Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Rapport du Conseil des droits de l'homme - débat de l'AG - Communiqué de presse (extraits) (4 novembre 2008) Français
Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
4 November 2008

General Assembly

            Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-third General Assembly
38th Meetings (AM)


As General Assembly Takes Up Report, Speakers Acknowledge Council’s
‘Challenging Mandate’ Protecting Fundamental Rights, Warn against Selectivity



The General Assembly met today to take up the report of the Human Rights Council (document A/63/53 and Add.1), which includes the resolutions, decisions and president’s statements adopted by the Geneva-based body from 10 September 2007 to 18 June 2008, at its sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth sessions, and at its fifth, sixth and seventh special sessions.  The resolutions adopted during the reporting period ranged from the establishment of funds for the Universal Periodic Review mechanism to the human rights situations in various countries.  As well, the report includes the decisions adopted on the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review for the first 32 countries to undergo that process.

The General Committee had asked for the report to be considered in a plenary meeting and in the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), on the understanding that the Third Committee would consider and act on all the Human Rights Council’s recommendations to the General Assembly, including those that deal with the development of international law in the field of human rights, without prejudice to the right of Member States to present resolutions and decisions on all issues considered in the Council’s report.  The Third Committee took up the report of the Human Rights Council on 31 October 2008 (see Press Release GA/SHC/3932).


Introduction of Report

MARTIN IHOEGHIAN UHOMOIBHI ( Nigeria), President of the Human Rights Council, ...


Also in the reporting period, he said three special sessions had been held:  on “the human rights situation in Myanmar”, “the human rights violations emanating from Israeli military attacks in incursion in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip”, and “the negative impact of the worsening of the world food crisis on the realization of the right to food for all”.  In addressing such issues, it was clear that States must continue to muster the political will to overcome challenges, if the Council was to fulfil its expectations.



JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT (France), speaking on behalf of the European Union, appreciated the presentation of the Human Rights Council’s third annual report and acknowledged the challenging mandate that the Council had been entrusted with, from promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms to direct intervention of serious violations.  Special sessions held in the last year focused on the right to food, the situation in Burma, “which remains a very serious concern”, and human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.  Specifically, on the occupied Palestinian territories, while the European Union reaffirmed the need to have the situation there debated by the Council, it would urge members to come up with balanced solutions.




He went on to state that it was imperative to maintain the Council’s involvement regarding the human rights issues in the occupied Palestinian territories, and to verify Israel’s full adherence to international obligations, including its full cooperation with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian occupied territories, and the Council’s fact-finding mission led by Bishop Desmond Tutu, which had investigated the events at Beit Hanoun.  He reminded the Assembly that to ensure such involvement, as well as its other commitments, meant ensuring adequate financial resources and support for all the Council’s activities.


DANIEL CARMON ( Israel) expressed dismay and disappointment at the results of the second report of the Human Rights Council, stating the body had “drifted from its founding principles of impartiality, universality, non-selectivity, and objectivity”.  He went on to say that, while ignoring human rights abuses from other parts of the world, the Council had targeted Israel, adopting seven resolutions condemning that country and holding four sessions specifically about it.

He asked every member of the Council to investigate their motives in their treatment towards Israel and ask if such treatment was truly about combating human rights abuses or a reflection of “political dynamics of the Council and of the larger UN community”.  He emphasized that Israel, as a democracy, did not hide its human rights record and that it was proud to fulfil the founding principles of the United Nations.

However, he felt the focus on Israel diverted the attention of the Council from legitimate human rights abuse.  He challenged the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, which he felt avoided discussing human rights in a holistic and impartial manner, among them, the issue of Palestinian terrorism that deliberately targeted Israeli civilians, and the violation of human rights by Hamas to its own people.

He continued by noting the mandate of the Human Rights Council had not been reviewed in over 15 years, since its creation in 1993.  A review had been scheduled in March and September of this year, yet it had not happened.  That lack of review and revision had only added to what he called an “unbalanced mandate”.

He concluded by stating that there were millions of people around the world who needed the Council’s protection.  Yet the body’s focus on Israel prevented it from fulfilling its responsibilities to those in need.  On the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the work of the Council “casts a dark shadow on the commitment of the international community to the true principles of human rights”.


* *** *

For information media • not an official record

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter