Human Rights Council holds General Debate on Human Rights Situations that require the Council's attention
AFTERNOON 17 September 2010
Concludes Interactive Dialogue with Independent Expert on the Sudan
The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a general debate on human rights situations that require the Council's attention. It also concluded its interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on the Sudan.
Mohamed Chande Othman, Independent Expert on the Sudan, in his concluding remarks, said that it was important for the Council to take into account the incompleteness of the nature of human rights institutions in the Sudan. Although some progress had been made, for example in establishing the national forum for human rights, those institutions were in the budding stage and there was more room for growth. Regarding the upcoming referendum of January 2011, the Independent Expert said that registration of voters should start as soon as possible, including identifying those who were eligible to vote. Furthermore, the Council should urge the Government of the Sudan to build up the culture of human rights to ensure that related legislation did not remain just a project passed by the Parliament. Finally, on accountability, the Independent Expert agreed that more needed to be done to bring to justice those who committed crimes and grave violations of human rights.
In the context of the interactive dialogue on the Sudan, non-governmental organizations pointed out shortcomings linked to the rule of law and the exercise of civil and political rights in the Sudan. The worrying deterioration of the human rights situation in Darfur exemplified the human rights crisis raging in the country. The Sudan was woefully unprepared for the upcoming referenda and the Government had a responsibility to ensure that all people could vote free from fear or intimidation.
The following non-governmental organizations spoke in the interactive dialogue on the Sudan: International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, Amnesty International and Society Studies.
In the general debate on human rights situations that require the Council's attention, some speakers denounced human rights violations in certain countries, while other speakers said this exercise was counter productive and reflected the prevailing double standards in dealing with human rights which only targeted countries of the south. A number of speakers said that racism and racial and religious discrimination were threatening the multi-cultural fabric of many societies. In this regard, there were growing instances of Islamophobia and baseless linkage between Muslims and terrorism. The maintenance and promotion of interreligious and intercultural harmony was in the interest of all States.
Speaking in the general debate on human rights situations that require the Council's attention were Belgium on behalf of the European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference, France, Norway, United States, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, Japan, Switzerland, Slovakia, Pakistan, Cuba, China, Algeria, Luxembourg, Australia, Israel, Sweden, Ireland, Yemen, Austria, Czech Republic, Syria, Denmark, Sudan, Iran, Myanmar, Morocco and Palestine.
The following non-governmental organizations also spoke on human rights situations that required the Council's attention: the Hawa Society for Women and Sudan Council of Voluntary Agencies.
Speaking in a right of reply were Sudan, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Belarus, Myanmar, Algeria, Cuba, Venezuela, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Iran and Japan.
The next meeting of the Council will be Monday, 20 September at 10 a.m., when the Council will hold a panel on women's equality before the law. The general debate on human rights situations that require the Council's attention will resume at 3 p.m. on Monday.