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Source: Human Rights Council
8 December 2006




HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL CONCLUDES THIRD SESSION LARGELY DEVOTED TO ORGANIZATION OF FUTURE WORK
Decides to Prepare the Durban Review Conference and Establishes Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards in the Fight Against Racism
8 December 2006

The Human Rights Council today concluded its third regular session, which was held from 29 November to 8 December. During the session, which started immediately following the conclusion of the second session, the Council heard an address delivered on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and heard the report of High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour. The Council also adopted six resolutions and one decision, as well as its annual report to the General Assembly.

Interactive debates and dialogues were also held with the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide and the Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon. Discussions took place on missions to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and with the four facilitators from the Working Group on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 60/251 on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, the review of mechanisms, the complaint procedure, and the Expert advice body. The Council also debated methods of work and rules of procedure for the future work of the body.

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In his message, the Secretary-General said that since their first session in June, the Human Rights Council had been very active – holding three special sessions as well as two regular ones. The Council had focused especially on the Arab-Israeli conflict, which indeed had escalated during these months in ways that caused deep concern to all. He hoped, however, that the Council took care to handle this issue in an impartial way, and did not allow it to monopolize attention at the expense of others where there were equally grave or even graver violations. There were surely other situations, besides the one in the Middle East, which merited scrutiny by a special session of this Council. The Secretary-General suggested that Darfur was a glaring case in point.

Ms. Arbour offered an overview of the missions that she had undertaken since the second session of the Council as well as updates and thoughts on countries and themes that continued to engage her attention and work. Her missions had taken her to Haiti, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Germany and Canada. On Haiti, Ms. Arbour said the general human rights situation was a matter of serious concern with regard to all rights. The human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory was grave and worsening, within a general climate of impunity. The High Commissioner also spoke about recent developments in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Darfur.

The Council adopted six resolutions and one decision during the session, including on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; Preparations for the Durban Review Conference; Global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive follow-up to the World Conference and the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; regional cooperation for the protection and promotion of human rights in the Asian and Pacific region; the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon; and implementation of General Assembly resolution 60/251.

The fourth special session of the Council will be on Tuesday, 12 December 2006, when the Council will consider the situation in Darfur, Sudan. The fourth regular session will be held from 12 March to 5 April 2007.

Secretary-General


In his message, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that since their first session in June, the Human Rights Council had been very active – holding three special sessions as well as two regular ones. The Council had focused especially on the Arab-Israeli conflict, which indeed had escalated during these months in ways that caused deep concern to all. He hoped, however, that the Council would take care to handle this issue in an impartial way, and would not allow it to monopolize attention at the expense of others where there were equally grave or even graver violations. There were surely other situations, besides the one in the Middle East, which merited scrutiny by a special session of this Council. The Secretary-General suggested that Darfur was a glaring case in point.

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High Commissioner

Ms. Arbour offered an overview of the missions that she had undertaken since the second session of the Council as well as updates and thoughts on countries and themes that continued to engage her attention and work. On Haiti, Ms. Arbour said the general human rights situation was a matter of serious concern with regard to all rights. The human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory was grave and worsening, within a general climate of impunity. Concerning Nepal, Ms. Arbour said the recent peace agreement reached by the parties was a crucial step towards setting the foundations for democratic transition in which the protection and promotion of the human rights of all Nepalese should be central.

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High-Level Fact-Finding Mission to Beit Hanoun

During the session, the President of the Council, Luis Alfonso de Alba, announced that the High-Level Fact-Finding Mission the Council established following the Israeli military operations in Gaza on 8 November in which at least 18 civilians were killed, will be led by Desmond Mpilo Tutu, former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. A leading figure in the struggle against apartheid, Archbishop Tutu chaired the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission established in 1995. Christine Chinkin of the United Kingdom was also appointed as member of the mission, which was scheduled to depart to the region the weekend following the conclusion of the third session.

According to resolution S-3/1 adopted at the Council’s third special session on 15 November, the Fact-Finding Mission is to travel to Beit Hanoun to, among other things, “assess the situation of victims, address the needs of survivors, and make recommendations on ways and means to protect Palestinian civilians against further Israeli assaults”. The Fact-Finding Mission is to report on its progress to the Council no later than the middle of December 2006.

Interactive dialogues


The Council held a range of interactive dialogues, with the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, the Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon, as well as missions to the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and with the four facilitators on the review of mechanisms and the Universal Periodic Review mechanisms.

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Follow-up

The Council also discussed follow-up to its decision for John Dugard, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, to undertake an urgent fact-finding mission to the Occupied Territory, and for a high-level fact-finding mission to travel to Beit Hanoun. ...

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Resolutions and decisions

In resolutions and decisions, the Council adopted texts on:

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-- on Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Follow-up on the Human Rights Council resolution S-1/Res.1, in which it calls for the speedy implementation of its resolution S-1/Res.1, including the dispatching of the urgent fact-finding mission; and decides to report on the implementation of this resolution at its next session.

For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC06088E




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