The Human Rights Council this morning concluded its general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms, and held a general debate on the Universal Periodic Review.
Among the issues raised by speakers in the continuing general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms was that all States should abide by their commitments made to the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, and respond to communications made by the mandate holders and treaty bodies. The situation of indigenous peoples across the world was also an issue of concern for many speakers, who expressed concern at their loss of traditional lands and having to leave their traditional homes. The failure to investigate by the United Nations was a main cause of the increase in human rights violations, according to some speakers, and the Special Procedures should be strengthened in order to produce stronger relief on the ground and where there was a dire need. A number of speakers said attacks on human rights defenders were becoming common across the world, with many Governments targeting them with arbitrary arrests, disappearances, and other forms of harassment, with women human rights defenders in particular suffering from a wide range of sexual-based threats.
In the general debate on the Universal Periodic Review, some speakers commended the Universal Periodic Review process, describing it as the crown jewel of the Human Rights Council, and one of its greatest successes. The ground-breaking peer review mechanism provided a platform for meaningful dialogue where States could highlight national efforts and achievements, share best practices, and offer constructive feedback to better address human rights challenges. Some speakers said the Universal Periodic Review process needed to be conducted objectively, based on reliable information. It should not be used as a tool to interfere with the sovereignty of States and question their political systems, cultures, or religious particularities. A number of speakers highlighted specific recommendations from the Universal Periodic Review process which had not been upheld by certain States.
Speaking in the general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms were International Muslim Women’s Union, Society for Development and Community Empowerment, Union of Northwest Human Rights Organization, World Barua Organization, Global Welfare Association, American Association of Jurists, World Muslim Congress, World Alliance for Citizen Participation, International Humanist and Ethnical Unions, Promotion du Développement Economique et Social, iuventum e.V., Platform for Youth Integration and Volunteerism, Alliance Creative Community Project, Shaanxi Patriotic Volunteer Association, Réseau Unité pour le Développement de Mauritanie, Global Appreciation and Skills Training Network, Alsalam Foundation, Partners for Transparency, Al Baraem Association for Charitable Work, Fitilla, Community Human Rights and Advocacy Centre, Al-Hakim Foundation, Indigenous People of Africa Coordinating Committee, Association pour l’Intégration et le Développement Durable au Burundi, Commission africaine des promoteurs de la santé et des droits de l’homme, Association Burkinabé pour la Survie de l’Enfance, and Jeunesse Etudiante Tamoule.
Speaking in the general debate on the Universal Periodic Review were Malaysia on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Czech Republic on behalf of the European Union and a group of other countries, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, Palestine on behalf of the Arab Group, Belgium on behalf of the Group of French-Speaking Countries, India, Bhutan on behalf of a group of countries, Finland, Cuba, Venezuela, Libya, China, Armenia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Malawi, Mauritania, Tunisia, Iraq, Samoa, Slovenia, Morocco, Bahrain, Ethiopia, South Africa, Algeria, United Nations Population Fund, Georgia, Suriname, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Sudan, Iran, Dominican Republic, and Cambodia.