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Human Rights Council adopts 13 resolutions

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Extends Mandates on Yemen, Private Military and Security Companies, Hazardous Substances and Wastes, Burundi, Venezuela, People of African Descent and Somalia

Ends Mandate of Independent Expert on Sudan

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 13 resolutions in which it, among other actions, renewed the mandates of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen for one year ; of the working group to elaborate an international regulatory framework for the activities of private military and security companies, for a period of three years ; of the Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes for three years ; of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi for one year ; of the independent international fact-finding mission on Venezuela for two years ; of the Working Group of Experts on people of African descent for three years ; and of the Independent Expert on Somalia for one year.

The Council also decided to end the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sudan.

Other resolutions dealt with the safety of journalists ; the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic ; national human rights institutions ; commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action ; and technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights.

The webcast of the Human Rights Council meetings can be found here. All meeting summaries can be found here. Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council’s forty-fifth regular session can be found here.

The Council will resume its work at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 10 October, to take action on nine remaining draft resolutions before closing the forty-fifth regular session.

Action on Resolution under Agenda Item Two on the Annual Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Reports by the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.25) on the human rights situation in Yemen, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 12 against and 12 abstentions, the Council strongly condemns the ongoing violations and abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, including those involving the widespread recruitment and use of children by parties to the armed conflict, sexual- and gender-based violence, arbitrary arrests and detention, denial of humanitarian access and attacks on civilians and civilian objects, including medical facilities and missions and their personnel, as well as schools, universities, and on their students, teachers and personnel, and emphasizes the importance of accountability. The Council calls upon all parties to the armed conflict to respect their obligations and commitments under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular with regard to attacks against civilians and civilian objects, and to ensure rapid, unhindered, unimpeded, sustained and safe humanitarian access to the affected population nationwide, including by lifting obstacles to the importation of humanitarian goods, reducing bureaucratic delays, resuming salary payments for civil servants and ensuring the full cooperation of the Central Bank of Yemen. The Council calls upon all parties in Yemen to engage in the political process in an inclusive, peaceful and democratic way. The Council decides to renew the mandate of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts for a further period of one year, renewable as authorized by the Human Rights Council ; and also decides to transmit the report of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts to the General Assembly, and recommends that the Assembly transmit the report to all relevant bodies of the United Nations.

The results of the vote were as follows :

In favour (22) : Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain and Uruguay.

Against (12) : Afghanistan, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, India, Libya, Mauritania, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan and Venezuela.

Abstentions (12) : Angola, Armenia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Japan, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

The Netherlands introduced the resolution.

Yemen spoke as the concerned country.

Speaking in general comments, explanation of vote before the vote, and explanation of vote after the vote were Germany on behalf of European Union, Australia, Bahrain, Qatar, Peru, Sudan, Japan and Denmark.

Action on Resolutions under Agenda Item Three on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the Right to Development

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.39) on the mandate of the open-ended intergovernmental working group to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to renew the mandate of the open-ended intergovernmental working group, for a period of three years, with a mandate to continue elaborating the content of an international regulatory framework, without prejudging the nature thereof, in efforts to protect human rights and ensure accountability for violations and abuses relating to the activities of private military and private security companies informed by the discussion document on elements for an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, as prepared by the Chair-Rapporteur, and further inputs from Member States and other stakeholders, and factoring in the work done under the previous mandate. The Council also decides that the open-ended intergovernmental working group shall meet for five working days and submit an annual progress report to the Human Rights Council in conformity with its annual programme of work.

Burkina Faso on behalf of the African Group introduced the resolution.

Speaking in explanation of vote before the vote was Germany on behalf of European Union.

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.41) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes for a period of three years, and invites him to report to the Human Rights Council in accordance with its programme of work and annually to the General Assembly. The Council encourages the Special Rapporteur to continue his close cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Environment Assembly, relevant United Nations specialized agencies, such as the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization, and the secretariats of the international environmental conventions with a view to mainstreaming human rights into their work and to avoiding duplication. The Council requests the Special Rapporteur to inform States, United Nations agencies and other relevant international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders of the impact on human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, including in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to seek views and contributions from Governments, United Nations agencies and other relevant international organizations, civil society and other stakeholders in accordance with his mandate, to investigate national, regional and international efforts in respect of the Sustainable Development Goals and to undertake thematic research on the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Burkina Faso on behalf of the African Group introduced the resolution.

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.42/Rev.1) on the safety of journalists, adopted without a vote, the Council urges political leaders, public officials and/or authorities to refrain from denigrating, intimidating or threatening the media, including individual journalists, or using misogynist or any discriminatory language towards women journalists, thereby undermining trust in the credibility of journalists and respect for the importance of independent journalism ; and also urges the immediate and unconditional release of journalists and media workers who have been arbitrarily arrested or arbitrarily detained, taken hostage or who have become victims of enforced disappearance. The Council requests the High Commissioner to present to the Human Rights Council at its forty-eighth session a report on the impact and repercussions of measures taken by Governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the safety and work of journalists and media workers, integrating a gender perspective, and to identify trends and collect good practices, in particular on how the Office of the High Commissioner, within its mandate and working with other relevant United Nations entities, can assist, when requested, in the development of national approaches to protect journalists.

Austria introduced the resolution.

Speaking in general comments, explanation of vote before the vote, and explanation of vote after the vote were Afghanistan, Chile, Australia, Philippines, Armenia, Peru and Bahrain.

Action on Resolutions under Agenda Item Four on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.36/Rev.1) on the situation of human rights in Burundi, adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 6 against and 17 abstentions, the Council condemns in the strongest terms all human rights violations and abuses committed in Burundi, including in the context of the recent election process, and including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, acts of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, intimidation, political intolerance, harassment, destruction and theft of property, notably against members of opposition political parties, civil society representatives, human rights defenders, demonstrators, journalists, bloggers and other media workers, and also condemns the severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms, in particular the freedoms of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, thereby contributing to creating a climate of fear and intimidation among the population. The Council further condemns the widespread impunity for all human rights violations and abuses and related crimes. The Council decides to extend the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi for a further period of one year in order for it to continue its investigations, including with regard to the economic underpinnings of the State.

The results of the vote were as follows :

In favour (24) : Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Against (6) : Cameroon, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Togo and Venezuela.

Abstentions (17) : Afghanistan, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Qatar, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal and Sudan.

Germany on behalf of the European Union introduced the resolution.

Burundi spoke as a concerned country.

Speaking in general comments, explanation of vote before the vote, and explanation of vote after the vote were Venezuela and Cameroon.

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.43/Rev.1) on the situation of human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 3 against and 22 abstentions, the Council strongly condemns the widespread targeted repression and persecution on political grounds, including through the excessive use of force, arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment, extrajudicial execution and enforced disappearance by the security forces, as well as the violations of the independence of the National Assembly as well as the intervention in the autonomy and composition of several political parties. The Council requests the High Commissioner to continue to monitor, report on and provide technical cooperation with a view to improving the situation of human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The Council further decides to extend the mandate of the independent international fact-finding mission for a period of two years, to enable the mission to continue to investigate gross violations of human rights, including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including those involving sexual and gender-based violence, committed since 2014, with a view of combating impunity and ensuring full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims, and requests the mission to present oral updates on its work during interactive dialogues at the forty-sixth and forty-ninth sessions of the Council and to prepare written reports on its findings to be presented to the Council during interactive dialogues at its forty-eighth and fifty-first sessions.

The results of the vote were as follows :

In favour (22) : Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Against (3) : Eritrea, Philippines and Venezuela.

Abstentions (22) : Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Libya, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan and Togo.

Peru introduced the resolution.

Venezuela spoke as a concerned country.

Speaking in general comments, explanation of vote before the vote, and explanation of vote after the vote were Germany on behalf of the European Union, Australia, Eritrea, Brazil, Mexico, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Argentina.

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.45) on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, adopted by a vote of 27 in favour, 1 against and 19 abstentions, the Council strongly condemns all violations and abuses of international human rights law and all violations of international humanitarian law throughout the Syrian Arab Republic, takes note of the most recent report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic in this regard, demands that all parties immediately comply with their respective obligations, and emphasizes the need to ensure that all those responsible for such violations and abuses are held to account. The Council demands that all parties desist immediately from any use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic, in violation of international law, including obligations under international customary law and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, to which the Syrian Arab Republic acceded in 2013, and expresses its strong conviction that those responsible for such use must be held accountable. The Council further demands that all parties to the conflict fully comply with their obligations under international law to ensure respect for and the protection of all persons engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, and hospitals and all other medical facilities. The Council expresses alarm at the upcoming tenth anniversary of the beginning of the conflict, and encourages the Commission of Inquiry to reflect on this anniversary in its reporting through the analysis of key recurrent human rights concerns over the course of the conflict and continuing trends.

The results of the vote were as follows :

In favour (27) : Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Germany, Italy, Japan, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Somalia, Spain, Togo, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Against (1) : Venezuela.

Abstentions (19) : Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, India, Indonesia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal and Sudan.

The United Kingdom introduced the resolution.

Syria spoke as a concerned country.

Speaking in general comments, explanation of vote before the vote, and explanation of vote after the vote were Germany on behalf of European Union, Japan, Armenia, Venezuela, Chile and Argentina.

Action on Resolution under Agenda Item Eight on Follow-up to and Implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.20) on National Human Rights Institutions, adopted without a vote, the Council recognizes the contribution that national human rights institutions have made to the promotion and protection, and prevention of violations, of human rights by exercising their mandates and functions consistent with the Paris Principles, and encourages them to continue to do so, including by independently assisting, advising and engaging with the State, and other stakeholders, in the prevention of violations and abuses of human rights. The Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to continue and to strengthen its work with national human rights institutions, including through technical cooperation, capacity-building activities and advice, urges the High Commissioner to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made and budgetary resources are provided to continue and further extend activities in support of national human rights institutions, including through increased support for the work of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and its regional networks, and invites Governments to contribute additional voluntary funds to that end. The Council further requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Human Rights Council, at its fifty-first session, a report on the implementation of the present resolution that includes examples of best practices among national human rights institutions, prepared in consultation with States, national human rights institutions and other relevant stakeholders, and a report on the activities of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions in accrediting national institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles.

The United Kingdom introduced the resolution.

Speaking in general comments, explanation of vote before the vote, and explanation of vote after the vote were Afghanistan and the Philippines.

Action on Resolutions under Agenda Item Nine on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.44) on the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council encourages the General Assembly to adopt a resolution, at its seventy-fifth session, requesting the organization of a one-day high-level plenary event to mark the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action during the high-level segment of the seventy-sixth session of the General Assembly, in 2021, with the aim of proclaiming together our strong determination to make the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and the protection of the victims thereof, a high priority for our countries. The Council decides to convene, at its forty-sixth session, a high-level panel discussion during the high-level segment to mark the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, with a particular focus on its implementation, and on achievements, best practices and challenges in this regard. The Council also requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize the panel discussion, and to liaise with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, States, relevant United Nations bodies and agencies, as well as with representatives of civil society, non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions with a view to ensuring their participation in the panel discussion.

Burkina Faso on behalf of the African Union introduced the resolution.

Speaking in general comments, explanation of vote before the vote, and explanation of vote after the vote was Australia.

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.47) on the mandate of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent for a further period of three years, in accordance with the terms of reference contained in Human Rights Council resolution 9/14, and it also decides that one of the two annual sessions of the Working Group may be held in New York or another location of relevance to the mandate, to facilitate the wide participation of people of African descent. It further decides that the Working Group shall undertake a minimum of two country visits per year. The Council requests all Governments to cooperate fully with the Working Group in the discharge of its mandate, including by responding promptly to the Working Group’s communications and by providing the information requested. The Council further requests the Working Group to submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council on all activities relating to its mandate, and to the General Assembly in the context of the International Decade for People of African Descent. The Council also requests the Working Group to pay special attention in its annual report to the rising tide of racism and racial hatred, as evidenced by the resurgence of white supremacist ideologies, and extremist nationalist and populist ideologies, and to make specific recommendations in this regard.

Burkina Faso on behalf of the African Union introduced the resolution.

Action on Resolutions under Agenda Item 10 on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.40) on Technical assistance and capacity-building to further improve human rights in the Sudan, adopted without a vote, the Council urges Member States, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, relevant United Nations agencies and other stakeholders to continue to support the efforts of the Government of the Sudan to further improve the situation of human rights in the country, including by responding to the Government’s requests for technical assistance and capacity-building. The Council welcomes the establishment and operation of a fully mandated country office of the Office of the High Commissioner in the Sudan, with field presences, since 26 December 2019, as declared by the Government of the Sudan and the Office at the enhanced interactive dialogue held during the forty-fourth session of the Human Rights Council, and also welcomes the commitment of the Government of the Sudan to assist in establishing the field presences of the country office of the Office of the High Commissioner in the Sudan. The Council requests the Secretary-General to provide all the resources necessary to enable the country office of the Office of the High Commissioner in the Sudan and its field presences to fulfil their mandates. The Council further requests the High Commissioner to prepare a written report containing an assessment of the progress made and the challenges remaining, including as regards the work of the country office and its fields presences, in accordance with their mandates, and to present it to the Human Rights Council at its forty-eighth session, under agenda item 10, prior to an enhanced interactive dialogue thereon. The Council decides to end the mandate of the Independent Expert, in accordance with Human Rights Council resolutions 39/22 and 42/35.

Burkina Faso on behalf of the African Union introduced the resolution.

Speaking in general comments, explanation of vote before the vote, and explanation of vote after the vote was Germany on behalf of European Union.

Sudan spoke as a concerned country.

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.51) on Technical assistance and capacity-building for Yemen in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon all parties to immediately implement the Stockholm Agreement in order to begin negotiations for a comprehensive political solution to the current crisis in Yemen. The Council requests all parties to the conflict in Yemen to implement fully Security Council resolution 2216 (2015), which will contribute to an improvement in the situation of human rights, and encourages all parties to the conflict to reach a comprehensive agreement to end the conflict while ensuring that women are part of the political and peacemaking process. The Council further requests the High Commissioner to continue to provide substantive capacity-building and technical assistance to the Government of Yemen and technical support to the National Commission of Inquiry to ensure that the National Commission continues to investigate allegations of violations and abuses committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, and in line with international standards, and submits its comprehensive report on alleged human rights violations and abuses in all parts of Yemen, in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 30 of 22 August 2019, as soon as it is available, and encourages all parties to the conflict in Yemen to extend full and transparent access and cooperation to the National Commission. The Council requests the High Commissioner to present a written report on the implementation of technical assistance, as stipulated in the present resolution, to the Human Rights Council at its forty-eighth session.

Bahrain introduced the resolution.

Yemen spoke as a concerned country.

In a resolution (A/HRC/45/L.52) on assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council commends the engagement of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia. The Council decides to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, under agenda item 10, for a period of one year to assess, monitor and report on the situation of human rights in Somalia with a view to making recommendations on technical assistance and capacity-building in the field of human rights. The Council requests the Independent Expert to continue to work closely with the Federal Government and other relevant authorities at the national and subnational levels, with all United Nations bodies, including the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and other relevant international organizations, civil society and all relevant human rights mechanisms, and to assist Somalia in the implementation of : its national and international human rights obligations ; human Rights Council resolutions and other human rights instruments, including associated routine reporting ; recommendations accepted in the context of the universal periodic review ; other human rights commitments, policies and legislation to promote the empowerment of women, young people and members of marginalized groups such as minority clans, freedom of expression and assembly, the protection of the media and civil society, including women peacebuilders, access to justice for women and minorities, and increasing the capacity of ministries and institutions responsible for the administration of justice and the protection of human rights.

The United Kingdom introduced the resolution.

Speaking in general comments, explanation of vote before the vote, and explanation of vote after the vote was Germany on behalf of European Union.

Somalia spoke as a concerned country.

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