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21 December 2007
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Sixty-second General Assembly
Meeting (PM & Night)
CONCLUDING MAIN PART OF SESSION, GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS $4.17 BILLION BUDGET
EARLY SATURDAY, IN WAKE OF FIFTH COMMITTEE’S DIPLOMATIC BREAKTHROUGH
Several More Texts Adopted, Including Financing for Darfur Hybrid Operation;
Assembly President Thanks Members for Enhancing Organization’s Relevance, Vitality
The Assembly then turned to the Third Committee’s
report of the Human Rights Council
(document A/62/434) and the draft text contained therein.
Speaking before the vote and stressing that his delegation was compelled to vote against the institution-building package, the representative of the
said he had hoped the session would address the deficiencies that had politicized the Council and had prevented it from acting as a serious and effective human rights institution. But the Council’s record had failed to fulfil those hopes, instead falling short of even his delegation’s limited expectations.
First, the Council had relentlessly focused on Israel, while failing to address serious human rights violations taking place in other countries, such as Zimbabwe, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Belarus and Cuba, he said. Key provisions of the institution-building package appeared likely to compound the Council’s institutional weaknesses, particularly its premature termination of the mandates of the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on human rights violations in Cuba and Belarus. The Council’s permanent agenda also contained only one item focused on a specific country - and that country was Israel. That raised serious questions about the Council’s institutional priorities, its ability to make unbiased assessments of human right situations and whether it would shoulder its responsibility to protect and promote human rights around the world.
Deeply unfair and un-transparent procedures had been employed to deny Council members the opportunity to vote on the package, he continued. If a tactic like that –- announcing an election, but then telling voters who showed up that the vote had actually been held at midnight -- had been used in a national election in any country in the world, it would be seen as unfree and unfair. The proceedings of all United Nations bodies should be models of fairness and transparency, and that was particularly true of the Human Rights Council.
He said the Council would never be the world’s most important human rights mechanism until it consistently focused on the worst human rights violations in the world -– including extrajudicial killing, the use of rape for military and political purposes and imprisonment of people for their political and religious opinions –- and called them by their right names. His delegation, therefore, hoped the Human Rights Council would stand in solidarity with the victims of human rights violations around the world, and not with the perpetrators.
The representative of
said the new Australian Government was committed to the protection of human rights and wanted the Human Rights Council to continue its good work. Australia also believed that the institution-building package contained a potentially useful set of tools and working practices, including the Universal Periodic Review. That said, Australia believed the package was unbalanced. Her delegation had been deeply disappointed that the Review had created a separate standing item focusing exclusively on the human rights situation in Palestinian and other occupied Arab territories. That item contradicted its mandate to maintain its objectivity, and Australia, therefore, would oppose the resolution.
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on the report of the Human Rights Council by a recorded vote if 150 in favour to 7 against (Australia, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States), with 1 abstention (Nauru) (annex VII).
Vote on Human Rights Council
The draft resolution on the Human Rights Council (document A/62/434) was adopted by a recorded vote of 150 in favour to 7 against, with 1 abstention, as follows:
In favour: Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Thailand, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Against: Australia, Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Palau, United States.
Absent: Albania, Bhutan, Bolivia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Suriname, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.