C3: Promotion and protection of human rights

Statement given by Norway's Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative May-Elin Stener to the Third Committee on Agenda item 68 b) and c): Promotion and protection of human rights, 19 October 2016.

Mr. President,

We thank the High Commissioner for his briefing and for his principled role as our global ombudsman for human rights.

Norway finds inspiration in the work of the High Commissioner and takes due note of the many serious human rights violations he has highlighted.

Human rights norms and standards are challenged in all parts of the world. Respecting international human rights law and ensuring conscientious implementation of obligations we, as UN Member States, have taken upon ourselves, should concern us all.

Norway, therefore, firmly believes that the world needs to see and hear more of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); not less.

In this regard, we very much welcome the High Commissioner's Change Initiative to strengthen the presence of the Office in the field.

The changes are small in organizational terms, but they will make a significant impact and improve the Office's ability to support States in strengthening promotion and protection of human rights. We also note that the Change Initiative is budget neutral.

Put simply; the High Commissioner is asking for our approval to do his mandated job better. It should be unnecessary to ask for Member States' permission to do so. We encourage all States to support the Change Initiative in the Fifth Committee.

Every year the High Commissioner has to turn down numerous request from States seeking technical assistance. This speaks to the lack of financial resources that the OHCHR has at its disposal.

Furthermore, for many years the OHCHR has been dependent on voluntary contributions to finance its mandated activities from the Human Rights Council and Third Committee.

Clearly something is wrong when we, as Member States, are not financing, through the regular budget of the UN, activities that we collectively have asked the OHCHR to do.

Time is therefore due to give the OHCHR the resources it needs to fulfill its mandate.

Thank you.