CIVICUS intervention during the 2nd Meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Review of the Work and Functioning of the Human Rights Council

The 2nd Meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the
Review of the Work and Functioning of the Human Rights Council
23 February 2011

Mr. President,

At the outset CIVICUS wishes to align itself with all previous speakers who commended the Facilitators for their extensive work, their thorough engagement and for the transparent, inclusive, forward looking and result oriented manner in which they guided us through the informal consultations.

CIVICUS had made a number of recommendations during the Review process so far, both formal and informal, and is pleased to note that some of them found enough support to be included in this compilation before us.

1.    UPR

On process and modalities: We agree

  • with the periodicity and order of review,
  • with the focus and documentation, but would add that all three documents,upon which the review is based, should be properly introduced during the review time
  • with the proposal for an additional hour for the review and half an hour for the outcome adoption to provide space for more speakers. We would like to see that the distribution in three equal parts will be retained and clearly spelled in the text
  • with the proposal to cluster the outcome adoption in plenary with the UPR WG sessions
  • with strengthening the Voluntary Trust Fund to ensure significant participation from developing countries and we add: including from civil society

On outcome of the Review: We underline

  • to cluster recommendations thematically,
  • but we add: recommendations should be made with the view to have a real beneficial impact on the ground
  • and the country under review to provide a written addendum on its views on all received recommendations prior to adoption in plenary

On follow-up of the review: We support all proposals but add

  • national CSOs/NGOs, including non-ECOSOC, should be invited to report on implementation progress to the Council

2.    Special Procedures
On Selection and appointment of mandate-holders: We agree:

  • With enhanced transparency in the selection process and with the amendments to the IB text. However, we believe the Consultative Group should explain and substantiate all of its recommendations to the President and not the other way round

On working methods: We agree with the proposals but strongly add:

  • More time should be made available for Special Procedures to engage in depth with NGOs, victims and human rights defenders during their reporting time to the Council.
  • In this context we support the Indian Ambassador’s endeavours on agenda and program of work “to assign a specific place to interactive dialogues with each particular procedure mandate holder on the Programme of Work so as to have a predictability that would suit both the Council and the mandate holders” as well as civil society

On cooperation:

  • We  ask that all states should issue standing invitation to the Special Procedures
  • Respond promptly to urgent appeals and
  • Report on measures taken on recommendations of SPs after country visits

Finally, Mr President,

In view of having with us today the Facilitators from New York on the Review of the Status of the Council, CIVICUS reiterates its proposal that in order to strengthen the Council’s position within the UN system, Kofi Annan’s idea should be reconsidered to establish the Council as a principle organ (whenever the time comes for opening the UN Charter for amendments)  to accomplish wider respect for its decisions and measures, in particular for its function and ability to uphold and ensure the implementation of existing norms and standards.

Thank you for your attention


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