Info Service on Health Issues (March 09/02)
18 March 2009
Third World Network
Rights Council Voices Concern on Human Rights Impacts of Crises
UN Human Rights Council urged the international community to take measures
to counter any negative impacts that the financial and economic crises
may have on the realization and the effective enjoyment of all human
rights, particularly by assisting the most vulnerable.
is reproduced with permission from South-North Development Monitor (SUNS)
#6646, 24 February 2009.
UN Rights Council
voices concern on human rights impact of crises
By Kanaga Raja, Geneva,
23 February 2009
The UN Human Rights
Council on Monday expressed deep concern that the universal realization
and effective enjoyment of human rights were challenged due to multiple
and inter-related global economic and financial crises.
In a resolution (A/HRC/S-10/L.1) adopted by a vote of 31 for and 14
abstentions, the Council recognized the severe impacts that the global
economic and financial crises were having on the ability of countries,
particularly developing countries, to mobilize resources for development
and to address the impact of these crises.
In this context, it called upon all states and the international community
to alleviate, in an inclusive and development oriented manner, any negative
impacts of these crises on the realization and the effective enjoyment
of all human rights.
The Council held a Special Session on Friday on the impact of the global
economic and financial crises on the universal realization and effective
enjoyment of human rights. The Session was convened at the joint request
of Egypt, on behalf of the African Group, and Brazil.
Those who voted for the resolution were Angola,
Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain,
Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil,
Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile,
China, Cuba, Djibouti,
Egypt, Ghana, India,
Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar,
Malaysia, Mauritius, Nicaragua,
Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines,
Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia,
Africa, and Uruguay.
Those who abstained were Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Canada, France, Germany,
Italy, Japan, Mexico,
Netherlands, Korea, Slovakia,
Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine
and United Kingdom.
The EU countries of France,
the Netherlands and
the United Kingdom, as well as Switzerland and Japan,
all of whom abstained in the vote, are currently in the throes of a
severe economic downturn as a result of a fallout from the financial
crisis, the origins of which have been traced back to the United States.
Many of the banking institutions in these countries have had to be bailed
out by their government to the tune of billions of dollars.
In its resolution, the Council underlined the urgent need to establish
an equitable, transparent and democratic international system to strengthen
and broaden the participation of developing countries in international
economic decision-making and norm-setting.
The Council also expressed grave concern that these crises threaten
to further undermine the achievement of the internationally agreed development
goals including the Millennium Development Goals.
It called upon all states to refrain from reducing international financial
resources for development, including official development assistance
and from imposing protectionist measures, and to maintain their commitments
to mobilize and sustain financial resources for development, in accordance
with the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development, and to make
concerted and sustained efforts to contribute to an early recovery.
The Council called upon states, notwithstanding any possible impact
of the global economic and financial crises, to respect their human
rights obligations and to continue their efforts towards the universal
realization and effective enjoyment of all human rights, particularly
by assisting the most vulnerable.
In this context, it urged the international community to support national
efforts to, inter alia, establish and preserve social safety nets for
the protection of the most vulnerable segments of their societies.
The Council also called on states to ensure that those at risk of being
most affected by the global economic and financial crises are protected
in a non-discriminatory way.
It reaffirmed that an open, equitable, predictable and non-discriminatory
multilateral trading system can substantially stimulate development
worldwide, benefiting all countries, particularly developing countries,
and thereby contributing to the universal realization and effective
enjoyment of all human rights.
The Council recognized the central role of the United Nations in the
international system and welcomed the decision by the General Assembly
to hold a high-level conference on the world economic and financial
crises and its impacts on development due to take place 1-4 June 2009.
In this context, it recommended that an invitation be addressed by the
General Assembly to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
to participate in this high level event and to present a report with
suggested recommendations, building on the deliberations of this special
session, so as to mainstream a human rights perspective in the analysis
of the global economic and financial crises.
The Council invited relevant thematic Special Procedures, within their
respective mandates, building on the deliberations of this special session,
to consider any of the impacts of the global economic and financial
crises on the realization and effective enjoyment of all human rights
particularly economic, social and cultural rights, and to integrate
their findings in this regards in their regular reports presented to
the Human Rights Council, with special attention to non-discrimination
and to ways and means to ensure respect for and protection of the human
rights of vulnerable and marginalised groups, particularly women, children,
migrant workers and their families, indigenous peoples, and people living
in poverty, and on the elimination of acts of racism and xenophobia
and promoting greater harmony and tolerance in all societies.
The Council also invited the treaty bodies, within their respective
mandates, to consider any of the impacts of the global economic and
financial crises on the realization and effective enjoyment of all human
rights, and to consider presenting recommendations thereon. It also
called upon all states to continue their financial contributions to
international organizations, particularly to the office of the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights.
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