Statement by India on Agenda item 5: General Debate, September 22, 2014



(8-26 Sept 2014)

Agenda Item 5: General Debate

Statement by India


Mr. President,


1. The Special Procedures are an important mechanism of the Council for a “genuine dialogue for strengthening the capacity of member states”. The number of mandates in the Council is continuously on the rise. In fact an independent study has projected that the number will reach 100 by 2030.  Without going into the question of whether this is healthy trend or detrimental to the effectiveness of this mechanism, my delegation would like to make some observations on the issue of selection and appointment of mandate holders.


2. The Human Rights Council Institution Building Package(IBP) clearly   identified expertise, experience in the field of the mandate, independence, impartiality, personal integrity and objectivity as being of paramount importance when nominating, selecting and appointing mandate-holders. Resolution 5/1 also emphasized that ‘due consideration be given to gender balance and equitable geographic representation, as well as to an appropriate representation of different legal systems.’


3. A look at the professional and educational backgrounds of mandate holders reveals that an overwhelming majority of them are western educated or have pursued their professional careers in the West.  In fact this is strikingly huge in the case of thematic special procedures where the figure is at 75% (23 SRs). Furthermore,   Of the 31 thematic Special Procedures, 15 belong to one geographical region which is almost half of the mandate holders While this is not to question their competence, the numbers clearly demonstrate that the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council lack geographical and cultural diversity, which is fundamental to understand diverse countries with which they will engage.


4. Nearly all the Special Procedures are lawyers by profession and training. This reinforces their legalist and judgmental approach with heavy emphasis on accountability and punishment, rather than cooperation and assistance in a forward moving, problem-solving approach. So while the themes of Special Procedures are wide-ranging, the approach to all is the same.


5. These factors need to be borne in mind by the Consultative Group in carrying out their important task of selecting mandate holders so that its recommendations do not get subjected to the kind of changes that we have seen happening in the recent past.


6. We remain concerned by the increasing politicization and controversies surrounding the selection and appointment of Special Procedures. Adequate reason and explanation should be given for any deviation in following the recommendations of the Consultative Group. Lobbying by states should be avoided as the criteria for selection of mandate holders have been clearly provided in the Institutional Building Package. Such derogations from the IB package endanger the credibility of the Special Procedure mechanism itself. They also have the potential to adversely impact the level of engagement by states with the Special Procedures and obstruct “genuine dialogue”.


I thank you.

27th Session of the Human Rights Council, September 08 - 26, 2014
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