Sumario: 8 June 2010, Geneva - Statement by H.E. Ambassador Javier GARRIGUES, Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations Office in Geneva, on behalf of the European Union at the UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 14th Session (31 May - 18 June 2010) Item 5: General debate
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
The EU strongly believes in the importance of the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council. In this regard, the EU would like to draw special attention to one of the core instruments, which is the system of Special Procedures.
The EU emphasizes the necessity and importance of the independence of the Special Procedure mandate holders which allows them to exercise their competences with a professional and impartial assessment of fact. This independence contributes to the credibility of the Council's work and we must make sure that it is respected in all cases, including where states may disagree with the findings and recommendations issued by mandate holders. The EU in this context regrets the continuing and increasing attacks from some States on the integrity of several mandate holders.
Accordingly, we are pleased that different thematic and country Special Procedures are increasingly participating during Council sessions. We encourage them to continue their engagement with civil society, with other human rights bodies and with other Special Procedure mandate holders and hope that the Council finds such an arrangement for the interactive dialogue with Special Procedure that will bring about the best use of their expertise during Council Sessions. It is essential that human rights defenders and civil society are able to work with Special Procedures without fear of intimidation or reprisals in their home countries.
We would like again to stress the importance of the work of the Special Procedures being guided by internationally recognized human rights standards, and free from any kind of extraneous influence, incitement, pressure, threat of interference, either direct or indirect.
It is of the utmost importance that States provide Special Procedures with their full cooperation in order for them to fully discharge their mandates. We believe that this is an area which requires a greater attention by this Council and that the review of the HRC could be used to explore ways of improving states cooperation with the Special Procedures.
The EU further encourages promoting synergy between Special Procedures and the UPR in order to share relevant information that could contribute to a more comprehensive review of States.
The EU is concerned about the functioning of the Complaints procedure. Despite the huge amount of work and resources dedicated to the management of this procedure, the virtual absence of dossiers submitted by the Working Group on Situations to the Human Rights Council seems to demonstrate that this part of our work is not living up to Council's expectations and, most importantly, to those of the numerous victims of violations and abuses that have placed their confidence in it. If we want this procedure to be effective in addressing violations of human rights and assisting victims, a serious reflection is needed in the course of the upcoming review of the Human Rights Council.
We look forward to the 3rd session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well as the 5th session of the Advisory Committee that will take place during the upcoming months, as their expertise can contribute to the work of this Council.
The EU recognizes the important work carried out by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and the support it provides to this Council and its mechanisms.
Concerning the functioning of the Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures, we encourage the High Commissioner to ensure an adequate allocation of resources.
We would also like to note the opening of the three regional offices in Doha, Santiago and Brussels during 2009 and we hope that they will effectively contribute to the work of the Office. Finally, the EU appreciates the Office of the High Commissioner's various activities in human rights mainstreaming throughout the UN system.
Thank you, Mr. President.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.