jeudi 19 juin 2008

8th session of the Human Right Council, 18th june 2008 15-18h

8th session of the Human Right Council
18th june 2008 15-18h

Resolutions on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development

Comments before the vote of Resolution L.4: Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Council adopted the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and recommended that the General Assembly adopt and open for signature, ratification and accession the Optional Protocol, at a signing ceremony in Geneva in March 2009.
The annexed Optional Protocol provides for Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to receive and consider communications by individuals or groups of individuals claiming to be victims of a violation of any of the rights set forth in the Covenant.

Canada refuses the additional protocol partly because the delegation considers that all rights are indivisible. The canadian delegation regrets the non transparent progress.

Pakistan remind the members of the Council that the right to autodetermination belongs to ius cogens, and that a reference to some articles of the 1966 Pact means the respect of all other rights expressed in this same Pact.

Philippines will not bloc the adoption.

Adoption of Resolution L.4 without vote.

Resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
The Council requested the Special Rapporteur, inter alia, to continue to examine situations of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions in all circumstances and for whatever reason and to submit her or his findings on an annual basis and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for three years.

African group thanks the Council but regrets the failure of recognition of arbitrary executions in conflits situations and targeted assassinations. The African group also deplores that others forms of arbitrary executions are eliminated. The African group requests for more negociations.

Adoption of the Resolution without vote.

Resolution L. 5 on the right to education.
The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education for a period of three years, inter alia, to gather, request, receive and exchange information from all relevant sources on the realization of the right to education and on obstacles limiting effective access to education.
First text on this subject.

Adoption of the Resolution L. 5 without vote.

Resolution L. 6 on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

The Council urged all actors on the international scene to build an international order based on inclusion, and promotion of and respect for cultural diversity and universal human rights, and to reject all doctrines of exclusion based on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. 12 additional co-writers.

No comment.

European Union will vote against this resolution.

Vote: 32 yes. 13 no. 2 abstentions. Adoption of the Resolution L. 6.

Resolution L. 7 on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years, and requested the Special Rapporteur, inter alia, to inquire into any substantial allegations transmitted to him or her and to report his or her conclusions and recommendations thereon.

No comment. No explaination before the vote.

Adoption of the Resolution L. 7 without vote.

Resolution L. 8 on the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Representative for a period of three years, and requested the Special Representative to provide views and concrete and practical recommendations on ways to strengthen the fulfilment of the duty of the State to protect all human rights from abuses by, or involving, transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

India would like to reminds the Council about the obligation to promote, cooperate Human Rights.

Slovenia would like to put the accent on non-state actors.

South Africa considers the importance of the weak national legislations and hopes for more transparency. The South African delegation will dissociate of the adoption of this resolution.

Adoption of the Resolution L. 8 without vote.

Resolution L. 9 on the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for a further period of three years, inter alia, to seek, receive, examine and act on information regarding issues and alleged cases concerning torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Adoption of the Resolution L. 9 without vote.

Resolution L. 13 on the promotion of the right of peoples to peace.

The Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to convene, before April 2009, a three-day workshop on the right of peoples to peace, with the participation of two experts from countries of each of the five regional groups, in order to further clarify the content and scope of this right; to propose measures that raise awareness of the importance to realize this right; and to suggest concrete actions to mobilize States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in the promotion of the right of peoples to peace.

Cuba asks for a large support. Absence of peace does not mean right to violate Human Rights.

European Union will vote against this resolution.

Vote: 32 yes. 13 no. 2 abstentions. Adoption of the Resolution L. 13.

Resolution L. 14 on the human rights of migrants: mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.

The Council decided to extend for a period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, inter alia, to examine ways and means to overcome the obstacles existing to the full and effective protection of the human rights of migrants, recognizing the particular vulnerability of women, children and those undocumented or in an irregular situation.

Adoption of the Resolution L. 14 without vote.

Resolution L. 16 on human rights and extreme poverty.

The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty for a period of three years, in order to, inter alia, further examine the relationship between the enjoyment of human rights and extreme poverty; and to identify alternative approaches for removing all obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights for all people living in extreme poverty. The Council also requested OHCHR to give high priority to the question of the relationship between extreme poverty and human rights and invited it to pursue further work in this area. 72 additional co-sponsors.

France expresses that poor have no political, civil, social and cultural rights, and this concerns people in poor and in rich countries, even if developing countries are far more touched.

South Africa considers the challenges for developing countries. The South African delegation will dissociate of the adoption of this resolution.

Adoption of the Resolution L. 16 without vote.

Resolution L. 17 on the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years, in order to, inter alia, promote the prevention of trafficking in persons in all its forms and the adoption of measures to uphold and protect the human rights of victims. The Council also requested OHCHR to submit to the Council, at its ninth session, a report on the latest developments in the United Nations relating to combating trafficking in persons as well as on the activities of the Office on this issue.

Timor-Leste is co-sponsor for this resolution.

Adoption of the Resolution L. 17 without vote.

Resolution L. 18 on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members.

The Council called upon Governments to take effective measures to eliminate any type of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, including awareness-raising; requested OHCHR to collect information on the measures that Governments had taken to eliminate discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, and to submit a report to the Council and the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee; and requested the Advisory Committee to formulate a draft set of principles and guidelines to eliminate discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, and to submit it to the Council for its consideration by September 2009.
34 additional co-sponsors.

Adoption of the Resolution L. 18 without vote.

End of item 3.

Resolution on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s AttentionResolution L. 12 on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

The Council strongly urged the Government of Myanmar to desist from further politically motivated arrests and to release all political prisoners without delay; called upon the Government to fully implement the commitments it had made to the Secretary-General on granting immediate, full and unhindered access by relief workers to all persons in need throughout the country; called for an absolute and immediate stop to the recruitment of child soldiers into both the Government armed forces and armed groups; and called for a full, transparent and effective, impartial and independent investigation into all reports of human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment, forced labour and forced displacement.

Slovenia for all European Union: referendum was more important than survival of the population.

Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Russia, Malaysia and China consider that it should be better that international community encourage the efforts of national reconciliation and of demecratization with referendum instead of condamning it. Russia added that the international community does not take into account the begun efforts.

Myanmar considers this resolution as similar to the one presented last march to the Council. The Myanmar delegation considers it as pression from several States. The delegation reminds the challenge of nargis cyclone, the ccoperation of the country with the international community and the referendum for a new Cosntitution (92,7% of the voting were approving it. 98% of the popultation voted). The Myanmar delegation accepts the entranceon its territory of a Special Rapporter before next Human Rights Council. Myanmar will dissociate of the adoption of this resolution.

Adoption of the Resolution L. 12 without vote.

Texts on Organizational and Procedural Matters
In a resolution on conference facilities and financial support for the Human Rights Council, the Council reaffirmed the need to ensure the provision of necessary financial resources to the Council and its Working Groups in order to discharge its mandate fully; expressed its concern at the delays in the submission of documents to the Council, and in particular the delays in the translation of documents; and reaffirmed that the Council would consider favourably the adoption of a decision on the webcasting of all public proceedings of its various Working Groups. In a Presidential statement on terms in office of Special Procedure mandate holders, the Council stated that in accordance with General Assembly and Human Rights Council resolutions, a Special Procedure mandate holder’s tenure would not exceed six years in a particular position. The Human Rights Council guaranteed the integrity and independence of the system of Special Procedures and would also follow up on the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Special Procedure mandate holders.

Suzanne Roset.
Conference on Food crisis : challenges and prospect.

18th june 2008 18h30

Moderator: Mrs. C. Mahon, Research Associate, Research Project on the Right Food, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Speakers: Mr. C. Golay, Coordinator of the Research Project on the Right Food, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
Mr. J. Feyder, Ambassador of Luxembourg
Mr. J. Ziegler, Member of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Mr. C. Golay:

In the 1974, the first World Conference took place in Rome, the second took place in 1996, and in 2002 it was the World Summit Plus Five.
Actually we are looking for the causes of this structural crisis, for the first time.
Between february 2007 and february 2008, prices of rice, soya and wheat rised. Riots appeared, which can be explained by many causes:
- food is imported: the first people touched are in the cities.
- In the South, 60-70% of the budget is for food. If the prices increase all the budget is for food.
- Climate change
- Desertification
- Agrofuel
- Price of fuel
- High and increasing demand in India, China

Once the price is high, speculation and export restrictions (Egypt, China...) appear.

20% of the people who are hungry have no access to land or water
10% of the people who are hungry are nomades
20% of the people who are hungry are living in urban areas
50% = the people who are hungry

Food crisis is not caused by armed conflicts or natural catastrophes, but by manmade causes: 90% of the people who are hungry are living in peace.

Unger is in fact exclusion and discrimination, like in Haïti where there is no political plan for agriculture in the countryside.

A solution consists in reinvesting in local production to combat structural causes of hunger.

The last Food Summit (3-5th june 2008) in Rome was concluded by a weak declaration full of contradictory things like more production and more free trade.

Mr. J. Feyder:

The situation is very complex. There are short and long term causes and solutions.
Between 1996 and 2002 price of cotton and rice decreased, and so the buying power of the producers decreased. Those countries are in the South.
The huge volatility of prices is the main problem.
Unfortunately, hunger is not new, but the number of persons concerned increases. (850 millions of persons).
Some of the main causes of this crisis is the underinvestment in agriculture. Net exporters became net importers because the governement gave priority to the export. The crisis we actually know is the result of the failures and errors of yesterday.

In the long run, solution concerns productivity gap. The rates of productivity (for 1 ton produced in the South, 100 tons are produced in the North). Developing countries have to give priority to the agricultural production in a family scale. We also need fair and sustainable prices for producers.

The European organization of agriculture was thought so that Europe was able to produce what it needs.

The need for a better cooperation between all the UN organizations concerned and between all the UN organizations concerned and the Breton Woods organization is important to reach our goal.

Mr. J. Ziegler:

Right to food is a right to quality and quantity for physical and mental alimentation.

The actual crisis is an epiphenomenal event because the normality of hunger was silent.

The is enough food for all the population, so we are testimonying assassinations.

Burning alimentation for mobility of people in the Nirth is a crime against humanity. Moreover, speculation is possible thanks to favorable reglementations.

Absurdity of the policy of of the World Economic Forum: exporting agricole items so they have to import their food. Those countries become vulnerable with regard to the food price changes.

A particular attention must be given to the dumpin on imports by developed countries.

Suzanne Roset.

mardi 15 avril 2008

UPR - Brazil

Universal Public Review on Brazil - 11.04.2008, afternoon

(Head of Brazilian delegation: H.E. Mr. Rogério Sottili – Executive Secretary, Special Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic on Human Rights)


In his introduction, Mr. Sottili stressed the importance of human rights in Brazil, which is remembered not only by various holidays, but also discussed in congresses.

Next, the secretary of social development & hunger reduction took the floor in order to present recent steps the Lula government in Brazil has taken to address problems such as hunger and poverty:

  • “Fome Zero” (“Zero Hunger”), to improve the distribution of agricultural goods and fight hunger in threatened regions
  • “Bolsa Família” - a family allocation program for poor families in order to permit them to feed their children while sending them to school at the same time

On violence and homicides, the Brazilian delegation also presented an optimistic outlook, despite certain problems:

  • The homicide rate in Brazil is still relatively high, but it has been falling over the past years
  • They also mentioned a program of of contributions to poor policemen who earn low salaries, contributions that are conditioned on the police officers attendint Human Rights courses in order to guarantee that (suspected) criminals are treated correctly

The delegation also briefly addressed some other problems that Brazil is still working to improve:

  • Problem of Land Distribution
  • Women’s rights
  • Racial Equality (Here, the delegation mentioned a conference for the revision of the Durban declaration that will take place in Brasília)

Questions 1

  • Slovenia expressed concern about discrimination against young women (who may not be receiving pensions, have other types of low financial support, or even adolescents deprived of liberty); they inquired as to what Brazil has done to improve this situation, and what will be done in the future?
  • Colombia offered praise to Brazil’s achieved progress and efforts in human rights and exprest interest in Brazil’s approach to domestic violence and women’s rights as it faces similar problems.
  • China took the floor mostly expressed approval for the human rights situation in Brazil, and the delegation's presentation
  • Azerbaijan congratulated Brazil for its good human rights record, and for its participation in all key HR treaties. They also noted that Brazil has created many different secretariats/ministries for human rights subjects within the government structure; they asked whether this has been an effective strategy?
  • Peru declared that Brazil has enacted some of the most effective laws in human rights in various areas: combating torture, prosecuting police murders, as well as promoting racial an gender equality. They asked if the results of Brazil’s special commission on the aftermath of the military dictatorship has been effective? In closing, they stressed the importance of freedom of expression and of easy public access to information.
  • India expressed praise for Brazilian law giving international human rights treaties constitutional status in domestic law
  • Malaysia offered compliments for Brazil’s efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS, and requested more information on how Brazil has fought this epidemic. They also expressed interest in knowing Brazil’s strategy to bring primary education to poor and remote areas.
  • Ghana inquired whether Brazil’s education system include programs to fight youth violence, which is responsible for a large part of overall violence in the country?
  • Cuba offered Brazil its congratulations for having made so much progress for a developing country so little time after a 21-year period of military dictatorship (1964 - 1985), and offered praise for Brazil’s “flowering democracy”, as well as for the “Fome Zero” program –they also requested more information on how this program worked.
  • Pakistan inquired about the reasons for the persistence of human rights problems in Brazil; whether it was because of a "need to change attitudes" or something else? (The question was not expressed in a very specific manner)
  • The Netherlands lauded Brazil's exemplary human rights legislation and offered praise for the free press in Brazil that permits an open discussion on this subject. They also expressed strong approval for Brazil's policy of turning human rights legislation into federal law. However, they noted that there is always a gap between legislation and reality; concerning the problem of torture, they asked what has been done to end and prevent torture in PRACTISE (and not only law)?
  • South Korea was next to take the floor
  • Syria asked the Brazilian delegation to further elaborate on its program to eliminate poverty and hunger
  • France requested more detailed information penal responsibility in Brazil.
  • Norway commended the legal framework for human rights in Brazil and offered praise for government efforts to combat slave labor and racial discrimination as well as Brazil’s efforts to respect sexual orientation. Concerning freedom of opinion, however, they stated that it seems as if legislative bodies have failed to address the problem of MEDIA CONCENTRATION in Brazil, which makes it hard to investigate corruption (and which can lead to violence and threats in order to keep news hidden). They asked what actions the Brazilian government has taken to address the problem of concentration of media ownership?

Answers 1 (from the Brazilian delegation)

  • To Peru, the delegation answered first by mentioning Brazil’s amnesty law at the end of the military dictatorship, which allowed exiles to return to Brazil without fear of persecution or arrest. They also stated that in 1995, the state recognized its responsibility for the cases of the dead/“disappeared” political opposition members during the dictatorship – 221 of cases gained financial compensation. In 2007, the secretariat for human rights in Brazil created a DNA database to try to identify the family members of political disappearances that hadn’t yet been found, so that they can be compensated. Another challenge in this area was the opening of the Archives: The archives from the dictatorship have now become part of the national archives, and the government is committed to making all the information from the military years.
  • On women’s questions (In response to Slovenia, Azerbaijan), the delegation first mentioned the “Pacto Nacional” (National Pact), and the implementation of the “Maria da Penha” law against discrimination, as well as the governments continuous efforts to guarantee reproductive rights and sexual freedom
  • In response to South Korea, France, Norway, concerning criminal Justice, the delegation responded by mentioning the 1990 law introduced which extended the possibility to be judged to adolescents, in order to combat youth crime; however, this made the prison population explode. In 2007, the law was revised. To France, the delegation responded that Brazil opposes changing the law concerning the legal age for penal responsibility, which remains fixed at 18.
  • In response to the Netherlands: Concerning torture, in 2006, Brazil adopted a plan of torture prevention (mostly in the Northeast of the country), they also permitted visits of prisoner detention sites in order to prevent torture and make it possible to react in case of abuses.
  • Response to China, Cuba and Syria: Dr. Rosilene of the delegation presented the “Fome Zero” ("Zero Hunger") program in more detail, explaining that it is an inter-ministerial initiative, involving all levels of government (federal, state and municipal). It involves specific payments to families (the payments are higher or lower based on the number of children in a family) as well as providing basic “food baskets” and free nutrition in certain schools.
  • Response to China and Syria on health issues: The delegation mentioned Brazil's universal health care system, which is used by about 60%-70% of Brazilians. However, they also pointed out some remaining problems in this area concerning the qualification of health personnel as well as limited capacities. In response to Malaysia’s questions on AIDS, they stated that the Brazilian government had made a very large investment in AIDS treatment.

Questions 2

  • Australia asked if Brazil plans to establish a national Human Rights institution
  • Algeria stated interest in the measures used to implement the laws on agriculture and foods and it congratulated Brazil for its use of the remains of sugar cane in order to produce ethanol fuel. They also used this opportunity to CRITICIZE the use of corn in ethanol production, since this aggravates the world's food problem!!
  • The United States expressed concern about reports of state police committing extrajudicial killings; they asked what the government doing against this? They also spoke of allegations of torture in the adult as well as in the juvenile penal system.
  • Russia was next to take the floor.
  • They were followed by Senegal.
  • Chile expressed praise for the “Bolsa Família” (Family allocation) plan, in the context of the great importance of programs to help children complete their primary education.
  • Argentina highlighted the importance of Brazilian-Argentinean cooperation through MERCOSUR's supranational human rights department, as well as inquiring about Brazil's efforts to work through the history of its military dictatorship.
  • The United Kingdom stated its approval for the Brazilian federal government’s active role in promoting human, but added that at the state and municipal levels, the government's role is not nearly as good. They mentioned problems in the judicial system, especially in the juvenile court system, and expressed concern over police violence (for example, while invading favelas). They also expressed concern about the ill-treatment in some cases of human rights defenders, especially when they confront powerful local authorities. They also expressed a preoccupation with remaining problems of child and slave labor as well as human trafficking in Brazil.
  • Sri Lanka mostly offered praise for Brazil’s achievements (especially in terms of its health efforts), and asked which strategies can be adopted to address health issues.
  • Guatemala also expressed praise for Brazil’s high right of mandatory schooling for children, citing a 94% success rate of children enrolled in school.
  • Canada reiterated the UK's concertn about Brazil’s efforts to protect and defend human rights protectors; they also voiced concerns about the low proportion of women, Afro-Brazilians and indigenous people in government positions.
  • Germany mentioned the problematic situation in Brazil’s prisons (overpopulation,..) the inquired about future measures of the government to improve the situation. They also voiced concern about ongoing violence of police officers, and wondered how Brazil could bring about a change in a “culture of violence” at local and state levels.
  • Venezuela mainly stressed the right to land. They stated that this is a very important basic right, and they were concerned with the fact that most land in Brazil is owned by few people, implying limited access to land for people - they inquired about Brazil’s plan for agrarian reform.
  • Ecuador asked how is Brazil dealing with the problems of children who live on the street, and thus have incentives to use/sell drugs and resort to violence?
  • Palestine offered great praise for Brazil’s HR record; they did not express any specific concerns or questions.
  • Belgium offered its congratulations for Brazil’s stand for the abolition of the death penalty on the world stage. They also cited remaining problems in Brazil in guaranteeing public security, recommending enhanced security for human rights defenders. They asked fr further details on the possibility of the implementation of such a program.
  • Indonesia also offered praise for Brazil’s human rights record, but cited problems of violence against women. They also mentioned violence in certain parts of the country – specifically, recent violent outbreaks in Brazil's 2 largest cities, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. They asked what Brazil does to deal with police violence?
  • Japan was next to take the floor.
  • Mauritania inquired about the measures that are being taken against forced labor (especially concerning people of African descent).
  • Nigeria said that it welcomed the democratic reconstruction brought about through Brazil’s 1988 constitution and commended Brazil’s economic and social developments. However, they also expressed concern about remaining racial inequalities, despite laws against racism. They requested that Brazil guarantee racial equality through programs in health care, education, and other areas; they also recommended that Brazil pursue public policies to improve the living conditions of indigenous people and African descendents.
  • Mexico compared itself to Brazil as a similar country with similar challenges, expressing that they hoped to continue to learn from Brazil’s experience. They also wanted to know, like Australia, whether Brazil plans to create a national human rights committee?
  • Angola expressed concern about problems with salary inequality between men and women and also about the fact that there is little female representation in public offices. They also mentioned other problems related to racial equality, and challenges for descendents of Africans – they asked to know how Brazil’s affirmative action program can be further developed.
  • Bangladesh expressed admiration with Brazil’s success in reducing extreme poverty and HIV/AIDS.
  • Egypt also voiced approval for Brazil’s human rights efforts, especially in addressing the treatment of African descendents (despite certain remaining problems). They also inquired about how Brazil plans to collect “disaggregated statistics” on racial equality.
  • Morocco also expressed praise for Brazil’s human rights record. They inquired about Brazil’s efforts to reduce poverty, asked about the possibility of establishing an indicator for human rights respect in Brazil.
  • South Africa complimented Brazil for its efforts to eliminate racism and xenophobia, and to end discrimination. They reiteraded praise for the “Fome Zero” program – they had orignially intended to request further information on the family allowance program, but their question had already answered earlier. They confirmed that they see this approach as the best response to poverty and underdevelopment.
  • Jordan was next to take the floor.
  • Bolivia offered mostly praise for Brazil, and stressed the importance of their bilateral relations.
  • Uruguay also offered mostly thanks for Brazil's presentation, and praise for their human rights record and their important bilateral relations as members of MERCOSUR.

Answers 2:

  • The Brazilian delegation agreed that Brazil must continue to investigate threats and violence against human rights defenders. They mentioned that there had been a total of 45 such cases of threats until 2007.
  • To Argentina, concerning the process of working through the aftermath of the military regime, they mentioned their program “Direito à Verdade e à Memória” (“The right to Truth and Memory”), a program meant to expose the events that occurred during the dictatorship an offer compensation.
  • They also stated that children’s situation in Brazil is still a sensitive issue; in 2007, Brazil adopted a social agenda to address adolescents' problems.
  • They also cited the adoption of the program “Brasil sem homofobia” ("Brazil without homophobia") in order to promote equal rights regardless of sexual orientation.
  • In response to Algeria, on agrarian reform, the delegation stated that Brazil uses ecological zoning in order to increase the use of renewable fuel as well as maintain the capacity to produce nutrition.
  • To Venezuela, they responded Brazil’s focus is to guarantee sustainable development while respecting social and labor rights - they did not mention any specific plan for agrarian reform.
  • Concerning extreme poverty and education, the delegation stated that Brazil intends to increase its minimum salary again (which is around $270/month at the moment) and possibly index it to inflation
  • In response to Japan, Mauritania and South Africa, concerning racial equality, the delegation responded that in statistics over the past years in economic studies, Brazil already has many indicators showing the roots of inequality. They stated that the Brazilian government has been promoting education on Africa and African immigrants as well as indigenous peoples.

- Nathan J. Wooden

lundi 14 avril 2008

UPR- Philippines-

11/04/2008 - Afternoon session

  • The Philippine Commitment to Human Rights. Report on the Philippines presented by Hon. Eduardo R. ERMITA, Executive Secretary and Chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Committee.
  • National Report. A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/1 + A/HRC/WG.6/PHL/1/Corr.1
  • Compilation prepared by the OHCHR. A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/2
  • Summary prepared by the OHCHR. A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/3

Presentation made by Hon. Eduardo R. ERMITA:
The Philippine National Report focuses on several sectors such as children, women, indeginous peoples, poverty, security concerns, human rights education...

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The Philippines are 1 of the largest migrant sending countries around the globe. Estimation: 10% of its population is abroad. The Government has created the Overseas Workers' Welfare Administration to protect the OFWs and their families by providing a wide range of comprehensive services and programs.
The Philippine Government has concluded several Social Security Bilateral Agreements with a number of countries, that aim to protect the OFWs. 

'Long tradition of women's participatory inclusion and empowerment' (A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/1, §66, p. 9)
Rising percentage of women going abroad to find a job. 
Issue of violence against women, and women's health services : improvement, however, the Philippines 'needs to enact a comprehensive legal framework that will integrate CEDAW in the national legal system through the passage of the Magna Carte of Women bill' (A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/1, §79, p. 10).
Problem of equality: often, women have a lower wage and insecure jobs. In the informal economy, their presence is dominant.

To strengthen their protection = great priority
Adoption of the National Strategic Framework for Plan Development for Children. Aim: to build a child-sensitive and child-friendly society.
Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006:
'Prohibits cruel and inhuman treatment and punishment
Introduces restorative justice
Provides for diversion programs for children in conflict with the law
Prohibits detention of youth offenders aged 15 years old and below in jails' (A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/1, § 156, p. 20)

-Indigenous people
Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, 1997: provide the opportunity for indigenous people to exercise self-governance and to participate in determining economic development.
Respect of the tradiotnal institutions.

-Muslim community (A/HRC/WG.6/1/PHL/1, §20, p. 4)
Recognition of the Shari'a justice system based on Islamic religious law. 
Criminality continues to remain within the purview of the Revised Penal Code and other laws and not the Shari'a justice system.

-Lack of human and financial ressources

Civil and Political Rights

-In 1987, the Philippine Constitution created an independent commission on human rights = Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, a 'vigilant and vocal guardian of human rights including civil and political rights, holding public hearings, conducting investigations and issuing advisories on specific cases and national issues such as the protection of human rights even during a state of national emergency' (A/HRC/WG.6/+/PHL/1, §101, p.13).

-In 2006: Abolition of death penalty

-Human Rights Education: Improvement
HR offices have been established in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as well as in the Philippine National Police and, finally in the National Bureau of Investigation.
The Department of Education has incorporated basic HR Education in the elementary and secondary schools. 

-Corruption = serious concern
The Philippine Constitution created the Office of the Ombudsman, an 'independent body to protect the people from governmental corruption and abuse with its prosecutorial and investigative powers' (The Philippine Commitment to Human Rights, p. 2). Concrete and practical measures to counter corruption are being implemented

-Issue of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Main issue: impunity of the perpetrators. The Philippine government has 'taken firm measures to address' these problems, and give the priority in the prevention of such killings.
Extrajudicial killings decrease in 2007.
Creation of an Interagency Task Force Against Political Violence: mandated to investigate, prosecute and punish all political violence.
Writ of Amparo: new rules to enhance HR protection.

-Issue of terrorism
Human Security Act of 2007
2 active insurgencies: 
Communist rebels
Secessionist movement in the Southern part of the country

The Constitution prohibits the use of torture (ratification of the Convention against Torture) but no ratification of the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture.
Ratification of the Protocol I of the Geneva Convetions of 1949 = ongoing process.

After the presentation, many states took the floor and asked several questions, particularly on the issues of migration, rights of women, children, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances...

The United Kingdom stresses on the fact that the Philippines are not a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (as well as to the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court as the Summary prepared by the OHCHR noticed it). It has expressed its doubts about the measures taken against corruption. There exists another problem: the slowness of the implementation of treaties.

The Netherlands recommended to criminalize torture, and to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

Italy asked if the Government will integrate the CEDAW nationally.

Other countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India or the Holy See were interested about the situation of migrant workers. Most of them asked how does the Government manage to protect its citizens abroad. Furthermore, questions were the positive (remittances...) and the negative effect (brain drain, social problem...) of migration.

Singapore recognized that the Philippines have a leading position in emphasizing the role of women. Pakistan noticed that the Government has made some efforts to fight against violence against women.

China too admitted that the Philippines have succeeded to reduce extreme poverty, to improve health services, guaranteed women's rights, as well as rights of workers... The Philippines have still to face some challenges, however the situation is getting better. 


vendredi 11 avril 2008

Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

9 April 2008 (morning)

The Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review Working Group reviewed the fulfilment of human rights obligations by Indonesia this morning, during which 43 Council members and observers raised a number of issues pertaining to the human rights situation in the country.

· Presenting the national report of Indonesia was REZLAN ISHAR JENIE, Director-General of Multilateral Affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, who noted that Indonesia was a country of 222 million people scattered over 33 provinces, said that per its Law on Local Government representatives of government held consultations with all relevant stakeholders, including NGOs and national human rights institutions in relation to the current review. It was the view of Indonesia that the review should be replicated from the multilateral to the local level consistent with the State’s National Action Plan on Human Rights as guided by the principle of popular participation in a democratic environment. Responding to written questions posed beforehand, the Director-General said Indonesia had formulated a series of National Action Plans on Human Rights for successive period of five years during which concrete steps were implemented at the national level. Systematic and comprehensive implementation of the Indonesian National Action Plan on Human Rights was designed to help a culture of respect for human rights. Through a strengthened culture of respect for human rights throughout Indonesian society it was possible to create a conducive atmosphere in combating impunity. The Second National Action Plan on Human Rights had been strengthened by additional pillars. Chief among these were the establishment and enhancement of the institutions that were either directly responsible for or instrumental in the promotion and implementation of the National Action Plan on Human Rights. Since 2002, hundreds of local regulations had been revoked for infringing universal human rights values. Building up the capacity of local committees to establish a complaint procedure and to manage with the drafting of legislation was imperative if the committees were to function effectively in supporting the full implementation of the National Action Plan.

The Government was also in the process of boosting the capacity of the legal bureau of the local government throughout Indonesia to better guarantee the compliance of local regulations with the ratified human rights instruments, the Director-General added. To this end, the Government passed the Law on Lawmaking and concluded a draft Guidelines on the Harmonization of the Local By-Laws to be in conformity with the human rights standards. This achievement was followed by the strengthening of democratic processes in the 33 provinces in order to enhance the autonomy of the Indonesia regions through the direct election of governors, district heads and other local officials. Heads of local government and legal bureaus were consequently expected to play an important role between the local government and local human rights defenders. The Government intended to involve the participation of heads of local government legal bureaus and members of criminal investigation units of the national police in Indonesia’s national delegations to future regular meetings of the Council and it dialogues with treaty bodies. A wide selection of Indonesia’s national human rights NGOs, national human rights institutions and human rights activists worked together in an alliance known as the National Alliance for the Revision of the Penal Code, which had actively contributed its expertise to the drafting of the Bill in compliance with human rights standards. In the area of criminal policy, the Penal Code had increased the minimum age from 8 to 12 years and had stipulated that the crime of torture was a human rights violation.

The Director-General noted that Indonesia was currently in the final stages of the establishment of a national institution for the protection of witnesses and victims in order to guarantee the effective investigation and prosecution of certain crimes. Indonesia was in the process of harmonizing its laws, administrative practices and polices, including bringing the Penal Code in to line with the principles of the ratified International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Many initiatives had also been introduced at the community level at the initiative of the prominent think-tank, which had a wide network all over Indonesia. National efforts to achieve full-fledged democracy in Indonesia were ongoing and will continue to be strengthened. In this regard, on 4 April 2008 Indonesia’s national parliament passed the Freedom of Public Information Law through which all State agencies and public institutions were obliged to disclose, among other things, their financial reports to the public. Under the new law, political parties, judicial bodies and international NGOs were expected to reveal information about their activities. The State was also undertaking to strengthen its efforts to ratify the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture by 2009.

· During the three-hour interactive discussion delegations noted a number of positive achievements of the State under review. These included the State’s efforts to enhance human rights on the ground; the eradication of child labor and the protection of the rights of the child, in general; protecting the rights of women; combating poverty; efforts to combat terrorism; the respect of the rights of migrant workers; the State’s capacity-building measures in support of the programmes and projects; efforts to achieve religious freedom; combating trafficking in humans; and the establishment of the national commission on violence against women.

· Questions posed by the Working Group, comprised of the 47 members of the Council, and Observers participating in the interactive discussion, related to the enhancement of the role of national human rights institutions through civil society; the independence of the judiciary; measures to reinforce the independence and impartiality of the national commission on human rights; engagement with Special Procedures and how their recommendations have assisted in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country; steps taken in amending the State Constitution and the role of the Constitutional Court since its establishment in the promotion and protection of human rights; experiences in combating trafficking of persons; plans to raise the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in line with national laws and information on efforts to combat child pornography and prostitution; and detailed information on the State’s campaign to eradicate trafficking in children. Several speakers posed questions concerning the efforts of the State to promote and protect the rights of women and children and the progress made with respect of ratifying the optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Other issues and questions raised dealt with intercultural and interfaith dialogue; measures adopted or planned to implement the decision to have 30% of women represented in political parties and electoral commissions, as set out by the Government; measures taken to safeguard freedom of expression and opinion; the results of steps taken to eradicate extreme poverty; unequal pay between men and women; ending impunity for human rights for human rights violators; how the crime of torture was addressed in the National Action Plan; plans to install a special contact persons for human rights defenders within the provincial government; the approach taken to address priority issues such as those which arose in the aftermath of the Tsunami; illiteracy rates; the human rights of individual in Papua; steps taken to ensure the protection of economic, social and cultural rights, in general; and combating discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities.

Information was also sought on the State’s plans to include torture as a crime stipulated in the Penal Code; the exploitation of natural resources; juvenile courts; protection of human rights defenders; the intention of the State to sign and ratify the Convention on enforced and involuntary disappearances; steps taken to promote the independence of the judiciary.

The Brazilian delegation noted some concerns related to the implementation of certain specific measures and their results. Noting Indonesia’s demonstrated willingness to undertake important legal reforms aimed at promotion of civil and political rights, it asked what concrete steps have been taken to promote independence of the judiciary and the administration of justice. It asked also about the main results achieved in the prosecution of those responsible for gross human rights violation in Timor Leste by the Indonesia Human Rights Courts and about the outcomes of the Ad Hoc Human Rights Courts for Timor Leste.

A number of delegations also posed specific recommendations, some of which addressed withdrawing reservations to the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the consideration of providing additional human rights training to security forces; taking additional steps to ensure that the rights of minorities protected, especially in respect of reported abuse on non-State actors;

The delegation of Indonesia provided responses to a series of questions posed to it during the course of the discussion. With regard to the protection of women and children, the delegation said that in the fight against trafficking in women and children Indonesia had established a task force against trafficking and enhanced cooperation with countries in the region to combat this scourge. Legal assistance and shelters had been provided for victims of trafficking, in line with the National Action Plan. Concerning the national commission of human rights, it was noted that this body was an independent body, as stipulated in a law of 1999, and was an important partner with the Government towards the promotion and protection of human rights. The Government had benefited from the expertise of the Commission in many ways.

With regard to the Special Procedures, it was recalled that Indonesia had received 11 Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and it was the intention of the State to welcome other Special Procedures to visit the country. Concerning the situation in Papua, efforts had been taken to improve the welfare of those living on the island focused on the development of rural areas aimed at improving the quality of life of Papuans. Many human rights capacity-building projects had also been instituted. On migrant workers, it was noted that 2.5 million Indonesians were working overseas. The legal system had been strengthened with regard to the protection of all migrant workers.

Responding to questions on Timor Leste, the delegation said the two nations now had excellent bilateral relations. They are working together with a vision of reconciliation. Most of the outstanding issues of the past had been resolved. Emphasis was now on the closure of the chapter involving allegation of human rights violations in 1999. The Government was now expecting the results and findings of the Commission on Truth and Friendship. The Indonesian delegation also noted that their leader and the Timorese one are committed to continuing this process, in a spirit of friendship. Responding to another question, the delegation said the law of 1999 upheld the respect for freedom of association and assembly. As to judicial independence, the Const stipulated that the judiciary had full independence without influence from other bodies.

· States taking the floor during the interactive discussion were the Philippines, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Uruguay, Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation, China, Germany, South Africa, Japan, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, Bangladesh, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Cuba, France, Egypt and Slovenia, Thailand, Belgium, Iran, Belarus, Singapore, Australia, Tunisia, Algeria, Kuwait, Syria, Bhutan, the United States, the Sudan, Morocco, Turkey, Latvia, New Zealand, Palestine, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Sweden.

The three Council members serving as rapporteurs – troika - for the review of Indonesia are Jordan, Canada and Djibouti.

The UPR Working Group is scheduled to adopt the report of Indonesia on Friday, 11 April.

mardi 8 avril 2008

Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Monday 7 April 2008

The first meeting of the first session of the Working Group on the UPR (7-18 April 2008) was opened by the Council President, who noted the "historic day" of this new mechanism. Many delegations echoed these remarks during the day of the Council having embarked on an historic process. The Council President concluded the day by noting the positive spirit in which the review had taken place and that a standard had been set by today's exercise.


Review of Bahrain

H.E. Dr. Nizar Albaharna, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain presented the national report and headed the 27-member State delegation. 36 Members States and Observer States took the floor during the inter-active dialogue.

H.E. Dr. Nizar Albaharna, quoting UN former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said how the UPR represents the first human rights innovation of this millennium, as it is the spirit of our age. Bahrain has a deep commitment in the respect and protection of human rights, and considers the UPR as a privilege and a responsibility.

Issues addressed during the review included steps taken and planned to ensure equality and non-discrimination of women, the role of the Supreme Council of Women and reform measures to eliminate forced marriages; the independence of the judiciary; the freedom of expression and association; labour polices; the access to water, health services and adequate housing; access to primary and secondary education; and efforts to improve conditions for migrant workers. Other issues raised included the State’s intention to sign and ratify the Convention on Forced Disappearances; plans to lift its reservation to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; and steps taken to ensure that the State’s counter-terrorism law was in compliance with the ICCPR. The State noted its process towards establishing an NHRI, which it expected to be operational in 2008, and referred to campaigns against human trafficking as well as current debates of a draft law on nationality.

Concerning the capital law, H.E. Dr. Nizar Albaharna underlined how this practise is hardly applied, except for very serious cases.

The Bahraini representatives expressed their country’s dedication to learn from other countries how to better guarantee the respect of human rights, also by sharing experiences and practices.

Considering the UPR as an effective tool of technical assistance for the protection of human rights, Bahrain is committed to country visits and special rapporteurs.

During the inter-active dialogue, all countries which took the floor pleased Bahrain for their report, for being the first country to be reviewed and for its commitment in the field of human rights.

India and Switzerland expressed their desire to know the effective steps taken by Bahrain for the protection of migrant workers.

The French delegation asked Bahrain how it is actually guaranteeing the independence of the juridical system, which reforms have been undertaken to prevent forced weddings, and if Bahrain is willing to sign the convention against enforced disappearance.

The UK pleased Bahrain for the good steps carried out since independence, its move to democracy also regarding the improvement of human rights. Nonetheless the UK underlined how press freedom must be ensured.

In response to those countries who asked Bahrain how it is actually improving the condition of women, the Bahraini delegation stated that women’s role is growing in the country, as the Supreme Council ensures women rights. The King has also enabled women to stand for elections and vote. (the first woman member of the parliament also took the floor).

The Bahraini delegation also pointed out the assistance provided to the victims of violence and human trafficking.

In all Bahraini schools’ curricula, a new subject has been introduced aimed to spread the awareness of human rights-related issues and international conventions.

H.E. Dr. Nizar Albaharna stated that his Government is proud of the health care and education provided to its population. Quoting the words of the King, H.E. Dr. Nizar Albaharna said that by developing the people, Bahrain will develop.

The three Council members serving as the rapporteurs (i. e. the troika) for the review of Bahrain are Slovenia, the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka.

The UPR Working Group is scheduled to adopt the report of Bahrain on Wednesday 9 April.


lundi 31 mars 2008

7th Session of the HRC, Friday 28 March 2008



Texts also Adopted on Climate Change, Genocide, Enforced Disappearances, Extreme Poverty, Missing People, Rights of Child and Occupied Syrian Golan

The Human Rights Council this morning decided to extend for a period of three years the mandates of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination and of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences. It appointed for a period of three years an Independent Expert on human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

The Council also adopted texts on the effects of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights, prevention of genocide, the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, human rights and extreme poverty, missing persons, the rights of the child, and on the occupied Syrian Golan.

Of the ten resolutions adopted this morning, two were adopted by a vote and eight by consensus without a vote.

Resolutions on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including Right to Development

Resolution on Mandate of Working Group on Use of Mercenaries

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.7/Rev.1) on the mandate of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 11 against, and 2 abstentions, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination for a period of three years to elaborate and present concrete proposals while facing current and emergent threats posed by mercenaries or mercenary-related activities; to seek opinions and contributions from Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations on questions relating to its mandate; to monitor mercenaries and mercenary-related activities, to monitor and study the effects on the enjoyment of human rights of the activities of private companies offering military assistance, consultancy and security services on the international market; also decides to authorize the Working Group to hold three sessions per year of five working days each, two in Geneva and one in New York.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (32): Angola, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Zambia.

Against (11): Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovenia and United Kingdom.

Abstentions (2): Switzerland and Ukraine.

Speaking in explanation of the vote were Slovenia on behalf of the European Union :

ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia), said that the European Union continued to believe that the issue of the use of mercenaries was outstanding and that their use could lead to dangerous situations that could endanger armed conflicts. The issue of mercenaries deserved to be addressed by the United Nations, but the European Union did not believe that it should be dealt with by the Human Rights Council and that it was a human rights problem, thus the European Union would call for a vote and would vote against the resolution.

Resolution on Human Rights and Access to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.16) on human rights and access to safe drinking water and sanitation, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to appoint, for a period of three years, an Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, whose tasks will be to develop a dialogue with Governments, the relevant United Nations bodies, the private sector, local authorities, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and academic institutions, to identify, promote and exchange views on best practices related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation. To advance the work by undertaking a study on the further clarification of the content of human rights obligations, including non-discrimination obligations, in relation to access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Resolution on Human Rights and Climate Change

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.21/Rev.1) on human rights and climate change, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to request the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in consultation with and taking into account the views of States, other relevant international organizations and intergovernmental bodies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other stakeholders, to conduct, within existing resources, a detailed analytical study of the relationship between climate change and human rights, to be submitted to the Council prior to its tenth session; encourages States to contribute to the study conducted by OHCHR;

ABDUL GHAFOOR MOHAMED (Maldives), introducing the resolution, said that the Maldives believed that the large number of co-sponsors of this resolution coming from all regional groups was indicative of the importance of the issue of climate change. It was also an issue of existential importance to the Maldives. Its future as a viable state would be decided by the success or failure of negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This resolution dealt with the impact of the phenomenon on human beings. Developing an understanding of the impact of climate change on human rights was important. The resolution was a procedural one; it requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a study into the relationship between human rights and climate change. The Maldives was hoped that the resolution would be adopted by consensus.

AKIO ISOMATA (Japan), in a general comment, said that Japan was concerned by the effects that climate change could bring on to the enjoyment of human rights, especially this impact on small island countries. Japan fully supported this resolution. As a host country of the G8 Summit this July, Japan had actively been contributing to the issue of climate change in collaboration with the international community.

MUSTAFIZUR RAHMAN (Bangladesh) said that climate change was the biggest threat the world was facing today. It was resulting in extreme weather conditions. These changes had great impact on the enjoyment of human rights of livelihood and shelter among others. No countries were protected and this was a global phenomena. All parties had to be part of the solution. The broad consultations conducted by the Maldives were appreciated and Bangladesh hoped the text would be adopted by consensus.

Resolution on Elimination of Violence against Women

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.22/Rev.1) on the elimination of violence against women, adopted without a vote, the Council strongly condemns all acts of violence against women and girls, and calls for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence, in accordance with the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, and stresses the need to treat all forms of violence against women and girls as a criminal offence, as well as the duty to provide access to just and effective remedies and specialized assistance to victims; decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, for a period of three years; invites the Special Rapporteur to seek and receive information on violence against women, its causes and its consequences, from Governments, treaty bodies, specialized agencies, other special rapporteurs, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and to respond effectively to such information;

Resolution on Prevention of Genocide

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.26/Rev.1) on prevention of genocide, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon States that have not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to consider doing so as a matter of high priority; calls upon all States to cooperate, including through the United Nations system, in strengthening appropriate collaboration among existing mechanisms that contribute to early detection and prevention of massive, serious and systematic violations of human rights, which if not halted, could lead to genocide; recognizes the important role of the Secretary-General in contributing to prompt consideration of early warning or prevention cases, and the functions of the Special Adviser, who collects existing information, liaises with the United Nations system on activities for the prevention of genocide and works to enhance the capacity of the United Nations to analyse and manage information relating to genocide or related crimes; requests all Governments to cooperate fully with the Special Adviser in the performance of his work;

Resolution on International Convention for the Protection of All Persons
from Enforced Disappearance

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.31/Rev.1) on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by consensus, the Council encourages States that are in the process of signing, ratifying or acceding to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance to complete their internal procedures towards those ends in compliance with domestic legislation as expeditiously as possible; encourages all States that have not done so to consider signing, ratifying or acceding to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; and invites States to consider joining the campaign to share information on best practices and to work towards the early coming into force of the Convention with the aim of its universality.

Resolution on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.32/Rev.1) on human rights and extreme poverty, adopted without a vote, the Council affirms that the fight against extreme poverty must remain a high priority for the international community; Jean-Baptiste Mattei (France), introducing the draft resolution, said that combating extreme poverty had to remain a high priority for the international community.

Resolution on Missing Persons

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.33/Rev.1) on missing persons, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon States that are parties to an armed conflict to take all appropriate measures to prevent persons from going missing in connection with armed conflict and account for persons reported missing as a result of such a situation; calls upon States that are parties to an armed conflict to take all necessary measures, in a timely manner, to determine the identity and fate of persons reported missing in connection with the armed conflict and to provide their family members with all relevant information they have on their fate;

Resolution on the Rights of the Child

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.34) on the rights of the child, adopted without a vote, the Council calls on States to take action in a number of areas, including implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with regard to which it calls upon States parties to designate, establish or strengthen relevant governmental structures for children and to ensure adequate and systematic training in the rights of the child for professional groups working with and for children.

ALEJANDRO ARTUCIO RODRIGUEZ (Uruguay), introducing the draft resolution on the rights of the child, said this was an initiative that had been addressed earlier during the former Commission on Human Rights with the sole importance of having States implement their commitments on the rights of the child. This was the first time this resolution was before the Human Rights Council. The resolution took as a base the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols. Through this draft, it was proposed that future work be undertaken with a focused and thematic analysis in future sessions of the Council in order to generate areas for interactive dialogue thus enabling a greater depth into the best practices in the area of the rights of the child. It was necessary for the Council to have a more effective, regular and systematic way in its programme of work.

Resolution on Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories

Resolution on Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan

In a resolution (A/HRC/7/L.2) on human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 1 against, and 14 abstentions, the Council calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, particularly Security Council resolution 497 (1981), in which the Council decided that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and without international legal effect, and demanded that Israel should rescind forthwith its decision; also calls upon Israel to desist from changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan, and emphasizes that the displaced persons of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan must be allowed to return to their homes and to recover their property; further calls upon Israel to desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan and to desist from its repressive measures against them.

In favour (32): Angola, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Zambia.

Against (1): Canada.

Abstentions (14): Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom.