CARICOM expresses concern over independent experts exceeding their mandates

Henry Mac Donald

NARRATOR: Five years after its creation, the Human Rights Council had successfully completed a review of its working methods and, through its Universal Periodic Review mechanism, assessed the human rights situation of the entire United Nations membership. That's what delegates told the General Assembly's Committee dealing with Social, Humanitarian and Cultural matters.

During the debate, State delegations welcomed the new practice of holding an interactive dialogue between the Committee and the Council's president and underlined the flexibility and compromise shown during the Assembly negotiations on the Council's review. At the same time, others called for further assessment of the special procedures mechanism, suggesting that the number of mandate holders on thematic issues was far too many, and the Council should prioritize them.

The representative of Suriname Ambassador Henry Mc Donald, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community, voiced concerns that special rapporteurs and experts were exceeding their mandates.

TAPE: A matter of grave concern to the countries of the region pertains to the exceeding of mandates by special mandate holders. While the independence of the mandate holders is acknowledged, we are of the view that mandate holders should carry out their activities in full respect of the Code of Conduct. Special mandate holders in defiance of their mandate do not necessarily contribute to an environment for a constructive dialogue with States to promote and protect human rights. CARICOM expects the special mandate holders to engage in constructive dialogue with member States in the discharge of their mandate. CARICOM is also pleased to note the adoption, without a vote of the outcome of the mandated review of the council. The majority of the countries of the region are not represented in Geneva and we availed ourselves of the opportunity provided by the discussions of the New York chapter in order to contribute to this very important review exercise.

NARRATOR: Ambassador Mc Donald said CARICOM would continue to support the work of the Council to ensure it continued to execute its mandate, taking into account the principles of universality, objectivity and non-selectivity in the consideration of human rights issues.

Several delegates said the Universal Periodic Review had, during its first cycle, set an example of how States could cooperate and engage constructively with one another, avoiding the politicization of issues, as well as the unproductive naming and shaming of others.

The Council had adopted, at its last session, a record number of 35 resolutions, decisions and President's statements, bringing the total number of proposals adopted over the last three regular sessions in 2011 to 108, compared to 80 adopted over the same period the year before.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 2’42″

Filed under Caribbean News.
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