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Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera addressed the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, in his capacity as the leader of the Sri Lanka delegation today (14th September 2015) in...
My delegation wishes to express deep appreciation to you, for your tireless efforts in preparing a new text on institutional building of the Human Rights Council, which constitutes a good basis for our further work. You may be rest assured of the fullest cooperation of my delegation in achieving a consensual outcome of the entire package of the institutional building process, by the end of the 5th Session.
My delegation has the following specific points –
On UPR, ‘under principles and objectives’ in your text, para (b), under “objectives”, many delegations emphasized in the Working Group meetings that enhancement of the State’s capacity and technical assistance should be in consultation with and with the consent of Member States concerned. OP5 (a) of the founding resolution also mandates the Council to do so, which stipulates as follows:-
“ promote human rights education and learning, as well as advisory services, technical assistance and capacity building, to be provided in consultation with and with the consent of Member States concerned.”
Therefore Mr. President, the language in the 4th bullet point in your text “in consultation with and with the consent of the State concerned”, should have gone with the 3rd bullet point. This language is relevant to that bullet point. Hence, the 3rd bullet point under ‘Objective’, should read as follows:-
Enhancement of the State’s capacity and technical assistance in consultation with and with the consent of the State concerned.
Under Section (4), “ Process and Modalities of the review”, my delegation wishes to emphasise that since the UPR is an inter-Governmental process, the national report prepared by the State concerned on the basis of general guidelines adopted by the Council should be the basis for the review and other information may serve as background material. We support your new proposal that OHCHR will compile the information contained in the reports of Treaty Bodies, existing Special Procedures including observations and comments thereto, by the State concerned.
With regard to other additional credible and reliable information, Mr. President, there is no clarity as to who will decide on the credibility and reliability of the additional information provided by the other stakeholders to the UPR. My delegation would appreciate some clarification from you Mr. President. Preparing a summary of such information by OHCHR will be a subjective exercise and that will be impracticable given the huge amount of such material produced
On the outcome of the review, Mr. President, since the UPR is a cooperative mechanism, outcome of the review should be a report consisting a summary of the proceedings, recommendations that enjoy the consent of the State under review and areas of agreement of capacity building and technical assistance and shall be adopted by consensus. The State under review should be fully involved at all stages.
On the follow up, we agree that the outcome of UPR should be implemented primarily by the State concerned, hence the language “and appropriate, by other relevant stakeholders” should be deleted.
2. On Special Procedures, under Selection and appointment process, my delegation wishes to emphasise that the Council should have the ultimate authority for appointment of mandate holders.
With regard to the individuals holding decision making positions in Governments, Mr. President, due to the fact that many experts in the developing countries are with the Government sector, it would be difficult for them to find suitable mandates for the nomination, hence the language used in your text should be changed as follows:-
When the mandate holders are appointed by the Council, the mandate holders shall act as independent experts and serve in their personal capacity.
On the Code of Conduct, Mr. President, my delegation wishes to emphasise that this code is an integral part of the review and improvement of the mandates. Therefore, there should be a clear reference of the code of conduct in section II under the Chapter of Special Procedures.
3. We support your new language on the confidentiality of Complaint procedure.My delegation wishes to emphasise the confidential nature of the process should be maintained at all stages.
Under Section (3) Working Groups, para (a) with regard to screening of the communications, my delegation wishes to emphasise that manifestly, ill-founded or anonymous communications shall be screened out by the Chairperson and those communications which do not meet all the admissibility criteria shall therefore not be transmitted to the State concerned.
We support your new language introducing that the Working Group on Communication may decide to dismiss a case. The language should also be applicable to the Working Group on Situations. Under working modalities and confidentiality, my delegation wishes to emphasie that 3 months’ deadline for States to respond to a communication is not sufficient and a 6 months’ time frame should be provided. We also believe that the 24 months’ period of time between the transmission of the complaint to the State concerned and the consideration by the Council may also not be realistic. Under Section (VI) “Measures” with regard to bullet point (5), many delegations emphasized including the Asian Group that the technical cooperation, capacity building assistance and advisory services to be provided to the country concerned, upon its request and based on its needs.
Mr. President, my delegation is committed to move forward in a constructive and flexible manner, in order to achieve consensual outcome in the process of the institutional building, which is a critical task ahead of us, with a very limited time available. You may count Sri Lanka’s fullest support and cooperation, for you to reach a consensual outcome of the package of the institutional building process of the Human Rights Council.
I thank you, Mr. President