Human Rights Council: New resolutions on Russia, Sudan, Afghanistan

Bryan R. Smith / AFP

On 13 October 2023, the United Nations Human Rights Council concluded its 54th session with the adoption of 37 resolutions, 27 of them by consensus. While this session saw positive outcomes on renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Russia and the establishment of an investigative mechanism on Sudan, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) regrets the lack of willingness of the Member States to table a resolution to renew the accountability mechanism on Ethiopia, despite the efforts of the civil society.

23 October 2023. After joint advocacy efforts from civil society, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Russia was renewed. The situation in the Russian Federation remained high on the Council’s agenda, and FIDH welcomes the successful adoption of the resolution on the situation of human rights in this country. However, Russian authorities’ continuing efforts to eradicate civil society space in the country. FIDH recalls the concerns of the Special Rapporteur for Russia that voiced during the Human Rights Council, on the pattern of suppression of civil and political rights inside the country, the lack of Judicial independence and the over mass arbitrary arrests and the “persistent use of torture and ill-treatment”.

FIDH welcomes the creation of an independent fact-finding mission on Sudan, established after six months of protracted conflict that has led to thousands of civilian deaths, millions displaced, and devastating widespread sexual and gender-based violence. The conflict situation has exacerbated the already long-standing climate of impunity, as perpetrators on all sides continue to commit serious violations while victims and survivors are left with no recourse for justice. The independent fact-finding mission will play an essential role in accountability efforts, with a mandate to investigate and establish root causes of all violations related to the conflict, collect and analyse evidence, and identify perpetrators, among other responsibilities. FIDH calls on all states and stakeholders to cooperate fully with the mechanism and ensure it has all resources necessary to fulfill its mandate.

While FIDH regrets that the Council did not take stronger action to create a full independent investigative mechanism into the situation in Afghanistan, despite being clearly warranted by the deteriorating human rights situation and the Taliban’s systematic repression of the rights of women and girls, the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan by consensus for the first time was a welcome show of unity by all Council members.

FIDH further welcomes the adoption of the resolution on other key thematic resolutions, including the resolution on reprisals for cooperation with the UN and the resolution on the question of the death penalty, both of which saw the defeat of all hostile amendments seeking to undermine and weaken their central messages.

FIDH joined partner organisations in a joint statement at the closing of the 54th session, presenting a detailed overview of civil society’s key takeaways from the 54th Session of Human Rights Council. See here

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