“ This is a challenge the international community needs to address, and I have urged the Security Council to consider what interventions could be undertaken to promote stability, respect for human rights and democracy,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The Foreign Minister attended the opening of the 16th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today. “The serious situation in Libya was one of the main issues discussed at the meeting and in my bilateral talks,” said Mr Støre. An associated issue that was discussed was the precarious situation of human rights defenders around the world.
Before the weekend, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning the Libyan authorities’ gross and systematic human rights violations, and called for the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry on these matters. “I hope that on Tuesday the UN General Assembly will follow up on the clear recommendation from Geneva by suspending Libya from the Human Rights Council,” said the Foreign Minister.
“The main impression following today’s meeting is that the international community now stands united in its condemnation of the Gaddafi regime’s use of violence against its own population. In my address, I commended the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Secretary-General for speaking out so clearly in defence of human rights, particularly in connection with the ongoing situation in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Mr Støre.
On Monday the Foreign Minister had talks with a number of other ministers of foreign affairs and key persons in the margins of today’s meeting. These included US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.
The opening of the 16th session of the Human Rights Council, of which Norway is one of 47 members, took place on Monday. During the three first days, foreign ministers and heads of state and government from a number of countries will participate. The Council meets for regular sessions three times a year. In the course of the present session, 27 resolutions will be presented for discussion. This year, Norway is leading work on securing support for a new three-year mandate for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders.
Link to "Statement by Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre at the 16th Session of the Human Rights Council 1 March 2011"