Human Rights Council concludes 14th session
Monday, 21 June 2010 15:49


ceiling_room_20The positive developments and outcomes of the 14th session were largely overshadowed by the outrageous political pressure that was brought to bear on the President of the Council in relation to his list of nominees to the special procedures, and under which he disappointingly caved in. Nigeria (on behalf of the African Group) raised objections to the President's appointments which resulted in a three-hour suspension of the session, during which the African Group and the OIC successfully got the appointments changed for the Independent Expert on Burundi (now Mr Fatsah Ouguergouz) and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (now Mr Heiner Bielefeldt). This horse-trading has seriously damaged the integrity of the appointment process and poses a real risk to the system of special procedures.


Among the notable, but more positive outcomes of the 14th session, were the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and a resolution on Somalia that called for a special debate to take place at the September session. It was also significant that many new initiatives were introduced with the adoption of new resolutions on Kyrgyzstan, protection of school children in Afghanistan, the right of peoples to peace, and on the role of prevention in the promotion and protection of human rights.


The Council renewed the mandates of its special procedures on freedom of religion or belief and oninternally displaced persons. Consensus was re-established on the resolution on freedom of religion after the EU, as the main sponsor of the text, took on board serious concerns raised by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC regarding the continued rise in instances of intolerance and violence. The title of the IDP mandate was changed to Special Rapporteur to conform to the Council's standardised appointment process.


The Council adopted a resolution on technical assistance and cooperation on human rights in Kyrgyzstan, which condemns the human rights violations that took place after the elections on 7 April 2010, calls for a full and transparent investigation and requests OHCHR to continue to provide technical assistance. The Russian Federation objected to the presentation of this resolution under Item 10, stating that it went far beyond a call for technical assistance and would have been more appropriately introduced under Item 4. The resolution was adopted without a vote.


The Council also adopted a resolution addressing attacks on school children in Afghanistan. This resolution reaffirms that governments bear the primary responsibility to protect their citizens against such attacks and urges all parties in Afghanistan to take appropriate protective measures. It also encourages Governments and relevant UN and international agencies to respond to Afghanistan's requests for assistance. In its general comments the US noted that this resolution demonstrates the ability of the Council to address serious human rights concerns.


In the resolution on prevention the Council decided to hold a workshop by OHCHR on the conceptual and practical dimensions of prevention. In the resolution on the right of peoples to peace the Council also requests the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to draft an international declaration on the right of peoples to peace. This resolution was adopted by vote with opposition from EU and Western States who argued that it is overly focused on inter-State relations rather than the rights of individuals, which are at the core of the Council's mandate.


The Council also adopted a resolution on 'Accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women: ensuring due diligence in prevention', without a vote. The resolution was sponsored by Canada, and focuses on preventing violence against women as part of a series of three resolutions to be tabled over the next three years, the other two to focus on protection and remedies. It urges States to adopt a series of specific measures aimed at preventing violence against women.


ISHR will shortly publish a full list of the adopted decisions and resolutions.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 August 2010 17:01
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