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Human Rights Council holds clustered Interactive dialogue on the Right to Education and on International Solidarity

Human Rights Council 
MIDDAY 

31 May 2013

The Human Rights Council in a midday meeting today held a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to education and the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity.

Kishore Singh, Special Rapporteur on the right to education, introducing his report, said that the right to education was an internationally recognised right with international legal obligations for States to protect, respect and fulfil.  The right to education could be enforced through a wide variety of judicial and quasi judicial mechanisms.  Some of the challenges facing justicability included the lack of awareness of the right, legal and cultural barriers to its application, procedural barriers, the high cost of litigation and the lack of legal assistance.

Virginia Dandan, Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, introducing her report, said the Council had requested the Independent Expert to undertake in-depth research and intensive consultations with a view to preparing a preliminary text of the draft declaration on the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity.  While developing a preliminary text of the draft declaration on international solidarity, she would continue consultations.  A completed draft declaration would be presented at the next interactive dialogue in June 2014.

Tunisia, Ecuador and Brazil spoke as concerned countries.

Concerning the right to education, delegations reiterated the commitment of their Governments to the fulfilment of the right to education through a number of initiatives.  Speakers highlighted the importance of adequate budgetary allocations and non-discrimination in order to ensure the fulfilment of this right.  It was important to ensure access to justice for those whose right to education was not fully respected.  How should the right to education be reflected in the post-2015 development goals?  The Special Rapporteur was asked to elaborate on multi-stakeholder approaches to the dissemination of information, for example, when reaching marginalised groups. 

On international solidarity, delegations welcomed the broad consultations carried out by the Independent Expert and expressed the hope that she would continue to work in a transparent manner towards the elaboration of a draft declaration as mandated by the Council.  Some delegations reiterated the importance attached to solidarity and cooperation in their relations with other States, and its importance in the field of human rights.  However, some speakers warned that international solidarity failed to meet the requirements of a legal concept and suggested that its formalisation would constitute a rhetorical move without legal content.  Speakers asked the expert if the promotion and protection of human rights should constitute a parameter of international solidarity.

Speaking in the interactive dialogue were: Portugal, Cuba on behalf of Latin American and Caribbean Group, Algeria on behalf of the Arab Group, European Union, Slovenia, Maldives, Paraguay, Togo, Venezuela, Estonia, Australia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Republic of Moldova, Sudan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Georgia, China, Morocco, Egypt, Norway, Organization of the Islamic Conference, Bahrain, United States, Djibouti, Qatar, Cuba, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Algeria, Greece, Malaysia, Bangladesh, United Nations Children's Fund, and India.

Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, the Indian Council of South America, Action Canada for Population and Development, Istituto Don Bosco, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Union of Arab Jurists, and the Worldwide Organization for Women also took the floor.

The Human Rights Council will at 4 p.m. hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on cultural rights and with the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women.

Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education - Justiciability of the right to education (A/HRC/23/35); an addendum to the report concerning the Special Rapporteur’s mission to Tunisia (A/HRC/23/35/Add.1); and an addendum to the report concerning the Special Rapporteur’s mission to Ecuador (A/HRC/23/35/Add.2).

The Council has before it the report of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity (A/HRC/23/45); and an addendum to the report concerning the Independent Expert’s mission to Brazil (A/HRC/23/45/Add.1).

Presentation by Experts on Right to Education and on Human Rights and International Solidarity

KISHORE SINGH, Special Rapporteur on the right to education, introducing his report on justiciability and the right to education, said that the right to education was an internationally recognised right with international legal obligations for States to protect, respect and fulfill.  The enjoyment of the right to education was often least accessible to those who needed it the most, the disadvantaged and marginalised groups and above all, children from poor families.  The right to education could be enforced through a wide variety of judicial and quasi judicial mechanisms.  Judicial mechanisms such as national, regional and international courts were of key importance to address claims based on national or international law.  Their judgments had proven crucial in defining the specific entitlements available to citizens under national and international law and had acted as catalysts by moving schools and Governments to act according to their obligations.  The importance of quasi judicial mechanisms such as local administrative bodies, national human rights institutions and international human rights mechanisms was highlighted.  It was important to take a broader view of the enforcement of the right to education.  Some of the challenges facing justiciability included the lack of awareness of the right, legal and cultural barriers to its application, procedural barriers, the high cost of litigation and the lack of legal assistance.  States had to ensure that the right to education was built upon the minimum international legal obligations in regional and United Nations covenants and treaties and that these were clearly included in national constitutions and legislation.  Other recommendations made included the promotion of public interest litigation, provision of legal aid, engagement with parliamentarians, education of the public of its rights, and promotion of research with academic institutions.

On a visit to Ecuador, it was found that more needed to be done to ensure the full realization of the right to quality education for all.  The entrenched nature of inequalities required that the present targeted support to historically marginalised groups continued into the future.  Teacher training programmes should be scaled up and Ecuador should continue to increase public funding to education.

On a visit to Tunisia, it was noted that Tunisia had to place human rights and the right to education at the heart of its ongoing reforms and not miss the unique opportunity to ensure that its Constitution and new laws had the highest standard of protection for human rights.  Its National Assembly had to give a special place to the right to education and a constitutional body dedicated to education had to be created. 

VIRGINIA DANDAN, Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, said she was presenting a report providing a summary of the activities undertaken since her first annual report was submitted in September 2012, as well as the final report on her country study mission in Brazil in June 2012.  Brazil’s international cooperation initiatives, especially in the fields of health, food security and nutrition, education, agricultural technology and rural development, and in the fight against hunger and poverty, among others, were founded on solidarity.  These initiatives provided valuable lessons for setting a new paradigm in international development cooperation and illustrated the value of best practices as portals to the interface between the policy and practice of international solidarity and the realization of human rights.  This mission to Brazil had been the first-ever conducted by this mandate and Ms. Dandan was grateful to the Government for the opportunity to observe, explore and learn first-hand about specific modalities arising from broad subject areas related to international solidarity. 

On her first report, Ms. Dandan said the Council’s resolution 21/L.21 had requested the Independent Expert to undertake in-depth research and intensive consultations with a view to preparing and sharing with Member States and all other relevant stakeholders a preliminary text of the draft declaration on the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity.  Among the many views expressed by stakeholders, delegations had noted that international solidarity should emphasise how human rights could be a positive intervention in the lives of people; there should be a focus on best practices; some form of a preliminary text of the draft declaration would be of great value for States to reflect on and respond to.  Civil society had stressed that people in need had a right to assistance and this generated obligations for others; and that the normative implementation of international solidarity was needed to help people claim their human rights.  In the context of the twentieth anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at this conference, Ms. Dandan highlighted that this landmark document contained several references to solidarity and international cooperation.  Ms. Dandan, while developing a preliminary text of the draft declaration on international solidarity, would continue to consult with States, to engage with civil society organizations and other stakeholders to solicit their views and inputs; and to report on what had been achieved with regard to the mandate.   A completed draft declaration would be presented at the next interactive dialogue in June 2014.

Statements by Concerned Countries

Tunisia, speaking as a concerned country, said it appreciated the recommendations in the Special Rapporteur’s report and said that Tunisia’s cooperation with the United Nations system was of benefit to it at this time of transition after the Arab Spring.  The right to education in Tunisia met the Millennium Development Goals and Tunisia was party to many international instruments in education.  It also devoted funding to education at all levels and provided professional training to educators.  The Ministries of Education and Training were taking a new approach.  Problems that the Special Rapporteur reported, such as the regional disparities in the Tunisian education system, were well noted.  The Special Rapporteur’s assertion that children with disabilities were in danger of illiteracy should however be more nuanced as the Ministry of Education had attempted to integrate such children into the education system.  The Special Rapporteur’s conclusions would be used by the relevant bodies to make improvements.

Ecuador, speaking as a concerned country, said the Special Rapporteur’s report was positive and Ecuador made assurances that it was working hard to make up any shortfalls that the report had identified in its education system.  The key concept of “good living”, which had been noted by the Special Rapporteur, was incorporated into the reformed Ecuadorean legal system.  Ecuador recognized the regional inequities and poor infrastructure that bedevilled the system.  It was providing more resources to education and was one of the leaders in this area in the region.  The differences between minorities with regard to educational opportunities were being addressed, and the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations would be implemented where possible.

Brazil, speaking as a concerned country, expressed appreciation for the report of the Independent Expert.  Brazil was the first county visited by a mandate holder in the area of human rights and international solidarity.  In spite of progress, Brazil acknowledged the existence of challenges facing the full realization of human rights in the country and would continue to make the necessary efforts towards overcoming such challenges.  The visit of the Independent Expert fulfilled an important purpose, by stimulating a new thinking on the international cooperation provided by Brazil and its relationship with the promotion and protection of human rights.  Brazil was grateful for such an opportunity for evaluation and for the dialogue.  Social policies and international cooperation were powerful tools for preventing violations of human rights.

Interactive Dialogue

Portugal asked in which ways had Mr. Singh provided input to national consultation processes on the post-2015 development goals and the Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals; and how should the right to education be reflected in the post-2015 development goals.  Portugal hoped that the draft resolution on the right to education would be adopted by consensus and with the broadest possible cross-regional support.

Cuba, speaking on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group, said that the right to education was important to all members of the Group and, among others, it was vital to ensure quality education and the fulfilment of this right without discrimination, as well as the training of teachers and educators.  Budget allocations should support the proper functioning of educational systems.  The Group also welcomed the broad consultations carried out by the Independent Expert on international solidarity and expressed the hope that she would continue to work in a transparent manner, for example, including a list of views in her report. 

Algeria, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, noted the concept in the Special Rapporteur’s report of a quasi-judicial protection of the right to education, although they noted there were problems contained within this concept; more clarity was hoped for as an outcome of this debate.  Developing countries would find it more difficult to set up quasi-judicial bodies to regulate the right to education.  In the Arab States, education was a sacred right.

European Union asked for clarification on the justicability of the right to education, and inquired how the Special Rapporteur would work with other mandate holders on crosscutting issues.  What would the normative framework that public authorities should provide look like?  How did the Special Rapporteur intend to contribute to the post-2015 development agenda?  As to the Independent Expert, the European Union said that international solidarity failed to meet the requirements of a legal concept or more specifically of a human right, and was meaningless rhetoric inasmuch as States had the primary responsibility for the issues she raised.

Slovenia said that it would like to address some questions to the Special Rapporteur with regard to the right to education for all, regardless of status.  How could this be safeguarded?  Could he elaborate on a multi-stakeholder approach? How could disadvantaged groups benefit on the ground from the reforms that the Special Rapporteur conceptualized?

Maldives said that the report on the right to education was of particular interest for the Maldives, and many challenges remained in many countries in this regard.  Maldives stressed the Special Rapporteur’s emphasis on the importance of providing not only access to education but also quality education.  Maldives was grateful to the United Nations for its assistance in a number of initiatives, including on capacity building and the provision of educational materials.

Paraguay said that education played a crucial role in the fulfilment of many other human rights.  Equal opportunities and non-discrimination in education should be respected.  Affordability, accessibility, adaptability and acceptability should guide public policies; and States should assume their responsibilities in the area of education.  Expanding the role of judicial institutions would not resolve the gravest problems in this area. 

Togo said that education for all should be the cornerstone of all sustainable societies.  Togo had taken a number of measures to overcome obstacles to the achievement of education for all.  Assistance from the French development agency had allowed for the implementation of a number of initiatives, including the improvement of the curricula and the improvement in attendance statistics.  Despite efforts the effectiveness of education still faced significant challenges.

Venezuela was supportive of the activities of the Independent Expert and said that international solidarity was an important foundation for international development.  An international dialogue, free of western capitalist interests, had to move forward in the same way Venezuela had done with fraternal countries in its region.  As for the Special Rapporteur’s assertions, Venezuela agreed that education was a fundamental human right and in this Venezuela was protected by the legal system. 

Estonia said that it supported the right to education and had been a leader in this field for more than a century.  It addressed its comments to gender imbalances in education and asked the Special Rapporteur if he saw a new role for technology in the education of rural or isolated children.  How would his recommendations fit in with the post-2015 development agenda?

Australia said education was provided in Australia free, and free of discrimination.  There were also programmes for Aboriginal people.  Its national human rights institution played a big role in ensuring the right to education.  Australia would welcome the chance to add its expertise to developing policies for the education of children with disabilities.

South Africa noted that the Constitution of South Africa provided that infringements to the bill of rights, including the right to education, could be addressed in court.  The report did not address international cooperation on financing and South Africa would be interested to hear the views of the Independent Expert in this regard.  Given the approaching deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the report would have benefited from addressing this issue.

United Arab Emirates welcomed the solution proposed in the report on the right to education.  It was essential to take all appropriate measures to guarantee the right to education for all.  Governments had a pioneering role to create an enabling framework and must deal with violations of this right, without necessarily requiring access to court given the costs involved.  Access to justice under the right to education was a good idea but its application required further analysis and consideration.

Indonesia noted with interest the different aspects of justifiability included in the report and the view that efforts to protect the right of education could be protected by judicial and parajudicial measures.  The Indonesian Constitutional Court had made a decision concerning the responsibility of the Government for budgetary allocations in the field of education.  Regarding international solidarity and human rights, Indonesia supported the three stage approach suggested by the Independent Expert.   

Costa Rica said international solidarity was a key idea in the relationship between States, and this was well understood in Central America.  Should the promotion and protection of human rights be a parameter of international solidarity or would this be too much?  As for the justicability of education, enforceability was the key.  The right to education had legal protection in many States, but efforts had to be redoubled to maintain and implement this protection.

Republic of Moldova said that the national development strategy of the Republic of Moldova for 2012-2013 included modifications for its education, research and innovation policies.  It provided that new legislation on education would be adjusted to the European experience, including the standards of the European Higher Education Area.  The right to education was enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova and gave all children access to free compulsory education based on the principle of non-discrimination. 

Sudan said that it had made progress in education for all, particularly regarding the right to basic education, which was now enshrined in the country’s Constitution.  The Constitution also provided that the State must guarantee free obligatory basic education, and in that respect a new five-year plan for quality education was in place.  Concerning secondary education, a large number of schools had been built in recent years to increase the number of pupils, with emphasis on educating girls.

Mexico said that it fully agreed with the Special Rapporteur’s conclusion that the right to education was a legally enforceable right, and said that that should be used to train professionals in the field of education.  Measures taken by Mexico to improve access to education included a National System of Educative Evaluation.  Mexico remained concerned about the widespread ignorance with regard to the enforceability of the right to education, and asked the Special Rapporteur to recommend methods of tackling that problem.

Saudi Arabia said that the report on the right to education highlighted the importance of equal opportunity for marginalised groups.  Saudi Arabia was committed to education, including the teaching of Islam and the training for citizens to actively participate in society, and it was provided at all levels to all inhabitants of the country; scholarships were also offered to carry out studies abroad.  

Kuwait said it attached considerable importance to education and quotas had been created.  Kuwait had schools for boys and girls and literacy, democracy and training in crafts as well as traditional training in research were all key issues.  Education had been made compulsory in a pioneering move in 1965 and schooling opportunities for persons with disabilities were also provided.  The school curricula incorporated human rights.

Georgia said it attached importance to the quality, efficiency and free access to the education of all citizens.  The law on education stipulated that everyone was entitled to equal right to receive complete general education in order to ensure the development of skills.  The Government had made special efforts to ensure the development of national curricula based on individual abilities and interests of students, aimed at satisfying the educational needs of children with special educational needs.

China said that education was closely associated with the level of social development in many countries.  China had always regarded education as a national strategic priority and attached great importance to it.  In 2012, 4 per cent of China’s GDP had been allocated to education.  Students had the right to take legal action and raise complaints whenever their rights were infringed upon.  China also said that human rights were closely related to international solidarity, through which prosperity could be achieved.  

Morocco said that it had made education one of its key priorities and guaranteed the right to education.  Citizens could bring to court any violations of that right.  Morocco paid specific attention to the education of girls and persons with special needs.  Since its independence, Morocco had based its foreign policy on international solidarity.  Committed to African solidarity, it had cancelled the debt of Sub-Saharan States, and its relations with friendly countries were based on cooperation and true partnership.

Egypt said that its new Constitution ensured that free quality education was provided in all public education institutions and that primary and preparatory schooling was mandatory.  Local units and hotlines had been set up to receive complaints regarding issues to do with the quality, accessibility and affordability of education.  Egypt also said that international solidarity was closely linked with the three pillars of the United Nations (peace, development and human rights), and so it was also connected to the challenges and threats that the world faced today.    

Norway welcomed the focus of the Special Rapporteur on marginalised groups, particularly on persons with disabilities.  Norway asked the Special Rapporteur what legal recourse was available to victims of violations in conflict affected States.  Were there any examples of best practice that could be adapted to comparative situations?  It was known that 40 per cent of all school-aged children who were not attending school were living in conflict affected States and Norway believed this to be a particularly important issue. 

Organization of Islamic Cooperation said that the relevant recommendations and conclusions in the report on the right to education included provisions and steps that could be taken to ensure access to the right to education.  Enforceability of the right was described in the report as a fundamental aspect of its fulfilment.  International solidarity should create a climate conducive to development, synergies had to increase and a number of views had to be further enhanced to ensure concerted action. 

Bahrain, speaking on the report on the right to education, said that the report was of great interest.  In Bahrain this right was respected and education was mandatory and supported the use of technologies, believing that it was necessary to ensure connectivity in schools.  The system also took into account children with special needs. 

United States agreed that judicial systems were important guarantors of equal access to education.  It did not agree with the phrasing in the report that implied the expansion of the content or coverage of existing rights.  While quality education for every student was the highest of ideals and something that it strove for in its schools on a daily basis, the United States did not agree with phrasing in the report that implied that existing rights included quality education. 

Djibouti said that it was convinced that it was necessary to work together to attain a more open and prosperous world where peace and socio-economic development benefitted all without discrimination.  Djibouti encouraged Member States to commit themselves wholeheartedly to international solidarity in this period of economic austerity and to take specific and innovative measures in order to combat exclusion and social inequality.

Qatar said that it was committed to the development of education and improving its quality, as education was one of the pillars of its 2030 Vision.  The Highest Council for Education had been set up as the body in charge of developing education.  Qatar was committed to innovative means in financing education and on 22 May 2013, Emiri Decree Number 6 of 2013 set up a health and education fund with the aim of offering sustainable financing for education programmes.

Cuba said that it attached special importance to the role that international solidarity played in the promotion and protection of human rights.  International cooperation was a key element of international solidarity, and all countries must redouble their efforts to develop guidelines and mechanisms to promote both fundamental values.  In that respect, Cuba appreciated the observations made by the Independent Expert in her report and encouraged her to continue to carry out her work.   

Sri Lanka said that it concurred with the Special Rapporteur that a nation’s development flowed from the initial investment not just in a comprehensive education system but also in the procedures necessary to safeguard the right to education.  The Constitution of Sri Lanka recognized the complete eradication of illiteracy as one of the fundamental duties of the State and gave the assurance to all persons of the right to universal and equal access to education at all levels as a directive principle of State policy.

Syria said that it attached special attention to education programmes and provided free education.  However, in the past two years terrorist groups financed by Western and regional countries had disrupted Syrian efforts to protect the right to education.  Acts of aggression had taken place against Syrian citizens, including children, and immoral sanctions had been imposed on the Syrian people.  Syria called on the international community to cease the flagrant violation of the right to education and to stop financing terrorist groups.        

Algeria said it had introduced important reforms in the education system improving the conditions for schooling, including equality of opportunity regardless of gender and socio-economic origins.  It would be useful to emphasize the importance of international cooperation and capacity building in developing countries.  International solidarity was essential to upholding human dignity and it had a crucial role in overcoming global problems and fully implementing human rights, including promoting growth and development. 

Greece welcomed the multi-dimensional work undertaken by the Special Rapporteur.  States had the primary responsibility to ensure that the right to education was respected and fulfilled and that universal access to basic education without discrimination was safeguarded.  In the Special Rapporteur’s view, how did the current budget constraints affect the enforcement and justifiability of the right to education?

Malaysia noted the conclusions and recommendations in the report of the Special Rapporteur on education.  Malaysia regarded education as an essential element in its nation building process and as a major contribution to development efforts.  The right to education was guaranteed under the federal constitution for everyone, regardless of religion and race.  Since Malaysia’s independence several policies had been developed to further improve and realise the right to education for all Malaysians.

Bangladesh said that it had taken note of Mr. Singh’s recommendations and agreed with many areas discussed by him and that States had to fully assume their obligations.  Bangladesh reiterated that in its view, international solidarity should aim at the maintenance of a stable and sustained economic growth.  This had to be supported by simultaneous actions such as increased concessional assistance to developing countries, including least developed countries, eliminating trade barriers and resolving the debt crisis.

United Nations Children’s Fund said that today there were still 61 million children of primary school age that were not in school and a further 251 million children who were receiving an education of such poor quality that they were unable to read or write even after four years at school.  These children were overwhelmingly from the poorest communities and poorest countries and those affected by conflict.  These children were being denied their right and had to be empowered to seek redress through the judicial mechanisms in their countries.

India said that it welcomed the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education and also said that the right to education went beyond free and compulsory education to include quality education for all.  In India, any citizen could appeal to the Supreme Court if it was felt that the right to quality education was not respected.  India was interested in knowing more on the role of the media and parliamentarians in promoting justiciability in education.  

Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII said that a declaration on the right to international solidarity and the implementation of the right to development were both important for achieving the full respect of all the other human rights and for establishing a global partnership, which was crucial to respond to the global challenges that required global solutions.   

Indian Council of South America said that it was obvious that State officials declared the paradigm of “State interest” when it was convenient to ignore international law, and turned that around and declared international human rights law when it suited their State interests.  That was a reflection of the phenomenon of politicization and selectivity.

Action Canada for Population and Development said that comprehensive evidence-based sexuality education must form an integral component of education curricula and educators must be adequately sensitized and trained to enable adolescents to make informed decisions about their sexuality and reproductive health.    

Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco said that as demonstrated by international and national case law and as confirmed by treaty bodies, judicial systems should play an important role in ensuring remedy for victims of human rights violations, including the right to education.  Ensuring the right to education for all through a human rights-based approach was a prerequisite for national development and the prevention of all human rights violations. 

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights was alarmed that in November 2012 Chinese security forces fired warning gunshots and tear gas to disperse Tibetan students protesting against an official Chinese booklet which mocked Tibetan language; eight of these students were sentenced to up to four years in prison this year.  What actions was the Special Rapporteur considering to undertake in order to follow-up with China on the former Special Rapporteur’s recommendations?

Union of Arab Jurists said that one factor that was missing from the report on the justiciability of the right to education was the systematic dismantling of a system during war and occupation, and drew attention to the situation in Iraq, where the right to education had been shaken to the very foundations.  The situation was the result of foreign intervention and the international community had to assume its responsibility. 

Worldwide Organization for Women drew attention to the fundamental right to education for women.  Women and girls worldwide were denied the opportunity to have an education which would allow them to contribute to the world’s development.  Cultural barriers in certain cases restricted acceptability of attending school for women of all ages and nationalities.  

Concluding Remarks

KISHORE SINGH, Special Rapporteur on the right to education, in concluding remarks, said that despite improvements, challenges in the field of education still remained and work in that respect was ongoing.  Concerning the post-2015 agenda, that subject had been dealt with in his other reports on quality education.  It was important to develop further the right to education in the context of obligations of the State.  The right to education for marginalized groups, a point raised by the delegations of Estonia and Greece, was particularly important and deserved special attention by all countries.  The dissemination of information about the right to education and involving civil society in the process were two other important points, said Mr. Singh, who commended Norway and Egypt on their initiative to compile best practices and share information with other States.

VIRGINIA DANDAN, Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, said the proposal for a high-level panel for the post-2015 development agenda had been submitted to the Secretary-General very recently and its development would be important.  Millennium Development Goal No. 8 was the “orphan” goal and not enough attention was paid to it; many of the challenges of the future could be tackled by making international solidarity a pillar of the new goals.  International solidarity could not be made into a whip to hit States over human rights violations and thus it could not be seen as a parameter as was perhaps meant by one of the earlier speakers.  Regional consultations were the way forward but the Independent Expert said she could not do this without resources; she was at a loss as to how to go forward with this because the mandate had zero resources in this regard.  The preliminary text that was soon to arrive would answer some of the critics who said that the concept of international solidarity had no legal basis.
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For use of the information media; not an official record