Cablegate: September 1 Informals for Human Rights Council's

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1. Human Rights Council (HRC) President Luis Alfonso de Alba
chaired informal consultations September 1 to discuss the
upcoming HRC session (Sept. 18-Oct. 6), which is expected to
deal with substantive matters deferred at the first session
in June. According to de Alba's draft timetable, each
mandate holder would have one hour to report and participate
in an interactive dialogue session. The order in which the
rapporteurs would give their reports was tied to the order in
which rights were addressed in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. De Alba stressed the timetable was simply a
draft for discussion and that substantive talks would be held
on September 6. Attacking the order of reports, which mixed
thematic and country mandates, Cuba demanded that all country
reports be clustered together so that "the virus" could be
dealt with. China echoed Cuba's demand, taking it a step
further by suggesting that the Council, as the parent body,
decide their fate at the upcoming session without input from
the working group specifically created to review all
mandates. Given the large number of overdue reports, de Alba
proposed an omnibus resolution to cover all special procedure
reports to save time. Septel reports on de Alba's
announcement regarding the fact-finding mission to Lebanon.
Proposed program of work for the September session of the
Council was e-mailed to DRL/MLA, IO/RHS, and L/HRR. Action
request at paras 5 and 6. End Summary.

Going After Country Mandates

2. De Alba, who had previously told us he wanted to avoid
making the country-specific mandates a target, proposed that
special procedures mandate holders give their reports in the
order in which the themes or rights appear in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. Most countries were cautious
about the approach with the EU asking that they be done in
alphabetical order according to the last name of the special
rapporteur or chair. Cuba immediately and directly attacked
de Alba's proposal, demanding that all country-mandate
reports be clustered. Cuban PermRep Juan Antonio Fernandez
Palacios, accused de Alba of manipulating the program of work
and order of the reports to protect the "virus" of
country-specific mandates, which should be dealt with as one.
He also rejected de Alba's suggestion that states refrain
from presenting individual resolutions on the reports, saying
that Cuba would not give up its right to present resolutions
"up to the final minute" of the session. Fernandez also
called for the five rapporteurs ("the brave ones"), who had
requested access to Guantanamo Base, to be clustered to give
their report on Guantanamo jointly. China, Russia, Belarus
and a several members of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference (OIC) also insisted that country mandate holders
be clustered together. China took the idea even further by
suggesting that the Council as the parent body -- rather than
the mandate review working group -- review country-specific
mandates during the upcoming session and decide whether to
keep or eliminate them. U.S. del as well as UK and Canada
stressed that the working group on mandate review had been
charged with reviewing all mandates and making
recommendations to the plenary and the outcome of that review
could not be prejudged.

Omnibus Resolution

3. To save time, de Alba suggested combining all special
procedure reports into one omnibus resolution or HRC
consensus statement that would highlight the key action items
in each report. He said it would only be done for the
September session and the Council could revert back to the
traditional system of having a resolution for each report at
subsequent sessions. He acknowledged that many of the
rapporteurs had more than one report to present, so his
intention was simply to save time for everyone by negotiating
a resolution for the scores of reports originally scheduled
to be given during the last CHR session in March. De Alba
asked that in the case individual resolutions were presented,
states refrain from including the operative paragraph
traditionally included at the end of resolutions, calling for
an issue to be placed on the Council's agenda. He reminded
states that this had, at least in part, led to a large and
unwieldy agenda for the Commission. Speaking on behalf of
the European Union, Finland said it was important that each
mandate holder be given sufficient time to present reports.
In all, de Alba said there were more than 150 resolutions to
be considered at the September three-week session. Most
delegations did not immediately address this proposal,

GENEVA 00002161 002.2 OF 002

preferring to study it and offer reactions at the September 6

New Segment

4. De Alba also announced that in the interest of making the
HRC more effective on the ground, he planned to include a new
segment during the HRC sessions dedicated to following up on
decisions taken by the HRC. He hopes to use this time to
highlight the importance of implementation of human rights

Action Requests

5. Mission Geneva requests the Department's guidance on the
proposals made by de Alba for the second session. On the
order of special procedures reports, Mission believes it is
important to avoid clustering the country mandate reports by
either following alphabetical order or the UDHR order
proposed by de Alba. We do see, however, difficulties with
the omnibus resolution or consensus HRC statement. It is not
within de Alba's mandate as HRC president or within the
Secretariat's mandate to decide which, if any, recommendation

in a report takes precedence over the others for
implementation. Many of the reports contain recommendations
that exceed the mandate of the rapporteur, expert or working
group. How would inclusion of these recommendations in an
omnibus resolution be addressed. A likely scenario if such a
resolution or statement were presented, would be a paragraph
by paragraph vote. In preparation for the inter-active
dialogue with special procedures, Mission will forward
separately a list of reports and interventions to which the
United States may wish to respond.

6. De Alba's request that no resolutions be presented during
the September session will most probably be disregarded, as
indicated by Cuba's vehement rejection of the proposal (and
its likely plan to propose a resolution to eliminate the Cuba
mandate). Mission understands that decisions are pending
regarding U.S. support for resolutions or intention to ask
friendly HRC member states to run resolutions on our behalf.
With the HRC scheduled to begin September 15, Mission notes
that we have only two weeks to agree upon and carry out a
strategy for gaining support for any resolution we may want
to see adopted by the HRC.

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