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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW OUTCOME OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, HOLDS DEBATE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DECADE FOR PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT, AND SUSPENDS ITS FORTY-THIRD SESSION

Council Extends All Mandates and Mandated Activities that would otherwise Expire and Appoints 19 Special Procedure Mandate Holders
13 March 2020

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Bosnia and Herzegovina and held a debate on the midterm review of the International Decade for People of African Descent. Taking note of the measures adopted by the host country Switzerland to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the Council also extended all mandates and mandated activities that would otherwise expire, until the resumption of the forty-third session, and appointed 19 Special Procedure mandate holders, before suspending the session.

Nermina Kapetanovic, Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Bosnia and Herzegovina was a party to a number of Council of Europe conventions and covenants, and had improved the legal framework for human rights protection via the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination. With regard to unaccepted recommendations, the death penalty in the Republika Srpska Constitution had already been repealed, while national minorities had equal access to education afforded by a valid legal framework. Furthermore, the Law on Gender Equality and the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination ensured legislative harmonization against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers commended the commitment of Bosnia and Herzegovina to fighting violence against women and children, providing children with access to healthcare, and strengthening national institutions charged with human rights protection. Other speakers noted that despite quotas being in place, there remained an under representation of woman in public life, and one in two women suffered abuse, despite policies to address this. They stressed the important role that civil society could play in addressing this issue. They called on the Government to continue work to eliminate the gender wage gap.

Speaking were Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Malawi, Pakistan, Serbia, UN Women, United Nations Population Fund, Venezuela and Afghanistan.

Also taking the floor were the following civil society representatives : Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Action Canada, and European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay.

The President informed that out of 207 recommendations received, 204 enjoyed the support of Bosnia and Herzegovina and three had been noted.

The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the debate on the midterm review of the International Decade for People of African Descent, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Tamara Mawhinney, speaking on behalf of Greg Fergus, Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer in Canada, who could not be present, delivered keynote statements.

The panellists were Susana Matute Charún, Director of Public Policies for the Afro-Peruvian Population at the Ministry of Culture of Peru ; Monica Ferro, Director of the United Nations Population Fund office in Geneva ; Elisabeth Kaneza, Founder and Chair of the Kaneza Foundation for Dialogue and Empowerment, Germany ; and Nadia Adongo Musah, Deputy Director of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President of the Republic of Ghana, who spoke by video message.

Ms. Bachelet remarked that, throughout the world, and regardless of whether they were descendants of victims of enslavement, or recent migrants, people of African descent endured intolerable discrimination and constituted some of the poorest and most marginalized groups. She commended the Durban follow-up mechanisms for their leading role in advancing the agenda of the International Decade, in particular the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent for its visits and recommendations.

Ms. Mawhinney, speaking on behalf of Mr. Fergus, said that in order to move forward, Canada had to understand its past, including slavery and anti-Black racism, ensuring those stories were shared and told. The International Decade had been officially recognized by the Canadian President on 30 January 2018 as a framework for justice and development to fight discrimination. Multiple steps had been taken to tackle this issue by the Government such as providing a regime of pensions, making investments in fellowships programmes and an initiative in mental health, as well as presenting a new National Strategy on Housing.

Ms. Matute Charún said that centuries of slavery, in addition to creating social inequalities for the African population and its descendants, had led to the eradication of a wealth of cultural expressions, such as African languages, spiritual practices, as well as technical ancestral knowledge. While, at the Decade’s midpoint, there were still several pending issues, the Government was sparing no efforts to meet the objectives set by the Decade.

Ms. Ferro noted that people of African descent often experienced discrimination and bias when accessing housing, education and healthcare. The 2030 Agenda could meet the critical needs of people in this distinct group, and its goals showed the critical inequalities faced by people of African descent, in particular women and girls. The United Nations Population Fund was well positioned to help the Council to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, by designing an institution wide strategy focusing on four goals.

Ms. Kaneza said that the adoption of a National Action Plan placed a stronger focus on the racism facing Black Germans, and took measures to counter it. This represented a milestone. More broadly across Europe, the situation was less positive. Although the European Parliament had adopted a resolution on the rights of people of African descent, racism and discrimination appeared to be on the increase across the continent. As such, she called on delegates to take the midterm as an occasion to commit again to fulfilling their obligations.

Ms. Adongo Musah, delivering her statement via video message, said the Office of Diaspora Affairs had been set up after the International Decade was instituted. The Government had established the Year of Return Initiative programme in December 2018 to invite people of African descent to return to Ghana. Diasporans who returned could become Ghanaian citizens, and on October 2019, 162 returning diasporans received Ghanaian citizenship.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers underlined the importance of international alliances and initiatives that fostered mutual understanding, and urged the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action as well as the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference. It was important to protect the right to development of people of African descent, and ensure their full participation in society. Noting that people of African descent were present in all small island and developing States, speakers pointed out that challenges to the realization of the rights of people of African descent were being compounded by climate change. It was paramount to understand that the Decade represented a window of opportunity to eliminate racism and discrimination in a manner that was conducive to the achievement the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking were Peru on behalf of a group of South American countries, the European Union, Haiti on behalf of the Caribbean Community, South Africa on behalf of the African Group, Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Guyana, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Pakistan, South Africa, Brazil, Namibia, Vanuatu, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Indonesia, Qatar, Nepal, China, Cuba, Russian Federation, Senegal, Angola and Belgium.

Also taking the floor were the following civil society representatives : International Movement against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, Reseau International des Droits Humains, the International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, Sociedade Maranhense de Direitos Humanos, International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, and International Council Supporting Fair Trial and Human Rights.

The Council then took action on the extension of mandates and mandated activities that would otherwise expire before the forty-third session resumed.

Without a vote, the Council adopted a resolution that took note of the measures adopted by the host country Switzerland, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, and, recalling that on 12 March 2020 it decided to suspend its forty-third session on 13 March until further notice, it decided to extend all mandates and mandated activities that would otherwise expire, until the date on which they could be considered by the Council when the forty-third session is resumed.

Venezuela spoke in a general comment.

Syria, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Iran and China spoke in explanation of the vote after the vote.

The Council then proceeded with the appointment of Special Procedure mandate holders.

As members of the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development, the Council appointed Bonny Ibhawoh (Nigeria) from African States, Mihir Kanade (India) from Asia-Pacific States, Klentiana Mahmutaj (Albania) from Eastern European States, Armando Antonio de Negri Filho (Brazil) from Latin American and Caribbean States, Koen De Feyter (Belgium) from Western European and other States.

The Council appointed to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Laila Susanne Vars (Norway) as member from the Arctic, and Binota Moy Dhamai (Bangladesh) as member from Asia.

Yuefen Li of China was appointed as the Independent Expert on 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. Claudia Mahler of Austria was appointed as the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons. Isha Dyfan of Sierra Leone was appointed as the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia.

The Council also appointed Balakrishnan Rajagopal of the United States as the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context. Tomoya Obokata of Japan was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and its consequences. Olivier de Schutter of Belgium was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. Alena Douhan of Belarus was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

In addition, Michael Fakhri of Lebanon was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on the right to food ; José Francisco Calí Tzay of Guatemala as the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples ; Mama Fatima Singhateh of the Gambia as the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material ; Mary Lawlor of Ireland as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders ; and Thomas H. Andrews of the United States as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

In her concluding remarks, Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, President of the Human Rights Council, expressing her gratitude, said she hoped to see everybody back in Room XX when the session resumed. The coming weeks and the exceptional circumstances might provide an opportunity to reflect on new ways to fulfil the Council’s mandate, she added.

Summaries of the Committee’s public meetings in English and French are available at the United Nations Office at Geneva News and Media page, while the webcast can be viewed at UN Web TV.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Bosnia and Herzegovina

NERMINA KAPETANOVIC, Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Bosnia and Herzegovina had received 207 recommendations, fully accepted 136, and rejected three, adding that 68 recommendations were already in the process of implementation. She said that Bosnia and Herzegovina had ratified 14 conventions, was a party to a number of Council of Europe conventions and covenants, and had improved the legal framework for human rights protection via the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination.

With regard to unaccepted recommendations, the death penalty in the Republika Srpska Constitution had already been repealed, while national minorities had equal access to education afforded by a valid legal framework. Furthermore, the Law on Gender Equality and the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination ensured legislative harmonization against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. Adopting the revised National War Crimes Processing Strategy and the Transitional Justice Strategy remained top priorities. Ms. Kapetanovic noted that despite the existing progress, Bosnia and Herzegovina faced significant challenges such as the lack of financial resources and the increased influx of migrants.

In the discussion, speakers commended the commitment of Bosnia and Herzegovina to fighting violence against women and children, providing children with access to healthcare, and strengthening national institutions charged with human rights protection. Speakers recognized the challenges of adopting these recommendations in spite of economic challenges. Speakers also noted efforts to establish funds for people with disabilities, establish institutions to foster civil society, and the existence of several gender mechanisms within the State system.

Other speakers noted that despite quotas being in place, there remained an under representation of woman in public life, and one in two women suffered abuse, despite policies to address this. They stressed the important role that civil society could play in addressing this issue. They called on the Government to continue work to eliminate the gender wage gap, and to continue strengthening its policies in respect of economic and social rights, especially as they related to vulnerable groups. Speakers also called for conditions in centres of detention to be brought in line with the Government’s human rights commitments. They also highlighted the lack of support for Roma women, women with disabilities and women returnees.

NERMINA KAPETANOVIC, Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked all the members of the Council and the Secretariat for their engagement. Ms. Kapetanovic emphasized that Bosnia and Herzegovina had shown its readiness to protect the human rights of everyone in the country, including refugees, and aimed at improving the human rights situation even further based on European and international standards and mechanisms.

The President informed that out of 207 recommendations received, 204 enjoyed the support of Bosnia and Herzegovina and three had been noted.

The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Debate on the Midterm Review of the International Decade for People of African Descent

Keynote Statements

MICHELLE BACHELET, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, stressing that “racism violates everything we stand for and everything we do”, said that all had a responsibility to fight it. In 2001, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action acknowledged that people of African descent continued to be victimized by legacies of trade in enslaved Africans and colonialism. Throughout the world, and regardless of whether they were descendants of victims of enslavement, or recent migrants, people of African descent endured intolerable discrimination and constituted some of the poorest and most marginalized groups. Acknowledging this, the General Assembly had established the International Decade for People of African Descent, from 2015 to 2024, and its midterm review, which the General Assembly would convene this year, would be an opportunity for Member States to assess the Decade’s progress, share good practices, and decide on further actions. Ms. Bachelet said she trusted that States would soon establish the long-awaited Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, which would, amongst other aims, be able to spearhead the development of a draft United Nations declaration on promoting full respect of the human rights of people of African descent.

Ms. Bachelet said a number of important initiatives and actions had been registered. Last year, the African Union had officially launched the International Decade for Africa ; the Organization of American States had approved an Americas-wide Plan of Action for the Decade ; the Inter-American Network of High Authorities on Policies for Afro-descendant Populations had been established ; and the European Parliament had adopted a resolution on the Fundamental Rights of People of African Descent, urging States to develop detailed strategies to end discrimination in education, health, housing, policing, the justice system and politics. The High Commissioner commended the Durban follow up mechanisms for their leading role in advancing the agenda of the International Decade, in particular the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent for its visits and recommendations. Of course, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights continued to organize the Annual Fellowship Programme for people of African descent, which to date had helped empower more than 80 fellows from 32 countries. Much more work was needed to honour the commitments made by States to uphold and advance the equality and dignity of every human being. Like COVID-19, racism and xenophobia claimed lives, Ms. Bachelet concluded.

TAMARA MAWHINNEY, speaking on behalf of GREG FERGUS, Member of Parliament for Hull-Aylmer in Canada, who could not be present, noted the importance of today’s debate and emphasized Canada’s support for the International Decade. Canadians of African descent had shaped the identity of the country for hundreds of years, contributing to the growth and development of Canada. In order to move forward, Canada had to understand its past, including slavery and anti-Black racism, ensuring those stories were shared and told. The evidence was clear – discrimination continued to exist in Canada, and addressing these issues were the responsibility of the Government. In October 2016 the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was invited to Canada, saluting the new initiative to establish a judiciary and Canada’s progress in promoting multiculturalism. At the same time, the experts had expressed concern about the situation of Black Canadians, noting that much work had to be done.

Building on these concerns, the International Decade had been officially recognized by the Canadian President on 30 January 2018 as a framework for justice and development to fight discrimination. Multiple steps had been taken to tackle this issue by the Government such as providing a regime of pensions, making investments in fellowship programmes and an initiative in mental health, as well as presenting a new National Strategy on Housing. The budget of 2018 provided $ 9 million over three years to the Canadian Heritage Fund helping young black Canadians. The Fund was currently funding a national awareness campaign to combat anti-Black racism. In 2019, the Government granted $ 25 million over five years out of the federal budget to build capacity in Black Canadian communities. The Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics had been established, breaking down data by meaningful categories, including race. Ms. Mawhinney concluded by noting that a new Anti-Racism Secretariat had been created to develop new initiatives as part of establishing a foundation for change.

Statements by Panellists

SUSANA MATUTE CHARÚN, Director of Public Policies for the Afro-Peruvian Population, Ministry of Culture of Peru, said that centuries of slavery, in addition to creating social inequalities for the African population and its descendants, had led to the eradication of a wealth of cultural expressions, such as African languages, spiritual practices, as well as technical ancestral knowledge. While time had passed, the consequences were still visible : people of African descent in Peru still experienced racial discrimination and social exclusion, hallmarks of the structural discrimination that had characterized the social and historical trajectory of this segment of the Peruvian population, just as had been the case in several other countries in the region. In 2009, Peru had extended an “historical apology” to the Afro-Peruvian people for the abuse, exclusion, and discrimination they had been subjected to since the colonial era until now. At the Decade’s midpoint, there were still several pending issues, Ms. Matute Charún added, stressing the utmost importance of having official data on the Afro-descendant population in Peru. The Government was sparing no efforts to meet the objectives set by the Decade, she assured.

MONICA FERRO, Director of the United Nations Population Fund Office in Geneva, noted that people of African descent often experienced discrimination and bias when accessing housing, education and healthcare. The 2030 Agenda could meet the critical needs of people in this distinct group, and its goals showed the critical inequalities faced by people of African descent, in particular women and girls. The United Nations Population Fund was well positioned to help the Council to achieve the 2030 goals, by designing an institution-wide strategy focusing on four goals. Expanding evidence-based advocacy focused on the rights of people of African descent, addressing population and development themes, working with faith-based organizations representing people of African descent, and working with women’s groups. The Fund would build on the work of the Nairobi Summit, the San Jose Declaration, and the Montevideo Consensus amongst others. The Fund also worked on the comprehensive management of the sexual health of youth of African descent. Their projects included collaborating on the design of census data, focusing on topics related to sexual and reproductive health, gender and equality. She reiterated the importance of providing better assistance to help this defined group fulfil their potential.

ELISABETH KANEZA, Founder and Chair of the Kaneza Foundation for Dialogue and Empowerment, Germany, noted that at the start of this International Decade in 2015, she had just started her role in the German Parliament and remarked she was the only Black person in her work-related interactions. Following her participation in the 2015 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent, she began promoting the Decade in Germany, which led to its launch in 2016. The initiative was launched at a time when people of African descent were not recognized as a victim group, and helped bring attention to their cause. The adoption of a National Action Plan placed a stronger focus on the racism facing Black Germans, and took measures to counter it. This represented a milestone. More broadly across Europe, the situation was less positive. Although the European Parliament had adopted a resolution on the rights of people of African descent, racism and discrimination appeared to be on the increase across the continent. As such, she called on delegates to take the midterm point as an occasion to commit again to fulfilling their obligations.

NADIA ADONGO MUSAH, Deputy Director of Diaspora Affairs, Office of the President of the Republic of Ghana, speaking via video message, thanked the President for the opportunity to participate in this panel discussion. The Office of Diaspora Affairs had been set up after the International Decade was instituted and had set up the Year of Return Initiative programme in December 2018 to invite people of African descent to return to Ghana. Diasporans who returned could become Ghanaian citizens, and on October 2019, 162 returning diasporans had received citizenship. In addition, the Diaspora Village programme sought to provide housing and land to returning people of African descent. Moreover, the NABCO programme facilitated employment for youth who finished school, helping settle arriving families. Moving forward, a new programme Beyond the Return was created, encouraging diasporans to come to Ghana to share their skills to enrich the country, and Africa as a whole.

Discussion

In the ensuing discussion, speakers recalled that millions of Africans had been forcibly transported to Latin America, where their descendants now contributed enormously to arts, culture, science and politics. They pledged to counter all forms of racism, especially those that affected people of African descent. Other speakers, urging those present to remember the historical basis that had led to the establishment of the Decade, noted that its first five years were deemed by many to amount to a missed opportunity. The time had come to take resolute and earnest measures to silence the voices of extremism, said some speakers. Others underlined the importance of international alliances and initiatives that fostered mutual understanding, and urged the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action as well as the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference. It was important to protect the right to development of people of African descent, and their full participation in society. Noting that people of African descent were present in all small island and developing States, speakers pointed out that challenges to the realization of the rights of people of African descent were being compounded by climate change. It was paramount to understand that the Decade represented a window of opportunity to eliminate racism and discrimination in a manner that was conducive to the achievement the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speakers noted the important role played by non-governmental organizations and civil society stakeholders, for instance through the provision of legal assistance, or establishing anti-discrimination points where people could report acts of discrimination. However, they pointed to the lack of resources and threats of retribution which often stopped people of African descent from reporting discrimination. Speakers also noted that people of African descent were disproportionally impacted by environmental degradation, and were often left out of the decision-making process, especially in peace negotiations. Some speakers noted that with five years to go in the Decade, it was urgent to ensure that all participants were held to their commitments, and stressed the importance of fostering inter-cultural dialogue to foster respect and inclusion. Speakers reiterated the importance of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, in particular the responsibility of signatories to address racial and ethnic discrimination within their countries. Others noted that almost 20 years after its establishment, insufficient progress had been made, and they called for a redoubling of efforts in this regard. Some speakers stated that laws on freedom of opinion could not be used as a smokescreen for permitting extremist and racist views.

Concluding Remarks

SUSANA MATUTE CHARÚN, Director of Public Policies for the Afro-Peruvian Population, Ministry of Culture of Peru, noted that the Durban Declaration was 20 years old and its goals had not been reached, pointing out that State authorities were not committed and equipped to implement what was decided ; however, she was not discouraged. It was important to define exactly who people of African descent were and to understand that people of African descent were citizens of their countries and members of the diaspora at the same time. Public officials needed to work together with civil society to reach these aims.

MONICA FERRO, Director of the United Nations Population Fund office in Geneva, acknowledged the leadership of the High Commissioner during the first five years. Regarding intersectionality, overlapping forms of discrimination had to be clearly addressed. Her three key conclusions were : increasing visibility through disaggregated data, strengthening partnerships with stakeholders, and building capacity to secure meaningful participation.

ELISABETH KANEZA, Founder and Chair of the Kaneza Foundation for Dialogue and Empowerment, Germany, noted that the first five years of the International Decade had shown that when civil society groups drew attention to discrimination, Governments took action. However, more work needed to be done in this regard. In order to advance, States had to invest more in education and raise awareness of the historic experience of people of African descent, in order to address the discrimination they faced.

Action on Resolution on the Extension of Mandates and Mandated Activities

In a resolution (A/HRC/43/L.14) on Extension of mandates and mandated activities, adopted without a vote, the Council takes note of the measures adopted by the host country Switzerland to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Recalling that on 12 March 2020 it decided to suspend its forty-third session on 13 March until further notice, the Council decides to extend all mandates and mandated activities that would otherwise expire, until the date on which they can be considered by the Council when the forty-third session is resumed.

ELISABETH TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the Human Rights Council, said these were truly exceptional times. The Council was facing a situation which was beyond its control and forced it to take unprecedented measures. Over the last few days, she had been in contact with many of those present and had heard their concerns and thoughts on the current situation.

The Bureau had been guided by the advice of the United Nations Office at Geneva and the Swiss authorities in safeguarding the well-being and health of all of people concerned, while at the same time taking incremental measures that would respect the inclusive manner in which this Council was used to operate.

Given the emergency situation, the Bureau had decided to prioritize the suspension of the forty-third session in an organized manner with the objective of ensuring its smooth resumption whenever possible, and not to create any protection gaps.

She recalled the decision of the Council yesterday to suspend the forty-third session of the Human Rights Council on 13 March 2020, until further notice. The Council had also decided that before its suspension, it would extend all mandates and mandated activities that would otherwise expire until the resumption of the forty-third session ; and appoint the 19 mandate holders for the forty-third session.

Appointment of Special Procedure Mandate Holders

ELISABETH TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the Human Rights Council, said that on the basis of the recommendations of the Consultative Group, and having held broad consultations, she had decided to propose the appointments of those candidates whose names were indicated in the letter that had been circulated to all delegations on 21 February 2020. The letter was accessible on the Extranet and the webpage on “the nominations, selection and appointment of mandate holders of the Special Procedures”.

The Council then went on to appoint 19 Special Procedure mandate holders.

As members of the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development it appointed Bonny Ibhawoh (Nigeria) from African States, Mihir Kanade (India) from Asia-Pacific States, Klentiana Mahmutaj (Albania) from Eastern European States, Armando Antonio de Negri Filho (Brazil) from Latin American and Caribbean States, Koen De Feyter (Belgium) from Western European and other States.

The Council appointed to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Laila Susanne Vars (Norway) as member from the Arctic and Binota Moy Dhamai (Bangladesh) as member from Asia.

Yuefen Li of China was appointed as the Independent Expert on 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 ; Claudia Mahler of Austria was appointed as the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older person ; and Isha Dyfan of Sierra Leone was appointed as the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia.

The Council further appointed Balakrishnan Rajagopal of the United States as the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context ; Tomoya Obokata of Japan as the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and its consequences ; Olivier de Schutter of Belgium as the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights ; and Alena Douhan of Belarus as the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

In addition, Michael Fakhri of Lebanon was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on the right to food ; José Francisco Calí Tzay of Guatemala as the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples ; Mama Fatima Singhateh of the Gambia as the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material ; Mary Lawlor of Ireland as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders ; and Thomas H. Andrews of the United States as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

ELISABETH TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the Human Rights Council, said that allegations of personal attacks and acts of reprisals and intimidation against the Special Procedure mandate holders of this Council had been brought to her attention. She joined the High Commissioner and the Chairperson of the Coordination Committee in strongly condemning all such acts, and reminded all States of their obligations towards human rights mechanisms.

Concluding Remarks by the President

ELISABETH TICHY-FISSLBERGER, President of the Human Rights Council, expressing her gratitude, said she hoped to see everybody back in Room XX when the session resumed. The coming weeks and the exceptional circumstances might provide an opportunity to reflect on new ways to fulfil the Council’s mandate, she added.


For use of the information media; not an official record


HRC34.034E