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Cablegate: Human Rights Council Organizational Meeting, June

VZCZCXRO5167
RR RUEHAT
DE RUEHGV #1656/01 1761539
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251539Z JUN 07
FM USMISSION GENEVA
TO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 6338
RUEHLJ/AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA 0237
RUEHVJ/AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO 0042
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4556
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2304
INFO RUEHZJ/HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GENEVA 001656

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR IO/RHS, DRL/MLGA, L/HRR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM UNHRC
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING, JUNE
19-22

REF: GENEVA 1609

SUMMARY
--------

1. (SBU) The Human Rights Council (HRC) held the first
organizational meeting of its second year June 19-22 to
follow up on institution-building in preparation for the next
Council session (Sept. 10-28). In a worrisome indication
that negotiations in Geneva are unlikely to be more
transparent than under former Council president de Alba,
newly-elected HRC President Doru Costea (Romania) said he
would not hold open meetings on the development of a program
of work for the Council, but would be available to meet with
delegates individually or as groups during the next month.
His target date to have an agreed program of work and a
calendar of meetings for the HRC's second year is an
organizational meeting planned for August 28. For now, the
only other meeting scheduled before the September session
will be a brief informal meeting on July 25 to select
facilitators for the elaboration of various
institution-building modalities. On June 20, delegates
adopted three resolutions -- including two related to Israel
-- which were tabled during the June 11-18 session. Costea
warned that the Council's second year would be just as
demanding as the first and include at least 10 weeks of
regular Council sessions, six weeks of universal periodic
review (UPR) working group sessions, and weeks of other
meetings, including organizational meetings, Durban-related
business, and special sessions. END SUMMARY.

HRC CALENDAR AND PROGRAM OF WORK
--------------------------------

2. (U) Despite a new mandate calling on the Council to adopt
a program of work and an annual calendar of regular sessions
at its first organizational meeting, HRC President Costea
said the task was too difficult to carry out in one or two
days. (Note: the program of work is intended to
operationalize the agenda, which was included in the
institutional-building package. End Note.) Costea plans to
develop a proposal in consultation with regional groups,
delegations, and others, but does not plan to hold open
negotiations. Costea proposed presenting the program of work
and meeting calendar for adoption at an August 28
organizational meeting. A number of delegations across
regional groups called on Costea to prepare a proposal well
in advance of the September session in order to allow
delegations and NGO's time to prepare for that session as
well as subsequent meetings. There was no decision regarding
a possible Council meeting in November-December.

UPR CONFUSION
-------------

3. (U) Costea laid to rest confusion over whether the six
weeks of UPR were included in the Council's 10 weeks of
regular sessions or were meant to be in addition to them. He
said that UPR would be a separate process as far as timing
and that it was not a matter for further discussion.
Pakistan, China, Algeria, South Africa, and Nigeria
originally insisted that the six weeks of UPR were meant to
be part of the regular sessions, while Brazil, Portugal,
Germany, the UK, Australia, Italy, and the Netherlands
maintained that the resolution clearly called for
inter-sessional UPR meetings.

INSTITUTION-BUILDING CONTINUED
------------------------------

4. (U) For institution-building follow-up, President Costea
said he would designate four separate facilitators to head
working groups on: 1) UPR modalities; 2) the establishment of
an expert advisory committee and mechanisms to continue the
working groups of the former Sub-Commission; 3) setting of
selection criteria for mandate holders; and 4) issues
relating to the complaints procedure. He hoped to have
facilitators selected by the July 25 informal meeting. A
number of Asian and African delegations asked Costea to
appoint Bureau members (i.e. the vice-presidents) as
facilitators. Others noted that Bureau members already
carried a heavy load, suggesting that the facilitators be
selected from other members.

COUNCIL ADOPTS HRC5 RESOLUTIONS

GENEVA 00001656 002 OF 002


-------------------------------

5. (U) Earlier in the week (June 20), the Council adopted
without vote three resolutions following up on previous
Council resolutions -- Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian
Territories (OPT), and Darfur. Canada disassociated from
consensus on the OPT resolution. The resolutions were tabled
during the HRC's fifth session, but, due to time constraints,
were adopted on an exceptional basis during the
organizational meeting.

COMMENT
-------

6. (SBU) While the Mission does not doubt Costea's
sincerity in trying to put the Council on the right path
during its second year, we have concerns about his continuing
some of his predecessor's poor practices. The fact that
there will be no open consultations to discuss such important
issues as the program of work harkens back to the Council's
first year of opaque negotiations and backroom deals.
Separately, Mission notes for Department and USUN concerns
regarding resource requirements, following Costea's warning
that he expects the second year to include 30 weeks of
meetings. In its first year, the Council held the equivalent
of 32 weeks of meetings -- plenary sessions, special
sessions, organizational meetings, open informals, and
working group meetings. END COMMENT.

TICHENOR

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