3C: Resolution on Human Rights Defenders

Statement by Ambassador May-Elin Stener at the introduction of the resolution on human rights defenders, 20 November 2017.

| Third Committee

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Mr President,

I have the honor to introduce the draft resolution on Human Rights Defenders (L50).

We thank all delegations for their engagement, and for the constructive spirit in which the negotiations have been undertaken.

We have had open and fruitful discussions during informal consultations and through contacts with a broad range of delegations.

A number of States from across different regions have cosponsored the draft resolution, and we thank delegations for the strong cross-regional support.

Mr. President,

In previous sessions, the General Assembly expressed grave concern about the serious nature of risks faced by human rights defenders due to threats, attacks and acts of intimidation against them.

The updates provided by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and other mechanisms, are a cause for sustained and increased concern.

Against this background, we – the international community - must respond.

In 2018, we will mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, commonly referred to as the Declaration on human rights defenders.

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Declaration, Member States must continue to stand firmly with human rights defenders.

We must support the positive, important and legitimate role of human rights defenders in society - in the promotion of human rights, democracy and rule of law.

Together we must give effect to the principle of non-discrimination, and it applies equally to human rights defenders as any other citizens.

Mr. President,

This year’s version of the human rights defenders resolution intends to send a clear message on the eve of the 20th anniversary.

The draft resolution aims to use this occasion to promote the Declaration. It is important that we not only commemorate or celebrate the Declaration.

The General Assembly can encourage a range of actors in the international community to play, and to continue to play, an active part in contributing to the effective implementation of the Declaration.

Importantly, this includes not only States, but also national human rights institutions and civil society and other actors, as laid out in the draft resolution.

The draft resolution proposes the convening of a high-level meeting of the General Assembly during the 73rd session in 2018. This occasion can be an important arena for stocktaking and dialogue, involving also the Secretary General of the United Nations by reporting on the positive steps that the organization takes and can take in support of human rights defenders, including effective capacity building.

Mr. President,

I the spirit of flexibility and based on the constructive process we have had, we have arrived at some further revisions to the draft resolution, which I will now present orally.

Mr. President,

Once again, allow me please, to thank all delegations for their constructive participation in the extensive process we have had, which has led to the draft resolution before us, as just orally revised.

We would now like to invite the Committee to adopt the resolution by consensus.

Thereby the Third Committee can send a clear message of unanimous support of human rights defenders in all parts of the world.

Thank you!