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Press Release
The Presidency of the EU Council reports "overall satisfactory" results for the 61st Commission on Human Rights held in Geneva on 14 March to 22 April 2005

Date of release : 22-04-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Today, the Presidency of the European Union reported overall satisfactory results for the 61st Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which was held in Geneva between 14 March and 22 April 2005.

Speaking first in the Ministerial section of the CHR, the current chairman of the “General Affairs and Foreign Relations" Council and Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean Asselborn, reiterated the European Union’s preference for all nations to have a permanent duty to protect and promote human rights, fundamental freedoms, and humanitarian rights and to adhere to international commitments signed on these issues.

Determined to play a leading role within the CHR, the countries of the European Union presented and co-sponsored - at EU or national level - some 50 out of 103 resolutions and decisions adopted by the 61st CHR.

As decided by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs during the  “General Affairs and Foreign Relations" Council held on 16 March 2005, the European Union presented - occasionally with other partners - resolutions condemning human rights violations in Burma/Myanmar, in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and in Belarus. Together with third party countries, the European Union contributed in keeping the human rights situation in Uzbekistan and Cuba on the agenda for the CHR.

The European Union cooperated with the Afghani and Colombian governments in order to adopt a statement by the Presidency of the Commission on Human Rights on the protection of human rights in those countries. The European Union also supported the Swiss initiative on Nepal.

Regarding the human rights situation in Sudan, the European Union cooperated closely with the group of African nations to draft a resolution condemning the generalised and systematic violations of human rights and humanitarian rights, putting in place a special rapporteur, requiring impunity in Darfur to end, and requesting full cooperation in order to implement the UN’s Security Council resolutions, namely Resolution 1593(2005), which refers these violations to the International Criminal Court.

As regards thematic issues, the EU and its Members States submitted proposals regarding religious intolerance, torture, and - together with the Latin and Central American countries - a draft resolution on children’s rights. The European Union is pleased that its proposed resolution on the death penalty attained a record number of 81 co-sponsors.

The EU also supported initiatives put forward by third party countries on subjects that remain at the heart of its concerns, such as protecting human rights in the fight against terror, protecting campaigners of human rights, fighting violence against women, and promoting civil and political rights, as well as economic, social, and cultural rights.

In general, and especially during the informal discussions on reforming the Commission on Human Rights, the European Union underlined the importance of special mechanisms developed over the years within the CHR. The EU also expressed its desire for all member states of the United Nations to cooperate fully with the Commission on Human Rights’ special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts, and working groups.

This page was last modified on : 22-04-2005

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