Council concludes interactive debate on Summary executions, transnational corporations and independence of judges

Human Rights Council
MORNING

31 May 2011

The Human Rights Council this morning concluded its clustered interactive dialogue with Christof Heyns, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, John Ruggie, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, and Gabriela Knaul, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers.

In concluding remarks, Christof Heyns, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, noted that collaboration with other Special Procedures enhanced impact and expertise and he had already been in contact with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Further collaboration between Special Procedures could be explored, including cooperation with other United Nations agencies and regional mechanisms. The added value in this work involved gathering the jurisprudence scattered among international and national human rights mechanisms as well as the process, which was important in order to mobilize domestic law reform based on international consensus. The Special Rapporteur said that in states of emergency, when the life of nations was threatened, certain actions were more appropriate but States needed to prove this fact, a high onus.

John Ruggie, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, in summing up, said his mandate included not only international corporations but all types of business enterprises and thus a very complex and diverse set of cases. For this reason, it was necessary to find innovative approaches in order to take into account the different needs and interests, and the changing environment. Mr. Ruggie reiterated that the endorsement of the Guiding Principles would not solve all problems but would contribute to an eventual solution by providing a solid foundation that was widely endorsed by stakeholder groups, States, international institutions, the business sector and human rights organizations. States should capitalize on the emerging convergence around the Guiding Principles. Mr. Ruggie underlined the critical need for capacity building and urged Governments to pay attention to this issue.

Also in concluding remarks, Gabriela Knaul, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said that in this time of great reforms, it was extremely important to emphasize the importance of democracy and freedom of expression. Sustainable transition required an end to impunity and thus it was important to facilitate and include access to transitional justice processes. The Special Rapporteur called for the establishment of the effective rule of law in countries in transition and for accountability for human rights violations during conflicts. On corruption, the Special Rapporteur said that an independent judiciary was crucial in combating corruption and added that judges, lawyers and prosecutors themselves must be accountable. The prosecution and harassment of judges and lawyers in some countries was an issue of great concern and a future report to be submitted to the Council would address the issue of protection against prosecution.

In the interactive dialogue, concerning extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, speakers asked about states of emergency that were invoked as legitimization for the use of force and requested elaboration on the use of force and when such a state of emergency was justified by international law. Speakers also asked about capacity building on how to employ socio-legal approaches on policing and crowd control. There was a need to develop synergies among various initiatives in the field in order to ensure the implementation of the guiding principles in the field. Speakers said they were greatly interested in the report as they were greatly concerned about excessive use of force during recent peaceful demonstrations in the Middle East. The developments in the last few months showed that neither the excessive use of force or control over the Internet could remove the need of the people to participate in political, social and economic processes.

With regard to human rights and transnational corporations, speakers said the Special Representative had achieved a lot within a short period of time, in particular, the submission of the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” as well as the principles for responsible contracts. This valuable work would serve as useful resource material and should assist developing countries in understanding the dialectics and nuances in business contracts vis-à-vis human rights. One speaker requested the opinion of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the limitations and obstacles to the integration of the guiding principles in the existing international norms. The guiding principles, as pointed by the Special Representative himself, were not a solution, but a platform for the search for solutions. The Council must now find the appropriate mechanism to follow-up on this important work.

Concerning the independence of judges and lawyers, speakers said the Special Rapporteur had said that access to justice was specifically difficult for women and she was asked to elaborate more on what programmes would be successful for giving women access to justice. Speakers thanked the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and the emphasis accorded to the issue of gender and its relation with administration of justice and the judiciary. The recommendations contained in her report would significantly contribute to the advancement of women and the effective enjoyment of their human rights.

Speaking in the interactive debate were Botswana, Austria, Switzerland, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Palestine on behalf of the Arab Group, Denmark, Spain, Azerbaijan, Canada, Morocco, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Nigeria, Qatar, Djibouti, Slovakia, Jordan, Uganda and Afghanistan.

The following national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations also took the floor: International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions, World Organization Against Torture, Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples, International Commission of Jurists, Asian Legal Resource Centre, Indian Council of South America, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, CoC Netherlands, Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez, FIAN International, and International Organization of Employers.

The Council today is meeting from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the midday meeting, the Council will hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrant workers, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, and the Independent Expert on cultural rights.

Interactive Dialogue

O. RHEE HETANANG (Botswana) said Botswana noted with interest the discussion of “protecting the right of life in the context of policing assemblies”, given ongoing developments around the world. Botswana said the Special Representative had achieved a lot within a short period of time, in particular, the submission of the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” as well as the principles for responsible contracts. This valuable work would serve as useful resource material and should assist developing countries in understanding the dialectics and nuances in business contracts vis-à-vis human rights. Botswana noted the importance of a multilateral approach to provide clarification where divergent national interpretations on business and human rights occurred.

GEROLD VOLLMER (Austria) said Austria was concerned that recently security forces in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain had resorted to the use of firearms against demonstrators not only in cases of strict necessity and in proportionality as prescribed by international law. Austria asked about states of emergency invoked as legitimization for the use of force. It asked for elaboration on the use of force and when such a state of emergency was justified by international law. Austria asked about capacity building on how to employ socio-legal approaches on policing and crowd control. The Special Rapporteur on the independence of justice and lawyers had said that access to justice was specifically difficult for women. She was asked to elaborate more on what programmes would be successful for giving women access to justice.

BARBARA FONTANA (Switzerland) said that Switzerland had from the outset supported the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and his efforts in obtaining as many tangible results as possible in processes concerning business and human rights. The open-ended dialogue with all parties was a success during Mr. Ruggie’s mandate, said Switzerland, adding that while considering the follow-up, the needs of all parties must be taken into account. Switzerland would make sure that all parties would be involved in discussions on the guiding principles. To facilitate the implementation of those guiding principles, practical tools now must be developed and as in the past, Switzerland would support this task. There was a need to develop synergies among various initiatives in the field in order to ensure the implementation of the guiding principles in the field. Switzerland asked for the opinion of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the limitations and obstacles to the integration of the guiding principles in the existing international norms. Turning to the statement of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Switzerland said it showed great interest in his first report to the Council, as it was greatly concerned about excessive use of force during recent peaceful demonstrations in the Middle East. The developments in the last few months showed that neither the use of excessive use of force or control over the Internet could remove the need of the people to participate in political, social and economic processes.

GONZALO M. JORDAN (Argentina) said that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations had made possible a better dialogue and understanding among interested parties and that the United Nations framework to “protect, respect and remedy” and the guarding principles were the result of the consensus that the Special Representative had achieved. Argentina said that it was currently working, along with India, Nigeria, Norway and Russia, on a possible resolution to establish a Working Group on this issue, with focus on effective dissemination and implementation of the guidelines as well as capacity building. Argentina urged the Council to support this initiative during the current session and noted that the guiding principles would not suffice to solve the issue of corporations and human rights but would mark the creation of a global platform to continue to make progress on the issue.

O.A. DRUMMOND CANCADO TRINDADE (Brazil) said Brazil had participated in the guidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on transnational corporations. A key element was higher standards required for business in conflict affected areas. Brazil endorsed the OECD’s guidelines on conflict minerals. Capacity building would be central for the implementation of the guiding principles. As was highlighted by the report by John Ruggie on transnational corporations and human rights, Brazil noted that enterprises should fulfill their social role. The business community had a responsibility to ensure access to medicines. On summary executions, the topic of protection of the right to life in the context of peaceful demonstrators was important. The employment of deadly force against peaceful demonstrators was unacceptable. Brazil said, as the Special Rapporteur had pointed out, the use of deadly force should be supported by facts. No one had a license to kill.

VICENTE ZERAN (Chile) said concerning the report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on business and human rights, his work had been marked by many consultations between governments, corporations and civil society, which was essential to the strengthening of human rights. The framework of Protect, Respect and Remedy was the cornerstone of the whole system. The guiding principles, as pointed by the Special Representative himself, were not a solution, but a platform for the search for solutions. The Council must now find the appropriate mechanism to follow-up on this important work. Turning to the report by the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Chile said that one of the issues mentioned in the report was obstacles for access to justice by women. The Human Rights Council had taken different initiatives to look into those issues, but multilateral initiatives alone were not sufficient and more needed to be done on national and regional levels. In closing, Chile reiterated its support to the work of all three mandate-holders.

IMAD ZUHAIRI (Palestine), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, thanked the mandate holders for their work and reports. The Arab Group said it was open to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and welcomed efforts made on the issue of “protecting the right of life in the context of policing assemblies”. The Arab Group was ready to continue to work to provide security to their people and the principles and guidelines included the rule of law as an important measure for ensuring protection. The use of force and summary execution against peaceful demonstrations constituted a flagrant violation to human rights which the Arab Group opposed. The Arab Group commended the effort made by the Special Representative on human rights and transnational corporations to work with all stakeholders and asked how he saw the implementation and follow up of these principles and guidelines.

TANJA VESTERGAARD JORGENSEN (Denmark) said the endorsement of the guiding principles on business and human rights was of key importance as the international community moved towards effectively implementing the guidelines. A follow up to Professor Ruggie’s work, including through the extension of the mandate of this Special Procedure must be ensured. Denmark noted the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings and summary executions and said that the use of lethal force was topical. Denmark noted the serious concerns that had been raised regarding Sri Lanka and accountability for human rights violations. Denmark was interested in learning about initiatives for judges and lawyers that would bring about accountability in Sri Lanka.

JUAN VILLAR ESCUDERO (Spain) said Spain thanked all mandate-holders for their reports and the excellent work in their domains. Concerning the guiding principles presented by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations, Spain said those were particularly important in the globalised economy and added that Spanish corporations had considerable experience in corporate social responsibility. Spain congratulated the Special Representative for the excellent work done over the past six years and the tangible results achieved in consultations, research and establishing the basis to continue the work on those issues. Spain supported the establishment of the follow-up mechanism on this mandate, in cooperation and collaboration with other initiatives in the sector, such as the United Nations Global Compact or with initiatives of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Spain asked Professor Ruggie about the pending legal issues that needed looking into and what would be the role human rights defenders could play in the new stage that was now opening.

SAMIRA SAFAROVA (Azerbaijan) said that the multifaceted relationship between gender and the judiciary in the context of the administration of justice was one of the least explored subjects within the Council. An independent, impartial and gender-sensitive judiciary was a de facto guarantee of gender equality and played a crucial role in advancing women’s human rights on the ground. The guiding principles on business and human rights legitimized the participation of business enterprises in the promotion and protection of human rights as a qualitatively new actor and had impacts which were difficult to predict.

JEFFREY HEATON (Canada) said Canada noted that the work of the Special Representative on human rights and transnational corporations, John Ruggie, had done much to shape the business and human rights mandate. Canada continued to support the principled pragmatism approach that marked Dr. Ruggie’s work. Canada appreciated his considered elaboration of the roles of States and corporations and remedial mechanisms and extraterritorial application of state actions. While Dr. Ruggie had redefined thinking on business and human rights there was still much work to be done to implement the principles. Canada asked how would the Human Rights Council follow up on his work to ensure the momentum continued. Could Dr. Ruggie elaborate on how he saw the role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, especially at the country level, in the follow up to the business and human rights mandate.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco) said Morocco congratulated the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on transnational corporations for his dedication to his work. Several recommendations he had made seemed particularly important to Morocco, in particular the Protect, Respect and Remedy framework and the guiding principles. The guiding principles defined the responsibilities of States and corporations and also the course for remedy by victims. Morocco said that States had the prime responsibility for ensuring human rights domestically, thus they had the responsibility to establish the normative frameworks for corporations and for recourse for victims. It was important to maintain the possibility for alternative approaches to remedy for victims, such as mediation and negotiations. The scale of cooperation and dialogue between stakeholders should be of paramount importance. The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training adopted by the Human Rights Council last March provided that it was not just an obligation on the part of States, but also of the private sector to provide their staff with adequate human rights education and training.

LUCY RICHARDSON (New Zealand) said that New Zealand took note of the report of the Special Representative on the issue of human rights and translational corporations, however, there were no “one size fits all” solutions. New Zealand had included in recent legislation a requirement that contractors had a duty to comply with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act as well as relevant international obligations and standards. New Zealand thanked the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for his report, this discussion was particularly timely in the context of the events of the Arab Spring. New Zealand shared the concern that many domestic legal systems did not adhere to international standards in respect of the right to freedom of assembly, and the use of force during demonstrations and asked the Special Rapporteur how regional engagement and civil society, including national human rights institutions, could contribute to ensure greater conformity with international standards.

OSAMU SAKASHITA (Japan) said that concerning the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, the Protect, Respect and Remedy framework and the Guiding Principles were landmark documents. The next step was to ensure that further attention was paid around the world to these principles and to comply with them. The best use should be made of existing institutions and existing mechanisms. Mechanisms that supported or had relevance to the framework, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the UN Global Compact and the ISO standard, could play a role in this regard. Japan also noted that collaboration with other stakes holders from within and without the UN system should be explored.

LUVUYO NDIMENI (South Africa) said South Africa thanked the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for his report that went into great detail to connect the right to life and the right to peaceful demonstrations. This was particularly important for South Africa given the recent events in this country. South Africa considered that giving advance notice of a demonstration was not an infringement on the freedom of assembly. South Africa was keen to find out what human rights education and training would be beneficial to police officers. Turning to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on transnational corporations, South Africa expressed its appreciation for the consultative work done by the Special Representative and the guiding principles he had presented to the Council. The guiding principles were a first and complementary step in definition of an internationally binding framework that would require States to regulate activities of business enterprises. South Africa then sought clarification of Professor Ruggie’s consideration of multilateral approaches to prevent and address gross human rights abuses and support for collective initiative in conflict-affected areas.

UGLJESA ZVEKIC (Serbia) welcomed the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary detention, as well as his conclusions and recommendations. Serbia noted in particular the part of the report related to disappearances and killings of civilians in Kosovo and Metohija after 1999. Severe human rights abuses and organized crime activities in the immediate “Kosovo war” aftermath could not be ignored and must be investigated, prosecuted and adjudicated. With regards to human organ trafficking allegations, Serbia had made a formal submission concerning the establishment of an ad hoc mechanism by the United Nations Security Council to conduct a comprehensive investigation. Only a special institution created by the Security Council could conduct a comprehensive investigation and ensure the cooperation of all parties and in the interest of justice for all. Serbia said that fully committed, transparent and efficient cooperation against human organs trafficking had to be seen as a part of efforts towards reconciliation in the region.

MOHAN PIERIS (Sri Lanka) said with regards to the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings and summary executions, Sri Lanka noted that the whole exercise did not achieve its full potential. The report contained blurred and illegible images, which were not of a quality that could be examined and therefore precluded the Government from making a proper assessment. Mutual confidence was needed between the office of the Special Rapporteur and the Government of Sri Lanka. The process regarding the publication of the video evidence and should be examined. Sri Lanka noted that the fact that the contents of the video were not made available to the Government by channel 4 led it to believe that publication was for collateral damage. Reports by non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders and media personnel were quick to report the tragic incidents which resulted in the deaths or injuries of civilians occurring during armed conflicts to communicate the most generalized conclusions in a very short time of casualties which per se appeared to be violations of international law or even war crimes. In most times than not there was a complete failure to examine and find out the legal basis upon which the operation was carried out. It was important that one did not rush to conclusions.

DICKY KOMAR (Indonesia) said Indonesia thanked the three mandate-holders for their reports and recommendations. Indonesia was encouraged to learn from the report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General that there had been an increase in the world of the awareness of the links between business and human rights. In Indonesia, national initiatives continued to play an important role in setting standards and norms and in promotion of ethical business conduct. Capacity building and awareness raising were also encouraged among future business managers. Turning to the report by the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Indonesia said that the Government had launched a national programme of access to justice, particularly for the poor and marginalised society. The Government was ensuring that access to justice was applied across a number of sectors, and had invested great effort in mainstreaming gender into judiciary, including in access to justice for women.

KAREL HEJC (Czech Republic) said the Czech Republic supported the commitment of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions who developed the mandate in an innovative manner in order to secure the right to life. The Czech Republic welcomed a number of timely statements he issued together with other Special Procedures on urgent human rights violations, namely those in the Middle East and North African Regions. The Czech Republic noted that the Special Rapporteur suggested focusing on the international and national standard-setting with special emphasis on the use of deadly force by the police or other armed forces; to prepare a model law on the management of protest and the use of force; and asked the Special Rapporteur which further steps could be elaborated in this context on possible cooperation with States in this area. The Czech Republic also asked the Special Rapporteur if he had any suggestions on special training for the United Nations peacekeepers in the field of managing demonstrations and protests and for an assessment of the current situation.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria) said Nigeria deemed it necessary to clarify the position in respect of the appeal made by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and the Special Rapporteur on torture concerning the statement made by the Governor of the south-eastern state of Abia on the death penalty. The mandate holders based their allegations on hearsay and in no way substantiated these allegations. It was disappointing that the mandate holders could make over-arching conclusions on the state of Nigeria’s judicial process without solid verification. Although the death penalty had not been abolished in Nigeria, the Government had placed a moratorium in that regard. The federal and state government after due process had intermittently given amnesty to prisoners on death row. The death penalty should be treated on a case by case basis as no cold blooded murderer should be given the opportunity to kill again. Nigeria expressed concern about the mandate holder’s limited view on the death penalty. Otherwise, how come they had ignored actions and their lethal consequences leading to the death of millions arising from manufacturing and sales of small arms which fuelled increasing civil war and conflicts in developing countries?

KHALID FAHAD AL-HAJRI (Qatar) said concerning the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Qatar had moved into a new phase recently, when a permanent constitution of the State had been adopted. This constitution had better anchored democracy and freedom of expression for individuals and associations. His Majesty the King had also introduced the law 18 on the management of the right to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstrations. Qatar reaffirmed its commitment to democracy and the right to life and to the right of citizens to take an active part in political, social and economic life.

AHMED MOHAMED ABRO (Djibouti) said the principles and guidelines presented in the report of the Special Representative were very useful for addressing an issue that for a long time had remained highly controversial. The report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions addressed an issue of current concern and could only be examined by taking into account an international context shaped by uprisings and protests in particular regions and the responses of the incumbent governments. Djibouti indicated that the report would be useful to those governments interested in keeping public order and collective security without detriment to human rights. Djibouti questioned the remark in the report of the Special Rapporteur that the constitution of Djibouti did not recognise the right of peaceful assembly. Djibouti said that its constitution included in its preamble the commitment to democratic freedoms as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter of Human Rights, and in particular Art. 15 established freedom of expression, association and strike.

BRANISLAV LYSAK (Slovakia) noted that the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions came at the time when peoples of numerous countries expressing their will for freedom and human rights still faced harsh repression coming from their own authorities, including indiscriminate shooting at the unarmed public, resulting in hundreds of deaths and scores of injuries. Slovakia took a positive note on planned cooperation with the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of assembly and association as well as on the situation of human rights defenders, in respect of managing demonstrations. In this regard Slovakia asked whether the Human Rights Council was considering visits to those countries most affected in the recent global spotlight. Slovakia noted that sporadic or isolated violence among protesters should not justify excessive use of force as witnessed recently in some situations in North Africa and the Middle East. Slovakia noted that the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions envisaged that country studies would be conducted on agenda items in order to establish benchmarks. Slovakia asked for further elaboration on this and the planned guidelines for managing demonstrations.

MUTAZ FALEH HYASSAT (Jordan) said that Jordan greatly appreciated the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions and supported his recommendations. Jordan asked the Special Rapporteur to elaborate more on the impact of a state of emergency on the right to peaceful assembly. Concerning the guiding principles presented by Professor Ruggie, Jordan welcomed the initiative and asked the Special Representative of the Secretary-General how best the Council could promote their effective implementation and follow-up. Jordan thanked the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and the emphasis accorded to the issue of gender and its relation with the administration of justice and the judiciary. The recommendations contained in her report would significantly contribute to the advancement of women and the effective enjoyment of their human rights.

ROSSETTE NYIRINKINDI KATUNGYE (Uganda) thanked the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for his report and the recommendations to Kenya. Uganda addressed the analysis of the Special Rapporteur on the progress made by Kenya in implementing the recommendations made by the previous Special Rapporteur. Uganda noted the efforts by the Kenyan Government, as recorded in the report, to implement reforms at the constitutional, legislative and institutional levels. Uganda indicated that the Government of Kenya had carried out comprehensive police reforms and expressed its belief that this was a significant step. Uganda commended the Government of Kenya for its continued commitment to the work of the Council and the observation and protection of fundamental human rights; and encouraged it to continue to work with the Special Rapporteur with a view of addressing as practically possible the issues pertaining to his mandate.

SHARIF GHALIB (Afghanistan) noted that the follow up report’s clear depositions gave due recognition of the positive measures taken by Afghanistan such as the unofficial moratorium on the death penalty, and the progress made in respect of the launching of the Afghan local police programme, aiming to provide protection to the communities against anti government elements, provide a testimony to Afghanistan’s continued commitment vis-a-vis its international obligations under treaties to which it was a state party. Afghanistan also noted that similarly, the implementation of the NATO civilian causality tracking cells, which investigated claims of the civilian casualties as well as the adoption of non-biding guidelines on the civilian compensation for all troop-contributing nations in the Afghanistan, commended and dubbed as further improvements in the follow-up report, gave corroboration to the genuine efforts by the country for adhering to the pledges it had made. Afghanistan also remained cognizant of the challenges with regard to shortcomings on violence against women.

ALAN MILLERSH, of International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions, said the National Human Rights Institutions Forum had contributed to the ongoing development of the Special Representative’s framework and Guiding Principles, including the participation of more than 90 representatives of national human rights institutions. National Human Rights Institutions Forum had engaged in outreach, and dialogue on business and human rights with governments, business, labour and civil society. They were pleased to note the strong recognition of the mandate of the National Human Rights Institutions Forum to promote and protect human rights in the Special Representative’s Guiding Principles. The Forum noted, that in a period of fiscal austerity worldwide, it was imperative that resourcing of national human rights institutions remained adequate.

ALEXANDRA KOSSIN, of World Organization Against Torture, said the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions was timely given the events in the Middle East and North Africa, and given the use of live ammunition against protesters in violation of international law. The violence had resulted in many dead and injured, and the World Organization Against Torture urged States to immediately put an end to the deadly crackdown and asked the Human Rights Council to address promptly these violations. The World Organization Against Torture supported the Special Rapporteur’s call for independent, impartial investigations and to bring justice to all victims of the violent protests that took place at the beginning of the year in Tunisia and Egypt. The World Organization Against Torture inquired whether the Special Rapporteur intended to follow up on the recent events in Pakistan, and urged the Special Rapporteur to identify pertinent violations and cases that should be given particular attention.

GIANFRANCO FATTORINI, of Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peoples, said the Movement remained deeply concerned about the continued denial of the right to life of the Tibetan people. The Movement expressed support for the call by the Special Rapporteur to the Chinese Government to take all necessary measures to ensure that the deaths of the four protestors were promptly, independently and thoroughly investigated. United Nations bodies involved in human rights monitoring should closely scrutinize the laws and practices of the countries concerned in respect of compliance with the relevant international standards.

NICHOLAS LUSIANI, of International Commission of Jurists, in a joint statement with several NGOs1, said that this was a key moment for the Council to recommit to its goals of advancing the protection of human rights in relation to business activity. The proposed Guiding Principles provided some useful indication of how States and companies could begin to apply the United Nations Framework. However, they did not adequately reflect or address some core issues, including extraterritorial obligations and responsibilities, the need for more effective regulation, the right to remedy and the need for accountability, in a manner consistent with human rights standards. The Council should assess how the Framework and Guiding Principles were applied in practice, in order to inform future action and take into consideration the perspectives of victims of human rights abuse.

MICHAEL ANTHONY, of Asian Legal Resource Centre, said that the Asian Legal Resource Centre continued to record alarming numbers of extrajudicial killings in Pakistan, particularly in the Balochistan province. Human rights defenders suffered terrible reprisal for their work. The Asian Legal Resource Centre asked the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions if he had an opportunity to discuss with the Government of the Philippines action on past and ongoing killings. The Asian Legal Resource Centre spoke of extrajudicial killings in Bangladesh and Nepal and asked the Special Rapporteur what could be done to stop widespread killings by State agents in countries where credible investigations and successful prosecution was lacking.

RONALD BARNES, of Indian Council of South America, said the Indian Council could not tell if the Guiding Principles on business and human rights would protect the victims of human rights abuses as they were placed in a non-binding nature. States and businesses had been allowed to reduce human rights based obligations to a non-obligatory status with the non-compulsory verb “should” prior to calling on States and businesses to observe rights based obligations. Indigenous peoples continued to be victims of powerful developed States and their multinational corporations. The right to self-determination must be emphasized for all peoples, including indigenous peoples.

LAILA MATAR, of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, welcomed the timely report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings. The Cairo Institute asked the Special Rapporteur to address the widespread instances of extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions carried out throughout the Arab region. Acts in Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria were tantamount to crimes against humanity and the Council should recommend that the Security Council immediately refer the situations in Syria and Yemen, as it did with Libya, to the International Criminal Court for investigation. The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said the Human Rights Council could no longer maintain silence in face of the violations in Bahrain and Yemen and stated that these situations should be dealt with urgently.

GEORGE KAPIAMBA, of International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, said that much was left to do to guarantee businesses respect human rights. The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues cited instances of exploitation of mineral resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Brazil as examples in which the three pillars proposed by Special Representative John Ruggie were not respected. The people affected would benefit greatly from the analysis and recommendations of experts of international standards of human rights. The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues underlined that the Council needed to work further on these questions and would benefit from a mandate providing for further investigation of complex cases and diverse sectors and to study possibilities to put an intergovernmental process in place to support the international framework.

SHEHEREZADE KARA, of Federatie Van Netherlandse Verenigingen Tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - Coc Nederland, commended the report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, for the attention paid to killings based on sexual orientation and gender identity. CoC Netherlands said that investigations in compliance with General Assembly resolution 65/208 must include the cases of people killed because of their gender identity. The report of the Special Rapporteur detailed the murders of more than 30 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in one single country over the last 18 months and noted that the death penalty remained an applicable punishment for homosexuality in seven countries. CoC Netherlands asked the Special Rapporteur how to ensure that States protected the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in compliance with international standards.

JUAN CARLOS GUTIERREZ CONTRERAS, of Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juarez, said that even though the Mexican Congress recently gave constitutional standing to international human rights obligations, Mexico faced a systematic pattern of human rights violations associated to the governmental efforts to curb organized crime. The Centre expressed its concerns with the application of justice and reports of human rights violations, including extended detention periods, torture and other inhumane treatment, associated with military operations against organized crime. The Centre urged the Mexican Government to abandon the strategy of militarization and to move towards a security strategy which protected human rights.

ANA MARIA SUAREZ FRANCO, of Foodfirst Information and Action Network (FIAN), said that human rights organizations had repeatedly drawn the attention of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the failure of the guiding principles to address the governance gap caused by globalization. Transnational corporations must be legally held responsible for human rights violations and abuses committed in the course of the business and States must take the responsibility to force binding regulations on those corporations. Binding national and international regulations by States were needed and the draft of the guiding principles should not be accepted by the Human Rights Council in its current form. The follow up mechanism must include elaboration of a binding international instrument.

MAUD MEGEVAND, of International Organization of Employers, welcomed the report of Professor John Ruggie and said the International Organization of Employers had been actively engaged in consultation with this mandate. The International Organization of Employers said that only States had the ability to develop positions on human rights that would set the tone and direction for all other actors. The task was not easy, but they remained deeply committed to advance the framework and the guiding principles in a way that would create ownership among its members. The International Organization of Employers supported the approach taken in the guiding principles to elaborate implications of existing standards and practices into practical guidance rather than seeking to create new international legal obligations or seek to assign legal liability.

Concluding Remarks

CHRISTOF HEYNS, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions, thanked the parties for their positive responses to the report and welcomed opportunities for further discussion. The Special Rapporteur commented that laws on assembly and force during assembly would be available online and asked for responses to ensure the review was comprehensive. The Special Rapporteur noted that collaboration with other Special Procedures enhanced impact and expertise and he had already been in contact with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Further collaboration between Special Procedures could be explored, including cooperation with other United Nations agencies and regional mechanisms. The added value in this work involved gathering the jurisprudence scattered among international and national human rights mechanisms as well as the process, which was important in order to mobilize domestic law reform based on international consensus. The Special Rapporteur addressed whether a model law would be useful, but commented that the most important aspect would be considering common themes between different systems. The training of police in non-lethal methods was also important in addressing crowd dynamics in law enforcement. Capacity building for police had been made available by Interpol, cooperation between Commonwealth countries, as well as by countries willing to make training accessible to other countries. The Special Rapporteur stated that in states of emergency, when the life of nations was threatened, certain actions were more appropriate but States needed to be prove this fact, a high onus. The Special Rapporteur commented on the report of Secretary-General on Sri Lanka, and highlighted that it was the obligation of the State to conduct its own inquiries. He emphasized that the Special Rapporteur was fully prepared to collaborate.

JOHN RUGGIE, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, said in concluding remarks that his mandate included not only international corporations but all types of business enterprises and thus a very complex and diverse set of cases. For this reason, it was necessary to find innovative approaches in order to take into account the different needs and interests, and the changing environment. Mr. Ruggie reiterated that the endorsement of the Guiding Principles would not solve all problems but would contribute to an eventual solution by providing a solid foundation that was widely endorsed by stakeholder groups, States, international institutions, the business sector and human rights organizations. Regarding concerns about monitoring implementation, he indicated that these must be adequately resourced given the dimensions and implications of the issue under consideration, in particular the number of business enterprises. Thus, monitoring mechanisms must go beyond the standard Human Rights Council approach. Mr. Ruggie said that States should capitalize on the emerging convergence around the Guiding Principles. The resolution on the follow-up provided for an annual forum which could provide an additional opportunity for monitoring. Similarly, international institutions that had adopted the principles already had in place some monitoring systems which could be use as a point of reference for future efforts. Mr. Ruggie underlined the critical need for capacity building and urged Governments to pay attention to this issue. In response to delegations which suggested that Governments should re-negotiate the text of the Guiding Principles, he recalled his experience on previous negotiations on regulatory regimes on transnational corporations during the 1970s and other unsuccessful intergovernmental processes, to argue that governments should take advantage of the existing broad consensus that currently exist around the guiding principles and the methodology in order to move forward.

GABRIELLA KNAUL, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, in her concluding observations thanked all the delegations for their participation, remarks and questions and then congratulated the Government of Mexico on their recent reforms. In this time of great reforms, it was extremely important to emphasize the importance of democracy and freedom of expression. Sustainable transition required an end to impunity and thus it was important to facilitate and include access to transitional justice processes. The Special Rapporteur called for the establishment of the effective rule of law in countries in transition and for accountability for human rights violations during conflicts. Ms. Knaul fully agreed with the recommendations and findings of the Panel of Experts of the Secretary-General on Sri Lanka and said those required serious investigation of those responsible. Any person arrested should be promptly brought before the court and have access to a lawyer. States should respect Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. With regard to Judge Afiuni, the Special Rapporteur thanked Venezuela for the support received in this manner and reiterated her concern at the detention of this judge and asked that she be freed. On corruption, the Special Rapporteur said that an independent judiciary was crucial in combating corruption and added that judges, lawyers and prosecutors themselves must be accountable. The prosecution and harassment of judges and lawyers in some countries was an issue of great concern and a future report to be submitted to the Council would address the issue of protection against prosecution. A failure to apply the principles and standards of international humanitarian law at national levels was often the reason why human rights violations and abuses had gone on for years in some countries. The Special Rapporteur was therefore developing a capacity building on international humanitarian law of judges and lawyers, as requested by the Human Rights Council.
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1Joint statement on behalf of: International Commission of Jurists, Tides Center, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues and Amnesty International.

For use of information media; not an official record