Action on Draft Amendments L.52,L.53, L54, L.55, L.56, L59, L.60, L.61, L.62, L.63, L.64, L.65

Action on Draft Amendment L.52

Albania, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of co-sponsors, rejected amendment L.52 and said that civil society facilitated the achievement of principles and purposes of the United Nations.

Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the draft resolution recognized the important role of civil society on local, national, regional and international levels. Mexico would vote against this amendment.
The Council rejected draft amendment L.52 by a vote of 12 in favour, 22 against and 12 abstentions.

Action on Draft Amendment L.53

Panama, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the concept of human rights defenders was well established in the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and in the regional human rights mechanisms. Panama rejected amendment L.53.

United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, welcomed the award of the Nobel peace prize to civil society, which was a reflection of the profoundly crucial role that civil society could play. Such was an example of the Tunisian Quartet. The United Kingdom firmly opposed the amendment which sought to delete the terms human rights defenders, which had been recognized by the Human Rights Council since its inception, and had been mentioned in many of its resolutions. There was no rational reason for its deletion; it was an attempt to remove legitimacy of those figures engaged on the frontline of the promotion of human rights.

The Council rejected draft amendment L.53 by a vote of 12 in favour, 23 against and 12 abstentions.

Actions on Draft Amendment L.54

Slovenia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it strongly opposed amendment L.54. Civil society presented a moral compass and was a mirror of success and failure. It was the Human Rights Council’s duty to protect these rights. For these reasons, Slovenia would vote against the amendment, and called upon other Member States to do the same.

Latvia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the reprisals against those engaged in human rights and the retaliation against them was a harsh reality. Acts against civil society actions as well the increase in curbing their rights was a reality. For this reason, Latvia would vote no on amendment L.54 and requested all to do the same.

Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed the amendment. Civil society helped to make the case for stronger protection of human rights and as such was an indispensable partner of the Human Rights Council. It was important that the resolution on civil society space addressed their safety. Not doing so would send the wrong signal. It would say that this Council does not value their space and safety. Therefore, the Netherlands would vote against this amendment and called upon all others to do likewise.

Amendment L.54 was rejected by a vote of 13 in favour, 23 against, with 11 abstentions.

Action on Draft Amendment L.55

Netherlands, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed amendment L.55 as it would undermine the draft resolution as a whole and reminded all that the language used in the draft resolution was a result of the consensus. Who would decide what constituted a “responsible civil society” that the amendment sought to introduce, and on what basis, asked the Netherlands. It noted that this qualifier would undermine the activity and safety of civil society activists, and would restrict rather than facilitate the work of civil society. The Netherlands would vote against the amendment.

United Kingdom, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the new wording would introduce qualifiers in relation to civil society which were worrisome and would ensure the protection of civil society only of it acted in an “open, transparent and responsible manner”. The term “responsible” was highly open and it would be up to each State to define its meaning, and this would open the space for abuse, especially for civil society which raised issues that State authorities found hard to hear. The United Kingdom would vote no and called on all other Council members to do the same.

The Council rejected draft amendment L.55 by a vote of 17 in favour, 21 against, with 9 abstentions.

Action on Draft Amendment L.56

Germany, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on behalf of co-sponsors, opposed this draft amendment and said that this paragraph was the heart of the resolution as it described the challenging environments in which civil society actors operated. Germany would vote no on amendment L.56 and called on all other Council members to do the same.

Switzerland, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that the draft amendment would change the aim of the resolution and would dramatically change the scope of preambular paragraph 12, which referred to instances where domestic legislation had a negative impact on civil society, instances where domestic legislation was not in line with international legislation, or if it was, it was used for different purposes. Switzerland would vote against this draft amendment.

The Council rejected draft amendment L.56 with a vote of 16 in favour, 22 against and nine abstentions.

Action on Draft Amendment L.59

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it gave utmost importance to civil society space. Regarding L.59, the core group and co-sponsors opposed this amendment. The language used in the draft resolution was agreed upon language. It was a broad term which was aimed at integrating all groups, empowering those most at risk. For these reasons, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia would vote no on this amendment, and called upon others to vote against it.

Belgium, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, called on all to vote against L.59. The deletion of the views would be very unhealthy. Indeed an important part of civil society was that it brought a significant perspective to bear on society as a whole. The right to freedom of expression was not and could not be limited to views of government. This was unacceptable. Belgium would vote no on this amendment and called on all members to do likewise.

Amendment L.59 was rejected with 9 votes in favour, 22 against, and 15 abstentions.

Action on draft amendment L.60

Mexico, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.60, expressed surprise at the amendment which attempted to modify agreed language. The proponents of the amendment had agreed on that very language. It was incomprehensible why that discussion should be re-opened. All were called on to vote no.

Lithuania, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it would vote against the amendment and invited all Council members to do the same.

The Council then rejected amendment L.60 with a vote of 13 in favour, 22 against, with 12 abstentions.

Action on draft amendment L.61

Latvia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said amendment L.61 was a re-write that did not just reorder operative paragraph 8, but was also in other ways neither appropriate nor acceptable. Other measures of the amendment were unnecessary and confusing.

Germany, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said as a co-sponsor of the resolution, the amendment would remove a key concept from the resolution, adding that Germany would vote no, and invited all Council members to do likewise.

The Council then rejected the amendment by a vote of 15 in favour, 22 against, with 10 abstentions.

Action on draft amendment L.62

Republic of Korea, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said it did not support amendment L.62, as it would weaken civil society space. Operative paragraph 13 was fully in line with the Universal Periodic Review. More importantly, its purpose was to encourage the involvement of civil society in the Universal Periodic Review process. Therefore, the Republic of Korea would vote no on this amendment and called on all States to do the same.

Belgium, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, opposed the amendment and called on all others to do the same. Consulting civil society when preparing the report and involving them during the recommendations were key for the Universal Periodic Review. Belgium would vote no on this amendment and called upon others to do likewise.

Amendment L.62 was rejected, with a vote of 15 in favour, 22 against, and 10 abstentions.

Action on draft amendment L.63

France, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.63, said that France opposed it because it aimed at withdrawing a key paragraph from the resolution. Freedom of expression for civil society was sine qua non for smooth expression of civil and political rights. For that reason France called for a vote on the amendment and would vote no.

Slovenia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that Slovenia rejected the amendment which was aimed at the heart of the resolution. The paragraph did not impose anything on States, but encouraged them to identify good practices. Slovenia would vote no.

The Council then rejected the amendment by a vote of 13 in favour, to 22 against, with 12 abstentions.

Action on draft amendment L.64

Albania, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.64, said that the core group opposed the amendment. The rationale of the amendment was difficult to understand. The paragraph was expressed as an invitation on a voluntary basis. A vote was called on the amendment, and Albania would vote against it.

The Council then rejected the amendment by a vote of 11 in favour, to 23 against, with 13 abstentions.

Action on draft amendment L.65

Germany, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.65, said that the amendment could not be accepted. Germany would vote no and called on all members of the Council to do likewise.

Georgia, speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote on amendment L.65, said the rationale for the draft resolution’s request for the participation of civil society was a constructive one, which would be useful to all relevant actors.

The Council then rejected the amendment by a vote of 9 in favour, to 22 against, with 15 abstentions.