UN Human Rights Council

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 12th January 2016.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2015 to Question 17455, what clauses, in which documents provide the evidential basis that the Human Rights Council does not have a mandate to call for investigations into international humanitarian law.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Resolution 60/251, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006, established the Human Rights Council (HRC). The resolution is clear that the mandate of the HRC is to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms (operative paragraph 2) and address situations of human rights violations (operative paragraph 3). In terms of international law, it is only in relation to international human rights law that the HRC is mandated to make recommendations to the UN General Assembly (operative paragraph 5(c)). International humanitarian law is quite distinct from international human rights law and is not included in the mandate of the HRC.

HRC resolution 5/1 adopted a further document commonly known as the “Institution Building Package”, which provided greater detail on the work and operation of the HRC. This also did not include international humanitarian law within the scope of the HRC’s general mandate.

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