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Conseil des Droits de l'homme ouvre les travaux de sa quinzième session - Débat général sur le bilan des activités du Haut-commissariat – Communiqué de presse Français
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Source: Human Rights Council
13 September 2010



Human Rights Council Opens Fifteenth Regular Session

Hears Update from High Commissioner for Human Rights on Work of her Office

The Human Rights Council this morning opened its fifteenth regular session, hearing an update by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on the activities of her Office, following which it held a general debate, in which speakers addressed, among other things, the importance of protecting human rights defenders and the upcoming review of the Council. The Council also adopted the agenda for the session.

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Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, introducing her updated annual report, said the fifteenth session was beginning against a backdrop of immense human suffering caused by natural disasters, violence and conflict in many parts of the world, and indiscriminate attacks against individuals, mainly women and children. These were powerful reminders of the pressing need for protection both in emergencies and chronic human rights situations. Special Procedures mandate holders, press reports and advocates consistently pointed out that human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society activists in all regions of the world faced threats to their lives and security because of their work.

Peaceful dissidents, human rights advocates, lawyers and press representatives had been targeted and violently attacked in countries, including Iran, Iraq and Somalia. Difficult conditions that put in jeopardy human rights workers, journalists, trade unionists and community organizers were often compounded by competition over natural resources, as was the case in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe. The curtailment of civil society's scope of action and social activism with ad hoc laws or other restrictive measures in countries such as Bahrain, Belarus, China, Egypt, Libya, Panama, Syria and Tunisia was disturbing. In Israel draft laws had given civil society cause for concern. Peaceful activists had been injured and arrested for protesting the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory. In the Gaza Strip, the de facto authorities shut down civil society organizations.

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ABDULLA FALAH ABDULLA AL-DOSARI (Qatar) expressed Qatar’s appreciation for the statement made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, especially the importance of protecting human rights defenders and other activists in the field of human rights. Qatar, reflecting its belief in the importance of following the principles of the Human Rights Charter, and its belief in the role of civil society, ensured that its Constitution guaranteed the right to assembly and the right to establish associations. Qatar was working to support non-governmental organizations and encouraged national organizations to achieve consultative status. Ms. Pillay had mentioned a number of cases of human rights violations but Qatar noted with regret the silence on certain human rights abuses, such as the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Syrian Golan. The defamation of the Islamic religion was of increasing concern to many countries and the Qatari delegation called on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to make this a top priority on their work agenda. Finally, with respect to the right of development, it was important to analyse the numerous challenges facing this right.

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