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High Commissioner for Human Rights hopes spirit of cooperation and mutual respect will remain hallmark of Human Rights Council

June 2007

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High Commissioner for Human Rights hopes spirit of cooperation and mutual respect will remain hallmark of Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council

20 June 2007

Council Adopts Report of Fifth Session

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour told the Human Rights Council this afternoon that she wished to extend her appreciation to all those who had contributed to launching the Council on a consensual basis. Despite the potentially divisive issues that the Council had confronted, the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect would, she hoped, remain the hallmark of the Human Rights Council.

Addressing an organizational meeting of the second cycle of the Council, during which the report of the fifth session of the Council was adopted, Ms. Arbour said she was delighted that the Human Rights Council would soon have a room of its own, a dedicated space within the Palais des Nations, which would contribute to transforming the Council into a modern forward-looking and reinvigorated institution. She expressed her gratitude to His Majesty King Juan Carlos I and the Government of Spain for this wonderful initiative, as well as to Sergei Ordzhonikidze, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, for his unfailing support of the Council.

The President of the Council, Ambassador Doru Romulus Costea of Romania, said the Government of Spain had kindly provided financial assistance for the refurbishment of Room XX of the Palais des Nations, and that it had been agreed that this room would be provided to the Council for its work. He extended deep appreciation, on behalf of the Council, to King Juan Carlos I and the Government and people of Spain for their generous support and this most welcome gift.

Spain said Room XX of the Palais des Nations would become the headquarters of the Human Rights Council, to be called the Human Rights Room. The new Human Rights Room would be a place of significance and symbolism within the United Nations as a whole.

Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of Canada and Sri Lanka. The Rapporteur of the Council, Mousa Burayzat of Jordan, also took the floor to present the report of the fifth session of the Council.

The organisational meeting was then suspended, and will reconvene on Friday, 22 June at 10 a.m.

Statements

TERRY CORMIER (Canada) said that the fact remained that there was no consensus at midnight on June 18, Canada was not in agreement with the package presented to the Council that day and the final version was not seen until June 19. Canada was concerned at the procedure by which this decision had been reached.

MOUSA BURAYZAT (Jordan), the Rapporteur of the fifth session of the Council, underlined that consensus did not signify unanimity.

DAYAN JAYATILLAKE (Sri Lanka) said yesterday’s vote showed that there was a consensus.

JOAQUIN MARIA DE ARISTEGUI LABORDE (Spain) reiterated Spain’s commitment to the new President and the carrying out of the mandate. Spain thanked the outgoing President and his collaborators. Room XX of the Palais des Nations would become the headquarters of the Human Rights Council, to be called the Human Rights Room. The Council had established the basic institutional and programmatic efforts needed to carry out objectives, and was aspiring to fulfill the needs of all. The new Human Rights Room would be a place of significance and symbolism within the United Nations as a whole.

The work of the Spanish artist involved would inspire dialogue and negotiation among those who worked in that room. Spain was once again making a contribution to giving art a permanent place in the Palais des Nations.

LOUISE ARBOUR, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said she wished to join the voices of the many in this room who, in the course of yesterday and today, had expressed their great satisfaction at the completion of the important institution-building phase of the Human Rights Council. She also wished to express her deep admiration for the dedicated, skilled and gracious work of Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, to whom all held a debt of gratitude.

The High Commissioner also wished to extend her appreciation to all those who contributed to launching the Council on a consensual basis. Despite the potentially divisive issues that the Council had confronted, the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect would, she hoped, remain the hallmark of the Human Rights Council.

Ms. Arbour said she was delighted that the Human Rights Council would soon have a room of its own, a dedicated space within the Palais des Nations, which would contribute to transforming the Council into a modern forward-looking and reinvigorated institution. She expressed her gratitude to His Majesty King Juan Carlos I and the Government of Spain for this wonderful initiative, as well as to Sergei Ordzhonikidze, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, for his unfailing support of the Council.


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