Minutes of UNHRC Bureau Approving Special Maduro Speech

UN Watch has obtained a copy of the following minutes of the Nov. 6th meeting of the 5-member bureau of the UN Human Rights Council, in which it decided to grant a special podium to Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro on Thursday, Nov. 12th.

Minutes of the Human Rights Council Bureau

6 November 2015
On 6 November 2015, the Bureau held a meeting to discuss: (1) Request from the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to hold a special meeting of the Human Rights Council; and (2) AOB.

  • Request from the Government of Venezuela to hold a special meeting of the Human Rights Council

 The President informed the Bureau of a letter received on 4 November 2015 from the Permanent Representative of Venezuela requesting a special meeting of the Human Rights Council to allow H.E. Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, to deliver a statement before the Council on12 November 2015 at 3pm. The Bureau discussed the matter at length and concerns were expressed in the course of the meeting. First, it was noted that there were organizational constraints and difficulties; due to the UPR Working Group being in session until 13 November and that the request was of very short notice. Second, it was noted that the Director-General of UNOG was out of town, as well as the High Commissioner and the Deputy High Commissioner. In their absence, the Office stated that it would not be in the position to deliver a statement for protocol reasons. Furthermore, it was stressed that the High-Level segment of the Human Rights Council was foreseen for dignitaries to address the Council. Some Bureau members also noted that elections were upcoming in Venezuela on 6 December 2015 giving rise to possible negative perceptions. In light of these concerns the President proposed to the Bureau to ask for a postponement of the special meeting to a later date which did, however, not find the support of all Bureau members. Therefore, in line with the precedents of President Bachelet and President Abbas addressing the Council, the Bureau agreed to hold the special meeting, as requested. It will be a formal meeting of the Council, to listen to the address of President Maduro which will be held in room XX with interpretation. At the same time, and with a view to the systemic aspects of possible future requests, the Bureau agreed to have, in the near future, an in-depth discussion of the modalities for special meetings, taking into consideration all concerns expressed, including resource implications.

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