Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

HRC 41 - EU Explanation of Vote: Enhancement of International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights

Geneva, 11/07/2019 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 190712_5
Statements on behalf of the EU

41st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Geneva, 24 June – 12 July 2019 EU Explanation of Vote: Enhancement of International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights

Mr. President,


I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU Member States that are members of the Human Rights Council. This explanation of vote has been agreed by the EU as a whole.


The EU acknowledges that the pen-holder, on behalf of NAM, held two rounds of informal consultations on the draft resolution on the “Enhancement of International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights”.


We regret the decision of the pen-holder to maintain the same contentious issues which prevented us from voting in favour of the resolution last year. Nevertheless, the EU engaged constructively in the discussions, with the clear objective to come to a consensual text. Unfortunately, our comments were not taken on board.


Mr. President,


International cooperation is an essential element of the EU’s external relations and we are determined to promote an international system based on stronger multilateral cooperation and good global governance. The EU is and will continue to be a staunch supporter of multilateralism and the wider UN system.


At the same time, we believe internationally agreed principles governing our relations must be fully respected. The EU stresses that the primary responsibility for the protection and promotion of human rights lies with States. Therefore, international cooperation must be viewed in conjunction with the efforts of States. It can neither substitute national efforts in effectively promoting and protecting human rights, nor be a condition for States’ compliance with their obligation to promote and protect the human rights of persons within their respective territories.


The EU therefore would have preferred some paragraphs, such as PP9, to be phrased in broader terms, in order to recognize that international cooperation is one of many elements that can make a positive contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights.


Mr. President,


This year the resolution contains the same elements stemming from Ministerial Declarations of the NAM-countries. The EU and other states asked for the deletion of these elements in order to bring the resolution in line with internationally agreed principles and texts, especially the Charter of the United Nations and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.


Concerning OP 8 and the issue of unilateral coercive measures, the EU has stated its position during the March session. We are glad the pen-holder accepted to discard the initial additional paragraphs on this topic, especially as this is already addressed in a thematic resolution.


The EU regrets that the sponsors of the resolution did not use the content of the report of the High Commissioner A/HRC/41/25 titled ”Implementation and enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights” when drafting the present resolution. In our view this report clearly shows that international cooperation is only one of the instruments that the States can use in order to accomplish their responsibility to protect and promote the human rights. In this context, we urge the core group to build on the contents and recommendations of the report requested in OP30 when presenting the next iteration of this resolution.


Taking into account all these elements, the EU cannot support resolution L.1. The EU Member States that are members of the Human Rights Council will be voting against resolution L.1.


The EU stands ready to engage constructively, in the spirit of cooperation, with the NAM group in order to return the matter of international cooperation to a consensual approach as was the case until recently.

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