to invoke traditional values as a justification for violations of human rights. The consideration of the resolution saw a number of States join in expressing their serious concern that it ran the risk  of undermining the universality of human rights by introducing ‘erroneous cultural relativism'. Despite pleas of civil society that the Council return ‘to the business of human rights', 26 States nonetheless voted in favour of the resolution, are solution which was accurately described as ‘having nothing to do with human rights' and, without a definition of ‘traditional values', no-one could claimthey fully understood.   

A resolution by Colombia and Mexico on elimination of discrimination against women was significantly watered down in the face of strong opposition from OIC States and others to the creation of a new independent expert on laws that discriminate against women. Instead, OHCHR will produce a study on gaps in protection and how various UN mechanisms are addressing laws that discriminate against women.


The Council also adopted, without a vote, a short statement expressing concern at the recent conviction of Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, although a number of Asian States distanced themselves from the resolution. Cuba went so far as criticising the reference to 'political prisoners' inthe text arguing that this was not a recognised concept.


While the decision on follow up to the Goldstone report on the investigation of the violations committed during the Gaza conflict inearly 2009 had been much anticipated, the Council decided to postpone the consideration of the resolution put forward by Palestine. It remains to be seen how member States will bridge their different views on the report and on how it should be followed up.  

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 10:00
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