Posts Tagged ‘high level segment’

Opening Statements at 40th session of UN Human Rights Council

February 25, 2019

Also the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, gave an opening statement which was of a remarkably ‘soft’ tone.  Here some excerpts:

..Today, we sometimes hear human rights being dismissed as supposedly “globalist” – as opposed to the patriotic interest of a sovereign government. But how can any State’s interests be advanced by policies that damage the well-being of all humans?….

Human rights-based policies are effective. They deliver better outcomes for people – people across the social and economic spectrum, and beyond borders. They prevent grievances, conflicts, inequalities, and suffering and discrimination of all kinds….Steps to ensure the authorities engage in respectful dialogue with civil society make for much better, broader development – and I want to emphasise this point: there cannot be optimal, sustainable or inclusive development when the voices of civil society are absent.

…..In today’s currents, in this uncharted storm of heavy winds and rising seas, careless leadership could carry our countries into catastrophe. Or we can use fundamental principles to steer our vessels to safety in more peaceful waters. Every day, we deal with many challenges across the planet. The world’s eyes have been on Venezuela, especially in the last few days. Just yesterday my Office issued a statement regarding the situation: we hope violence will end, and that respect for human rights will be part of the solution.

This Council, the Treaty Bodies and my Office, including its 72 field presences around the world, are honoured with the mandate to stand up for human rights. I want to emphasise my admiration for the Council’s record in effecting early warning, and in naming experts to issue detailed guidance. The Special Procedures and Universal Periodic Review have become essential human rights tools. We need now to ensure not just early warning, but early action to prevent conflict and human rights violations.

I also take this opportunity to emphasise the importance of the Treaty Bodies, whose recommendations are often profoundly relevant.  Mindful of the need to avoid overburdening States with numerous and overlapping recommendations, we will continue working to help decision-makers devise appropriate policy responses.

My Office is sustained by the United Nations principles of impartiality, independence and integrity, and I view it as an essential springboard for the well-being and freedom of women and men across the world.

We will continue to engage with States and forge partnerships with UN agencies, regional and global bodies, business and other stakeholders. We will do our best to strengthen all the international human rights institutions with a sense of common purpose, and coordinated action.
And we will continue to amplify the needs and demands of civil society, to advance the principles of dignity, equality and justice.

——–

https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/world/2019/02/25/chief-warns-that-human-rights-are-losing-ground-world/BrFFZ4IXPpiN4QMc4j6TWO/story.html

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24203&LangID=E

 

High-level endorsements of crucial role of human rights defenders in UN Human Rights Council

March 7, 2017

The 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council started off last week (as usual) with the so-called “high-level segment” during which important officials addressed the Council [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2017/02/28/new-secretary-general-at-human-rights-council-tells-human-rights-defenders-and-i-am-on-your-side/].

On 6 March the ISHR reported on that first week during which several dignitaries emphasised the key role that a vibrant civil society plays in promoting and protecting human rights.

 The President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, highlighted the importance of civil society by calling States, the UN and civil society to work shoulder to shoulder and advance with common purpose. Other high-level speakers expressed concern regarding increasing restrictions to civil society space, particularly against HRDs and journalists.
  • Delegates from Botswana, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, the European Union, France, Malta, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, among others, reiterated their support to the work of HRDs and journalists and stressed the importance of guaranteeing their protection.
  • Delegates from Germany, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom, among others, condemned acts of reprisals against HRDs and emphasised that HRDs must be able to participate and engage with the Council without fear of intimidation or reprisals.

The pivotal role defenders play in promoting sustainable development was also recognised. Georgia underscored the importance of strengthening the role of NGOs and safeguarding civil society’s space to ensure they are heard. ‘Without close cooperation with all stakeholders, it is impossible to secure the sustainable development of the country.

So, there is no shortage of good statements in Geneva, but the what matters most is the upcoming renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and any real action on reprisals!

Source: #HRC34 | High-level officials kick off Council session, emphasise critical role of defenders | ISHR