Human Rights Council. Working Group on Expert Advice
Statement by Norway 7 December 06
We thank the facilitator for the constructive manner in which he has facilitated the work of the Working Group. We also thank him for the preliminary conclusions.
Let me at the outset underline the importance my Delegation attaches to the position that the institutions and mechanisms we are building in this phase of the Human Rights Council should be agreed upon by consensus. These are institutions and mechanisms for decades to come and they concern all members of the UN, not only the present membership of the Human Rights Council.
As concerns item 1 of the paper, we agree with the understanding expressed by the EU that consensus has not been reached in the working group on these elements.
We agree with the preliminary conclusion of the facilitator under item 2 that the key features of the expert advice to the Human Rights Council indeed need further consultations, including issues regarding character, status and structure, functions and mandate as well as selection process.
Furthermore, it is in our view far too early to conclude that the expert advice function should be established in the shape of a body under Human Rights Council. In this connection, we emphasize that we are talking about expert advice and not a body. We do not see the need for institutionalizing a body.
The aim of equipping the Council with an expert advice function is in our view that it could provide more thorough background documentation on specific issues and through this enrich the discussions on these issues within the Council and even more important, improve the basis for decision-making of the HRC. It is in our view key that the selection of areas where expert advice is needed is a Council-driven process.
Norway believes these aims are best reached through a flexible, efficient and manageable approach to the expert advice needs of the Council. We therefore favour the establishment of a roster of experts administered by the OHCHR. This roster could serve as a basis for a system in which qualified experts are appointed on a case by case basis to study specific issues as requested by the council.
On the selection process, it is our view that states, NGOs and individuals should be able to suggest candidates for the roster. The President of the HRC should appoint experts, in consultation with the regional groups.
We look forward to receiving your non-paper and to further discussions within the framework of the Working Group.