12 August 2013
The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee this morning opened its eleventh session, hearing addresses from Iruthisham Adam, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, and Jane Connors, Chief of Special Procedures branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It also adopted its agenda and programme of work.
In her opening statement Iruthisham Adam, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, gave an overview of the Human Rights Council’s work during its March and June sessions this year, which included activities towards the post 2015 agenda, as well as its role towards achieving Millennium Development Goals two and three by 2015. Ms. Adam in particular spoke about the Council’s activities on the right to education, the rights of women and of persons with disabilities, the death penalty, and, in the June session, the Council’s first consideration of the issue of attacks and discrimination towards persons with albinism. Issues on the agenda for the upcoming twenty-fourth session of the Human Rights Council in September included the human rights of children whose parents had been sentenced to death, the right to development and the safety of journalists.
Jane Connors, Chief of Special Procedures branch of Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, delivering a statement on behalf of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. To mark the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had co-hosted the “Vienna 20” Conference on 27 and 28 June 2013 with the Austrian Government. The goals set forth were still valid and worth fighting for in 2013, but gaps remained in the full implementation of the Vienna document, including discrimination, impunity, corruption and poverty. Ms. Connors emphasized the importance of the gender perspective in the field of human rights and reiterated the significance of international solidarity as a key element in the fight against poverty. She said that the Council would continue its work on the right to peace, and regarding the issue of traditional values, the Council had requested the Office of the High Commissioner to collect information on best practices in the application of traditional values while promoting and protecting human rights and upholding dignity.
Ms. Connors recalled that during the March 2013 session the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 22/16 which gave the Advisory Committee a mandate to prepare a report on best practices and key challenges identified regarding the promotion and protection of human rights in situations following a disaster or conflict, and the importance placed on human rights in the wake of humanitarian crisis particularly with regard to sustainable development. Ms. Connors also spoke about resolution 23/3, in which the Council requested the Committee identify areas where further progress could be made for the enhancement of international cooperation and dialogue in the United Nations human rights machinery, including the Council. The Office was working with United Nations Development Programme in Vienna on a publication on human rights and countering corruption and preparing a report on the role of the public service as an essential component of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights. The Committee was also invited to consider the work of other human rights bodies, including the Special Rapporteur on Migration and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Advisory Committee observed a minute of silence for all victims of human rights violations around the world.
The Advisory Committee will at 12 p.m. begin a discussion on human rights in post-disaster and post-conflict situations.
For use of the information media; not an official record