mardi 27 février 2007

WG on the right to development - Feb. 27th - CB

Working Group on the RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT, eight session, 26 February – 2 march

Agenda Item 4 (a): Consideration of the report paragraph by paragraph

§ 88
(this paragraph refers to the annexes II and III)

Regarding annex II Criteria for periodic evaluation of Global Development Partnerships form a right-to-development perspective the following positions were taken:

Bangladesh, South Africa, Cuba (NAM), Algeria, Egypt
- do not agree with the formulation of §g: … in accordance with is international obligations. International law or nothing at all would be better.
South Africa
- wants to include a reference to the principles of sustainable development

Regarding annex III Suggested Initial Implementation checklist for the criteria the following positions were taken:

Bangladesh: Criteria focus to much on the developing country. The international dimension should be covered as well; trade, subsidies, technological transfer etc.

South Africa, Cuba (NAM), Algeria and Egypt go in the same direction:
The checklist is too much about the national level. Too focused on the conditions in the developing countries.

Germany (EU): reaction to Bangladesh. G. understands that the criteria do not focus on the developing country but on the partnership. Moreover, the criteria have anyway to be fulfilled by the donor country. Unavoidable to address the developing country as this is where the project focuses.

UK: Need of best practices (e.g. examples of how these partnerships should be) should be provided

UNICEF: Supports Bangladesh. Debt, trade and transparency are important.

Answer by the Task force:
Focused is on the arrangement not the developing country. To what extend does the arrangement reflect and enhance the criteria? Two different readings: what is the developing country doing and what is the partnership doing.

General statement on behave the NAM. Need to improve the criteria. Everything relates to the inequalities that exist in the international trade system. Subsidies are penalising developing countries. This is unfair and it has to be addressed.

NAM. Criteria go to far. What is the goal: human rights? Not for us out aim is development.
Criteria 6, does not work. Not judicable.

It is about mainstreaming human rights. Number two is because of respect of sovereignty. National action plans are defined by the developing countries. Annex 2 (g) human right belongs to the individuals.

Respond to Egypt. Africa action plan. Right to development a tool for policy makers. World bank wants to be bound.

Shares the view of Germany

It is agreed that the criteria will be further worked on

§ 89
§ 90
§ 91
§ 92

it was agreed upon these §s but the mention of “the World Bank’s Africa Action Plan” is erased on request of Cuba (NAM), Algeria (AG) and Egypt

Agenda Item 4 (b): Consideration of next steps

NAM: Convention on the Right to Development
EU: No!!!

Additional days accorded to the task force
It is agreed to accord two additional days to the task force.

Agenda Item 4 c) Consideration of the reports of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights

Clarification by the secretariat:
Two reports, one of 2005 and
They are different because the first was a very broad mandate. Less defined than now. The year 2006 was very decisive for the right to development. This is manifest in the second report. It is much more focused on the crystallised mandate.

South Africa: there is nothing new in this report.

Task Force: We need a mandate to continue to work an the three partnership as we did before. Thanks to the secretariat.

It is taken note of the two reports. The Chair comments on south Africa; every member state is very welcome to give inputs to the Task force. This applies also to the EU.
Final words on the reports. Secretariat has two tasks: first; intellectual support and material support. Second the mainstreaming of the right to development. This second task depends a lot on what this working group establishes. Until one the HC possibilities were limited. This will change. We can expect more and more.

lundi 26 février 2007

WG on the right to development - Feb. 26th -BK

WG on the RIGHT to DEVELOPMENT/26.02
Report by Benedikt Kaelin
Working Group on the RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT, 8th session, 26 February – 2 march

ITEM 1: opening of the session

High commissioner Louise Arbour who was previewed to open the session is excused. She will come on Friday and give her closing remarks. (it is therefore important that somebody goes to Friday’s meeting!!) Thanks go to Special Rapporteur Ibrahim Salama and the high level task force on the Right to Development.

ITEM 2: election of Chairperson-Rapporteur

·Election of Chairperson-Rapporteur: Algeria proposes the re-election of Mr.Salama. Nobody objects.

·Statement by WG Chairperson: Mr.Salama states that the right to development is moving to clarity and implementation. A clear commitment is needed to expand the horizon. No comments on the task force report. Mr.Salama recognized a strong engagement in the process.
- two additional days for the high level task force are needed!
- main challenge: bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality

·Group and Member state statements:
Main positions:
oAlgeria: cooperation should not be subject to condition. The African Group would limit itself to the Cotonou Agreement. Mr.Salama lauded the deep involving of the African Group
oCuba on behalf of NAM & China: international community does still very little to show commitments on the right to development. Initiatives of developing countries (DC) are still hindered. There should be no conditionality for cooperation. New partnerships are required. Future session: identification of gaps, how can taskforce contribute?, analysis and recommendations to overcome.
oGermany on behalf of EU: EU firmly committed to realization of Right to development. States have primary responsibility. 3 multilateral partnerships. Important function of the taskforce. Better to concentrate on concrete issues. (e.g. child rights, gender issues)
oIndonesia: more practical approach desired, enhanced awareness of the right to development.
oSouth Africa: question if the member states have done enough for the RtD..

ITEM 3: Adoption of the Agenda, timetable and programme of work
Wednesday will be without meetings!

ITEM 4: Review of progress in the promotion and implementation of the right to development

Short presentation of Prof. Arjun Sengupta (Sri Lanka) on the outcome of an expert consultation on extreme poverty and human rights:
-carry on discussion to define the right to development.
-How to realize targets? See different approaches, examine national plans
-Extreme poverty: violation of HR? who is a violator, who is a victim?
-Extreme poverty also in developed countries
-Lack of commitment
-Group of vulnerable people belonging to marginalized groups: income polity, social exclusion, development policy
-Extremely poor people should have priority for right to development
-Condition created by a state of lack of commitment, different answers in DC/DdC

4a.Consideration of the report of the high-level task force on the implementation of the right to development.

oPresentation by the Chair of the high-level task force (Mr. Stephen Marks, USA)
3 partnerships examined: African Peer Review Mechanism, ECA/OECD-DAC mutual review of development effectiveness, Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness
-APRM: by African states for African states
-ECA/OECD-DAC: more closely into concept of global partnerships, greater civil society participation, positive dialogue
-PDAE: enabling environment, enumerating element of implementation checklist
3 conditions for success of global partnership: a. continuity in assessment process, periodic examination, follow-up needed!; b. methodological rigor to provide a proper report; c. pay due attention to political will of actors, if too much attention on domestic policies, they fail to pay attention on international structures. If too much attention on complete global structure, too few attention on village structures, etc.

o General discussion
Different member states add their comments to the report, replies by Mr.Marks
Hint to the important role of Africa, first continent to have established the Right to Development in a treaty (African Charter). Understand what changes are needed to improve the analysis.

o Consideration of the report, paragraph by paragraph
Most important points:
-par.55: comprehensive and coherent set of standards: if genuine dialogue is established, standards are accepted as being appropriate by the international community. Awareness of the strong group of countries wanting to establish a treaty (NAM position). Idea: lay a groundwork of willingness
-national AND international structures are needed. Focus on Africa and Aid. Devote attention also to Latin America. Specific concern with Asia. Non-aid themes also addressed. World Bank efforts: opportunity for International Community.
-Par.57-68: concern: implementation checklist. Most African countries are not in position of delivering assistance. Call international donors.. Marks speaks of a dream to see the right to development in treaty form. Problem: shame if the big opposition would divert such a treaty. Not go too fast! (NAM wants a treaty immediately!). Egypt wants to know how NAM can contribute in future sessions.
-Par.65: Rwanda wants to see possible measures in case of non-compliance. This question is premature (Salama)
-South Africa strongly criticizes the approach taken.
-Salama also points at Art.2.3 of the UDHR. States have the duties and the rights. Each state has to determine its own implementation policies.

mardi 20 février 2007

Asian Group Meeting, 20th March 2007, A.L.G.

Report of Asian Group Meeting
20 February 2007

This meeting had been arranged on the request of Ambassador Makarim Wibisono, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN, in order to brief the Asian Group on the High Level Mission of the Human Rights Council to Sudan.

The ambassador of Indonesia announced that he decided to quit the High Level Assessment Mission on Darfour.
The main reason for this decision was that the government of Sudan was not cooperating with the Mission at all. The members of the Mission, still waiting in Adis Abeba to get the visa to enter Sudan, learned that they would not be authorized to enter Sudan and that they should go to Tchad instead.
Under those circumstances, the ambassador decided to go back to Geneva.

Some ambassadors then took the floor to express their support and understanding for his decision.
The ambassador of the Republic of Korea and the ambassador of Japan pointed out that those kinds of issues will be a big question for the Council in the future.
The ambassadors of China and Iran added that the Mission could not fulfill its task because of its high politicization and, as a consequence of this, its composition. They argued that the Mission should have involved more members of the Council and the country concerned.
The ambassador of Syria also regreted the high politicization and pointed out that, regarding the “measures” taken in the Special Sessions on Palestine, there had been also no outcome because of such bureaucracies.

For the ambassador of Indonesia, it was very important that the Asian Group stood behind him in his decision. As there was no objection to it, the members of the Asian Group, decided that the facilitator of the conference would write an letter to the President of the Human Rights Council confirming “officially” the support of the Asian Group.

vendredi 16 février 2007

WG on expert advice - Feb. 16th - AB

Following the discussions on expert advice of last Friday (Feb. 9th), the Facilitator summed up the points of convergence and asked the delegations to express their points of view regarding the elements of divergence.

1. Nature of the body

While Cuba proposed a 3 weeks annual meeting of the Human Rights Expert Advisory Body (HREAB), Germany emphasized the fact that it should not exceed 2 weeks. USA, Switzerland and Mexico went further, suggesting that it should only meet on request of the Council. On the opposite, Germany, Cuba, Algeria, Colombia, Argentina, and China said that the HREAB should be a permanent structure. The Lutheran World Federation raised the idea of a compromise: a reduced but permanent pool of experts completed by a roster of qualified experts available to carry out special tasks on request.

Argentine proposed that the mandate of the HREAB include not only human rights promotion but also protection. Switzerland, Algeria and the UK agreed.

2. Number of members

A few countries (Argentina, Japan, India and Germany) put forward that a body restricted to a maximum of 16 members would be more effective. Algeria, Cuba, Pakistan, China and Iran would rather maintain the number of members of the late Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, which is 26, in order to ensure representativeness and higher efficiency to deal with the large amount of work expected.

3. Selection process

There seemed to be a broad consensus on the idea that the experts are chosen on the basis of their qualification and independence (Germany, China, UK, Canada, Algeria, Cuba). France specified that the experts should not be working for their government.
Regarding the selection process of the experts, all the speaking delegations agreed that the selection takes place in two phases: first an internal nomination by the countries, then a final election by the HRC (Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia, China, Cuba, India) or the General Assembly (Argentina).

In the afternoon, the debate moved to the modalities of the 4th session of the HRC, the Facilitator having issued a new draft timetable. A relative consensus relative to the following issues was achieved:
• The High Level Segment (HLS) should only meet once a year.
• The session should be shortened by one week, which would be dedicated to a better preparation of the WG following it.
• The 5th session of the HRC must start on June 18th and not on the 30th (Cuba, and China and Palestine particularly insisted on this issue, arguing that they wanted an internal organization agreed on before the end of the mandate of the Mexican President of the Council, being suspicious that some country were deliberately delaying the process)
Uruguay, backed up by Ecuador and Argentina, also proposed that the Special event of March 19th, « violence against children », be allocated 2 hours of discussion instead of one.

jeudi 15 février 2007

WG on the mandates - Feb. 15th - LR&CN

Report of the meeting of the 15th February 2006, 15h-18h

Working Group on the Review of Mandates

The Facilitator made a brief summary of the past negotiations and gave some propositions for future debates.

After that, the session was closed because the negotiations were already finished on the13th of February. Moreover the Members State did not have any other comments.

WG on UPR - Feb. 15th - LR&CN

Report of the Meeting of the 15th of February 10h-13h
Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review Mechanisms of the Human
Rights Council

The facilitator, the distinguished ambassador of Morocco, Mr. Mohammed Loulichki,. presented to the Members State three different options regarding the periodicity and the constitution of the Working Group (WG).

The first option:

In the first option there is three sources of information:

1) self assessment report based on standard questionnaire
2) OHCHR compilation
3) additional information by other relevant stakeholders

All information will go to the plenary of the Human Rights Council (HRC).

For the periodicity, there is two possibilities:

1) 5 years frequency, 39 countries per year review, 4 weeks of plenary meetings needed
2) 4 years frequency, 48 countries per year review, 5 weeks of plenary meetings needed

The second option:

In the second option, the sources of information are the same. However, there is an intermediary stage between the information stage and the plenary of the HRC.

Four (4) working groups (12 members per group except one with 11 members, with respect to geographical distribution, each Members State could be represented in only one working group) are involved in this intermediary stage. The question is who would make up the working group: either experts nominated by Members States or independent experts or an hybrid option.

Each working groups will report to the plenary of the HRC.

Moreover there is a choice between a specific questionnaire + response by the State concerned and a report of the review + response and commentary by the State concerned.

For the periodicity, there are two options:
1) 5 years periodicity, 39 countries per year, each WG meet for 1 week, total of 4 weeks for four WG
2) 4 years periodicity, 48 countries per year, each WG meet for 1 week, total of 4 weeks for four WG
The number of weeks of plenary meetings will depend on the time allocated for consideration and adoption of outcome by the plenary.

The third option:

In the third option, the sources of information are the same. The difference is that there would be 2 WG (24 members, 23 members) instead of 4 WG.

For the periodicity, there are two options:

1) 5 years period, 39 countries, each WG meet for 2 weeks (total 4 weeks)
2) 4 years period, 48 countries, each WG meet for 2 weeks (total 4 weeks)

The floor is now open for comments.

The USA took the floor. The representative suggested another option with only one (1) WG to conduct the UPR before its referred to the plenary of the HRC. Indeed with 4 WG meeting at the same time it would be very difficult and resources-consuming. The WG has to be made with government delegates and there is no need for independent experts.

The Facilitators added that we can not impose one approach or another concerning independent experts or governmental delegates. So we have to leave it up to the Member States.

Regarding the three options:

Colombia, Bangladesh, Algeria in the name of the African Group, Russian Federation, China, Guatemala, India, Cuba, Chile, Iran, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Ghana and Malaysia favour the first option. For most of them, the reason for choosing this option is that it is a more practical and manageable option than the second option. Moreover it is less costly to conduce the review in the plenary session.

Germany in the name of the European Union, Sweden, Czech Republic, Argentina, Brazil, Norway, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Liechtenstein, Canada, Korea, Belgium, Mexico, Denmark and Ecuador favour the second option. The WG allow an interactive dialog.

Regarding experts’ issue, the Members State which chose the first option did not see the need for independent experts. The UPR is an intergovernmental process and so it has to be made by the Member State themselves.

The States which chose the second option were in favour of independent experts or an hybrid composition of experts. In their view the participation of independent experts could reduce the politicization of the HRC.

The NGO, “International Service for Human Rights” and the International Coordination of National Human Rights Institution were in favour of the second option with the participation of independent experts in the UPR. Moreover, for the process to be constructive it should be open to all stakeholders, including NGO’s.

mercredi 14 février 2007

WG on UPR - Feb. 14th - DB

Report of the meeting of the 14th of February 2007, 10-13h:

Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review Mechanisms

of the Human Rights Council

The facilitator, the distinguished ambassador of Morocco, Mr. Mohammed Loulichki, divided the meeting in two sections; the first section, to discuss outcome of the review, the second section, to discuss the follow up.


The review could take place in smaller working groups for certain (Germany), in plenary session for others (most of the delegations expressed that way)

For some delegations, the recommendations should be tailor made (Germany), others stated that the outcome should be a summary of the procedure with some recommendations (China, Liechtenstein, Norway, Chile, Indonesia, Guatemala, India, Argentina; Malaysia). Some added compliance statements (India).

Recommendations may content proposition for technical assistance and capacity building of the State, but only upon the state consent and/or request (Cuba, China, Philippines, Indonesia, India, and Argentina) but others deplored the eventuality that the country concerned would be able to decide on the final outcome (Liechtenstein). The delegations recognized there is a need to take into account the level of development of the country.

Many delegations stressed out the need for consensus (Philippines, Indonesia, and India) but warning against it at the same time (Germany)

The African Union took the floor to reaffirm that the UPR must not be binding in anyway, but has to function on a cooperative mode (Supported by Colombia, Philippines, and Guatemala). Most of the delegations took the floor against the possibility of fact finding mission and establishment of OHCHR field missions as an outcome the UPR (China, Norway, Indonesia, and Pakistan).

The EU stated that the review will be taken into account to build up bilateral programmes of cooperation.


The possibility of having a global report consolidating all the UPR of all the States reviewed didn’t seduced many delegations (Argentina, South Korea, Malaysia Brazil agreed; Russia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Algeria in the name of the African Group questioned it).

While a few delegations consider actions to be taken in case of non compliance (Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Liechtenstein), most of the others refused this idea (including the US, Cuba, The OIC and the African Group and China), denying any possibility for the Council to take coercitive measures of any kind. The idea of a statement by the Chairperson of the HR Council was not welcomed (Russia, India)

WG on complaint procedure - Feb. 14th - YS

Report of the meeting of the 14th of February 2007, 13h- 18h:
Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review Mechanisms
of the Human Rights Council

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss about the complaint procedure on the basis of the 1503 process. Several points have been exanimate.

Points 5 and 6 examination:

The US representative proposed that even if the first working group (working group on communications) should conclude to admissibility of the complaint, the second working group (working group on situations) should reject it if criteria are not fulfilled.
China made a proposition on the two working group’s functions: the first should only check complaint admissibility and should reject manifestly ill-founded ones. The second should examine content of the complaint and make proposals to HRC.
In a nutshell, some kind of pre-screening by the working group on communications should precede an examination by the working group on situations.
Concerning the composition of the working groups, whole delegations agreed it should be geographically representative of the five regional groups. The representative of Morocco added that gender balance should be observed. Most of the delegations agreed for a 3 year term renewable only once. But, the matter of experts’ designation had shown some divergences. While a few delegations consider members should be elected among members of the former sub-commission (Pakistan on behalf of OCI, Malaysia…), most of the others thought they should be nominated by HRC respecting each regional group (Germany in the name of EU, Russia…).
UK proposed that a member should not be able to make a decision in a case whether country of origin or country of residence of the above-mentioned member is involved. In the same way, the representative of Venezuela thought that working groups should have the possibility to declare one of their member incompetent in case of obvious partiality.

Points 7, 8 and 9 examination:

Whole delegations agreed for an annual session of the council. However, concerning the working groups, most of the delegations thought it should to meet more often that the council.
Several delegations (China, Malaysia, Mexico…) felt that the current system is not victim-oriented enough. According to them, complainants should be informed as soon as the communication has been transmitting to the office.
Furthermore, they thought that complainants and the government concerned should be informed of each step of the process, that is to say admissibility, content examination and HRC resolution.
Then, the representative of Algeria asked if it could be possible for the secretary to acknowledge the whole complaints. He added information to the complainant should be transmitting in the end of the process to ensure confidentiality.
Lastly, the secretary answered each complaint is acknowledged expect manifestly ill-founded communications and petitions. In the latter case, secretary had to choose a couple of them for acknowledgment.

Asian Group Meeting on HRC -Feb.14 -LR

Report of the Meeting of the 14th February 2007, 10h-12h:

Asian Group: Expert level meeting on Human Rights Council

Sri Lanka chairmanship

The purpose of this meeting was to discuss one more time the draft text of a possible Asian Group Statement that could be made at the next informal consultations on the timetable of the Human Right Council (HRC). The changes to the draft statement of the Asian Group were based on the President’s revised draft timetable for the 4th session of the HRC which will be held from the 12th of March to the 5th of April 2007 in Geneva.

The Asian Group was of the view that during the 1st year of the HRC, priority should be given to institutional-building, which should be completed by June this year. In that context, the Group was of the view that not enough time was devoted to institutional-building. On the contrary, the Group was of the view that there was too much time allocated to the “related debates” in the draft timetable. According to them, this time had to be used for institutional building.

Moreover, the Group was of the view that more time should be allocated during the Fourth Session for discussion at the three Working Group (WG). They added that only a few session have been provided in the draft timetable during the fourth weeks for “progress reports” of the three WG.

The Asian Group was also of the view that the High Level Segment should be held only once a year. In this respect, the Group reach an understanding that the High Level Segment had to be held in March/April when the Council meets for four weeks. In this respect, the Group also came to an understanding that the main session of the Council was the March-April session.

Moreover, the Group added that there was a need for a general debate after the High Level Segment. The general debate had to last at least one day.

The delegates also insisted that the report of the High Commissioners had to be available at least one week early in order for the delegations to have all the relevant information at their disposal.

Since there were no other comments the meeting was finished. The Chairman concluded saying that he would make the appropriate changes to the draft statement of the Group.

mardi 13 février 2007

WG on UPR - Feb. 13th - ALG

Report of the meeting of the 13th of February 2007, 10-13h:

Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review Mechanisms

of the Human Rights Council

The facilitator, the distinguished ambassador of Morocco, Mr. Mohammed Loulichki, divided the meeting in two sections; the first section, to discuss the periodicity and order of the review, the second section, to discuss the process and modalities of the review.

Germany, speaking on behalf of the EU, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Germany, Colombia, Norway, Canada, Switzerland, Ecuador, Mexico, UK, New Zealand, Netherlands and the Maldives are for an equal treatment of States, which means a fix periodicity (of every 3 years) for every State. They prefer a higher frequency of UPR, but a light and effective one, so that States can improve their HR situation in little steps.

But, they all agree that, to compromise, instead of 3 years, the periodicity could be of 4 years.

Germany makes the proposition to create a framework for technical assistance to support delegations that have difficulties with a high frequency of the UPR.

Brazil pledges as well for a short, continuous and effective monitoring system. To avoid selectivity and politicalization, Brazil suggests that one third of the members and two thirds of non-members are reviewed per year.

India, Guatemala, Malaysia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Cuba, China, USA, Japan and Indonesia prefer a 4 or 5-year-periodicity, but not all of them want a differentiation of developing and developed countries.

Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria are for different treatment according to the developing status of a country.

Thailand suggests having a 3-year periodicity for members of the Council and a 5-year-periodicity for non-members.

In the question of the order, the delegations are quite open. Often the suggestion of alphabetical order is made, but they also want to include a geographical balance and some want to give the priority to States that want to be reviewed voluntarily. Cuba has a special opinion on this, they suggest reviewing only States that are volunteer, and not according to on an alphabetical order. Some States reject the volunteer question as a whole, because it would create a lack of previsibility.

Here the points of discussion are if the self-assessment report is based on a standardized or individualized questionnaire, if the UPR is conducted on a plenary meeting or in working groups, if experts and country rapporteurs should be involved and if there should be a prior review by a regional group.

On these matters we have all kinds of possibilities suggested. Often States are for a main standardized questionnaire, which can be extended by individualized questions (Philippines, Australia, Liechtenstein, Mexico and Japan).

A lot of States pronounce their wish that the review takes place in working groups (Australia, USA, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Japan). Some suggest to make the outcome public in the plenary, but to do the process of review in working groups (Mexico, Guatemala, Azerbaijan, Iran and Canada). Cuba is for a plenary UPR.

Malaysia, USA, Colombia, China are against involving special rapporteurs and country experts in the UPR. Australia, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada welcome them.

Concerning a prior regional review, Japan, Iran, Switzerland, Ecuador, China pronounce themselves against it. As far as I heard, nobody welcomes it.

lundi 12 février 2007

WG on UPR - Feb. 12th - AB

Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism

Monday, 12th February 2007

Palais des Nations, room XVII

ð The general purpose of this week is to discuss the modalities of the UPR mechanism, on the basis of a non-paper prepared by the Facilitator, H.E. Mr. Mohammed Loulichki, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council.

The non-paper is composed of the following chapters:

I. Basis of review

II. Principles and objectives

III. Periodicity and order of review

IV. Process and modalities of review

V. Outcome of the review

VI. Follow-up to the review

Monday morning was dedicated to the presentation of the non-paper by the Facilitator and to general comments issued by the delegations.

India, China, Malaysia, Russia, Pakistan and others emphasized the need for conducting the UPR in plenary meetings, so as to guarantee the impartiality of the process. Germany, on behalf of the European Union, and Canada argued that this would be too burdensome for the States and the Council : they proposed the process of UPR take place in reduced working groups, while only the final recommendations be adopted in plenary meetings. Guatemala and India suggested that the UPR be examined in plenary meetings in supplement of the 10 weeks ordinary sessions of the HRC, so that it does not encroach on the regular work of the HRC.
Philippines insisted that the UPR take place in “huis-clos” sessions.
Most of the States agreed that the periodicity of the review should be the same for all. However, Pakistan suggested a periodicity based on the level of development of the countries. Canada insisted that different periodicities would mean that human rights are more important in some places than in others.
China, Tunisia and Algeria proposed that each country be reviewed every 5 years (so that recommendations can be implemented effectively before the next review). Ecuador suggested a periodicity of 3 years, as well as Amnesty International, who explained that it is the only possible way of reviewing every state during its membership. Others such as Argentina, Mexico or Senegal agreed on a compromise of 4 years.
Philippines and Thailand underlined the fact that it is best to start with “rudimentary” modalities, which can be improved in subsequent years, based on experience.
China and Argentina asked that the review be only conducted if the state concerned gives its consent. Algeria said that the UPR should apply to non-HRC members on a voluntary basis.

In the afternoon, the first two chapters of the non-paper were discussed.

I. Basis of review

§ All the speaking delegations expressed their agreement with the elements of convergence regarding the basis on which the UPR should be conducted :

a) UN Charter

b) Universal Declaration of Human Rights

c) Human rights instruments to which the State is party

d) Voluntary pledges and commitments made by States, including those undertaken when presenting their candidatures for election to HRC

§ Regarding obligations arising from international humanitarian law instruments, Malaysia, Brazil, Pakistan, Algeria, Uruguay, Iran, Azerbaijan, Chile, Colombia and the human rights NGOs agreed to include them in the basis of review. Norway, Russia, Australia, USA and Indonesia refused, arguing that humanitarian law is not mentioned in resolution 60/251, is separate from other human rights and is better taken care of by other actors, such as ICRC. Germany, on behalf of EU, Switzerland and China asked for more details on what exactly is meant by the term “humanitarian law instruments”. The Facilitator concluded by saying that resolution 60/251 should not be interpreted in an “orthodox” way, and that it could possibly include humanitarian law.

§ The proposition of the Facilitator that the commitments in UN conferences and summits should also be included was refused by most of the countries. They put forward that these commitments only constituted non-binding aspirations and that considering the amount of conferences and summits taking place at the UN every year, the task of listing all the commitments would be too heavy. Moreover they said that some of these commitments could be assimilated to point d). Uruguay, Chile and Algeria agreed on including these commitments, particularly those expressed at the Vienna 1993 conference. The human rights NGOs shared this view, stressing that the UPR should not only be based on conventional law, but also on customary law.

II. Principles and objectives

§ The first point of debate was the role of the NGOs and the NHRIs during the UPR process. The non-paper suggests that there should be an “adequate participations of all relevant stakeholders, including NGOs and NHRIs”. EU, Australia, Norway, Switzerland and the human rights NGOs wanted to exchange the word “adequate”, which is too restrictive, for the word “effective”. Most states agreed on the participation of NGOs and NHRIs, but only during the report preparation phase, whereas the examination and the recommendations must be made exclusively by States. Bangladesh said that the UPR is supposed to be a review by “peers”, that is to say only by other States.

§ The proposition of the Facilitator related to the consideration of the level of development and specificities of countries was widely accepted. The phase of the UPR at which it should be taken into account was debated. Belgium, Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand suggested that it should only be considered at the last stage (redaction of recommendations), the rest of the process being the same for all countries.

§ Regarding point c) of the objectives (“enhancement of the State’s capacity and technical assistance”), Iran, China wanted to add “at the request of the State”.

§ Point j) of the objectives is to avoid “diminishing HRC’s capacity to respond to urgent human rights situations”. Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China proposed to remove this objective, saying that emergency situations is not included in the attributions of the HRC and is better taken care of by other mechanisms, such as the complaint procedure. International Service for Human Rights indicated that the complaint procedure is intended for “gross and systematic violations” which does not mean the same as “urgent situations”. Point j) should then be maintained.

vendredi 9 février 2007

WG on expert advice - Feb. 9th - YS


The subject of this meeting was to discuss about the establishment of a Human Rights Expert Advisory Body (HREAB).

Therefore, a non-paper, prepared under the authority of the Facilitator, has been provided to the whole members. Mains proposals were:

this body should not exceed 10 to 16 experts who have to be impartial, independent,specialized and highly qualified

the selection of the experts should be transparent and reflect the principle of equitable geographic representation in identical proportion observed in the HRC. Shall respect a two-step process:

+ first stage: nomination of the experts
involving states as well as other stakeholders (HCHR, NGO…). Previously, they
should have to submit to a pre-screening exercise in which states, OHCHR,
president of the council and other bureau members should be involved

+ second stage: election of the experts for
a 3 year term renewable only once

The expert body should be able to provide advice on thematic issues as well as on issues related to the structure, functioning, coordination and coherence of the mechanism of the HR system.

Therefore, this body should call for a great flexibility and autonomy, even if it should work at the direction of the HRC

HREAB should meet no more than 2 weeks every calendar. However, HRC could give additional time in case of urgent circumstances

Thereafter,S.E. Idriss Jazaïri, the representative of Algeria, took the floor on behalf of the African group. He made a statement and put forward proposals which may be summarized as follows:

As the work done by the former sub-commission was very satisfactory, the structure of the new body should be similar

HREAB should be a standing body and should have well-defined functions

The candidates should be nominated only by states

As a subsidiary body of the council, HREAB should act as a “think tank”. Members should be elected by the council on
the basis of equitable geographic representation, taking into account major legal and civilization traditions as well as gender balance

The expert body should have 26 members, elected for a 3 years-term renewable once

The group should work under the direction of the HRC should not be able to provide
advice on issues related to the structure, functioning, coordination and coherence of the mechanism of the HR system

HREAB should meet no more than 2 weeks every calendar

According to GA resolution 60/251, HREAB may not take part in universal periodic review, which is a HRC exclusive remit.

HREAB shall never provide advice on country-related matters

This position was endorsed by Pakistan, Cuba, Malaysia, Indonesia and Iran, while the representative proposed the expert body should have 28 members to ensure a better Asian representation.

Then, Ms Brigitta Siefker-Eberle, the representative of Germany, made a statement on behalf of the European Union. She said EU fully concurs with the non-paper view that the future body shall be provided by independent and highly qualified human
rights experts who should carry out studies only upon the request of HRC. According to her, the key function of the expert should be to contribute to the promotion and protection of Human rights.

Therefore, HREAB should be able to provide advice on country-related matters as well as on issues related to the structure, functioning, coordination and coherence of the mechanism of the HR system.

Unlike the position of the African group, EU, as several delegations, thought that the experts should take advantage of NGOs expertise in their work and that a periodic consultation may be interesting. In this regard, the nomination of the
candidates should involve various entities including NGOs which could provide valuable suggestions.

Moreover,EU felt that roster-model shall be the most suitable system to fulfil the above-mentioned functions and that a standing body could not support the work of the HRC in a flexible and responsive manner.

This position was endorsed by several delegations including UK, USA, Canada, Russia, Australia and Switzerland.
However, the latter deplored the non-paper rejecting other possibilities as an ad hoc expert advice. Therefore, Russia felt that NGOs involvement should be non-productive.

The meeting ended on a positive feeling. Indeed, while no consensus has been found, Mr Facilitator noted significant advances.

jeudi 8 février 2007

Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture - Feb. 8th - EAD

United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture

8th of February

Palais Wilson

Representing and speaking in the name of theBoard:

Ms. S. Picado from Costa Rica, Chaiperson

Mr. K. Kanev

Ms. Goonesekere

Mr. Oloka-Onyango

Mr. Pounder


The purpose of the meeting was to brief Member States on the work and priorities of the Board for the year 2007.

After the Chairperson exposed the situation it appeared that there are two main issues to concentrate on. First, the Torture Fund is not known enough. Many organizations don’t know about it or don’t know how to make requests. Second, there is a big gap between money supply and demand. So they need support for money funds. Regarding that problem, Kanev emphazised that the Fund is only able to scratch the surface but a big amount of the demand is not met. In the last years they covered the 2/3 of the demand., now only ½ of it. Moreover the requests always stay secret. They need more visibility for the ONG’s and the donors.

Spain agreed on the fact that it is important to develop donors for the Fund until the Council is able to organize mandates. But he asked how the priorities were given and what were the criteria of focus on important areas.

The Chairperson answered explaining how they procede to the visit. Until now they were able to visit evey situation and can tell exactly the donors where the money has gone. These kind of visits are useful to know what the victims think and how they can improve.

They aslo procede to a second stage of visits to make evaluation and determine where it is indispensable to help. Before they used to answer and provide money to every request. But now they are trying to put some priority on the areas that need more help. Refering to this, conflicting areas are important criteria. This change appeared after they realized that, as the Fund was so far demand driven, some countries like Western countries have more possibility to get help although they are not part of the Third World nor in a conflicting situation. They are better equiped and can check more easily what are their possibilities. To illustrate the disproportion, they gave us an overview of the distribution money granted: 6% to Africa, 9% to Asia, 9% to Eastern Europe and 63% to Wetsern Europe. This is why they need more focus on conflicting areas (like Colombia or Africa) and to shift from a reactive Fund to a more proactive appraoch with increased presence in the regions concerned.

Speaking about the money problem, Italy asked if there was a possibility that non-State actors could rise their contribution in the future. The response was that the Board is already trying to create a foundation with private donors but some difficulties are appearing concerning the coordination with the High Commission. Private donors and the Trust Fund have to be coordinated correctly.

The good news came from the Government of Argentina that decided to make a contriubtion to the Fund.

Regarding the problem of visibility in Africa and Asia, Thailand brought up the difficulties of some countries to prepare an adecuate proposal. The Sercretariat said that they are well aware of that problem and are thinking how they can help. However, although the possibility of making a demand manual based for countries that don’t have good internet access exists, over 300 requests, only 3 were manual demand last year. Moreover, if the demand is not correctly filled the secretariat usually send it back to the organization and explains it.

WG on the complaint procedure - Feb. 8th - YS

Working Group on the
Universal Periodic Review Mechanismsof the Human Rights Council

The facilitator, the ambassador of Jordan and Vice-president
of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Mr. Mousa Burayzat, divided the meeting in
two sections; the first section, to discuss about complaint process, the second
section, to discuss about expert advice.


The Facilitator
broached the question of confidentiality in complaint process.

Germany, as several delegations, argued
that confidentiality is not an end in itself but a mean. Therefore, in case of
non-cooperation, confidentiality must give way to public examination.

UK also added that confidentiality is
not a victim-oriented process but, on the contrary, should protect governments
and authorities accused.

In a nutshell, confidentiality should be
presumed but should disappear in case of exceptional circumstances as the

delegations, as Russia
and Sri-Lanka, were opposed to this point of view. According to them,
confidentiality should be maintained in any case in order to ensure efficiency.

the delegation of Algeria
added that the facilitator should be more precise about “non-cooperation” and
explains what this sentence means. So do Senegal.

Mr Facilitator
was sorry to not respond clearly to this question. He said only that states
shall have a discretionary power concerning the decision to use or not public

lundi 5 février 2007

WG on the mandates - Feb. 5th - EAD





The purpose of the meeting was to discuss about the complaint procedure on the basis of the GA Resolution 60/251, the ECOSOC Resolution 1503. The non-paper, prepared by the Facilitator Blaise Godet was sent to all delegations a week before.

The facilitator first invited all delegations to a general debate on the non-paper that serves as a working basis. The main elements of divergence were:

- the introduction of a preventive and early-warning role of the complaint procedure

- the confidentiality of the procedure

- the geographical distribution of the working groups’ members

- and the measures to be taken by the council in case a State would refuse to cooperate.

Belgium and Germany insisted on a procedure that should be victim-oriented and therefore include an alarm mechanism. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cuba and others refused that proposition arguing that it was going beyond the competences of the Council. Cuba and Russia also refused the proposition of actions in case of non-compliance and suggested to eliminate completely the last part of the non-paper (point 10.a).

The facilitator intervened suggesting to look at the points 1 and 2 (objectives and scope) more in details.

As the notion of “emerging violations” was for many countries in opposition with “attested violation” he proposed to merely take the existing terminology of the English version were there is no reference to “existing” or “emerging” but to a “consistent patterns of gross and reliably violations”. He also broached the problem of the French translation of “systematic” which introduce meanings that don’t appear in the English version.

The main discussions turned around the meanings of the worlds “emergent”, “persistent” (the Hispanic countries insisted on the fact that it has not the same signification in Spanish). Spain wishes a note or brackets to specify the sense in the Spanish version.

The United States emphasized the problem that the Council would not be effective if it also considers all emerging situations. It will be overwhelmed with false complaints. To be efficient the procedure must not be used for everything.

China asked how we can determinate the level at which a situation becomes emerging.

Canada advanced the example of the Rwanda in 1994 to defend the utility of an early-warning mechanism but Cuba argued that it was irrelevant because it was the result of the incapacity of the States to intervene collectively and not of the lack of prevention.

India stressed that the Council had to be aware of its limits. The priority has to be given at the existing and attested violation. There are other mechanisms available for the individual cases.

We finally turned to the point 3 (Admissibility Criteria).

These are actually criteria of non-admissibility as every complaint is supposed admissible except if it presents one of the criteria listed.

Here, the main points were:

- the relevance of a reference to the UN Charter among admissibility criteria

- the use of a “politicised” complaint or a “politically motivated complaint”

- and the role of the national institutions.

The United States said that as the criteria were negative they should be introduced in the points 1 and 2. They also asked for more clarity in the definitions of the criteria.

Pakistan insisted many times on the use of the terms “politically motivation” of a complaint.

Canada came with a proposition to replace “manifestement politiques” with “manifestement non fondé”.

Russia was opposed at a reference to the National Human Rights Institutions but the Facilitator responded that this was a consideration of the efforts of many countries to improve the Human Rights. As the Paris criteria insist on the autonomy of these institutions they should be integrated in the mechanism as national institutions just as well as the judiciary institutions. It would be a sort of consecration of the national institutions.

Concerning the points c (creation of a unique entry point for all complaints) and d (follow up for rejected complaints), Egypt asked why the Council should follow up the rejected complaints. If the complaint was rejected it is the role of the complainant to ensure the follow up, the complainant must just be informed of the decision of the Council to reject his demand. The Facilitator answered that his view was that a complaint, even if it is not a “pattern of violation”, can indicate an existing violation and thus it doesn’t lose all its legitimacy. The complaint would then cess to exist in the complaint procedure but not in the more general mechanism.

The International Service of Human Rights said that they were not criteria but elements of the procedure and therefore should be part of the point 9 (involvement of the complaint and of the State concerned). In case of rejection, the complainant should just receive an advice on other possible choice and he would then take the decision himself. The Facilitator said that the goal of this proposition was to avoid excessive formalism. In a victim-oriented system, the Council should admit that a complaint not receivable for the Council, may concern another organ.

We finally ended the meeting without significant advance. The Facilitator therefore asked the delegations to be more concise and to look for more consensus at least on the English version, knowing that it will be possible to adjust the meanings in each language later on.