Iran warns against politicization of UN Human Rights Council
TEHRAN – Iran’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations has warned against efforts by
certain countries to use UN Human Rights Council as a tool to advance their political
Ambassador Eshaq Ale-Habib made the remarks in a statement on the report of the Human
Rights Council, which was read out before the 67 Session of the United Nations General
Assembly on Wednesday.
Following are excerpts of the text of the statement:
Establishment of the Human Rights Council was one of the significant initiatives taken in the
United Nations, not only for its contribution to the improvement of UN human rights structure,
but fundamentally for its capacity and capability to change politicized environment of
confrontation, that characterized the former Commission on Human Rights which ultimately
gave its place to the Human Rights Council as a forum of dialogue and cooperation.
It is highly expected that the Human Rights Council be a forum for dialogue, mutual
understanding, and cooperation in achieving the universal realization of human rights, taking
into account the cultural and national particularities of society. To our great dismay, new
concerted attempts are emerging to a mere political tool for the sake of political ambitions of a
It is deplorable that despite the existence of UPR (Universal Periodic Review) mechanism in the
Human Rights Council, certain countries still continue tabling country-specific resolutions in the
HRC and in the Third Committee of the General Assembly. It goes without saying that such
resolutions are politically motivated exercises to satiate political purposes and interests of their
The Islamic Republic of Iran, along with the other developing countries, actively participated and
positively contributed to the reform processes of the UN human rights machinery and
establishment of the council with the view to put an end to a long time politicization and
manipulation of the UN mechanism by few countries.
With the successful performance of the first cycle of the UPR mechanism of the Human Rights
Council and the launch of the second cycle, it was reapproved that the Universal Periodic
Review constitutes a breakthrough in the work of the United Nations intergovernmental human
rights activities. The rationale behind creating such mechanism was to ensure universality,
objectivity, non-selectivity, and impartiality in the work of the Human Rights Council. The real
performance of this mechanism, in a logical setting, is to allow the human rights machinery to
act beyond the monopoly of a few in monitoring the human rights situations of the member
states. On the other hand, the world is still witnessing attempts on the part of a few who wish to
impose their own views and interpretations on the application of certain internationally agreed
concepts and standards. The Human Rights Council should, by designing innovative
approaches, confront such attempts.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has taken a genuine and long-term approach to safeguard human
rights by ensuring its full compliance with the relevant international commitments, while
upholding the promotion of principles enshrined in its Constitution. We welcome constructive cooperation with the United Nations mechanisms on human rights.
Iran is ready to cooperate with special mechanisms of the United Nations which are
comprehensive and include all member states of the United Nations and not particular group of
United States reelected to second term
on UN Human Rights Council
• HUMAN RIGHTS
• NOVEMBER 12, 2012
• BY: RAYMOND GELLNER
After a competitive battle with four other Western European countries for one of three seats available on
the United Nations Human Rights Council, on Monday the United Stateswas reelected to a second three-year
In all 18 countries were voted on to the 47-nation council. Along with the United States Ireland and Germany
gained seats on the council in the “Western European and Other States” seat distribution. Sweden and Greece
were the two nations from Western Europe out of the five contending which did not receive a seat.
According to United Nations News Center, the other 15 countries elected to the council today for a three-year
term were Argentina, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Estonia, Ethiopia, Gabon, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Montenegro,
Pakistan, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Sierra Leone, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, remarked after the selection
of the United States to the council, “Four years ago, we took the decision that we could improve the work of the
Human Rights Council by working within it rather than staying on the outside, and today the international
community reaffirmed that it agrees with that judgment.”
Ambassador Rice added,
“We made the decision in 2009 to seek a seat on the Human Rights
Council because the United States believes that we must be at the
forefront of speaking out against human rights abuses and speaking up
in favor of those who are suffering and living under the grip of the world’s
cruelest regimes. And we are convinced that we are more likely and
better positioned to strengthen the Human Rights Council by continuing
our participation in it. I’m proud to say that today the Obama
Administration’s leadership at the Human Rights Council has delivered
real results. Today’s vote affirms that active U.S. leadership in the
Human Rights Council and throughout the United Nations system will continue to pay real dividends for Americans and for the rest of the
According to the United Nations Human Rights website, members are elected in by the general assembly via
a secret ballot. No member is allowed to serve more than to consecutive three-year terms at a time, though a
nation may be reelected again after sitting out a term. In order to create a diverse global representation, the
numbers of seats on the council from each region around the world are set as follows: African nations receive
13 seats, Asian nations receive 13 seats, Latin American and Caribbean nations receive 8 seats, Eastern
European nations receive 6 seats and Western European and other nations receive 7 seats.
Current members with term expirations in 2013 or 2014 are:
• 2013: Angola, Ecuador, Guatemala, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Poland, Qatar, Republic of
Moldova, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand and Uganda.
• 2014: Austria, Benin, Botswan, Burkina Faso, Chile, Congo, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, India,
Indonesia, Italy, Kuwait, Peru, Philippines and Romania.
Concerns over ‘landmark’SoutheastAsian
human rights declaration
Bikya Masr Staff | 19 November 2012 | 0 Comments
The largest body of independent experts in the United Nations human rights system highlighted their concerns about a draft for
Southeast Asia’s first ever regional document on human rights protections, which the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN) is set to consider on Sunday for adoption.
In an open letter to ASEAN member states, the experts said that adoption of a “credible” ASEAN Human Rights Declaration would
represent a “significant step” by the 10-nation bloc to develop a “regional human rights system.”
The letter expresses reservations with the current draft, noting that it is “imperative” ASEAN’s landmark human rights instrument
“maintains international standards” if it is to complement the work of the United Nations human rights system.
The experts’ key concerns include provisions in the draft addressing the right to life, a so-called “balance” between rights and
individual duties, and conditions restricting people’s rights, according to a news release of the UN Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights (OHCHR).
“The group of international experts stressed [ASEAN’s] need to reaffirm in their Declaration the duty of States to promote and
protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms regardless of their particular political, economic and cultural systems,” OHCHR
said, adding the group highlighted that 171 states had adopted this principle by consensus in the 1993 Vienna Declaration, and that
ASEAN states had made a “significant contribution” to that effort in the Austrian capital.
The regional declaration is one of the key mandates of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, which the
association created in 2009, saying it was intended to “promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedom” of the 600
million people within their borders. Leaders attending the ASEAN Summit in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh on Sunday are
to consider it for adoption.
For their part, the UN experts drafted their letter as members of the so-called Coordination Committee they created in 2005, under
the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council’s so-called Special Procedures mechanism, which mandates them to independently
investigate country specific or thematic human rights issues.
The Coordination Committee effectively amplifies the experts’ individual messages by enabling them to speak as one, and also by
giving them an opportunity to collectively coordinate and consult with OHCHR, and the broader UN human rights framework and
civil society. The Committee’s chair, Michel Forst, noting that the main function of regional human rights instruments was to “establish minimum
standards” that countries’ domestic laws must meet, indicated that the ASEAN draft declaration might benefit from more input by
stakeholders outside government, according to the OHCHR release.
“We call on all ASEAN member States to consult further with the people of the region,