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The Maastricht Diplomat

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[Al Jazeera] Major Breakthrough in Human Rights Council- Or Maybe Not

On this third day of conference, there seems to have been a breakthrough in the Human Rights Council negotiations. The delegate of Israel began the session by highlighting the hopeful mood of cooperation that has characterised the previous debates. Compared to our last presence in the Council, delegates seem to have abandoned the wish to point fingers at each other and have been working together to develop a working paper that could be used as the basis for a future draft resolution. The delegate of Germany has reaffirmed her hope of collaboration amongst the member states.

However, the much hoped collaboration is not as rosy as it seems. The delegate of South Africa has reminded the Council of some major gaps that are yet to be filled in the working paper. Indeed, South Africa has stressed the importance of including in the working paper a position on the importance of the right of work. This is claimed to be a fundamental human right that can ensure human dignities. The delegate of the United States also wishes to add a specific article to focus on gender based discrimination, emphasising its role within the issue of statelessness. Additionally, nations such as South Africa, Madagascar and the Dominican Republic have requested the inclusion of a historical background on statelessness, which they remind to be rooted in colonialism and imperialism. The working paper is therefore still characterised by large gaps in its content and great discrepancies in opinions amongst the member states can be noticed.

The delegate of Germany has clearly taken the lead to push the Council into taking practical solutions to the present issue. However, member states are still debating on the definition of statelessness itself, which is much needed to create a concrete legal basis for the draft resolution. Lastly, the delegate of the People’s Republic of China remains noticeably silent throughout this whole discussion.

- Maya de Groote, Human Rights Correspondent for Al Jazeera

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