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Human Rights Council adopts four resolutions and closes its thirty-eighth session

AFTERNOON 

6 July 2018

Decides to Dispatch Two International Human Rights Experts to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted four resolutions in which it requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to dispatch a team of two international human rights experts to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and decided to convene two intersessional seminars on the Council’s contribution to the prevention of human rights violations, to convene an intersessional high-level panel discussion to discuss the incompatibility between democracy and racism, and to convene the Social Forum for two working days in 2019.

The Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to dispatch a team of two international human rights experts with a mandate to write a report on the implementation by the Democratic Republic of the Congo of the recommendations of the previous team of international experts, especially with respect to the fight against impunity and measures to promote reconciliation, and to make recommendations in that regard.  It also requested the High Commissioner to present an oral update on the developments of the situation of human rights in the Kasai regions, and to present an integrated report on the situation of human rights there.

By a vote of 28 in favour, nine against and eight abstentions, the Council decided to convene two intersessional seminars on the contribution that the Council could make to the prevention of human rights violations, and it requested its President to appoint a Chair-Rapporteur and two Rapporteurs to chair and facilitate them, to consult and gather the views of relevant stakeholders in Geneva and New York, and then present those views in the form of a report for consideration by the Council at its forty-third session.  

The Council decided to convene an intersessional high-level panel discussion before its forty-first regular session to discuss the incompatibility between democracy and racism, with a view to identifying challenges and good practices.  It requested the High Commissioner to prepare a summary report on the panel discussion for submission to the Council at its forty-second session.

Concerning the Social Forum, the Council decided that the Social Forum would meet for two working days in 2019 and requested the President of the Council to appoint from candidates nominated by regional groups the Chairperson-Rapporteur for the 2019 Social Forum.  The Council invited the 2019 Social Forum to submit a report containing its conclusions and recommendations to the Human Rights Council at its forty-first session.

The Council then proceeded with the appointment of Special Procedure mandate holders.

The Council appointed David R. Boyd (Canada) as the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and Javaid Rehman (Pakistan) as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.  

The Council also appointed  Githu Muigai (Kenya) to the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, member from African States; Elzbieta Karska (Poland) to the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, member from Eastern European States; and Sorcha Macleod (United Kingdom) to 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.

The Council adopted ad referendum the report of its thirty-eighth session, presented by Juan Eduardo Eguiguren, Rapporteur and Vice President of the Human Rights Council.

Vojislav Šuc, President of the Human Rights Council, in his concluding remarks, reminded that the Council rejected all acts of intimidation and reprisals against individuals and groups who cooperated with it, and he asked Member States to prevent such acts.  

Introducing draft texts were Cuba, Norway, Switzerland, Russian Federation, Brazil, and Togo on behalf of the African Group.  

Democratic Republic of the Congo spoke as a concerned country.  

Speaking in general comments were Switzerland, Slovakia on behalf of the European Union, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Panama, and Egypt.

Slovakia on behalf of the European Union, Switzerland, Croatia, Venezuela, United Kingdom, South Africa, Egypt, China, Australia, Slovakia on behalf of the European Union, and Brazil spoke in an explanation of the vote before and after the vote.

France, India and Djibouti spoke as observer States.

Speaking in general concluding remarks were Russian Federation, Canada on behalf of Iceland, Liechtenstein, New Zealand and Canada, Pakistan and Brazil.  

The non-governmental organizations International Service for Human Rights, and Centre Europe – Tiers Monde also spoke in general concluding remarks.  

The thirty-ninth regular session of the Human Rights Council will take place from 10 to 28 September 2018.  

Action on Resolutions under the Agenda Item on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms

Action on Resolution on the Social Forum

In a resolution (A/HRC/38/L.2) on the Social Forum, adopted without a vote, the Council decides that the Social Forum will meet for two working days in 2019, in Geneva… and focus on the promotion and protection of the rights of children and youth through education.  The Council requests (its) President to appoint, as early as possible, from candidates nominated by regional groups, the Chairperson-Rapporteur for the 2019 Social Forum; and also requests the High Commissioner to facilitate participation in the 2019 Social Forum … of no fewer than 10 experts, including representatives of civil society and grass-roots organizations in developing countries, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education and the Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.  The Council invites the 2019 Social Forum to submit a report containing its conclusions and recommendations to the Human Rights Council at its forty-first session.

Cuba, introducing draft resolution L.2, said the Social Forum was a unique space where it was possible to hold open dialogue, and exchange views with diverse actors. The draft resolution proposed that the Social Forum focus its next session on the protection of the rights of children and youth through education.  It would be an opportunity for civil society and other international actors to exchange views on a theme of particular relevance.  Education was a theme of particular importance, and consultations had been held through a transparent procedure.  Pursuant to the call on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Human Rights Council and taking into account previous experiences, the duration of the Forum had been reduced to two days.  Given the unique nature of the space provided by the Forum, Cuba trusted that the draft resolution would be adopted without a vote.

Slovakia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, welcomed this year’s decision by the main sponsor to reduce the duration of the Forum and hoped that this trend would continue.  However, concerns remained over the budgetary implications of the Forum.  Still, the European Union welcomed the proposed theme for the 2019 Forum and would join consensus on the text.

The Council then adopted the draft resolution without a vote.

Action on Resolution on the Contribution of the Human Rights Council to the Prevention of Human Rights Violations

In a resolution (A/HRC/38/L.19/Rev.1) on the contribution of the Human Rights Council to the prevention of human rights violations, adopted by a vote of 28 in favour, nine against and eight abstentions as orally revised, the Council decides to convene two intersessional seminars with States and other relevant stakeholders … on the contribution that the Human Rights Council can make to the prevention of human rights violations; requests the President of the Council to appoint, as early as possible, a chair-rapporteur and two rapporteurs to chair and facilitate the two intersessional seminars in Geneva, and to consult and gather the views of relevant stakeholders in Geneva and New York … in the form of a report for consideration by the Council at its forty-third session; requests the President of the Council, when appointing the chair-rapporteur, to consult with regional groups and to give paramount consideration to governmental background or experience, and when appointing the rapporteurs, to give paramount consideration to relevant multilateral and human rights expertise and experience, as well as to gender and broad geographic representation.

The results of the vote were as follows:

In favour (28): Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iraq, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia and United Kingdom.

Against (9): Burundi, China, Cuba, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Abstentions (8): Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Philippines.

Norway, introducing draft resolution L.19/Rev.1, on behalf of the Core Group, said they had brought the resolution forward to the Council, aware that the prevention of human rights violations was an integral part of the Council’s mandate, as outlined in General Assembly resolution 50/261.  The resolution had been built upon two joint statements from the Council’s thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh sessions.  The resolution called for two intersessional seminars to be organized in Geneva and for the Council’s President to appoint a Chair-Rapporteur and two Rapporteurs to consult widely with relevant stakeholders.   Three open informal session were carried out in a constructive manner and substantial comments were received.  Based on those, the text had been revised significantly.  The last change was incorporating the amendment L.40, and Switzerland was invited to further elaborate.

Switzerland, also introducing draft resolution L.19/Rev.1, noted that the Council was called on to contribute to the prevention of human rights violations, according to its mandate.  The Council had the necessary resources for such responsibility and the initiative was based on existing resources, and was complementary to similar initiatives.  As stated, the Core Group had conducted sessions with delegations.  Following remarks, the draft resolution was reworked and co-sponsored by 21 States before submission.  Since then, 26 other States had become co-sponsors.  The resolution would enrich the debate on how the Council could contribute to the prevention of human rights violations.  States were called on to adopt the draft by consensus.

Russia, introducing amendment L.27, said the text of the draft resolution contained serious contradictions that were substantive in nature.  The prevention of human rights violations was part of the mandate of the Human Rights Council.  According to the resolutions pertaining thereto, prevention should be implemented through dialogue and cooperation.  There was no need to invent or implement new working methods.  Second, only an open and transparent process could prevent human rights violations.  Third, there were serious concerns about the ties between the mandate of the Human Rights Council in terms of prevention, and the process of reforming its Secretariat, in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Secretariat.  The Russian delegation was therefore submitting an amendment which aimed to end violations of the draft resolution towards the Human Rights Council.  The Russian delegation could not accept the draft resolution as a whole and asked for this statement to be taken into account in the written records.

Switzerland, stating the position of the sponsors, called for a vote on amendment L.27

Slovakia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, attached great importance to the prevention mandate of the Human Rights Council.  Slovakia said improving domestic human rights resilience was an important first step towards preventing human rights violations.  When Governments upheld the rule of law, they built the foundations of a society less vulnerable to conflict.  The Council must react promptly to human rights violations, using all mechanisms and procedures at its disposal.  The European Union fully supported the Human Rights Up Front initiative which would allow for the recognition of early warning signs of human rights violations.  Women and civil society had crucial roles to play in preventing human rights violations.  The European Union reiterated its full support for the initiative and urged all Council Members to vote in favour of the draft resolution.

Tunisia, speaking in a general comment, considered that prevention in the human rights field was of paramount importance and reaffirmed the need to adopt a holistic approach in every preventive action.  The holistic approach had to be based on all human rights on the same level.  There was a clear linkage between civil and political rights on one hand and economic, social and cultural rights on the other.  Everybody in the United Nations system had a specific role when it came to human rights.  The Council should be an efficient body, seeking ways to explore its different mechanisms.  Tunisia wanted a more effective role of the Council, in the spirit of dialogue between Member States.  Tunisia was open to discuss all proposals in this field and find consensual formulas, so they would vote in favour.

United Arab Emirates, speaking in a general comment on behalf of a group of countries, shared views that prevention was necessary.   However, States believed that Governments had a primary role in the protection of human rights, under resolution 50/261.  Although the resolution was procedural, it was ignoring national institutions such as parliaments, national human rights institutions and civil society.  States were further concerned about financial implications envisaged through the positions of the Chair-Rapporteur and two Rapporteurs and two intersessional seminars, in times of financial crisis.  Treaty bodies, Special Procedures and the Universal Periodic Review were all existing mechanisms for prevention.  The draft resolution was insisting on prevention but not on cooperation.

Georgia, in a general comment, said it strongly supported the draft resolution.  Since the establishment of the Human Rights Council, there had been numerous talks about how to best respond to preventing human rights violations and emergencies.  The draft resolution would allow for an inclusive process of consultations and seminars.  For these reasons, Georgia would vote for the draft resolution, and asked all to do the same.

Brazil, in a general comment, said it had long argued for the need of the Human Rights Council’s contribution to dialogue and cooperation on the prevention of human rights.  It had long argued that the Council should do more to prevent violations, including through technical cooperation.  The draft resolution established a process of seminars and consultations.  For these reasons, Brazil would support the resolution and hoped it could be adopted without a vote.

Action on Amendment L.27

Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it could not support the amendment.  The amendment sought to delete sections of the draft created through an open and transparent consultation process.  The Core Group had made concessions to refine the text throughout the consultation process.  Switzerland would vote against the amendment.

Croatia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the proposed amendment aimed to undermine the draft resolution.  The amendment would prevent the Council from holding relevant consultations.  Specific support and input provided by experts to the Council were central to preventing human rights violations.  Croatia urged all States to vote against the amendment.

The Council rejected the amendment by a vote of 13 in favour, 19 against and 14 abstentions.

Action on Draft Resolution L.19/Rev.1 as Orally Revised

Venezuela, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it had supported amendment L.27 in order to achieve greater balance in the text.  Sadly, the position of some States prevented that goal.  The goal of the draft resolution was to create external expert groups that could undermine intergovernmental cooperation in the Council, as was stated in resolution 50/261.  There was no distinction between the text and the prevention agenda of the Secretary-General.  Transferring such functions to an external body was unnecessary.  Holding of a seminar or two would be insufficient to consider the viability of new measures.  Venezuela could not support the resolution and asked for a vote.  Venezuela would vote against and urged all States committed to resolution 50/261 to vote against, in order to send out a clear sign.

United Kingdom, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, thanked the Core Group.  Prevention was better than cure, and this was particularly true in the case of human rights.  This was an opportunity to engage constructively and it was already used in treaty bodies.  The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture was one of such instruments.  Over 100 States had ratified that treaty, showing their commitment to prevention.  The resolution was seeking to advance prevention.  The Council could do better in preventing human rights violations.  No radical measures were suggested, just further debates on the issue, in a modest manner.  The United Kingdom would vote in favour and asked all States to do the same.

South Africa, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, wished to underline its commitment to the work of the Human Rights Council as per the framework of the United Nations General Assembly resolutions 60/251, 62/219, and 65/281.  These resolutions represented a package of comprehensive measures instructing the Human Rights Council with procedures to be followed, including for the future reform on the Human Rights Council.  The Human Rights Council could not afford to act in a manner contrary to the letter and spirit of these resolutions.  Additional, the Council had at its disposal existing Special Mechanisms and Procedures and the flagship Universal Periodic Review which could be called upon at any time to provide the requisite advice in the various areas of the mandate.  Therefore, there was absolutely no need to establish parallel mechanisms undermining the existing ones.

South Africa fundamentally believed that all existing mechanisms of the Council, including inter-governmental working groups, played an important role in the day-to-day operationalization of the prevention mandate and could not be viewed as tangential.  Prevention was the responsibility of all nations.  What was the role of the President of the Council, if not to manage the deliberations?  What would be the purpose of the report that was being produced?  Instead of the dialogue and cooperation that was called for under the resolutions, the Human Rights Council would find itself divided and seeking external individuals to preside over discussions aimed at reviewing the institutional framework of the Council.  This could move the Council to a dangerous path in overhauling the agenda of the Council completely.  Additionally, the way in which the budget implications were set in the draft resolution was troubling.  For all these reasons South Africa would vote against the draft resolution.

Egypt, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the United Nations had developed a dialogue and cooperation among nations based on the principles of objectivity, universality, and non-selectivity of human rights obligations.  The proposed draft resolution did not respect these.  It sought to redefine the subsidiary bodies of the Human Rights Council and had a selective approach.  Egypt had participated in the deliberations.  Regrettably, however, the Core Group had not shown flexibility.  Egypt thanked the Core Group for accepting amendment L.40.  It would not, however, support the draft resolution and would vote against it.

China, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the draft resolution’s sponsors had held open consultations and had taken on some of its recommendations.  However, there was no common understating on how the Human Rights Council played its prevention role.  In the absence of consensus on the issue, States must continue to conduct extensive dialogue.  China would vote against the draft resolution.

The Council then adopted the draft resolution by a vote of 28 in favour, nine against and eight abstentions.

Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance, Follow-up and Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

Action on Resolution on the Incompatibility between Democracy and Racism

In a resolution (A/HRC/38/L.11) on the incompatibility between democracy and racism, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides to convene an intersessional high-level panel discussion, before the forty-first regular session of the Human Rights Council, to discuss the incompatibility between democracy and racism, with a view to identifying challenges and good practices; requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize the panel discussion in consultation with States, relevant United Nations bodies, funds and programmes, treaty bodies, special procedures and regional human rights mechanisms, as well as with civil society, non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions and specialized national equality bodies; and requests the High Commissioner to prepare a summary report on the panel discussion for submission to the Human Rights Council at its forty-second session.

Brazil, introducing draft resolution L.11 on behalf of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil, said the resolution was a result of the firm commitment of the four countries to the fight against racism.  The theme was reflected first in the Commission for Human Rights and later in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  Today, more than ever, it was necessary to affirm that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance were violations of human rights.  Resolution L.11 reiterated the principle that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance were incompatible with democracy, the rule of law and transparent governance.  The fight against racism was a way of strengthening democracy.  The draft resolution envisaged the creation of an intersessional high-level panel that would identify good practices and promote debate on the subject.  Adoption by consensus would demonstrate collective concern over growing racism and its manifestations.  Gratitude was expressed to 53 States for being co-sponsors.

United Kingdom, speaking in a general comment, extended its thanks to the Core Group and asserted its commitment to fighting racism and intolerance.  The draft resolution was an important tool in responding to racism.  However, the language in certain parts of the draft was too broad and must account for the rights of freedom of expression and association.  Restrictions on freedom of expression must be proportionate.  Still, the United Kingdom would join consensus on the draft.

Panama, speaking in a general comment, was convinced that the Human Rights Council was a forum conducive to combatting discrimination and intolerance.  There was a need to be attentive to the resurgence of discrimination, including when perpetrated by Government institutions.  Acts of violence fuelled by racism were crimes that undermined the principle of non-discrimination.  The enjoyment of the right to freedom of speech entailed certain responsibilities and duties.  The draft resolution was balanced and complete and Member States must adopt it by consensus.  

The Council then adopted the draft resolution without a vote as orally revised.

Australia, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, strongly believed that freedom of expression was a vibrant part of democracy.  It noted that PP16 did not accurately reflect provisions under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which referred to public order.

Action on Resolution under the Agenda Item on Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building

Action on Resolution on Technical Assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Accountability Concerning the Events in the Kasai Regions

In a resolution (A/HRC/38/L.8) on technical assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and accountability concerning the events in the Kasai regions, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council requests the High Commissioner to dispatch a team of two international human rights experts with a mandate to write a report on the implementation by the Democratic Republic of the Congo of the recommendations of the previous team of international experts, especially with respect to the fight against impunity and measures to promote reconciliation, and to make recommendations in that regard.  It also requests the High Commissioner to present an oral update on the developments of the situation of human rights in the Kasai regions and to invite the team of two international experts to take part in an enhanced interactive dialogue at the Council’s fortieth session, and to present an integrated report on the situation of human rights in the Kasai regions, including the conclusions of the two international experts, and to invite the two experts to participate in an interactive dialogue during the Council’s forty-first session.  The Council urges the High Commissioner to provide the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with technical assistance, including the necessary medical and legal expertise, to support the Congolese judicial authorities in their investigation of alleged violations of human rights committed in the Kasai regions, and in bringing perpetrators to justice.

Togo, introducing L.8 on technical assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo following the events in Kasai regions on behalf of the African Group, said this was an updated resolution to the one adopted by the Human Rights Council during its thirty-fifth session.  It took into account all the concerns reflected and expressed by the Commission of Inquiry following its mission to the Kasai regions.  The draft resolution aimed for peace and harmony to be restored, and called for the referral of those responsible for the violations to tribunals.  The text asked two international experts for support in the implementation of the accountability measures, and it requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to supply to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo with technical assistance for the investigations of the alleged perpetrations of violations of human rights in the Kasai regions.  Most of the concerns raised during the consultations had been integrated in the draft resolution as much as possible, so as to ensure that the text was balanced.  The African Group continued to express its solidarity to the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by adopting this draft resolution.

Slovakia, in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the cooperation by the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the Team of International Experts which had been dispatched to the Kasai regions, pursuant to resolution 35/33.  The resolution 35/33 had allowed the Experts to gather over 500 testimonies and reports on human rights violations.  The European Union was gravely concerned about the findings, which demonstrated some of the worst abuses committed by the security forces, the Kamuina Nsapu and the Bana Mura militias, which could amount to crimes against humanity.  The resolution was building on the Team’s conclusions and it proposed a robust follow-up mechanism to assess and report on the implementation by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s authorities of the Team’s recommendations related to the fight against impunity.  Regret was voiced that the draft did not fully capture the scope of past and present violations of human rights, including the existence of 90 mass graves.  

Egypt, speaking in a general comment, expressed gratitude to delegations for all their work on the draft resolution which would provide technical assistance and capacity building to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.   It was important for the Council to speak with one voice, which was why it was good not to have two resolutions.

Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaking as the concerned country, said the draft resolution L.8 was initially conceived to extend for three months the mandate of the international team of experts on the Kasai.  However, the European Union challenged that vision.  Rightly so, as the team of experts in its report considered the report to be definitive and did not request an extension of its mandate.  Driven by the concern to shine light on the atrocities committed in the country, the Government had frankly cooperated with the team of experts.  The current draft resolution requested that the Government put in place recommendations formulated from the report of the team of experts.  It also requested the High Commissioner to put in place a follow-up mechanism to follow-up on the implementation of the recommendations from the report of the team of experts.  The mechanism would deploy two human rights experts to engage in a follow-up assessment, supporting and reporting on the implementation by the Democratic Republic of the Congo of those recommendations.  The draft resolution was made possible thanks to laborious negotiations and concessions by both sides.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo thanked the African Group for the efforts that they had deployed in order to elaborate the draft resolution, and thanked the European Union delegation.  Those efforts demonstrated the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s desire to continue its struggle to improve the human rights situation in the country.  Upcoming elections in the country would be a step forward in improving the human rights situation.  States must adopt the draft resolution by consensus.  

A statement on the programme budget implication was made.

The Council then adopted the draft resolution without a vote as orally revised.

Explanation of the Vote after the Vote after the Council Concluded Taking Action under Agenda Item 10

Slovakia, speaking on behalf of European Union in an explanation of the vote after the vote, regretted the withdrawal by Haiti of the draft resolution L.21 on technical assistance and capacity building in the field of human rights in Haiti.  It urged the Haitian Government to intervene rapidly in this regard.  It also urged all delegations to work together in a constructive way, so that a constructive text of a resolution may be adopted.

Brazil, in an explanation of the vote after the vote, was deeply disturbed about the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and encouraged the Government to hold investigations and to hold all those responsible for violations to account.  Brazil was convinced of the need to actively seek engagement with the concerned country, with a view to ensuring effective, durable and sustainable outcomes on the ground.  The treatment of country-specific situations would be more effective if the Human Rights Council was able to foster dialogue and elicit the cooperation of the concerned countries.  Brazil recognized that the draft was an outcome of long and complex negotiations between main proponents of the two original drafts and the concerned country.  It respected the outcome of this process, but it reiterated its deeply held view that consultations in country specific resolutions must be carried out in a transparent, inclusive and open manner.

Decision Concerning the Request by the Advisory Committee to Extend the Submission Deadline of Two Studies

VOJISLAV SUC, President of the Human Rights Council, informed the Council about the recommendation of the Advisory Committee to extend the time for submission of two studies to the Council, initially planned for the thirty-ninth session of the Council, to the forty-first session.  The first study was on the negative impact of the non-repatriation of illicit funds on the enjoyment of human rights, and the second was on the negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights.  

There was no objection to the recommendation so it was endorsed

Appointment of Special Procedure Mandate Holders

VOJISLAV ŠUC, President of the Human Rights Council, said that the Council would proceed with the appointment of Special Procedure mandate holders.

The Council appointed David R. Boyd (Canada) as the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and Javaid Rehman (Pakistan) as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.  

The Council also appointed  Githu Muigai (Kenya) to the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, member from African States; Elzbieta Karska (Poland) to the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, member from Eastern European States; and Sorcha Macleod (United Kingdom) to 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.

The President called on all States to cooperate with mandate holders, noting that allegations of personal attacks and acts of reprisals and intimidation against mandate holders had been brought to his attention.  He strongly condemned all such acts.  

Report of the Thirty-Eighth Session of the Council
 
JUAN EDUARDO EGUIGUREN, Vice President and Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council, reminded that the Council had held interactive dialogues with the High Commissioner for Human Rights on his annual report and on his Office’s updates on a number of country-specific human rights situations.  It had also discussed a wide range of topics during three panel discussions and interactive dialogues with 23 mandate holders, as well as during general debates.  The Council had considered the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of 14 countries, and had appointed five Special Procedures mandate-holders.  

The Council then adopted ad referendum the report of its thirty-eighth session.

Statements by Observer States

France was concerned about growing restrictions on civil society space in many countries and had co-sponsored the resolution on the matter.  References to indigenous people in the text was interpreted in line with its own constitution.  France did not recognize the collective rights of any group based on culture or belief.  France remained mobilized to ensure respect for the rights of indigenous people.  France regretted the withdrawal of the draft resolution on technical assistance to Haiti.

India strongly objected to Pakistan for breaking the rules of the Human Rights Council.  The resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests concerned the entire international community.  Pakistan’s attempt to distract the Human Rights Council’s attention set a dangerous precedent.  Member States must show respect for the rules of procedure.  As regarded the human rights situation in Kashmir, India had already stated its views.

Djibouti, referring to the statement by Eritrea on the situation of human rights in Eritrea on the politicization of the situation thereof, said it did not accept lessons and polemics.  The Human Rights Council’s work aimed to bring about concrete steps and dialogue to promote human rights.  Divisions could not be accepted.  The situation and violations of human rights regarded Eritrea, not Djibouti.  Djibouti reiterated the conclusions of the Commission of Inquiry, which had concluded that crimes against humanity had been committed in Eritrea since 1995.  The reality of human rights violations could not be hidden.

General Concluding Remarks

Russian Federation said that the resolutions on Belarus, Syria and Eritrea were politicised and it did not share the provisions in them.  Human rights issues in specific countries must be considered with the full-fledged participation of the State concerned.  The Universal Periodic Review was the best mechanism to address human rights issues.  

Canada, delivering a statement on behalf of Iceland, Liechtenstein, New Zealand and Canada, said that during the session, the Council had undertaken valuable work advancing human rights norms in eliminating violence against women, civil society space and prevention.  The Council was the standard bearer for human rights, and the United Nations pillars of human rights, sustainable development and peace and security were mutually reinforcing.  The Council had to improve the way in which it worked to enhance its integrity and the four countries were committed to their active participation to strengthen the Council.  Regret was expressed that the United States had left the Council as everyone had lost a strong advocate in protecting human rights.  The four countries hoped to see the United States participate in the Council again.

Pakistan said that India should not mislead the Council.  Pakistan did not violate any procedures.  The Council’s resolution on peaceful protests had a similar purpose and urged remedies against indiscriminate use of force.  India’s objection to it was incomprehensible.  India had to implement the resolution and stop targeting civilians in Kashmir.

Brazil said that during the current Council session, Brazil had sought to promote the spirit of cooperation and had worked on three resolutions adopted by consensus.  Consensus around those texts was the result of transparent dialogue and engagement with relevant stakeholders.  Brazil lauded the work of other States that engaged in open and extensive consultations.  The Human Rights Council was mandated to promote and respect for human rights.  States must understand each other’s legitimate concerns and seek to find common ground that could accommodate different priorities.  Compromise did not mean a step backwards, instead, compromise pointed to progress.  Dialogue remained the most effective way for the Council to promote trust and protect human rights.  

International Service for Human Rights, in a joint statement, welcomed the adoption of civil society-related resolutions.  The resolution on prevention could substantively assist in the work of the Council.  The organization welcomed the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human right situation in Belarus.  The Council must promptly move to put in place the mechanism on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Syria could not stay silent in the face of ongoing rights violations.  The Council member that would replace the United States must be committed to multilateralism and objectivity.

Centre Europe Tiers Monde was deeply concerned about the adoption of resolution L.19/Rev1 on the contribution of the Human Rights Council to the prevention of human rights violations.  It did not understand the true objective of this resolution.  Prevention was the basis of all mechanisms and activities of the Human Rights Council.  If there was a problem in the Human Rights Council operations, it was in the General Assembly that it had to be brought up and resolved, not in an outside structure.  It further objected to resolution L.18 on improving accountability and access to remedy in business and human rights, given that not much effort had been placed in the resolution on the right to judicial appeal regarding violations committed by transnational bodies.

Concluding Remarks by the President of the Council

VOJISLAV ŠUC, President of the Human Rights Council, in concluding remarks, said that during this, session allegations of reprisals had been brought to his attention.  The Human Rights Council rejected all acts of intimidation and reprisal against individuals and groups who cooperated with it.  He asked Member States to prevent such acts.  He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Bureau, and its representatives from Chile, Spain, the Philippines and Rwanda for their excellent support during this session.  He also thanked the Secretariat and all United Nations staff that had contributed to the work of the Human Rights Council.
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For use of the information media; not an official record
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