Human Rights Council concludes Special Session on Haiti

Adopts Resolution Calling for Continued Support for Government and People of
Haiti while Keeping in Mind Importance of Integrating a Human Rights Approach

The Human Rights Council this morning concluded its Special Session on “ The Support of the Human Rights Council to the Recovery Process in Haiti after the Earthquake of January 12, 2010: a Human Rights Approach", adopting a resolution in which it called upon the international community to continue to ensure adequate and coordinated support to the Government and the people of Haiti, keeping in mind the importance of integrating a human rights approach.

In the resolution, the Council called upon the international community to continue to ensure adequate and coordinated support to the Government and the people of Haiti in their efforts to overcome the challenges arising from the earthquake, keeping in mind the importance of integrating a human rights approach; and underscored the importance of renewed and sustainable commitment to address the existing and additional challenges to promote and protect all human rights in Haiti. The Council expressed its concern about the present human rights situation in Haiti, underlined the importance of protecting children from any violence, injury or abuse, mal-treatment or exploitation, and emphasized the need to apply a gender based approach in the recovery process. It decided to act favourably, in view of the exceptional circumstances that confront it, upon the request of Haiti to postpone relevant deadlines related to its Universal Periodic Review within the Human Rights Council to a date no later than December 2011; and invited the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to identify areas for cooperation and technical assistance with Haiti, on the basis of the expertise and the presence of the United Nations system on the ground with a view to present suggestions in this regard to the Human Rights Council in its fourteenth regular session.

In statements during the general debate, speakers stated, among other things, that the international community had humanitarian and ethical obligations to assist the people of Haiti. The primary needs for the victims, who were, according to current statistics, over a million, were to drink, eat, and have shelter. Haiti needed a massive international support that could help it to bandage its wounds, rebuild its cities, give hope to its population, and ensure all Haitians could enjoy their universally-recognised human rights. There was no doubt that the devastating effect of the earthquake had seriously affected the advances Haiti had made in human rights, and the international community needed to put into place the right conditions for the economic and social development of the country, through effective and coordinated humanitarian assistance, hand in hand with the Haitian Government and with the aim of improving the human rights situation and enhancing human rights.

The emergency efforts and the reconstruction should take effect in the full respect of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, in particular for the most vulnerable, namely women, children, internally displaced persons, the disabled and the elderly. This was an opportunity to rebuild a new and better Haiti, and there should be a new level of cooperation in this regard. This was a crisis which far exceeded most other humanitarian crises, and called for a broader international presence, under the coordination of the United Nations, to work together to protect and promote human rights. The international community must put in place or activate the appropriate mechanisms guaranteeing the respect and application of human rights for all, particularly the most vulnerable groups, namely children, women, the elderly, internally displaced persons, and the disabled.

The Haitian Government must be in the front line of deciding what the Haitian future must be, and all international efforts must focus on strengthening the Government's capacity to manage its own country. There must be an integrated human rights approach in the assistance and reconstruction efforts made by the international community, with particular attention given to bringing about economic, social and cultural rights. Without good communication and logistics it would be impossible to carry out the necessary work. With the rainy season looking imminent, it was crucial to upscale work in the recovery and reconstruction phase. Assistance activities were vital in order to protect victims, but it must go hand in hand with the protection of the fundamental human rights, in order to guarantee the success of the recovery.

Speaking in the general debate were the representatives of Libya, World Food Programme, Tunisia, Holy See, Peru, Kuwait, Panama, Ecuador, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Organization Internationale de la Francophonie, Australia, Canada, African Union, Côte d'Ivoire, and El Salvador.

Also speaking were North-South XXI, Caritas Internationalis, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Human Rights Watch, International Movement ATD Fourth World, CIVICUS, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, International Save the Children Alliance, European Disability Forum, and Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions.

Speaking in introduction of the resolution was Brazil.

Speaking in general comments was Belgium on behalf of the European Union.

Speaking as a concerned country was Haiti.

The report of the Council was adopted ad referendum and then the Council concluded its Special Session, which started on 27 January.

The next regular session of the Council will begin on Monday, 1 March 2010, and will continue until Friday, 26 March.

General Debate

IBRAHIM A.E. ALDREDI (Libya) said Libya supported the resolution of the General Assembly, issued on 6 January, expressing support for the Haitian community and urging the international community to support them through this disaster, which had led to tremendous losses, and a lack of water. The damages in Haiti were the most serious seen by the United Nations, leading to thousands of deaths and destroying the infrastructure of the country. The international community had humanitarian and ethical obligations to assist the people of Haiti. Victims had the right to all forms of assistance, not just medical, but, among others, psychological. There was a need to protect the most vulnerable, in particular children, and the human rights conventions needed to be applied, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The international community should grant all possible assistance to Haiti and help those afflicted by the earthquake, providing modern equipment that could predict future earthquakes.

CHARLES VINCENT, of World Food Programme (WFP), expressed the condolences of WFP over the deaths of Haitians and United Nations staff. WFP had been supporting Haiti for many years. It was now faced with the daunting task of helping up to 4 million citizens, which required a coordinated response and dedication from the international community, which had so far responded promptly. Without good communication and logistics it would be impossible to carry out the necessary work. WFP was distributing food that did not require cooking, for practical reasons. The aim was to reach 2 million people a week over the next six months. Women and children were a priority. Logistically, it had set up an inter agency platform to assist partners during emergency and early recovery phases. WFP would step up work in provinces where internally displaced persons were due to go. With the rainy season looking imminent, it was crucial to upscale work in the recovery and reconstruction phase.

ALI CHERIF (Tunisia) said the earthquake in Haiti had caused huge destruction and tragic situations. The dead were counted by tens of thousands, the suffering by millions, and the cities were in ruins. Before the size of the catastrophe, there was no need for compassion- it was better to talk about the dignity of those men and women who were working together to help each other. The primary needs for the victims, who were, according to current statistics, over a million, were to drink, eat, and have shelter. Haiti needed a massive international support that could help it to bandage its wounds, rebuild its cities, give hope to its population, and ensure all Haitians could enjoy their universally-recognised human rights. Fortunately, an extraordinary commitment had been shown by all continents and regions, from all levels of society, and this must continue.

SILVANO M. TOMASI (Holy See) expressed the condolences of the Holy See at the recent tragedy. The Haitian Catholic Church had been hard and painfully hit by the death of religious figures. Its schools and clinics had been destroyed. Such an emergency showed the need and value of respecting human rights, including the right to life, food and water among others. The recent tragedy was a call for the solidarity of the international community to respond and to place human rights at the heart of reconstruction. Many Catholic non-governmental organizations had set up recovery programmes. The international community should give Haitians the capacity to rebuild their country. The Church would actively collaborate in rebuilding the country, to ensure that the people of Haiti had a life of freedom and dignity.

CARLOS SIBILEE (Peru) said Peru had immediately joined the efforts deployed by the international community to support the emergency work of assistance and aid sent to Haiti. There was no doubt that the devastating effect of the earthquake had seriously affected the advances Haiti had made in human rights, and the international community needed to put into place the right conditions for the economic and social development of the country, through effective and coordinated humanitarian assistance, hand in hand with the Haitian Government and with the aim of improving the human rights situation and enhancing human rights. The emergency efforts and the reconstruction should take effect in the full respect of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, in particular for the most vulnerable. This was an opportunity to rebuild a new and better Haiti, and there should be a new level of cooperation in this regard.

SADIQ MARAFI (Kuwait) said there was a need to mobilise continuing international support for this humanitarian tragedy. Kuwait viewed with great concern the suffering of the Haitian people, particularly the most vulnerable, children, women, orphans, internally displaced persons and the elderly, and hoped that international efforts should enable them to enjoy their basic rights. It was incumbent upon the international community to make every effort in order to support the people of Haiti in this crisis, and protect their basic rights, as stipulated by international conventions and treaties.

JORGE FELIX CORRALES (Panama) said once the earthquake occurred, the Government of Panama had been able to react rapidly to the situation in Haiti, and had taken swift action, coordinating its humanitarian aid and cooperating in the humanitarian assistance work in all phases, and it would continue to do so. This was a crisis which far exceeded most other humanitarian crises, and called for a broader international presence, under the coordination of the United Nations, to work together to protect and promote human rights. The international community must put in place or activate the appropriate mechanisms guaranteeing the respect and application of human rights for all, particularly the most vulnerable groups, namely children, women, the elderly, internally displaced persons, and the disabled. The Haitian Government must be in the front line of deciding what the Haitian future must be, and all international efforts must focus on strengthening the Government's capacity to manage its own country. There must be an integrated human rights approach in the assistance and reconstruction efforts made by the international community, with particular attention given to bringing about economic, social and cultural rights.

CARLOS SANTOS (Ecuador) reiterated Ecuador’s sorrow and commiserations over Haiti’s humanitarian suffering since the earthquake hit the country. Ecuador expressed its full solidarity with the ravaged country and reiterated its full, willing support. The Council’s current Special Session proved that it had to be present in such instances when human rights were being threatened. The draft resolution that had been tabled met all those requirements. It was crucial to help the recovery and reconstruction of Haiti as decided by its people. Haiti had been a victim of a series of events that had progressively eroded the level of its development. In that regard, it was worth considering scrapping its debts. The President of Ecuador was due to go to Haiti to provide aid and to express his sympathy.

OBAID SALEM SAEED AL ZAABI (United Arab Emirates) said this catastrophe led to a need to coordinate efforts to ensure food, water and shelter for the victims, in the initial stage, under the aegis of the United Nations. Keeping in mind the principles of humanitarian assistance, the United Arab Emirates had sent $ 50 million in aid, and had sent experts to assess the needs in the field, in collaboration with the logistics centre of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Efforts needed to be made as quickly as possible so that Haiti could begin reconstruction and regain some form of normality. Assistance activities were vital in order to protect victims, but they must go hand in hand with the protection of the fundamental human rights, in order to guarantee the success of the recovery. Women and children must be protected from trafficking. The Human Rights Council should guarantee emergency action that respected the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all.

Mr. U.L.M. JAUHAR (Sri Lanka) said Sri Lanka expressed its deep condolences to Haiti and thanked Brazil for spearheading the meeting. Sri Lanka supported deferring Haiti’s presentation at the upcoming Universal Periodic Review. As Sri Lanka had been ravaged by the Tsunami it could sympathize with the plight of the Haitian people at present. In the disaster’s aftermath it had sent troops on the ground. It was crucial to respect Haiti’s sovereignty in ensuring its recovery. Sri Lanka recognized the role of the Dominican Republic in helping Haiti deal with the recent catastrophe and commended its excellent job in that regard.

DINESH BHATTARAI (Nepal) said Nepal appreciated the spontaneous solidarity of the international community to assist the Haitian people through the provision of food, water, shelter, medical care, sanitation and emergency care, and supported the call of the Haitian President for direly needed humanitarian assistance to ensure the survival of the people who had fallen victims to the misfortune. The provision of basic services, such as food, water, medical care, clothes and shelter in a coordinated and coherent manner was extremely important to the protection of those who had survived. The misfortune had compounded the vulnerabilities of Haiti, a least developed country with attendant challenges of poverty, under-development, reconstruction, peace-building and peacekeeping. The key to the protection of human rights in Haiti lay in overcoming the challenges of the dispersed and complicated recovery process, including the rehabilitation of the affected, reconstruction of social and economic infrastructures, providing security, creating an enabling environment for strengthening institutions and mobilising financial resources. The international community should continue their contributions and assistance to the Haitian people. The Human Rights Council should also promote the important and pressing tasks of rebuilding, recovery and reconstruction of the nation.

LIBERE BARARUNYERETSE, of Organization Internationale de la Francophonie, expressed its solidarity with and its condolences to the people of Haiti. The Organization Internationale de la Francophonie was pleased with the recent conference held in Montreal to discuss the reconstruction of Haiti. It supported such an initiative in terms of ensuring sustainable, responsible and inclusive recovery. On human rights, the human, material and institutional damages were very high. For its part, the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie had ensured coordination, providing expertise in that field. It was looking to redirect resources towards such efforts. Bearing in mind the participation of Haitian institutions the Organisation International de la Francophonie would mobilize a range of French speaking partners to improve human rights institutions in the country. On January 25, there had been a meeting of all those bodies. It was their duty to help Haiti recover and to help its institutions get back on their feet. The Organization Internationale de la Francophonie fully supported Brazil’s draft resolution on the matter.

MIRANDA BROWN (Australia) said 15 days after the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, the full and tragic consequences of this natural disaster remained unclear - what was clear was that the international community, under the direction of the Haitian Government, would be required to respond perhaps at an unprecedented scale, for an extended period of time, in addressing a very broad range of needs of the people of Haiti. The international community, including through the Council, had an obligation to demonstrate its commitment to the people of Haiti in their time of greatest need. Australia remained concerned about the ongoing protection of the vulnerable, particularly women and children. Even before the disaster, there were significant human rights challenges in their regard, and Australia was concerned that even greater efforts would be required in the wake of this tragedy to meet the needs of the increased numbers of the vulnerable and to address other emerging human rights challenges.

ALISON LECLAIRE CHRISTIE (Canada) said faced with this tragedy, the Government of Canada had played a leadership role in international assistance efforts, leading rapid and comprehensive humanitarian efforts. Canada had also hosted on 25 January a Preparatory Ministerial Conference, which brought together the Foreign Ministers of the Friends of Haiti, main donors, and regional and multilateral partners active in Haiti. In the President's Declaration issuing from the Conference, the participants recognised the leadership and sovereignty of the Government of Haiti, and reiterated their commitment to adopting a coordinated, coherent and global approach, in order to respond to the needs of Haiti in the short- and long-term. The protection and promotion of human rights were key elements to ensure the stability and long-term development of Haiti.

GEORGES-ROWMI NAMIKONG, of African Union, commended Brazil for convening this Special Session. Its President had launched an appeal to its members, asking them to provide their support to the disaster-stricken country. Massive efforts had been made to help Haiti. The African Development Bank had set up a special account to which Member States could contribute donations. A globally coordinated effort would be crucial. That should assist those most in need. The Haitian people’s needs and their sovereignty had to be borne in mind, upheld and respected.

BAKAYOKO NOGOZENE (Côte d'Ivoire) said the amplitude of the task on the ground to ensure a minimum of comfort to the bruised people of Haiti required a concerted action by all aid providers, at all levels. The amplitude of the destruction and the manifest will to proceed to the reconstruction of the destroyed infrastructure should not obviate the foundations of international law and human rights, which were preconditions for a return to normal functioning of institutions and the re-establishment of all rights in Haiti. It was in this context that Côte d'Ivoire supported the undertaking of the Human Rights Council in favour of this suffering country, and supported without reservation the resolution that was before the Council, whilst appealing for its implementation in the shortest possible time, in order to aid the Haitian people. Further, the Human Rights Council should postpone the consideration of the Universal Periodic Review of Haiti.

CARMEN ELENA CANTILLO (El Salvador) expressed El Salvador’s deep sympathies to the people of Haiti and to United Nations staff that had perished. It supported Brazil’s initiative to table a draft resolution and Colombia’s coordination efforts in that regard. It was vital to focus on vulnerable groups, including women and children in Haiti. El Salvador had sent fire fighters to Haiti through the Red Cross. It was committed to working closely with the Government of Haiti. It would ensure that aid reached people. A sustainable recovery plan that included Haiti and international partners would ensure the basis for long lasting development in the ravaged country.

DOEBBLER CURTIS, of North-South XXI, said North-South XXI welcomed this initiative to draw attention to the necessary relevance of the human rights approach to the humanitarian situation in Haiti. While supporting the international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Haiti, there was negligence by some of the international community that led to the enhanced vulnerability of the Haitian people. It was the obligation of all States, an obligation that was entrenched in the United Nations Charter, to contribute to ensuring the human rights of the Haitian people. Commitments made were obligations that flowed from the duty of States to cooperate to achieve respect for human rights. The humanitarian effort to assist the people of Haiti should be based on recognition of the right to self-determination of the Haitian people.

M. ROBERT VITILLO, of Caritas Internationalis (International Confederation of Catholic Charities), in a joint statement with several NGOs1, said CARITAS was grateful for the Council’s focus on the human rights implications of the recent disaster in Haiti. CARITAS urged the Council to ensure that the immediate survival needs of women and children were met, including special plans for nutrition, water, shelter and protection against violence. There was a lack of coordination in humanitarian assistance. The time had come for the global community to mobilize a lasting commitment to alleviate Haiti’s poverty and misery. That could not be developed without involving the Haitian Government and people. CARITAS called on the Council to urge members to carry out an investigation on human rights in Haiti, which would be submitted at its June 2010 session.

ILSE WERMINK, of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, said this terrible earthquake had once again shown the vulnerability of human life and the devastating impact of a natural disaster. However, it must be noted that the extent of the horror faced by Haitians today was directly linked to its history of brutal colonial exploitation, systematic post-colonial oppression, and punitive international trade relations. Long before the tragedy of this earthquake, the perpetual crisis that Haitians endured on a daily basis was carelessly ignored by the media and international agencies. The United Nations should be in the forefront of humanitarian assistance and it should avoid placing a military face on relief aid. The Human Rights Council must guide future reconstruction efforts, and adopt a resolution that focused on, among other things, the protection of women from violence.

JULIE DE RIVERO, of Human Rights Watch, said this Special Session was an opportunity for the Human Rights Council to anticipate the human rights problems that would emerge as a result of the devastation created by the earthquake, and as reconstruction began. The Human Rights Council should identify and help to shape an appropriate domestic and international response to the human rights challenges ahead for the nation, and must advocate unequivocally for the mainstreaming of human rights in the reconstruction phase. The debate should help clarify how domestic and international action should be implemented in order to prevent human rights violations, ensure the protection of human rights, and promote a rights-based approach to reconstruction. The Human Rights Council should send a clear message that human rights should be at the forefront of the response to Haiti's earthquake.

JANET NELSON, of International Movement ATD Fourth World, said the international community had responded with a great deal of generosity, and all those here had spoken of the challenge of rebuilding the country. The task of rebuilding the country should be carried out in keeping with a human rights approach to development. In this country, which had seen such devastating and wide-range human rights violations, it would be a tragic missed opportunity to do otherwise. One of the bases of such an approach was the establishment of processes through which the population could participate fully in the design and implementation of the reconstruction process. This principle should also be applied to those living in extreme poverty. Every effort should be made to reconnect children with their families. The trauma of the earthquake should not be exploited for the purpose of the sale and trafficking of children through inappropriate or unlawful inter-country adoption.

RENATE BLOEM, of CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, expressed its deepest sympathies to the victims of the recent Haiti earthquake, which had caused unprecedented damage. CIVICUS had set up global initiatives to assist Haiti through immediate and urgent responses. It was also looking into rebuilding the country through sustainable means. It aligned itself with a number of non-governmental organizations in supporting Haiti’s debt cancellation. Debts had contributed to the country’s poverty and its lack of food and infrastructure. CIVICUS welcomed the Special Session and its objectives for medium- and long-term recovery in Haiti with a human rights slant. In that regard, it asked all Governments to support cancelling the country’s debts.

JULIE GROMELLON, of International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, said the earthquake was one of the greatest catastrophes faced by the Haitian people in its history. The situation of the survivors was particularly worrisome, and there was a lack of water, food, medical care and decent shelter. The event had laid bare the extremely precarious situation of human rights, in particular the lack of efficient justice, in a State where the rule of law was weak. The Human Rights Council should adopt a resolution calling for the effort of the Haitian authorities and the international community to focus on the reconstruction of services and essential infrastructure of the State, aid to survivors, and to ensure that the security of inhabitants and the respect of public order were guaranteed. This resolution should also call upon the Haitian authorities, the international community, and the different United Nations organs to establish in a coordinated manner, in cooperation with civil society, a plan to restore the different elements of the country, in particular justice, ensuring the re-establishment of the rule of law and the respect of human rights of the Haitian people.

MISTY BUSWELL, of International Save the Children Alliance, said that Save the Children had provided its biggest relief and recovery efforts ever to earthquake-ravaged Haiti. Haiti’s infrastructure had been severely damaged. Missing children had to be accounted for. No new adoption should begin until attempts had been made to reunite children with their families. To ensure lasting and positive changes, both global momentum and funding had to be kept going for years to come. Donors had to meet the United Nations Flash Appeal. Save the Children urged the cancellation of all of Haiti’s debts. Human development, skills and institutions should be key focal points. Haiti’s Government and its people had to be helped in order to enable them to lead their country into a brighter future while respecting, fulfilling and protecting children’s rights.

TROMEL ESTEBAN, of European Disability Forum, said the earthquake had had a terrible impact on persons with disabilities and their enjoyment of all human rights. Those newly disabled, such as amputees, would require intensive support. The international community had to ensure that persons with disabilities would have access to all emergency efforts, also by ensuring that the information on these efforts was accessible to all persons with disabilities. The resolution to be adopted by the Council should include an explicit reference to persons with disabilities so that the rights of these persons were fully taken into account in all emergency efforts and reconstruction efforts that would soon start.

ONANDIA-ZARRABE GOTZON, of Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, said according to estimates, the earthquake had left more than 125,000 dead, more than a million homeless, out of which 500,000 were living in makeshift settlements, and hundreds of thousands displaced. This tragedy had been made worse by the impoverishment caused by decades of human rights neglect, including lack of adequate housing. Relief and reconstruction efforts must be guided by human rights principles - in this regard, the provision of shelters and housing should be oriented towards providing places where people could live in security, peace and dignity. All shelter and housing programmes should be implemented without discrimination of any kind and in consultation with and participation of the affected population, including women, children, the elderly and disabled. Haiti's future would be best secured if the authorities in Haiti and the international community ensured ongoing compliance with international human rights standards.

Consideration of Resolution on the Support of the Human Rights Council to the Recovery Process in Haiti after the Earthquake of January 12, 2010: a Human Rights Approach

In a resolution on the support of the Human Rights Council to the Recovery Process in Haiti after the Earthquake of January 12, 2010: a Human Rights Approach (A/HRC/S-13/L.1), adopted without a vote, the Council calls upon the international community to continue to ensure adequate and coordinated support to the government and the people of Haiti in their efforts to overcome the challenges arising from the earthquake, keeping in mind the importance of integrating a human-rights approach; reaffirms the sovereignty of Haiti and its territorial integrity and stresses the central role of the Haitian Government in establishing national priorities for the recovery process; underscores the importance of renewed and sustainable commitment to address the existing and the additional challenges to promote and protect all human rights in Haiti; expresses its concern about the present human rights situation in Haiti, in particular the vulnerable situation of children, women, internally displaced persons, the elderly, persons with disabilities and wounded; underlines the need to address the additional obstacles arising from the devastation in such areas as access to food, adequate housing, health care, water and sanitation, education, work and civil registry; welcomes and further encourages the responses provided by the U.N. system and by the international community at large to assist the government of Haiti to promote and protect all human rights in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, such as, inter alia, those aiming at providing cash and food for work, as well as those aiming at securing the full protection of the rights of all those in vulnerable situations, especially children and women; underlines the importance of protecting children from any violence, injury or abuse, mal-treatment or exploitation, and of ensuring that separated or unaccompanied children do re-unite with their families and those left orphaned receive immediate attention and necessary protection; decides to act favourably, in view of the exceptional circumstances that confront it, upon the request of Haiti, to postpone relevant deadlines related to its Universal Periodic Review within the Human Rights Council to a date no later than December 2011; and invites the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to identify areas for cooperation and technical assistance with Haiti, on the basis of the expertise and the presence of the United Nations system on the ground, in particular the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in collaboration with Special Procedures, a view to present suggestions in this regard to the Human Rights Council in its fourteenth regular session.

MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO (Brazil), introducing the resolution, said it was the first time the Human Rights Council met in a Special Session to protect human rights and prevent their violation. This was because the Human Rights Council really cared for human rights. It was good that time, support and energy had been found to promote this initiative. If there was success today, it would fulfil resolution 60/251 creating the Council, establishing that it should contribute through dialogue and cooperation to human rights, and prevent human rights violations, and would also live up to the language and the spirit of the Vienna Declaration, saying that the protection and promotion of human rights was a priority of the international community. This Special Session and the resolution reunited positive elements for the work of the Council, in concert with the affected country, with the wide support of Member States, Observers, and members of civil society.

The aim was to mainstream the human rights perspective in all areas. Even countries with scarce economic resources had come forward to help Haiti financially. Through this text, the Council had expressed its sincere condolences, sympathy and solidarity for the victims and their families. It reiterated that the protection and promotion of all human rights were indispensable elements for peace, stability and development, underscoring the need for long-term and sustainable support by the international community for the Government to promote the respect for human rights, the rule of law and governance. It supported the primacy of the Government to protect and promote human rights in the country, and called upon the international community to continue to provide support to the Government and the people in efforts to overcome the challenges caused by the earthquake, whilst keeping in mind the human rights approach. The text underlined the need to overcome the additional obstacles caused by the devastation, and emphasised the importance of reconstructing national institutions and providing cooperation, capacity-building and technical assistance for the people of Haiti at the request of the concerned country, and the necessity of protecting children and women. The Human Rights Council was deciding, through this text, to postpone the relevant deadlines relating to Haiti’s Universal Periodic Review to 2011.

HUGO BRAUERS (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, in a general comment, said it was clear that the current humanitarian situation affected the enjoyment of human rights for the people, and created new challenges for the Government of Haiti. The United Nations bodies and agencies had once more shown the great value of their work. Proactive steps must be taken to protect human rights and avoid discrimination in the distribution of aid. As they moved from saving lives to recovery and reconstruction, good governance needed to be reinforced, as should be the rule of law and the human rights of all Haitian people, including economic, social and cultural rights. It was in this context that the European Union was pleased to co-sponsor the resolution, and applauded the efforts of the United Nations and the constructive approach of the Haitian Government, and hoped that human rights could be effectively mainstreamed into the reconstruction efforts of the Government of Haiti.

JEAN-CLAUDE PIERRE (Haiti), speaking as a concerned country, said the Human Rights Council would now take a decision on the draft resolution that had been tabled by Brazil. Haiti ardently wished that the draft would be adopted by consensus and that it would lead to economic redress that Haiti so desperately needed.

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1Joint statement on behalf of: Internationalis (International Confederation of Catholic Charities), Dominicans for Justice and Peace; Franciscans International; International Institute of Mary Our Help of the Salesians of Don Bosco; International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development; and International Organization for the Right to Education and Freedom of Education (OIDEL).

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