The UN Human Rights Council concluded its 22nd session on March 22 in Geneva after four weeks of work. It held debates on the situation in several countries and adopted a number of resolutions.
France welcomes in particular the adoption of a resolution condemning serious and systematic human rights violations in Syria and renewing the term of the international commission of inquiry for another year. Adopted by a large majority, this text confirms the isolation of the Syrian regime and underscores the international community’s mobilization in the fight against impunity for the authors of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In this regard, France, along with many other countries, supports all initiatives aimed at referring the matter to the International Criminal Court, which offers the requisite guarantees of justice and fairness.
We also welcome the adoption by consensus of the resolution on human rights violations in North Korea, which institutes a one-year international commission of inquiry.
A resolution also renews the mandate of the special rapporteur for human rights in Iran at a time when, on the eve of the elections, the freedom of expression in that country is increasingly curtailed and dissident voices quashed.
France applauds the adoption of a new resolution on Mali, at the behest of that country. This resolution, which condemns all violations in the Republic of Mali, establishes the mandate for an international expert tasked with assessing the human rights situation and providing assistance to the Malian authorities with a view to improving respect for human rights.
Finally, we hail the adoption of the initiative on the death penalty brought by France, Bénin, Costa Rica, Moldavia and Mongolia. Thanks to a decision adopted by a strong majority on March 21, an open debate will be held in March 2014 in Geneva, allowing countries to discuss the challenges to be overcome on the path to instituting the universal abolition of the death penalty. Through this initiative, France is demonstrating that the debate on the death penalty has a rightful place at the Human Rights Council; the use of this punishment is not an instrument of criminal law but a human rights violation. This initiative is in line with the campaign launched by Laurent Fabius promoting the universal abolition of the death penalty.