Third Committee Approves Resolution Calling for ‘Intensified Efforts’ by All UN Bodies to Eliminate Violence against Women
Third Committee Approves Resolution Calling for ‘Intensified Efforts’ by All UN Bodies to Eliminate Violence against Women
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
34th & 35th Meetings (AM & PM)
Third Committee Approves Resolution Calling for ‘Intensified Efforts’
by All UN Bodies to Eliminate Violence against Women
Also Approves Text on Youth Policies;
President of Human Rights Council Presents Report
Deeply concerned about the pervasiveness of all forms of violence against women and girls and in recognition of the special vulnerability of young people in the current financial and economic crisis, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today approved two draft resolutions on ending violence against women and on youth, before beginning consideration of the report of the Human Rights Council.
The text on eliminating all forms of violence against women was approved by consensus following a recorded vote on an amendment that proposed adding a preambular paragraph highlighting abuses facing women and girls in situations of armed conflict, including foreign occupation. That amendment was rejected by a vote of 60 against to 52 in favour, with 40 abstentions. (See Annex I for further details.)
Speaking ahead of the vote, the representative of Sudan said the Arab Group had tabled the amendment -- which was included in the consensus resolution on the same issue last year -- to ensure the text included all forms of violence, particularly violations committed under foreign occupation, which were the “most flagrant.”
Emphasizing that last year’s draft was addressed to States, the representative of the Netherlands, which co-sponsored the draft resolution with France, stressed that this year’s version had a procedural nature that focused on the United Nations system’s efforts to eliminate violence against women. It had, therefore, avoided singling out any particular form of violence.
To that end, the text would have the General Assembly call on the international community to support national efforts aimed at promoting the empowerment of women and gender equality in order to enhance national efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls. Further, the Assembly would call on all United Nations bodies, entities, funds and programmes and the specialized agencies and invites the Bretton Woods institutions, to intensify their efforts at all levels to eliminate all forms of violence against women and better coordinate their work through the Task Force on Violence against Women of the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality.
The text would have the Assembly stress that adequate resources should be assigned to those bodies, specialized agencies, funds and programmes responsible for the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights, and to efforts throughout the United Nations system to eliminate violence against women and girls.
By the terms of the draft resolution on policies and programmes involving youth, which was also approved without a vote, the Assembly would reaffirm the World Programme of Action for Youth and stress that youth were often among the main victims of armed conflict. Member States would be called on to take concrete measures to further protect and assist young women and men in these situations and to recognize young women and men as important actors in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and post-conflict processes.
The Assembly would also, by further terms, call on Member States to work to ensure that young people enjoyed the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health by providing youth with access to sustainable health systems and social services without discrimination. States would be urged to develop policies and programmes to reduce youth violence and youth involvement in crime, while ensuring judicial systems and rehabilitation services were safe, fair, age appropriate and in accordance with the relevant international human rights instruments.
Presenting the report of the Human Rights Council, that body’s President Alex Van Meeuwen of Belgium, stressed that the Council had not only dealt with abuses that constituted grave human rights violations around the world, it had also established several innovative provisions that meant it could deal with human rights issues more fully.
“The Year 2008 to 2009 can be qualified as fruitful for the Human Rights Council in terms of operational output, but also with respect to its ability to innovate and evolve”, he said, highlighting, among other things, new discussion formats and flexible modalities, as well as the establishment of a new mandate in the field of cultural rights.
Nevertheless, he said, the Human Rights Council was not a perfect institution and the last year had also revealed challenges that lay ahead. He urged member States to consolidate the gains that had been made and to recognize the Council’s weaknesses during the upcoming review, which he hoped would provide an opportunity to fine-tune some mechanisms and adjust working methods in areas where changes could bring further progress.
During the ensuing discussion, nearly every speaker praised the Council, with many highlighting the work of the Universal Periodic Review. It had, several said, injected a sense of non-selectivity and objectivity into human rights evaluations. Several speakers, however, said the process had not been fully depoliticized. Other delegations underlined the opportunity the upcoming review of the Council’s work would provide to identify shortcomings and make improvements.
Statements during the general discussion on the Human Rights Council’s report were made by the representatives of Sweden (on behalf of the European Union), Japan, Russian Federation, Egypt, United States, South Africa, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Cuba, Morocco, China, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Algeria, Colombia, Thailand, Israel, Jamaica, Sudan, Indonesia, France and Germany.
Earlier in the day, the representatives of Namibia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand and the Philippines introduced resolutions on the girl child, the rights of the child; the International Covenant on Human Rights; torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto; and violence against migrant women workers.
Speaking during action on the draft resolutions were representatives of the Russian Federation, the United States, Peru, Colombia, Serbia, Chile, Syria, Malaysia and Liechtenstein (also on behalf of Andorra, Costa Rica and Switzerland).
The draft resolutions on which action was taken were introduced by the delegation of Senegal and the Netherlands.
The Committee will meet again on Monday, 2 November, to hear a presentation of the oral report of the Special Rapporteur for extreme poverty and human rights, as well as introductory statements on the elimination of racism and racial discrimination and the right of peoples to self-determination. It will then hold a question and answer session before beginning its general discussion on those topics.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to consider the report of the Human Rights Council (document A/64/53), which covers the Council’s eighth special session (28 November to 1 December 2008), ninth special session (9 to 12 January 2009), tenth special session (20 to 23 February 2009), tenth session (2 to 27 March 2009) and eleventh session (2 to 19 June 2009) (Supplement No. 53). It includes the texts of the resolutions and decisions adopted by the Council at those sessions, as well as the President’s statement adopted by the Council at its tenth session.
The report of the Secretary-General on revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council at its tenth and eleventh sessions (document A/64/353) details the budgetary requirements estimated at $1.88 million for the biennium 2008-2009 and $3.66 million for the biennium 2010-2011 resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council at its tenth and eleventh sessions, held in 2009, as contained in its report to the General Assembly (document A/64/53).
According to the report, the requirements of $1.88 million for 2008-2009, which are considered as additional requirements, will be accommodated within the resources already appropriated and will be reported in the context of the second performance report of the programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009. With respect to the estimated requirements of $3.66 million (before recosting) for the biennium 2010-2011, $824,700 has been included in the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 as relating to activities of a “perennial nature”. The balance of $2.83 million is envisaged to be accommodated, to the extent possible, within the requirements proposed for the biennium 2010-2011.
Also before the Committee was a report on the revised estimates resulting from resolutions and decisions adopted by the Human Rights Council at its tenth and eleventh sessions (document A/64/7/Add.3). It contains the fourth report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions on the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.
The Committee also had before it a letter dated 28 October 2009 from the President of the General Assembly to the Chairman of the Third Committee (document A/C.3/64/3), which said that, at its 27th plenary meeting on 28 October 2009, the General Assembly decided to consider the report of the Human Rights Council on its twelfth special session, as contained in document A/64/53/Add.1, directly in plenary meeting, without setting a precedent. A plenary meeting will be convened for that purpose on 4 November 2009 at 10 a.m.
Introduction of Draft Resolutions
The Committee began by hearing the tabling of several draft texts.
The representative of Namibia, on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), introduced the draft resolution on the girl child (document A/C.3/64/L.20), saying that girls continued to be victims of discrimination and violence and that the draft would stress the importance of legal reforms to protect their rights. It would also stress the importance of promoting gender equality in all fields. Informal consultations on the text were currently under way. He called on States to support the adoption of the final draft, by consensus.
Next, the representative of Sweden introduced the draft resolution on the rights of the child (document A/C.3/64/L.21), on behalf of the European Union. She said the adoption of the Convention on child rights 20 years ago was a landmark occasion in the cause of child rights, and since then had become the most universally ratified human rights treaty. The annual resolution, too, traditionally enjoyed broad support within the Committee. She expressed hope that more States become participants in consultations on the text and as co-sponsors, and also expressed hope that the final draft would be approved by consensus.
She said one of the principles underpinning the rights of the child was the right to be heard, as captured by article 12 of the Convention. That was the theme of the resolution this year. The draft would suggest that States take action to promote a meaningful exercise of a child’s right to be heard, and stress the importance of good quality education. It would recognize the role of parents in providing support and guidance to children in their exercise of the right to be heard. Among other things, it would call on States to address root causes impeding children.
She said that to create an in-depth deliberation of the theme and to allow inclusive and transparent consultations, the main co-sponsors would introduce a new format: they would seek to maintain the omnibus approach, but instead of revisiting each topic it would simply reaffirm last years’ resolutions. It would give increased attention to the thematic sections. The new format reflected a forward looking approach that would allow room to explore new developments, such as the financial and economic crisis and its impacts on child rights, and the appointment of a new Special Representative on violence against children.
Following that introduction, the representative of Finland introduced the draft resolution on the International Covenant on Human Rights (document A/C.3/64/L.22), traditionally presented by the Nordic countries every two years. This year, the draft would reflect a new development: the adoption of an Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in December 2008. Thirty countries had signed the protocol so far, and ten more signatures were required for it to be considered adopted. The text would stress the importance of bringing the new Optional Protocol on par with the two Optional Protocols of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It would highlight advances in the work of the Committee on Human Rights and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It would highlight the measures that those Committees had taken to follow up their concluding observations. Several rounds of open informal meetings had been conducted so far, and there was still a need to conclude negotiations on some outstanding issues. Nevertheless, she expressed hoped that it would be approved by consensus.
Next, the representative of Denmark introduced the draft resolution on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (document A/C.3/64/L.23). She said China had been erroneously included as a co-sponsor, and a corrected text would be issued soon. There had been several meetings on the draft prior to its tabling, and negotiations were continuing on some outstanding issues.
She explained that the draft would recall the fact that freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment was a non-derogable right that should be protected at all times, with no exceptions. It would call on States to condemn the legalization of torture and ill treatment, and that it should remain prohibited at all times and in all places. Because detainees were often forgotten and powerless, conditions which were conducive to torture, the draft would emphasize, among other things, that States be alert to the risk of torture in places of detention. It would urge States to abolish secret places of detention and interrogation, and ask for adequate staff and facilities for the Special Rapporteur on torture and the Subcommittee on Torture and similar bodies.
She said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had declared that no one should be subject to torture or ill-treatment; it was a dreadful weapon of human destruction, and yet it continued all around the world. It took place in secret, despite official denial. Eleven years ago, Denmark had merged several resolutions on torture into an omnibus resolution that had traditionally been approved by consensus. Since merely recounting States’ legal obligations was not viewed to be of added value, the text sought to “make a difference” once negotiations were completed. She expressed hope that it would be given strong support.
The representative of New Zealand introduced the draft resolution on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Optional Protocol thereto (document A/C.3/64/L.24), sayingthat in the three years since its adoption, the Convention had been adopted at the fastest pace of any convention. Indeed, the number of States that had signed it had more than doubled. Truly, it was a convention with a universal design. For all of those who joined together to support the Convention’s consensus adoption in 2006, this was the chance to reaffirm that commitment. It was a straightforward text, with technical updates on the last year’s draft. Negotiations had concluded, and her delegation hoped that this year would see an increase over the 100 co-sponsors of last year.
Introducing the draft resolution on violence against migrant women workers (document A/C.3/64/L.18), the representative of the Philippines said feminized labour migration had become a long-term and enduring feature in many regions of the world. Most of these women workers immigrated independently and largely as a means of survival. The largest concentrations worked in domestic environments and the entertainment sector. While it was obvious these women contributed significantly to development in both origin and destination countries, this contribution was often not recognized.
She said women often had less access to information and services before, during and after transit. At destination many suffered disproportionate labour market discrimination. The sectors in which many were recruited often involved intimate work. For many, the living environment was the work environment, making surveillance of abuses harder to see. Among the difficulties women faced were lower pay, debt bondage and fewer rest days. Many were forced to undergo testing for sexual diseases. Many lacked access to and control over savings and remittances.
She stressed that this was the current situation that the draft intended to highlight. The global pressures had exacerbated the situation of migrant workers and there was a clear protection gap, despite the painstaking elaboration of standards. There was simply not enough attention to the areas where women workers worked. The draft resolution presented key guidelines for preventing abuse. It not only sought to strengthen awareness of the situation of women migrant workers, but to provide States with guidance on how to improve their situation.
Action on Draft Texts
The Committee then moved to take action on several draft resolutions, turning first to the draft resolution on policies and programmes involving youth (document A/C.3/64/L.4/Rev.1), which was introduced by the representative of Senegal.
That text, which reaffirms the World Programme of Action for Youth, stresses that youth are often among the main victims of armed conflict. It, thus, calls upon Member States to take concrete measures to further protect and assist young women and men in these situations. It also calls on them to recognize young women and men as important actors in conflict prevention, peacebuilding and post-conflict processes.
By further terms, the text calls upon Member States to work to ensure that young people enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health by providing youth with access to sustainable health systems and social services without discrimination. The text also urges States to develop policies and programmes to reduce youth violence and youth involvement in crime and ensure that judicial systems and rehabilitation services are safe, fair, age appropriate and in accordance with the relevant international human rights instruments.
Member States are also urged to consider including youth representatives in their delegations at all relevant discussions in the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and its functional commissions and relevant United Nations conferences, as appropriate, bearing in mind the principles of gender balance and non-discrimination.
It was adopted without a vote.
Speaking after action, the representative of the Russian Federation said her Government had been happy to join consensus on the text, and was grateful to its co-sponsors for having taken his country’s views into account, making it more balanced. The Russian Federation believed that extremist doctrines such as neo-Nazism and neo-fascism had a hand in influencing today’s youth, and States should be vigilant in the face of it. The draft was particularly relevant in light of the upcoming sixty-fifth anniversary of the “great victory of World War II” in 2010, which had resulted in the very creation of the United Nations itself.
The Committee next turned to a draft resolution on intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women (document A/C.3/64/L.16/Rev.1), which was introduced by the delegation of the Netherlands, and an amendment to that draft (document A/C.3/64/L.25*).
The draft calls on the international community to support national efforts aimed at promoting the empowerment of women and gender equality in order to enhance national efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls. It also calls on all United Nations bodies, entities, funds and programmes and the specialized agencies, and invites the Bretton Woods institutions to intensify their efforts at all levels to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and to better coordinate their work through the Task Force on Violence against Women of the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality.
The text also stresses that adequate resources should be assigned to those bodies, specialized agencies, funds and programmes responsible for the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights and to efforts throughout the United Nations system to eliminate violence against women and girls.
The amendment contained in (document A/C.3/64/L.25*) would insert after the last preambular paragraph, the following paragraph:
“Reaffirms that the persistence of armed conflict in various parts of the world is a major impediment to the elimination of all forms of violence against women, and, bearing in mind that armed and other types of conflict and terrorism and hostage taking still persist in many parts of the world and that aggression, foreign occupation and ethnic and other types of conflict are an ongoing reality affecting women and men in nearly every region, calls upon all States and the international community to place particular focus on and give priority attention and increased assistance to the plight and suffering of women and girls living in such situations and to ensure that, where violence is committed against them, all perpetrators of such violence are duly investigated and, as appropriate, prosecuted and punished in order to end impunity, while stressing the need to respect international humanitarian law and human rights law.”
The Committee first took action on the amendment.
Introducing the amendment, the representative of Sudan reiterated his country’s position that efforts should be made at the national, regional and international levels to end violence against women. Based on this approach, the Arab Group had submitted the amendment. He mentioned that the text already existed and had been included in the resolution that was adopted by the Committee last year by consensus.
He stressed that action had to be taken to address violence against women, particularly in instances of foreign occupation where women faced the most flagrant violations. Negotiations on the draft resolution text had been productive, but the amendment had not been included in the final version. His delegation had been told that the text referred to all forms of violence against women. However, it did not include violence under foreign occupation, and, as a result, it did not refer to all forms of violence, even if the title said it did. Thus, his delegation hoped that the amendment would be approved, so the resolution could include all forms of violence.
The representative of the Netherlands said that her delegation, along with the delegation of France, regretted that this amendment was tabled. This year’s draft resolution was of a procedural nature that focused on the United Nations system’s efforts to eliminate violence against women. It was based on, among other things, the Secretary-General’s report contained in document A/64/151. In contrast, last year’s resolution was addressed primarily to States. Moreover, the current text aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against women without singling out any particular form of violence. Her delegation did not feel this amendment fit the institutional nature of the draft text and would significantly shift its balance.
She asked the Arab Group to withdraw the amendment. If the Arab Group did insist on the amendment, her delegation was asking for a recorded vote and would thus vote against it. She called on all delegations to do the same.
In a general statement before the vote, the representative of the United States said she recognized that the proposed amendment by the Arab Group was based on agreed wording. However, since the resolution was meant to focus attention on United Nations system efforts rather than State action, she, along with other co-sponsors, would vote against inclusion of the amendment in draft resolution L.16/Rev.1.
The representative of Peru said his Government condemned all acts of violence against women, and stood in solidarity with victims of violence in armed conflict. Draft resolution L.16/Rev.1 had the objective of highlighting advances of, and challenges faced, by United Nations programmes and agencies in the eradication of violence against women. The amendment proposed by the Arab Group contained principles supported by Peru in different forums, and his Government would continue to support them in the appropriate context. However, he did not believe they belonged in draft resolution L.16/Rev.1 and would, therefore, vote against its inclusion.
The amendment was then defeated by a vote of 52 in favour to 60 against, with 40 abstentions (Annex I).
Speaking in explanation of vote after action, the representative of Colombia said he had voted against the amendment, because while the proposal was based on agreed language, it was not in line with the approach taken on the subject this year. During consultations on the text, it had been made clear that the resolution was meant to be procedural, and meant to focus on the work of the United Nations.
Also speaking in explanation of vote, the representative of Serbia said that, as co-sponsor, she regretted the need for a vote on an amendment to the text. But in recognition of the importance of the issues pointed out in the amendment, she had abstained from voting. Her Government would continue to support resolution L.16/Rev.1, however.
The Committee then turned to the draft resolution as a whole.
Speaking before the vote, the representative of Chile pointed out that this resolution was of a high priority for her country. She expressed thanks to all parts of the United Nations system in their efforts to end violence against women, including the database and the Secretary-General’s campaign to end violence against women. She also highlighted the relevant trust fund. Chile believed this text was well-balanced, since it did not give any attention to a specific form of violence. Had it done so, it would have failed in its intention. She thanked the co-sponsors for their efforts to give this issue the priority it deserved.
The Committee then approved the draft resolution without a vote.
Making a general statement after action, the representative of Syria said her delegation had joined the consensus due to its conviction that all efforts to end violence against women should be strengthened. Her delegation expressed deep concern, however, over the practices carried out in the refusal to include a paragraph that was included in last year’s draft. Syria had proposed the amendment with a view to ending all violence against women living under foreign occupation. It believed it was necessary to call on all parties and entities in the United Nations system to step up efforts to end this violence in conformation with international human rights and humanitarian law.
She stressed that her delegation had acted seriously to express it concerns during negotiations. But, the facilitators had ignored these efforts under a fallacious pretext, which went against the spirit of the reasons why the world came together at the United Nations. The United Nations had a responsibility that must be carried out in all territories.
Malaysia’s representative said that, while his delegation recognized the draft adopted this year, it strongly supported the principles contained in the amendment. Such important principles should not have been rejected in such an important resolution. It considered the arguments to do so to be based on procedural not substantive grounds. While his delegation had voted in favour of the amendment, it supported the resolution as a whole and had joined consensus.
The representative of Liechtenstein, speaking also on behalf of Andorra, Costa Rica and Switzerland, said his country considered fighting impunity of the utmost importance since it perpetuated the cycle of violence against women. Numerous resolutions throughout the United Nations reinforced that notion. This year’s text should, therefore, have reflected the international community’s commitment to ending impunity. A resolution without such a reference was incomplete. He noted that during informal consultations, his delegation had introduced amendments to the preambular and the operative paragraphs and had believed that these had been agreed on. Further, more time to consult on the text was needed. In any event, he congratulated the co-sponsors and said his delegation hoped that it would be able to join consensus next year.
Consideration of the Human Rights Council Report
Beginning consideration of the report of the Human Rights Council, Chairman NORMANS PENKE (Latvia) drew the Committee’s attention to document A/C.3/64/3, containing a letter from the President of the General Assembly, which advised that the report of the Human Rights Council on its twelfth special session would be considered directly in a plenary meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning, 4 November 2009.
Human Rights Council President ALEX VAN MEEUWEN, of Belgium, drew special attention to the resolutions and decisions adopted by the Council during its two regular sessions (tenth and eleventh) and four special sessions (eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh) held during the reporting period.
“The Year 2008 to 2009 can be qualified as fruitful for the Human Rights Council in terms of operational output, but also with respect to its ability to innovate and evolve,” he said, noting that the body had addressed a variety of human rights issues and challenges. It had also held productive interactive discussions with a number of special procedures mandate-holders, on a wide range of issues from economic, social and cultural rights to civil and political rights. The Council also established a new mandate in the field of cultural rights and increasingly broadened its human rights agenda.
He noted four special sessions were held, with three of them devoted to country-specific situations and one to a thematic issue. An additional 48 States were reviewed under the Universal Periodic Review process, bringing the world a step closer to achieving a “universal human rights map”. The Council had also had a valuable interaction with the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
He said that, of the Council’s 45 resolutions, 34 decisions and one statement by its president, two required further action from the Third Committee. They were resolution 11/7 on “guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children” and decision 11/17 “issuance of reports of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review in all official languages of the United Nations”.
Underscoring that important work had been done by the Council under his predecessor, he said achievements had been made and positive trends could be identified. They were significant, and he encouraged members and observers of the Human Rights Council to continue to build on them during future sessions. They should also serve as guidance during the review of the Council’s work and functioning.
He stressed that several innovative provisions had been established within the Council during the past year. New discussion formats and flexible modalities made it possible to deal with human rights issues more fully. It allowed, also, experts from human rights organizations and civil society to contribute to international human rights discussions. Among other things, these talks had focused on the rights of disabled persons, the right to food, the rights of children, human rights and climate change. These had generated greater awareness of human rights in general, and specifically on these issues.
He said that, in accord with its mandate, the Council had dealt with abuses that constituted grave human rights violations and that had taken place in various parts of the world. It had devoted its eighth special session to human rights violations in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo; its ninth special session to the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; its tenth special session to the economic and financial crisis; and its eleventh to the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. It had also continually engaged with important human rights officials, human rights treaty bodies, special procedures mandate-holders and other organizations, as well as national human rights institutions. The question of whether the Council wanted to, or was capable of, integrating into its deliberations the views and contribution of other actors would be a key element in assessing its performance and impact. Clearly, the Council recognized that the views and contribution of these actors were essential to enriching its work.
He also underlined the work that took place in the Council’s two most recent sessions -- its twelfth regular session from 14 September to 2 October and its special twelfth session on 15 and 16 October, which was devoted to the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.
Many things had been achieved in the past three years. Yet, the last year had revealed the challenges that lay ahead. The Human Rights Council was not a perfect institution and the upcoming review would provide an opportunity to fine-tune some mechanisms and adjust working methods in areas where changes could result in further genuine progress. Looking forward, he urged Member States to consolidate the gains that were made and to recognize the Council’s weaknesses. The task may well be daunting, but as the Council’s current president, he reaffirmed his commitment to providing the necessary conditions for its proper and efficient functioning, as well as the fulfilment of its mandate.
CHARLOTTA SCHLYTER ( Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, thanked the President for his presence and for presenting the recommendations of the Human Rights Council to the Committee. She recalled that the General Assembly had decided that the report be considered both in the plenary and Third Committee, on the understanding that the Committee would only consider the section on recommendations, while the report in its entirety would be considered in the plenary. For that reason, she would only address the section on recommendations: she noted the recommendation that all reports of working groups associated with the Universal Periodic Review be properly translated into all United Nations languages before adoption by the Council. She further noted the recommendation by the Council on the alternative care of children, and looked forward to engaging on that topic through the resolution to be put forward by the delegation of Brazil on that subject, in the Third Committee.
TAKASHI ASHIKI ( Japan) said the report of the Human Rights Council should be presented directly to the General Assembly, rather than the Third Committee. The Council had 47 elected members and had a mandate to respond quickly and flexibly to gross and systematic violations. The Third Committee was a universal forum that allowed nations to express views and gain understanding about what other nations were doing. There was a need to take advantage of each forum’s strengths.
He then turned to the issue of leprosy. Prejudice about the disease was prevalent, and must be eliminated. Japan contributed to the work of the Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee in drafting principles and guidelines for the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members. The draft resolution had been presented by Japan, and it had been adopted by consensus at the Council’s twelfth session. In the next two years, Japan planned to sponsor a resolution in the General Assembly on the same subject.
He said Japan would contribute actively to discussions on the review of the work of the Human Rights Council, to be carried out by the fifth year of its establishment. It would also endeavour to enable the Council to respond quickly, flexibly, and constructively to gross and systematic human rights violations, wherever they might occur. It would continue to support the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
STANISLAV TOLKACH ( Russian Federation) noted that it could be said that the establishment of the Human Rights Council had launched the process of depoliticizing dialogue on global human rights issues and facilitating a substantive and constructive discussion on the promotion and protection of human rights in the United Nations system. He welcomed the first stage of its functioning. Its dialogues with human rights experts were particularly welcome. His delegation was pleased with the work of the Universal Periodic Review, which continued to prove its worth. He noted the constructive approach of all Universal Period Review participants. He commended the outcome of the Russian Federation’s Review which took place earlier this year. Sincere interest had been displayed in the Russian Federation’s ongoing democratic process. The Russian Government agreed with a majority of the recommendations resulting from the Review and was working towards their implementation.
He said the Russian Federation could not, however, support the actions taken by those special procedures mandate-holders, who were ignoring the Code of Conduct. Upholding the Code was necessary for ensuring dialogue between the mandate-holders and the Council. The work of the special procedures was dissipated when there was excessive focus on the mandate-holders’ interpretation of his or her mandate. Stressing that cooperation in the Council was bounded by fundamental differences in understandings of the goals and concept of human rights, he said there was still a tangible desire by some States to use human rights as a lever on other States to achieve their own political goals. His delegation believed human rights issues should only be discussed on a fair and mutually respectful basis.
Achieving human rights standards could fluctuate depending on national and development levels specific to States, and it was not helpful when some States preached to others on human rights and democracy, he said. Depoliticizing the human rights discussion would give it more clout in the eyes of the ordinary person. Recognition of the traditional values of humanity would help strengthen respect for human rights. Finally, he said the upcoming review was particularly important, given the necessity of integrating human rights into the work of the Organization. He hoped that all Member States and United Nations observers, as well as other interested bodies, would participate in that process aimed at strengthening the Human Rights Council.
WAEL M ATTIYA ( Egypt) recalled how the 2005 World Summit Document had laid out the foundation for promoting and protecting human rights, which was further reinforced through the human rights institution-building package. His Government looked forward to the review of its national report next year under the Universal Periodic Review process. It was keen to work with others to uphold international human rights standards, while recognizing the complementary roles of national institutions and international human rights mechanisms. International human rights principles should be promoted without politicization, selectivity and double standards, and where all aspects of human rights were considered equally.
He said to implement the Universal Periodic Review effectively, all States must act on an equal footing and no State could be left out, and it must take place within a constructive interactive framework involving the participation of civil society. All States must “deal positively” with the special procedures, including by extending invitations for field visits and responding to communications. Mandate-holders, in turn, must restrict their work to the scope of their mandates, in line with their code of conduct and tasks outlined by the Human Rights Council. They must be objective in their reporting, verify the validity of information they receive and work to establish dialogue with concerned States.
He urged the international community to “confront” the tendency of a few to impose themselves as human rights custodians, believing that their standards were superior to those of others. It must respect the role of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council in supervising the Human Rights Council, special procedures and treaty bodies. It must “thwart” attempts to circumvent the Council by presenting country-specific resolutions in the Third Committee, and by creating parallel structures in the offices of United Nations development programmes to monitor human rights in developing countries, when it should monitor the human rights situation in all countries.
He said it was important to provide the Council the resources needed to undertake its activities, and to support the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as it acts alongside the Council and national institutions.
Today’s discussion on the report of the Human Rights Council paved the way for its endorsement by consensus, and to reiterate international unity in tackling human rights questions. It offered an opportunity to examine all aspects of human rights in a balanced manner. Egypt’s Government looked forward to responding to the “aspirations of people around the world” to realize their right to development. It looked forward to reinforcing efforts to combat discrimination, but believed that States should avoid attaching conditionalities or imposing controversial notions on their interpretation of human rights that did not take into account different value systems.
JOHN SAMMIS ( United States) said his Government had been honoured to take up its seat at the Human Rights Council, and looked forward to continuing its work with colleagues on the Council and the entire United Nations membership. The decision to join the Council had not been entered into lightly, and was based on a vision of working with others towards common goals. The vision was not an American one, but reflected the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the mandate of the Council itself. President Obama had often emphasized the importance of human rights in fostering democracy. In his speeches in Cairo and Accra, he had provided the direction for the United States approach on human rights, based on four tenets: belief in the universality of human rights, dialogue between nations, principled engagement, and a fidelity to truth.
As regards its approach to the work of the Council, he said his Government was willing to support what it did well, but also to challenge that which could undermine its mandate. It would seek partnerships in efforts to identify common ground. It was steadfast in its belief that all Governments were responsible for ensuring the rights and freedoms of all persons, and that the Council must make a practical impact in bettering the lives of victims and in preventing abuses.
He said it was with those views in mind that his Government approached the report of the Council. The work of that body had a tremendous breadth: it passed 100 resolutions per year, and held multiple special sessions. The Universal Periodic Review, and the many committee meetings -- including of the Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards -- added to its work. Looking back on the past year, there was much with which the United States could agree and much with which it would take strong exception. It supported the work on women’s issues, such as on maternal mortality, violence and trafficking. It had also supported resolutions on Somalia and was working with States to forge agreements on a resolution regarding difficult and sensitive issues in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He observed that, while spelling out the Council’s successes, the report was also a reminder of its failings: it had failed to address the difficult and sensitive situations in Iran, for example. It had also taken on a one-sided treatment of Israel. The United States had not been able to support many of the resolutions targeting Israel, because they served to isolate and criticize Israel with no mention of Hamas. As a Council member, his Government hoped to work in partnership with others to strengthen the work, impact and fulfilment of the Council’s mission. It looked forward to working with the Council, the Committee and the General Assembly to improve the United Nations’ ability to improve lives of vulnerable people. The victims of violations deserved no less.
LUVUYO NDIMENI (South Africa), noting that he had not prepared remarks, welcomed the opportunity to interact with the President of the Human Rights Council, which was taking a much more positive approach to human rights in general. Nevertheless, his delegation had concerns regarding, among other things, the whole machinery of the reports that had been presented to the Third Committee and the limited resources provided the Council, which were highlighted in reports A/64/353 and A/C.3/64/7. Another concern was the lack of translation of the Council’s reports. He noted this issue had been discussed in Geneva and wondered if the President could shed some light on the issue. He further underlined the role the Fifth Committee also had to play in this issue.
He went on to note that the “common understanding” between the Third Committee and the Human Rights Council was not on paper. He also praised the initiative proposed by the Russian Federation for evaluating and possibly reforming the Council.
The Chair then reminded the South African delegation that this was not an interactive session.
PAK TOK HUN (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) drew special attention to country-specific resolutions, reiterating his Government’s position that it had totally rejected Council resolution 10/16 as regards his country. The resolution had been adopted, despite opposition from many States, last March. The Council was misused by some member States, which sought politicization and double standards. The Council had been established in the hopes of encouraging dialogue and cooperation, and to end the atmosphere of confrontation and mistrust that had prevailed in the Commission on Human Rights. Reviving the habits of the Commission could dangerously undermine the Universal Periodic Review system.
He said it was his Government’s consistent position to oppose country-specific resolutions, which were a clear manifestation of politicization, selectivity and double standards. It valued the international human rights bodies and their activities. But, it would not tolerate irresponsible and indiscriminate acts. It would make every effort to guarantee genuine rights and freedom of its people by law and practice.
CLAUDIA PÉREZ ÁLVAREZ ( Cuba) said double standards had impeded the work of the Council’s predecessor, particularly as a result of the actions of the United States and its political allies. But, three years ago, the Council had been established under the General Assembly’s purview and had since shown its independence. Despite this, however, there were continuing threats to cooperation and genuine dialogue. Her delegation particularly regretted that it had not been possible to end the targeting of specific countries. Still, the Council was a victory of the will of the majority, and especially for the countries of the South. In its short existence, the Council had consolidated a universal scrutiny of global human rights. The Universal Periodic Review was now fully operational and had considered the situation of over 80 countries.
She noted that the Council had also shown its ability to tackle emergency situations, such as the serious human rights violations perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people. Another landmark was the consideration of responses to the food crisis, as well as the impact of the financial and economic crisis. These sessions highlighted the Council’s ability to react to such cross-border issues.
She urged those that criticized the Council because they had lost their privileges, as well as those that would like to restore selectively, to reflect on their commitment to addressing the serious issues of human rights around the world. The Council must continue to raise its voice in support of the right to development. It must also pay attention to economic, social and cultural rights with the same force it accorded to political and civil rights. She noted that Cuba had participated in the Universal Periodic Review, but, like South Africa’s delegations, it was concerned about the lack of funds allocated that mechanism. It was urgent that the translation issue be resolved. She also underlined the importance of the Code of Conduct for the special procedures mandate-holders.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said his Government had been active in pursuing cooperation and active dialogue on human rights issues. Within the Council, Morocco had facilitated discussion in the working group on the Universal Periodic Review’s terms and conditions. Its Government had facilitated negotiations on the relationship between the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council. It had also participated in high-level discussions at the Council and played an active role in the negotiations of various resolutions. On 8 April, it presented its first report to the Universal Periodic Review process. Morocco was represented in three treaty bodies -- dealing with migrants, torture and human rights. The Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography was from Morocco.
In addition, he said the Government was on the drafting committee that was producing a draft declaration on human rights education and training, which would be submitted to the Council at its 13th session. A seminar on that topic would soon be held in Marrakesh. The outcome would stimulate thinking on general principles for a declaration on human rights training and education. He welcomed a resolution on the world programme for human rights education, presented jointly by four countries, including Morocco. Also welcomed was a resolution on mediators and ombudsmen, which highlighted the role of mediation bodies in consolidating the rule of law and in fostering international cooperation between national mediation institutions.
On cooperation with special procedures, he welcomed the work of the Rapporteur on the right to education, who had already visited Morocco. The Rapporteur had commended the measures taken by the Moroccan Government to implement the right to education. In addition, the working group on enforced and involuntary disappearances had paid a visit in June. Those visits had highlighted the country’s commitment to cooperation with special procedures mandate-holders. The working group also commended Morocco’s equity and the reconciliation body, which should be held up as a model in the region. He welcomed the Council’s efforts to implement international human rights standards, both civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural. He hoped the Council would be further strengthened following its review, especially in its capacity to support national efforts.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) noted the Council’s smooth functioning over the last year. It had considered all 10 items on its agenda and discussed substantive human rights issues. Its mechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review, complaints procedure, special procedures and Advisory Committee, were in good running order. It had held special sessions in response to the financial and food crises, carrying out comprehensive discussions on those issues in the context of promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights. It had adopted relevant resolutions by consensus, reflecting its concerns about the impact of those crises on the rights to life and development. While commending the Council efforts, he urged it to renounce politicization and double standards, and adhere to the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity. It should respect different viewpoints and opinions to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation through dialogue.
Looking towards the upcoming review of the Human Rights Council, he reminded States that the purpose of the review was not to “start all over again,” but to identify shortcomings and to improve the Council’s work. In that regard, the Chinese Government supported the Council’s resolution on setting up an intergovernmental working group responsible for the review, and hoped that everyone would participate constructively in its work. He said China had been a member of the Human Rights Council since its inception, and had always fulfilled its responsibilities in good faith, and in an impartial, objective and non-selective manner. It would continue to enhance dialogue and cooperation with other members on human rights.
ROMAN TODER ( Ukraine) said the establishment of the Human Rights Council offered an opportunity for the United Nations to focus its work in implementing human rights standards. The Councils’ fourth report to the General Assembly illustrated the steady progress made in the area of institution-building. After the adoption of the relevant institution-building measures, the Council had gone through the second round of its Universal Periodic Review. Ukraine hoped that instrument would make an important contribution to the dialogue on human rights issues and the implementation of human rights standards worldwide, and welcomed the mechanism’s focus on those standards.
He said it was essential to address the implementation gaps that still existed 60 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The interrelation between the Universal Periodic Review and the treaty body process needed to be addressed. The Review and the reporting before the treaty bodies were very different in nature, both in as far as their legal foundation was concerned and their application in practice. But, since they were the two essential mechanisms through which States could present their human rights reports, synergies between the two must be explored. The treaty bodies could and should be strengthened through the Universal Periodic Review.
NAHIDA SOBHAN ( Bangladesh) said the Universal Periodic Review on Bangladesh had taken place during the reporting period covered by the Human Rights Council report. The Government was confident that the Universal Periodic Review would be accepted as a meaningful mechanism, and would allow the international community to rid itself of the much more controversial country-specific mechanism. The credibility of the United Nations human rights system hinged on satisfactory implementation of the Universal Periodic Review; if member States participated actively in the review and properly implemented its recommendations, it would create a compelling environment for countries to comply with universal human rights standards. She noted, as well, the passage of a resolution on the composition of staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her Government had been pleased to see the question of geographical balance mentioned in the first paragraph. But, it would have liked a consensus decision on that resolution.
She also expressed satisfaction on the adoption of a resolution on the promotion of the right of people to peace, because the idea of a “culture of peace” needed to be embedded even more in the human psyche. She informed the Committee that the Government of Bangladesh would soon table a resolution on the International Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World 2001-2010.
She said that it was still too early to assess the success of the Human Rights Council. But, so far, her Government was very satisfied with what it had delivered. For its part, the Council should continually take stock of its operations, and build on its achievements. It should maintain a high standard, so as to remain acceptable to member States. She agreed that the system of special procedures was an important one, and was pleased to see the adoption of a resolution regarding it. However, it would seem that a few mandate-holders had exceeded their mandates, and there were also instances where mandate-holders had engaged in improper or under-reporting. She also cautioned against unnecessary proliferation of new mandates, or in giving undue importance to any particular issue or thematic area. Taking a piecemeal approach to human rights would be counterproductive and go against the system’s “spirit of balance”.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said that, given the undeniable progress made by the Council in promoting human rights, Algeria was willing to actively participate in the review scheduled to be completed before 2011. Despite its short life, the Council had already held important sessions on human rights situations around the world, as well as thematic sessions on the most critical global issues. It was becoming a de facto permanent body, meeting 35 weeks out of the year in various configuration, which would, in turn, give it the ability to respond to all of the most important issues touching on human rights and elevating it to the status it deserved.
Underlining the Universal Periodic Review, he said the mechanism contributed to the goal of achieving non-selectivity. Algeria was part of the first group of countries subject to the Review, and had tried to give the most faithful picture of the human rights situation at the national level and to engage in a frank dialogue with its peers. It was currently endeavouring to implement the resulting recommendations. Algeria had also played a significant role as a coordinator of the African Group within the Council, particularly in establishing the Code of Conduct of the special procedures mandate-holders. His delegation was pleased by the General Assembly’s unanimous adoption of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights last year. Its adoption presented the possibility that the violations of these rights could be referred to the Council.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) reiterated her Government’s support for the Council, saying it had co-sponsored several of its initiatives. Those included resolutions relating to the guidelines on alternative care of children, which was currently being considered by the Assembly under Brazil’s leadership. In addition, her Government had co-sponsored a resolution on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights. It had also co-sponsored a resolution on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, as well as the resolutions on the right to education and on human rights training. It had supported resolutions on measures against trafficking in persons, enforced or involuntary disappearances, and arbitrary detentions. Other resolutions it had supported were on violence against women and the protection of human rights while countering terrorism.
She said Colombia had submitted itself for review under the Universal Periodic Review process. The Review had proved invaluable to national institutions, and had encouraged greater coordination among them. Her Government also appreciated the comments made by States during the review; it had voluntarily committed to 69 measures, and had accepted 96 recommendations made by 43 countries at the working group meeting. The presidential programme for human rights, the Offices of the Directors of Human Rights from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior and Justice would monitor implementation of those commitments and recommendations. Through that national mechanism, progress reports would be issued every four months. The first one had been released in June and was made public through a special website.
CHOMPOONUTE NAKORNTHAP ( Thailand) said it was a good time to take stock of the functioning and work of the Human Rights Council. As the principle human rights organ of the United Nations, it should contribute to the promotion and protection of all human rights of all persons. Its capacity to address human rights violations, including gross and systematic violations, was of paramount importance. The Human Rights Council had demonstrated its capacity to respond to many urgent and compelling situations, such as the impact of the global economic and financial crisis and the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. It had proven to be a versatile body, capable of addressing both specific situations and thematic issues, with the main aim of protecting human rights worldwide. But, to be more effective, these efforts should be firmly based on certain fundamental principles, such as cooperation, dialogue, objectivity and non-selectivity. The Council could only be as effective as the collective will of the States themselves.
For its part, Thailand was encouraged by the attention given by the Council to the issues of women and children, she said. Thailand had co-sponsored the new initiative on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights during the Council’s eleventh session. That resolution made clear the link between human rights and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly Goal 5, which had enjoyed the least progress so far. It hoped that this resolution would support and complement efforts towards achieving that Goal. It was also pleased to have co-sponsored the resolution on human rights in the administration of justice, particularly juvenile justice, as well as the resolution on accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women, which was of special concern to Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha.
She stressed that the Universal Periodic Review was a landmark innovation in the United Nations human rights system and had the potential to fill existing protection gaps and enhance the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. States paid special attention to the preparation and presentation of their reports under the Universal Periodic Review and reviews were generally conducted in a cooperative and constructive manner. While Thailand would not undergo its Review until the end of 2011, it had already started its preparations to ensure its national report was as comprehensive as possible. It appreciated the plan of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize a regional briefing from countries from the South-East Asian region that were scheduled to undergo the Review in the next two years. Thailand was also presenting its candidature for the Council’s 2010-2013 term.
KEREN SHAHAR BEN-AMI ( Israel) recalled that the Council had been established as part of a comprehensive United Nations reform effort headed by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Among the most difficult challenges for the Council was overcoming the “credibility deficit” left by the Commission on Human Rights. While showing some marginal improvements, three years after its creation and less than two years before the upcoming mandatory review, the Council had failed to live up to its promises. Its report demonstrated a disregard for serious human rights violations in many parts of the world, including by members of the Council. It continued to maintain a discriminatory standing agenda item that singled out one country alone, while all other human rights situations from all over the world were addressed in a separate item. Yet, the resolution that created the Council had required it to work under the principles of universality, impartiality and objectivity.
She said the Council had a one-side preoccupation with a single country situation alone, devoting half of its special session to it, and adopting more resolutions and decisions on Israel than on all other 191 United Nations Member States combined. It was a telling indication of the Council’s politicization and inherent flaws. Its deafening silence with regard to violations suffered by Israelis from suicide terrorism and terrorist attacks was also telling. The Israeli Government was not asking for special treatment -- like others, it believed that it should be subject to review and constructive criticism on a fair and impartial basis.
RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica) recalled that it was his singular honour and pleasure to have chaired the Third Committee during the sixty-second session when the Human Rights Council’s report came to it. He noted that the report had had safe passage to the General Assembly. Indeed, the Committee could be proud of its role. It was clearly understood that the Committee had an abiding duty to look at the work of the Council in Geneva, particularly since not everyone was a member of the Council. Moreover, the Committee was still the only body in the house mandated to look at all human rights issues.
On the question of resources, he said the Human Rights Council was charged with undertaking the Universal Periodic Review. It had been hoped that, coming out of the Commission, the issue of country-specific reviews could be circumvented. To this end, the Council needed the resources to carry out the work with which it was mandated. This was also true of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Noting the work that the Committee still had to do on the Council’s resolutions, he welcomed the presence of the Council’s president and paid tribute to the Council’s past president. He also underlined Jamaica’s commitment to upholding human rights. He asked the current president to give his own analysis on the extent to which the Universal Periodic Review had been successful in meeting the expectations of member States on evaluating human rights situations on an objective basis. He stressed that he asked this question in all seriousness and in view of his country’s own upcoming review. He also asked it on the basis of the Third Committee’s position in addressing all human rights issues.
The Chair reminded the Jamaican delegation that this was not an interactive session.
AIDA A. EL MAGIED ( Sudan) commended the Human Rights Council’s work on human rights education and training, health, freedom of expression, migrants’ rights and displaced persons. She further commended its work on justice and cultural values, and on the impact of the financial crisis. It had also examined the report of the inquiry on Gaza. The Council must continue its work through interactive dialogue and cooperation. It must provide capacity-building assistance to countries that needed it. It must not politicize its work. For its part, the Sudanese Government would continue its dialogue with the Council in the pursuit of human rights. In preparation of Sudan’s Universal Periodic Review in 2011, it had adopted measures, such as establishing institutions to oversee implementation of human rights obligations, through which it would cooperate with civil society.
DESRA PERCAYA ( Indonesia) observed that, notwithstanding its challenges, the Council was working towards its goals in a progressive and determined fashion, based on a spirit of dialogue and cooperation. In a short time, it had held 12 regular and special sessions, and 5 sessions of the Universal Periodic Review. It had set up an institutional building package. Yet, there remained room for further improvement. Also, Indonesia valued the positive contributions of all special procedures in the promotion and protection of all human rights -- civil, political, economic, social and cultural, which included the right to development -- and they needed to act in an objective, independent, non-selective, impartial and non-politicized manner. His Government regretted that there remained cases of non-compliance with the Code of Conduct for special procedures mandate-holders.
He also brought up a procedural issue concerning the granting of credentials to “a certain delegation”. His Government was of the view that the Committee must make a timely decision, which it must immediately convey to other relevant United Nations bodies, particularly the Human Rights Council. He reiterated, as well, the request of the High Commissioner to enhance the efforts made to fulfil the goal of a geographical balance in the composition of her staff.
He welcomed the Council’s endorsement of the guidelines for alternative care of children, and was heartened to note that it included elements on care in emergency situations, as well as tracing and family reintegration. He welcomed the Council’s deliberation on the impact of the economic and financial crises and repeated his Government’s position that finding solutions to all of the crises was a multilateral exercise.
He then addressed the division of labour between the Third Committee and the Council, saying that the Committee needed to focus on policy-oriented discussion, and to provide strategy recommendations to the General Assembly. The Assembly must then guide the international community, including the Human Rights Council, in further enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights. Country-based reviews should fall under the Council’s purview, through the Universal Periodic Review mechanism. That mechanism had proven successful so far, with 80 States having gone through the process. Because of the Review, there were more invitations to Special Rapporteurs, national institutions were established, and cooperation between Governments and civil society and other stakeholders had improved. In four years, States would be in a position to report on their implementation of Universal Periodic Review recommendations, and it was then that the mechanism’s effectiveness would be duly recognized.
VERONIQUE BASSO (France) noted that her country was a Council member and was committed to the Council’s work based on the principle of objectivity. In order to respect this principle, the Council had a key instrument to ensure its functioning. She further underscored the Council’s ability to deal with all human rights violations wherever they took place in the world, as well as all topics. France reiterated its commitment to participate with all partners through this process.
MICHAEL KIEPSCH ( Germany) said that his country attached great importance to the credibility and smooth functioning of the Council. Regarding the issue of credibility, Germany believed that human rights had to be addressed appropriately. In that context, Germany attached great importance to the work of the special procedures mandate-holders and the work they had accomplished. To that end, he called on States to cooperate with, rather than criticize, these mandate-holders.
Vote on Amendment
The amendment to the draft resolution on intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women (document A/C.3/64/L.25*) was rejected by a recorded vote of 60 against to 52 in favour, with 40 abstentions, as follows:
Against: Albania, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.
In favour: Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.
Abstain: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominica, Ethiopia, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Maldives, Mali, Mexico, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia.
Absent: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Togo, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.
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