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II. Human Rights Council
A. Regular and special sessions, including subsidiary mechanisms
5. The Office has continued to substantively support and assist the Human Rights Council and its subsidiary bodies, which meet for approximately 35 weeks per year in various formats. During the reporting period, the Council sought to respond to country-specific as well as thematic human rights emergencies. It held two special sessions: in October 2009, on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem, and in January 2010, to promote the integration of a human rights approach in the recovery process in Haiti following the earthquake that hit the country on 12 January. On 1 and 2 June, at its fourteenth session, the Council convened for the first time an urgent debate on “the grave attacks by Israeli forces against the humanitarian boat convoy” of 31 May and decided, in its resolution 14/1, to dispatch an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the attacks. The mission is to report its findings to the Council at the fifteenth session.
IV. Work of the Office at the country level
C. Rapid-response capacity of the Office
35. During the period under review, the Office established and provided support to a number of ad hoc independent fact-finding bodies through its rapid-response capacity. The United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-9/1, ended its work in October 2009 and submitted a report to the Council (A/HRC/12/48). ... In June 2010, a committee of three independent experts established by Human Rights Council resolution 13/9, following up on General Assembly resolutions 64/10 and 64/254, began its work to monitor Israeli and Palestinian investigations into the serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law reported by the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. In accordance with Council resolution 14/1, the President of the Council, on 23 July, appointed an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law resulting from the attacks by Israeli forces against the humanitarian boat convoy.
VI. Mainstreaming human rights and enhancing partnerships
C. Human rights in the context of humanitarian action
84. Operationally, the Office continues to extend support and guidance to human rights field presences in the context of humanitarian emergencies, particularly where they play a leading role in protection clusters, including in Haiti, Nepal, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Kyrgyzstan. Such support includes the fielding of missions to assist OHCHR field presences in their involvement in inter-agency protection efforts.
85. The inherent necessity of human rights protection and integration in governance, development, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction was again illustrated throughout the year. While the protection of human rights is first and foremost the responsibility of States, a cooperative global effort in the face of daunting challenges, such as conflict, natural calamities, democratic deficits, impunity, poverty and discrimination, is also increasingly required.
86. As emphasized throughout the present report, effective and sustainable protection, through the provision of support to international human rights mechanisms, the activities of human rights field presences and partnerships and the advocacy of the High Commissioner, is the fundamental objective of the work of OHCHR. It should also be the primary concern of the Human Rights Council and of Member States in general, when confronted with issues of global significance or critical country situations. This should be reflected in the commitments, decisions and actions of Member States. I therefore urge that the momentum of the upcoming review of the Human Rights Council and the high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals be fully used.
1Available from http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Press/SMP2010-2011.pdf. The strategic priorities of OHCHR are: (a) countering discrimination; (b) combating impunity and strengthening accountability, the rule of law and democratic societies; (c) pursuing economic, social and cultural rights and combating inequalities and poverty, including in the context of the economic, food and climate crises; (d) protecting human rights in the context of migration; (e) protecting human rights in situations of armed conflict, violence and insecurity; and (f) strengthening human rights mechanisms and the progressive development of international human rights law.