Where global solutions are shaped for you | News & Media | HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL STARTS GENERAL DEBATE ON THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS

ACCESSIBILITY AT UNOG A A A A The United Nations in the Heart of Europe

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL STARTS GENERAL DEBATE ON THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS

Concludes Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development
15 September 2017

The Human Rights Council this afternoon started its general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, after hearing the presentation of reports by the Working Group on the right to development and the Working Group on private military and security companies, and the presentation of 10 thematic reports by the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Council concluded its interactive dialogue with Saad Alfarargi, the Special Rapporteur on the right to development.

Zamir Akram, Chairperson of the Working Group on the right to development, said the Working Group had discussed follow-up to the report on standards for the implementation of the right to development, and had also continued consideration of the draft criteria for the right to development and corresponding operational sub-criteria.

Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, Chairperson-Rapporteur of the intergovernmental Working Group on private military and security companies, said the Working Group recommended that the Human Rights Council consider the establishment of a new intergovernmental Working Group for a period of three years mandated to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework to protect human rights from violations relating to the activities of private military and security companies.

Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented 10 thematic reports submitted by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights and his Office. Those reports concerned the death penalty; the human rights of indigenous people; the right to development; the administration of justice; the implementation of the third phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education; a compendium of principles, good practices and policies on safe, orderly and regular migration; the promotion of the effective implementation of equal participation in political affairs through the United Nations system; the composition of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights; and cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights.

Some delegations participating in the general debate called for the drafting of a relevant legal instrument on the right to development. Others regretted that naming and shaming, double standards and political pressure still prevailed, saying that human rights should be promoted through poverty reduction and development for and by the people. A number of speakers said the elaboration of a relevant international binding instrument on private military and security companies was long overdue. Some said the death penalty constituted a serious violation of human rights and human dignity and called on States to abolish the death penalty or, as a first step, set up a moratorium on it. Some speakers observed that poverty eradication, food, education, health, water and sanitation were equally important as compared to other human rights, including civil and political rights. Without getting rid of hunger, the international community could never fully achieve the dream of the realization of all human rights.

Speaking in the general debate were Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, China on behalf of a group of countries, Tunisia on behalf of the African Group, Czechia on behalf of the core group of countries on equal participation, Estonia on behalf of the European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Turkmenistan on behalf of a group of 27 countries, Azerbaijan on behalf of a cross-regional group of 78 countries including the African Union, Georgia on behalf of Member States of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, Belgium, Switzerland, Cuba, United States, Venezuela, Ecuador, Georgia, South Africa, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Nigeria, China, Kuwait, Montenegro, Greece, Nicaragua and Russian Federation.

India spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Human Rights Council concluded its interactive dialogue with Saad Alfaragi, the Special Rapporteur on the right to development. The interactive dialogue with Mr. Alfarargi started on 14 September and a summary can be seen here.

During the discussion, delegations noted the importance of establishing international cooperation to realise the right to development, and expressed concern that the lack of commitment to the right to development could contribute to millions of peoples living under unfavourable conditions. Some speakers singled out tax evasion as detrimental to the right to development.

Mr. Alfaragi, delivering concluding remarks, said many opportunities had been lost in the last 30 years for the realization of the right to development, noting that all human rights were interlinked and the indivisible right to development meant that all people were entitled to participate and enjoy development in their economic, social and political dimensions.

Speaking in the dialogue were the delegations of Libya, South Africa, Bolivia, Tunisia, China, Ecuador, Nepal, Ethiopia, India, Botswana, Angola, Philippines, Bangladesh, Iran, Syria, Nigeria, Benin, Algeria, Indonesia, State of Palestine, Azerbaijan, United States, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Russian Federation, Fiji and Morocco.

The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights, Iraqi Development Organization, United Nations Watch, International Muslim Women’s Union, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII (joint statement), World Barua Organization, Lutheran World Federation and Association pour l’intégration et le Développement au Burundi.

The Human Rights Council will next meet on Monday, 18 September at 9 a.m. to continue its general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, before holding an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development

Libya noted that it was highly important to establish international cooperation to realise the right to development without any politicisation and in an inclusive manner, and to develop comprehensive benchmarks on the right to development. South Africa welcomed the important work of the Special Rapporteur, which had undoubtedly institutionalised the right to development within the United Nations. The right to development would not be realised without tangible political will. Bolivia shared the Special Rapporteur’s concerns over barriers and the lack of commitment to the right to development, which could contribute to millions of persons living under unfavourable conditions.

Tunisia reaffirmed the importance of realising the right to development, which embraced all of mankind. Each and every State had to develop its own approaches to create the necessary machinery to protect human rights and to allow people to take part in public management. China stated that the implementation of the right to development worldwide fell short. It was necessary to abide by the United Nations Charter in that endeavour, and to promote a more fair and equitable international order. Ecuador agreed that the right to development was equal to all other human rights. It regretted that in international negotiations there were still some States that negated the existence of that right, and it highlighted tax evasion as detrimental to the right to development.

Nepal said the right to development was not just a declaration; the reality of this right outside United Nations forums was reflected in the everyday lives of citizens in developing countries. The United Nations and the international community needed to take means to integrate the right to development and contribute to strengthen States’ capacity for its promotion. Ethiopia recalled that despite its recognition in different international instruments, the right to development continued to face many challenges. In many cases, lack of development was a root cause for violations of human rights. The key to “leave no one behind” was to realize the right to development, including for vulnerable populations. India supported the Special Rapporteur’s proposal to organize consultations to facilitate the implementation of the right to development. New institutions could facilitate its realization. How could this right provide a counter narrative to current negative global trends?

Botswana reaffirmed that the right to development was an inalienable human right that everyone was entitled to enjoy. The United Nations should work towards mainstreaming the right to development in line with the 2030 Agenda that represented a unique opportunity to achieve a fair economic development. Angola considered the right to development an inalienable right. Its realization under the 2030 Agenda involved building a world of stability. Despite much progress, many challenges now threatened to reverse it. Angola had adopted macroeconomic measures with satisfactory results. Philippines said it was determined to uplift the welfare of the country and to fulfil all the human rights of its citizens, particularly those belonging to the most vulnerable segments. The successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals depended on the participation of all stakeholders.

Bangladesh stated that there was a tangible link between the right to development and sustainable development. There were still some who lacked clarity on the right to development, but there was no need to re-evaluate what had already been established in that respect. Iran underlined the need to eliminate all barriers and challenges to the right to development, such as the continued debate on the already established concept. The international community should promote effective international cooperation for the realisation of the right to development. Syria urged all Member States to strengthen cooperation with the Special Rapporteur on the right to development, and called on the Special Rapporteur to pay attention to the impact of terrorism and foreign interventions on the right to development.

Nigeria noted that the subject of the right to development had been brought forward with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The lack of development opportunities posed a serious threat to the wellbeing of citizens of developing countries. Benin emphasised that the right to development would not be achieved without a fair and regulated international trading order, and without advances in the area of health, food, water and education. Algeria said that favourable conditions for each and every person were needed for the realisation of the right to development. How could the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development help in the effective implementation of the right to development?

Indonesia said the realization of the right to development was more necessary than ever. Conflicts in many parts of the world were hindering the right to development, and there should be a commitment from all States to realize that important right. State of Palestine said the right to development had been recognized as a human right. The occupation hindered the economic development of Palestine; ending the occupation was the only just solution. Azerbaijan said the right to development identified development as a comprehensive process aimed at the improvement of the entire population. Azerbaijan had achieved impressive progress in many areas, and was working to develop a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

United States reaffirmed its commitment to international development as a means to promote the inclusion and dignity of all. All development needed to be undertaken in a manner that was consistent with human rights, and the United States encouraged all States to implement all human rights regardless of their level of development. Saudi Arabia said the right to development was a fundamental right. Saudi Arabia gave 4 per cent of its GDP to official development assistance, some $67 billion, which was the highest rate in the world. Saudi Arabia called on all countries to ensure the realization of this important right. Sri Lanka said the right to development had provided an approach toward development for all. There was a need to optimize the momentum gained by the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Russian Federation outlined that development was a prerequisite to realizing human rights. States bore the main responsibility in realizing the right to development. It was important to recognize the right of States to select their own economic paths and to respect cultural differences between States. Fiji said it had embarked on a green growth framework to accelerate sustainable development and meet climate change challenges. It was crucial to use resources with care and ensure that effective advocacy strategies were put in place. Morocco outlined that slogans were not needed any longer. It was time for effective actions to ensure the full realization of all human rights. Morocco expressed concerns that despite successes, economic disparities remained more flagrant than before. Furthermore, it was not possible to talk about development without talking about sustainable development.

Swedish Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights - RFSL, in a joint statement with International Lesbian and Gay Association, noted that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons often could not enjoy social and economic development due to discrimination against them. The organization welcomed that the Special Rapporteur was guided by inclusiveness in all aspects of his work. Iraqi Development Organization drew attention to the discrimination of the Shia in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, especially in employment, accommodation and education. That practice was most evident in Bahrain’s recruitment of military and police personnel. United Nations Watch urged the Special Rapporteur to scrutinise Governments that stifled or hijacked the economic and social development of their own citizens. It noted that the Special Rapporteur had not mentioned the responsibility of the Hamas Government for the lack of development of the people of Gaza.

International Muslim Women’s Union called on the High Commissioner for Human Rights to pay attention to the plight of Kashmiri children in India who were denied access to education and were, thus, excluded from the right to development. Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, in a joint statement with several NGOs1, stressed the importance of the Declaration on the Right to Development considering the asymmetric and inequitable impacts of global governance in trade, investment, finance and development. It called on the Special Rapporteur to address the issue of migrants and refugees through the lens of the right to development. World Barua Organization drew attention to India’s socio-economic indicators and serious problems in healthcare facilities, employment and accommodation in underdeveloped regions. It urged the Council to review those issues with the Indian Government.

Lutheran World Federation highlighted the experience that faith-based organizations had in the field of development work, adding that the nexus between religious organizations and development should be noted. The Special Rapporteur was asked to which extent he saw faith-based organizations as development partners. Association pour l'Intégration et le Développement Durable au Burundi said Indian society was characterized by a caste structure, with the lower castes suffering at the hands of the higher castes. The right to development of Dalits was being undermined by this system.

Concluding Remarks by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development

SAAD ALFARAGI, Special Rapporteur on the right to development, outlined that many opportunities had been lost in the last 30 years for the realization of the right to development. Millions of common citizens were still waiting to enjoy this right fully. Mr. Alfaragi said that only when people had access to education, financial services, health care and housing, when they could fully participate in shaping the policies that governed their lives, were they able to lead their lives to their full potential. All human rights were interlinked and the indivisible right to development meant that all people were entitled to participate and enjoy development in their economic, social and political dimensions. He invited all stakeholders to help the Working Group on the right to development to realize its work fully and independently. Agenda 2030 was an opportunity to make the right to development effective.

Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Working Group on the Right to Development on its eighteenth session (Geneva, 3-7 April 2017) (A/HRC/36/35).

The Council has before it 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 (A/HRC/36/36).

The Council has before it the Composition of the staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/36/18).

The Council has before it the Summary of the Human Rights Council panel discussion on access to medicines (A/HRC/36/19).

The Council has before it the Summary of the panel discussion on realizing the right to health by enhancing capacity-building in public health - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/36/20).

The Council has before it the Panel discussion on unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents and human rights - Summary report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/36/21).

The Council has before it the Consolidated report of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right to development (A/HRC/36/23).

The Council has before it the Midterm progress report on the implementation of the third phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/36/24).

The Council has before it the Communications report of Special Procedures (A/HRC/36/25).

The Council has before it the Capital punishment and the implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty - Yearly supplement of the Secretary-General to his quinquennial report on capital punishment (A/HRC/36/26).

The Council has before it the High-level panel discussion on the question of the death penalty - Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/36/27).

The Council has before it the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on non-discrimination and the protection of persons with increased vulnerability in the administration of justice, in particular in situations of deprivation of liberty and with regard to the causes and effects of overincarceration and overcrowding (A/HRC/36/28).

The Council has before it the Report of the Secretary-General on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism - Note by the secretariat (A/HRC/36/29).

The Council has before it the Expert workshop on best practices to promote women's equal nationality rights in law and in practice - Summary report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/36/30).

The Council has before it the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the compendium of principles, good practices and policies on safe, orderly and regular migration in line with international human rights law (A/HRC/36/42).

Presentation of Report by the Working Group on the Right to Development

ZAMIR AKRAM, Chairperson of the Working Group on the right to development, said that the Working Group had continued to hold an interactive dialogue with experts, representatives of Governments, United Nations agencies and civil society. That constructive exchange of information and initiatives provided an opportunity for the Working Group to assess the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals from the perspective of the right to development. The Working Group had discussed follow-up to the report on standards for the implementation of the right to development, and had also continued consideration of the draft criteria for the right to development and corresponding operational sub-criteria.

Not much progress had been made on the reading of that document, despite the initiative to integrate the agreed language of the Sustainable Development Goals in the criteria and sub-criteria as a way for building consensus. Mr. Akram had also convened informal consultations with the view to advancing the elaboration of the criteria and the set of standards of the implementation of the right to development. During that consultation, Member States had agreed to engage in informal consultations in the coming months to find and present at the next session of the Group in 2018 proposals on the way forward in the elaboration of the set of standards, criteria and sub-criteria. At its next meeting, the Working Group would hold an interactive discussion with the Special Rapporteur on the right to development. Despite the work undertaken so far, Mr. Akram said that differences among Member States had continued to persist, and one State had conveyed its dissociation with the work of the Group. Nevertheless, the consensus represented by the Sustainable Development Goals should help resolve the differing views around the right to development.

Presentation of Report by the Working Group on Private Military and Security Companies

NOZIPHO JOYCE MXAKATO DISEKO, Chair-Rapporteur of the intergovernmental Working Group on private military and security companies, recalled that the open-ended intergovernmental Working Group was established by the Human Rights Council to consider the possibility of elaborating an intergovernmental regulatory framework, with the option of elaborating a legally-binding instrument on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, including their accountability. Since its establishment, the intergovernmental Working Group had held six sessions, discussing a range of thematic issues, including the definition, scope and nature of private military and security companies by the United Nations as well as existing national laws and practices related to accountability from human rights abuses linked to the activities of such companies. These discussions had been enriched by the contribution of experts who helped the Working Group to understand cross-cutting issues such as access to justice and remedies for victims of violations and abuses of private military and security companies, and problems and key challenges encountered by Member States as well as the industry.

The intergovernmental Working Group had recommended that the Human Rights Council consider the establishment of a new intergovernmental Working Group for a period of three years mandated to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework to protect human rights for violations relating to the activities of private military and security companies. It also invited governments, relevant Special Procedure mandate holders and mechanisms of the Council to bring their contributions. Human rights abuses perpetrated by private military and security companies must be addressed. Accountability and effective remedies should be ensured for victims.

Presentation of Thematic Reports by the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights

KATE GILMORE, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, introduced 10 reports of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner on a range of thematic issues. The first was a report of the Secretary-General on the death penalty, which examined how it impacted the human rights of those facing it, and urged States to ensure that all accused people had adequate legal representation. The second report was the High Commissioner’s report on the human rights of indigenous people, which noted that democratic space for indigenous human rights defenders was shrinking in many places, and that more support was needed to human rights defenders, as well as better access to justice. The third report was the consolidated report of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner on the right to development, which presented an overview of recent activities by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and analysed the implementation of that right at the international level. The report made several recommendations, including to strengthen respect by the private sector for human rights, labour and environmental standards. The fourth report introduced by Ms. Gilmore was on the topic of the administration of justice, which considered the impact that over-incarceration and overcrowding had on persons with increased vulnerability.

Ms. Gilmore next introduced the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights midterm progress report on the implementation of the third phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, which summarized information received from 20 States and 18 national human rights institutions. The sixth report she introduced had been requested by the Human Rights Council for the High Commissioner to prepare a compendium of principles, good practices and policies on safe, orderly and regular migration. The report recommended that the Global Compact on migration be migrant-centred, human rights-based and gender-responsive. Next up was the report on the half-day expert workshop on the best practices to promote women’s equal nationality rights in law and in practice. She then provided the requested oral update on the promotion of the effective implementation of equal participation in political affairs through the United Nations system. Regional consultations provided an opportunity for all stakeholders to share good practices and recommendations on ways to effectively implement the right to participate in public affairs. Turning to the next report, she informed the Council that it was on the composition of the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, giving an overview of the professional and higher category staff members. The final report she presented was the Secretary-General’s report on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, noting that it would be presented separately by the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.

General Debate on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the Right to Development

Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reiterated the urgent need to ensure that the right to development was a reality for everyone, calling for the drafting of a relevant legal instrument. It was key to work collectively to ensure an equitable international order that promoted the right to development for all. There was a delicate balance between civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights. Highlighting certain aspects of human rights would lead to the fragmented implementation of those rights.

China, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, stated that naming and shaming, double standards and political pressure still prevailed. The international community should uphold the principles of the United Nations Charter and respect socio-economic systems chosen by different peoples. The international community should pursue win-win cooperation and conduct practical and effective cooperation. Human rights should be promoted through poverty reduction and development for and by the people.

Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, noted that the inter-Governmental Working Group had provided more understanding on the issues related to private military and security companies, and it underlined the need to regulate and monitor their activities. The elaboration of a relevant international binding instrument was long overdue. As for the right to development, economic development should be achieved through cooperation and respect for the interests of developing countries.

Czechia, speaking on behalf of the core group of countries on equal participation, thanked the Deputy High Commissioner for her update on the preparation of concise and action-oriented draft guidelines on the effective implementation of the right to participate in public efforts. It was important to address the issue of participation in a meaningful manner. All actors should continue to engage in the drafting process and share ideas and best practices with the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner.

Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union, considered that the death penalty constituted a serious violation of human rights and human dignity. It was concerned that a few countries had recently called for the reintroduction of the death penalty while others had broken longstanding moratoria. It called on States to abolish the death penalty or, as a first step, set up a moratorium on it. Concerning the right to development, the European Union reiterated that it was important to keep in mind that States were primarily responsible for ensuring its realization.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, hoped that a development-based approach was integrated in the work of the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner since it was not possible to protect and promote basic human rights without meeting the basic needs of the people. Poverty eradication, food, education, health, water and sanitation were equally important as compared to other human rights, including civil and political rights. Without getting rid of hunger, the international community could never fully achieve the dream of the realization of all human rights.

Turkmenistan, speaking on behalf of a group of 27 countries, recognized the potential of sport to promote the values of respect and dignity and as a means to combat all forms of discrimination. The participation of refugee teams in sporting events had the potential to bring global attention to the magnitude of the current refugee crisis. All United Nations Member States were called on to support initiatives on the participation of refugee teams in major international sporting events while strongly encouraging host countries to implement them.

Azerbaijan, speaking on behalf of a cross-regional group of 78 countries, said the right to development facilitated the development of all human rights. The effectiveness of public institutions could only be possible through transparency and good governance. Public services that were free of corruption led to greater confidence from populations, and accessibility was an additional important component. Human rights aspects of the issue had until now been dealt with only on an ad-hoc basis, and it was important to fill that gap in highlighting service delivery.

Georgia, speaking on behalf of Member States of the Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, said the organization had transformed into a solid regional framework embracing a wide spectrum of activities in political, economic, cultural, humanitarian as well as security spheres. All Member States of the organization also shared common problems such as violations of their territorial integrity. That undermined States’ democratic development. Armed conflict was one of the main causes of violations of the right to development. The resolution of conflicts in the region would contribute to safeguarding peace in the region.

Belgium expressed concern over the frequent discriminatory application of the death penalty. Further studies should be undertaken regarding the racial and ethnic disparities in the application of the death penalty. Protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism was also a priority for Belgium. Human rights possessed an inherent preventive power and they should be mainstreamed in all United Nations counter-terrorism initiatives.

Switzerland expressed hope that the consensus reached at the sixth session of the Working Group on private military and security companies would be confirmed by the Human Rights Council. It encouraged States to lend their support to the Montreux Document on better regulation of private military and security companies, noting that Switzerland was in favour of efforts to ensure respect for international law and good governance.

Cuba said that the current unfair international order was extremely detrimental to the right to development, as were wars and sanctions. Cuba would continue to support work towards the adoption of an international legal framework to regulate, monitor and oversee the activities of private military and security companies.

United States said that State-sanctioned enforced disappearances were devastating to both the victims and their families. The United States supported the Council’s continued attention to this important issue. The United States was dismayed by the scale of disappearances in Syria where at least 85,000 people had disappeared. It reaffirmed the importance of the prevention and protection against human rights abuses and the importance of oversight and accountability in the activities of private military and security companies

Venezuela noted the challenges which had impeded the implementation of the right to development. Fully realizing this right required the involvement of all. Venezuela supported the idea of adopting a set of norms that should pave the way to a legal instrument based on the Declaration on the Right to Development. There was an urgent need to adopt self-regulating mechanisms on private military and security companies as well as an international legal framework in order to impede violations of human rights by such companies.

Ecuador underscored the importance of providing victims of human rights violations by private military and security companies with access to justice and reparations. Ecuador supported the idea of creating a new intergovernmental Working Group that would draft a legal framework to regulate the activities of private military and security companies. It should be a legally binding instrument complemented by other unbinding instruments. Finally, Ecuador commended the work of the Special Rapporteur on the right to development.

Georgia said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development had become a tool for all stakeholders to defend development. A Sustainable Development Goals Coordinating Council had been established in Georgia. Because of foreign military occupation, some in Georgia were unable to benefit from the 2030 Agenda. Major steps had been taken by the Government to mitigate extreme poverty and ensure respect for women’s empowerment. The Istanbul Convention had come into force on 1 September 2017.

South Africa said it had chaired the Working Group on private military and security companies, and noted that the Group had focused on areas of convergence to avoid divisions between delegations. Better regulation was about operationalizing the mandate of the Council. Reaching consensus represented an important breakthrough, and South Africa would therefore table a related resolution informed by the discussion documents agreed to. South Africa continued to support the work of the Working Group on the right to development.

Kenya reiterated its support for the right to development, adding that it believed that States bore the duty to fulfil that right for their citizens. However, the international community was also bound to fulfil the right to development. Kenya supported the call of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to allocate sufficient resources to pave the way for mainstreaming the right to development and for the Working Group to consider the criteria and operational sub-criteria and finalize them.

Republic of Korea remained concerned about the recent regression of liberal democracy and the rule of law in some parts of the world. Restricted freedom of opinion, radicalism and limited space for civil society were threatening democratic principles. The empowerment of local governments could contribute to fortifying democracy and promoting human rights. At a closer level to citizens, local governments were the catalyser of democracy.

Indonesia remained concerned about the fact that international cooperation still lagged behind, and about the low percentage of the gross national product from developed countries being allocated to less developed countries. In order to enable more implementable outcomes, United Nations human rights mechanisms had to support the actual needs and priorities of each countries.

Nigeria underlined the importance of the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers and their families, and it urged transit and destination countries to protect vulnerable migrants, particularly women and children. Migrant workers made important contributions to their host communities. Turning to the report of the Inter-Governmental Working Group on private military and security companies, Nigeria stated that it had ensured respect for the code of conduct of its military personnel.

China said it was against naming and shaming as well as double standards in the field of human rights. China voiced concern at the ongoing issue of enforced disappearances. In the United States, discrimination was rampant and there were many cases of arbitrary detentions of people of African and Asian origins. In Guantanamo many suspects were detained without legal procedures and suffered torture. China rejected the allegations of the United States about the alleged disappearances of Hong Kong citizens.

Kuwait stressed the importance of engaging in concerted efforts in order to move towards the objectives contained in the 2030 Agenda and to eradicate hunger and poverty. Kuwait provided humanitarian assistance to countries in need without any discrimination. The economic fund of Kuwait played a key role in contributing to the fight against poverty in developing countries in different continents of the world.

Montenegro said that despite the progress made so far, much remained to be done nationally and internationally to implement human rights education in all sectors. Montenegro continued to implement a wide range of activities, including civil education within school curricula at the primary and secondary level and the permanent programme of education of different branches of State officials. It remained committed to improve its efforts in the field of human rights education.

Greece said human rights were even more crucial at times of economic constraints where cultural rights tended to be marginalized. Greece unequivocally supported the right to development in conformity with the indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights. Greece was participating in cross-regional initiatives in the Council, and would take the initiative on a resolution on promoting human rights through sport and the Olympic idea.

Nicaragua said war hampered the promotion of all human rights, including the right to development. Attacks by non-State actors violated people’s rights, and Nicaragua reiterated its dismay at attacks and the use of force against Venezuela. Member States and observers should respect international law and embrace peaceful means of dispute resolution.

Russian Federation said political bias in the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights led to a lack of attention to aggressive nationalism. A serious challenge was the growth in terrorism and its negative effect on human rights. Historical revisionism was being ignored, and persecution of dissent was seriously concerning. Because of the attempts of a group of countries, an imbalance in the Human Rights Council was becoming apparent.

Right of Reply

India, speaking in a right of reply in response to the statement by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, regretted that the statement contained factually incorrect and misleading references to Jammu and Kashmir, which was an integral part of India. India categorically rejected such references and called on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to refrain from making such references in future.


__________

1Joint statement: Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII; Heart's Home; Dominicans for Justice and Peace Order of Preachers; Foundation for GAIA; International Organization for the Right to Education and Freedom of Education; International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development -VIDES; Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco; International Movement of Apostolate in the Independent Social Milieus; New Humanity; Planetary Association for Clean Energy Inc.; Teresian Association; and World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations.



For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC/17/129E