Human Rights Council Concludes 25th Session

High Level Segment of the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

 The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) concluded its twenty-fifth session on the 28th March. The Council adopted 42 resolutions on a wide range of issues, including several country specific resolutions and thematic resolutions.

The UNHRC approved an international investigation into the alleged serious human rights violations and war crimes committed during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war. The goal of the inquiry is to establish the facts and circumstances of alleged violations and related crimes, with the objective of ensuring accountability and promoting reconciliation in the country. The resolution was passed with 23 votes in favour, 12 against with 12 abstentions (only states that are currently members of the Human Rights Council vote)

Staes such as Pakistan, China, Venezuela, Cuba and India, opposed the resolution.

The UNHRC also passed a resolution condemning the continuing violation of human rights by the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) The resolution adopted was based upon the findings and recommendations outlined in the UN Commission of Inquiry report which  stated that the scale and nature of human rights violations was incomparable in the modern world. The Council has recommended that the UN General Assembly submit the situation to the Security Council to take action and determine the appropriate international justice mechanism.

The Council adopted a resolution on the continuing deterioration of human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.  The resolution condemned the widespread violations of human rights by Syrian authorities and militias, the use of chemical weapons and acts of violence directed at humanitarian actors and civilians. The council also decided to extend the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry through to the 28th session of the UNHRC on the continued humanitarian situation in Syria.

The protection and safety of human rights defenders has also been an issue of growing concern. A resolution was adopted during the HRC on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests. The council urged states to facilitate peaceful protests and protect the rights of human rights defenders, particularly through providing public spaces. This also includes journalists and media workers. National legislation must comply with international human rights law in regard to freedom of assembly and association.

There were various resolutions in regards to the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab Territories. The HRC demands that Israel, the occupying power, stop all practices and actions that violation the human rights of Palestinian people including the imposed restrictions on movement and economic movement and the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Other resolutions focused on the human rights situation in South Sudan and technical assistance and capacity building in Haiti, Mali and Libya.

Two resolutions that were adopted by the Council without a vote were in relation to children and human rights, including access to justice for children and ending violence against children. The Council decided to convene a panel discussion on ways and means to accelerate efforts to end violence against children, at the next session of the UNHRC.

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