From Golan Heights to access to water, UN Human Rights Council resumes work

27 November 2006

The United Nations Human Rights Council passed three resolutions and adopted seven decisions as it resumed its second session today, considering subjects ranging from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights to the integrity of judicial systems to access to water.

The United Nations Human Rights Council passed three resolutions and adopted seven decisions as it resumed its second session today, considering subjects ranging from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights to the integrity of judicial systems to access to water.

Meeting in Geneva, the 47-member body – which replaced the discredited Commission on Human Rights earlier this year – resumed work on resolutions and decisions that were deferred when the second session was adjourned on 6 October.

In a resolution on human rights in the occupied Golan Heights, Council members – by a vote of 32 to 14 with one country abstaining – criticized Israel’s 1981 annexation of the area and declared “null and void” any attempts to impose Israeli laws and jurisdiction.

Syria’s delegate Khalit Bitar told the Council meeting that Israel had undertaken a deliberate “Judaicisation” of the area following the annexation, changing the Arab Syrian identity of the region’s people.

Israeli representative Itzhak Levanon said Syria had on several occasions rejected Israel’s efforts to find a peaceful settlement of the Golan question, and it had also initiated the Six-Day War in 1967 that led to the occupation.

In a resolution on a review of the mandates of the Council, members voted 30 to 15 (with two abstentions) to ask an intergovernmental working group on the issue to review a revised draft manual and make recommendations on possible additions or amendments.

Turning to a resolution on the issue of human rights and extreme poverty, adopted without a vote, Council members requested that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) circulate a set of draft guiding principles among Member States, relevant UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others on the rights of the poor.

In its seven decisions, the Council also:

asked the OHCHR to conduct a study on the content and scope of human rights obligations related to equitable access to safe drinking water and sanitation;

called on the OHCHR to prepare a follow-up report on the study on the right to the truth;

requested the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, when submitting future reports, to include the issue of political participation and representation of vulnerable groups;

called on the Secretary-General to study the exploration of new and innovative forms of financing to improve access to medications that fight pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria;

requested the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, when presenting future reports, to consider identifying and exploring the key features of an effective, integrated and accessible health system;

asked the OHCHR to convene an expert consultation to discuss proposed draft guidelines on the effects of economic reform policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights;

and called on the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, when discharging his mandate, to take full account of relevant resolutions on the administration of justice through military tribunals.

 

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