تجاوز إلى المحتوى الرئيسي

MORNING - Human Rights Council Holds General Debate on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the Right to Development

Meeting Summaries

 

Hears Presentation of Thematic Reports Submitted by the United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights

 

The Human Rights Council this morning heard the presentation of thematic reports submitted by the United Nations Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, followed by a general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.

Peggy Hicks, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, presented 12 written reports of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on a range of thematic issues, as well as one oral update.

Various topics were raised in the general debate.

Many speakers expressed the importance of upholding economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. The right to development should be mainstreamed within the United Nations system, and be implemented in national plans and policies. Some speakers welcomed the progress on the draft convention on the right to development, calling for its adoption.

Some speakers said that developing countries were disproportionately affected by climate change. Tropical storms, cyclones and floods were now more frequent. Plastics were responsible for environmental degradation, and their use needed to be reduced. Developed countries needed to support developing countries in the framework of climate action. All stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society, needed to accelerate the transition to a carbon-free economy.

A number of speakers said that civil society was not sufficiently involved in the consideration of the pandemic response, and journalists and human rights defenders faced increased surveillance and smear campaigns. States needed to promote the greater involvement of civil society in public affairs, and ensure that civil society organizations could carry out their activities in a protective environment.

Other issues raised included the eradication of poverty; ensuring appropriate medical care and access to vaccines in developing countries; how the COVID-19 pandemic had adversely affected all countries, developing countries in particular; the death penalty; strengthening education systems; unilateral coercive measures; the Human Rights Council; the international transfer of weapons; and gender-based violence.

Speaking in the general debate were Namibia, Angola representing the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, Lithuania on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries, Luxembourg on behalf of a group of countries, Czech Republic on behalf of the European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of the African Group, Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Palestine on behalf of the Arab Group, Türkiye on behalf of the Members of the Organization of Turkic States, Syrian Arab Republic on behalf of group of countries, India on behalf of the Like-Minded Group of Countries, Pakistan, Ireland on behalf of the Core Group on Civil Society Space, China on behalf of a group of countries, Bolivia on behalf of a group of countries, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica on behalf of a group of countries, Czech Republic on behalf of 63 countries, Luxembourg on behalf of a Group of Friends, United Arab Emirates on behalf of a group of countries, Finland, Cuba, France, Venezuela, Republic of Korea, Libya, Mauritania, China, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Malaysia, United States of America, Nepal, Indonesia, Pakistan, Benin, Ukraine, Malawi, Greece on behalf of a group of countries, Ecuador on behalf of a group of countries, Tunisia, Ecuador, Colombia, Bahrain, Russian Federation, Afghanistan, South Africa, Viet Nam, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Peru, Burkina Faso, Belarus, Angola, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Iraq, Uganda, United Nations Population Fund, Sweden, Georgia, Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Holy See, Suriname, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Iran, Ghana, Cambodia, and Tanzania.

Also speaking was the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions as well as the following non-governmental organizations: Ensemble contre la peine de mort, World Evangelical Alliance, Beijing NGO Association for International Exchanges, and Center for International Environmental Law.

At the beginning of the session, the Council continued the right of reply for the interactive debate on the report of the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes. Speaking were China, Azerbaijan, Japan, Armenia and Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The webcast of the Human Rights Council meetings can be found here. All meeting summaries can be found here. Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council’s fifty-first regular session can be found here.

The next meeting of the Council will be at 3 p.m. this afternoon, when it will conclude its general debate on its agenda item three on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. It will then open its agenda item four on human rights situations that require the attention of the Human Rights Council, and hold an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, who will be presenting an oral update.

Presentation of Thematic Reports by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Reports

The Council has before it the reports of the High Commissioner on: promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights within the context of addressing inequalities in the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (A/HRC/51/20); on the rights of indigenous peoples (A/HRC/51/18); on the human rights implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people (A/HRC/51/19) ; on best practices, challenges and lessons learned concerning integrated approaches to the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the national level (A/HRC/51/9); on the role of local government and the challenges faced in the promotion and protection of the human rights (A/HRC/51/10); and on civil society space and COVID-19 – key challenges online and offline (A/HRC/51/13);

It also has before it the report of the Secretary-General on the question of the death penalty (A/HRC/51/7) ; the consolidated report of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right to development; the Secretary-General’s report on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights ; and the summary of the report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the global alliance of national human rights institutions in accrediting national institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles (A/HRC/51/52).

Also before the Council is the Office of the High Commissioner’s midterm progress report on the implementation of the fourth phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education ; and the Office of the High Commissioner’s report on good practices, lessons learned and challenges faced by States in preventing, mitigating and addressing the diversion of arms and unregulated or illicit arms transfers (A/HRC/51/15).

Presentation of Reports

PEGGY HICKS, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, presenting the thematic reports submitted by the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said she would introduce 12 written reports of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on a range of thematic issues to be considered under agenda item three on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, and agenda item eight on follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, as well as one oral update.

The report of the High Commissioner on promoting and protecting economic, social and cultural rights within the context of addressing inequalities in the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic contained an overview of the research activities and projects of the Office on economic, social and cultural rights, and set out the efforts and progress the Office had made to strengthen its capacity in this field as well as remaining gaps. The report noted that in the context of the socio-economic crisis generated by the pandemic, the Office had stepped up its engagement to combat economic and other inequalities.

The report of the Secretary-General on the question of the death penalty welcomed the steady progress towards the universal abolition of the death penalty. The report called on States that continued to use the death penalty to adopt a moratorium on executions with a view to abolition.

The consolidated report of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right to development considered global challenges to the realisation of this right and the efforts undertaken to overcome them in the context of the response to and the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlighted the urgency of strengthened international solidarity and global coordinated efforts to reverse the increasingly diverging paths of the COVID-19 recovery.

The High Commissioner’s report on the rights of indigenous peoples said indigenous peoples had been and continued to be severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including in terms of their livelihoods, food security and well-being. The report recommended that States redouble their efforts to ensure the legal recognition of indigenous peoples’ collective ownership of land, territories and natural resources; to enhance the protection of indigenous defenders; and to take effective action to address persistent intersectional discriminations, ensuring that the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples was obtained on all matters that could potentially affect them.

In an oral update on the human rights implications of and good practices and key challenges in affordable, timely, equitable and universal access to and distribution of quality, safe, efficacious and affordable COVID-19 vaccines and the impact on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health , Ms. Hicks said universal and equitable access to vaccines, medicines and treatments was essential to better manage future threats in the shared interest of all. The ‘pandemic treaty’ that was currently under discussion among Member States should provide for a well-coordinated global approach to the development and distribution of vaccines, medicines and treatments based on solidarity and cooperation.

The High Commissioner’s report on the human rights implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people highlights systemic barriers to young people’s human rights, particularly education, employment and social security, health, and participation, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. It recommended that States adopt a human rights-based approach to COVID-19 recovery that was focused on building a sustainable and equitable future for all, grounded in a new social contract.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ midterm progress report on the implementation of the fourth phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education provided an overview of action taken at the national level in the context of the current phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, focused on youth, and recommended increased facilitation of and support for the work of civil society, especially youth groups and youth-led organizations conducting human rights education for their peers to strengthen peer-to-peer learning.

The High Commissioner’s report on best practices, challenges and lessons learned concerning integrated approaches to the promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the national level showed that adopting an integrated approach to human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda was not only a human rights imperative but was also the smart thing to do.

The High Commissioner’s report on the role of local government and the challenges faced in the promotion and protection of human rights focused on the opportunities and challenges local governments faced in the promotion and protection of human rights, including in relation to the right to equality and non-discrimination. The report identified possible elements of principles guiding local and national governments in the protection and promotion of human rights.

The High Commissioner’s report oncivil society space and COVID-19key challenges online and offline, gave an overview of key challenges that civil society faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, online and offline, and sought to identify best practices. A key conclusion of the report was that trust, dialogue and meaningful participation always made policy-making more effective but were particularly critical when shaping responses in health emergencies. The report thus called for much more systematic investment in meaningful, safe and inclusive participation by States and other relevant actors.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on good practices, lessons learned, and challenges faced by States in preventing, mitigating and addressing the diversion of arms and unregulated or illicit arms transfers outlined the particular impact of arms transfers on the enjoyment of human rights by children and youth. The report identified good practices, lessons learned, and challenges faced by States in preventing, mitigating and addressing the diversion of arms and unregulated or illicit arms transfers that had a particular impact on the enjoyment of human rights by children and youth.

The summary of the report of the Secretary-General on the Activities of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions in accrediting national institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles contained information on the activities carried out from December 2020 to March 2022 by the Subcommittee on Accreditation of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions in considering and reviewing applications of national human rights institutions for accreditation and reaccreditation.

The Secretary-General Report’s on national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights outlined the Office of the High Commissioner’s activities to support the establishment and strengthening of national human rights institutions worldwide; support provided by the United Nations Development Programme and other United Nations agencies to national human rights institutions; cooperation between national human rights institutions and the international human rights system; and support provided to the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions from August 2021 to July 2022.

General Debate on Agenda Item Three on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the Right to Development

In the general debate, many speakers expressed the importance of upholding economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development. The right to development was an inalienable right, and it served to strengthen all fundamental human rights. This right should be mainstreamed within the United Nations system, and be implemented in national plans and policies. Developing countries were confronted with growing financial deficits and needed financial support. Some speakers said international financial institutions should avoid austerity policies, which hampered the development of these countries.

A number of speakers said the international community needed to fully commit to eradicating poverty and ensuring appropriate medical care and access to vaccines in developing countries. People-centred and human-rights centred development should be promoted. Some speakers presented policies and strategies to support local and regional development, and welcomed the progress on the draft convention on the right to development, calling for its adoption. One speaker called for the draft convention to be strengthened by explicitly referencing the rights of individuals.

Some speakers said that developing countries were disproportionately affected by climate change. Tropical storms, cyclones and floods were now more frequent. Plastics were responsible for environmental degradation, and their use needed to be reduced. Developed countries needed to support developing countries in the framework of climate action. The international community needed to invest in nature to ensure the sustainability of the natural environment. All stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society, needed to accelerate the transition to a carbon-free economy.

One speaker said that national human rights institutes had an important role to play in combatting the effects of climate change by ensuring the implementation of climate policies, and called for the support of such institutions in carrying out their mandates. Another speaker said that persons in rural areas were disproportionately affected by climate crises and the cost-of-living crisis. These persons played a vital role in ensuring food security. There was a need for continued dialogue and cooperation to ensure respect for the rights of persons living in rural areas.

COVID-19 had adversely affected all countries, developing countries in particular, and hampered progress in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, some speakers said. They welcomed efforts to promote global access to affordable vaccines, but noted that there was still work to be done to promote access in developing countries.

Civil society had contributed greatly to the pandemic response, providing life-saving services and disseminating information to remote communities. However, civil society was not sufficiently involved in the consideration of the pandemic response, and journalists and human rights defenders faced increased surveillance and smear campaigns. States needed to promote the greater involvement of civil society in public affairs, and ensure that civil society organizations could carry out their activities in a protective environment. Participation in public affairs was vital to promoting human rights and gender equality. Bans on alternative viewpoints were not acceptable, one speaker said. Some speakers proposed the adoption of a resolution on the protection of journalists and human rights defenders.

A number of speakers said that different forms of discrimination threatened the human rights of people around the world. There were too many places where respect for human rights was lacking, and where people lacked access to public services and basic health care. The international human rights system needed to continue to address human rights in a holistic manner. Dialogue, engagement and multilateralism were necessary to advance human rights. There was a need for greater effort to combat racism and xenophobia. Mutual trust and understanding led to strengthened international security.

Some speakers expressed opposition to the death penalty, welcomed the increase in the number of States that had abolished the death penalty, and expressed concern about States where the death penalty continued to be imposed. These States were urged to implement a moratorium on the death penalty.

A number of speakers said that education had an important role in promoting all human rights, and explained national efforts to strengthen education systems. International cooperation on education was important. There was a need to strengthen the training of teachers, promote human rights education, and invest in education sufficiently to build capacities and support sustainable development.

Some speakers said the imposition of unilateral coercive measures constituted a systematic abuse of human rights, and called for all unilateral coercive measures to be lifted immediately. One speaker said unilateral coercive measures led to overcompliance, which in turn severely affected the financial systems of targeted countries. The imposition of these measures was a violation of international law. Sanctions had far wider effects than intended, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable members of society.

A number of speakers said that the Human Rights Council should not pursue country-specific issues or interfere in the internal affairs of countries. These speakers called on the Council to deal with issues that affected multiple countries. The Council needed to refrain from politicisation, bias and double standards. Other speakers said that the Council’s Special Procedures and investigative mechanisms were vital to supporting processes of justice and redress. They called for full cooperation with the initiatives of the Council to ensure the full protection of human rights. One speaker said that the Council should address issues of foreign occupation. Another speaker said that there was an overemphasis on civil and political rights at the Council. There needed to be a greater focus on economic, social and cultural rights.

Some speakers welcomed the report on the international transfer of weapons, and said that prevention and disarmament strategies needed to be implemented to prevent war and conflict. The security environment was deteriorating rapidly, with a rise in international terrorism. Speakers presented national legislative and policy measures to prevent conflict and provide redress to victims of terrorism. There was a need for States to work constructively to secure peace. Sustainable peace would lead to sustainable development.

New technologies had the potential to promote co-existence, tolerance and peace, some speakers said. There was a need for effective monitoring of digital technologies to prevent their abuse. COVID-19 served to highlight the digital divide. There was a need to bridge this divide through support for vulnerable communities. States needed to work together to fight against misinformation online. Technologies were rapidly evolving and merited the urgent attention of the Council. Neurological technologies raised concerns related to the right to privacy, and could potentially be abused by States, one speaker said. The speaker called on the Council to consider the effects of such technologies and consider an international mechanism for regulating them.

Gender-based violence was another serious issue that had been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and that needed to be urgently addressed, some speakers said. Progress had been made on implementing legislation on female genital mutilation in certain countries, but greater effort was needed to implement such legislative measures. There was also a need to implement accountability measures to end child marriage. States should implement affirmative action measures to promote the rights of women and children.

 

Produced by the United Nations Information Service in Geneva for use of the information media;
not an official record. English and French versions of our releases are different as they are the product of two separate coverage teams that work independently.

 

HRC22.093E