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TWN Info Service on UN Sustainable Development (Oct17/03)
2 October 2017
Third World Network


HRC adopts a raft of resolutions on human rights
Published in SUNS #8543 dated 2 October 2017


Geneva, 29 Sep (Kanaga Raja) - The United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday extended the mandates of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order as well as that of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

In other resolutions, the Council also extended the mandates of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, as well as the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

These resolutions together with several others concerning other issues were adopted at the current thirty-sixth regular session of the Council which concludes on Friday (29 September).

At its session on Friday morning, the Council, by a roll-call vote of 22 in favour, 11 against and 14 abstentions, decided to extend for a period of one year the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi; adopted by a roll-call vote of 27 in favour, 7 against and 13 abstentions a rather lengthy resolution on Syria (56 operative paragraphs and 18 preambular paragraphs); and adopted by consensus a resolution extending the mandate of the independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar.

The Council is meeting again in the afternoon to take action on a number of other resolutions before concluding its thirty-sixth session, including one on Yemen.

[Just before closing its session, the Council adopted without a vote a resolution on Yemen, in which it requested the High Commissioner to establish a Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts for a period of at least one year, and renewable as authorized. A further report with details will appear in an upcoming issue of SUNS.]

EXTENSION OF VARIOUS MANDATES

The resolution (A/HRC/36/L.3) on the mandate of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order (introduced by Cuba) was adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 15 against and no abstentions.

Those that voted in favour were Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Those that voted against the resolution were Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

In the resolution adopted, the Human Rights Council recognized that democracy, respect for all human rights, including the right to development, transparent and accountable governance and administration in all sectors of society, and effective participation by civil society are an essential part of the necessary foundations for the realization of social and people-centred sustainable development.

It reaffirmed that everyone is entitled to a democratic and equitable international order, and that a democratic and equitable international order fosters the full realization of all human rights for all.

The Council requested the Independent Expert (currently Mr Alfred de Zayas) to prepare a final report on his studies conducted during the last six years of his mandate, and to share it with the Human Rights Council at its thirty-seventh session.

It decided to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order for a period of three years, in conformity with the terms set forth by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 18/6.

The Council invited the Independent Expert to continue to develop close cooperation with academia, think tanks and research institutes, such as the South Centre, and with other stakeholders from all regions.

The resolution (A/HRC/36/L.14) on human rights and unilateral coercive measures (introduced by Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement) was adopted by a vote of 30 in favour, 15 against and one abstention.

Those that voted in favour were Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Those that voted against were Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

The lone abstention was Togo.

In the resolution, the Human Rights Council stressed that unilateral coercive measures and legislation are contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States.

The Council expressed its grave concern at the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on human rights, development, international relations, trade, investment and cooperation.

It reaffirmed that no State may use or encourage the use of any type of measure, including but not limited to economic or political measures, to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights and to secure from it advantages of any kind.

It was alarmed by the fact that most current unilateral coercive measures have been imposed, at great cost, in terms of the human rights of the poorest and of persons in vulnerable situations, on developing countries by developed countries.

The Council was deeply disturbed by the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the right to life, the rights to health and medical care, the right to freedom from hunger and the right to an adequate standard of living, food, education, work and housing.

It decided to extend for a period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, as set out in Human Rights Council resolution 27/21.

RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT

The resolution (A/HRC/36/L.13/Rev.1) on the right to development (introduced by Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement) was adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 11 against and four abstentions.

Those that voted in favour were Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Those that voted against were Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

Albania, Portugal, Republic of Korea and Slovenia abstained in the vote.

In the resolution, the Human Rights Council stressed that the responsibility for managing worldwide economic and social issues and threats to international peace and security must be shared among the nations of the world and should be exercised multilaterally, and that, in this regard, the central role must be played by the United Nations as the most universal and representative organization in the world.

It welcomed the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and emphasized that the 2030 Agenda is informed by the Declaration on the Right to Development and that the right to development provides a vital enabling environment for the full realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Council expressed concern about the increasing number of cases of human rights violations and abuses by some transnational corporations and other business enterprises, underlining the need to ensure that appropriate protection, justice and remedies are provided to the victims of human rights violations and abuses resulting from the activities of those entities.

It underscored the fact that they must contribute to the means of implementation for the realization of the right to development.

The Council affirmed that the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development presented a unique opportunity for the international community to demonstrate and reiterate its unequivocal commitment to the right to development, recognizing the high profile it deserves, and redoubling its efforts to implement this right.

The Council decided to continue to act to ensure that its agenda promotes and advances sustainable development and the achievement of the remaining Millennium Development Goals and of the Sustainable Development Goals, and in this regard lead to raising the right to development, as set out in paragraphs 5 and 10 of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, to the same level and on a par with all other human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It decided that the Working Group on the Right to Development, taking into account Human Rights Council resolution 9/3, shall finalize consideration of the criteria and operational sub-criteria, preferably no later than its nineteenth session, in relation to the elaboration of a comprehensive and coherent set of standards for the implementation of the right to development, and shall take appropriate steps to ensure respect for the practical application of these standards, in order for them to evolve into a basis for consideration of an international legal standard of a binding nature, through a collaborative process of engagement.

It encouraged relevant bodies of the United Nations system, within their respective mandates, including United Nations specialized agencies, funds and programmes, relevant international organizations, including the World Trade Organization and relevant stakeholders, including civil society organizations, to give due consideration to the right to development in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to contribute further to the work of the Working Group, and to cooperate with the High Commissioner and the Special Rapporteur in the fulfilment of their mandates with regard to the implementation of the right to development.

NEW WORKING GROUP ON PRIVATE MILITARY, SECURITY COMPANIES

The resolution (A/HRC/36/L.15, introduced by Tunisia on behalf of the African Group) on the mandate of the open-ended intergovernmental working group to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies was adopted without a vote.

In the resolution, the Human Rights Council decided to establish a new open-ended intergovernmental working group, for a period of three years, with a mandate to elaborate the content of an international regulatory framework, without prejudging the nature thereof, to protect human rights and ensure accountability for violations and abuses relating to the activities of private military and security companies, to be informed by the discussion document on elements for an international regulatory framework on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, as prepared by the Chair-Rapporteur, and further inputs from Member States and other stakeholders.

It also decided that the working group shall meet for five working days and submit an annual progress report to the Human Rights Council in conformity with its annual programme of work.

It acknowledged the importance of providing the working group with the expertise and expert advice necessary to fulfil its mandate, and decided that the working group shall invite experts and all relevant stakeholders to participate in its work.

STAFF COMPOSITION AT HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE

The resolution (A/HRC/36/L.1, introduced by Cuba) on the composition of staff of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was adopted by a vote of 31 in favour, 15 against and one abstention.

Those that voted in favour were Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

Those that voted against were Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

Togo abstained in the vote.

In the resolution, the Human Rights Council noted with concern that the dependence of the Office of the High Commissioner on extra-budgetary resources is at the heart of the imbalance in the composition of its staff.

It expressed concern at the imbalance in the geographical representation in the composition of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

It also expressed serious concern at the continuous prominent imbalance in the geographical representation of senior management personnel of the Office of the High Commissioner.

It requested the High Commissioner, within his administrative responsibilities, to redouble his efforts with a view to redress the current imbalance in the geographical composition of the staff of the Office, paying particularly attention to the senior management level and the posts not subject to geographical distribution.

The Council welcomed the decision to continue to pay special attention to the achievement of a gender balance in the composition of the staff.

It underlined the importance of continuing to promote geographical diversity in recruitment and promotion in the Professional category and, in particular, in senior management positions as a principle of the staffing policies of the Office of the High Commissioner.

The Council recognized that efforts to achieve savings and the efficient utilization of resources should not adversely affect the full implementation of mandated programmes and activities and the measures taken for improving the geographical composition of the staff.

It reaffirmed the vital importance of geographical balance in the composition of the staff of the Office of the High Commissioner, taking into account the significance of national and regional specificities and various historic, cultural and religious backgrounds and of different political, economic and legal systems to the promotion and protection of the universality of human rights.

It stressed that extra-budgetary resources, in particular when they are related to the establishment of new posts, shall be used in a manner consistent with the mandates, programmes and activities of the Organization, including the principle of equitable geographical distribution of the staff, and in compliance with the existing budgetary rules and regulations.

The Council also requested the High Commissioner to submit a report to the Human Rights Council at its thirty- ninth session, on the geographical composition of the staff of the Office of the High Commissioner and the actions taken within the current staff selection system to achieve an equitable geographical representation of the Office, as requested by the Council in the present and past resolutions.

 


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