UN Human Rights Council adopts 5 new resolutions, including renewal of UN mandate in Burundi News
U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
UN Human Rights Council adopts 5 new resolutions, including renewal of UN mandate in Burundi

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted five new resolutions and submitted one to the General Assembly on Thursday. According to a press release from the UNHRC, one of the new resolutions extended the UN’s mandate in Burundi, just days after the UN’s mandate in Ethiopia expired.

The resolution on the “Situation of human rights in Burundi” was, by the resolutions’ own count, the tenth resolution concerning human rights in Burundi since October 2015. After condemning the government of Burundi for “widespread impunity for all human rights violations,” including acts of intimidation against human rights defenders, such as those who cooperate with the UNHRC. The resolution, extended the UN’s mandate in Burundi and urged the government of Burundi to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur on Burundi, in accordance with their mandate. The resolution passed with 20 supporters and 10 against.

One of the other four mandates adopted on Thursday included the resolution on the “Preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights.” The resolution urges states to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and morbidity, and to guarantee “universal access to sexual and reproductive health services.” This resolution was adopted without a vote, but its component resolutions were rejected by twice as many as those who accepted them.

Another resolution, regarding the “Contribution of the implementation of the objectives of the International Year of the Family and its follow-up processes in the promotion and protection of human rights,” was also adopted without a vote. This resolution recognized that “family-oriented policies in the areas of poverty, work-family balance, and intergenerational issues” can “contribute to ending poverty” and improving educational and employment opportunities for all family members.

The resolution on “The right to development” was the lengthiest resolution. The resolution does not define “development” but asserts that all humans have the right to it, provided that the right is exercised in accordance with international human rights laws. The resolution recognized that states have the right to adopt national development laws and have the duty to refrain from “nullifying and impairing” matters relating to “international cooperation, aid, assistance, trade or investment.” The resolution also described how states have the duty to promote a “universal, open, inclusive” multilateral trading system. Other duties included states’ duty to create and implement rules regarding gender equality, immigration and the peaceful resolution of disputes. The vote on this resolution passed 29 for and 13 against. Many of the world’s wealthiest nations voted against this resolution, including the US, the UK, Germany, France and Luxembourg.

The final resolution, on the “Realization of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl,” was, in addition to promoting a universal education for girls and women, largely concerned with climate change and its effects. The resolution claims that “girls’ education has been identified as one of the most important socioeconomic determinants in reducing vulnerability to climate change, with every additional year of schooling for girls leading to significant improvements in a country’s overall resilience to climate-related disasters.”