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20th session of the Human Rights Council
18 June to 6 July 2012
Geneva
 
 
Introduction
 
The 20th session of the Human Rights Council (the Council) was held in Geneva from 18 June to 6 July 2012. Several hundred participants including UN member States, UN bodies, NHRIs and non-governmental organisation representatives participated in the session.
 
In total nine NHRIs from across all regions and the APF as regional coordinator contributed to the Council session by participating in plenary meetings, presenting oral statements, as well as video statements and written submissions.
 
Contributions were made on a range of substantive issues including peaceful assembly & association, extreme poverty, discrimination against women, human rights and transnational corporations, cultural rights, trafficking, violence against women and the Secretary General’s reports on the ICC accreditation process and NHRIs.
 
The ICC was represented by ICC Chair, Dr. Mousa Burayzat; and ICC Geneva Representative, Ms. Katharina Rose at side events and plenary meetings.
 
All NHRI contributions, including oral statements and written submissions, can be accessed on this page below.
 
 
NHRI Interaction with Special Procedures
 
The Conseil Consultatif des Droits de L’homme du Maroc, Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and Jordan National Centre for Human Rights (JNCHR) contributed to the Interactive Dialogue with Special Procedures through oral statements on country mission reports to their respective countries on topics related to cultural rights, trafficking and violence against women respectively.
 
In her address to the Council, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women Rashida Manjoo highlighted the key role of the JNCHR. ‘The JNCHR serves as a model for NHRIs in terms of addressing violence against women on the ground and effectively cooperating with Special Procedures’.
 
The Equality and Human Rights Commission of Great Britain (EHRC) submitted a written contribution on the report of the Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations.
 
 
NHRI participation in general debates
 
During the general debate with the High Commissioner under item 2, Peru affirmed the fundamental role of NHRIs in promoting and protecting human rights. Peru encouraged the OHCHR to continue to provide assistance for the establishment and strengthening of NHRIs in compliance with the Paris Principles.
 
The non-governmental organisation Sudwind Entwicklungpolitik expressed its appreciation for the efforts of the OHCHR in according high priority to the establishment and strengthening of NHRIs in compliance with the Paris Principles.
 
During the general debate, under item 8, regarding follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, ICC Geneva Representative Katharina Rose, speaking on behalf of the ICC, welcomed with appreciation the Secretary General’s report on NHRIs and the ICC accreditation process. The Representative emphasised in particularly the Secretary General’s support for the independent participation of NHRIs in all UN bodies and fora.
 
In light of financial constraints facing NHRIs, the ICC Geneva Representative welcomed continued capacity building and funding support for NHRIs by the OHCHR and its UN partners.
 
Under the same agenda item, the Asia Pacific Forum (APF) represented by Ben Lee delivered a statement on behalf of its 15 A status member institutions supporting the ICC statement  and encouraging NHRIs to look beyond the Council by interacting with and advocating for independent participation opportunities in other UN for a, including the:
·     Human Rights Treaty Body system;
·     Commission on the Status of Women;
·     Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and
·     Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing.
The Ombudsman of Serbia delivered a video statement on the Belgrade Principles adopted in Belgrade, Serbia on 22-23 February 2012 at the expert seminar on the relationship between NHRIs and Parliaments organised by the Serbian Protector of Citizens (Ombudsman) in collaboration with the ICC, OHCHR and the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.
 
The Belgrade Principles provide guidance on how the interaction and cooperation between NHRIs and Parliaments should be developed in the future.
 
In his address to the Council, the Ombudsperson encouraged the Council and OHCHR to consider, apply and further develop the Belgrade Principles.
 
 
Human Rights Council adopts new important resolution on NHRIs
 
A key highlight of the session was the Council’s adoption by consensus of its second resolution on NHRIs on 5 July, 2012. The resolution which was presented by Australia entitled ‘National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights’ was co-sponsored by a cross regional group of more than 100 states.
 
Building on the 2011 Council resolution on NHRIs, which confirmed the Council’s support for the establishment and strengthening of NHRIs, the 2012 resolution brought new focus to the important contributions that NHRIs make to the UN’s work.
 
The broad, cross regional support for the resolution reflects the ‘strong recognition of the unique role and valuable work of NHRIs in building capacity and promoting and protecting human rights around the world’ said Australian Ambassador Peter Woolcott.
 
As a direct result of ICC advocacy, the resolution:
 
·     Marks a new fundamental step by the Council in recommending to the General Assembly that – the main deliberative body – explore the feasibility of enabling Paris Principles compliant NHRIs to participate at its meetings on the same basis that they do at the Council;
 
·     Welcomes the Secretary General’s support for the strengthening of opportunities for NHRIs to participate at the Council, the human rights treaty bodies and a number of New York based UN for a, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, the Council of State Parties to the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing; and
 
·     Welcomes the growing number of States establishing NHRIs in accordance with the Paris Principles.
 
ICC advocacy for broad, cross regional support for the resolution, and the ICC’s priorities linked hereto, included a range of activities led by the ICC Chair, ICC Regional Chairs and ICC Geneva Representative in cooperation with the main sponsor of the resolution, the Australian Permanent Mission, and the APF. Activities included:
 
·     Requesting ICC members to promote the ICC position with their Government representatives in both capital and Geneva, with a view to ensuring broad and cross regional co-sponsoring;
 
·     Requesting ICC Regional Chairs and Coordinators to ensure effective communications and coordination between the ICC Chair, ICC Bureau and ICC members to this effect;
 
·     Organising and engaging in informal consultations with States and civil society representatives on draft resolutions; and
 
·     High level meetings between the ICC and the HRC President Laura Dupuy Lasserre, Australian Ambassador Peter Woolcott, and the Working Group on human rights of Francophone Ambassadors.
 
 
ICC activities in support of NHRI engagement at HRC 20
 
Further to advocating for the adoption of the Council resolution, the ICC Geneva Representative with the support of NIRMS provided assistance and advice to NHRIs and regional coordinators in their engagement with the Council, both prior to and during its 20th session.
 
Activities included: identifying opportunities to engage; assisting in the preparation of written submissions and oral statements presented to the HRC; co-drafting and obtaining cross-regional support for the 2012 resolution on NHRIs; organising meetings and liaising with key stakeholders; delivering statements on behalf of A-status NHRIs; and reporting back.
 
 
Conclusion
 
At the 20th session of the Council states across the world strongly affirmed the valuable contributions NHRIs can make to the work of the UN. The adoption of the second Council resolution on NHRIs on 5 July, 2012 is a testimony to the effectiveness of ICC advocacy in strengthening the relationship between NHRIs and international human rights mechanisms.
 
 
 
 
NHRIs Contributions

 

 Written NHRI contributions

 
  
  
  
expand Title : Item 3, Information by the African Network of National Human Rights Institutions ‎(4)
expand Title : Item 3, Information by the Asia Pacific Forum ‎(4)
expand Title : Item 3, Information by the Conseil national des droits de l’Homme du Maroc ‎(4)
expand Title : Item 3, Information by the Equality and Human Rights Commission ‎(4)
expand Title : Item 3, Information by the Irish Human Rights Commission ‎(4)
expand Title : Item 3, Information by the Jordan National Centre for Human Rights ‎(4)
expand Title : Item 3, Information by the National Human Rights Institute of Timor Leste ‎(4)
expand Title : Item 8, Information by the Asia Pacific Forum ‎(4)
expand Title : Item 8, Information by the New Zealand Human Rights Commission ‎(4)
 

 Update by the High Commissioner followed by General debate

 
  
  
  
expand Title : NGO statement by Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik ‎(1)
expand Title : Opening statement by the High Commissioner ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement by Peru ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to statement delivered by the High Commissioner for Human Rights ‎(1)
 

 ID with SR on peaceful assembly & association

 
  
  
  
expand Title : Statement by Mr. Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement by SUHAKAM-SP report on Freedom of Assembly and Association ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to delivery of statement by SUHAKAM ‎(1)
 

 ID with SR on extreme poverty

 
  
  
  
expand Title : Statement by Bangladesh ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement by Indonesia ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement of the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty  ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to delivery of statement by Provedoria for Human Rights of Timor Leste ‎(1)
 

 ID with WG on HR & transnational corporations

 
  
  
  
expand Title : Statement by ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement of Ms. Margaret Jungk, Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to delivery of joint NHRI statement by ICC Chair ‎(1)
 
 

 ID with WG on discrimination against women

 
  
  
  
expand Title : Morocco (concerned country) on discrimination against women ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement of the Working Group on discrimination against women and rights of migrant ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to delivery of statement by the Conseil Consultatif des Droits de l'Homme du Maroc ‎(1)
 

 ID with SR on cultural rights

 
  
  
  
expand Title : Déclaration du Conseil Consultatif des Droits de l'Homme ‎(1)
expand Title : Morocco (concerned country) on cultural rights ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement by Ms. Farida Shaheed, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to delivery of statement by le Conseil Consultatif des Droits de l'Homme du Maroc ‎(1)
 

 ID with SR on trafficking

 
  
  
  
expand Title : Statement by Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement by the Australian Human Rights Commission  on trafficking mission ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to delivery of statement by ICC Representative on behalf of the AHRC ‎(1)
 

 ID with SR on violence against women

 
  
  
  
expand Title : Statement by Jordan (concerned country) ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement by the National Centre for Human Rights Jordan ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement of Ms. Rashida Manjoo, Special Rapporteur on violence against women ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to delivery of statement by ICC Representative on behalf of the NCHR of Jordan ‎(1)
 

 Item 8, General debate on the NHRI reports

 
  
  
  
expand Title : ICC statement ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement by the Asia Pacific Forum (APF) ‎(1)
expand Title : Statement by the Serbian Ombudsman - video message transcript ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to delivery of ICC statement by ICC Representative ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to delivery of statement by APF ‎(1)
expand Title : Webcast link to video message by Serbian Ombudsman ‎(1)
 
 
 
 

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