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Human Rights Council decides to dispatch an expert team to investigate human rights violations in Burundi

AFTERNOON

Establishes Working Group to Elaborate a Regulatory Framework on Private Military and Security Companies, Extends Mandates on an Equitable International Order, Enforced Disappearances, Truth and Reparations, Unilateral Coercive Measures and Hazardous Wastes

GENEVA (28 September 2017) - The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 15 texts in which it decided to dispatch a three-person team to investigate human rights violations in Burundi, established a Working Group to elaborate a regulatory framework on private military and security companies, and extended the mandates of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order; the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights; and the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes.

By a vote of 23 in favour, 14 against and nine abstentions, the Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently dispatch a team of three experts to engage with the Burundian authorities and all other stakeholders in order to collect information, establish the truth, and ensure that the perpetrators of deplorable crimes are all accountable to the judicial authorities of Burundi. 

The Council decided to establish a new open-ended intergovernmental Working Group for a period of three years, with a mandate to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework to protect human rights and ensure accountability for violations and abuses relating to the activities of private military and security companies. 

In a resolution on the mandate of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 15 against and no abstentions, the Council extended the mandate of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order for a period of three years. 

The Council also decided to extend the mandate of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances for a further period of three years. 

The Council decided to extend for a period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.

By a vote of 30 in favour, 15 against and one abstention, the Council extended for a period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. 

In a resolution adopted without a vote, the Council extended extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes for a period of three years. 

Other resolutions dealt with the geographic composition of the staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, mercenaries, migrant children and adolescents, mainstreaming a gender perspective in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the right to development, human rights education, mental health, and indigenous peoples

By a vote of 31 in favour, 15 against and one abstention, the Council requested the High Commissioner to redouble efforts with a view to redress the current imbalance in the geographical composition of the staff of the Office, paying particularly attention to the senior management level and the posts not subject to geographical distribution. 

By a vote of 32 in favour, 15 against, and no abstentions, the Council requested the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination to continue to study and identify sources and causes, emerging issues, manifestations and trends with regard to mercenaries and mercenary-related activities and their impact on human rights, particularly on the right of peoples to self-determination.

In a resolution on unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents and human rights, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide inputs submitted to the Human Rights Council by the Office of the High Commissioner for the forthcoming stocktaking meeting on the Global Compact on migration.

In a resolution adopted without a vote, the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize a two-day intersessional expert meeting to consider gaps, challenges and best practices aimed at the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls and the systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. 

By a vote of 31 in favour, 11 against and four abstentions, the Council adopted a resolution on the right to development in which it decided to continue to act to ensure that its agenda promoted and advanced sustainable development and the achievement of the remaining Millennium Development Goals and of the Sustainable Development Goals, and in that regard led to raising the right to development to the same level and on a par with all other human rights and fundamental freedoms. 

In a resolution on the World Programme for Human Rights Education, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council recognized that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provided an opportunity for promoting human rights education, and requested the Office of the High Commissioner to seek the views of States, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders on focus areas or thematic human rights issues for the fourth phase of the World Programme.

In a resolution on mental health and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council requested the High Commissioner to organize a consultation lasting one and a half days, to discuss all the relevant issues and challenges pertaining to the fulfilment of a human rights perspective in mental health.

In another resolution adopted without a vote, the Council decided that the theme of the annual half-day panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples to be held during the thirty-ninth session of the Council would be on the means of participation for and the inclusion of indigenous peoples in the development of strategies and projects, and the implementation of those projects in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and related Goals.

Burundi spoke as a concerned country.

Speaking in the introduction of draft texts were Cuba, Tunisia on behalf of the African Group, El Salvador, France, Argentina, China, Switzerland, Brazil on behalf of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Portugal, and Mexico also on behalf of Guatemala.

The Philippines, Brazil, Latvia on behalf of the European Union, United States, Japan, Germany, Panama, Kyrgyzstan, and Côte d’Ivoire spoke in general comments.

Speaking in an explanation of the vote before or after the vote were: Latvia on behalf of the European Union, Japan, United States, Panama, United Kingdom, Paraguay,
Switzerland, India, China, Bangladesh, and Kyrgyzstan. 

The Council will next meet on Friday, 29 September 2017, at 9 a.m. to continue taking action on decisions and resolutions before it concludes its thirty-sixth regular session.

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

Action on Resolution on the Composition of the Staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.1) on the composition of staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 15 against and one abstention, the Council requests the High Commissioner to redouble his efforts with a view to redress the current imbalance in the geographical composition of the staff of the Office, paying particularly attention to the senior management level and the posts not subject to geographical distribution; and to submit a report to the Human Rights  Council at its thirty-ninth session, on the geographical composition of the staff of the Office of the High Commissioner and the actions taken within the current staff selection system to achieve an equitable geographical representation of the Office, as requested by the Council  in the present and past resolutions.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (31): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Against (15): Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

Abstentions (1): Togo

Cuba, introducing draft resolution L.1, said that the draft resolution was meant to reiterate the importance of reaching a regional balance in the representation of the staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to overcome the imbalance.  It was important to promote measures in order to improve the geographical composition of the staff of the Office.  Defending the status quo was only profitable for some countries.  Cuba hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted with a broad support which would testify to the Member States’ commitment to rectify the imbalance of the staff in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted that the General Assembly was the only competent body to address issues related to the administration and budget.  Decisions on recruitment were attributed to the New York central machinery.  The High Commissioner had no authority to select the candidates.  The European Union could not support the draft resolution. 

Japan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it considered it inappropriate to deal with the matter in question in the Council.  The Fifth Committee had exclusive competence in budgetary matters, and Japan could not support resolution L.1 for that reason.

Action on Resolution on Mission by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to Improve the Human Rights Situation and Accountability in Burundi

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.33 Rev.1) on the mission by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to improve the human rights situation and accountability in Burundi, adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 14 against and nine abstentions as orally revised, the Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently dispatch a team of three experts with the following mandate: to engage with the Burundian authorities and all other stakeholders, in particular United Nations agencies and the African Union, in order to collect and preserve information, to determine the facts and circumstances in accordance with international standards and practices, in cooperation with the Government of Burundi, and to forward to the judicial authorities of Burundi this information in order to establish the truth and to ensure that the perpetrators of deplorable crimes are all accountable to the judicial authorities of Burundi; and to make recommendations for technical assistance and capacity-building and ways to improve the situation of human rights in the country with a view to providing support to the country in fulfilling its human rights obligations and to ensure accountability and fight against impunity.  The Council requests the High Commissioner to present an oral briefing to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-seventh and thirty-eighth session, and urges the Government of Burundi to cooperate fully with the team of experts of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to authorize the expert to conduct visits to the country.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (23): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Iraq, Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Against (14): Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

Abstentions (9): Botswana, Indonesia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines and Qatar.
                                                                                                                    
Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, introduced the draft resolution on the mission by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to improve the human rights situation and accountability in Burundi, L.33 Rev.1.  The text was a proposal of the African Group to the Human Rights Council to launch a new momentum in terms of cooperation between the two entities to improve the human rights situation in Burundi and to fight against impunity.  It was possible with the expressed desire of Burundi to cooperate with the Human Rights Council and to take all the necessary measures to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to verify allegations of violations of human rights in Burundi and to bring to justice those accused of committing grave violations of human rights.  The mandate of the Human Rights Council was to give pride of place to dialogue and cooperation to tackle human rights situations around the world.  The resolution promoted a practical approach.  It condemned all violations of human rights in Burundi, and asked the Burundian authorities to conduct independent investigations and ensure that all perpetrators were brought to justice.  It requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to send a team of three experts whose mandate would be to work in cooperation with the Government of Burundi to gather information to determine facts and circumstances to forward them to the judicial authorities of Burundi who would be responsible for shedding light on the truth and bringing to justice any individuals who had committed human rights violations.  It also called upon the High Commissioner to assess needs for technical assistance.  The African Group asked that the draft resolution be adopted by consensus.

Burundi, speaking as the concerned country, thanked the African Group for their solidarity and work to improve the situation in African countries.  The African Group had coordinated at all levels to produce the text.  Burundi had spared no effort to come up with a consensus draft resolution aimed at improving human rights.  Burundi thanked the European Union for its work to obtain a consensus text.  Unfortunately, the negotiation process had shown that the European Union was making no significant progress and that it had a hidden agenda against Burundi.  The Government had achieved substantial progress in improving the human rights situation, building the rule of law, and fighting impunity, and was determined to move forward.  The people of Burundi had made progress that no one would be able to undermine.  The Council was asked to adopt the draft resolution.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, expressed its disappointment both at the content and the process of adopting the draft resolution.  The European Union deplored that despite its efforts to forge dialogue with the Burundian delegation, the African Group had decided to submit a draft resolution on Burundi, at the very last minute, without negotiating in good faith.  The text was only subject to informal consultation.  This was all the more regrettable as only one French version was made available.  Furthermore, it was not possible to analyse this document in the little time given.  This non transparent process to present the text was unacceptable and presented a dangerous precedent for the Council.  As for the content of the text, it was deplorable that the African Group took parts of the European Union’s text, then deleted the most substantial parts, including the conclusions of the investigation teams which pointed to the concerning human rights situation in the country.  There were ongoing extrajudicial detentions, arrests, torture and degrading treatment in Burundi.  The security services were often implied in those crimes which, for a number of them, could amount to crimes against humanity.  This situation required a credible mechanism to investigate in an impartial way these violations and to bring an end to the cycle of violence.  The proposal of the African Group to dispatch a three-person team to Burundi did not represent such an approach.  Nothing indicated that this could reverse the negative trend of cooperation between Burundi and the Office of the High Commissioner.  The European Union regretted that its view did not converge with the African Group and called on all to vote no. 

United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, was extremely disappointed by the failure of the draft resolution to adequately address the human rights situation in Burundi.  The Commission of Inquiry must be able to continue its work.  After conducting more than 500 interviews, it had found reasonable evidence that crimes against humanity had been perpetrated. The Government continued to perpetrate torture, enforced disappearance, and sexual violence.  The United States was deeply disappointed by the process of drafting the resolution.  It would therefore vote no on the draft resolution and urged all countries to support human rights in Burundi.

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

Action on Draft Resolution on the Use of Mercenaries as a Means of Violating Human Rights and Impeding the Exercise of the Right of Peoples to Self-Determination

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.2) on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour 15 against, and no abstentions, the Council, extremely alarmed and concerned about the threat posed by the activities of mercenaries to peace and security in developing countries in various parts of the world, in particular in areas of conflict, requests the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination to continue to study and identify sources and causes, emerging issues, manifestations and trends with regard to mercenaries and mercenary-related activities and their impact on human rights, particularly on the right of peoples to self-determination, and to report its findings to the General Assembly at its seventy-third session and to the Human Rights Council at its thirty- ninth session.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (32): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Against (15): Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States

Cuba, introducing draft resolution L.2 on the use of mercenaries as a way to impede the rights of people to self-determination, said the issue of mercenaries must be dealt with by the Human Rights Council.  Persistent practices of the use of mercenaries was a matter of concern as it was a violation of the United Nations Charter.  Cuba called on all to remain vigilant when faced with mercenaries.  The relationship with private military and security companies was also important.  Some countries did not recognize the role of private military and security companies.  A call had been made to eliminate the Working Group or replace it with another Special Procedure, which Cuba was against.  Cuba called on all who were against mercenarism to vote in favour of draft resolution L.2.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union Member States that were members of the Human Rights Council, said in an explanation of the vote before the vote that agreement had been reached with Cuba on the possibility of replacing the Working Group with another United Nations expert.  The proposal came with the objective of addressing the lack of conceptual clarity, and to help consolidate the work for a new intergovernmental working group on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of private military and security companies.  The European Union had reiterated its proposal during consultations and had been flexible in suggesting a gradual phasing out.   It remained unclear why the European Union’s proposal was not accepted.  The European Union had engaged in the session with the hope that a vote could be avoided.  But the European Union could not support L.2 and would call for a vote, and would vote against the resolution.

United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it had requested that the Working Group refocus its work away from private military and security companies to non-State armed groups.  The United States remained concerned about challenges that non-State armed groups posed, particularly in the African continent.  These groups operated outside any system of discipline or accountability under international law.  The United States would vote against this resolution, and urged others to do the same.

Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.3) on the mandate of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 15 against and no abstentions, the Council requests the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order to prepare a final report on his studies conducted during the last six years of his mandate, and to submit it to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-seventh session.  The Council decides to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert for a period of three years, calls upon the Office of the High Commissioner to build upon the issue of the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, and requests the Independent Expert to report regularly to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly in accordance with their respective programmes of work.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (32): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Against (15): Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

Cuba, introducing draft resolution L.3, said that the draft resolution aimed at renewing the mandate of the Independent Expert for the promotion of an international democratic and equitable order.  Cuba expressed gratitude to Alfred de Zayas for his work in the last six years.  His studies had contributed to an objective discussion on the necessity to reach a more equitable and democratic international order.  No country would be able to fully exercise the right to peace and self-determination for its people if the current order did not change.  Cuba hoped the initiative would be adopted with the majority of the members of the Council.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, recognized that it was necessary to continue to work for a more democratic and equitable order.  However, the European Union noted that at the time of its adoption, the elements of this mandate had been selected arbitrarily.  The mandate had now exhausted its potential and there was no need to retain it.  The European Union did not support the renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert.

Action on Resolution on Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Adolescents and Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.7) on unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents and human rights, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council, recognizing that the discussions on the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration are an important opportunity to address the issue of unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents, requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights … to provide inputs submitted to the Human Rights Council by the Office of the High Commissioner for the forthcoming stocktaking meeting and to engage with Members States and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration to help to identify, through a human rights-based approach, concrete measures and best practices to improve the human rights situation of unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents.

El Salvador introduced draft resolution L.7 as orally revised on unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents and human rights.  The text was the outcome of broad consultations.  All those countries that had demonstrated their support were thanked.  The resolution dealt with an issue of great importance, protecting migrant children and adolescents who were unaccompanied and separated from their families.  They faced physical mistreatment, forced labour and many other challenges.  The resolution was based on the New York Declaration and took note of the situation of vulnerable migrants.  The resolution launched an appeal to States that they put in place policies bearing in mind the need for family reunion.  Detention of children should come to an end.  States should bear in mind the best interests of the child.  Contributions had been made in the Council to take those discussions into account.  The resolution tried to take into account the needs of all.  Member States were urged to adopt the draft resolution by consensus. 

Philippines, speaking in a general comment, said it was pleased to join the consensus on the resolution.  The Global Compact would set out principles among United Nations Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions.  It would enhance coordination on international migration.  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights inputs on unaccompanied migrants would be an important contribution to shaping the Global Compact on migration.  The Philippines would support the resolution and called on all others to do the same.

Brazil, speaking in a general comment, said the draft resolution provided a valuable contribution to the issue of migration.  Human rights had to be the cornerstone of treatment of all migrants.  In particular, the international community had to pay attention to their needs.  Brazil acknowledged El Salvador for keeping in the text the principle of the non-refoulement and the non-criminalisation of children due to their status or that of their parents, and the preservation of family reunification.  The detention of migrants may result in human rights violations.  In the case of children and minors, it was always against their best interest.  Brazil looked forward to the adoption of the resolution by consensus.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, in a general comment, fully shared the concern of El Salvador on this important issue.  All children required protection regardless of their status.  The protection of children was necessary, especially keeping in mind the multiple aspects of irregular migration, where trafficking was a serious threat.  The European Union reiterated that the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child had to be in primary consideration in any resolution on this issue.  According to the resolution, adolescents were to be understood as children in the adolescent age.  The scope of the resolution was thus limited to persons under the age of 18, be they referred to as children or adolescents.  The European Union further clarified that in some exceptional cases, some detention may be required in order to detect the status, but should also be used as a last resort. 

United States, in a general comment, joined the consensus on this important resolution which underscored the need to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, including unaccompanied migrant children who were particularly vulnerable.  With respect of the resolution’s language concerning the processing of migrant children, the United States underscored that the Government drew from a wide range of available resources to safely process migrant children in accordance with applicable laws.  The United States was committed to ensuring that children were treated with dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerabilities.  With respect to the resolution’s references to “children and adolescents”, the United States emphasised that all adolescents were, indeed, children themselves. 
                                                                                                                    
Action the Resolution on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.10) on enforced or involuntary disappearances, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue their intensive efforts to assist States interested in becoming parties to the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances; and decides to extend the mandate of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances for a further period of three years.  The Council calls upon States that have not provided substantive replies concerning claims of enforced disappearances in their countries to do so; and requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide the Working Group with all financial and human resources necessary to enable it to carry out fully its mandate. 

France, introducing draft resolution L.10 on enforced or involuntary disappearances on behalf of Argentina, Japan, Morocco and France, said the draft resolution would renew the mandate of the Working Group on enforced disappearances.  There was great importance attached to the mandate.  Enforced disappearances were an especially abject form of human rights violation.  The grave violation was a negation of truth and justice.  The Working Group had done outstanding work and the mission of that Group was essential.  It was indispensable that the Working Group continued to work.  All States needed to cooperate with the Working Group and all were called on to adopt the draft resolution.

Argentina, also introducing draft resolution L.10, said that as well as renewing the mandate, it called on States to ratify the International Convention on Enforced Disappearances.  A particular focus within the draft was its call for States to cooperate with the Working Group and accept their visits.  The main group backing the resolution - Argentina, France, Japan and Morocco - carried out many consultations and many bilateral meetings to try and include concerns of countries.  Flexibility had been demonstrated, without watering down the goal of the resolution. 

China, introducing amendments L.63 and L.64 on behalf of a likeminded group of countries, said countries should combat and punish enforced disappearances according to their internal laws.  It was important to give a full role to the domestic laws of countries.  China reminded that according to Article 2(7) of the United Nations Charter, nothing in the Charter authorized the United Nations to intervene in matters which were essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State.  Amendment L.63 was aimed at enabling countries to appropriate their own legal measures related to this issue.  Amendment L.64 was based on the resolution of the Human Rights Council, which called on the verifiable, objective, genuine and reliable work.  China and the group of countries had taken part in constructive negotiations on the resolution.  Regrettably the sponsored countries had refused to pay attention to these opinions.  The Council was urged to support the two amendments.

Japan, speaking on behalf of the core group in a general comment, said the group could not accept the two amendments to the draft resolution which was intended to promote cooperation with the Working Group on enforced disappearances and sought to extend the mandate for three years.  Japan called for a vote against the two amendments that it considered inappropriate.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, was pleased to support the draft resolution which sought to renew the mandate of the Working Group on enforced disappearances.  Enforced disappearances were all too common.  Thus the mandate was of utmost importance.  The European Union was disappointed by the two proposed amendments that would limit the way that the Working Group would conduct its mandate.  The increased number of communications received by the Working Group demonstrated how important the mandate was.  The European Union called on all States to collaborate with the Working Group.
 
Germany, speaking in a general comment, commended the core group for the balanced draft.  Enforced disappearances undermined societies and the systematic practice of such an act was a crime against humanity.  But they still persisted, and the Working Group was set up to support the families in their quest to understand what had happened to their loved ones.  Germany opposed the two amendments.  States could not use their sovereignty to justify violations of international human rights law.  The second amendment sought to hinder the work of the Working Group.  All States were called on to work with the Working Group.  Germany supported that call.
 
Japan, speaking in a general comment, said far from being a crime of the past, enforced disappearances were a crime of today.  The draft called for positive responses to requests for country visits for the Working Group and resolutions related to that issue had been adopted every year to date.  Japan could not accept amendment L.63.  Regarding L.64, it appeared that two parts of the resolution had been arbitrarily selected.  The wording of the suggested additional preambular paragraph was not what had been agreed by Member States.  There was no need to arbitrarily select those two parts for mention in a separate preambular paragraph.  So Japan could not accept the amendment contained in L.64 either.  L.10 should be adopted as it stood without the two amendments.

Brazil, speaking in a general comment, recalled that Brazil was a long-standing supporter of the Working Group.   Enforced disappearances impaired the rights of the disappeared and their families with negative consequences on their lives.  They constituted a threat to democracy and the rule of law.  The Working Group played a determinant role.   Brazil commended the efforts of the core group and reiterated its commitment to cooperate with the Working Group.

Action on L.63

Panama, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, rejected L.63 which aimed to subordinate rules which were in force about the sovereign right of countries.  The resolution did not question States’ right to sovereignty.  Enforced disappearances were a serious violation of human rights, and could consist of crimes against humanity.  All Member States of the Council were called on to vote against L.63.

United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the amendment did not reflect the United Nations Charter.  The amendment was wrong in principle and had no relation to the resolution.  The United Kingdom would vote no and called on all to do the same.

The Human Rights Council then rejected amendment L.63 by a recorded vote of 17 in favour, to 24 against, with 6 abstaining.

Action on Amendment L.64

Paraguay, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, stated that the proposed paragraph only partly corresponded to the United Nations Code of Conduct for Special Procedure mandate holders, namely with respect to the reference to mandate holders being free from all pressure, threat and interference.  The Code of Conduct should be considered as whole and not taken separately.  That would run counter and water down the draft resolution and thus Paraguay would vote against the draft amendment.

Switzerland, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, noted that the amendment aimed to introduce a selective quote from the Code of Conduct.  It only referred to the prerogatives of the mandate holder and it was imbalanced.  The Code of Conduct was an integral whole and fruit of comprehensive negotiations.  The objective of the draft amendment was to limit the ability of mandate holders, which was unacceptable.  Thus, Switzerland would vote against the draft amendment L.64.

The Human Rights Council then rejected amendment L.64 by a recorded vote of 16 in favour, to 23 against, with 6 abstaining.

Action on Resolution on L.10

India, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that while it supported the draft resolution, the text referred to a legal instrument that had not been acceded to by the country and many others.  In doing so, it endeavoured to endorse concepts that were not universally accepted.  Therefore, India dissociated from the preambular paragraph no.13 of the resolution.

China, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, regretted that the amendments had been rejected.  Countries had the right to develop their own legal systems.  Special Procedures should work in accordance with their Code of Conduct and stick to their mandates.  China had always been opposed to enforced disappearances.  It hoped that the co-sponsors would improve the substance of the resolution.

Bangladesh, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on L.10, said that Bangladesh was not a party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances and that its legal system did not contain terminology such as “enforced disappearances”.  The Code of Criminal Procedure recognized kidnapping and abduction.  Bangladesh also commented on the definition of a crime against humanity in the draft resolution and said it would disassociate from a part of the draft resolution.

Kyrgyzstan, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on L.10, said that Kyrgyzstan was not a party to the Rome Statute but its legislation provided sanctions for unlawful deprivation of freedom.  It did not see the need to accede to this particular international convention.  Kyrgyzstan disassociated from the resolution as a whole.

Action on Resolution on the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.11) on the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend for a period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, whose tasks will include, inter alia, …to gather relevant information on national situations, including on …truth and reconciliation commissions and other mechanisms, relating to the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence in addressing gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, and to study trends, developments and challenges and to make recommendations thereon; …and to explore further the contribution of transitional justice to the prevention of gross violations of human rights and serious violations of international humanitarian law, including genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, and their recurrence.  The Council requests the Special Rapporteur to continue to report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

Switzerland, introducing draft resolution L.11, said that to date, the resolution enjoyed the support of 71 States.  Its aim was to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence for a period of three years.  The creation of this mandate six years ago represented a recognition of the importance of the rights of victims and the duty of States to develop holistic, complementary and relevant strategies in the areas of truth, justice and reparations.  The broad transregional support reached by this resolution was a guarantee of the relevance of this mandate and a recognition of the high quality of the work of the current Special Rapporteur, Mr. Pablo de Greiff.

Action on Resolution on the Full Enjoyment of Human Rights by All Women and Girls and the Systematic Mainstreaming of a Gender Perspective into the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.12) on the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls and the systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights …to organize a two-day intersessional expert meeting to consider gaps in, challenges to and best practices aimed at the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls and the systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, to prepare a report on the outcome of the above-mentioned meeting, and to present the report to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-ninth session.

Brazil, introducing the draft resolution L.12 on behalf of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, said that the resolution proposed to convene a one-time intersessional expert meeting to discuss in depth the systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals.  The Human Rights Council should shed light over the mutually reinforced the relationship between the enjoyment of human rights of women and girls and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  The resolution was a result of intense dialogue and engagement of all interested parties and Brazil invited all Member States of the Human Rights Council to support the initiative and approve this draft resolution by consensus.

Panama, speaking in a general comment, thanked the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries for taking this initiative as it was crucial for all States to move forward on strengthening the human rights of women.  The systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective into the 2030 Agenda was crucial to its implementation.  Panama urged Member States to adopt the draft resolution by consensus.

El Salvador, speaking in a general comment, said that the resolution would establish an in-depth debate on the situation of women and girls.  The efforts being made to promote the enjoyment of human rights by women and girls were mutually supportive.  The 2030 Agenda recognized that the empowerment of girls would pave the way to the realization of all goals.  The systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals was essential.  El Salvador commended the core group for the production of the text that reflected the opinion of many countries.

Bangladesh, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said Bangladesh was one of the champions of the empowerment of women and girls.  The Government’s endeavours were reflected in its legislation.  Women were represented in various decision-making processes in different sectors.  Their contribution was crucial to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  However, Bangladesh would dissociate from several paragraphs.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, thanked the sponsors for their constructive approach and it joined consensus on the resolution.  It underscored that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals did not allow States not to uphold from their human rights obligations.  However, the United States had substantial concerns about the budgetary implications and possible duplication of work.  It considered that that a two-day meeting was not appropriate given the challenges that the Council was facing.  The proposed topic of the meeting had already been discussed at numerous sessions, including recent high-level session in New York. 

Action on Resolution on the Right to Development

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.13/Rev.1) on the right to development, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 11 against and four abstentions, the Council decides to continue to act to ensure that its agenda promotes and advances sustainable development and the achievement of the remaining Millennium Development Goals and of the Sustainable Development Goals, and in this regard lead to raising the right to development …to the same level and on a par with all other human rights and fundamental freedoms; to endorse the recommendations of the Working Group on the Right to Development adopted at its eighteenth session; that the Working Group …shall finalize consideration of the criteria and operational subcriteria, preferably no later than its nineteenth session, in relation to the elaboration of a comprehensive and coherent set of standards for the implementation of the right to development …; that the Working Group shall invite the Special Rapporteur, in consultation with Member States, to provide his views on the work of the Working Group and its relevant agenda items, at its nineteenth session. 

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (31): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Against (11): Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

Abstentions (4): Albania, Portugal, Republic of Korea and Slovenia.

Venezuela, introducing draft resolution L.13/Rev.1 on the right to development on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said the Non-Aligned Movement believed that without the right to development there could be no enjoyment of all other rights.  The Non-Aligned Movement believed that the mandate of the Special Rapporteur would be a useful tool for the Human Rights Council.  The Non-Aligned Movement saw that there were grave challenges standing in the way of the right to development, and the next session of the Working Group should finalize a study aiming to set up a baseline and work towards standards.  The Non-Aligned Movement supported the important initiative to pave the way for principles in the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development.  All were called on to support the draft resolution. 

Kyrgyzstan, in a general comment, supported the adoption of the resolution and said in today’s world, emphasis should be placed on the state of development.  The human right to development could not be achieved without a state of development.  The need for opportunities for small States to manage their resources for their own development was underscored.  Small and landlocked countries faced destructive policies of big States.  To ensure the right to development, it was important that big States did not hinder the development of other countries or interfere in their internal affairs.  Any international cooperation should be based on mutual benefit and respect for interests.  It was high time to recognize the right to development in the international legal system. 

United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reaffirmed its commitment to international development and the promotion of inclusion and dignity for everyone.  All development, including sustainable development, needed to take into account the realization of human rights.  The lack of development could not be invoked to not respect human rights.  Therefore, the United States had continually encouraged States to respect their commitments regardless of the level of development.  In the Vienna Declaration, development and human rights were mutually reinforcing.  To ensure the implementation of sustainable development goals, it was necessary to fight against discrimination and address violence against women and girls.  The United States would vote no to this resolution.
 
Latvia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the multidimensional nature of development strategies were noted.  The right to development required the full realization of all human rights and required a mix of policies.  The primary responsibility for development was one owed by States to their citizens.  It was regretted that the resolution seemed to prioritize some aspects in the Working Group.   A common position had not yet been reached.  As before, the European Union had engaged with proponents of the resolution.  The European Union would not support the resolution. 

Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, commended efforts undertaken by the international community.  The right to development linked issues of human rights and was an additional way to ensure human rights.  To achieve progress regarding the right to development, work had to be done to reconcile existing fronts.  The elaboration of a legally binding instrument would not be an appropriate tool for the right to development.  Switzerland would vote no.

Action on Resolution on Human Rights and Unilateral Coercive Measures

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.14) on human rights and unilateral coercive measures, adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, 15 against and one abstention, the Council decides to extend for a period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights; and requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to give high priority to human rights and unilateral coercive measures, to pursue further work in this area in full cooperation with the Special Rapporteur in his various activities, and to continue to provide the Special Rapporteur with all the assistance necessary for the effective fulfilment of his mandate.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (30): Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Against (15): Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom  and United States.

Abstentions (1): Togo.

Venezuela, introducing draft resolution L.14 on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, condemned the use of unilateral coercive measures against Member States of the Non-Aligned Movement.  This was contrary to the principles of the United Nations Charter.  The draft resolution proposed the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, given their disproportionate impact on vulnerable societies.  The Non-Aligned Movement urged all Members of the Council to support the text.

Latvia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that, despite the biased political agenda that might be pursued in this context, including by the Special Rapporteur, the European Union always took part in all discussions on unilateral coercive measures during which it had clearly presented its position on the issue.  The European Union representatives had engaged with the Special Rapporteur during his recent visit to Brussels, and the European Union was looking forward to receiving his report.  The application of unilateral coercive measures must respect international law, human rights and freedoms, due process and the right to effective remedies, and must be proportionate to their objective.  Latvia stressed that the unilateral coercive measures of the European Union were never punitive and were targeted, thus minimizing their negative impact.  The European Union did not consider that the Human Rights Council was an appropriate forum for the discussion on unilateral coercive measures, and it called for a vote, saying that the European Union Member States of the Council would vote against.

United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, rejected the underlying premise.  Targeted sanctions could be a powerful tool to hold people responsible for abusing fundamental rights and freedoms.  Legitimate practices undertaken by United Nations Member States were being called into question.  Bans on technology helped impede people take actions that threatened international peace and security.  Sanctions could be appropriate, and were in line with the United Nations Charter.  For that reason the United States would vote no and urged all delegations to vote against it.

Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group to Elaborate the Content of an International Regulatory Framework on the Regulation, Monitoring and Oversight of the Activities of Private Military and Security Companies

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.15) on the mandate of the open-ended intergovernmental working group to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to establish a new open-ended intergovernmental working group, for a period of three years, with a mandate to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework …to protect human rights and ensure accountability for violations and abuses relating to the activities of private military and security companies …; also decides that the working group shall meet for five working days and submit an annual progress report to the Human Rights Council in conformity with its annual programme of work.

Tunisia, introducing the draft resolution L.15 on behalf of the African Group recalled that in its earlier resolutions, the Council had established and then extended the mandate of an intergovernmental Working Group tasked with considering the possibility of elaborating an international regulatory framework to regulate the activities of private military and security companies.  At the end of its sixth session held in May 2017, the Working Group had concluded that the elaboration of such a framework was now timely.  The draft resolution proposed an establishment of a new open-ended intergovernmental Working Group mandated to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework, without prejudging the nature thereof, to ensure that the international community was able to protect human rights and ensure accountability for violations and abuses related to the activities of private military and security companies.  The African Group recalled that this work was first and foremost about human beings, many of them vulnerable and innocent victims, and the protection of their human rights – this was infinitely more important than profit, regime change agendas and geopolitical influence.

Latvia, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, said the expectation had been to join hands with the African Group to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework on the activities of private military and security companies.  It was an important issue for the African Group and for all.  A consensus on the direction of work had been reached, and it was hoped that a new era of progress would begin in the Human Rights Council.  A paragraph was called for to be inserted as it would represent the full agreement reached at the sixth session of the Working Group.  The European Union could not understand why the text did not contain the full agreement.  The future agreement would be respected and the future intergovernmental Working Group would achieve tangible progress. 

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, was pleased to join the consensus and appreciated the work of the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group.  The United States regretted that not all the language agreed by the Working Group was included in the draft resolution, but was pleased that the draft resolution included the principles agreed on by the Working Group.

Action on Resolution on the World Programme for Human Rights Education

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.24) on the World Programme for Human Rights Education, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council recognizes that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which specifically includes human rights education under Goal 4, target 7, provides an opportunity for promoting human rights education, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training and other existing global frameworks for action, including the World Programme for Human Rights Education, …; and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to seek the views of States, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders on the target sectors, focus areas or thematic human rights issues for the fourth phase of the World Programme, bearing in mind the possibility of exploring possible synergies with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other relevant initiatives on human rights education and training, and to submit a report thereon to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-ninth session.

Brazil, introducing L.24 as orally revised on behalf of Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal, Slovenia and Thailand, said the World Programme for Human Rights Education was a Human Rights Council initiative, coordinated by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, which offered a common methodological framework for national action on the matter.  The resolution launched the consultation process for the elaboration of the fourth phase of the programme.  All States were invited to participate in the consultations that would take place next year.  It was noted that due to a minor editing error, operative paragraph 10 was slightly revised. 

Action on Resolution on Mental Health and Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.25) on mental health and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council, concerned at the instances of multiple, intersecting or aggravated forms of discrimination, stigma, violence and abuses that affect the enjoyment of human rights in the context of mental health, requests the High Commissioner to organize a consultation lasting one and a half days, no later than during the seventy-first session of the World Health Assembly, to discuss all the relevant issues and challenges pertaining to the fulfilment of a human rights perspective in mental health, the exchange of best practices and the implementation of technical guidance in this regard; and to prepare a report on the outcome of the consultation, to be presented the Human Rights Council at its thirty-ninth session, in which it identifies strategies to promote human rights in mental health and to eliminate discrimination, stigma, violence, coercion and abuse in this regard, including through education and the training of all stakeholder groups.

Portugal, introducing draft resolution L.25, said that for way too long, mental health had been covered by layers of stigma, prejudice, segregation ad also abuses and violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  This resolution gave the opportunity to unveil what was to date hidden and to try to overcome the shortcomings in this area.  The resolution acknowledged that various instruments lay the foundation for a paradigm shift in mental health and created a momentum for deinstitutionalization and the identification of a model of care based on the respect of human rights which addressed the global burden of obstacles in mental health.  It also called on States to abandon all practices that failed to respect the rights, will and preferences of all persons.  The resolution also urged States to develop community-based services and supports.

United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, strongly supported the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.  Although the United States shared most of the aims of the resolution, it was observed that the text needed clarification on several key points.  The resolution should reflect the international human rights norms set in the international covenants.  The United States joined the consensus on the resolution in order to address the needs of persons with mental health disabilities.

Action on Resolution on Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.27) on human rights and indigenous peoples, adopted without a vote, the Council decides, in accordance with paragraph 14 of Human Rights Council resolution 18/8 of 29 September 2011, that the theme of the annual half-day panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples to be held during the thirty-ninth session of the Council will be on the means of participation for and the inclusion of indigenous peoples in the development of strategies and projects, and the implementation of those projects in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and related Goals, and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to make the discussions fully accessible to persons with disabilities and to prepare a summary report on the discussion and to submit it to the Council prior to its forty-first session.

Mexico, introducing draft resolution L.27 on human rights and indigenous peoples on behalf of Guatemala and Mexico, said that technical support of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights had resulted in a solid text which emphasised the positive role of legislative frameworks on all levels.  The issue that would be tackled at the Human Rights Council would be ways promoting the participation and inclusion of indigenous peoples in the development of strategies and policies.  The text also welcomed efforts promoting inclusion and participation of indigenous peoples in United Nations fora.  It invited States to establish dialogue with the Expert Mechanism. 

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, thanked Guatemala and Mexico for the resolution and regretted that compromise had not been reached allowing the United States to co-sponsor the resolution.  The phrase “progressive development” could have broader implications than intended.  The United States placed priority on promoting the rights of indigenous peoples in international forums. 

Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Implications for Human Rights of the Environmentally Sound Management and Disposal of Hazardous Substances and Wastes

In a resolution (A/HRC/36/L.32) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, adopted without a vote, the Council takes note of the report, and of the guide prepared by the Special Rapporteur, and requests the Special Rapporteur, in accordance with his mandate, to continue to provide detailed, up-to-date information on the adverse consequences that the improper management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes may have in terms of the full enjoyment of human rights; decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years and invites him to report to the Council in accordance with its programme of work, and annually to the General Assembly.

Tunisia, introducing on behalf of the African Group draft resolution L.32, said that the text strengthened the mandate, which contributed to raise awareness on the question of the adverse consequences of hazardous waste.  It shed light on the impacts of these products on human rights, taking into account the victims, the need to strengthen national legislation, and requested the material and financial resources necessary to allow the Rapporteur to discharge his or her mandate.  The African Group welcomed the work of the current Special Rapporteur, Baskut Tuncak, who had elaborated a set of guidelines.  The resolution requested the renewal of the mandate and gave it added value in terms of prevention against toxic and hazardous products.  The African Group urged the Council to adopt the resolution by consensus.

Côte d’Ivoire, speaking in a general comment, said that the draft resolution aimed to advocate for a better tackling of hazardous substances and waste, including by shedding light on human rights consequences.  The draft resolution asked the Special Rapporteur to present his report to the General Assembly, and to get involved in the framework of the mandate and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated its commitment to the proper management of toxic substances and wastes, but it had to disassociate from the draft resolution as the concerns of the United States had not been taken into consideration.  The matters of the toxic wastes and substances were being adequately addressed in different fora.  The United States noted that now in its twenty-third year, the mandate had fulfilled its function; and yet, the resolution further extended the mandate, including to examine national, regional and international efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, which was not appropriate.

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