On the margins of the 11th session of the UN Human Rights Council, a side event on "Prisoners of Conscience" was held in Geneva on 11 June on the initiative of the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office. After the close of the Human Rights Council today (Thursday, 18 June) and to mark the end of Germany's term of membership, Günther Nooke issued the following statement:
"During the three years of Germany's membership of the Human Rights Council we have launched many initiatives in cooperation with our partners. As the base for international human rights work, however, the Council must become more transparent. Thus, for example, the results of the Universal Periodical Reviews (UPR) must be structured in such a way that they kick off a process of discussion, especially in the countries reviewed.
Moreover, our event on "Prisoners of Conscience" showed that the Human Rights Council is an effective forum for focusing attention on specific issues.
I'm confident that, all in all, US membership of the Human Rights Council will bring a new seriousness of purpose to the process. We will continue to make a frank and constructive contribution to human rights issues, one example of this being the resolution on human trafficking adopted yesterday, which was sponsored by Germany in collaboration with the Philippines."