Outcomes of the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council

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Outcomes of the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council
Friday, March 28, 2014

GENEVA - During its 25th session, the Human Rights Council adopted 12 country specific and 24 thematic resolutions. Below is a selection of highlights from the final week of the session:

Country Specific Resolutions

Ireland, on behalf of the European Union and Japan, presented a resolution on The situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The resolution condemned violations in the DPRK and called on the UN to establish a field-based structure to continue monitoring and raising public awareness about the countries human rights situation. It sent a strong message saying that the Security Council should refer North Korea to an international criminal court for possible prosecutions of its leaders.

The Commission of Inquiry concluded that the crimes committed in North Korea include extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, and imprisonment; rape and other sexual violence; persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds; the forcible transfer of populations, enforced disappearances and knowingly causing prolonged starvation. The resolution was adopted by 30 votes against 6, with 11 abstentions.

The USA submitted a resolution on Promoting Reconciliation, Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka. They expressed serious concern about the deteriorating situation in the country, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, sexual violence, repression to human rights defenders and violence against religious minorities. States expressed concern at the lack of progress by Sri Lanka to ensure accountability for serious human rights and humanitarian law violations. 

The resolution requested the Office of the High Commissioner to undertake a comprehensive investigation of violations of human rights by both parties. The resolution was adopted by vote with 25 votes in favor, 13 against and 8 abstentions.

Greece, on behalf of the European Union, submitted a resolution on the Situation of human rights in Myanmar to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the country for one year. The resolution applauds the continued progress of political reform, democratization and welcomes inclusion by the Government of civil society and opposition parties in political dialogue.

However, conflicts continue in some areas and the resolution underscores the need for independence, impartiality and accountability of the judiciary as a key tool to ensure the rule of law. The international community is encouraged to support the government through technical assistance and capacity-building. The resolution was adopted without a vote.

Presented by a list of countries including Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, the resolution on The continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic expresses grave concern over the continuing violence and the systematic and widespread human rights abuses perpetrated by the Syrian authorities. It condemns war crimes by all parties and intentional attacks against medical facilities, acts of violence against humanitarian personnel, sexual violence committed against women and the involvement of children in armed conflict. The resolution emphasizes the need to end impunity and to hold accountable all those responsible for violations and renews the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry for one year. The resolution reiterates the call upon the Syrian authorities to allow and facilitate full access of humanitarian organizations. The resolution was adopted by vote with 32 votes in favor, 4 against and 11 abstentions.

The Council adopted a resolution on the Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, tabled by Sweden. The resolution regretted Iran’s unwillingness to cooperate with requests put forward in previous resolutions by the General Assembly and Human Rights Council. The resolution extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran for another year. It was adopted through a vote, with 21 votes in favor and 9 votes against.

Thematic Resolutions 

Championed by Norway and Ireland, the HRC has adopted a crucial resolution on the protection of human rights defenders.The resolution calls on States to protect human rights defenders from attacks and reprisals and ensure that national laws and policies support and enable their work. It was co-sponsored by 74 States and ultimately adopted by consensus after a number of failed attempts to weaken the resolution. The resolution renews the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders for a period of three years.

The Council adopted a resolution on Ensuring use of remotely piloted aircraft in counter-terrorism in accordance with international law with 27 in favor 6 against and 14 abstentions.

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