Human Rights Council
13th Special Session
Support to recovery process in Haiti:
A Human Rights approach
Statement by Norway
27 January 2010
Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Bente Angell-Hansen
Let me echo the words of sorrow and sadness expressed here today. The earth quake in Haiti is a humanitarian disaster striking a people living in poverty. Under extremely difficult circumstances, the Government and the people of Haiti have made major life-saving efforts. We must support their local and national strategies to meet the challenges. The UN has responded in an effective manner. It is playing a key role in mobilizing international support and coordinating efforts on the ground.
The needs of Haiti are tremendous and will continue to be so in the weeks and months ahead. It is therefore of utmost importance that we support the work the UN and other actors are doing to save lives and help survivors. We must continue to show solidarity after the television cameras have gone. Norway has thus far contributed USD 35 million through the UN, the Red Cross movement and other humanitarian actors, including partnerships in the health sector.
Norway welcomes this special session. We believe the Council has a particular responsibility to ensure that more attention is given to promoting and protecting human rights when responding to the disaster in Haiti. Effective integration of a human rights perspective is important both in the relief phase and in the reconstruction phase. In this endeavor we must make full use of the independent expertise within the OHCHR, the system of special procedures and the treaty bodies.
Among the most pressing issues is providing effective protection to vulnerable groups. Norway welcomes the initiative to establish a joint protection team by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the High Commissioner for Refugees. We encourage the OHCHR to ensure that protection, particularly for women and children, are mainstreamed into the design of all programs.
Separated children are among the most vulnerable; however separation should not be considered as the only risk to children. Programming should address the wider range of risks facing children. Relief efforts should take into account the rights and the special needs of children in terms of food, health care, water and sanitation.
The situation gives reason to be concerned about the security for women and girls. We believe the Government in cooperation with the UN and other actors, must take measures to ensure protection of girls and women in line with the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee Guidelines on Gender based violence in humanitarian settings. A key effort in this regard is securing safe spaces for women to meet and organize.
Applying a gender based approach to relief and reconstruction efforts is not only about promoting human rights but also about improving sustainability and enhancing broad national ownership. It is essential to ensure that women can play an active role in the process of recovery, reconstruction and development as well as being part of the process of assessing damage and loss.
Finally, given the large number of persons that are internally displaced, it is important to pay particular attention to their situation and take into account the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement when developing and implementing programs of reconstruction and reintegration for internally displaced persons.