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COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATES ON SLAVERY, PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY, HEALTH, ARBITRARY DETENTION, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND MERCENARIES
Elects Members of Human Rights Council Advisory Committee
26 September 2013

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted 15 texts in which it extended for three years the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the Working Group on arbitrary detention, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination.

Other texts adopted related to the postponement of the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and the right to non-discrimination in this context; requesting the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to prepare studies on the possibilities of using sport and the Olympic ideal to promote human rights for all, and on the role of local government in the promotion and protection of human rights, including human rights mainstreaming in local administration and public services; convening a two-day intersessional intergovernmental meeting of the Working Group on the right to development; and holding a panel discussion on the issue of the safety of journalists.

The Council also adopted texts requesting the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a study on factors that impeded equal political participation and steps to overcome challenges; holding a half-day panel discussion on the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in natural disaster risk reduction prevention and preparedness initiatives; asking the Office of the High Commissioner to convene an expert workshop to assist it in the preparation of concise technical guidance on the application of a human rights based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce and eliminate preventable mortality and morbidity of children under five years of age; and convening a panel discussion on the protection of the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty. 

The Council elected the following members of its Human Rights Council Advisory Committee by acclamation: Ms. Hoda Elsadda (Egypt); Mr. Alfred Ntunduguru Karokora (Uganda); Mr. Yishan Zhang (China); Mr. Kaoru Obata (Japan); and Mr. Mikhail Alexandrovich Lebedev (Russian Federation).  Following a vote, Mr. Jean Zeigler (Switzeralnd) was elected as the Western European and Other States member.  The Group of Latin American and Caribbean States were urged to present a candidate to enable the Council to elect a member of the Advisory Committee as soon as possible.

Introducing texts were Germany, Russia, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Iran, Mexico, Brazil, Austria, France, Czech Republic, Mexico on behalf of Guatemala and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Guatemala, Ireland, Botswana and Cuba.

Speaking in general comments or in explanations of the vote before or after the vote were the United States, Switzerland, Venezuela, Estonia on behalf of the European Union, Japan, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Argentina.
The Human Rights Council will meet on Friday, 27 September to continue to take action on pending resolutions and decisions before it concludes its twenty-fourth regular session.

Action on Decision Under Agenda Item on Organizational and Procedural Matters

Action on Decision on Postponement of the Renewal of the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.4) concerning the postponement of the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination in this context, adopted without a vote, the Council, in an effort to synchronize schedules for resolutions, mandates and presentation of reports by the special procedures, decides to postpone the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination in this context to its twenty-fifth session, and for that reason to extend, on an exceptional basis, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur until March 2014.

Germany, introducing draft decision L.4, said that the human right to adequate housing was essential for the enjoyment of all other human rights and thus an integral part of the human rights framework.  The implementation of the right to housing was still a work in progress.  The mandate of the Special Rapporteur predated the creation of the Council and until now was extended every three years, running until the end of September.  From early 2011, the Bureau of the Council had established a tentative yearly calendar of the Human Rights Council in order to better synchronize the various Special Procedures and the schedule of their discussion in the Human Rights Council.  Under the tentative calendar, the substantive resolution on the right to housing was assigned to the March session.  As the current mandate of the Special Rapporteur would end at the end of September and to bridge the gap between the mandate and their debate at the March session, this draft decision asked for the extension, on an exceptional basis, of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living until March 2014.  The postponement of the mandate renewal only served the purpose of synchronizing the schedules for resolutions, mandates and the presentation of reports by the special procedures.  The decision was not proposing to extend the mandate beyond that point so as not to prejudice the outcome of the March discussion on the substance of the right to adequate housing.  The draft decision would not create a precedent for the postponement of renewals on any grounds other than those provided in Resolution 16/21.

Draft decision L.4 was adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolutions Under the Agenda Item on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development

Action on Resolution on Promoting Human Rights Through Sport and the Olympic Ideal

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.1) on promoting human rights through sport and the Olympic ideal, adopted without a vote, the Council welcomes the high-level interactive panel discussion held at the nineteenth session of the Council and takes note of the summary of the discussion prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner.  The Council calls upon States to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee in their efforts to use sport as a tool to promote human rights, development, peace, dialogue and reconciliation.  The resolution requests the Advisory Committee to prepare a study on the possibilities of using sport and the Olympic ideal to promote human rights for all, to seek the views and inputs of Member States and other relevant stakeholders, and to present a progress report to the Council before its twenty-seventh session.

Russia, introducing resolution L.1 on behalf of a group of countries, said that this resolution was particularly important for Russia because it would host the Winter Olympic and Paralympic games next year.  By developing cooperation in the area of sport, it was possible to strengthen essential human rights values.  This was the basis for cooperation in the Paralympics and the creation of a barrier-free environment for participants.  This resolution counted with a record number of co-sponsoring States and constituted a convincing illustration of how productive the work in the Council could be when based on cooperation.  Countries with different political systems, cultures and traditions had worked together in the resolution in the interest of the entire international community.  The resolution contained a number of recommendations in the field of sports and Russia hoped that the Advisory Committee would prepare the requested report.  

United States, in a general comment, was pleased to join the consensus on the resolution and especially drew attention to the recognition of sport as a universal language that contributed to educating people on values of respect and diversity and promoting social inclusion for all.  The phrase for all was a central concept here.  Sports promoted inclusion and crossed all segments of society, fostering tolerance and respect for all.

Draft resolution L.1 was adopted without a vote.  

Action on Resolution on Local Government and Human Rights

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.2) on local government and human rights, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to prepare, from within existing resources, a research-based report on the role of local government in the promotion and protection of human rights, including human rights mainstreaming in local administration and public services, and to present a progress report on the requested research-based report to the Council.  The Council also requests the Advisory Committee to seek the views and inputs of Member States, relevant international and regional organizations, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, among others, in preparation of the report; and encourages the Committee to take into account, as appropriate, the recommendations of human rights treaty bodies, the Universal Periodic Review and special procedures, as well as other work done by relevant United Nations bodies.

Republic of Korea, introducing draft resolution L.2 on behalf of a group of countries, said that the scope of the activities of local governments was already broad and continued to expand in many countries.  Indeed, the room for local government to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights had also broadened.  The Council needed to pay more attention to this important issue.  This resolution would provide an important foundation for future debates on the role of local government in the protection and promotion of human rights.  The resolution requested the Advisory Committee to prepare a research-based report and to present a progress report for the Council in this regard.  The group of countries hoped that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus. 

Switzerland, in a general comment, said it thought that the subject dealt with was particularly relevant, particularly for countries such as Switzerland where local authorities had particular responsibilities for the promotion and protection of human rights.  Switzerland would have liked for the resolution to refer specifically to all local authorities and legislative and judiciary branches.

Draft resolution L.2 was adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolution on the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.3) on Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, adopted without a vote, the Council welcomes the work and takes note with appreciation of the thematic reports of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery.  The Council decides to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years.  The resolution requests the Special Rapporteur to submit annual reports on the activities of the mandate to the Council, together with recommendations on measures that should be taken to combat and eradicate contemporary forms of slavery and slavery-like practices and to protect the human rights of victims of such practices; and requests the Secretary-General to give the Special Rapporteur all necessary human and financial assistance, from within existing resources, for the effective fulfilment of the mandate.

United Kingdom, introducing draft resolution L.3, said that as the final report of the Special Rapporteur highlighted, slavery and slavery like practices continued to persist in all regions of the world.  The report and the draft resolution expressed profound concern that the minimum estimate of the number of people subjected to slavery or similar practices stood at 21 million.  Such an egregious denial of human rights on such a massive scale should be unthinkable in the twenty-first century.  The draft resolution sought to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur so that it could continue following the end of the tenure of the current Special Rapporteur.  The United Kingdom also wished to put on record its deep appreciation for the work of the Special Rapporteur.

Draft resolution L.3 was adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolution on the Right to Development

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.6) on the right to development, adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, 1 against and no abstentions, as orally revised, the Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to submit to the Council an annual report on its activities with regard to the promotion and realization of the right to development; and decides to continue to act to ensure that its agenda promotes and advances sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  The Council decides to endorse the recommendations of the Working Group as reflected in its report on its fourteenth session and to convene a two-day intersessional intergovernmental meeting of the Working Group with the participation of States and other relevant stakeholders with a view to improve the effectiveness of the Working Group at its fifteenth session.  The Council decides to consider the extension of the meeting time of the Working Group, as appropriate, and to review the progress of the implementation of the present resolution at its future sessions.


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.


Iran, introducing draft resolution L.6, said that the right to development was an individual and collective right incurring national responsibility and international responsibility of States for the creation of an enabling environment for its full realization.  It was essential to strike a balance between national and international responsibilities and to ensure access to resources by developing countries and their participation in global decision making for the realization of the right to development.  The draft resolution had been tabled with a view to facilitate the process for implementation and realization of the right to development as enshrined in the Declaration on the Right to Development.  It recognized the renewed commitments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by their target date and it highlighted that extreme poverty and hunger were among the greatest global threats that required the collective commitment of the international community for their eradication.  United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programmes and other international organizations were asked to try to make the right to development a reality for all and, in this regard, all relevant bodies of the United Nations system and other international organizations had been encouraged to mainstream the right to development into their objectives, policies, programmes and operational activities.

Venezuela, in general comment on draft resolution L.6, expressed its backing of the draft resolution and recognized the efforts made within the framework of the Working Group on the right to development in accordance to its mandate.  Today more than ever there was an urgent need to make the right to development a reality for all people throughout the world and obstacles to development should be addressed, which required favourable conditions for the exercise of this right.  The financial and economic crisis continued to impact the developing world and to burden the most vulnerable and had an impact on injustice and inequality.  Venezuela was in favour of this important initiative with the prospect of a path to a legally binding instrument reflecting the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the right to development.

United States, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that its commitment to international development as a critical element of its foreign policy was clear.  Nevertheless, it continued to have concerns about the so-called right to development.  It was pleased to actively participate in the Working Group on the right to development in an effort to foster better implementation of development goals and to harmonize the various interpretations of the right to development.  Unfortunately, this divisive resolution sought to upset the careful balance resulting from those discussions by calling for an additional two-day informal meeting, without any effort to reach agreement on how to make progress in those discussions.  It therefore requested a vote and would vote no.

Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, reiterated its support for the right to development as based on the indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights.  It believed that the right to development required the full realization of civil and political rights together with economic, social and cultural rights.  While national efforts should be supported, the primary responsibility for ensuring the realization of the right to development was with the State.  The European Union was not in favour on the elaboration of an international legal standard of a binding nature.  It regretted that its proposals could not be accommodated and requested further clarity on how the two-day meeting would be used.  Nonetheless, it would be voting in favour. 

Japan, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on draft resolution L.6, said Japan attached importance to maintaining a consensual approach to the debate in the Council and looked forward to further comments, hoping that the indicators prepared by the task force would make additional contributions.  With this in mind, Japan would support the draft resolution.  However, concerning the drafting process, Japan regretted the attempt to break the constructive atmosphere by adding elements which had not been previously agreed. 

Draft resolution L.6 was adopted after a vote.

Action on Resolution on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.7) on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, adopted without a vote, the Council reminds States of their obligation to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely, online as well as offline; and expresses concern at violations of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.  The Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association for a period of three years; and calls upon States to continue to cooperate fully with and assist the Special Rapporteur in the performance of his mandate.  The resolution requests the Special Rapporteur to continue to report annually to the Council and the United Nations General Assembly.

Mexico, introducing draft resolution L.7, said that governments should keep up their efforts to guarantee the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and create an environment for them to be furthered.  It was grateful to all delegations who had participated actively in negotiating this text and acknowledged in particular the leadership of the United States.

United States, also introducing the resolution, said that civil society organizations and related associations were facing an ongoing assault around the world.  On the margins of the General Assembly earlier this week, Government leaders and United Nations foundations and civil society organizations met to voice concerns about the global deterioration of the environment for civil society, and agreed to take additional steps to address it.  To that end, they noted in particular the importance of the mandate to be extended by the resolution introduced today.  Its purpose was to simply support the work of the Special Rapporteur on these fundamental rights. 

Draft resolution L.7 was adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolution on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.8) on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for a further period of three years.  The Council requests all Governments to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur in the performance of the tasks and duties mandated and to give due consideration to the recommendations made by the mandate holder; and encourages all Governments to give serious consideration to responding favourably to the requests made by the Special Rapporteur to visit their countries to enable the mandate holder to fulfil the mandate effectively.  The resolution requests the Special Rapporteur to submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly covering all activities relating to his/her mandate. 

Brazil, introducing draft resolution L.8, said that for many throughout the world the full enjoyment of the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health remained a distant goal.  Brazil had been the main co-sponsor of the resolution on the right to health since the creation of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur by the Human Rights Commission in 2002.  Since then, the discussion of issues related to the right to health had advanced in this Council.  Brazil was confident that this positive approach and constructive engagement would be safeguarded and urged delegations to join in the adoption.

Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in a general comment, thanked Brazil for the way in which work on this resolution had been conducted.  The European Union was fully committed to efforts to ensure the fulfillment of this right.  This resolution equipped the mandate holder to contribute to all aspects of this right and the European Union was pleased to see this resolution adopted by consensus.

United States, in a general comment, thanked Brazil for its continued dedication to this issue and was pleased to co-sponsor this resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.  Access to health coverage was a necessary element in the full realization of one’s health-care potential and was at the forefront of its domestic agenda.  Health coverage was also a national level concern and responsibility.  At the same time, the United States had strong concerns including about a selective emphasis on issues of intellectual property and trade, as well as access to medicines.

Draft resolution L.8 was adopted without a vote. 

Action on Resolution on a Panel Discussion on the Safety of Journalists

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.13) on a panel discussion on the safety of journalists, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to convene, at its twenty-sixth session, a panel discussion on the issue of the safety of journalists, with a particular focus on discussing the findings of the report of the High Commissioner, identifying challenges and further developing good practices for ensuring the safety of journalists by sharing information on initiatives undertaken to protect them.  The Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to organize the panel discussion from within existing resources, in consultation with States, relevant United Nations bodies, human rights mechanisms, as well as with civil society, with a view to ensuring their participation; and requests the Office to prepare and submit a summary report on the panel discussion to the Council at its twenty-seventh session.

Austria, introducing draft resolution L.13 on behalf of a group of countries, said that countries from across all regions strongly supported this initiative.  Austria recalled that the report of the High Commissioner on the safety of journalists indicated that in 2012 around 900 had been arrested, 2,000 had been threatened or physically attacked and 40 had been kidnapped.  The Council had an important and continuous role to play in promoting and protecting the safety of journalists.  The draft resolution decided to convene a panel discussion on the issue of the safety of journalists at its twenty-sixth session.  Austria thanked delegations for their constructive engagement and active support during the informal consultation.

Draft resolution L.13 was adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolution on Arbitrary Detention

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.15) on arbitrary detention, adopted without a vote, the Council stresses the importance of the work of the Working Group on arbitrary detention; requests the States concerned to take account of the views of the Working Group and to take appropriate steps to remedy the situation of persons arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, and to inform the Working Group of the steps they have taken; encourages the Working Group to pursue its work relating to the preparation of the draft basic principles and guidelines; and invites the Working Group to report to the Council on the progress made in drafting the basic principles and guidelines at its next interactive dialogue with the Council.  The Council decides to extend the mandate of the Working Group for a further period of three years; and requests the Secretary-General to provide all necessary assistance to the Working Group.

France, introducing draft resolution L.15, said that the draft resolution aimed to renew the mandate of the Working Group on arbitrary detention for a period of three years.  Since its creation, the Working Group had done remarkable work.  It would be able to continue to investigate arbitrary detention based on information received from all concerned countries, and make urgent appeals and field visits, among others.  The draft resolution also encouraged the Working Group to continue its work on drawing up guidelines on arbitrary detention and invited it to keep the Council informed on progress made to this end during the next interactive debate.

Draft resolution L.15 was adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolution on Equal Political Participation

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.18/Rev.1) regarding equal political participation, adopted without a vote, the Council expresses concern that many people continue to face obstacles in the enjoyment of their right to participate in political and public affairs of their countries; urges all States to ensure the full and effective participation of all citizens in political and public affairs on an equal basis; and encourages the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the special procedures, the treaty bodies and other relevant international human rights mechanisms to continue to address the promotion of equal political participation in their work.  The Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a study on factors that impede equal political participation and on steps to overcome those challenges, and to present the study to the Council for consideration at its twenty-seventh session.

Czech Republic, introducing draft resolution L.18/Rev.1 on behalf of a group of countries, said that everybody had the right to have his or her voice heard and to have a role in making the decisions that shaped communities.  These rights should apply to every citizen on an equal basis and no one should be excluded because of being a woman, or belonging to a minority, a marginalized group or to a certain racial or ethnic group.  The resolution focused on the right to political participation, specifically without discrimination, following up to the joint statement pronounced on behalf of 59 States during the last session of the Council.  The draft resolution was based on international legal standards on political participation and stressed States’ obligations in this regard, and requested them to take positive steps to facilitate equal participation of all segments of their societies.  The draft resolution was the result of an open and constructive process of negotiation and the Czech Republic thanked all partners for their efforts.  

Switzerland, in a general comment, said that it was a co-sponsor of this resolution because it believed in the need to enable citizens to take part in political and public affairs either directly or through freely chosen representatives and have access to public office in their countries, equally.  However, it referred to Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Switzerland clarified that it had reservations when it came to secret ballots.

Draft resolution L.18/Rev.1 was adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolution on the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.21) on human rights and indigenous peoples - mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, adopted without a vote, the Council decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples for a period of three years; requests all Governments to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur, to furnish all available information requested, and to react promptly to his or her urgent appeals.  The Council encourages the United Nations, regional intergovernmental organizations, Governments, non-governmental organizations and, in particular, indigenous peoples to cooperate to the fullest extent possible with the Special Rapporteur.  The Council requests the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to provide all the necessary assistance to the Special Rapporteur for the effective fulfilment of his or her mandate.

Mexico, speaking on behalf of Guatemala and presenting draft resolution L.21 on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said that the resolution was procedural in nature and sought to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of three years.  Mexico thanked those countries that had sponsored the resolution and welcomed those countries from Africa and the Middle East that had supported the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.  The delegations of Mexico and Guatemala on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States invited the Council to adopt the resolution without a vote.

Draft resolution L.212 was adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolution on Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.22) on human rights and indigenous peoples, adopted without a vote, the Council requests the High Commissioner to continue to submit to the Council an annual report on the rights of indigenous peoples; requests the Special Rapporteur to report on the implementation of his or her mandate to the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session; and requests the Expert Mechanism to continue its study on access to justice in the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and to present it to the Council at its twenty-seventh session.  The resolution also requests the Expert Mechanism to prepare a study on the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in natural disaster risk reduction, prevention and preparedness initiatives, and to present it to the Council at its twenty-seventh session; and further requests the Expert Mechanism to continue to undertake the questionnaire survey to seek the views of States and indigenous peoples on best practices regarding possible appropriate measures and implementation strategies in order to attain the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, with a view to completing a final summary of responses for presentation to the Council at its twenty-seventh session; and decides to hold, at its twenty-seventh session, a half-day panel discussion on the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in natural disaster risk reduction, prevention and preparedness initiatives.

Guatemala, introducing draft resolution L.22, said that the resolution brought together in a single document several aspects relating to indigenous people.  The document welcomed measures adopted to help representatives of communities and indigenous organizations to attend sessions of the Human Rights Council, the Permanent Forum and human rights treaty bodies, with the help of the Voluntary Fund.  It described the valuable work carried out by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur and the Permanent Forum, among others.  It was recommended that preparatory meetings which had taken place be taken into account in preparation for the World Conference on Indigenous People.  An increasing number of States were supporting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

United States, in a general comment, said that it was pleased to co-sponsor the resolution.  Indigenous people around the world faced challenges and the United States was committed to addressing these challenges at home and abroad.  In order to further improve the situation of indigenous peoples, it believed there should be focus on the promotion and protection of both the individual and collective rights of indigenous people.

Draft resolution L.22 was adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolution on Preventable Mortality and Morbidity of Children Under 5 Years of Age as a Human Rights Concern
In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.27) on preventable mortality and morbidity of children under 5 years of age as a human rights concern, adopted without a vote, the Council takes note with appreciation of the report on mortality of children under 5 years of age as a human rights concern prepared by the World Health Organization.  The Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare concise technical guidance on the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce and eliminate preventable mortality and morbidity of children under 5 years of age; and to convene an expert workshop to assist in the preparation.  The Council further requests the Office of the High Commissioner to provide an oral update before the twenty-seventh session of the Council; and to present the technical guidance to the Council at its twenty-seventh session.

Ireland, introducing draft resolution L.27 on behalf of a group of countries, said that in addition to the 45 original co-sponsors, 29 countries had joined as additional co-sponsors since the resolution had been tabled.  The draft resolution brought to the attention of the Council an urgent human rights issue which previously had not been addressed directly in the Council.  While mortality remained highest among children belonging to the poorest and most marginalised communities, it was often not only driven by poverty, but also by discrimination and social exclusion.  The draft resolution requested the elaboration of technical guidance on the practical application of a human rights based approach to under five mortality and morbidity.  This technical guidance, grounded in human rights principles, could help national Ministries and health systems to design policies and programmes to reduce and eliminate under five mortality.  This issue was important not only to assist States to fulfil existing national and international human rights obligations but also in the context of commitments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  Ireland hoped that the adoption by consensus would send an important message that human rights could positively impact on preventable mortality and morbidity of children under five.     

Botswana, also introducing the resolution, said that even though there had been a significant reduction in mortality rates of children under five since 1990, the problem was still quite serious.  The problem was even more pronounced in developing countries.  Botswana had not been spared from this problem.  It had made an appeal to its development partners that it might not be able to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on maternal and child mortality.  Botswana believed that the adoption of this draft resolution would bring the problem of child mortality to the attention of the international community as a whole.

Japan, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, supported this draft resolution.  However, regarding its content, Japan had doubts as to whether the Council had the expertise needed and was also concerned by the significant additional programme budget implications that would result.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that it was pleased to join the consensus and was pleased to see that the resolution called on States to apply a human rights-based approach and to increase their efforts.  The United States remained committed to promoting healthy children and would continue to work with other partners to ensure children’s health and the protection of their human rights.  The United States remained the largest Government donor to the United Nations Children's Fund and had contributed significant amounts, including to emergency appeals and worldwide immunisation efforts.  The United States joined this initiative on the understanding that States were not liable by rights which they did not recognise, and the understanding was that the World Health Organization was willing to carry out the study and counted with the necessary resources to do so.

Draft resolution L.27 was adopted without a vote.

Election of Members of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee

REMIGIUSCZ A. HENCZEL, President of the Human Rights Council, presented the list of candidates for election to the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.  The following members were elected by acclamation: from the African Group: Ms. Hoda Elsadda (Egypt), Mr. Alfred Ntunduguru Karokora (Uganda); from the Asian Group: Mr. Yishan Zhang (China) Mr. Kaoru Obata (Japan); and from the Eastern European Group, Mr. Mikhail Alexandrovich Lebedev (Russia). With regard to the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, they would have to wait for a candidate to be presented.  The countries concerned were urged to deal with this urgently to enable the Council to elect a member of the Advisory Committee as soon as possible.  With regard to the Group of Western European and Other States, the Council would have to proceed with the election in accordance with the established procedure, by secret ballots. 

At the end of the meeting, Mr. HENCZEL, President of the Human Rights Council, announced that from the Group of Western European and Other States, Mr. Jean Ziegler (Switzerland) was elected to the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee. 

United States recalled paragraph 74 of the Institution-building Package providing that members of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee shall be eligible for election once, and hoped this would be noted.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that Professor Zeigler had proved his independence and commitment to human rights and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation supported his candidature.

Action on Resolution on Human Rights in the Administration of Justice, including Juvenile Justice

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.28) concerning human rights in the administration of justice, including juvenile justice, adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon the High Commissioner to reinforce advisory services and technical assistance relating to national capacity-building in the field of the administration of justice; and decides to convene, at its twenty-seventh session, a panel discussion on the protection of the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty.  The Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to organize at the twenty-seventh session of the Council, the aforementioned panel discussion; to prepare a report on the outcome of the panel discussion, and to present it to the Council at its twenty-eighth session; and to submit to the Council at its thirtieth session an analytical report on the human rights implications of over-incarceration and overcrowding.

Austria, introducing draft resolution L.28 on human rights in the administration of justice, including juvenile justice, said this longstanding Austrian initiative addressed a core obligation of States to provide accountable judicial institutions that were mandated to protect the dignity and rights of those under their jurisdiction.  It wished to shed light on the situation of all persons deprived of their liberty as they were among the groups most vulnerable to human rights violations.  The resolution proposed a panel discussion on the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty at the twenty-seventh session of the Council.  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was also asked to provide an in-depth analysis of how an overuse of incarceration and the resulting overcrowding of the penitentiary system infringed human rights.  Special attention was also paid to the rights of children in conflict with the law.  The text called upon States to ensure that there was neither death penalty nor life imprisonment for children and that diversion and restorative justice were given due weight in the administration of juvenile justice. 

United States, speaking in an explanation of vote before the vote on draft resolution L.28, welcomed the attention to issues on women and children in the justice system.  States should address the situation of vulnerable groups, in particular to violence or abuse, and include their needs in relation to questions about the justice system.  The United States thanked the sponsors for including some of its concerns but could not join co-sponsorship because of concerns that the resolution called on States to comply with principles which were not recognized as obligations by the United States or in customary law.  

Japan, speaking in an explanation of vote before the vote on draft resolution L.28, indicated that Japan supported efforts to uphold the rights of children; and thanked sponsors for including part of its revisions.  Japan was a party to the Convention of the Rights of the Child.  It had difficulty with some of the operative paragraphs, but Japan supported the resolution in general.

Draft resolution L.28 was adopted without a vote.

Action on Resolution on the Use of Mercenaries as a Means of Violating Human Rights and Impeding the Exercise of the Right of Peoples to Self-Determination

In a resolution (A/HRC/24/L.29) on the use of mercenaries in violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 15 against and 1 abstention, as orally revised, the Council decides to renew the mandate of the Working Group for a period of three years, and requests the Working Group to continue the work already done by previous mandate holders, to monitor mercenaries and mercenary-related activities in all their forms and manifestations, to update the database of individuals convicted of mercenary activities; and to continue to study and identify sources and causes, emerging issues, manifestations and trends regarding mercenaries or mercenary-related activities and their impact on human rights.  The Council requests the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to provide the Working Group with all the assistance and support necessary for the fulfilment of its mandate; and requests the Working Group to report its findings to the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session and to the Council at its twenty-seventh session.


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 (15): Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Poland, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and United States.

Abstentions (1): Kazakhstan.


Cuba, introducing draft resolution L.29 on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self- determination, said that by adopting this text the Human Rights Council would reiterate its concern about practices of recruitment and use of mercenaries which was a violation of the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter and appeal to all countries to remain vigilant in the face of this phenomenon and take all necessary measures to prevent and combat these practices.  The mandate of the Working Group on mercenaries would be renewed for three years.  Another important element of the resolution was the request to the Working Group to continue to update the database of persons convicted because of mercenary activities.

Venezuela, in a general comment, said that it welcomed the submission of this draft resolution and acknowledged the important work done by the Working Group on the use of mercenaries.  The use, recruitment, financing, protection and training of mercenaries was a source of deep concern, as this ran counter to the principles and goals of the United Nations Charter.  It had been shown that private multinational companies had committed abominable crimes against human rights through mercenaries in developing countries.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that for reasons that were well known, the United States would call for a vote and would vote against the draft resolution.

Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that despite its good relationship with the Working Group, Switzerland would vote against the resolution.  There were remaining questions about part of operative paragraph 18, such as what appeal mechanisms were available to persons included in the list and would it be possible for a judge, at a given time, to modify the list.  Switzerland also opposed the new formulation in preambular paragraph 2.  

Argentina, in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it understood that the resolution should be interpreted and applied in conformity with the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly.  The Malvinas and Sandwich Islands had been occupied by the United Kingdom which had replaced that population with its own population, an assault on self-determination. 

Estonia, speaking on behalf of the European Union in an explanation of the vote before the vote, continued to regret the lack of conceptual clarity in this resolution.  Mercenaries were defined under international law and their activities could not be put on the same footing as those of private, military and security companies.  The prolonged confusion between the two in the Council undermined not only the work of the Working Group on mercenaries but also the separate process underway on developing a framework for regulation and monitoring of the activities of private, military and security companies.  The European Union could not support this resolution.

Draft resolution L.29 was adopted with a vote. 


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC13/127E