UN Human Rights Council 2009

HRCA at the UN Human Rights Council June 2009


Chris Sidoti attended the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva on behalf of HRCA. His report included the following comments:

“The first week was marked by quite outrageous, very personal attacks on individual Special Procedure mandate holders as a clear means of intimidating them and sending a broader message across the whole system.”

“The attacks especially focused on Philip Alston (extra judicial executions) and Frank La Rue (freedom of expression) … [there is a planned] resolution next week that place further curbs on Special Procedures and send[s] clear warnings of retribution for any who don’t bow to the wishes [of the critics]”

“Then the next day the brand new High Commissioner was their target. Again the attacks were personal and directed towards intimidating her and subjecting her to Council control. She has raised the[ir] ire in particular by her advocacy of human rights and sexual orientation and gender identity …”

“Next the target moved onto country situations. The country rapporteurs have been reduced in number at each session of the Council and it is likely that the Special Rapporteur on Sudan will go next week. Any discussion of country situations at all is condemned, even though the General Assembly resolution establishing the Council clearly authorized the Council to deal with these situations. The days of the rapporteurs are definitely numbered …”

“This week moved into the reports under the Universal Periodic Review and it has turned out just as bad. The UPR process itself seems to be scoring some successes but the way it was handled this session was appalling. NGOs were bashed around, losing speaking time and slots and being trumped by GONGOs that cheated with the connivance of their home States …”

HRCA made a number of interventions, sometimes in collaboration with other NGOs.

These can be found by clicking on the following links.

1. Joint NGO statement: jointletter-hrc11-11june-final

2. Statement on the Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression: sr-freedom-of-expression

3. Statement on the role of the Special Procedures: item-5-general-debate

4. Statement in defence of the High Commissioner on Human Rights: hchr-update

5. Statement in defence of International law: item-4-general-debate



During the last week of the Council Russia proposed a resolution under item 8 to deal with ‘traditional values and human rights’. It was principally related to the internal politics of Russia, not the politics of the Council (though nicely consistent with those too). Putin is cosying up to the new Patriarch of Moscow, Cyril I, who was formerly Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad and in the role made some outrageous statements about human rights. It would have taken us right back to the pre Vienna debates, eg the Asian values debate we had in our part of the world, so wonderfully led by Mahathir Mohammed and Lee Kwan Yew.The Council’s intervention can be found at the following link: item-8-general-debate1