17th Session of the Human Rights Council

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30th May - 17th June 2011


Overview of the issues treated:

  • all alleged violations of international human rights law in Libya
  • Human rights situation in Belarus
  • the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations of serious abuses and violations of human rights committed in Cote d’Ivoire following the presidential election of 28 November 2010
  • the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, presented her report on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire
  • the Human Rights Council has in closed meetings examined the human rights situation in Tajikistan under the Complaint and has decided to keep the situation under review
  • the High Commissioner for Human Rights introduced her report on the status of the implementation of the conclusions contained in the report of the fact-finding mission on the incident of the humanitarian flotilla

Key accomplishments:

  • The Council requested the High Commissioner to commission a study to be finalised by December 2011, to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world, and decided to convene a panel discussion during the 19th session of the Human Rights Council, informed by the facts contained in the said study.
  • The Council also adopted a resolution through which it endorses a set of “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” and established a working group whose mandate is focused on the dissemination and implementation of these principles.

Round up:

The 17th session of the Human Rights Council closed on Friday, 17th June 2011 after 13 days of meetings. Presided over by H.E. Mr. Shihasak Phunangketkeow of Thailand, this session of the Council adopted 28 resolutions and elected the new Officers for the Human Rights Council-s 6th cycle (June 2011-December 2012): H.E. Laura Dupuis Lasserre from Uruguay was elected as the new and first female President of the Council. In addition, three Vice-Presidents and one Vice-President/Rapporteur were elected: H.E. Anatole Nkou, Representative of Cameroun; H.E. Andràs Dékany, Representative of Hungary; H.E. Christian Strohal, Representative of Austria; and H.E. Gulnara Iskakova, the Representative of Kyrgyzstan.


Key Resolutions adopted at the end of the session:

  • Human Rights, sexual orientation and gender identity (Submitted by South Africa)

Requests the High Commissioner to commission a study to be finalised by December 2011, to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world and how international human rights laws can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In favour: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, and Uruguay.


  • Human Rights Situation in Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Submitted by Jordan, Maldives, Qatar, UK)

Requests the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner to continue to provide all administrative, technical and logistical assistance required to enable the Commission of Inquiry to fulfil its mandate.


  • Assistance to Côte d'Ivoire in the field of human rights (Submitted by Nigeria-on behalf of African Group)

Requests the Secretary-General to continue providing support to UNOCI, in particular the relevant material and human resources to the Human Rights Division to enhance its operational activities; and requests the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide technical assistance and to work with the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and others actors to identify additional areas of assistance to enable Côte d’Ivoire to fulfill its human rights obligations.


  • Migrants and asylum seekers fleeing from events in North Africa (Submitted by Nigeria (African Group)

Requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to pay particular attention to the situation of migrants and asylums seekers fleeing from North Africa (abandoned to their fate).


  • Panel on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests (Submitted by Switzerland)

Requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to liaise with the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, States and others stakeholders, including relevant United Nations bodies and agencies, with a view to ensuring their participation in panel discussion.


  • Accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women (Submitted by Canada)

HRC continues consideration of the issue of the elimination of all forms of violence against women as a matter of high priority, in conformity with its annual programme of work.


  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Submitted by Austria, Chile, Germany, Kenya, Maldives, Slovenia, Slovakia, Thailand, Uruguay)

The Council adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure and recommended that the Optional Protocol be opened for signature at a signing ceremony to be held in 2012.

  • The Right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (Submitted by Brazil, India, Egypt, South Africa)

Urges all States, UN Agencies and programmes and relevant intergovernmental organization, within their respective mandates, and encourages non-governmental organizations and relevant stakeholders to promote the innovative development, the availability and the affordability of new drugs for diseases disproportionately affecting developing countries.


  • Situation of human rights in Belarus (Submitted by Hungary)

Requests the office of the High Commissioner to provide the Special Rapporteur with all necessary assistance and resources to enable him/her to discharge his/her mandate fully.


  • The effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights (Submitted by Cuba)

Requests the Secretary-General to provide the independent expert with all necessary assistance, in particular all the staff and resources required to carry out his functions, including the organization of consultations with experts and Governments on the draft general guidelines on foreign debts and human rights.


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