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Human Rights Council Monitor - 11-14 June 2013

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Council Monitor
11-14 June 2013
 

CONGRATULATIONS

ISHR Board member appointed as UN Expert on Haiti... more

 

Opinion

Access to funding: a vital part of the right to freedom of association

Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

There have been many developments negatively affecting the ability of civil society organisations to operate independently over the past year. Governments are increasingly constraining the ability of associations to seek, receive and use funding to the point of threatening their very existence. We cannot underestimate the central role that resources in general, and financial resources in particular, play in the ability of associations to carry out their activities and meet their objectives... more

 

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS


Item 8 – Statement on protecting and supporting women human rights defenders and those working on sexual orientation and gender identity issues

Item 10 –
Statement on cooperation between international and regional human rights mechanisms

Joint Statement at closing of  23rd Session of the Human Rights Council

 

ISHR ADVOCACY

ISHR CALLS ON COUNCIL TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

As the 23rd Session of the Human Rights Council closed, ISHR welcomed States’ positive follow-up to the March 2013 resolution on protecting human rights defenders, but called for this to be translated into practical support on the ground. Delivering a joint statement on behalf of 10 leading international and regional NGOs, ISHR also reiterated its concern on worsening attacks and restrictions on human rights defenders… more
 

ISHR WELCOMES RECORD NUMBER OF RESOLUTIONS ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

The 23rd Council Session considered a record number of texts that recognise the work of human rights defenders and their need for protection. ISHR advocated for and supported the adoption of several such resolutions, all of which were ultimately adopted by States… more 


LGBT ORGANISATIONS CALL FOR URGENT ACTION FROM THE COUNCIL

ISHR joined over 1000 organisations in a joint statement calling for the Council to urgently follow-up to its 2011 resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Statement recommended that more sustained attention be given to these issues throughout the UN system, and called on States to implement the recommendations from the High Commissioner’s 2012 report.


ISHR CALLS ON STATES TO ENSURE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE VIENNA DECLARATION AND PROGRAMME OF ACTION

ISHR called on all States to ensure full implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, highlighting threats of regress. These include restrictions on human rights defenders, discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and violence against women… more

Resolutions adopted at 23rd session of Human Rights Council

Texts and voting records are available HERE (username: hrc extranet; password: 1session)

The deteriorating situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the recent killings in Al-Qusayr
The situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic and the need to grant access to the Commission of Inquiry
Situation in human rights in Eritrea
The situation of human rights in Belarus
Technical assistance to Cote d’Ivoire in the field of human rights
Strengthening of technical cooperation and capacity building in Guinea
Technical assistance to the Central African Republic in the field of human rights
Assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights
Technical assistance and capacity building in South Sudan
The human rights situation of Muslims in Myanmar
Accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women
Elimination of discrimination against women
Role of freedom of opinion and expression in women's empowerment
Independence of the judiciary
National Human Rights Institutions
National policies and human rights
Trafficking in persons, especially women and children - effort to combat human Trafficking in supply chain of business
The right to education
Internally displaced persons
Human rights on migrants
Access to medicine
Foreign debt
The negative impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights
Cultural rights and cultural diversity
Promotion of the right to peace
Human rights and international solidarity
Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights
Attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism

 

KEY DEVELOPMENTS AT THE COUNCIL

In Brief

CONTINUING ATTENTION FROM STATES TO NEED TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

The 23rd Session saw encouraging follow-up from States regarding the March 2013 consensus resolution on the protection of human rights defenders. Recent months have seen concerning efforts to restrict the space for civil society to carry out its work, including laws in Russia and a draft law in Egypt. Many States, including Ireland speaking for the EU, the US, and Norway, took the opportunity to recall that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action calls for NGOs to be free to carry out their activities without interference, and to express concern about the narrowing space for civil society in countries including Egypt and Russia. Ireland, speaking on behalf of the EU, reaffirmed the right to unhindered access to and communication with the UN and condemned reprisals against human rights defenders in this context.
 

SPECIAL PROCEDURES UNDER ATTACK

A group of 11 States (Algeria, Belarus, China, Cuba, Ecuador, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand) have criticised certain Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts for exceeding their mandates or disregarding the Code of Conduct. It is notable that many of these same States refuse to allow special procedures to undertake country missions and routinely disregard their recommendations. Allegations were made, amongst others, that special procedures fail to use reliable sources of information in drawing their conclusions, that they rely on OHCHR staff to carry out substantive work, and that press statements are released following country visits before the governments themselves have received any recommendations. These States called for OHCHR to develop specific modalities for country visits saying that this would increase the trust States have in special procedures and encourage States to pay ‘due regard’ to their recommendations.
 

UNCERTAINTY AROUND FUTURE ACTION ON SOGI AT COUNCIL

Under its agenda item looking at implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Council’s attention turned in particular to the human rights of LGBT people. South Africa, who earlier in the session had announced that it would not run a follow-up resolution to its 2011 text on sexual orientation and gender identity, said that it believed in the Council promoting ‘further interaction and cooperation’ rather than adopting ‘immediate measures’. Norway, speaking on behalf of 34 States, (not including South Africa) set out its commitment to keep sexual orientation and gender identity on the agenda ‘through an appropriate decision of the Human Rights Council’. While there are different views among States and even civil society as to the specific steps the Council should take, in ISHR’s view it is imperative that the Council take concrete action to combat and condemn discrimination, violence and harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
 

PANEL ON CHALLENGES TO SECURE DEMOCRACY AND RULE OF LAW FROM A HUMAN RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, opened the panel discussion on challenges to secure democracy and rule of law, held on 11 June 2013, saying that it was impossible to look at democracy in isolation from the rule of law and human rights. The panel discussion focused on recent events in North Africa and the Middle East and challenges these countries faced in their transitions to democracy. The panellists agreed that essential elements in the success of democratisation include the guarantee of all human rights for all citizens, establishment of respected and accountable institutions, the creation of a legal and judicial system defined by the rule of law, and a strong role for civil society and a media free from censure.

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