On March 22 and 23, 2013, the UN Human Rights Council votes on the draft resolutions. Below are the session’s highlights as well as the vote on important resolutions.

Positive developments

  • Creation of Commission of Inquiry for North Korea for 1 year by consensus.
  • Extension of mandates for Syria, Iran, North Korea and Myanmar.
  • Condemnation of Syria.
  • Resolution on Sri Lanka to promote accountability and reconciliation.
  • Resolutions on Mali, Libya and Haiti.
  • Resolutions on human rights defenders, torture, freedom of religion.
  • The US and the EU decried item 7.

Negative developments

  • The Council failed to address in its resolutions the violations by the worst abusers such as Cuba, China, Russia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Click here for NGO resolutions on these countries.
  • Six one-sided resolutions against Israel.
  • Minutes of silence for Hugo Chavez and Stéphane Hessel.
  • The speech by Cuba democracy activist Rosa Maria Paya was interrupted by 6 countries; only the  US supported her right to speak. The Cuban comments of “mercenaries” and “fake NGOs” were not rejected by the Ambassadors of Ecuador and Switzerland who were presiding over the sessions.
  • The Council’s historic resolution on LBGT rights (A/HRC/RES/17/19 of the June 2011 session), which led to a panel during on 7 March 2012 session, has had no follow-up. It is common practice that such thematic resolutions are adopted once a year.
  • Pakistan’s UPR adoption contained only praise.
  • Resolutions on OHCHR staffing, Durban follow-up.

Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka (A/HRC/22/L.1/Rev.1)
Submitted by USA and co-sponsored by 33 countries, including: Canada, UK, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Vote Result: Adopted March 21, 2013 by a vote of 25 in favor (USA, EU, South Korea), 13 against (Qatar, UAE, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia, Congo, Ecuador, Venezuela, Mauritania, Maldives, Kuwait, Thailand, and Uganda), 8 abstentions (Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Botswana, and Angola), 1 absent (Gabon).
The text of the resolution was toned down compared to the draft initially tabled.

Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (A/HRC/22/L.19)
Submitted by Japan and Ireland on behalf of the EU.
Adopted March 21, 2013 without a vote.

Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (A/HRC/22/L.22)
Submitted by: Sweden, USA, Panama, Moldova, and Macedonia.
Vote Result: Adopted March 22, 2013 by a vote of 26 in favor, 2 against (Pakistan, Venezuela), 17 abstentions (African countries, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, UAE), 2 absent (Kazakhstan, Qatar).

Situation of Human Rights in the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/22/L.31/Rev.1)
Submitted by: Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, UAE.
Vote Result: Adopted March 22, 2013 by a vote of 41 in favor, 1 against (Venezuela), 5 abstentions (Ecuador, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Uganda)
The resolution included some stronger language but also reference to accountability by “all parties.”

Follow-up to the Report of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Implications of Settlements (A/HRC/22/L.45)
Submitted by: Palestine, Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, and Pakistan on behalf of the OIC.
Vote Result: Adopted March 23, 2013 by a vote of 45 in favor, 1 against (USA) and 1 absent (Ethiopia), as orally revised.

Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/22/L.3)
Submitted by Pakistan on behalf of the IOC.
Vote Result: Adopted March 21, 2013 by a vote of 29 in favor, 1 against (USA) and 17 abstentions (EU, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Switzerland)

Follow-up to the Report of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (A/HRC/22/L.41)
Submitted by: Palestine, Pakistan for OIC, and Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group.
Vote Result: Adopted March 22, 2013 by a vote of 43 in favor, 1 against (USA) and 3 abstentions (Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya) as Orally Amended. [After the vote, Switzerland said that they made a mistake. They wanted to abstain from this resolution.]

Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/HRC/22/L.42)
Submitted by: Palestine, Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, and Pakistan on behalf of the OIC.
Vote Result: Adopted on March 23, 2013 by a vote of 44 in favor, 1 against (USA) and 2 abstentions (Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya).

Right of Palestinian People to Self-Determination (A/HRC/22/L.43)
Submitted by: Palestine, Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, and Pakistan on behalf of the OIC.
Vote Result: Adopted on March 23, 2013 by a vote of 46 in favor and 1 against (USA).

Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Including East Jerusalem (A/HRC/22/L.44)
Submitted by: Palestine, Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, and Pakistan on behalf of the OIC.
Vote Result: Adopted on March 23, 2013 by a vote of 46 in favor and 1 against (USA).

 

Non-Condemnatory Country-Specific Resolutions:

Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar (A/HRC/22/L.20/Rev.1)
Submitted by: Ireland on behalf of the EU.
Adopted March 21, 2013 without a vote.

Assistance à la République du Mali dans le domaine des droits de l’homme (A/HRC/22/L.5)
Submitted by Gabon for the African Group.
Adopted March 21, 2013 without a vote as orally revised.

Technical Assistance Provided to Libya in the Field of Human Rights (A/HRC/22/L.12)
Submitted by Libya and Morocco.
Adopted March 21, 2013 without a vote as orally revised.

Assistance technique et renforcement des capacités en matière des droits de l’homme en Haïti (A/HRC/22/L.56)
Submitted by Haiti.
Adopted March 22, 2013 without a vote

Noteworthy Thematic Resolutions

Enhancement of International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights (A/HRC/22/L.2)
Submitted by Iran on behalf of NAM.
The resolution was orally revised.
Adopted March 21, 2013 without a vote.

Composition of Staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/22/L.17)
Submitted by: Cuba.
Vote Result: Adopted March 21, 2013 by a vote of 31 in favor (Cuba, Mauritania, Pakistan, Congo, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Libya, Maldives, Peru, Uganda, and UAE), 15 against (EU, USA, Switzerland, and South Korea) and 1 abstention (Chile).

Protection of the Family (A/HRC/22/L.25)
Submitted by: Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Qatar, Russia, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
The resolution was postponed.

Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization (A/HRC/22/L.42)
Submitted by: Cuba and Pakistan on behalf of the OIC.
Adopted without a vote as orally revised.

The negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights (A/HRC/22/L.24)
Submitted by: Gabon on behalf of the African Group.
Vote Result: Adopted March 21, 2013 by a vote of 32 in favor, 2 against (USA and Japan) and 13 abstentions (EU, South Korea, Switzerland).

High-level panel discussion on the question of the death penalty (A/HRC/22/L.28)
Submitted by: Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mongolia, Moldova
Vote Result: Adopted March 21, 2013 as Orally Revised, by vote of 28 in favor (EU, USA), 10 against (Botswana, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Qatar, Uganda, UAE) and 9 abstentions (Guatemala, Japan, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, South Korea, Sierra Leone, Thailand).

Prevention of Genocide (A/HRC/22/L.30)
Submitted by: Armenia
Adopted March 21, 2013 without a vote as Orally Revised.
As a result of pressure from ten highly problematic amendments, which were tabled by Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, and later withdrawn, eight references to the Responsibility to Protect were removed from the text. Only one such reference remained in the text.

Protecting human rights defenders (A/HRC/22/L.13)
Submitted by: Norway
Adopted March 21, 2013 without a vote as orally revised.
China, Cuba, Egypt and Russia tabled five problematic amendments to try and weaken the text. The language on one such amendment entered the final text and the rest were withdrawn.

Intergovernmental Working Group – Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (A/HRC/22/L.26)
Submitted by: Gabon on behalf of the African Group.
Vote Result: Adopted March 22, 2013 with a vote of 34 in favor, 1 against (USA) and 12 abstentions (EU, Switzerland) as orally amended.

Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group – private military and security companies (A/HRC/22/L.29)
Submitted by: Gabon on behalf of the African Group.
Vote Result: Adopted March 22, 2013 with a vote of 31 in favor, 11 against (EU, South Korea) and 5 abstentions (Japan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Switzerland, USA), as orally amended.

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