Working Group on the HRC review holds the second part of its second session

On February 17 and 18, the Open-ended Working Group on the Human Rights Council (HRC) review held the second part of its second session. States and other stakeholders were given the opportunity to react to the HRC President's Negotiating text circulated on Monday 14.
 
The discussion on the UPR parts of this Negotiating text was held on Thursday 17 from 10 am to 1 pm. Following the positions expressed on February 7th, delegations suggested concrete amendments to the text:
 
A. Basis, principles and objectives of the review 
 
The United Kingdom suggested introducing a 1 bis and 1 ter which would read as follow:
 
"1. bis. Reaffirms that no recommendation, nor State's response thereto, may be interpreted to limit the scopes of any state's obligations under international human rights law."

"1. ter. States are encouraged to ensure that recommendations are focused, action oriented, implementable, consistent with international human rights law and designed to improve the human rights situations in the State under Review."

These suggestions were supported by Canada, New Zealand, Norway and the United States.

B. Periodicity and order of the review
 
2. The second cycle of the review shall begin in June 2012.
 
3. The periodicity of the review for the second and subsequent cycles will be of four years and half. This will imply the consideration of forty-two States per year during three sessions of the working group to be held, preferably, in February, June and October. 

 
Egypt, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, and China requested to explore the option to move to a five year cycle which would lead to cost savings and less workload for the Human Rights Council.

Hungary, on behalf of the European Union (EU), believed that extending the duration of the cycle would weaken the system and would consider accepting the 4,5 year cycle if other elements in this or other clusters are significantly improved.

Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, stated that they wanted a five year cycle.

4. The order of review established for the first cycle of the review shall be maintained for the second and subsequent cycles.
 
5. The plenary sessions of the Human Rights Council for the consideration of the outcome of the review will be held together with the UPR working group sessions.


Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, Pakistan, on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and China suggested adding "held solely" between "Council" and "for the consideration".

Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, suggested adding the words "directly after" after "will be held" instead of "together with" and adding "and should be focus only on the adoption of the UPR Working Group Report"

Bangladesh suggested replacing the word "together" by "one after another".

Norway suggested inserting the word "three" and the phrase "and have a duration of up to three days".

C. Process and modalities of the review
 
Focus and documentation
 
6. The review during the second and subsequent cycles will continue to be based on the three documents identified in paragraph 15 of the annex to Council resolution 5/1.
 
7. The second and subsequent cycles of the review should focus, inter alia, on:
 
a) The follow-up and implementation of the outcome of the preceding cycle, including, as appropriate, the technical and financial assistance received. 

 
Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, and China suggested deleting the words "as appropriate" and add "in terms of accepted recommendations and voluntary pledges" after "preceding cycle".

Hungary, on behalf of the EU, suggested deleting the rest of the sentence after the word "cycle". On the contrary, Brazil wanted to keep the reference to the technical and financial assistance.

Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, and the Russian Federation suggested replacing the word "outcome" with "accepted recommendations of the State under Review".

Peru suggested adding an "s" at the end of the word "cycle". This amendment was also supported by France, the United Kingdom and Chile.

b) The developments of the human rights situation in the State under review since its preceding review. 

Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, and China suggested adding "including territories under its control" after "in the State under Review".

8. The general guidelines for the UPR reports adopted by Council decision 6/102 shall be adjusted to the focus of the second and subsequent cycles before the Council's 18th session.
 
9. Other relevant stakeholders are encouraged to include in their contributions to the review information on the follow-up by the State under review of the outcome of its preceding review. 


Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, and the Russian Federation suggested replacing the word "outcome" with "accepted recommendations".

The United Kingdom suggested adding the words "themselves and" after "follow-up by".

Bangladesh suggested adding the phrase "on the basis of accepted recommendations by the State" at the end of the paragraph.

10. The summary of the information provided by other relevant stakeholders should contain, where appropriate, a separate section for the contributions by the National Human Rights Institutions of the State under review which are consistent with the Principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights annexed to the General Assembly resolution 48/134 (the Paris Principles). 

Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, suggested deleting everything after "State under Review".

Peru suggested replacing the words "consistent with" with "in accordance with". This amendment was also supported by the United States. On the contrary, Costa Rica wanted to keep "consistent with".

Algeria suggested replacing the word "which" (third line) with "indicating whether such institutions".

11. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is encouraged to make available and easily accessible all relevant information and reports from the preceding reviews of the State under review.
 
Modalities
 
12. The role of the Troikas shall be maintained as set forth in the annex to Council resolution 5/1 as well as the President's Statement 8/PRST/1. 13. One additional hour will be added to the review. Thus, the total of four hours of the review will be divided as follows:
a) One hour and twenty minutes for the State under review.
b) Two hours and forty minutes for member and observer States of the Human Rights Council wishing to take the floor during the review.
 
14. One additional half hour will be added to the consideration of the outcome of the review by the plenary of the Human Rights Council. Thus, the total of one hour and half of the consideration of the UPR outcome by the plenary of the Human Rights Council will be divided as follows:
a) Thirty minutes for the State under review.
b) One hour for the members and observers of the Human Rights Council 
 

Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, and China suggested adding "as well as other stakeholders" after "Council". This amendment was supported by Hungary on behalf of the EU, France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and the International Coordinating Committee of National institutions.

Algeria was of the view that National Human Rights Institutions should be able to speak just after the State under Review at the adoption of the Working Group Report at the plenary session.

15. The modalities for establishing the list of speakers shall ensure the principles of universality, equal treatment and transparency. Such modalities are defined in Appendix 1. 

The Republic of Korea, Israel, Chile, New Zealand and Australia supported the proposal for the modalities of the list of speakers as contained in Appendix 1.

16. The Universal Periodic Review Voluntary Trust Fund established by Human Rights Council resolution 6/17 should be strengthened and operationalized in order to ensure a significant participation of developing countries, particularly least developing countries and small island states, in their review. 

Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, and China suggested adding after the last sentence "The Council shall formulate by its 18th session the governance structure and disbursement modalities for this Fund."

Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, suggested replacing the word "operationalized" with "the modalities to operationalize the fund should be finalised by the 18th session".

Nepal suggested replacing the words "least developing countries and small island states" with "Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDs)" .

D. Outcome of the review 

Israel suggested introducing the following paragraph:
"A recommendation and the response of a State thereto must fall in line with the object and purpose of the UN Charter, the language of resolutions 60/251 and the principles and objectives contained within the Annex to resolution 5/1".

17. The recommendations contained in the outcome of the review should be clustered thematically with the full involvement and consent of the State under review and the States that made the recommendations. 

Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, and China suggested adding the word "preferably" after "should".

18. The State under review should provide the Human Rights Council with its views on all received recommendations, in accordance with the provisions of the institution-building package annexed to Council resolution 5/1. The State under review is also encouraged to provide such information, as well as its voluntary pledges and commitments, in a written format prior to the Human Rights Council plenary for the adoption of the outcome of its review. 

Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, suggested replacing the words "in accordance" with "consistent with". They also proposed to delete the last sentence.

Japan suggested replacing the word "provide" by "communicate to" and deleting the whole paragraph after "Council" on the first line and replace it with "in written form prior to the Human Rights Council plenary for the adoption of the outcome of its review whether it supports or decline to support each of the recommendation it has received". This amendment was supported by Canada.

France suggested replacing the word "should" in the first line with "will".

Switzerland suggested replacing the word "encouraged" with "obliged". Ireland suggested replacing the word "encouraged" with "expected".

The Republic of Korea suggested a new wording for the paragraph: "The State under Review shall provide its clear position on all the recommendations received, stating whether they enjoy its support or not".

Canadian HIV/Aids Legal Network suggested replacing the words "should" and "is also encouraged to" with "shall".

E. Follow-up of the review
 
19. States have the primary responsibility for the implementation of the outcome of their review.


Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, and China suggested deleting the word "primary" and adding "in terms of accepted recommendations and voluntary pledges" at the end of the sentence. On the contrary, Chile and New Zealand expressed their wish to keep the word "primary".

The Russian Federation suggested replacing the word "outcome" with "accepted recommendations".

Bangladesh suggested adding the phrase "on the basis of accepted recommendations by the State" after "outcome".

20. States are encouraged to conduct broad consultations with all relevant stakeholders on the implementation of the outcome of their review. 

Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, and China suggested adding "in terms of accepted recommendations and voluntary pledges" at the end of the sentence.

Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, suggested merging paragraph 19 and 20. They also suggested adding the words "in consistence with paragraph 32 of the Institutional Building Package" after "stakeholders".

The Russian Federation suggested replacing the word "outcome" with "accepted recommendations".

21. States are encouraged to provide the Human Rights Council, on a voluntary basis, with: 

Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, China, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh suggested replacing the words "are encouraged to" with "may".

Hungary, on behalf of the EU, and Japan suggested adding the word "strongly" before "encouraged".

France suggested deleting the words "on a voluntary basis".

The United Kingdom and the Canadian HIV/Aids Legal Network suggested replacing the word "encouraged" by "expected".

Canada suggested introducing the word "strongly" after "are".

Norway suggested replacing the words "are encouraged to" with "will".

a) An implementation plan for the outcome of their review, within a reasonable timeframe. 

Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, China and Bangladesh suggested deleting the whole sentence.

The United Kingdom suggested replacing "a reasonable timeframe" with "one year".

b) A midterm report on the follow-up of the outcome of their review. 

Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, and Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, China, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and South Africa suggested replacing the word "report" with "update".

Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, also suggested replacing the word "outcome" with "accepted recommendations".

The United Kingdom suggested adding "two years after the review".

The Russian Federation suggested deleting the whole paragraph 21.

22. The Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance established by Human Rights Council resolution 6/17 should be strengthened and operationalized, as soon as possible, in order to provide a source of financial and technical assistance to help countries implement the recommendations emanating from their review, including by designating the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as a clearing house for such assistance. 

Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, China and the Maldives suggested adding the words "in particular LDCs and SIDS, upon their request, to" after "to help countries".

Hungary, on behalf of the EU, and Japan were opposed to designate the OHCHR as a clearing for assistance because it would shift the focus of its mandate. It proposed an alternative wording for this paragraph: "Expenditures from the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance established by Human Rights Council resolution 6/17 should be operationalized, as soon as possible, in order to provide a source of financial and technical assistance to help countries implement the recommendations emanating from their review. To this end States applying for assistance will be requested to submit an implementation plan on recommendations they intend to implement."

On the contrary, Brazil insisted on keeping the reference of the OHCHR as clearing house and explained that "clearing house" means facilitating discussions between donor and receiving country.

Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, suggested deleting the word "operationalized".

Nepal suggested adding the phrase "in particular Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDs)" after "countries".

Bangladesh suggested adding the word "developing" before "countries" (third line) and adding "specially, LDCs and SIDs" after "countries".

23. States may request the United Nations representation at the national or regional level to assist them in the implementation of the follow-up of their review. 

Egypt, on behalf of the NAM, Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC, Indonesia, on behalf of ASEAN, China and the Maldives suggested adding the words "subject to the allocation of incremental resources for this purpose" at the end of the sentence.

Hungary, on behalf of the EU, and the United States expressed its preference to revert to the original language of the IB package paragraph 36 which had a broader scope and referred to the international community rather than only to the UN.

Nigeria, on behalf of the African Group, suggested deleting the whole paragraph.

The Philippines suggested making a reference to paragraph 36 of the Institutional Building Text in this paragraph.