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COUNCIL ADOPTS 11 TEXTS, EXTENDS MANDATES ON IMPLEMENTATION OF DURBAN DECLARATION AND PRIVATE MILITARY AND SECURITY COMPANIES
Council Adopts Four Texts on Occupied Palestinian and Arab Territories and Extends Mandate on Haiti
22 March 2013

The Human Rights Council this afternoon closed its twenty-second session after adopting nine resolutions and two presidential statements. The Council extended the mandates of the Working Group on the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and of the Working Group on the regulation and monitoring of the activities of private military and security companies.  It also adopted four resolutions on the Occupied Palestinian and Other Arab Territories and extended the mandate of the Independent Expert on Haiti.

Other texts dealt with measures to combat intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief; measures to promote and protect the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and education as a tool to fight racism and xenophobia; and mainstreaming human rights throughout the United Nations system.

In concluding remarks, Remigiuscz A. Henczel, President of the Human Rights Council, said he continued to encourage all those who participated in the Council’s work to discuss all issues with appropriate levels of dignity and respect.  Tolerance and respect for others’ views had to remain the principles for future discussions.  As stressed on a number of occasions, any acts of intimation or reprisals against individuals and groups that did or had cooperated with the United Nations were unacceptable and had to end. 

In a resolution on the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by a vote of 34 in favour, 1 against and 12 abstentions, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group for a period of three years.

In a resolution adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 11 against and 5 abstentions, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the elaboration of a framework for the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies for a further two year period, and requested the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to provide the Working Group with all financial and human resources necessary for the fulfillment of its mandate.      

In a presidential statement on technical assistance to Haiti, adopted without a vote, the Council welcomed the request of the Haitian authorities to prolong the mandate of the Independent Expert for one year and decided to accept the request.

Regarding Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by a vote of 44 in favour, 1 against and 2 abstentions, the Council called upon Israel to take and implement serious measures to prevent acts of violence by Israeli settlers.

In a resolution on the right of Palestinian people to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against and 0 abstentions, the Council decided to continue the consideration of this matter at its session in March 2014.

With regard to the resolution on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against and 0 abstentions, the Council demanded that Israel cease all practices and actions that violated the human rights of the Palestinian people and requested that the Secretary-General reports on the implementation of the present resolution to the Council at its September session of 2013.

Concerning the follow-up to the report of the independent international fact-finding mission investigating the implications of Israeli settlements on rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, 1 against and 0 abstentions, the Council requested that the relevant Working Group fulfill its mandate accordingly.

In a presidential statement adopted without a vote, the Council welcomed the high-level panel discussion on mainstreaming human rights throughout the United Nations system held at its twenty-second session.

The Council decided not to take action on its resolution on the protection of the family, as sponsors of that resolution requested that action be deferred to a later date.

Regarding a resolution on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, discrimination, and violence against persons based on religion or belief, the Council called upon States to adopt measures and policies to promote full respect for places of worship and religious sites.

The Council called upon States to take all necessary measures to ensure that the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health was promoted and protected.

Regarding a resolution on education as a tool to prevent racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, 0 against and 1 abstentions, the Council urged States to adopt and implement laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, colour, and national or ethnic origin, at all levels of education.

Egypt, Pakistan, Ireland on behalf of European Union, South Africa on behalf of African Group, Uruguay on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries, Brazil, Portugal, and Mozambique spoke in introduction of resolutions.

Speaking in general comments were Qatar, Chile, Gabon on behalf of African Group, United States of America, Ireland on behalf of European Union, Italy, Brazil on behalf of the  Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries, Mauritania, Ecuador, Libya, and Costa Rica.

Speaking in explanation of the vote before or after the vote were United States, Ireland on behalf of the European Union, Czech Republic, Mauritania on behalf of the African Group, Switzerland, Pakistan, Qatar, Chile, and Japan.

Haiti spoke as a concerned country. 

The following observer States spoke on the resolutions adopted: Malta, Singapore, Belarus, China, Egypt, Bahrain, Russian Federation, Jamaica, Australia and Cuba.

Morocco, Azerbaijan on behalf of a group of countries, and the non-governmental organizations North-South XXI and International Service for Human Rights also took the floor.

The twenty-third session of the Human Rights Council will be held from 27 May to 14 June 2013.  
 
Action on Text Under the Agenda Item on Organizational and Procedural Matters

Action on Presidential Statement on Mainstreaming Human Rights Throughout the United Nations System

In a presidential statement (A/HRC/22/L.56) regarding Mainstreaming human rights throughout the United Nations system, adopted without a vote, as orally revised, the Council acknowledges that peace and security, development and human rights are the pillars of the United Nations system, and welcomes the high-level panel discussion on mainstreaming human rights throughout the United Nations system held at its twenty-second session.

REMIGIUSCZ A. HENCZEL, President of the Human Rights Council, introducing draft presidential statement L.56, said that he hoped the draft statement would enjoy the support of all in the room. 

Qatar, speaking in a general comment, expressed its support for the draft presidential statement and its focus on the high-level panel on mainstreaming of human rights in the United Nations system.  Qatar looked forward to the unanimous adoption of the draft presidential statement. 

Chile, speaking in a general comment, said it echoed the condolences expressed to Bangladesh.  Peace, security, development and human rights were fundamental pillars of the United Nations and the twentieth anniversary of the Vienna Conference allowed the Council to restate its political commitment to an integral vision of human rights. 

Gabon, speaking on behalf of the African Group in a general comment, said that this initiative could ensure that the right to development was as important as civil and political rights.  The African Group expressed regret that the original draft statement had been mutilated by removing the post-2012 development agenda which was particularly relevant for the African continent.

Action on Resolution Under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights

Action on Draft Resolution on the Protection of the Family

Draft resolution (A/HRC/22/L.25) regarding protection of the family, was deferred to a future date. 

Egypt said that several provisions on the family existed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The text of L.25 aimed at holding a panel discussion on an obligation that had often been neglected.  It could largely be attributed to two main reasons, namely the lack of a definition of the family, given the wide special and cultural difference between societies, and the excessive focus at the international level on individual rights at the expense of collective rights.  A discussion would allow for an exchange of views and lessons learned, as well as for the identification of implementation gaps and perhaps ways on how to tackle them.  The consideration of the draft would be postponed to another date, as no consensus had been reached.  

Action on Resolutions Under the Agenda Item on the Human Rights Situation in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories

Action on Resolution on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in the Occupied Syrian Golan

In a resolution (A/HRC/22/L.42) regarding Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan, adopted by a vote of 44 in favour, 1 against and 2 abstentions, the Council expresses its grave concern at the continuing Israeli settlement and related activities, in violation of international law; the increasing number of newly built structures, including a large number of permanent buildings and structures; the implications on the final status negotiations of Israel’s announcement that it will retain the major settlement blocs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; the expansion of Israeli settlements and the construction of new ones; and the Israeli operating of a tramway between West Jerusalem and the settlement of Pisgat Zeec.  The Council calls upon Israel to take and implement serious measures, including the confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of preventing acts of violence by Israeli settlers.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (44): Angola, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Montenegro, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Against (1): United States.

Abstentions (2): Côte d'Ivoire, and Kenya.

Pakistan, introducing draft resolution L.42, noted the continued construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied State of Palestine and said that the draft resolution sought to respond to the humanitarian and human rights challenges as a result of Israeli practices in the occupied Arab territories.  It also condemned the recent Israeli announcement of the construction of new settlements in the West Bank and around occupied East Jerusalem.  Pakistan hoped that in dealing with this illegal situation, widely condemned by the international community, the Council would also keep its humanitarian and human rights aspects in view and adopt the draft resolution with consensus.

Action on Resolution on the Right of Palestinian People to Self-Determination

In a resolution (A/HRC/22/L.43) regarding the right of Palestinian people to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against and no abstentions, the Council reaffirms the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and to establish their sovereign, independent, democratic and viable contiguous State.  It also reaffirms its support for the solution of two States living side by side in peace and security, Palestine and Israel.  The Council stresses the need for respect for and preservation of the territorial unity, continuity and integrity of all of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem; and urges all Member States and relevant bodies of the United Nations system to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.  The Council decides to continue the consideration of this question at its session in March 2014.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (46): Angola, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Montenegro, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Against (1):United States.

Abstentions (0):

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and introducing draft resolution L.43, said the resolution focused on the unquestionable right of self-determination of the Palestinian people, granted to them by the United Nations Charter, international law, relevant human rights instruments and United Nations resolutions.  The draft resolution stressed the need for respect for and preservation of the territorial unity, contiguity and integrity of all the Occupied State of Palestine, including East Jerusalem.  It also urged the international community to support and assist the Palestinian people in the early realization of their right to self-determination.  It contained facts recognized, acknowledged and cherished by the international community.  Due to the universal character of this right and its continued wide applicability to numerous situations in the world, in particular to the Palestinian people, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation hoped the resolution would be adopted by consensus. 

Action on Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

In a resolution (A/HRC/22/L.44) regarding the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against and no abstentions, the Council demands that Israel, the occupying Power, cease all practices and actions that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the killing and injury of civilians; comply fully with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention; cease all of its settlement activities, the construction of the wall and any other measures aimed at altering the character, status and demographic composition of the Occupied Palestinian Territory; and comply with its legal obligations under international law.  The resolution calls upon Israel to cease its imposition of prolonged closures and economic and movement restrictions, in order to allow for the sustained and regular movement of persons and goods and for the acceleration of long overdue reconstruction in the Gaza Strip.  The Council requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of the present resolution to the Council at its September session of 2013.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (46): Angola, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Montenegro, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Against (1): United States.

Abstentions (0):

Pakistan, introducing the draft resolution L.44, said that it expressed grave concern over the continuing violations of human rights of Palestinians by Israel the occupying Power as a result of the excessive use of force and military operations.  This excessive use of force by Israel was aimed at changing the legal status and geographical nature of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.  The text urged Israel to cease all practices and actions that violated the human rights of the Palestinian people, including the killing, injury, arbitrary detention and imprisonment of civilians and confiscation of civilian property; and also urged the Member States to provide emergency assistance to the Palestinian people to alleviate the financial crisis and the dire socio-economic and humanitarian situation, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the European Union acknowledged the efforts of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation/Palestine in recent years to present texts closer to established positions of the European Union.  However, it had some reservations regarding language used in some paragraphs of the resolution.  It considered that ‘Palestinian government’ referred to the Palestinian Authority.  As a whole, the European Union had not expressed itself on the use of certain legal terms.  Despite this, it would be voting in favour of the resolution. 

Action on Resolution on Follow-Up to the Report on the Fact-Finding Mission
to Investigate the Implications of Israeli Settlements on Palestinian People

In a resolution (A/HRC/22/L.45 orally amended), adopted by a vote of 45 in favour, 1 against and no abstentions, regarding the follow-up to the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, the Council requests the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises to fulfil its mandate. The Council also requests the High Commissioner to present a report detailing the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to the Council at its twenty-fifth session.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (45): Angola, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Montenegro, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Against (1): United States.

Abstentions (0):

Pakistan, introducing draft resolution L.45, said that it reiterated a call upon all parties concerned, including the United Nations bodies, to implement and ensure the implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in accordance with their respective mandates.  It also requested the Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises to take the necessary measures relating to business activities connected to the illegal settlements, and the Secretary-General to present a report detailing the implementation of recommendations contained in the report at the twenty-fifth session of the Council.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it was deeply troubled by the Council’s bias and disproportionate focus on Israel.  The United States was committed to achieving real lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis.  The status quo was not sustainable for either.  The United States had opposed the resolution establishing the Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli settlements.  The situation was well known and documented and further focus would waste limited resources and time.  The United States would vote no. 

Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the European Union hoped to avoid the proliferation of reports and mechanisms under item 7.  Constructive discussions would have allowed the limiting of the report to one by the High Commissioner.  The Israeli settlements were illegal under international law and constituted an obstacle to peace.  The European Union believed the recommendations in the report were not capable of being implemented by all parties concerned.  It would be voting in favour of the resolution. 

Czech Republic, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the Czech Republic continued to be deeply concerned by the standing agenda item 7 of the Human Rights Council and said that the resolution on the Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli settlements created yet another mechanism among many. 

Action on Resolutions Under the Agenda Item on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance

Action on Resolution on the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration

In a resolution (A/HRC/22/L.26) regarding the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by a vote of 34 in favour, 1 against and 12 abstentions, as orally revised, the Council takes note of the efforts made by the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action in its constructive work aimed at the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the Outcome Document of the Durban Review.  The resolution decides to extend the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group for a period of three years and decides to remain seized of this important issue under the relevant agenda item.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (34): Angola, Argentina, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Against (1): United States.

Abstentions (12): Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland.

South Africa, speaking on behalf of the African Group and introducing draft resolution L.26, said the draft resolution was procedural in nature and aimed to extend the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  The Intergovernmental Working Group’s mandate remained ominously relevant in the modern day challenges experienced with respect to the scourges of racism and this was confirmed yesterday at the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The African Group was grateful to the Office of the High Commissioner, in particular the Anti-Discrimination Section, for putting together an exceptional panel of sport icons and other prominent personalities.  The African Group trusted that the Council would adopt the draft resolution by consensus. 

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the United States was profoundly committed to combating racism and racial discrimination wherever they occurred in cooperation with all countries of goodwill.  The concerns of the United States about the 2001 Durban Declaration and Programme of Action were well known, including its singling out of Israel and limitations on freedom of expression.  That was why the United States could not support the draft resolution and called for a vote.

Ireland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of the European Union, reiterated the commitment to obligations undertaken at the 2001 Durban World Conference and said that the draft resolution was far beyond the procedural resolution it expected.  The European Union Member States would therefore not be able to support the draft resolution and would abstain.

Action on Resolution on Combating Intolerance  against Persons Based on Religion or Belief

In a resolution (A/HRC/22/L.40) on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief, adopted without a vote, as orally revised, the Council notes the speech given by the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the fifteenth session of the Council and draws on his call on States to take actions to foster a domestic environment of religious tolerance, peace and respect.  The Council calls upon States to adopt measures and policies to promote full respect for and protection of places of worship and religious sites, cemeteries and shrines, and to take measures in cases where they are vulnerable to vandalism or destruction.  The Council also requests the High Commissioner to prepare and submit to the Council at its twenty-fifth session a report based upon information provided by States on the effects and measures taken by them for the implementation of the Action Plan. 

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and  introducing draft resolution L.40, said that the resolution was a defining resolution for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and was the result of an historic event by the Organization to build consensus on an issue of vital importance not only to Muslims but to peoples of all religions and beliefs, by identifying ways and means to deal with the growing problem of religious intolerance and discrimination, and incitement to hatred and violence based on religion.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation was concerned that Muslims around the world continued to be confronted with ever-increasing instances of intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatisation, discrimination and violence on the basis of their religion.  There was an urgent need to take concrete steps towards the implementation of the plan of action contained in the resolution or there was a very real chance of a breakdown of the delicate consensus on this issue.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation called upon the Council to adopt the draft by consensus.

United States, speaking in a general comment, said that it joined the consensus on this draft resolution and that for the third year in a row the Council had addressed the glaring discrimination based on religion or belief.  Today the world often heard of places of worship being attacked, oppressive laws infringing on freedom of religion or expression and attacks on religious minorities.  The United States urged States to redouble their efforts and implement the measures contained in the draft resolution.

Ireland, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, said that dialogue was the best way to overcome differences in opinion on the important issues of freedom of religion, thought or belief.  The draft resolution called on States to undertake concrete action to combat intolerance against persons based on religion or belief and the dilution of the emphasis on action by States was one of the main concerns the European Union had with the draft text.  There should be a much stronger human rights focus to the resolution and the wider agenda.

Italy expressed its condolences to the Government and people of Bangladesh for the loss of their President.  While aligning itself with the statement of the European Union, Italy stressed that it should be clearly recognised that speaking about intolerance, discrimination and violence in respect of freedom of religion or belief, that the majority of victims faced such intolerance and violence at the local and national level.  However, there was also an international dimension to be added and recognised. 

Action on Texts Under the Agenda Item on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

Action on Presidential Statement on the Human Rights Situation in Haiti

In a presidential statement (A/HRC/22/L.55) regarding technical assistance and capacity building for Haiti in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council takes note of the report of the Independent Expert and welcomes recent legal and political developments in Haiti, notably in the field of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.  The Council encourages the international community as a whole, particularly international donors, the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries, friendly countries of Haiti and United Nations organs, in particular the Office of the High Commissioner, to strengthen their cooperation with the Haitian authorities to assist the full realization of human rights;  welcomes the request of the Haitian authorities to prolong the mandate of the Independent Expert  for one year and decides to accept the request; and encourages the Independent Expert to work with international institutions, donors and the international community in order to lend their expertise and resources to the efforts of Haitian authorities in the country's reconstruction and in favour of sustainable development.  The Council also invites the Independent Expert to carry out a mission to Haiti and to present a report to the Council at its twenty-fifth session. 

REMIGIUSZ A. HENCZEL, President of the Human Rights Council, introducing draft Presidential statement L.55, said that it enjoyed the support of all delegations in the room.

Brazil, speaking in a general comment on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group, welcomed the draft Presidential Statement on technical assistance to Haiti, a country that maintained an open and cooperative attitude vis-à-vis the United Nations system.  It was necessary to help Haiti to reduce poverty and strengthen the rule of law and respect for human rights and it was hoped that the new mandate holder would build on the work done so far.

Haiti, speaking as the concerned country, thanked the Independent Expert for the very substantial work that had been done in the country over the last five years and expressed its gratitude to all delegations that had helped to draft the text.  Technical assistance and institutional building were of crucial importance for the reconstruction of the country and the Government’s efforts with a view to improving the living conditions of the people of Haiti, with great attention to human rights in particular, were to be encouraged.  Haiti appealed to the international community as a whole and in particular to international donors and the Office of the High Commissioner to strengthen their cooperation with Haiti with a view to the full realization of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in the country, including the right to development. 

Action on Resolution Under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights

Action on Resolution on the Right of the Child to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Health

In a resolution (A/HRC/22/L.27/Rev.1) on the rights of the child: the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon States to take all necessary measures to ensure that the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is promoted and protected.  The Council requests the High Commissioner to prepare a summary of the full-day meeting on the rights of the child, as a follow-up to Council resolution 7/29, before the twenty-third session of the Council.  The Council decides to focus its next full-day meeting on access to justice for children; and invites the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a report on that issue, to present it to the Council at its twenty-fifth session, and to circulate a summary report of the next full-day meeting on the rights of the child.  

The Council voted on proposed oral amendments and they were both rejected by a vote of 10 for, 27 against and 10 abstentions.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (10): Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates.

Against (27): Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, United States, and Venezuela.

Abstentions (10): Angola, Benin, Botswana, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Kenya, Maldives, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.

Uruguay, introducing draft resolution L.27/Rev.1 on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group, said that the full day debate on the rights of the child that had been held during this session of the Human Rights Council contributed to looking into the many challenges facing States in ensuring the right of the child to the highest attainable standard of mental and physical health.  The draft resolution reminded of important principles regarding vulnerable groups and addressed general measures and instruments to promote the rights of the child, and called for a gradual move towards universal health coverage.  The draft resolution invited the World Health Organization to prepare a study on the mortality rate of children under the age of five, which was a major human rights concern. 

Ireland, also introducing the draft resolution L.27/Rev.1 on behalf of the European Union, said that the draft resolution addressed all issues in relation to child health with particular emphasis to the challenges which threatened the full enjoyment of this right.  Attention was paid to some of the key health challenges facing children, including maternal and child mortality, malnutrition, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, harmful practices, environmental health, armed conflict and violence.  In addition, the resolution addressed some underlining determinants of health including extreme poverty and the rights to food and safe drinking water and sanitation; and considered the particular needs of children who were discriminated against, such as children with disabilities, migrants and indigenous children.

United States, in a general comment, said that it co-sponsored this resolution with the express understanding that it did not imply that States must become parties to instruments to which they were not a party or implement obligations under human rights instruments to which they were not a party.  It underscored that the Office of the High Commissioner had the primary mandate for the promotion and protection of human rights and was the appropriate body for the Council to invite to prepare reports.

Mauritania, speaking in a general comment, expressed sincere condolences to the people and Government of Bangladesh for the death of the President.  Mauritania was concerned about this resolution and in particular the delicate subjects that had already been dealt with, which were specific to certain regions.  Through amendments proposed it sought to establish a balance essential for all resolutions.  Mauritania proposed oral amendments to the draft resolution. 

Ireland, speaking in a general comment on the proposed amendments on behalf of the European Union, said that the amendments did not enjoy the support of the European Union.  The draft resolution before the Council was a result of extensive negotiations and the main sponsors were not in favour of inclusion of any language that could restrict the universality of human rights.  It was the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of States’ economic, social or cultural circumstances.  The European Union then called for a vote on the proposed amendment and said its Members would vote no.

Ecuador, speaking in a general comment on the proposed amendments, stressed that the issue of the role of the family was well covered in the preambular paragraph of the draft text and said that the amendments proposed without prior consultation with main sponsors should be rejected.  Ecuador stressed that economic, social and cultural situations of countries must not interfere with the enjoyment of children’s rights and asked the countries that proposed the amendments to withdraw them.

Libya, speaking in a general comment on the proposed amendments, said that Libya supported the rights of the child, in particular rights which afforded them medical care.  Libya reaffirmed the need to re-establish a direct link between the role of parents and the rights of the children and it supported the two amendments presented by Mauritania.

Costa Rica, speaking in a general comment on the proposed amendments, said the Convention on the Rights of the Child was still the human rights convention with the broadest, almost universal ratification.  It was sad and concerning that there now was a different interpretation of what sovereignty was as regarded international law and international human rights applying to children.  It was almost a procedural point to ensure that the text would have no consensus.  Costa Rica asked for the withdrawal of the amendments. 

Mauritania, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group and other countries in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said this was a moment of great disappointment as tireless efforts were made to reach international consensus on many problems.  Since the outset of consultations, they had expressed concern regarding the way the text was drafted as well as its content.  The Arab Group had sincerely endeavoured to safeguard international consensus to guarantee and promote the rights of the child and those attempts had all been rejected.  There was an attempt to spark discord on a subject which used to enjoy consensus.


Action on Resolution on Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group to Elaborate a Framework on the Regulation of Activities of Private Military and Security Companies

In a resolution (A/HRC/22/L.29) 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 by a vote of 31 in favour, 11 against and 5 abstentions, as orally revised, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group for a further two year period; decides further, that the Intergovernmental Working Group shall present its recommendations to the Council at its thirtieth-session; and affirms the importance of providing the Intergovernmental Working Group with expertise and expert advice to fulfil its mandate and decides that the members of the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the rights of peoples to self-determination shall participate as resource persons.  The Council requests the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to provide the Working Group with all financial and human resources necessary for the fulfilment of its mandate.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (31): Angola, Argentina, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Against (11): Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, and Spain.

Abstentions (5): Japan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Moldova, Switzerland, and United States.

South Africa, introducing the draft resolution L.29 on behalf of the African Group, said that the resolution was procedural in nature and aimed at extending the mandate of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group.  The terms of reference had been agreed consensually during the previous sessions of the Intergovernmental Working Group and the African Group was convinced that the Working Group would continue to work in the same constructive spirit, guided by the need to ensure maximum protection, adequate remedies and zero tolerance for impunity for the adverse human rights impacts of the activities of private military and security companies. 

Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, said that the European Union had engaged constructively in the discussion on this important draft resolution.  The European Union believed that more time would be needed to reach consensus on such an important resolution and requested its postponement. 

Gabon, speaking on behalf of the African Group in a general comment, said that the African Group believed that it had submitted the motives for submitting the resolution at this session.  This said it was difficult to accept any postponement. 

Ireland, speaking on behalf of the European Union in explanation of the vote before the vote, said that it was deeply disappointed that the consensus achieved during the August 2012 session of the Working Group was being undermined by the proposed resolution.  The European Union was concerned by the use of word “mercenaries” in the draft resolution and requested its deletion throughout the text.  The European Union could not support the current draft resolution and called for a vote.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it would abstain on the vote due to concern that the text could be read to imply that the mandate of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group could be extended beyond the consensus reached at its last session.  A new international law on activities of private military and security companies was not needed, what was needed was the better implementation of existing norms.

Explanations of the Vote After the Vote and General Comments after Concluding Consideration of the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights

Pakistan, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said Pakistan wished to explain its position on joining consensus on the resolution concerning the rights of children whose parents had been executed.  A number of delegations were of the view that a holistic approach of the Council was needed and should not have been limited to one reason.  Pakistan regretted the insistence to introduce another initiative at times when the Council needed rationalization of its activities and funding. However it was its understanding that a panel was called for and not a substantive text and it had joined the consensus. 

Qatar, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on the panel discussion on the rights of children whose parents had been executed and the high-level panel discussion on capital punishment, said that the question of capital punishment was a question that was controversial around the world.  As for the high-level panel discussion on capital punishment, imposing capital punishment was the legitimate right of every State to choose its own criminal code.  Calls to prohibit capital punishment were at the expense of victims and some were attempting to make an inappropriate link.

Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said that the discussions within the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group had been useful and because resolution L.29 did not uphold the consensus achieved in August 2012, Switzerland had abstained.  Switzerland thanked Egypt for the manner in which it conducted negotiations on resolution L.24, on which Switzerland had abstained.

Chile, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on resolution L.27/Rev.1, reiterated that according to its Constitution, the right to abortion was guaranteed but this did not mean that Chile supported abortion.

Japan, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote concerning resolutions L.18 on and L.28, said that in Japan the death penalty was applied only for the most heinous crimes; it was not applied to minors and was suspended in case of persons who were insane or pregnant.  The Japanese system met international standards in the matter and was conducted in accordance with the law.  Japan reiterated that it was up to each Member State to make a decision about the death penalty, including on moratorium and abolition. 

Action on Resolution Under the Agenda Item on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance

Action on Resolution on Education as a Tool to Prevent Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

In a resolution (A/HRC/22/L.6/Rev.1) regarding education as a tool to prevent racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, none against and 1 abstention, as orally revised, the Council underlines the need for increased political will and commitment in using education as a tool to prevent and combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  The Council urges States to adopt and implement laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, at all levels of education; and requests the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism to continue to address the role of education in his next reports and, in this context, encourages all States and other stakeholders to provide information on good practices to the Special Rapporteur and to the Office of the High Commissioner to be made publicly available on the website of the Special Rapporteur and fed into the global database containing information on practical means to address racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (46): Angola, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Montenegro, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sierra Leone, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

Against (0):

Abstentions (1): United States.

Brazil, introducing draft resolution L.6/Rev. 1, said that the adoption in 2001 of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action was a historical landmark in the fight against racism and promoted transformative changes in Brazil.  The initiative was motivated by a common understanding of the potential offered by education to contribute to the prevention and combat of racism and all forms of discrimination.  The idea was to present a constructive and concise text based on the Vienna Declaration.  It was stressed that the resolution was not a name in itself, but a first step forward in the implementation of the Durban Declaration.

Portugal, also introducing the draft resolution, said that Portugal was fully committed to the implementation of its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  Education had a crucial role to play in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  The scourge affected all regions of the world.  Portugal firmly believed that the resolution would contribute to the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
 
Mozambique, also introducing the draft resolution, expressed condolences for the passing of the President of Bangladesh.  Mozambique believed that the present draft resolution embodied a strong commitment of the co-sponsors and the entire United Nations membership to the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action with emphasis on the all-important issue of education as a tool to prevent racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.  It was a positive resolution that went beyond mere condemnation and rejection. Mozambique appealed to all Members of the Council to adopt the draft resolution. 
                                                                                        
Brazil then introduced oral amendments.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it hoped that the Council would be able to constructively address the issue of education to combat racism and racial discrimination without making specific references to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and said that it was inappropriate for this draft resolution to repeat language from that document; it should instead orient States to challenges in combating racism and racial discrimination.  The United States called for a vote and said it would abstain.

Explanation of the Vote After the Vote After Concluding Consideration of the Agenda Item on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance

Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, said it joined consensus on resolution L.40.  A precedent had been established with resolution L.40.  States had been requested to reply to the Council on a plan of action of which one of the two aspects had bearing on eight points developed by an intergovernmental group to which it did not belong. 

General Comments by Observer States after Taking Action on all the Texts

Malta said it had co-sponsored the resolution on the rights of the child to the highest attainable standards of health and said that references to sexual and reproductive health services should be removed, as abortion in Malta was illegal.  References to abortion could only be decided at the national level and the premise that abortion was legal and considered a legitimate form of birth control was inacceptable.

Singapore expressed concern about the adoption of resolutions L.28 and L.18, which addressed the issue of the death penalty and were based on the premise of abolition of the death penalty as a universal goal.  Singapore said that there was no universally agreed commitment to abolish the death penalty or establish a moratorium.  All States had the right to choose their own justice systems in accordance with the wishes of their people.

Belarus was convinced that country resolutions remained an ineffective mechanism because they were biased.  Mandates established in those resolutions were without any prospects and that was why Belarus distanced itself from all country resolutions adopted during this session.

China said that it rejected any attempt to name and shame countries and to exert pressure in this way on States, and pointed out that the resolution on Sri Lanka was a product of politicization.  Regarding L.19, constructive dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should be an integral part of engaging with the country concerned.  China also considered that there was no international consensus on the death penalty so the specific circumstances of each country should be taken into account in that respect.    

Egypt said that polarization between opposing groups was observed during the voting on resolutions and expressed the hope that that did not become a trend in the Council.  Egypt was dissatisfied with the lack of implementation of a previously adopted resolution on the prevention of incitement to religious hatred.

Bahrain said that it appreciated the efforts made by the Council to help Palestinians to enjoy their inalienable rights, and called on Israel to respect international legitimacy in Palestine and all Other Occupied Territories.  Bahrain supported the mainstreaming of human rights issues throughout the United Nations, and stressed the importance of implementing resolutions in a fashion consistent with national legislation.        

Russia reiterated that it was counterproductive to adopt politicized country resolutions, which discredited the work of the Human Rights Council and undermined an authentic dialogue in the area of human rights.  Russia did not support the country-specific resolutions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, Syria and Sri Lanka. 

Jamaica reiterated its unswerving commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its implementation.  Resolution L.18, calling for a panel discussion on the human rights of children of parents executed or sentenced to death, sought to link the universally accepted rights of the child with the death penalty on which there was no international consensus.  Jamaica also attached importance to resolution L.6 Rev/1.

Australia said it was disappointed by the tactics adopted by a small number of delegations during this session of the Human Rights Council.  It was particularly concerned by the decision of some delegations to bypass the consultative and negotiation process and to table hostile, highly politicized amendments prior to the exhaustion of legitimate negotiations. 

Cuba reiterated its opposition to country resolutions like those adopted on Iran, Syria, Sri Lanka and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; those initiatives did not enjoy true cooperation, were led by solely political motives and might be used to promote and justify military interventions.  Cuba attached special importance to the prevention of genocide and said that the principle of responsibility to protect, still under discussion at the United Nations, was used to manipulate and justify military interventions.

Adoption of the Report of the Session Ad Referendum

LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA, Vice-President/Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council, introduced the draft report of the twenty-second session which contained the record of the proceedings up until action on draft texts, which would be included in the final report.  Over the four weeks, 88 dignitaries had addressed the Council during the high-level segment; the Council had discussed a broad range of issues with seven panels, with Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts, the Commission of Inquiry, and other mechanisms.  It had adopted outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of 14 countries and appointed two new members for the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous peoples.

The Council then adopted the session report ad referendum.

General Comments

Morocco, speaking on behalf of 87 delegations, drew attention to the Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred which constituted incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.  Morocco said that the meeting in Rabat held in December 2012 was an opportunity to review regional information on efforts to combat incitement to hatred and racial and religious discrimination, and commended the innovative approach taken by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in that respect.

North-South XXI said that it was concerned about some of the striking contradictions which appeared in the work of the Council at this session, including the Council’s refusal to consider the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya and the fact that calls by civil society to create a Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change had been ignored.

International Service for Human Rights welcomed the adoption by consensus of the resolution on the protection of human rights defenders, the joint statement on reprisals, the steps the Council had taken to ensure accountability for ongoing violations of human rights, and the Council’s enhanced response to some country situations where grave human rights violations were occurring.    

Azerbaijan spoke on behalf of a group of States celebrating an announcement on the International Day of Nowruz.  Nowruz was the embodiment of their common cultural heritage and played a significant role in the strengthening of ties between people and was an affirmation of life in harmony with nature.  The countries invited all permanent missions to participate in this year’s celebration on Wednesday, 27 March 2013 at the Palais des Nations. 

Concluding Remarks by the President of the Council

REMIGIUSCZ A. HENCZEL, President of the Human Rights Council, in his closing remarks said he continued to encourage all those who participated in the Council’s work to discuss all issues with appropriate levels of dignity and respect.  Tolerance and respect for others’ views had to remain the principles for future discussions.  The very late submission of some draft resolutions and revisions or amendments at this session had made it difficult for many delegations to stay abreast of developments and it was not possible for the Secretariat and conference services to assure all texts would be available on time in the different languages.  As stressed on a number of occasions, any acts of intimation or reprisals against individuals and groups that did or had cooperated with the United Nations were unacceptable and had to end.  Mr. Henczel expressed thanks to the Deputy High Commissioner for her tireless efforts, leadership, and patience and tolerance in promoting human rights, which were inspiring, and the Council wished her well in her new position.


For use of information media; not an official record

HRC13/048E