Highlights of the three-week session will feature a wide range of issues including presentations by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, by the Special Rapporteur on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, by the Independent Expert on the Central African Republic, and interactive discussions on the issue of safety of journalists, Business and Human Rights, Female Genital Mutilation and combatting child, early and forced marriages.
For Norway, some of the most significant thematic questions during the session include the resolution and discussions on human rights and business, right to freedom of expression and to secure continued focus onhuman rights defenders and women’s rights. In addition to this, there are also a number of country resolutions and debates of importance, including on Syria, Belarus, Eritrea,Ukraine and North Korea. Read more about the session on UNOG's website.
Norway stated in their opening statement that it is particularly important to focus more on the chronic underfunding of the Human Rights pillar. The Office is expected to do increasingly more with less. It is particularly striking that nearly all the field presence of the Office, where it can assist states directly, is financed exclusively by voluntary contributions. To reduce the implementation gap there is also a need to continuously defend the independence of the High Commissioner and her office against political pressure, and to secure that universal human rights principles underpin the efforts of the UN as a whole. This should also be reflected in the post 2015-development agenda.
An issue that needs to be addressed in a more comprehensive manner, is human rights abuses involving business. While there are many examples of improvements over the last years, the need for application of human rights in the economic sphere is massive. We are also concerned about the many accounts of threats, attacks and reprisals against human rights defenders and others that seek accountability for corporate involvement in human rights abuses.