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Photo: Anne Schive Viken.Photo: Anne Schive Viken

Update by the High Commissioner

Last updated: 31.05.2010 // In the debate of the Human Rights Council after the update of the High Commissioner, Norway expressed shock by today’s reports of attacks on civilians carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

Norway thanked the High Commissioner for her update on specific human rights situations, and emphasized the need for the Council to be seized with these issues. Norway stressed the need to strengthen the linkages between the MDGs and human rights, and ensure a human rights perspective in the outcome document from the MDG Review Summit. Norway also highlighted the need to find better ways to address the issue of discriminatory laws against girls and women within the context of the Council.


Human Rights Council 14th session
Item 2 – Update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Statement by Norway
31 May 2010

Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen

 
Madam High Commissioner,

We warmly welcome your presence here today and thank you for your comprehensive and focused update. We pay tribute to your tireless efforts to increase our understanding, will and ability to tackle human rights challenges on the ground.

Your honest, transparent and professional approach is appreciated by delegations from all regions. This was demonstrated lastly on Friday 28 May, when you presented your 2009 activities and results report.

Full respect of the independence and integrity of your Office is of paramount importance to ensure that the High Commissioner remains an objective and non-selective voice against human rights abuses.

Madam High Commissioner,

My delegation shares your view that the operational linkages between human rights and the Millennium Development Goals must be strengthened. The MDG Summit in September 2010 is important in this regard. Your office has a crucial role to play in providing advice and input on how the outcome document should integrate a human rights perspective. This will ensure attention to the rights and needs of the poorest and most disadvantaged, and add important accountability dimensions to the MDG framework.

We believe that a clear integration of human rights into the MDG framework would strengthen sustainability of results achieved. It would hopefully have a lasting impact on the manner in which development cooperation is carried out, leading to improved respect for and awareness of all categories of human rights. On this basis we encourage the High Commissioner to continue her work in this field, and we encourage all delegations to support the inclusion of a human rights perspective in the outcome document from the MDG Review Summit in New York.

With regard to the broader human rights mainstreaming agenda, we believe that both the UNDG senior level mechanism on human rights mainstreaming and the newly appointed Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights will prove instrumental in furthering the integration of human rights in the work of the UN, both at the policy level and in the field.  

Madam High Commissioner,

As highlighted in your statement and documented in numerous reports, women and girls experience multiple forms of discrimination and represent the vast majority of those living in poverty, demonstrating the need to focus on MDG 4 and 5. Sexual violence continues to cause suffering, and we must increase efforts to do away with this scourge ruining the lives of women and children and distroying the fabric of society. Furthermore, discriminatory laws all over the world effectively preserve power structures that hinder equal opportunities for girls and boys. We look forward to continue our cooperation with your office, other delegations, civil society and relevant actors in finding better ways to address this problem within the context of the Council.

Madam High Commissioner,

We value your update on specific human rights situations in many parts of the world. We see that human rights continue to be under strong pressure in all too many countries. It is imperative for the credibility of the Council to be seized with these issues.

In this respect we are shocked by today’s report of military attacks on civilians carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

You encourage us in your update to draw attention to human rights developments in the context of electoral periods. These are situations where there is heightened risk for human rights violations. You remind us that human rights defenders must be protected and enabled to operate freely. We must find mechanisms to deal with the vulnerabilities in the context of electoral periods as highlighted by you. When preparing for electoral processes, preventive measures should be put in place, as well as mechanisms to ensure accountability.

Madam High Commissioner,

In closing, let me also express our appreciation for the manner in which you continue to address the difficult issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation. Your wisdom and integrity is much needed also in this area. Sexual orientation can never justify violations of human rights. The principle of non-discrimination extends to every single one of us.

Thank you.

 

 


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