Hautala Chairs European Parliament Visit to UN Human Rights Council

Chairwoman Hautala led 16-18.3. the annual European Parliament delegation to UN Human Rights Council, which was holding its regular 16th Session in its permanent seat in Geneva. The discussions during the visit were largely dominated by the ongoing tumult and reforms in North Africa and Middle East,[:] while the reform of the UN Human Rights Council was also discussed in detail. Distinct human rights questions, such as protection of human rights defenders, racism and freedom of speech was considered in depth with the UN officials in charge of those dossiers.

Chairwoman Hautala reiterated her confidence that close cooperation between the European Parliament and the UN Human Rights Council is most necessary and absolutely indispensable as tremendous changes are taking place in several UN Member States and Council is moving on to the post-review phase.Hautala chaired several meetings with Ambassadors and UN representatives and led number of discussions with representatives of the civil society. In her talks with the US Ambassador Hautala discussed the close cooperation between the EU and US at the Human Rights Council and ways to improve it further. Charge d’affaires of the Mission of Libya discussed in detail with the delegation the latest information of the situation on the ground. Chairwoman Hautala was most interested to discuss with the Charge d’affaires of the Mission of Tunisia the ongoing efforts to put in place a state system resting on rule of law and respect for human rights. Ambassador of Egypt shared his views on the ongoing reforms and prospects for democratic changes, which Hautala welcomed but noted that further effort is still necessary. Talks were held with Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, OMCT, International Commission of Jurists, ISHR and Association for the Prevention of Torture.

Meetings were also held with a team members of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom of peaceful Assembly and of Association, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of religion or belief, the Goldstone report follow-up committee and the International Disability Alliance.