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Norwegian statement during the General debate

President,

We thank the High Commissioner for his report, which underscores the challenges, and achievements of his mandate.

The UN, through its Member States, has consistently maintained that independence is essential to the High Commissioner's ability to fulfill his responsibilities assigned to him or her by the General Assembly 21 years ago. 

Without a high degree of independence, the High Commissioner cannot perform his duties as an impartial, objective, non-selective and effective mandate holder. Neither can the he be expected to do as requested by Member States in resolution 48/141 (para 4 (f)), where he is asked “to play an active role in removing the current obstacles and in meeting the challenges to the full realization of all human rights and in preventing the continuation of human rights violations throughout the world”

The UN has universally recognized this functional independence on several occasions, for example by the General Assembly's track record of refusing to legislate any additional form of oversight over the OHCHR, be it by the Human Right Council or any other body. 

Against this background, Norway would like express its concern over aspects of the report of the Joint Inspection Unit, especially those that impinge on the independence of the High Commissioner and his Office.

We welcome the comments and clarification provided by the Secretary General regarding the report of the JIU, and fully agree that existing governance arrangements strike an appropriate balance between independence and accountability.  

The High Commissioner has become an authoritative voice on human rights. The High Commissioner and his office is also a trusted advisor for States to address protection and capacity gaps in the field. These achievements must be safeguarded against political pressure.  and other constraints.

Norway is ready to support the High Commissioner and his office to meet these challenges.