Human Rights Council 12th session
Item 8. Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
Statement by Norway
30 September 2009
In the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action all UN members declare that human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all human beings; their protection and promotion is the first responsibility of Governments. The VDPA further states that democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
Across the globe courageous human rights defenders work tirelessly to promote democracy, development and human rights. They fight against racism, torture, arbitrary detentions, hunger, enforced disappearances and all other forms of human rights violations. Their cause is to improve the lives and freedom of others. They are essential in promoting tolerance and human dignity. And they are essential in ensuring that all human rights are implemented on the ground. Indeed, the idealism and persistence of such individuals and groups have many times changed the course of history.
Governments all over the world need to do more to improve the situation of human rights defenders. We need to develop and act on policies to enhance the support to and protection of human rights defenders. This is essential in order to realize the vision of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
Regarding the situation for human rights defenders, Norway is particularly concerned about recent developments in Guinea. We urge the Government to respect human rights and restore democracy.
We are further concerned about recent statements by the President of the Gambia concerning human rights defenders. We call on the Government to protect human rights defenders from any form of violence, intimidation or discrimination and to hold accountable those who are responsible for any such acts of violence, intimidation or discrimination.
Thank you, Mr. President