Report of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council (HRC) is the United Nations’ body responsible for the promotion, protection and support of human rights around the globe. It serves as an avenue where civil society and states can raise issues that require worldwide attention. At the end of every session, the HRC adopts resolutions on numerous subjects which acts as guidelines for human rights implementation around the world.
As an organisation in consultative status to the United Nations’ Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC), Right Livelihood has been attending HRC sessions since 2018, inviting laureates to sit at the heart of decision-making processes and ensuring that their fights receive global attention.
This present report relates to the 48th session of the HRC. It began on September 13 and was concluded on October 11, 2021. Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and health regulations, the participation of States and NGOs was entirely digital. This format allowed two Right Livelihood Laureates, Aminatou Haidar and Lottie Cunningham Wren, to engage with the Council via video messages. The present report seeks to summarise relevant debates around topics directly related to the work of numerous Right Livelihood Laureates.
It is divided into two sections, based on the type of debate at hand. First, plenary meetings, which includes two types of debates: General Debates and Interactive Dialogues. The former is an open-ended form of discussion during which participants can raise any issue related to the Council’s agenda item under consideration. The interactive dialogue, on the other hand, is a form of debate that allows states and civil society to exchange views with the UN Special Procedures on a specific topic decided by the mandate holder. The second section refers to relevant Resolutions that were adopted during the Council which can be of interest to one or more Right Livelihood Laureates.
This report is not exhaustive in nature, as it does not report every debate that took place throughout the session, but only those attended by Right Livelihood or relevant to the work of the Laureates. Nevertheless, it provides a good overview of debates around issues closely related to their work. It highlights the recurring topics from each debate and when possible, which countries mentioned the specific issue. As civil society space decreases and what happens in Geneva seems as distant as ever, this report can be seen as a useful summary to check which issues are being taken into consideration by states.
Global Human Rights Update by the High Commissioner and oral updates on Nicaragua and Afghanistan
September 13, 2021
In her global oral update, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights first focused on the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. She stressed that addressing the world’s environmental crisis is a humanitarian imperative, a human rights imperative, a peacebuilding imperative and a development imperative. She also recalled the fundamental contribution of environmental rights defenders to the enjoyment of all human rights and environmental protection. She deplored that in many regions, they are threatened, harassed and even killed, in complete impunity. She was particularly alarmed by recent attacks against members of the Yanomami and Munduruku peoples by illegal miners and by the attempts by the Brazilian government to legalise the entry of businesses into indigenous territories and to limit the demarcation of indigenous land. Her office is also concerned about the Brazilian new draft anti-terrorism legislation which poses risks of abuse, particularly against human rights defenders.
During her oral update on Nicaragua, Ms. Bachelet denounced the arbitrary detention of political leaders, human rights defenders, journalists and other members of civil society as well as the intensification of attacks on freedom of expression. She noted that between 28 July and 26 August 2021 the authorities ordered the closure of 45 non-profit organisations. She also deplored the killing of indigenous peoples on 23 August in the Northern Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, despite they had denounced the threatening situation to the police ten days earlier. She said that it is imperative that the government guarantees human rights for all Nicaraguans and cease its persecution against the opposition, the press and civil society. She also urged the Council to consider all measures within its reach to promote and protect human rights in Nicaragua.
During her oral update on Afghanistan, Ms. Bachelet expressed great concern at the reports of civilian casualties and human rights abuses as well as the dire humanitarian situation. She stressed that many Afghans are profoundly concerned for their human rights, particularly women and religious minorities. She denounced that the Taliban’s practice on the ground has contradicted their international commitments, especially with regards to women’s rights and granting amnesties for former civil servants. She stressed that all Afghans are entitled to the respect of their fundamental rights and freedoms, and that Afghan women and girls have equal rights to men and boys. She urged all States to use their influence with the Taliban to encourage respect for human rights, with special attention to the rights of women and girls. She also reiterated her appeal to the Council to take bold and vigorous action, commensurate with the gravity of the crisis, by establishing a dedicated mechanism to monitor the evolving human rights situation throughout the country.
Nicaragua then spoke as a country concerned and repeated the statement it had delivered on June 22, stressing that Nicaraguans have the right to live in peace and be respected, yet they find themselves having to defend their homeland in face of aggression from the West. It denounced what is said in the Council as being part of a wider strategy of defamation by the United States and its allies.
General Debate on Item 2: oral update by the High Commissioner, her report on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and oral updates on Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Sri Lanka
September 14-15, 2021
During the debate, 124 members and observers took the floor, including 14 joint statements. Different countries situations were raised, but a clear focus on Afghanistan could be noticed. Numerous States raised concern over the current human rights situation in Afghanistan, with the Afghani delegation calling on the international community to upscale their efforts. The United States and the European Union called on an immediate restoration of the rule of law and human rights. Italy, on behalf of a cross-regional group of 48 countries also recalled that Afghanistan is a state party to many core international human rights treaties, and called for accountability to be ensured. They also stressed that there is an urgent need for an independent mechanism that should have unhindered access to the country in order to investigate and promote accountability for violations and abuses committed by all parties. The Russian Federation reiterated their negative attitude toward such investigation mechanisms, which act in contradiction with the principle of non-interference, it stressed that post-conflict reconstruction should be the focus. On a similar line, Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation called for the international community to engage on political, economic, human rights and humanitarian tracks in Afghanistan.
Ecuador on behalf of the core group on Nicaragua and others, for a total of 50 countries, expressed deep concern on the human rights situation in Nicaragua, urging the authorities to immediately release all political detainees, and refrain from reprisals and acts of intimidation. They urged Nicaragua to ensure the protection of human rights, to bring justice to the human rights violations perpetrated and to resume dialogue with the international community.
Brazil referred to its own situation, by stating that the protection of indigenous rights is a fundamental element of its constitutional order and that the authorities have conducted numerous operations to combat illegal activities on Yanomami and Munduruku peoples’ land.
Egypt, on behalf of Belarus, Burundi, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Indonesia, Iraq, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Fed, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Syria, Thailand, Venezuela, Yemen stressed that the Human Rights Council and the High Commissioner for Human Rights should always abide by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity.
Gambia, on behalf of the Group of Support of the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco, stressed that the Sahara issue is a political dispute handled by the Security Council that recognises the pre-eminence of the autonomy initiative presented by Morocco. Timor Leste on the other hand, on behalf of the Geneva Support Group for Western Sahara echoed the appeal recently launched by a group of Special Procedure mandate holders calling on Morocco to stop targeting human rights defenders and people standing up for human rights issues related to Western Sahara. They also appealed for the release of Sultana and Laura Khaya, members of ISACOM, an organisation founded by Right Livelihood Laureate Aminatou Haidar, who are victims of surveillance and harassment. They stressed that they remain committed to ensuring that the Sahrawi people are able to exercise their right to self-determination.
During the civil society segment, 2020 Right Livelihood Laureate Lottie Cunningham Wren also took the floor to raise concern over the incessant violence targeting indigenous peoples and afro-descendants in the Northern Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua and the role played by the government in this regard. She thus urged on the High Commissioner to call on the Nicaraguan government to uphold its national and international human rights obligations, guaranteeing the safety and physical integrity of indigenous peoples; to promptly carry out impartial investigations and identify those responsible for crimes committed; and to provide justice, truth and reparations to victims and their families.
General Debate on Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
September 22, 2021
During the debate, 56 State delegations took the floor, including 12 joint statements related to a wide variety of human rights issues including the abolition of the death penalty, the right to education, the eradication of colonialism, women’s rights and civil and political rights. Special importance was once again given to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ecuador, also on behalf of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Perù and Uruguay stressed the inequalities in the worldwide distribution of vaccines and called for the international community to reinforce solidarity to meet the needs of all people.
Argentina and Mexico, on behalf of 49 countries, stressed that the pandemic highlighted the essential role of care work and called on States to adopt the necessary measures to remove barriers to women’s and girls’ personal, social, and economic development.
Many States, including the Nordic and Baltic Countries and the United States, stressed that securing a safe and enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders remain a priority. They called on states to prevent, investigate and ensure accountability for all reprisals against them.
A group of States, including India, on behalf of 26 countries, and the Russian Federation reiterated the importance of the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity in the consideration of human rights issues and stressed that country-specific initiatives should enjoy the support of the concerned countries.
Lastly, some countries, including Germany, the Nordic and Baltic Countries, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama expressed alarm over the non-implementation of the mandate established by resolution 45/31 which invited the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission to report annually to the Human Rights Council. They stressed that this must not set a precedent.
During the civil society segment, 2019 Right Livelihood Laureate Aminatou Haidar took the floor to denounce the continued Moroccan repression in Western Sahara, where human rights defenders, journalists and activists are subject to ill-treatment and torture with no accountability. She called on the Human Rights Council to consider the creation of a Special Rapporteur on the situation of Western Sahara, and for the OHCHR to promptly organise an observer mission to the territory.
General Debate on item 4: Human Rights situations that require the Council’s attention
September 27, 2021
During the General Debate, which was preceded by an oral update on the conflict-related deaths in the Syrian Arab Republic, 72 members and observers took the floor, including 10 joint statements. Among the situations that directly relate to the work of Right Livelihood Laureates, Afghanistan was the most mentioned. The Afghan delegation urged the Council to adopt a resolution establishing a dedicated monitoring mechanism for Afghanistan. France on behalf of 26 countries of the European Union, Germany, Finland and Switzerland stressed that they were deeply committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan and called on the Taliban to uphold the country’s international human rights obligations.
Numerous States also referred to the situation in Belarus. France, on behalf of 26 countries of the EU strongly condemned the ongoing repression and intimidation campaign and called for the immediate and unconditional release of all those arbitrarily detained. Germany also called for free and fair elections to be organised.
Some States also expressed concern about the situation in the Russian Federation. The United States, France on behalf of 26 countries of the EU, Germany and the United Kingdom expressed deep regret at the targeting of political opposition and civil society groups in the country as well as the pattern of shrinking space for civil society. The United Kingdom called on Russia to uphold the human rights of all, including the right to freedom of expression and the right to free elections.
In Egypt, 26 States of the European Union and the UK recalled the importance of online and offline freedom of expression, media freedom, peaceful assembly and association and the need to stop restricting space for civil society, including through travel bans and assets freezes. The 26 States of the European Union welcomed the positive developments regarding case 173 and stated they expect it to be fully closed, enabling all defendants to continue their civil society engagement.
Germany and the United States of America also raised concern at the situation in Iran condemning the continued use of the death penalty, including against juvenile offenders. While Belgium raised attention to the situation in Nicaragua, stressing the need for a political dialogue to resolve the repression of civil and political rights.
Numerous countries, including the Arab Group, the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, the Non-aligned movement, Venezuela, Pakistan on behalf of 55 countries, China on behalf of a group of like-minded countries, the Russian Federation, India and Egypt raised concern at the proliferation of country-specific mandates under item 4 and stressed that country-specific work should be carried out in full compliance with the principles of universality, objectivity and impartiality.
During the Civil Society Segment, Right Livelihood also took the floor to highlight the situation facing Right Livelihood Laureates Mozn Hassan and Nasrin Sotoudeh, in Egypt and Iran, where women and their defenders continue to face criminalisation, judicial harassment and arbitrary detention. We called on the Council to maintain closer scrutiny on these two countries until they comply with their international human rights obligations. Lastly, urged all States to guarantee an enabling environment for women and their defenders.
Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
September 20, 2021
Ms. Elina Steinerte, Chair-Rapporteur on the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention presented their annual report, which examined a range of thematic issues. These included the arbitrary detention of Human Rights Defenders and the forcible transfers of individuals from one State to another. She also presented the studies that have been conducted by the Working Group over the past year, including one on the arbitrary detention of women and one on drug policies’ impact on arbitrary detention. Regarding the detention of Human Rights Defenders, she highlighted that 28% of the communications issued by the working group in 2020 involved such cases. The Working Group thus urges States to give full effect to the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and ensure that none are deprived of their liberty as a result of their activities.
During the debate, 37 delegations took the floor, including 2 joint statements. Numerous States, including the European Union and Latvia, on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic States, expressed concern by the alarming numbers of human rights defenders arbitrarily detained and stressed that they should not be arrested because of their activities. The United Kingdom underlined that such actions were a hallmark of authoritarian regimes and that they only undermined trust in institutions. Some States, including Belarus, China and Cuba called for more objectivity and impartiality in the work of the Working Group.
Right Livelihood also delivered a statement, jointly with ALQST, International Service for Human Rights and MENA Rights Group, focusing on the cases of 2018 Right Livelihood Laureates Mohammed al-Qahtani and Waleed Abu al-Khair, who are serving lengthy prison sentences as a consequence of their activism. We called for the Working Group to renew their request for a country visit to Saudi Arabia as a matter of urgency and for the Council to urge Saudi Arabia to release all human rights defenders who are currently arbitrarily detained and provide them with compensation and rehabilitation.
During her interim and concluding remarks, Ms. Steinerte stated that the Working Group acts objectively and impartially through a systematised procedure but regretted that there are still States who refuse to engage with them. She also recommended States to put an end to any practice that silences Human Rights Defenders for their work and ensure that women are not deprived of their liberty on the basis of discriminatory laws. Lastly, she stressed that States should make sure that there are no reprisals for women who engage with the UN.
Interactive Dialogue on the OHCHR interim update on the situation of human rights in Belarus
September 24, 2021
Updating the Council, Ms. Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights regretted that the government does not cooperate with her office’s examination of the situation of Human Rights in Belarus. She was deeply worried about the continued arrests and prosecution of activists, including a large share of Human Rights Center Viasna, and the continuing liquidation of civil society organisations by the authorities. She also expressed concern over the allegations of ill-treatment on protesters, including women and children. She noted that thousands of people have now fled Belarus and reiterated that it is essential that no one seeking asylum or international protection be impeded to do so.
Speaking as a country concerned, Belarus stated that they do not agree with this special consideration of the Council in internal affairs of the country and demanded that the investigative mechanism created refrain from subjective assessment.
During the debate, 46 States took the floor, including 2 joint statements. Two positions could be clearly identified. On the one hand, countries such as the European Union, the Nordic and Baltic States, Australia, Switzerland and the United States highlighted their support to the mandate of the High Commissioner and were gravely concerned by the continuing attacks against human rights defenders, activists, journalists and lawyers. They called for the release of all those arbitrarily detained immediately and unconditionally. Germany also demanded the release of all members of Human Rights Center Viasna.
On the other hand, countries such as the Russian Federation, Venezuela, Cuba and Iran rejected the consideration of Belarus as a country of concern, which in their opinion amounts to a clear attempt by some countries to politically interfere in domestic affairs of sovereign states.
During the civil society segment, Right Livelihood delivered a statement, raising awareness on the situation of 2020 Right Livelihood Laureate Human Rights Center “Viasna”, in support of the #FreeViasna campaign. We urged Belarus to abide by its international human rights obligations and called for the immediate and unconditional release of the “Viasna Seven” and for theirs and all other members’ charges to be dropped. We also urged Member States to ensure that the OHCHR examination mechanism on the human rights situation in Belarus has the necessary resources to carry out its mandate. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya also took the floor and called for an end to acts of terrorism done by Lukashenka. She urged all states to support the mandate of the OHCHR examination mechanism on Belarus and that of the Special Rapporteur.
Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
September 27-28, 2021
Mr. Jose Francisco Cali Tzay, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples presented his annual report, which focused on the role of indigenous peoples in the COVID-19 response and recovery process. He stressed that the failure to consult with indigenous peoples to develop pandemic responses led to ineffective ones and deplored that, in many cases, recovery laws were geared towards solving the economic crisis, not towards the health of people. He also stressed that security of land tenure has become a greater concern during the pandemic, with States granting amnesties for illegal lodging and commercial projects despite increasing violence. He also deplored that pandemic laws are being used against peaceful protesters and indigenous rights defenders. On a positive note, he highlighted that indigenous-led pandemic responses have achieved positive outcomes and called for greater support for them.
During the ensuing debate, 32 members and observers of the Council took the floor, including 3 joint statements. Numerous countries, including Australia, Paraguay, the United States of America, Perú, Malaysia and Brazil shared their good practices around indigenous-led recovery efforts and culturally sensitive vaccination campaigns. The European Union, the Nordic and Baltic Countries and Cuba expressed grave concerns around land grabbing, and the failure of the governments to control the illegal incursions. The Nordic and Baltic countries expressed concerns with the failure of governments to control the illegal incursions into indigenous lands, often in complete impunity. They were particularly alarmed by the attacks against Munduruku, Yanomami, Misikito and Myangna peoples. China and Belarus raised concerns over violations of indigenous rights in Canada. Canada acknowledged the work it still has to do for reconciliation to be achieved.
During the civil society segment, Right Livelihood also took the floor, sharing concerns about illegal lodging and intimidation against indigenous rights defenders such as Right Livelihood Laureates Lottie Cunningham Wren and Davi Kopenawa in Nicaragua and Brazil. We called on the respective authorities to urgently uphold the human rights of indigenous communities and to carry out independent and impartial investigations into all abuses committed against them and their defenders.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Cali Tzay said he took into account the positive actions that states have undertaken and stressed that obtaining free, prior and informed consent before implementing any recovery measure is indispensable at this moment.
Brazil requested its right of reply to the statement delivered by the Nordic and Baltic countries, stressing that several security operations were carried out in Yanomami land and that it is confident in the efforts of the authorities to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples.
Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on truth, justice and reparations
September 16, 2021
Introducing his thematic report on Accountability, Mr. Fabian Salvioli, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence stressed that the obstacles to the pursuit of justice are numerous, even though accountability is a legal obligation of States underlined in numerous international instruments. He stated that his report identified actions and inactions that favour impunity such amnesty laws, immunity, reduction of sentences, premature release or granting of improper house arrests. He said that his report includes 21 recommendations on how to improve accountability for gross human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law.
During the interactive dialogue 49 Members and Observers took the floor, including 5 joint statements. Most speakers agreed that ensuring accountability is vital for transitional justice and expressed concern about the low numbers of cases that are investigated. France stressed the role of the International Criminal Court in this regard. Luxembourg, on behalf of the group of friends of the responsibility to protect highlighted the importance of investigative bodies, which often help identify the root causes of atrocity crimes. Some States used this opportunity to share their good practices on the matter, including Colombia, Iran, Uganda and Cameroon, among others.
In his interim and concluding remarks, Mr. Salvioli called on States to ratify the Rome Statute, as cooperation with the International Criminal Court is fundamental in ensuring accountability. He also called on States not to grant asylum to perpetrators of crimes against humanity. Lastly, he commanded the work of NGOs in of truth and reconciliation mechanisms.
Interactive dialogue on the Secretary General’s report on alleged reprisals against those who seek to cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms
September 29-30, 2021
Ms. Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights introduced the report of the Secretary-General, which mentions the cases 240 individuals, including numerous Right Livelihood Laureates. She underlined four key trends that emerge from the report: (1) In close to half of the countries mentioned in the report, there are allegations of surveillance of individuals and groups cooperating with the UN; (2) There are signs of possible patterns of intimidation and detention in some countries, including in: China, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam; (3) Some cases see the use of restrictive legislation, notably on grounds of national security, as tools of reprisals; (4) The environment is increasingly challenging for civil society actors and journalists, which leads to a worrisome trend of actors requesting anonymity for fear of further reprisals. The office of the Secretary-General is deeply concerned about self-censorship. She also stressed that the office is concerned about access related issues with UN-related activities, both offline and online. While welcoming the increasing cooperation of women with the UN, she deplored that the price of some interactions for them has included arrest, harassment and vilification. She said that additional efforts are underway to better analyse underreported cases, which often regard women human rights defenders, LGBTI activists, indigenous and land rights defenders, in order to improve the response. She also stated that they are closely coordinating with different UN field presence to increase awareness of cases of reprisals, safe interaction with victims, witnesses and human rights defenders. Lastly, she stressed that dialogue and engagement is fundamental to address and prevent cases of reprisals.
During the ensuing interactive dialogue, 38 States took the floor, including 7 joint statements. Most delegations expressed deep concern about the continuously high numbers of reprisals, which they condemned. The EU, the Nordic and Baltic countries all called for such cases to be investigated and accountability be provided. Ireland, Fiji, Ghana and Uruguay all regretted that at least 5 incidents of reprisals were recorded within the Council. The Benelux countries, the United States of America and the United Kingdom all specifically expressed concerns at reprisals in Belarus.
Egypt, on behalf of the group of Arab States as well as Morocco, stressed the importance of the role of the UN in verifying allegations submitted before them. Belarus stated that the report contains information that is far-fetched, for instance, it mentions an organisation that has been unregistered in Belarus for many decades, which is why its activity is outlawed. China, also stated that false information was used in the report, as it brands as reprisals the legal investigations of offenders.
During the Civil Society segment, Right Livelihood also delivered a statement referring to the specific cases of Right Livelihood Laureates Aminatou Haidar, Mohammed al-Qahtani, Abdullah al-Hamid and Human Rights Center Viasna, who were all mentioned in the report. We asked what special actions are undertaken to hold accountable States that engage in reprisals, how it protects defenders on the ground and we urged all Member States to promptly respond to the increasingly shrinking space for civil society and guarantee an enabling environment for defenders.
In her concluding remarks, Ms. Brands Kehris said that the measures adopted in relation to COVID-19 should not be used as a pretext to stifle civil society. She stated that the pandemic should make members states, the UN and civil society reflect on the quality of the online spaces and protection concerns related to them. Answering how the UN protects defenders on the ground, she stated that there have been more training for UN colleagues to analyse and report reprisals when they occur. Ultimately, however, she stressed that it is up to the Member States themselves to ensure that the environment provides for freedom and effective participation of civil society, so the focus must be on revising domestic legislation and analyse the ability of remedy in case of incidents.
Among the resolutions that were adopted by the Council during this session, the following 6 are the most relevant for the work of Right Livelihood Laureates.
Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change (48/L.27)
The resolution was adopted by vote, with 42 members in favour, one against and four abstentions. It expresses its resolve to contribute towards ongoing efforts at all levels to address the adverse impact of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights (OP1). To this end, it decided to appoint, for a period of three years, a Special Rapporteur which mandate includes the study and identification on how the adverse effects of climate change affect the full and effective enjoyment of human rights and the making of recommendations on how to address and prevent these adverse effects (OP2).
The human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (48/L.23)
The resolution was adopted by vote, with 43 members in favor and 4 abstentions, after the rejection of 12 amendments submitted by the Russian Federation. The resolution recognises that sustainable development and the protection of the environment contribute to promote well-being and the enjoyment of human rights. It also recognises that climate change has a negative impact on human rights. The resolution thus encourage States to : (a) Build capacities for the efforts to protect the environment; (b) Continue to share good practices in fulfilling human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment; (c) Adopt policies for the enjoyment of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment; (d) Continue to take into account human rights obligations and commitments relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (OP3).
Human Rights and Indigenous peoples (48/L.22)
The resolution was adopted by consensus. Among others, the resolution recognises that indigenous peoples are among the first to face the direct consequences of climate change and the increasing impact of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights. It decided that the theme of the annual half-day panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples, to be held during the 51st session of the HRC will be the impact of social and economic recovery plans in the COVID-19 context on indigenous peoples, with a special focus on food security (OP11). The resolution also requests the OHCHR to convene a four-day expert workshop in 2022, open to States and of indigenous peoples, on possible ways to enhance the participation of indigenous peoples in the work of the HRC (OP15). It also urges States to take appropriate measures to protect indigenous children and young persons, particularly girls, from violence and to ensure that all perpetrators be held accountable (OP20). Lastly, it notes with great concern the increase in cases of reprisals against indigenous human rights defenders (OP31) and urges States to take all necessary measures to ensure the rights, protection and safety of indigenous peoples and their defenders as well as ensuring that all human rights violations and abuses against them are prevented and investigated and that perpetrators are held accountable (OP33).
The question of the death penalty (38/L.17)
The resolution was adopted by vote, with 29 members in favour, 12 against and 5 abstentions, after rejecting 2 amendments proposed by Singapore, and 1 by Egypt, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Botswana, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lao PDR, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, which would have significantly weakened the text. Among others, the resolution urges all States to protect the rights of persons facing the death penalty (OP1) and calls upon those who have not yet acceded the Second Optional Protocol of the ICCPR to consider doing so (OP2). It also decided that the upcoming biennial high-level panel discussion to be held during the 52nd session of the Council will address human rights violations relating to the use of the death penalty, in particular with respect to limiting the death penalty to the most serious crimes (OP12).
Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of Human Rights (48/L.21)
The resolution was adopted by consensus after the rejection of 7 amendments proposed by the Russian Federation. Among others, it condemns all acts of reprisal, both online and offline, by State and non-State actors against those who seek to cooperate, cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations (OP2) and urges States to prevent and refrain from such acts (OP4). The resolution also calls upon States to combat impunity by conducting investigations into all allegations of such acts and to ensure accountability (OP6). It welcomes the steps taken by the President of the Human Rights Council to use her good offices to address allegations of acts of intimidation or reprisals occurring at the Human Rights Council (OP13) and encourages the United Nations human rights mechanisms to continue to include updated references to allegations in their reports (OP14). Lastly, it invites the Secretary-General not only to present his annual report to the Human Rights Council, but also to the General Assembly, starting from its 77th session (OP15).
Situation of human rights in Afghanistan (48/L.24)
The resolution was adopted by vote, with 28 members in favour, 5 against and 14 abstentions, after the rejection of 5 amendments submitted by China which would have significantly weakened the text. The resolution expresses deep concern about the situation of human rights in Afghanistan and deplores the suffering of its people. Among others, it calls for an immediate end to all human rights violations and abuses (OP2), condemns discrimination against women and girls (OP4) and urges the initiation of a prompt, independent and impartial review or investigation into all alleged violations and abuses of human rights (OP6). In this regard, it decides to appoint, for a period of one year, a special rapporteur with the following mandate (OP12): (a) To report on the developing human rights’ situations and make recommendations; (b) To assist in fulfilling the international human rights obligations of Afghanistan; (c) To support and advice civil society; (d) To seek, receive, examine and act on information from all relevant stakeholders pertaining to the situation of human rights in Afghanistan; (e) To integrate a gender perspective throughout all its work; (f) To present a written report to the 51st session of the Human Rights Council and to the 77th session of the General Assembly.