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5th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Laima Andrikienė MEP

ANDRIKIENĖ, Laima Liucija The European Parliament has adopted the Resolution on the fifth session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. One of the authors of the Resolution, Laima Andrikienė MEP, stated that the first year of the activity of the HRC encountered many problems and shortcomings, which must be rectified as soon as possible.

Andrikienė underlined that the European Parliament expects a lot from the HRC due to one simple reason - human rights is an issue of the highest importance. The respect for human rights and their protection is an essential part of the EU ethical and legal acquis and one of the cornerstones of European unity and integrity. The UN Human Rights Council could provide an effective platform for strengthening human rights protection and promotion in the framework of the United Nations.

"The first year of the HRC's activities has come across problems and shortcomings. This must be rectified now that it has become a trusted body, able, when necessary, to urgently react to human rights abuses in any country", said Laima Andrikienė.

According to the MEP, the first year of the HRC's activities assessed if it is able to implement its ambitious programme by applying its procedures and mechanisms. "The experience of the first year - the Resolution on Darfur, the consideration of complaints of human rights abuses by Iran and Uzbekistan, the application of the confidentiality requirements when violations of human rights were considered in those two countries and other decisions - has demonstrated that HRC procedures must have the highest level of transparency; the special rapporteurs and experts must be fully independent. The clear criteria for the selection of the members of the HRC are to be implemented, i.e. states where human rights are seriously violated would not be elected to the HRC", emphasised Andrikienė.

Members of the UN Human Rights Council, which was established in March 2006 and replaced the discredited and strongly-politicised UN Commission on Human Rights, are elected by the UN General Assembly composed of representatives from 192 states. There will only be 7 (instead of 8) EU Member States out of 47 Member States in the HRC during the second year of work. "The structure and working methods of the HRC mean that the EU will have ambitious programmes and goals, will work coherently and in a coordinated way to make more effective use of its aid and political support for third countries to find allies among African, Asian and Latin American countries, as well as to make all the procedures and mechanisms of the HRC highly transparent and efficient. The EU must insist on the implementation of clear criteria for membership of the HRC and should not allow the discrediting and politicisation of the HRC as was the case with the UN Commission on Human Rights", concluded Andrikienė.

For further information:
Laima Andrikienė MEP, Tel.: + 32-2-2845858
Živile Didžgalvienė, EPP-ED Press Service, Tel.: + 32-475-751627

Notes to Editors:
Laima Andrikienė is the Vice-Coordinator for the Human Rights issues of the EPP-ED Group, the largest Group of the European Parliament, and the is Member of the ad hoc delegation for the 5th session of the UN HRC, which will take place next week in Geneva.