Thank you Madam President,
We appreciate your excellent update on human rights issues of special concern to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office. It demonstrates the key role your office is playing in a period with significant challenges for human rights.
We share the concern of the High Commissioner with regard to the dire emergency in the Horn of Africa. The protracted conflict in Somalia is the main reason for the crisis. It has made the local communities extremely vulnerable, even in the face of natural and recurring climate variations. Meeting urgent needs, while at the same time ensuring long-term sustainable solutions, is key and requires joint efforts by all actors, including the appropriate regional organizations. There must be greater focus on reducing local vulnerability, increasing local capacity to cope with disasters and active local participation. The only long term solution in Somalia is a political solution that ensures peace and stability as well as good governance, human rights and the rule of law.
The aspirations of millions throughout the Arab world go to the core of the business of the Human Rights Council.. For Norway it has been a key priority that the Council has reacted urgently and sent clear messages that the ruthless use of violence against peaceful protesters is entirely unacceptable.
Several countries in this region are presently undergoing radical change. This is a test for the UN system and a great challenge for the international society. The independent analysis, advice and competence of the office of the HC go to the heart of the challenges at hand, not least when it comes to transitional justice. The proposal to establish a new mandate on the promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence by Switzerland, Argentina, Morocco and others is timely and highly relevant for the work of the Council. Such a mandate will complement the important work that is already being done by the OHCHR in this field.
We would like to call on the Human Rights Council to support the efforts by the OHCHR in the MENA region in every possible way and not shy away from respectful and even-handed criticism towards countries when this is required also during the post-conflict phase.
In light of this Norway would like to underline that we fully share your deep concerns regarding the reports on serious violations of international criminal and humanitarian law in Sudan. We call on the leaders of Sudan to urgently find a political solution to the ongoing conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan and allow international humanitarian access. We also believe that there is need for continued monitoring and assistance to both Sudan and South Sudan.
Norway would also like to see the Office of the High Commissioner deeply engaged in the UN support to Libya. This is particularly relevant in protecting human rights, above all for vulnerable groups, and in supporting transitional justice.
Madam High Commissioner,
As a last remark, Norway would like to underline that we appreciates the high level of responses by UN country teams to the recent survey on human rights mainstreaming. This is a promising signal that reflects an increased focus on mainstreaming of human rights work in the UN. This is also a logical step as the world increasingly recognises that human rights also in practical terms stand at the heart of peace, development and security.