GA: Human Rights at the Centre of the Global Agenda

Statement by Chargé d’Affaires Mr. Halvor Sætre at the High-level Thematic Debate on Human Rights at the Centre of the Global Agenda, 13 July 2016.

Mr. President,

Norway would like to thank you for convening this High-level Thematic Debate, placing human rights truly at the centre of the global agenda.

Human rights are under increasing pressure. Every day people around the world are being discriminated and deprived of their most basic rights.

If recent history has taught us anything, it is that the respect for human rights, equality and non-discrimination promotes inclusive, resilient and prosperous societies.

Mr. President,

Norway would like to propose five strategies to improve the UN’s ability to support and protect human rights.

First: Strengthen compliance. Norway is concerned that we are facing a growing gap between established norms and the realities on the ground. We encourage the next Secretary-General to lead an international effort to increase compliance, including by assisting States in honouring their commitments.

Second: Ensure coherence. Human rights is more than a pillar of the UN – it needs to be integrated in all of the UN’s operational activities. Norway actively supports the Secretary-General’s Human Rights up Front (HRuF) initiative, and other efforts to this end, and we hope the next Secretary-General will continue and expand these initiatives.

Third: Increase resources. Our commitments must be matched with sufficient human and financial resources. Norway calls for an increase in the share of the UN’s total budget allocated to human rights.

Fourth: Ensure access to justice and the rule of law. Individuals must be able to claim and enforce their rights, first and foremost in their own country. International judicial organs must receive the necessary support and cooperation from Member States to fulfil their mandates.

Fifth: Protect civil society and human rights defenders. Threats and attacks against human rights defenders hamper the realisation of rights, and undermine social cohesion. Reprisals against people and organisations who cooperate with the UN constitute serious violations of their rights and are simply not acceptable. We invite the UN and all States to join forces in protecting the legitimate role of those who are at the forefront of protecting the rights of others. 

Thank you.