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Update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Last updated: 25.09.2013 // 24th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Statement held by Norway during the Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

Thank you Mr. President,

Norway strongly supports the principled voice of the High Commissioner addressing the ongoing atrocities and increasing levels of suffering in Syria. The use of chemical weapons has been outlawed by the shared will of mankind. We join those who condemn their use in the strongest possible terms, and we are convinced a strong international reaction is required.  Norway supports the High Commissioners call for States to, together with the United Nations, find a way to bring the warring parties in Syria to the negotiating table and halt the bloodshed.

We commend the High Commissioner for visiting Sri Lanka, and the Sri Lankan government to honor the High Commissioners wishes to “go anywhere and see anything she wished to see”. The engagement by the High Commissioner, including her principled position on the challenges Sri Lanka is facing, is an important part of her mandate to promote and protect the effective enjoyment by all people of all human rights. Her engagement is an important part of a constructive dialogue on how to build a sustainable peace in Sri Lanka.  We support her call for the protection of human rights defenders, journalists and communities from any reprisal, intimidation or attack.

The High Commissioner also pointed to the challenges related to transitions from authoritarian to democratic regimes. Norway shares the High Commissioners concern on Egypt, as expressed in the joint Nordic statement. In transitional situations, Norway believes technical cooperation with OHCHR country offices can be important. Norway therefore welcomes Myanmar’s commitment to establish an OHCHR office in the country, and supports the High Commissioner’s call for a timetable from the Government in this regard.    

Let me conclude by commending the High Commissioner for her efforts to follow up the mandates by the Human Rights Council in spite of limited resources. This includes her attention to the broad scope of national security surveillance regimes in countries, and the impact of these regimes on individuals’ right to privacy and other human rights. We should use the 20th anniversary as an opportunity not only to take stock, but to discuss how to strengthen OHCHRs engagement on new issues, in new tasks, and as an engine for integration of a human rights perspective throughout the UN, with a more sustainable economic base.

Thank you.


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