UN: Rashida Manjoo is the new Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women

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UN Human Rights Council
On 18 June 2009, the UN Human Rights Council approved five candidates for special procedure mandates, including new Special Rapporteurs on the independence of judges and lawyers and on violence against women.
The Council approved five candidates for special procedure mandates: for the Working Group on people of African descent, Mr. Sicilianos Linos-Alexander (Greece); for the Working Group on arbitrary detention, Mr. Mads Andenas (Norway); for the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, Mr. Osman El-Hajje (Lebanon); as Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Ms. Gabriela Carina Knaul De Albuquerque e Silva (Brazil); and as Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Rashida Manjoo (South Africa).
At the beginning of the meeting, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, President of the Human Rights Council, said that in closed meetings, the Human Rights Council had decided to discontinue consideration of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the complaint procedure.

Gopinathan Achamkulangare of India expressed appreciation for the work done in short-listing the candidates, but was deeply disappointed at the recommendation for the Working Group on People of African Descent, and said that this nomination was a clear violation of paragraph 44 of Council resolution 5/1 in the section on the appointment of mandate holders. The nominee had conveyed his intention of resigning from his current human rights position by the end August 2009. The Council was obliged to appoint the mandate holders by the end of the session, which meant that the nominee would hold two positions simultaneously, which would be a clear violation of the Council resolution. India was surprised that the Secretariat had not brought this important fact to the attention of the Council. This violated the spirit of the institution-building package. The Council should have the benefit of a diversity of perspectives from as wide a basis as possible. Whilst the services rendered by the nominee were appreciated in his current position, he should withdraw from the list. Should the Council continue with its plan to nominate him, then India would have to disassociate itself from the consensus.

The President of the Council said that the nominee would indeed resign from his post with the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the end of August. As the Working Group would not be meeting until 2010, there would be no overlap of functions.

In the resolution on issuance of reports of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review in all official languages of the United Nations (A/HRC/11/L.2), adopted without a vote as orally amended, the Council decided that all the reports adopted by the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review at its fourth and fifth sessions and the additional information submitted by the States under review should be issued before the adoption of the outcome by the Council as official documents in all official languages of the United Nations, prior to the twelfth session of the Council; recalled that the Working Group should endeavour to apply in its reports the word limits established in the annex to President's statement 9/2; and decided that all reports adopted by the Working Group shall be issued as official documents in all official languages of the United Nations, in a timely manner before their consideration by the Council, and requested the Secretary-General to ensure the necessary support to that effect.

Mariana Olivera West of Mexico, introducing the draft resolution on L.2, said that during the Universal Periodic Review, reports had to be adopted without delegations having the translated texts. This situation should not repeat itself and having documents available was an obligation and was essential to the adequate functioning of the mechanism. Mexico had already emphasized earlier that it attached great importance to the Universal Periodic Review process and its universal character that should contribute to improve the human rights situation in the field. The examined States had undertaken enormous efforts on the national level to participate in the process and Mexico was committed to adequate follow-up to these efforts. In that regard, it was indispensable that the Secretariat supported this mechanism and conformed to the mandate that the General Assembly had given it.

Joao Ernesto Christofolo of Brazil, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote on resolution L.2 on the translation of the reports of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group, said that the Brazilian delegation congratulated and thanked the Mexican delegation for bringing forth this resolution, and called on all delegations to remember to vote on the proposed budget of the Fifth Committee while in New York in order to ensure the fulfilment of the aim of this resolution.

18 June 2009

Source: UN Human Rights Council Press Release