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Update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Mr. President,

We thank the High Commissioner for his comprehensive analysis of the global human rights situation, and for his principled responses to horrible violations and abuses of human rights.

Not since the Second World War have so many people been forced to flee their homes. This is a human tragedy – it needs urgent attention and more joint efforts. Yet, it is also a symptom of the failure of states in safeguarding the rights of their citizens. Recent history has taught us that political crises and human rights violations are part of the same story. Where there is a political crisis, human rights come under pressure. Where human rights are under pressure, a crisis is often brewing.

Conflicts and crises are never an excuse to ignore human rights violations. Nor is repression in the name of “social stability.” On the contrary, they should be a call to the international community to step up its efforts to promote and defend human rights.

The wellbeing, safety and freedom of human rights defenders and those who voice critical opinions is not only in the interest of each individual rights holder, but also instrumental for sustainable political, social and economic development. It is a positive signal that 65 States in the last Council session, called for the immediate release of all those who are being detained in connection with exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms. We look forward to continued cross-regional cooperation on upcoming resolutions on the situation of Human Rights Defenders in the General Assembly and in the Council.

We need a relevant and effective Council and a strong OHCHR as partners for states in these testing times.  We support the High Commissioner’s efforts in improving the impact and efficiency of his office. We also call on States to speak with one voice in Geneva and New York, and to follow up requests and ambitions in this Council by securing an equally ambitious budget for the OHCHR.