DEMARCHE DELIVERED: UK GIVES TACTICAL ADVICE ON UPCOMING HRC SESSION

Identifier: 
10LONDON456

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 000456

SIPDIS

IO/HR FOR GAYATRI PATEL

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/25/2020
TAGS: PREL, PHUM, UN, IR, UK
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE DELIVERED: UK GIVES TACTICAL ADVICE ON
UPCOMING HRC SESSION

REF: STATE 16236

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Greg Berry for reasons 1.4
(b) and (d)

1. (C/NF) Alastair Long, head of the UN Human Rights team
at the FCO, told Poloff in response to reftel demarche that
HMG is broadly supportive of U.S. goals for the upcoming
Human Rights Council session. He reported positive progress
on the U.S. defamation of religions action plan within the
EU. Long cautioned that the Council probably would not
support a strong resolution on Iran and recommended a less
ambitious resolution with the goal of weakening Iran's bid
for election to the HRC. HMG is optimistic that it will be
able to vote for a resolution on the Goldstone Report because
the Palestinians have adjusted the text to avoid the report's
problematic aspects. The UK supports a stronger, more
coherent approach to UN human rights activities in the DRC
and suggested that calling on the government to respond
officially to recommendations already put forward by the
thematic rapporteurs might help produce results. HMG
supports a resolution on Guinea, but is somewhat pessimistic
that it can be accomplished at the March HRC session. The UK
supports the renewal of special procedure mandates for DPRK
and Burma. End Summary.

Defamation of Religions
-----------------------

2. (C/NF) The UK agrees with the overall U.S. approach of
providing a positive alternative to the Ad Hoc Committee's
Defamation of Religions proposal. The UK has done some
outreach in Geneva already and especially has lobbied for
support in EU capitals. Long said the idea has been fully
embraced by EU members who had been skeptical. Long said he
and his colleagues had spoken with the Danes and the Dutch --
two of the countries most wary about the defamation issue --
in the past few days and that they were happy with the U.S.
action plan. He also said the latest draft of the action
plan had allayed UK concerns about language relating to
racial profiling.

Iran Resolution: Careful Tactics Required
-----------------------------------------

3. (C/NF) The UK strongly supports some sort of HRC action
on the ongoing human rights violations in Iran but Long said
that Iran had come out of the UPR process in a relatively
strong position. Long said Iran's acceptance of a number of
countries' UPR recommendations had lessened the appetite for
strong sanctions among countries such as Chile, Mexico,
Brazil, Argentina, and Japan. He said the UK Permanent
Representative in Geneva would be talking to those five
countries to gauge their willingness to support action, but
he was not optimistic that they would support strong actions
such as the establishment of a Special Rapporteur.

4. (C/NF) Long emphasized that the UK does not want to hand
Iran a victory by having a resolution fail. HMG is looking
positively on a somewhat scaled-back approach pitched to it
in recent days by Human Rights Watch. The idea is to pass a
short technical resolution asking for the Secretary General
to produce an interim report on human rights in Iran. This
could then be submitted before the May HRC elections.
Highlighting ongoing problems in Iran and having a resolution
on record could help thwart Iran's ambitions to win a seat on
the Council. Long recommended that France and the EU lead
the effort to avoid the appearance of UK and U.S. plotting.
However, he predicted that top-level pressure from the U.S.
administration might be necessary to obtain passage of any
resolution.

Goldstone Report: Palestinian Resolution Promising
--------------------------------------------- -----

5. (C/NF) Long said the UK had heard that the proposed
Palestinian text of a resolution on the Goldstone Report had
removed objectionable elements, such as referring it to the
ICC or Security Council, and was simply calling on both sides
to continue their domestic investigations. He added that if
the Palestinians had in fact amended the text to take into
account U.S. and WEOG reservations it was important to reward
the Palestinians for standing up to countries such as
Pakistan and Egypt, which are pushing for unproductive and
confrontational approaches.

DRC: UK Optimistic Smart Tactics Will Produce Results
--------------------------------------------- --------

6. (C/NF) Long said a strengthening of the current system
of thematic mandates would be possible, though it would take
strong diplomatic engagement from the U.S. He suggested that
we call for a Special Rapporteur as an opening negotiating
position. This would likely not pass, but we could then
climb down to a position of keeping the seven thematic
rapporteurs but modifying the regime somewhat to bring a
stronger focus and coherence to their disparate efforts. He
also suggested asking the DRC to produce a report for the HRC
on the recommendations of the seven rapporteurs thus far
would be a supplemental way to translate the work they have
already done into action.

Guinea: Dubious about Chances of March Resolution
--------------------------------------------- ----

7. (C/NF) HMG's estimation is that a Guinea resolution in
the upcoming March session may be difficult, but they would
welcome additional information if the U.S. thinks otherwise.
HMG supports a resolution, with Long agreeing with the U.S.
view on the importance of Africa taking the lead.

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