Human Rights Council appoints Experts for Central African Republic extends mandates for Sudan, Cambodia and Somalia
27 September 2013
Adopts 15 Texts, including on Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen, Impact of Arms Transfers on Human Rights and Civil Society
The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 15 texts in which it appointed an Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic, extended mandates for Sudan, Cambodia and Somalia, reaffirmed technical assistance for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Yemen, warned of the impact of arms transfers on human rights in armed conflicts, and urged States to prevent intimidation or reprisals against persons who cooperated with the United Nations. The Council also concluded its twenty-fourth regular session.
On technical assistance to the Central African Republic in the field of human rights, the Council decided to appoint an independent expert, for a period of one year, to monitor the situation of human rights in the Central Africa Republic.
The Central African Republic, speaking as the concerned country, said that recent events it had faced deserved for the human rights situation in the country to be considered and for an Independent Expert to be created. The draft text showed the determination of the country to reaffirm its strong determination to strengthen cooperation with United Nations human rights mechanisms.
On technical assistance for Sudan in the field of human rights, the Council decided to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan for a period of one year.
Sudan, speaking as the concerned country, said the Government of Sudan had set up numerous institutions in line with the Universal Periodic Review recommendations accepted and this was mentioned in the Independent Expert’s report. Sudan was still in a post-conflict setting and it called upon all partners to play a positive role by putting pressure on the armed groups to join the peace process.
On advisory services and technical assistance for Cambodia, the Council decided to extend by two years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia.
Cambodia, speaking as the concerned country, said Cambodia had demonstrated a record of good willingness to continue constructive engagement with the Council, among others, in the field of human rights. Cambodia believed that the Special Rapporteur would continue to work cooperatively and constructively with Cambodia.
Concerning assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, the Council decided to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia for a period of two years.
Somalia, speaking as the concerned country, said that despite tremendous challenges, Somalia had been engaging proactively with the Council since 2008. Somalia was fully committed to promoting and protecting human rights. Institutional capacity building was crucial.
The Council adopted a resolution on technical assistance and capacity-building for human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in which it urged the Government to redouble its efforts to put an end to impunity, to bring the perpetrators to justice and to ensure that the victims received compensation and urged the international community to support the Office of the High Commissioner in increasing and enhancing its technical assistance programmes and activities to improve the human rights situation in the country.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking as the concerned country, said the war had the consequence of aggravating human rights violations and deplorable levels of gender-based violence; these were unfortunately amplified and attributed to the Government, totally leaving aside the responsibility of the true culprits.
In a resolution on technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights, the Council called upon all parties to release persons arbitrarily detained by them and to end any practice of unlawful detention of persons, and demanded that armed groups end the recruitment and use of children and release those who had already been recruited.
Yemen, introducing the resolution on technical assistance to Yemen, said the Government had adopted a number of measures in order to improve the situation of human rights, including the establishment of a local office of the Office of the High Commissioner.
Concerning cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, the Council urged States to take all appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of intimidation or reprisals and requested the Secretary-General to designate a United Nations-wide senior focal point to engage with all stakeholders, in particular Member States, to promote the prevention of, protection against and accountability for reprisals and intimidation related to cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms, and to encourage a prompt and effective unified response to such act.
The Council adopted a resolution on the impact of arms transfers on human rights in armed conflicts in which it urged all States to refrain from transferring arms to those involved in armed conflicts when they assessed, in accordance with their applicable national procedures and international obligations and standards, that such arms were sufficiently likely to be used to commit or facilitate serious violations or abuses of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.
On strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage: challenges, achievements, best practices and implementation gaps, the Council decided to convene a panel discussion on preventing and eliminating child, early and forced marriage.
On the establishment of a Special Fund for the participation of civil society at various fora, the Council requested the Secretary-General to establish a Special Fund for the participation of civil society and other relevant stakeholders at the Social Forum, Forum on Minority Issues, and Forum on Business and Human Rights, to be administered by the Office of the High Commissioner.
A Presidential statement was adopted in which the Council took note of the reports of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee on its tenth and eleventh sessions.
In another resolution, the Council requested the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to prepare a study on the situation of human rights of persons living with albinism.
In a resolution on from rhetoric to reality: a global call for concrete action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, the Council decided that the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action should convene its twelfth session from 6 to 17 October 2014 and requests the Secretary-General to resuscitate the work of the independent eminent experts.
On the Social Forum, the Council decided that the Social Forum would meet for three working days in 2014 in Geneva and requested the Office of the High Commissioner to seek effective means of ensuring consultation and the broadest possible participation of representatives from every region and to provide all the support necessary to facilitate the convening and proceedings of the Forum.
On the enhancement of technical cooperation and capacity-building in the field of human rights, the Council decided that the theme for the annual thematic panel discussion to be held during the twenty-sixth session of the Council would be “Technical cooperation and capacity-building in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities through legal and institutional frameworks, including public-private partnerships”, and that the discussion would be fully accessible to persons with disabilities.
Introducing texts were Sierra Leone, Austria, Cuba, Norway, Hungary, South Africa, Gabon, Japan, United Kingdom, Thailand, Yemen, Netherlands, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Peru.
Speaking in general comments, explanations of the vote before or after the vote and proposing amendments were India, Russian Federation, Venezuela, China, Pakistan, Ireland, Ethiopia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Maldives, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Gabon speaking on behalf of the African Group, Montenegro, United States, Estonia speaking on behalf of the European Union, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Chile, Cuba, Colombia, Bahrain on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Countries, United Kingdom, Singapore, Egypt and Palestine on behalf of the Arab Group.
The International Service for Human Rights also spoke.
The Council also adopted the draft report of the twenty-fourth session of the Human Rights Council ad referendum after it was presented by the Vice President of the Council.
Remigiuscz A. Henczel, President of the Human Rights Council, in concluding remarks, reiterated that any act of intimidation or reprisals against individuals and groups who cooperated or had cooperated with the United Nations and its representatives was unacceptable and must end. He reiterated that the late submission of draft resolutions made it difficult for many delegations to keep up with the work pace and stay abreast of the developments. Finally, the President encouraged all those who participated in the Council’s work to discuss issues with the appropriate level of dignity and respect.
This was the last meeting of the twenty-fourth regular session of the Human Rights Council. The twenty-fifth regular session of the Council will take place from 3 to 28 March 2014.