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Item 5: Human Rights Council Advisory Committee
March 23, 2009

UN Human Rights Council Tenth Regular Session

Item Five – HRC Advisory Committee

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by U.S. Mission Legal Advisor Melanie Khanna
Geneva, March 23, 2009

Thank you, Mr. President

The United States has listened with interest to the discussion regarding the Advisory Committee. We consider this session a critical opportunity for States to give feedback to the Committee on its early work. Decision 5/1 mandated the Committee to “provide expertise to the Council in the manner and form requested by the Council.” It stipulated that such expertise was to be rendered “only upon the latter’s request, in compliance with its resolutions and under its guidance.” Decision 5/1 says explicitly that the Committee “shall not adopt resolutions or decisions.”

We share the concerns of those who believe that much of the substance of the work of the Committee to date is less research-based and more advocacy-oriented than envisioned in Decision 5/1, and that the form of the work, often styled to resemble resolutions and presented as recommendations, is not fully consistent with the parameters set out by the Council. We are concerned about both the substance and the form of the Committee’s output, and request the Committee to take these concerns into account in its future work.

We note the President’s statement on this matter. We have been concerned by proposals that the work of the Committee should be put to the Council automatically as recommendations for adoption. Decision 5/1 does not envision recommendations per se, and we find nothing in the text to support such an approach. Rather, the research and expertise of the Committee should be available upon the Council’s request, to be taken up for consideration by the Council or its members when they so choose.