GA: Report of the Human Rights Council

Statement by Birgitte Wilhelmsen Wessel on the Report of the Human Rights Council, 2 November 2018.

| General Assembly

Madam President,

Norway thanks the President of the Human Rights Council for his presentation of the report from the Human Rights Council.

The report presented invites us to reflect upon the functioning of the Human Rights Council. We made important decisions in the Human Rights Council over the past year.
We are particularly pleased that our new initiative on the contribution of the Human Rights Council to the prevention of human rights violations was adopted in July with strong cross-regional support.

We worked closely with Sierra Leone, Colombia and Switzerland with this resolution, and we are looking forward to discuss this issue further with states, experts, civil society and other stakeholders.

In our view, preventing human rights violations is paramount as we move towards peace, stability and development.

The 20th anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders gives us an important opportunity to celebrate the bravery of all human rights defenders and take collective action to enhance their protection.

The High Commissioner highlighted during the World Human Rights Defenders Summit in Paris this week, that human rights defenders are “a key asset in enhancing the United Nations’ preventive work –their reports feeding into early warning of impending crises, helping us to understand the root causes of conflict and contributing to work to solve and prevent its outbreaks.”

We are looking forward to celebrating the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders during the high level plenary meeting dedicated to this topic to be held in New York in December.

Norway thinks it is important to keep in mind the strengths of the Human Rights Council, especially now when we are discussing efficiency measures. We should focus on what works well, but at the same time find common ground on how we can strengthen the work of the Council. Any changes should add value and be in line with the Council’s current mandate.

We firmly believe that we can reach consensus through dialogue and cooperation. We take this opportunity to thank the President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Suc, for his professional and transparent leadership in these discussions in Geneva and we will continue to support this process.


The Human Rights Council has during 2018 demonstrated that there are strong tools in the HRC’s toolbox and that we are not shying away from using them. We welcome that some of the reports mandated in HRC resolutions are also presented in the Security Council when relevant.

As a consistent partner and friend of an independent OHCHR, Norway recently signed a four year financial support agreement with the High Commissioner’s office. We believe predictability and strategic planning are essential when supporting the OHCHR’s efforts in promoting and protecting human rights for all.

In times when human rights are violated and contested, strengthening the human rights pillar in the UN as well as the OHCHR are called for. We are more likely to achieve sustainable development and security when human rights are respected.

The goal today and for our future is to create better lives and opportunities for more people on this planet, and to leave no one behind. In order to reach this goal, we need to tap into the immense bank of knowledge that exists and convert challenges into opportunities.

Let me conclude by saying that you can count on Norway’s support and commitment on this important subject and we look forward to hearing from other speakers today. 

I thank you.