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COUNCIL ADOPTS FIVE TEXTS, APPOINTS MEMBERS OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE, COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON SYRIA, SPECIAL RAPPORTEURS
Adopts Draft Report on the Session Ad Referendum, Suspends Twenty-First Session
28 September 2012

The Human Rights Council suspended its twenty-first regular session this afternoon after adopting five texts on activities of private military and security companies, international complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, assistance to Somalia, the right to development, and concrete action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance. The Council also elected four new members of the Advisory Committee, appointed mandate-holders on the situation of human rights in Eritrea and in Belarus and on the disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, and named two new Commissioners for the Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

Laura Lasserre Dupuy, President of the Human Rights Council, said the Council elected by acclamation Imeru Tamrat Yigezu from the African region, Saeed Mohamed Al Faihani from the Asian region, Mario L. Coriolano for the Latin Americas and Caribbean region, and Katharina Pabel for the Western European and other States, as new members to fill the vacant seats on the Advisory Committee.

Ms. Dupuy said the Council appointed Beedwantee Keetharuth as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea; Miklos Haraszti as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus; and Marc Pallemaerts as Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes.

Taking into account the extension of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic until March 2013, and given that the situation on the ground had shown no sign of improvement, the President appointed Carla del Ponte and Vitit Muntarbhorn as two additional Commissioners.

Speaking regarding the election of the new members of the Advisory Committee were Belgium, Cuba and Russia. Russia also made a statement concerning the appointment of members of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

Regarding the open-ended intergovernmental Working Group to consider the possibility of elaborating an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, the Council adopted a resolution in which requested the Chairperson-Rapporteur to present to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-second session the report of the Working Group.

In a resolution on the elaboration of international complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Council decided to transmit the draft Programme of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent to the General Assembly for its consideration, with a view to its adoption, within the context of the International Decade for People of African Descent.

Concerning assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, the Council requested the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia to provide advisory services to the new Government and Parliament for the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission.

Regarding the right to development, the Council decided to endorse the recommendations of the Working Group on the right to development and to convene a two-day informal inter-sessional intergovernmental meeting of the Working Group, and to consider the extension of the meeting time of the Working Group, as appropriate.

In a resolution on concrete action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, the Council decided that the Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action should convene its eleventh session from 7 to 18 October 2013.

Introducing resolutions were South Africa on behalf of the African Group, Senegal on behalf of the African Group, Iran on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, and South Africa.

Speaking in explanation of vote before or after the vote were the United States, Austria, Switzerland and Chile. Speaking in general comments were Austria on behalf of the European Union and United States. Somalia and Kenya spoke as concerned countries.

At the end of the meeting, Gulnara Iskakova, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council and Rapporteur, presented the draft report of the twenty-first session and it was adopted ad referendum.

The President of the Human Rights Council reminded the Council that a new President would need to be appointed at the beginning of the next cycle in order for a new Bureau to be in place as of 1 December onwards. An organizational session for the next cycle was suggested for Monday, 10 December.

Observer States and others making general comments after the Council finished taking action on resolutions were Belarus, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Eritrea, Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, Somalia and Ethiopia. International Service for Human Rights also took the floor.

The Council suspended its session until Monday, 5 November for the sole purpose of appointing the new GRULAC member of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice.

Documentation, statements, resolutions and reports relating to this and all Human Rights Council sessions are available on its webpage.

The twenty-second regular session of the Human Rights Council will be held from 25 February to 22 March 2013.

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

Action on Resolution on Working Group to Consider the Possibility of Elaborating an International Regulatory Framework on the Regulation of the Activities of Private Military and Security Companies

In a resolution (A/HRC/21/L.27) regarding the open-ended intergovernmental Working Group to consider the possibility of elaborating an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the Chairperson-Rapporteur to present to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-second session the report of the open-ended intergovernmental Working Group to consider the possibility of elaborating an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies; and decides to consider the conclusions and recommendations of the open-ended intergovernmental Working Group at its twenty-second session.

South Africa, introducing draft resolution L.27 on behalf of the African Group, recalled that the Human Rights Council had adopted resolution 15/26 in 2010, which established the open-ended intergovernmental Working Group to consider the feasibility and desirability of elaborating an international regulatory framework to regulate, monitor and oversee the activities of private military and security companies. It also requested that the Working Group present its recommendations to the Council at its second-first session. Due to rescheduling of the second session of the Working Group, its recommendations could be presented to the Human Rights Council only during its twenty-second session. The African Group was well aware of the concerns shared by many delegations pertaining to definitions and the need to delink and distinguish mercenaries from private military and security companies. The African Group reiterated the importance of the ongoing dialogue in a constructive manner and invited all members to adopt this procedural resolution by consensus.

Austria, speaking on behalf of the European Union, commended the Chair of the Working Group for having reached consensus on the recommendations. The European Union said that there was a need to bring about conceptual clarity and that this resolution was a first opportunity to make progress. The European Union believed that mercenaries were defined under international humanitarian law and that their activities could not be put on the same footing as those of private military and security companies. Despite this reservation, it would join the consensus.

Action on Resolution on the Right to Development

In a resolution (A/HRC/21/L3) regarding the right to development, adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against and no abstentions as orally revised, the Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to submit an annual report on its activities; acknowledges the need for experts’ contributions and re-emphasizes the importance of engaging further and inviting to the fourteenth session of the Working Group experts from relevant United Nations agencies; decides to continue to act to ensure that its agenda promotes and advances sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals; decides to endorse the recommendations of the Working Group; decides to convene a two-day informal inter-sessional intergovernmental meeting of the Working Group, with the participation of States, groups of States, and relevant United Nations agencies, with a view to improve the effectiveness of the Working Group; and to consider the extension of the meeting time of the Working Group, as appropriate.


The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (46): Angola, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Ecuador, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, and Uruguay.

Against (1): United States.

Abstentions (0):


Iran, introducing draft resolution L.3 on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and other co-sponsors, said that the draft resolution took note with appreciation of the report of the Working Group and took note of the consolidated report of the United Nations Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Mainstreaming the right to development into the work of the United Nations agencies, funds, and programmes, as well as the international and multilateral financial and trading systems was necessary in order to make this right a reality for all. The draft resolution proposed that a three-day intergovernmental meeting of the Working Group be convened before its fourteenth session and asked the Council to consider extending the working days of the Working Group.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said its commitment to international development as a mainstay of its foreign policy was clear. Nonetheless it had longstanding questions regarding the right to development. Unfortunately, the resolution sought to add additional meeting time to the Working Group, without any effort to reach agreement in discussions. The United States would therefore vote no. It was important to consider not only criteria and sub-criteria, but also the indicators elaborated by the High Level Task Force.

Austria, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union reiterated its support for the right to development. The right required the full realisation of civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, and a mix of policies that would create an enabling environment for individuals. The European Union emphasized that while national development should be supported, the primary responsibility was that of States to their citizens. It was surprised to see the draft resolution move away from the consensus on recommendations of the thirteenth session of the Working Group. To move forward in a meaningful manner, there needed to be at least consensus on the process. Despite concerns on process and substance, the European Union supported the resolution and would vote in favour of it.

Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the draft resolution on the right to development was a negotiated text and was deemed acceptable. The inclusion of all the actors in the process of review of the criteria and sub-criteria represented a success, but it was regrettable that there was no mention of the indicators of progress made in the implementation of the right to development.

Chile, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on the resolution on maternal mortality and morbidity at the end of consideration of resolutions on agenda item three, said that in Chile there were provisions in place and the support of this resolution did not imply in any way the support for abortion.

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

Action on Resolution on the Elaboration of International Complementary Standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

In a resolution (A/HRC/21/L.28) regarding elaboration of international complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decides that the Ad Hoc Committee on the elaboration of complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination shall convene its fifth session from 8 to 19 April 2013; invites the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Ad Hoc Committee to hold informal consultations, within existing resources, with regional and political coordinators between the fourth and fifth sessions; requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to send out a questionnaire, within existing resources, to gather information regarding the three topics discussed during the fourth session of the Ad Hoc Committee and in its report (xenophobia, national mechanisms and procedural gaps); invites the Office of the High Commissioner to post the responses to the questionnaire on its website and, in consultation with the Chairperson-Rapporteur, to prepare a summary of responses to the questionnaire received during the inter-sessional period for discussion by the Ad Hoc Committee at its fifth session.


South Africa, introducing the draft resolution L.28 on behalf of the African Group, said that this draft resolution pertained to the preparatory processes to consolidate the progress and future sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee on the elaboration of complementary standards to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The African Group invited the Council to adopt this resolution by consensus and said that oral revisions had been circulated in the room.

Austria, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, said that xenophobia, racial discrimination and related intolerance were a global challenge. The European Union was grateful for improvements brought into text, but in spite of those efforts the European Union’s long-standing concern with decision 3/103 was still not reflected in the text. The European Union stressed the imperative need for States to implement existing commitments before considering addressing normative gaps.

United States, speaking in a general comment, said that the United States strongly supported concrete action to fight and eliminate discrimination and intolerance and believed there were gaps in implementing existing international instruments by the Governments.

Action on Resolution on “From rhetoric to reality: a global call for concrete action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

In a resolution (A/HRC/21/L.29) from rhetoric to reality, a global call for concrete action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, as orally revised, adopted by a vote of 37 in favour, 1 against and 9 abstentions, the Council decides that the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action should convene its eleventh session from 7 to 18 October 2013; calls on States to strengthen measures to prevent racist and xenophobic incidents in major sporting events, including by individuals or groups of individuals linked to extremist movements and groups; urges States to intensify the fight against racism in sport by, among other things, educating the youth of the world through sport practised without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires human understanding, tolerance, fair play and solidarity; decides to transmit the draft Programme of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent to the General Assembly for its consideration, with a view to its adoption, within the context of the International Decade for People of African Descent; and requests the Secretary-General and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to fully implement paragraphs 53 and 57 of General Assembly resolution 65/240 of 24 December 2010 with respect to the establishment of an outreach programme and for the follow-up to the commemoration of the ten-year anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.


The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (37): Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, and Uruguay.

Against (1): United States.

Abstentions (9): Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, and Spain.


South Africa, introducing draft resolution L.29, said that the draft resolution focused primarily on the adoption of the Draft Programme of Action for the Decade of People of African Descent. The resolution also addressed contemporary challenges related to the misuse of the Internet and social media by extremist groups, individuals and communities to incite acts of racial and religious hatred and violence, particularly within the context of the ongoing economic and financial crises. Furthermore, racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia experience by non-nationals were also addressed, as well as racism in sport. South Africa then introduced an oral amendment. It was regrettable that despite all attempts to accommodate concerns, these were not successful.

United States in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the United States remained fully committed to combating racism and racial discrimination and believed that the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination provided an adequate international framework to address all forms of discrimination. The United States could not support the draft resolution because of its well known concerns about the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, such as the singling out of Israel. Further, the references to freedom of expression were addressed by the Council elsewhere and in other resolutions, and the United States was concerned that the creation of the Decade for People of African Descent was an attempt to create another international legal instrument and would do little to advance the goals of those it attempted to serve.

Austria, in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, said that the European Union was fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights for all without discrimination. A problem remained related to engagement in efforts at all levels to fight racism at a sustainable level. The European Union had engaged in discussions on the draft resolution and put forward three amendments to establish a clear focus on the fight before racism without confusing it with religious intolerance, and to note that the Internet was a useful tool in combating racism. The European Union was grateful that a significant number of concerns had been met, but overall the text failed to strike the right balance between challenges and opportunities in relation to Internet and related technologies, and regretted that sponsors did not make reference to the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination. For those reasons, it would abstain.

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

Action on Resolution on Assistance to Somalia in the Field of Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/21/L.31) on assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council strongly condemns the grave and systematic human rights abuses and violations perpetrated against the civilian population, including women, children journalists and human rights defenders, in particular by Al-Shabab; strongly condemns all attacks against civilians and on journalists; calls upon the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia to protect the safety of the journalists and emphasises the need to hold perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses accountable; and decides to reinforce the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia with a view to maximizing the provision and flow of technical assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights in order to support the efforts of the Government of Somalia and sub-national authorities to ensure respect for human rights and to strengthen the human rights regime, including in relation to the post-transition period, as well as other key transitional tasks that must be completed, and to advise the Government on the implementation of technical cooperation inside Somalia.


Senegal, introducing the draft resolution L.31 on behalf of the African Group, said that the draft resolution followed directly from the previous Human Rights Council’s resolution adopted by consensus, in which the Council had extended the mandate of the Independent Expert on Somalia. The difficulties in the implementation of this mandate were well known because they had lasted for over a decade in a form of a conflict that seriously undermined the social fabric and rule of law in Somalia. The election of a new President and other recent positive developments had started giving shape to the new State emerging in Somalia. The international community should do the best it could to support the wind of change and transformation, which still remained fragile.

United States welcomed, in a general comment, the new institutions in Somalia and the election of the new President, and expressed hope that the resolution would continue to support the improvement of human rights in Somalia. The United States was currently evaluating the new institutions in Somalia and said that this resolution did not affect their status.

Somalia, speaking as the concerned country, said that in the early hours of the morning the African Union Mission in Somalia forces and the Somali National Army entered into Kismayo, the last stronghold of Al-Shabaab, and that its liberation should lead to the stabilisation of the entire Juba region. Somalia appealed to the international community to support the Kenyan and Somali Governments in the assisted return of refugees. The resolution marked the end of a long transitional period and Somalia’s long awaited new beginning. Importantly, it sought to take forward a number of valuable recommendations made by the Independent Expert. The United Nations and the international community were encouraged to engage and work with it on priorities and objectives that the Somali people needed at this time.

Kenya, speaking as a concerned country, echoed the appeal made by Somalia for the international community to support the voluntary repatriation of refugees; an estimated 1.3 million refugees were living in Dadaab. They were also an important human resource required for the reconstruction process of Somalia. It was important that the international community and in particular the Human Rights Council supported the transition process in Somalia. The establishment of peace, security and stability were key to the reconstruction and transformation of the country by the Somali Government.

Election of Members of the Advisory Committee

LAURA LASSERRE DUPUY, President of the Human Rights Council, said that the Council took note of the reports of the Advisory Committee and this would be reflected in the report of the twenty-first session and not through Presidential statements, as was the case before. The President presented a list of four Advisory Committee members to be elected at the current session. The Council elected by acclamation Imeru Tamrat Yigezu from the African region, Saeed Mohamed Al Faihani from the Asian region, Mario L. Coriolano for the Latin America and Caribbean region and Katharina Pabel for the Western European and other States, as new members to fill the vacant seats on the Advisory Committee.

Belgium said that the Human Rights Council’s institution-building package contained clear rules about the election of members of the Advisory Committee and the Council could not take action on candidates that did not fill the criteria of eligibility.

Nomination of Special Procedures

LAURA LASSERRE DUPUY, President of the Human Rights Council, presented a list of three mandate holders to be elected at the current session: Beedwantee Keetharuth as Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights in Eritrea; Miklos Haraszti as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus; and Marc Pallemaerts as Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes.
Cuba said it had an objection to the proposals put forward and said that, in the matter of nominations, there was discrimination against Cuba. In the election of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, fluency in Russian should not have been a criterion of selection, said Cuba and added that there needed to be more consistency in the nominations. It was problematic that a national of the European Union was nominated for the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, because the European Union was a major proponent of the resolution. Cuba was not ready to accept the proposed candidate from Hungary as mandate holder for Belarus.

Russia said that it had voted against the Human Rights Council resolution on Belarus which it believed was full of prejudice and excluded Belarus rather than included it in dialogue. Russia did not support anyone as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.

China believed in constructive dialogue and was against politicization in the issues of human rights. Most of the members of the Human Rights Council had either voted against or abstained in the vote on establishing the mandate on Belarus. China would not participate in the selection of the Special Rapporteur on this country.

Austria said that the appointment of mandate holders was not an easy task and the Consultative Group did not take it lightly. Since the beginning, several names had been proposed in order to allow flexibility in consultations and there was no reason to challenge the President and the proposals made.

LAURA LASSERRE DUPUY, President of the Human Rights Council said that nominations were not a question of personal choice or regional groups, but followed the rules and eligibility of candidates. Regional affiliation of candidates needed to be taken into account to ensure equality. It was a prerogative of the President to decide among the proposed candidates and she noted the need for objectivity, independence and integrity in carrying out the mandate.

Cuba said that it was the responsibility of the President to appoint the mandate holder and regretted that Cuba was not able to support the candidate for the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.

The Council then endorsed the proposed list of candidates for the Special Procedures.

Commission of Inquiry on Syria

LAURA LASSERRE DUPUY, President of the Human Rights Council, said that, taking into account the extension of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic until March 2013, and given that the situation on the ground had shown no sign of improvement, the Commission needed to be strengthened through the appointment of two additional Commissioners. For this reason, the President appointed Carla del Ponte and Vitit Muntarbhorn as Commissioners.

Russia said that the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry had been extended. The situation on Syria had been exacerbated, the news agencies were using false information and Russia understood that it was difficult to work in such conditions. Russia called on the Commission of Inquiry to act objectively and use verified facts and avoid using information that would intensify the conflict in Syria.

Task Force

LAURA LASSERRE DUPUY, President of the Human Rights Council updated the Council on the progress made on the implementation of the recommendations by the Task Force on secretariat services, accessibility for persons with disabilities and use of information technology as contained in Council decision 19/119. While most recommendations by the Task Force did not require additional resources, the Council might want to consider in 2013 draft decisions relating to the issues raised in the Task Force progress report which would have programme budgetary implications, for transmission to the General Assembly to consider the necessary resource allocation in the context of its annual review of Human Rights Council decisions.

General Comments by Observer States

Belarus said that in connection with the appointment of a candidate as Special Rapporteur on Belarus, Belarus did not recognize that decision of the Council. Given his past experience, Mr. Haraszti would not be able to carry out his mandate in an objective and impartial fashion. Pursuant to the United Nations Charter, Belarus would continue to ensure the fundamental rights and freedoms and within its jurisdiction, the rights of its own citizens, via the law, and not via the sentiments of the Special Rapporteur. The European Union initiatives in the Human Rights Council were seen as a political campaign of defamation against Belarus.

Venezuela said that it categorically refused the appointment of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, which was a hostile measure that violated the principle of sovereignty, especially as it was not accepted by the country concerned. The mandate fed political confrontation. Venezuela reaffirmed its historical condemnation and denunciation of this serious threat to the true promotion and protection of human rights. It was absolutely vital for the Council to ensure it appealed for genuine dialogue, without double standards or politicization.

Sri Lanka reiterated its consistent position that action initiated in the promotion and protection of human rights of a country had to have the consent of that country, and be based on the principles of cooperation and genuine dialogue aimed at strengthening the domestic capacity of the country to comply with its human rights obligations for the benefit of its people. Sri Lanka was firmly of the view that the Council should not be seen to encourage debates and resolutions on country-specific situation by virtue of selective processes that ran counter to its founding principles.

Eritrea noted the decision of the Council to refer the situation in Eritrea to the public and reminded the Council to abide by the principles of neutrality and impartiality. The Council had clearly violated the provisions prohibiting politicised action and had not justified its motion to disregard those basic principles and criteria of admissibility. Eritrea therefore rejected the decision of the Council because it was politically motivated and did not accept the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea.

Brazil said that consensus on the resolution on the human rights of older persons was a very positive sign that the international community was ready to take firm action aimed at the effective promotion and protection of the rights of older persons. The Council had the obligation to contribute to the debate on this issue and the resolution would fill the gap in the agenda of the Human Rights Council. Brazil disagreed with those delegations which had mentioned a potential duplication of efforts or excessive spending and said that older persons deserved the same effort and enthusiasm as other issues taken up by the Council and the General Assembly.

Egypt said concerning resolution L.25 that the right of peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association were individual and not collective rights and said that the text of this resolution completely ignored the great role played by individuals in the revolution in Egypt and requested the registration of its objection to the conceptual framework of the resolution. Egypt declared its association with the statement of disassociation by Saudi Arabia on the resolution concerning maternal mortality and morbidity.

South Africa explained its position on the resolution on the Guiding Principles on human rights and extreme poverty, saying that it regretted that its contributions were not taken on board and that an African regional consultation was not held. South Africa reserved its position on the Guiding Principles to the extent that they were incompatible with Africa’s socio-economic and development programmes.

Somalia strongly reiterated its genuine and grave concern with regards to the situation in Eritrea, and called on the Eritrean Transitional Government to actively engage with the Special Rapporteur for the benefit of its own people.

Ethiopia said that it welcomed the appointment of the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea. If someone had to be blamed for human rights violations, the Government of Eritrea was the one, and Ethiopia called on the Eritrean Government to comply with the resolutions of the Human Rights Council.

Adoption of the Report of the Session

GULNARA ISKAKOVA, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, introducing the draft report of the twenty-first session of the Human Rights Council, said that it contained a procedural description of the work up until and including the thirty-fifth meeting of the Council before it had started taking action on draft texts. During its three-week session, the Council had heard an update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, had held discussions on a wide range of topics at the four panels and during interactive dialogues with Special Procedure mandate holders, with the Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in Syria and the Advisory Committee. The Council had also considered the outcome of Universal Periodic Review of 14 countries.

The Council then adopted this draft report ad referendum.

LAURA LASSERRE DUPUY, President of the Human Rights Council, suggested that the Human Rights Council hold an organizational session for the next cycle on Monday 10 December, to proceed with the election of a new president and if possible other members of the Bureau. With such a meeting, a vacuum at the beginning of next year could be avoided. The President further said that the consultations on the topic for the next High Level Panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming, to take place in March 2013, would start soon and added that she would consult with interested delegations to reach consensus on a topic in the coming weeks.

Joint Statement by Non-Governmental Organizations

International Service for Human Rights, in a joint statement, said that the Council’s potential was stifled by Geneva politics and that several resolutions adopted at this session failed to clearly reflect the situation on the ground, to condemn human rights violations and to emphasise State responsibility. They also called on the Council to adopt a resolution in March outlining concrete steps to prevent and react to reprisals, saying that an unprecedented number had taken place against participants of this session, and went beyond reporting.

Concluding Remarks by the President of the Council

LAURA LASSERRE DUPUY, President of the Human Rights Council, reminded the Council of the statement of the United Nations Secretary-General at the beginning of this session of the Human Rights Council and said that States had an obligation to create an environment where human rights defenders could carry out their work safely. Cases of reprisals continued to be reported and this was unacceptable. It was the collective responsibility of the members of the Council to ensure that those cooperating with the Council and its mechanisms did so without fear for themselves and their families.


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC12/128E


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