The 38th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) was held in Geneva between 18 June and 6 July 2018. As the primary international human rights body, the Human Rights Council has the capacity to prevent and respond to potential mass atrocity crimes. The summary below highlights major outcomes and relevant dialogues from the 38th session as they relate to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. As part of the session, the Netherlands and Australia delivered two statements on behalf of the 51 members of the Group of Friends of R2P.
A/HRC/38/L.8 Technical assistance to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and accountability concerning the events in the Kasai regions
The HRC requested the High Commissioner dispatch a team of two international human rights experts to report on the implementation by the Democratic Republic of the Congo of the recommendations of the previous team of experts, with a particular focus on the fight against impunity and reconciliation efforts. The HRC further asked the High Commissioner to present an oral update on the situation of human rights in the Kasai regions and participate in an enhanced interactive dialogue at its 40th session. The resolution was adopted without a vote.
A/HRC/38/L.15/Rev.1 The situation of human rights in Eritrea
The HRC decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea for a period of one year and requested the Special Rapporteur to present a written report to the HRC at its 41st session. The HRC further asked the Special Rapporteur to participate in an interactive dialogue with the General Assembly on her report at its 73rd session and requested the Special Rapporteur to, where feasible, develop an action plan for the implementation of benchmarks for progress to improve the human rights situation in Eritrea. The HRC further agreed to hold an enhanced interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Eritrea at its 40th session. The resolution was adopted without a vote.
A/HRC/38/L.20 The human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic
The HRC urged all parties to the conflict in Syria to strictly adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, and demanded that all parties refrain from targeted attacks against the civilian population. The HRC also demanded that all parties immediately halt the use of chemical weapons and stressed the importance of establishing appropriate accountability, truth and justice mechanisms for victims of gross violations and abuses of international law. It further demanded that all parties undertake all necessary steps to achieve a genuine political transition based on the Geneva communiqué and Security Council Resolution 2254 (2015), within the framework of the UN-led intra-Syrian talks. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 26 in favor, 5 against and 15 abstentions. The resolution demands that, “the Syrian authorities meet their responsibility to protect the Syrian population” and “stresses that the primary responsibility to protect the Syrian population lies with the Syrian authorities.”