Statement in Response to the Report by the HCNM

As delivered by Councellor Stein Rosenberg at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 11 July 2024

Madam Chair,

I join others in welcoming the High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ambassador Abdrakhmanov, back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his report.

As a country with both an indigenous people – the Saami - and several groups with a long-standing attachment to the country, defined as national minority populations, - Norway recognizes the usefulness of tools and recommendations developed by the office of the High Commissioner to assist States in improving sustainable integration of diverse societies.

The country visits of the High Commissioner are important in identifying best practices and is a service all participating States should make use of. Let me reiterate to all participating states that a visit by the High Commissioner is a constructive engagement that in no way reflects negatively on a participating state. Norway received the High Commissioner in 2023 and welcomed his post-visit suggestions.

I am pleased to note the long list of countries where The Office of the High Commissioner has been engaged since its last report to the PC. I would in particular like to praise the engagement in Kosovo, including the visit by Director, Ambassador Szczygiel (“Tsjygial”), as important to the maintenance of peace and security in the region. We encourage continued engagement by the office, in coordination with the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and other international partners.

Let me also highlight and encourage continued engagement on matters within the HCNM mandate in Ukraine, including on matters within the territories temporarily and illegally occupied by Russia. The role of the HCNM in identifying, de-politicizing and addressing causes of ethnic tensions involving national minority issues is of utmost importance. With the recent Moscow mechanism reports in mind both on Russia’s deportation of Ukrainian children as well as the report on Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty of Ukrainian Civilians, we need the High Commissioner to use the tools at his disposal to the best for war-affected populations in Ukraine and elsewhere.

Madam Chair,

Norway is proud to contribute with extra-budgetary funding to projects prioritized by the High Commissioner. We are at the same time conscious of the negative impact the non-approval of Unified Budget Proposals the last years has had on programmatic activities in the organization. It is not in itself conducive to the work of the institution if more activities are financed through extrabudgetary funds, but the lack of UB funding leaves no other alternatives. We again urge all delegations to do their utmost and be willing to compromise to join consensus on a Unified Budget for 2024.

Thank you.