mercredi 28 novembre 2007

Adequate Housing as a Component of the Right to an Adequate Standard of Living proposed by Germany and Finland (2nd draft).

Informal Consultations
28th November 2007

This Resolution is part of Item 3 of the 6th Human Rights Council: Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development.

This was the second consultation since the draft resolution was proposed. Germany and Finland didn’t really present the draft resolution. They just commented on the several changes from draft 1 to draft 2 which were done at the request of the delegation at the first informal meeting in September. These changes are in bold on the text.

Comments made on the paragraphs:
- Philippines strongly ask a reference to the Convention of Migrant Workers and on the Conventions of Disabled persons.
- Argentina, Brazil and Mexico totally agrees with this proposition and the latter adds that the word “Recalling” is not strong enough.
- UK thinks that the sentence is too long and proposes to separate it in 2 parts, the bold and the un-bold part of the sentence. For the new second sentence he adds the following amendment at the beginning “And noting that it views are expressed” in general …in that way it will be clear that these are the views of the Council.
- Philippines, Algeria, Argentina, Mexico… support UK on this change.
- India thinks it’s not appropriate to introduce “challenges caused by climate change and pollution” in this mandate. There are a lot of theories on this issue but we should let them to the specialist of climate. The concerns of the SR should be the consequences of the climate change, not the climate change itself.
- Mexico reminds that natural disaster have a link with housing.
- Belgium expresses his will to keep the reference on climate change, stating that it’s important.
- India is not comfortable with urging the states to give indicators.
- UK delegate informs that he doesn’t think that his capital would agree to be urged to develop indicators.
- Mexico on the contrary wants to keep this reference to the indicators.
- UK asks what is meant by “equal access to public housing programmes”? It is physical access to people with disabilities?
- Bangladesh thinks the issue of women is too often expressed in the text; it’s not a resolution on women. On these paragraph he asks why “especially those who faced violence”?
- Cuba proposes to change the mention of the word “women” by “all persons”. This amendment is agreed by all delegations.

- Mexico proposes to add at the end of the sentence: “in accordance with existing provision”
- Belgium proposes to qualify the assistance to make it more realistic.
- India asks why the Special Rapporteur should submit a report to the GA?
- India: the SR will already give a considerable contribution so he shouldn’t be the one to finalise the work.
- UK asks whether their will be consultations?
- Bangladesh proposes to change “finalise the” by “continue to”, that would be more neutral.

Answers by Germany and Finland
- PP5: answering to Mexico, the German’s delegate explained that his country has neither signed nor ratified both Conventions. The position of Germany is that they estimate that the Convention of Migrant Workers would attract illegal immigration. Thus, for the credibility, they are opposed to insert this Convention, but not opposed to the notion itself.
- OP3: Germany and Finland explained that they anticipated. They are sure that in the future the climate change will have more consequences.
- OP4a: they are aware that countries can not provide indicators if those have not been finalised yet.
- OP4g: Finland reminded that the “equal access to public housing programmes” was proposal from Mexico.
- OP4h: answering to Bangladesh, the chairs say that women are the one who faces bigger problem on housing rights and that the aim is to ensure these women a house if they are thrown away by males.
- OP5f: they estimated that the SR should submit a report to the GA because of the cruciality of the mandate.
- OP5g: the chairs reminded that this is already the case of the 2004 mandate and that Bangladesh proposal was interesting and that it would be considered for the next coming draft.

Ismaila Pedro FAYE

mardi 27 novembre 2007

Resolution on Human Rights Voluntary Goals by Brazil

27th November

This was the 6th meeting on the Resolution proposed by Brazil who expects the text to be adopted on consensus in December during the 6th session of the Human Right Council and they will then start the intergovernmental consultations.

Introductory part:
Brazil is adopting a very flexible and broad language as many delegations insisted. Thus the last revised version is very different from the first presented text. The delegations are asked to work on a consensus basis.
Two new operative paragraphs have been added (former OP4 and OP5 have been deleted):
- OP4 at the request of several delegates which calls for OHCHR.
- OP5 which adapts a certain time framework for intergovernmental process.
The Human Right goals should be ideally launch by 10th December 2008 for the 60th anniversary of the UDHR.
The main concerns have been achieved:
- Call the attention of OHCHR.
- Achieve concrete goals and steps in further integration of human rights process.
The delegate of Brazil ended his introduction by thanking all his homologues for their patience and interest on the issue and then opened the floor.

Comments of the delegations paragraph by paragraph: Preamble Paragraphs then Operative Paragraphs (those concerned by the comments):

- only the Federation of Russia expressed comments on that PP, stating the irrelevance
of optional protocols.

- Philippines proposed to move this paragraph to PP1 since on of the aim of the
Resolution is to celebrate the 60th anniversary of UDHR.

- Russia asked whether the mention of the “working group” on which was kept on the
text was an error, and almost all the delegations mentioned it.
- Italy on behalf of European Union suggested to separate the last part of the last
sentence and to have another paragraph which would read like follows: Recalling that all HR are universal, indivisible, interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
- Cuba, Argentina (co-sponsor) agreed on having another paragraph.

- Cuba proposed to add at the end of the sentence “protection of “all” human rights;”
and it was supported by Philippines and Mexico.

- Mexico proposed to delete the words “totally or partially” judging them not necessary.

- Russia, about the new formulation, “Open-ended Intergovernmental consultations”
informed that it would check with its capital because it’s not clear with the Russian delegation of Geneva.
- Ecuador (co-sponsor) responding to Russia reminded that the idea of changing the
“working group” into a “open-ended Intergovernmental consultations ” had been brought by several delegations during the last discussion on the Resolution which Russia missed.
- Bangladesh asked whether the consultation would be formal or informal as it is not a
working group anymore. What is the legal status of these open-ended Intergovernmental consultations?
- Holly-see asked the same question.

- Russian delegate says his delegation is against the exhaustive list of the paragraph
which can prejudice the result of the work.

-Italy (EU) proposed to delete “in each country, were they do not exist” and add “and implementation”.
- Cuba proposed a different version: delete the equal terms and add “where necessary”
- Philippines supported this amendment.
- Mexico proposed another version: keep the text as it and add …were they do not exist
“implementation”of national HR program.

v: - Italy (EU) and UK didn’t agree with the enumeration of the rights and explained that on the basis of non enumeration one has delete the mention of torture in the last version on OP2 iii.
- Bangladesh also thought one should single out any rights and thus proposed to delete
the paragraph and to add at the and of OP2ii “and Durban Plan of Action” that integrates all the rights mentioned by OP2v.
- Mexico strongly supported the retention of this paragraph and expressed herself
several times on this issue (after all the request for deletion) reminding that the wording comes from the Durban Declaration. It is very important and useful to have these goals at a national level
- Argentina (co-sponsor) also didn’t see the need to mention the Durban Declaration.
- Canada brought specific information saying that the correct wording of the Durban
Declaration reads as follows: … to eliminate discrimination of any kind such as race, color, sex…and not “…based on race…”

OP3: - Russia would rather use “Calls” instead of “welcomes”.
- Italy (EU) suggested a more explicit reference of the civil society and the NGOs.
- Argentina was against and explained that it wasn’t needed as they were obviously
taken into account in the rules of procedure of HRC but informed that it is flexible on this issue.
- Mexico proposed to change “Welcomes” by “Invites”.

OP5: - Italy (EU) wanted to delete the whole paragraph stressing that this is valuable if one still had a working group.
- Ecuador (co-sponsor) didn’t agree on deleting this paragraph.
- Philippines proposed to change the word “Welcomes” by “Requests” and to add …to
be presented “formally”to the HRC…and is joined by Mexico for both proposals.
- Mexico joined by Philippines for both proposals and added that since one already talks
about “a consensual basis” on OP1, it should be deleted from OP5 as to avoid redundancy.

Answers and final comments by Brazil:
Speaking about the Intergovernmental consultations, Brazil originally wanted to have a working group, but for the sake of consensus, and after the request of several delegations, they opted for open-ended Intergovernmental consultations. This Intergovernmental process is not the end but the mean to achieve success on establishing the respect of HR goals. Brazil took a step back in the nature of the Intergovernmental process but the result should remain the same. As for the legal status, the delegate admitted he could not answer that question.
A co-sponsors meeting will be scheduled and other delegations are invited to take part.

Ismaila Pedro FAYE

jeudi 22 novembre 2007

Asian Group: HRC President briefing with regional groups – 22nd November 2007

The meeting was deemed highly necessary upon the request of the President of the Council. Its purpose is to update delegations on the President’s visit to New York, and preparation of resumed session of the Council.

During his visit to New York, the President of the Council had meetings with around 50 delegations, and all of them deposited high expectations on the council, even if occasionally having some skepticism. During the meetings, the President insisted inter alia on advocating the need of resources by the HRC.

Taken into account all the meetings in New York, the president was able to provide only one example of the Romania’s Mission, illustrating a very good knowledge of the HRC's activities. To his surprise, the Council is not as well-known in New York as it would have been expected. It must definitely become more visible. For instance, the majority of the missions in New York did not even know that live broadcast of the council meetings is available via internet.

The president reported that he had also meetings with countries that do not have missions in Geneva. These were essentially focused on the UPR.

November and December meetings

Sessions between 10th and 14th December will be inter alia devoted to Prof. Pinero report on Myanmar as well as to the report of Working Group on Darfur.

10th December session shall be dedicated to the Human Rights day, 60th Anniversary of the UDHR.

On 21st November, a meeting will take place to proceed to the final rehearsal of the troika selection system.

April meetings

Universal Periodic review will take place for the first session.
Two other issues will be at stake:
  1. Election of the Members of the Advisory Committee ( notification of the candidates);
  2. Selection and nomination of the new membership’s holders.


Pakistan appreciated endeavors of the president in New York, particularly his meetings with some Caribbean and Pacific States’ representatives which do not have missions in Geneva, and his careful attention on updating the regional groups in Geneva with all necessary information. Additionally, Pakistan raised queries in regard to the expectations arising from the Optional Protocol as well as the program of the Council altogether.

Saudi Arabia showed some degree of concern in respect of the UPR, the review process per se, articulation and improvement; and contended that troika system might need more clarification, particularly with regard to the way the countries are to respond to their selection as a rapporteur. In conclusion, Saudi Arabia’s delegate did not feel comfortable with the reaction in New York to the HRC’s activity and engagement.

India noticed that in the note on the Troika Selection System submitted by the Secretariat there is a particularly confusing point pertaining to the way in which the possibility of excuse from being a rapporteur should operate. Is it generally recognized that a country will have 24 hours period to pronounce itself on the selection which will take place on the 26th November.

Bahrain asserted that the institution-building is clear, but pointed out to the concern of whether there will be only one joint report of the three rapporteurs assigned for the UPR of one specific State, or whether there will be three different reports. Bahrain’s delegate declared that no information was available on the priority attributed to the States who will end the session in summer 2008.

Bangladesh underlined the fact that the complexity of the relationship between Council and 3rd Committee will remain in the course of upcoming years. Moreover, Bangladesh raised a very pertinent point concerning the time framework for the troika to collect and send questions to the states, in particular wondering whether this is supposed to take place after or before the review.

In his final remarks, the President encouraged the delegates due to the successful progress of the Council, its specificity in comparison with the 3rd Committee and its higher degree of effectiveness. According to him, colleagues in New York appreciated very much endeavors of the Council. He noticed in addition that 6 mandates will be reviewed in December.

On Monday, 26th of November, Troikas will be officially drawn. States will have until Wednesday 28th to pronounce themselves on the selection. Furthermore, the President stated that it does not make sense to have discussion on determination of the level of rapporteurs, their selection should be left to the appreciation of the States, whereas role and limits of operability are already well established within a system. Troikas will be elected only for this membership of the council. In conclusion, the President showed his support to the query presented by Bangladesh regarding the time framework for the questions, which should be discussed in due course.

Vladyslav Lanovoy

Human Rights Council – 16th November 2007

The meeting was dedicated to the presentation of a computerized system of troika selection, though still with some technical problems. The president of the counsel assured the members that the technicalities will be figured out before the next session.

Brief analysis on the troika system:

Troika System is a selection mechanism of the rapporteurs for the Universal Periodic Review, which is envisaged by the HRC to assess compliance of each Member State with the respective human rights obligations. Each Member State is to be assessed by 3 rapporteurs coming from 3 different countries and belonging to distinct regional groups. Troika selection system is deemed to provide for a democratic, geographically proportionate and independent Universal Periodic Review.
Troikas will be composed of Members of the Council only. In order to ensure equitable geographic distribution, each Member State should only be a member of three troikas, with the exception of three Member States that may serve a fourth time (since there are 47 members of the Council and 48 countries will have to be reviewed every year).
The setting up of troikas is a work in progress and a public meeting will take place on 26th November session to select officially the troikas for the first review cycle.

The course of discussion:

Pakistan rose the point of concern on how many times can a country refuse to be assigned as a rapporteur for the Review mechanism. A maximum of three times can a State be considered as a rapporteur for troika mechanism. Any State has nevertheless a prerogative to be excused from being a rapporteur, but it can only express such a refusal once.

China advised to send notice to all member-states, instead of only coordinating countries. It also believes that a State needs at least 24 hours period so that to be able to submit a refusal to be rapporteur.

Canada stressed that it won’t exercise any sort of opting-out from the rapporteur’s selection and strongly encouraged other members to follow the same course of action.

The United Kingdom drew attention to the fact that once having 16 troikas, there is an additional member at each session. A flaw lies in the fact that there 47 State-members and 48 are needed for troika mechanism. The UK strongly envisaged the proposal of 24 hours to be given for each State to reply to its assignment as a rapporteur, especially taken into account very small delegations which are not even present in Geneva, and which do not have possibility to get immediately in touch with the capital.

Thailand expressed a concern regarding the fact that some small countries may not have capacity to be rapporteur three times in the same session.

The meeting stands adjourned till November 23rd.

Vladyslav Lanovoy

mercredi 21 novembre 2007

Project Resolution on Human Rights Goals

Informal Consultations
Submitted by Brazil
Timor-Leste is co-sponsor.

The aims of the Resolution are to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UDHR, to give a substantive contribution to the celebration of the anniversary and not just celebrate social and cultural events and not to redefine the obligations.

Two main issues where at stake during the meeting. The one of the preamble paragraph 6 and the most discussed issue was the one of the Intergovernmental Working Group.

Brazil said it totally agrees to introduce the references not only to MERCOSUR but also the other regions that are willing to be referred. The delegate is just waiting to have a correct language.

As for the IWG, Italy taking the floor on behalf of the EU stated that they appreciate the initiative of Brazil, but they can not support the text as it is. One has to find possible alternatives:
- the goals should be elaborated directly by states through national governments,
- more active role of the High Commissioner Office. OHCHR should collect information given by the States.
- process where internationally recognized people would play an important role.
EU is also concern by the outcome of the process and stresses out two aspects:
- the concept of goals must not weaken existing obligations or create new instruments
- should have a precise list of issues which should be singled out by states.

India wonders how will the IWG would function? Will it set a frame for universal ratification and for the creation of national institution as it is mentioned in operative paragraph 2 ii? The Indian delegate ended his intervention by reminding that if one adds a scope like Italy suggested on behalf of EU, the outcome will therefore be different, thus discussion re-opened.

Bangladesh expressed the same matters on the IWG and pointed out the fact that the capacity of each country is different from one to another.

Pakistan reminded that the core human rights international instruments (7) mentioned in OP2i already have a their own Committee for ratification.

Ethiopia then joined by the above mentioned countries think that the use of the terms voluntary goals implies that the countries are not doing enough. According to him, one should focus on the socio-eco and cultural rights. Deplores that most of the elements treated in OP2 are already been carried on by existing mechanisms.

Mexico is not against the content of OP2 per say, but against the word goals and proposes to change with another language like score or strategy.

Ecuador proposes to have another co-sponsor meeting, and it has been agreed by all the member States. The date of the meeting has not been chosen but one meeting was already scheduled for November 27th.

Ismaila Pedro FAYE

jeudi 1 novembre 2007

Conference of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

Thursday 1th November.

The presentation was made by Mr. Rashid Khalikov, Director of OCHA (Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs) New York.

He first pointed out the amount expected by the CERF this year, which is 380 millions US dollars of witch they have already received 312. In 2006 the CERF have received 300 millions. The expectancy for 2008 his much higher: 450 US $.

He recalled that the CERF includes a grant element based on voluntary contributions by the Governments and private sectors such as corporations, individuals and NGOs. The CERF was approved by consensus by the UN General Assembly in 2005.

The presentation was then followed by several data:
- Loan components in 2007: FAO 24%, UNICEF 37%, UNDP 7%, WFP 25%, DPKO/ONUMAS 7% ...
- Grant allocation per continent: Africa 71,1% (mainly Congo, Somalia, Mozambique), Asia 22,4% (included East Timor), Latin and Central American Countries 5,9%.
- Funds committed in 2006: - under-funded: 75 million US $, Rapid response: 140 million US $.
- Funds committed in 2007: - under-funded: 190 million US $, Rapid response: 200 millions US $.

In 2007, CERF have registered 13 flash appeals and of them were related to climate change except for Peru. Mozambique is the country who received the biggest amount 29% of the flash appeal.

The Interim Independent Review Recommendations:
- clarify the scope of the life-saving criteria for the CERF.
- continue initiatives to strengthen the RC/HCs.
- Clarify the relationship between CERF and humanitarian agenda

The Advisory Group Recommendations:
- improve partnerships.
- Support HC strengthening.
- Improve speed of disbursement throughout the process.
- Reduce transaction cost.
- Improve accountability.

In conclusion Mr. Khalikov informed that their will be a high level conference in December.

Ms. Sharon Russo, the Chair person gave the floor.

Ireland asked how long it takes when a disaster occurs for the funds to be available. The director of OCHA answered that it ranges from 1 week to 20 days.

Turkey wanted to know what can be done to bring more donors: 2 or 3 diplomatic briefings, reach the regional group like G77.

Switzerland asked what was the amount coming from the private sector: 121.021 US $ from the private donations trough the UN. The CERF has identified approximately 10 individuals in the private sector marketing strategy and is working on possible message by Medias.

Finally Peru asked how they estimate the priorities when they don’t manage to receive all the necessary flash appeal: CERF works with the local authorities and national Governments.

Ismaila Pedro FAYE