The United Nations Human Rights Council ended its ninth session in Geneva today with the adoption of 24 texts, including a decision to extend until June 2009 the mandate of its Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan.
The Council’s President, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibi, welcomed the adoption of the resolutions and decisions. “The fact that nearly all these drafts were adopted by consensus, in my view, is very significant,” he told reporters in Geneva.
The President said the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan was “a very important message from the international community of their understanding of the situation in that country.” He added that the resolution on the issue had been co-sponsored by the African Group and the European Union, showing that the two sides had reached a consensual outcome on the situation in Sudan.
“It… also gives room and recognition to some of the positive steps that the Sudanese Government has taken,” the President said. “The idea is not to be punitive. The idea is to encourage. It is meant to do what is needed in the interest of human rights and the rights of all citizens.”
Council members adopted resolutions on maintaining Special Procedures mandates in Cambodia, Haiti and Burundi, on the adverse effects of toxic wastes, and on the Working Group on People of African Descent.
They also endorsed the recommendations of a fact-finding mission to Beit Hanoun, led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to assist the Government of Liberia by helping it to implement its various human rights policies and programmes. Other decisions included those on the human rights of migrants and indigenous peoples and on the right to truth.
Mr. Ihoeghian Uhomoibi praised what he described as “the general atmosphere of frankness and conviviality, and the accent on dignity and respect for the human person that was a constant refrain and rightfully respected by all” during the session.