ASIA: Special Procedures’ recommendations on country situations being ignored by the Human Rights Council

Date: March 15, 2010
Document id: ALRC-COS-13-15-2010
Speaker: Michael Anthony
HRC section: Item 3: General Debate

An Oral Statement to the 13th Session of the Human Rights Council by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organization with general consultative status

ASIA: Special Procedures’ recommendations on country situations being ignored by the Human Rights Council

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Thank you, Mr. President,

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes to focus here on the Council�s lack of impact at the country level, including its lack of implementation of Special Procedures country-related recommendations. Instead of seeing the work of this Council leading to an era of implementation, we note with concern an era of inertia and denial. This is accompanied by continuing and unjustifiable attacks against the Council�s most effective, credible and outspoken Special Procedures mandate holders.

As the Council prepares to conduct a review of its work in 2011, one priority rises above the rest: the need for the Council to take actions that have a tangible impact on human rights situations on the ground.

The ALRC notes with concern the findings in the report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture presented during this session, which highlight the lack of credible action by States. It was noted that governments are either completely failing to respond to communications, or in cases where responses are received, States have only investigated allegations of human rights violations and successfully prosecuted those responsible in exceptional cases.

Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur on Torture�s damning assessment that country-specific conclusions and recommendations made by his mandate have never led to any specific resolutions or recommendations by the Human Rights Council should come as a wake-up call.

The ALRC urges the Council to mandate and provide resources to the OHCHR to enable it conduct a study of the quantity and quality of responses by governments to all Special Procedures communications. In particular, the study should include data on the level of investigations launched by States following allegations of violations, and whether these have resulted in justice being done.

Embarrassingly, from what we have seen in the first week of this session, it appears that many delegates in this Council are far more interested in engaging in dressing up in national costumes than they are in addressing national human rights situations. We hope that the 2011 review will concentrate on addressing the need to have a tangible impact on improving human rights situations rather than extending the protection gap and further watering down this institution’s mechanisms.

Thank you.

About ALRC

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) works towards the radical rethinking & fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in Asia, to ensure relief and redress for victims of human rights violations, as per Common Article 2 of the International Conventions. Sister organisation to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the ALRC is based in Hong Kong & holds general consultative status with the Economic & Social Council of the United Nations.

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