Human Rights Council concludes twenty-seventh session after adopting 32 resolutions and four presidential statements

Human Rights Council
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Creates Mandate on Unilateral Coercive Measures; Adopts Resolutions on Sexual Orientation and on Civil Society Space, and Extends Several Mandates

The Human Rights Council concluded its twenty-seventh regular session this evening after adopting 32 texts on a wide range of issues, as well as its report for the session.  A new mandate was created, of a Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.  The Council also adopted resolutions on sexual orientation and gender identity, on the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Syria, on civil society space, and on foreign debt.

The mandates of the Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes, the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, and the Independent Experts on the human right situations in the Central African Republic and in Sudan were extended.  The Council also  extended the mandates of the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, and the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

Four Presidential Statements were adopted on the following issues: the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the protection of the human rights of migrants at sea and the Ebola epidemic, as well as a statement taking note of the last two session reports of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, Additionally, the Council appointed seven members of the Advisory Committee, but given the lack of consensus on the appointment of Special Procedure mandate holders, postponed the task until the next session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group in October 2014.

In concluding remarks, Baudelaire Ndong Ella, President of the Human Rights Council,
called on States to halt and prevent acts of retaliation, intimidation or reprisals against human rights defenders and for all who participated in the Council’s work to discuss issues with the appropriate level of dignity and respect.   The Council then adopted its report of the twenty-seventh session.

In the 32 resolutions and texts adopted this session the Council made the following decisions: it appointed, for a period of three years, a Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.  The mandate of the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the Central African Republic was renewed as was mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, both for one year.  The mandate of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances was extended for three years, as was the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence and the mandate of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.  The Council additionally decided to extend for three years the mandate of 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 mandate of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent for the same period.

In a landmark resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity the Council requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to update the report entitled “Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity” with a view to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination.  In another resolution the Council condemned attacks and violence against journalists and media workers and urged States to end impunity for such crimes.  In a resolution on the continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic the Council decided to transmit all reports and oral updates of the Commission of Inquiry to all relevant bodies of the United Nations, including the General Assembly, and the Secretary-General for appropriate action.   In another resolution the Council urged States to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment in which civil society could operate free from hindrance and insecurity, and on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, the Council requested the Advisory Committee to prepare a research-based report on the activities of vulture funds and their impact on human rights.

In a resolution on strengthening national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights the Council recognized that national human rights institutions and their respective members and staff should not face any form of reprisal or intimidation and requested the Secretary-General to submit a report on the subject.  The Council decided to convene a panel discussion on realizing the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl at its twenty-ninth session and a panel discussion on the implementation of the outcome of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples at its thirtieth session, and also adopted the plan of action for the third phase (2015–2019) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education.  It decided to convene a two-day informal inter-sessional intergovernmental meeting of the Working Group on the Right to Development, and decided that the Working Group on the Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace would hold its third session for five working days in 2015 with the objective of finalizing the Declaration.

The High Commissioner was asked to prepare a follow-up report on how the technical guidance on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights has been applied by States and other actors; a report of the practical application of the technical guidance on the application of a human rights-based approach to programmes to reduce and eliminate preventable mortality and morbidity of children under five years of age; and a compilation of good practices and major challenges in preventing and eliminating female genital mutilation.  Other studies requested were on the right to participate in public affairs and on the impact of technical assistance and capacity building on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Resolutions were also adopted with concern to technical assistance and capacity building, including in Yemen and Sudan, the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, and on the right of the child to engage in play and recreational activities.  Other resolutions were adopted on the recruitment, training, hiring or financing of mercenaries, as well as the role of local government in the promotion and protection of human rights, using sport and the Olympic ideal to promote human rights for all, on national policies and human rights, and on equal participation in political and public affairs.

Documentation, statements, resolutions and reports relating to this and all Human Rights Council sessions are available on its webpage. Detailed, speaker-by-speaker coverage of every public meeting can be found on the website of United Nations Information Service Geneva.

The twenty-seventh session was held from 8 to 26 September 2013.  The twenty-eighth session of the Human Rights Council will be held in Room XX of the Palais des Nations from 2 to 27 March 2015.
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