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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL CONCLUDES TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION AFTER ADOPTING 34 TEXTS
Creates Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, Establishes Special Rapporteur on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
27 June 2014

The Human Rights Council concluded its twenty-sixth regular session this evening after adopting 34 texts on a wide range of issues as well as its report for the session.  The Council also adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review for 14 countries.

In concluding remarks, Baudelaire Ndong Ella, President of the Human Rights Council, said that while certain issues caused divergent views, the Council ought to fulfil its mission and prove its participatory nature.  Reprisals against human rights defenders were unacceptable and had to be halted.

At the closing meeting, the Acting Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Michael Møller, reading out the message of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay had been an extraordinary High Commissioner, serving as a dependable, even-handed and effective advocate for the world’s most vulnerable people, significantly strengthening the Office’s field presence, and responding quickly and nimbly to crises.

In her remarks, Ms. Pillay stressed that it was of great importance for the victims of human rights violations around the world to know that the Council addressed issues of concern to them. 

Among texts that it adopted, the Council, addressing the continuing grave deterioration in human rights and the humanitarian situation in Syria, demanded that the Syrian authorities cooperate fully with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and condemned all violence.  In a resolution on the situation of human rights in Belarus, the Council expressed deep concern at continuing violations of a systemic and systematic nature, and renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of one year.  In a resolution on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, the Council condemned the widespread violations of human rights committed by the Eritrean authorities, extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for one year, and established a commission on inquiry on human rights violations in Eritrea.

Regarding other country situations, the Council demanded a halt to all human rights violations, abuses and acts of violence by all parties in South Sudan, and asked them to commit to inclusive dialogue; urged the international community to continue with support to the process of reconstruction and reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire; and strongly condemned the violence committted by illegal armed groups in Ukraine, calling upon all concerned parties to provide access to independent human rights monitors.

The Council decided to extend mandates of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights; the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity; the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, all for a further period of three years.  The Council also decided to create a mandate of a Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, for a period of three years.

The Council recommended that the General Assembly proclaim 13 June as the International Albinism Awareness Day, and decided to urgently transmit to the General Assembly the report of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  It also decided to convene at its twenty-seventh session a panel discussion on the protection of the family. 

The Council decided to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group with the mandate to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.  In a resolution on human rights and climate change, the Council called upon all States to continue to enhance international cooperation in relation to the adverse impact of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights.  The Council also adopted a resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet, affirming that the same rights that people enjoyed offline had also to be protected online, in particular the freedom of expression. 

Other resolutions adopted by the Council concerned the negative impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights; the question of the death penalty; accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women; the elimination of discrimination against women; the promotion of the right of migrants to enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the protection of Roma worldwide; the contribution of parliaments to the work of the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review; human rights and arbitrary deprivation of nationality; human rights and the regulation of civilian acquisition, possession and use of firearms; and the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.   

The Council adopted the report of the twenty-sixth session ad referendum.

Documentation, statements, resolutions and reports relating to this and all Human Rights Council sessions are available at its webpage.  Detailed, speaker-by-speaker coverage of every public meeting can be found on the website of United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Council’s twenty-sixth regular session was held from 10 to 27 June 2014.  The twenty-seventh regular session of the Human Rights Council will be held in Room XX of the Palais des Nations from 8 to 26 September 2014.

Summary of the Session

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navy Pillay opened the session with an update on the activities of her Office.   In her last update to the Council as the High Commissioner, Ms. Pillay said that the recent requests from the Security Council for information and advice on human rights issues in the Central African Republic, Syria, Libya, Mali and South Sudan, as well as the briefings on Ukraine and South Sudan, demonstrated heightened recognition that human rights were fundamental to peace, security and development, and testified to the stature that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had developed.  The High Commissioner also referred to human rights situations of concern, including the death penalty, violence against women and discrimination.  In the general debate that followed, speakers commended the High Commissioner and her Office’s efforts in following up human rights issues around the world, as well as the High Commissioner’s leadership in the successful outcome of the treaty body strengthening process.  

The Council held interactive dialogues with Special Rapporteurs on the freedom of opinion and expression; freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; right to health; violence against women; extreme poverty and human rights; extrajudicial executions; human rights of internally displaced persons; trafficking in persons; independence of judges and lawyers; human rights of migrants; the right to education; and racism.  It also organized clustered debates with the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, the Independent Expert on international solidarity and the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on discrimination against women in law and practice.

The Council  organized a panel discussion on the safety of journalists in order to identify challenges and good practices to ensure the safety of journalists and to promote a better understanding of relevant international human rights norms.  A high-level panel discussion on the identification of good practices in combating female genital mutilation also took place.  The Council convened its annual full-day meeting on women’s rights, including two panel debates on the impact of gender stereotypes on the recognition and enjoyment of women’s human rights, and on women’s human rights and the sustainable development agenda. 

In its second week, the Council heard a presentation by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which was followed by an interactive dialogue.   Under the agenda item on human rights situations that required the Council’s attention, the Council held individual interactive dialogues with the Special Rapporteurs on Eritrea, on Belarus, and on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In the third week, the Council held a panel discussion on preventing and eliminating child, early and forced marriage.  Interactive dialogues with the Independent Expert on the Central African Republic and the Independent Expert on Côte d’Ivoire were organized.  The Council heard presentations of country reports of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner’s annual presentation on technical assistance and capacity building, the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation, reports of the Advisory Committee, Social Forum, Forum on Human Rights and Business and the Working Group on rights of peasants.  It held an annual thematic discussion on technical cooperation.  Also during the third week, the Council held general debates on the human rights situation in Palestine and other Occupied Arab Territories; follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action; racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance - follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; and technical assistance and capacity building.

On the last day of the session, the Council appointed the following Special Procedure mandate holders: David Kaye (United States) as the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Danius Puras (Lithuania) as the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Maria Grazia Giammarinaro (Italy) as the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children; Baskut Tuncak (Turkey) as the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and waste; Seong-Phil Hong (Republic of Korea) as the member of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention from Asia-Pacific States; and Sabelo Gumedze (South Africa) as the member of the Working Group on People of African Descent.

During the session, the Council approved outcomes of the Universal Periodic Reviews of (in order of review) New Zealand, Afghanistan, Chile, Uruguay, Yemen, Vanuatu, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Comoros, Slovakia, Eritrea, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Viet Nam and Cambodia.

Resolutions and Decisions

Action on Resolutions and Decisions under Agenda Item 3 on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.1) on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, the Council called on all business enterprises to meet their responsibility to respect human rights consistent with the United Nations Guiding Principles.

In a decision (A/HRC/26/L.5) on the negative impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights, the Council decided to request the Advisory Committee to submit a final research-based report on the issue of the negative impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights to the Council at its twenty-eighth session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.7) on International Albinism Awareness Day, the Council recommended that the General Assembly proclaim 13 June as the International Albinism Awareness Day, and urged the human rights treaty bodies and special procedures of the Council to continue to give attention to the situation of persons with albinism.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.8/Rev.1) on the question of the death penalty,  the Council urged States that had not yet abolished the death penalty to protect the rights of those facing it, and called upon States that had not yet done so to consider acceding to or ratifying the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.9) on Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, the Council decided to appoint, for three years, a Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, and requested the Secretary-General to bring the reports of the Special Rapporteur to the attention of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Conference of States Parties and the Commission for Social Development.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.10) on extreme poverty and human rights, the Council decided to extend, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, and requested him to submit an annual report on the implementation of the present resolution to the General Assembly and to the Human Rights Council.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.11) on protection of Roma, the Council condemned the persistent manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against Roma, and invited the Special Rapporteur on minority issues to prepare a comprehensive study on the situation of Roma worldwide.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.12) on the elimination of discrimination against women, the Council called upon States to include special measures or positive action measures to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women in economic and social life, and called for gender equality and empowerment of women to be reflected as a stand-alone goal in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.16) on the mandate of the independent expert on human rights and international solidarity, the Council reaffirmed that the promotion of international cooperation was a duty for States, and decided to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity for a period of three years.


In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.18) on the mandate of the special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years, and urged all Governments, United Nations and its agencies to cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his or her tasks.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.19) on the  mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years.  It also urged States, regional and multilateral organizations to develop and strengthen strategies and plans of action to combat trafficking in persons with a victim-centred approach.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.20/Rev.1) on the protection of the family, the Council decided to convene at its twenty-seventh session a panel discussion on the protection of the family to address the implementation of States’ obligations under relevant provisions of the international human rights law.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.22/Rev.1) on elaboration of an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, the Council decided to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, and decided that the working group should hold its first session in 2015.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.23) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Council demanded that all States ensure that the practice of extrajudicial, summary or
arbitrary executions was brought to an end, and decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for three years.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.24) on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet, the Council affirmed that the same rights that people had offline had also to be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, called upon all States to promote and facilitate access to the Internet, and stressed the importance of combatting advocacy of hatred on the Internet.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.25) on human rights and arbitrary deprivation of nationality, the Council reaffirmed that the right to a nationality of every human person was a fundamental human right, and urged all States to adopt and implement nationality legislation with a view to avoiding statelessness.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.26/Rev.1) on accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women, the Council called for the prevention and elimination of all forms of gender-based violence in the family, within the general community and where perpetrated by the State, and urged States and all segments of society to take steps to address harmful attitudes, customs, stereotypes and unequal power relations.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.27) on human rights and the regulation of civilian acquisition, possession and use of firearms, the Council called upon all States to take appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures, consistent with the international human rights law and their constitutional frameworks, in order to ensure that civilian acquisition, possession and use of firearms are effectively regulated.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.28) on the right to education: follow-up to Human Rights Council resolution 8/4, the Council called upon all States to take all measures to implement Human Rights Council resolutions on the right to education with a view to ensuring the full realization of that right for all, and extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education for a period of three years.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.29) on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the Council called upon States to promote physical activity and sport among all segments of their population, and to use sport and major sporting events as an opportunity to promote human rights and strengthen universal respect for them.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.30) on promotion of the right of migrants to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the Council called upon States that had not yet done so to consider signing and ratifying or acceding to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and reaffirmed the duty of States to effectively protect human rights and freedoms of all migrants.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.31) on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, the Council decided to extend, for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, and requested the Special Rapporteur to continue his or her programme of country visits.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.33) on human rights and climate change, the Council expressed concern over the adverse effects of climate change on the effective enjoyment of human rights, and decided to incorporate in its programme of work for the twenty-eighth session a full-day discussion on specific themes related to that subject.

Action on Resolutions and Decisions under Agenda Item 4 on Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.4/Rev.1) on the continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, the Council demanded that the Syrian authorities cooperate fully with the commission of inquiry; urged all parties to the conflict to prevent violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses, and called upon all parties to immediately put an end to all forms of violence.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.6) on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, the Council strongly condemned the continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms committed by the Eritrean authorities, and decided to establish, for a period of one year, a commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of human rights in Eritrea.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.14/Rev.1) on the situation of human rights in Belarus, the Council expressed deep concern at continuing systemic and systematic violations of human rights in Belarus, decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus for a period of one year, and called upon the Government of Belarus to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur.

Action on Resolutions and Decisions under Agenda Item 5 on human rights bodies and mechanisms

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.3) on the promotion and protection of human rights in post-disaster and post-conflict situations, the Council approved of the request of the Advisory Committee for an extension of the time schedule envisaged, so that the progress report would be submitted to the Council at its twenty-seventh session, and the final report at its twenty-eighth session.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.13) on promotion and protection of the human rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, the Council decided that the working group with the mandate of negotiating, finalizing and submitting to the Human Rights Council a draft United Nations declaration should hold its second meeting before the twenty-ninth session of the Council.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.17) on the Social Forum, the Council reaffirmed the Social Forum as a unique space for interactive dialogue between the United Nations human rights machinery and various stakeholders, and decided that the Social Forum would meet in Geneva in 2015.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.21) on the contribution of parliaments to the work of the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review, the Council encouraged and welcomed the growing trend by States to include parliamentarians in their national delegations to the Universal Periodic Review process.  

Action on Resolutions under Agenda Item 9 on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.2) on the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent, the Council decided to urgently transmit to the General Assembly the report of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action containing the draft programme of activities in its current form.

Action on Resolutions and Decisions under Agenda Item 10 on technical assistance and capacity-building

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.15/Rev.1) on cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights, the Council called upon all concerned parties to cooperate fully with, provide access to and allow deployment of independent human rights monitors, and called for protection of all human rights in Ukraine, including in Crimea. 

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.32) on technical assistance and capacity-building for South Sudan in human rights, the Council demanded a halt to all human rights violations, abuses and acts of violence by all parties in South Sudan, and emphasized that international human rights mechanisms should make efforts to support the work of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the African Union.

In a resolution (A/HRC/26/L.39) on the strengthening of capacities and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the domain of human rights, the Council noted with concern the precarious humanitarian situation on the ground in Côte d’Ivoire, and decided to establish a new mandate on strengthening the capacities and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire in the field of human rights.


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC14/095E