Human Rights Council rejects language of its founding resolution

On September 27, 2013, a resolution submitted by Hungary on “Cooperation with the United Nations” was adopted as orally revised. The resolution reasserted that everyone has the right to communicate with international bodies, and took measures to ensure protection and mitigate the occurrences of intimidation and reprisals against persons cooperating with the UN human rights mechanisms.

However, a group of states, including Russia, Venezuela, China, Cuba, Egypt and Pakistan, introduced counter-productive amendments to the resolution. The amendments were ultimately rejected or withdrawn, yet, they managed to weaken the resolution by removing or excluding important clauses, especially operative paragraph 7, which read: “Urges States, when electing members to the Human Rights Council, to take into account that council members would uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and fully cooperate with the Council.”

This language is identical to paragraph 9 of General Assembly Resolution 60/251, the founding resolution of the Human Rights Council. It is regrettable –and in fact a very troubling sign– that 7 years from its creation, the Human Rights Council is rejecting language from its founding resolution.

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