Wide-ranging debate on follow up to the VDPA
Friday, 18 June 2010 08:13


On the 15 June, the Human Rights Council considered Item 8 on Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA). Most States reiterated the VDPA’s affirmation of the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights.


Notably, four joint statements by different, but somewhat overlapping, cross-regional groupings of States were made. Sweden (on behalf of Chile, the USA, France, Czech Republic, Moldova, Mauritius, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates) highlighted the need for freedom of expression and information in relation to new information technologies and the Internet. They called on the Council to strengthen human rights in the context of the Internet, especially for groups often targeted for expressing their views on the Internet, such as journalists, bloggers and human rights defenders. Colombia (on behalf of the Czech Republic, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the USA) called for an end to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity and recalled the high-level panel discussion they had organised at the Council’s 10th session with the participation of the High Commissioner. The need to decriminalise consensual same-sex activities was also raised by Australia (on behalf of Canada and New Zealand) and the USA. Norway spoke on behalf of 54 countries, though several States raised points of order, calling for Iran to provide human rights protection to its people. The Russian Federation spoke on behalf of a cross-regional group commemorating the 65th anniversary since the end of the Second World War, and paying tribute to those from many nationalities who fought in the war.


Many wide ranging issues were raised during the debate. Spain (on behalf of the EU) again condemned intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders. Nigeria (on behalf of the African Group) highlighted the link between human rights and poverty and considered the Council should make this issue its top priority. This was echoed by Pakistan (on behalf of the OIC) Other issues highlighted were racism and religious discrimination (Pakistan, Italy), rights of the child (Indonesia and Algeria), a moratorium on the death penalty (Italy), women’s human rights (USA), the right to development (China) and social security and health (Argentina).

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 August 2010 07:41
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