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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADVISORY COMMITTEE OPENS NINTH SESSION

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADVISORY COMMITTEE OPENS NINTH SESSION
6 August 2012

The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee this morning opened its ninth session, hearing statements from the President of the Human Rights Council and the Director of the Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Committee discussed and adopted its agenda and programme of work for the session.

Laura Dupuy Lasserre, President of the Human Rights Council, said that the Human Rights Council would hold its first interactive dialogue with the President of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee in its September session. The Advisory Committee would be working during its session on several studies requested by the Human Rights Council. Those included a study on how a better understanding and appreciation of traditional values ​​of humanity could contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights, a study on terrorist hostage-taking, inputs to a draft declaration on the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity, and two studies in relation to the right to food, namely discrimination in the context of the right to food and the human rights of the poor urban population, and the enjoyment of the right to food by rural women.

Bacre Ndiaye, Director of Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted the two contributions relevant to the debate on the contribution of traditional values to the promotion and protection of human rights. Those included the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women on the alarming increase of gender-related killings of women, many of which were culturally and socially embedded and continued to be accepted, tolerated and justified, and the Special Procedures joint statement recalling that cultural diversity could not be used to support segregation and harmful practices which ran counter to the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights.

At the beginning of the session, the Advisory Committee observed a minute of silence for all victims of human rights violations around the world.

Taking up the second item on its agenda, namely requests addressed to the Advisory Committee stemming from the Human Rights Council resolutions, the Committee started discussions on the preliminary study on promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind. A summary of the discussion will be reflected in this afternoon’s press release.


The next meeting of the Advisory Committee will be held at 3 p.m. this afternoon, when it is scheduled to continue its deliberations on the preliminary study on promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind.


Opening Statements

LAURA DUPUY LASSERRE, President of the Human Rights Council, said that during its previous sessions, the Human Rights Council had set significant time aside to debate thematic issues and had established a new thematic mandate on the environment. New thematic issues had been debated too, such as violence against persons on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As part of the annual day of discussion on human rights of women, the Council had discussed legal remedies of women and victims of violence and women human rights defenders. During its twentieth session, the Human Rights Council had established a Working Group to discuss the draft United Nations declaration on the right to peace. In cooperation with several States, Ms. Dupuy Lasserre had organized a parallel event on the improvement in international cooperation with a particular focus on regional human rights mechanisms.

There would be four panel debates in the September session of the Human Rights Council, said the President, including on the access to justice for indigenous people and on intimidation and reprisals against individuals and groups that collaborated with the United Nations Special Procedures. The interactive dialogue with the President of the Human Rights Advisory Committee would take place during this session for the first time. The Advisory Committee would be working during its session on several studies requested by the Human Rights Council. Those included a study on how a better understanding and appreciation of traditional values ​​of humanity could contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights, a study on terrorist hostage-taking, inputs to a draft declaration on the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity, and two studies in relation to the right to food, namely discrimination in the context of the right to food and human rights of the poor urban population, and the enjoyment of the right to food by rural women.

BACRE NDIAYE, Director of Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the Advisory Committee would be discussing the revised paper on international solidarity, with the view to contributing to the elaboration of a draft declaration on the right of peoples and individuals to international solidarity, to be presented to the Human Rights Council in 2014. The Advisory Committee had submitted the study on the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights to the March session of the Human Rights Council. With regard to the right to food and the global food crisis, the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food at the March session of the Council had emphasized that one in seven people globally were undernourished and many more suffered from hidden hunger of micronutrient deficiency. The intersection between malnutrition, childhood diseases and human rights had also been the subject of the study of the Advisory Committee submitted to the Council at its March session, taking children affected by noma as an example.

The Committee would be discussing at its ninth session two studies on the issue of discrimination in the context of the right to food. It was also mandated to prepare a study on human rights and terrorist hostage-taking and discuss the study on how a better understanding and appreciation of traditional values could contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights. Mr. Ndiaye highlighted two contributions relevant to this debate, which included the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women on the alarming increase of gender-related killings of women, many of which were culturally and socially embedded and continued to be accepted, tolerated and justified, with impunity as a norm. Special Procedures of the Council made a joint statement recalling that cultural diversity could not be used to support segregation and harmful practices which ran counter to the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights. The annual discussion on the integration of gender perspective in the work of the Council to be held in September would focus on women’s economic, social and cultural rights and the empowerment of women, in particular in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.


For use of the information media; not an official record

AC12/009E