Summary: 5 June 2007, Luxembourg - Council of the European Union, 2804th ECONOMIC and FINANCIAL AFFAIRS Council meeting
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
"1. The EU continues to support the mission of the United Nations Human Rights Council and remains committed to the fulfilment of all aspects of its mandate. It recalls that all Council members have a particular responsibility to ensure that it lives up to the expectations that the world has placed in it and that all Council members share the responsibility to address human rights violations in an effective, credible and timely manner to enhance the promotion and protection of all human rights, and to promote effective coordination and the mainstreaming of human rights within the UN system as called for by the UNGA resolution 60/251.
2. In noting the result of elections to the Human Rights Council on 17 May, the EU regrets that the practice of so-called "clean slates" has been followed in some regional groups. The EU remains convinced that clean slates should be avoided and encourages all regional groups to present more candidates than available seats in future elections. The EU reminds all members of the Council of their obligation to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and to fully cooperate with the Human Rights Council. In this context, the EU particularly welcomes the recent strong signal of the UN General Assembly that an unaccountable and repressive regime should not be a member of the Human Rights Council.
3. The EU welcomes the unanimous adoption, during the fourth regular session of the Human Rights Council, of a substantive resolution on the situation in Darfur, and calls for its effective implementation, the progress of which will be considered at the Council's 5th session. It further welcomes the constructive discussion of thematic human rights issues at that session, especially the agreement of a consensus resolution on the Right to Development, as well as the continued practice of interactive dialogues with all mandate holders of special procedures and with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and calls for this practice to be established for every future Council session.
4. The EU considers that, in view of the ongoing institution-building process, the upcoming 5th session of the Human Rights Council will be critical for the future functioning and credibility of the Council. The EU expects the institution-building process to be successfully completed with a consensual outcome by the end of the Council's first year and will remain actively engaged towards the realization of this objective to which it attaches the highest priority. The EU underlines the important role of the Council's president in this regard.
5. The Council underlines that in the Geneva negotiations, the results of which the EU will jointly assess, the EU will, through dialogue and cooperation with all stakeholders, work for a central, efficient and credible role for the Human Rights Council within the United Nations system, while stressing the need for a meaningful outcome. The Council calls on all others to continue to participate in these efforts.
6. The Council attaches great importance to maintaining the existing thematic and country mandates as well as the possibility to create new mandates by simple majority. For the EU, the independence, autonomy and expertise of the special procedures must be preserved, especially with regard to the selection procedures. In this context, the EU would have preferred that the Human Rights Council addresses the duty of states to cooperate with the Special Procedures without elaborating a Code of Conduct for these mechanisms. However, any future Code of Conduct needs to be consistent with other relevant UN documents, in particular the regulations governing the status, basic rights and duties of officials other then secretariat officials and experts on mission adopted by the GA in 2002, and must not limit the necessary freedom of action of mandate-holders to effectively fulfil their mandates.
7. The Council re-iterates the need to establish an efficient and credible procedure for the Universal Periodic Review that is equal for all member states and that provides for a clear outcome that can be followed up by the Human Rights Council as well as for the active involvement of independent experts and of a broad range of stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations and national human rights institutions. Regarding the expert advice body and the new complaints procedure, the EU will seek substantive improvements upon the former Sub-Commission and the so-called 1503-procedure.
8. The Council stresses the need for the Human Rights Council to be able to address urgent situations of human rights violations at every session. This should be reflected in the agenda and working programme of the Human Rights Council."