55th Human Rights Council session : Israel-Palestine, Belarus, Iran, Myanmar and Mali at the heart of concerns


On 5 April 2024, the United Nations Human Rights Council concluded its 55th session with the adoption of 34 resolutions, 22 of them by consensus. Despite continued double standards and pushback against accountability by a number of States this session saw strong outcomes on Palestine and Belarus, as well as the welcomed renewal of a number of mandates, including Myanmar, Iran and Mali.

9 April 2024. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) welcomes the adoption of the resolutions on Palestine, in particular the text titled Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the obligation to ensure accountability and justice. The Council, demanded that Israel, the occupying power, end its occupation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem. The Council urged Israel to immediately lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip and cease all forms of collective punishment. It also called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and demanded all States to restrained from the sale, transfer and diversion of arms and other military equipment to Israel.

FIDH also welcomes the adoption of a new resolution on the human rights situation in Belarus. The resolution creates a new independent investigative mechanism, that will succeed the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) examination, to collect and preserve evidence of potential international crimes beyond the 2020 elections period, with a view to advancing accountability. It also ensures the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a period of one year.

FIDH welcomes that the Council was once again able to adopt the resolution on Myanmar by consensus, renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for another year. This unanimity speaks to the crucial monitoring and reporting being done by the Special Rapporteur in the face of escalating human rights violations by the military junta, including the increasing persecution of Rohingya, forced military recruitment, and continuing aerial bombardments and artillery shelling. While the resolution comprehensively covers a wide range of the serious crimes being committed by the junta, it does not adequately address the responsibility borne by ASEAN for its inaction, and stops short of a strong call for an arms embargo.

The human rights situation in Iran continues to be marked by systemic impunity for the serious violations being committed by authorities, including the unchecked application of the death penalty, and the continuing restrictions on civil society and targeting of human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, and activists. We regret that the text of the resolution on Iran does not reflect the severity of the situation, and is instead limited to a technical rollover. Despite this, the renewal of the mandates for both the fact-finding mission and the Special Rapporteur on Iran is an important achievement. Both mechanisms play critical and distinct roles in the path towards accountability through their monitoring, documenting, and reporting efforts.

The consensus renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on Mali is a welcome indication of Mali’s stated willingness to cooperate with mandate, but FIDH remains concerned that the text of the resolution does not recognise the reality of the dire human rights situation in the country. FIDH has continued to document severe restrictions and attacks against independent media, civil society, and human rights defenders in Mali, a trend that has only escalated in the past year.

FIDH joined partner organisations in a joint statement at the closing of the 55th session, presenting a detailed overview of civil society’s key takeaways from the 55th Session of Human Rights Council.

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