4 December 2017
Geneva, 4 December 2017 (Issued as received) -- The Human Rights Council this afternoon elected Ambassador Vojislav Šuc, Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, to serve as its President for a one-year term beginning on 1 January 2018.
The Council also appointed Ambassador Antje Leendertse of Germany to serve as one of its four vice presidents, representing the Western European and Other Group. The current President of the Council, Ambassador Joaquin Alexander Maza Martelli of El Salvador, noted that the nominations of the remaining three Vice Presidents, representing the Asian Group, the African Group, and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, would be announced before the end of the year. All five candidates will serve as members of the Human Rights Council Bureau from 1 January to 31 December 2018 - the Council's twelfth cycle.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Maza Martelli, who has been serving as Human Rights Council President throughout 2017, noted how "worsening global conflicts were an affront to human rights" and stressed that the Human Rights Council had the ultimate responsibility of "protecting children, women and the elderly, minorities affected by violence, refugees, migrants, ethnic groups discriminated by their religion and beliefs".
"The Sustainable Development Goals and human rights represent a valid, holistic opportunity for States to incorporate their national development plans...where dreams of equality and respect for human dignity can be realized," Ambassador Maza Martelli added.
Commenting on his appointment as President for next year, Ambassador Šuc said: "In the past 11 years of its existence the Council was able to write many success stories that we should embrace." He added: "As people and victims of human rights violations and abuses, as well as others suffering from poverty, conflict, oppression, crisis and terror, continue to count on us to ensure protection of their inherent human rights and safeguard their freedom to live in dignity and free from fear, I firmly believe that we will rise to the occasion in demonstrating that this august body can and will deliver on its mandate even more effectively."
On 16 October, the General Assembly elected 15 members of the Human Rights Council to serve as members of the 47-member body filling the vacancies to be left at the end of this year.
At today's meeting, the President of the Council also announced the appointment of Victor Madrigal-Borloz from Costa Rica as the new Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, following the resignation of Vitit Muntarbhorn effective 31 October.
The Council also appointed Ambassador Alla Youssef, the new Permanent Representative of Egypt, as one of its Vice Presidents to fulfill the term of Ambassador Amr Ramadan, whose term of office recently ended, to the end of this year.
The 47 members of the Human Rights Council also decided that the theme for the 2017 high-level panel on human rights mainstreaming, to be held during the upcoming 37th regular session of the Council on 26 February 2018, would be "The promotion and protection of human rights in the light of the third cycle of the universal periodic review mechanism: challenges and opportunities."
The Council will hold its next organizational meeting on 10 January 2018 at which time it is expected to adopt its programme of work for the year and select troikas - country rapporteurs - for the human rights reviews to be carried out by its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in 2018. The 37th regular session will be held from 26 February to 23 March 2018.
For more information about the Human Rights Council, please visit the HRC website - http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/HRCIndex.aspx
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