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Joint Statement on Council’s ‘prevention’ mandate

Item 10: The implementation of the Council’s mandate under paragraph 5f of GA resolution 60/251. Joint statement delivered on 22 March 2018.

As delivered by Ambassador Yvette Stevens of Sierra Leone.

Mr. President,

I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of 71* States from all regions on the implementation of the Council’s prevention mandate, as set forth by paragraph 5f of GA resolution 60/251. 

We believe there is now a wide understanding that the Council’s prevention mandate comprises of two inter-connected and mutually reinforcing elements:

  1. To contribute towards the prevention of human rights violations and abuses at root-cause level by working with all States, through cooperation and dialogue, to help build national human rights capacity and resilience ( i.e. primary prevention); and

  2. To respond promptly to human rights emergencies (i.e. secondary prevention), notably to prevent a widening or deepening of the emergency.

In both cases, the Council should be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation.

The foregoing should , in our view, lead to a new mindset at the Council and new ways of working for States, UN experts and officials, National Human Rights Institutions and Civil Society Organizations.


Mr. President, allow me to make the following points:

  1. Our focus is solely on the Council’s mandate under paragraph 5f, and is thus distinct from, yet complementary and reinforcing to, other ongoing discussions on prevention;

  2. Our discussions should be premised on the Council’s existing institutional framework.

  3. All parts of this Council’s mandate are interlinked and mutually reinforcing. In this regard, we recognize that, for example, the provision of technical assistance and capacity building, as well as accountability for violations and abuses, contribute to preventing future violations and abuses.

  4. We welcome the Secretary-General’s statement to the Council this session welcoming the Glion Dialogue on prevention and offering his office’s support going forward. We recognize the vital importance of strengthening engagement on prevention between the Council and the wider UN system through inter alia the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Moving forward, we envisage that the Council in the near future would seek to establish a structured and inclusive process of consultations time bound to one year, to be steered by a group of experts, through which States, civil society, NHRIs and other relevant stakeholders, can provide their views, concerns and proposals. The group of experts should have relevant human rights and multilateral experience, and represent different geographical regions and be gender diverse.

We look forward to continued constructive, open and fruitful discussions on this issue with all stakeholders.

Thank you.

*On behalf of Afghanistan, Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Benin, , Bosnia-Herzegovina (with Norway), Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, FYR of Macedonia, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, State of Palestine, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Zambia.