Notes on Tuesday 2 June 2009
Item 3 Interactive dialogue (ID) with Special Rapporteurs
John Ruggie : Human rights and transnational corporations
J. Bustamente: Human rights and migrants
V. Munoz: the Right to education
Leandro Despouy: The independence of judges and lawyers
Franck La Rue Lewy : The right to the Freedom of Expression
Anand Grover: The right to the highest standard of physical and mental health- looking specifically on the effect of the TRIPS Agreement and FTA’s on the right to health. Grover takes the stance that when patents are taken to limit competition they can have a severe impact on access to medicines. Developing countries should be enabled to use TRIPS flexibilities. Generic producers such as India have become TRIPS compliant which has raised the prices of drugs. Pressure from pharma and developed countries has adversely affected LDCs and developing countries. Non-state actors share a responsibility to access to health as with GKS
Sri Lanka: With reference to the current situation in the country, the conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, the security forces were under order to ensure the protection of civilian life and therefore could not deal directly with the terrorist threat. Nevertheless E. Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe states that the Governments’ undertakings have been successful in combating the terrorist threat posed by the LTTE.
Its’ ‘Northern Spring Program’ of reconstruction and resettlement are premised upon the provision of humanitarian assistance.
The post-war peacebuildng processes - including the reintegration of previous combatants- has been the subject of working groups whose aim it is to develop a sustainable peace within the concerned region.
EU Commission: European Union wants to discover ways to implement the suggestions embodied within the Ruggie report concerning human rights and transnational corporations. In so doing it focuses especially upon transnational corporations acting abroad, for example in supply chain practices.
Senegal: Raises the issue of the lack of reliable data on migration patterns which are essential to the monitoring of migratory flows. It is especially concerned with the rights of children during migration – when these are absent human rights abuses occur more frequently. Senegal therefore questions whether this issue is adequately covered at the international level.
Ghana: With regards to human rights and business relations, Ghana raises the issue of extraterritoriality which allows many TNCs to violate human rights standards due to being situated outside of national legislation. It therefore asserts the need for an adequate legally binding instrument to control TNC actions.
Palestine: With regards to the right to education, the Israeli state does not allow Palestinian detainees access to education within its prisons, and also engages in the systematic obstruction to the access to education in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The UN Charter states that occupying forces must allow education. In fact Israel often detains, tortures, and interrogates students, and in the January 2009 conflict, schools were often targeted and raided. The wall separating Israel and Palestine also hinders access to education and consequently the overall quality of education has dropped considerably. This is important because education is the means for a population to advance itself and thus by curtailing Palestinian access, the state of Israel is essentially limiting the possibility of development of the occupied territories.
Amnesty International and the Arab commission for human rights: Raise the issue of the criminalisation of immigration, which subjects irregular migrants to abuses by both criminal gangs and officials, most of which are never reported. This is often accompanied by economic and financial hardship. We have seen a hardening of migration policies and slowing solidarity, manifested in the growth of the exportation of detention centres for example.
John Ruggie: state and TNCs must act together to protect human rights, in fact states have the primary responsibility. Non judicial remedies have their place in that they can act as preventative measures, but judicial remedies are primary.
Bustamante: currently the situation of the human rights of migrants is growing increasingly vulnerable to abuses. There is a lack of ratification of legislation on migrant workers and their families. The current economic climate implies that the violations of the HR of migrants will worsen.
Mr. Vener Munoz Villalobus: A focus on the rights and access to education in detention centres, this should not be very difficult to promote.
Human Rights Council 11th Session
Notes on Friday Wednesday 03 June 2009
Item 3 Cont’d
Phillipines: highlights that with regards to the TRIPS sufficient standards need to be in place to keep certain knowledge in the public domain.
UAE – Representing the Arab Group, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Algeria and Egypt all Dissatisfied with the La Rou Report on the freedom of expression, states that the Special Rapporteur went beyond his Mandate when speaking about religion, and that he should abide by the Code of Conduct, which he has breached. This amounts to procedural and substantive breaches within the report. Sri Lanka asserts that there is slight tendency to interpret the Mandate through a particular political view. Special Rapporteur included personal views.
UAE, Pakistan, Thailand, endorse the Grover report especially with regards to occupied territories, and the transfer of technology to developing countries respectively.
USA: supports the outcome of La Roe report, and concerned by statements about Mandate, which should maintain its independence and freedom.
While it does recognize the right to health, it does not recognize it as a policy issue and disagrees on the Grover reports’ conclusions concerning the adverse impact of TRIPs on the access to medication.
Columbia: with regard to the rights to independence of judges and lawyers, it will redouble its efforts to fight impunity.
Switzerland: Is concerned with the weakening of the TRIPS regime. Insufficient market incentive is given as the reason for the lack of research.
Switzerland, UK, USA, Supports the independence and freedom of the Mandate holder.
Brazil: endorses La Roe report, Grover report, and emphasises the primacy of health over trade, therefore does not support the accession of developing countries to TRIPS plus standards.
Phillip Alston: there is a need to reform judicial processes with regards to extrajudicial summary or arbitrary killings. There is a need for military related civilian casualties to be given greater transparency. For example Drone attacks by US army, the governments should disclose information associated with the outcomes of these attacks. There is a lack of responsibility which has created a zone of impunity; therefore transparency and accountability are essential for example in the setting up of independent tribunals. Focuses on Kenya amongst other examples, with regards to extrajudicial killings such as police killings etc as well as the systematic harassment and intimidation of HR defenders.
Yakin Erturk: Violence against Women its Causes and Consequences
Brazil: rates of extrajudicial killings have dropped by 20 %, has two initiatives in place the National Program and the Unified system of Public security which combine crime prevention with the respect of human rights. The favelas cannot continue to just be stigmatized; the Brazilian government has been investing much time and attention in trying to regenerate these areas as well as raising the wages of police officers.
Kenya: Accepts the fact that extrajudial summary occurs within its borders, however states that the government is dealing with this, which is exemplified by the tribunals set up to prosecute those police guilty of such crimes.
USA response to Alston: criticises the Alston report, stating that Capital punishment is not in contravention to international law. Delegate states that prosecution and sentencing practices do need to be aware of racial profiling, but does not agree with the assertions of the Alston report. With regards to increased transparency in US military actions, there is currently proposed legislation in place, as well as the awareness of a need for military commissions. Also an awareness that private contractors do commit crime and that the US government will attempt to prosecute these crimes.
Response to update by the High Commissioner Navi Pillay which focused specifically on the situation of civilians in areas of armed conflict, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Columbia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Chad, Nepal, and Sri Lanka amongst others.
The concerned countries replied as follows:
Afghanistan: stated that the government does not condone the killings of civilians within its borders and that these were mainly the responsibility of criminal gangs either using civilians as protection against attacks or attacking them purposefully.
Pakistan: asserted that its government was actively involved in law enforcement measure against militants, terrorists and violent extremists.
Iraq: Clarified that the level of security has improved as a result of the antiterrorist campaign that was launched two years ago. This has directly resulted in Iraq’s credibility within the region growing, especially with regards to issues such as the human rights of women.
Israel: stated that the safeguarding of human rights should be independent of an attempts of politicization, due to the fact that the Council exists to ensure the universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. It stated that any restriction on the freedom of the Palestinian people was due to the particular security environment. It stressed that with regards to the Gaza strip, it is still controlled by Hamas who continue to hold an Israeli soldier hostage, and that it is not only Israel that is responsible for allowing humanitarian aid access to this area.
Palestine: Highlights that Israel itself has politicized a human rights issue in the above statement and that the occupying power have a negative impact upon the territory, especially with regards to the construction of the Wall.
Columbia stated that its population is the victim of endemic violence perpetuated by criminal gangs affiliated with drugs trafficking and terrorism.
Somalia asserted that its government was faced by the threat of being overthrown by a non-state actor determined to decimate its legitimate institutions and that its commitment to defending the human rights of its population was unwavering. In addition it highlighted that the areas in which human rights abuses did occur does not encompass of the whole geographic entity of the Somalia but that in fact there are regions of calm and stability.
Sudan challenged the credibility of the information upon which the High Commissioners’ report was based and asserted that many of the statements were the result of incorrect information.
Chad stated that it had proved its commitment to the implementation of human rights which is manifested in the government setting up an independent enquiry into the human rights violations of February 2008.
Sri Lanka urged that issues of accountability would be considered and that it would not have any problems granting access to humanitarian aid. However it stressed that any solution would be one decided by the government itself.
Nepal stated that it was in the transitional phase to a democratic government following a decade of armed conflict and that it was working at institutionalising democratic forms of governance.